What Makes A Candidate “Good” on the Issue of Medical Marijuana Policy?

May 2, 2016

What makes candidates good on medical cannabis (marijuana) policy is not as simple as do they support medical access.  Of course, this simple question, do you support access to medical marijuana?, serves as the most foundational question, but does a voter need to know more in order to make a judgement about whether to support a candidate based on their position on this issue?

Below are some further questions a voter might consider.

If a candidate says s/he supports medical use:Does the candidate only support non-combustible products, not understanding that smoking or vaporizing cannabis is the most efficient delivery system for many seizure patients or those undergoing chemo due to its immediate action and the ease for the patient to accurately self-titrate (self “dose”)?

Most people are not aware that it is not the smoke in tobacco that causes the serious health consequences that it does, but the nicotine. Cannabis smoke does not contain nicotine. It contains cannabinoids. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Tashkin study, which set out to prove that marijuana causes cancer found the opposite. The study showed that people who smoked both tobacco and cannabis had lower rates of lung cancer than those who only smoked tobacco. It was hypothesized that this may be due to the cannabinoids in cannabis serving a protective role for cells, protecting them even against its own carcinogens. Not only did the study find that cannabis does not cause lung cancer, they found that cannabis smoke has the effect of bronchodilation, that is, expansion of the lungs, whereas cigarette smoke leads to bronchoconstriction, that is, narrowing of the air passages, which can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.

It is interesting to note that the NIDA only funds projects looking for the negative impacts of cannabis. In his study, however, Tashkin simply did not find them.

Does the candidate support a system of access that provides a patient with options? This includes matters such as does the candidate only support access systems that severely limit the number of providers in a state (creating monopolies)? Does the candidate support a system where the patient has an opportunity to try different providers in order to find the best one for them? Or, does the candidate support only a system where the patient must sign with a single provider and be required to jump through hoops in order to try another provider before even knowing if the new provider can better assist them?

Does the candidate support allowing physicians to make the call as to whether or not a patient might benefit from medical cannabis, or does the candidate believe the legislature knows best what conditions should be “eligible” for physicians to make referrals?

Does the candidate support CBD-based products only, thereby cutting out those who benefit from whole plant or THC-based strains (which tend to better serve those using cannabis for neurological issues and brain cancers)?

 

What else makes for a candidate who is “good” on the issue of medical marijuana? How “good” do they need to be to earn your financial support? Let us know what you think.

Here in Montana, we know that having a medical marijuana law doesn’t necessarily mean having medical marijuana access in any practical way. Asking questions is a way of educating. Many people, candidates included, are unaware of the many subtleties that are involved in whether or not a medical marijuana law “works.”

The MTCIA believes I-182 is a solid start for creating a workable law for Montana’s citizens. It protects access while promoting an accountable and responsible system. It requires licensing, inspections, and eliminates the three patient limit for providers. It makes PTSD an allowable condition, assuring our veterans and others who suffer from the condition have access. Please ask when candidates show up at your door if they support I-182 and medical marijuana access in Montana and then share the news.