WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     Lately there has been strong desire from the people to allow the use of medical marijuana, and in a couple of states for recreational use.

    Of course there are various factions that are promoting the use of marijuana both for medical  and recreational purposes. I believe the ones that favor recreational as well as medical use probably comes from more liberal sources.

    Having no scientific data to back it up, the full use crowd claim a majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legally regulated.

    Their facts include: 1. About 750,000 people are arrested for marijuana each year, the majority of them for simple possession. 2. Most Marijuana users never use any other drugs. 3. Increased admissions for treatment are a reflection of the criminal justice systemís predominant role, rather than increasing rates of clinical dependence. 4. Marijuana potency is not related to risk of dependence or health impacts. 5. Marijuana can be good for health. (??? it probably seems that way.) 6 Marijuana can be protective against the formation  of cancer. 7. Marijuana has been proven helpful for treating the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions. The bodyís endocannabinoid system may explain why. 8. Rates of marijuana  use among young people decrease when a state adopts medical marijuana. 9. Marijuana does not cause long-term cognitive impairment in adult users. 10. There is no compelling evidence that marijuana contributes substantially to traffic accidents and fatalities.

    In Minnesota Marijuana use in any form is illegal, however there is a strong push to pass a law that would allow use of medical marijuana.

    Currently in Minnesota the state permits access to clean syringes for people that inject drugs. The state does not have a 911 good samaritan law. The state does have legal methadone access. Currently there are penalties for marijuana possession. Nearly 18,000 people are arrested for drug offenses. In 2011 about 73 percent were white, 21 percent black, and 4 percent other were arrested.

    I can easily see where passing a law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes would be a good thing. However, I think  if that were to happen I believe there  should be strong regulatory rules for dispensing the drug. There should not be marijuana clinics where people can walk in off the street and claim to have back or neck pain and walk out with  a prescription! It should be dispensed the same as any other  controlled substance. Unfortunately that is a big stumbling block, because the federal government still considers the growth, distribution,  or possession of marijuana to be a federal crime. Unless things change in the future, I find it hard to believe few, if any, licensed health care providers would want to be exposed to federal criminal action.

    None  the less, there is  sufficient evidence to indicate the benefits of marijuana use for some people, would be highly helpful in treating symptoms including easing of nausea and vomiting, stimulating appetite in chemotherapy and or AIDS patients, reducing eye pressure in glaucoma patients, managing chronic pain and treating gastrointestinal illnesses.

    I do hope the legislature does pass legislation to allow for medical marijuana use in Minnesota.

    Currently there are 18 states that now allow the use of medical marijuana plus the  District of Columbia. The tide is turning rather  quickly and the federal government will have to deal with this matter. After all arenít the majority of medicines, including controlled substances,  made from plants?

Have a great week and do good!