Pennsylvania nurses association endorses “rigorous research” on medical marijuana
Call it another arrow in the arsenal: The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association has come out for medical marijuana.
The state’s top lobbying group for nursing advocacy has just become another sect of Pennsylvanians who would like to see marijuana’s classification changed so more tests can be performed with regard to its medical uses, largely putting themselves in line with the 81 percent of commonwealth residents who’d like to see the drug decriminalized for medicinal use.
In a position statement re-posted on the group’s website today (it was put up, then taken down last week to make room for a tribute to late state Rep. Dick Hess), the PSNA emphasized “safe access” to marijuana for those suffering from “glaucoma, asthma, seizures, appetite stimulation and in management of nausea,” as well as much-needed “rigorous” clinical testing.
“It is the position of PSNA that medical marijuana is worthy of further rigorous clinical testing,” reads the statement. “In order to weigh the true risks and benefits of medical marijuana, there must be a discussion and openness at the federal level regarding the conversion of marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug classification.”
A Schedule II classification allows the drug to be tested in a randomized controlled fashion to figure out the risks and benefits, something that is not currently done in Pennsylvania or at the federal level.
Pennsylvania lags behind several other northeastern states on medical marijuana legalization. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont allow for the medical use of marijuana (although there have been problems with accessing pot under Jersey’s law.)
Colorado and Washington both voted to legalize recreational pot in 2012—and the federal government recently said it would allow them to let it happen.
New bills are written and introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature each year which would allow for the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, although none of those bills have gotten much traction in Harrisburg. Governor Tom Corbett noted during his 2010 campaign for governor that he believes marijuana is a gateway drug—an old school term we haven’t heard since, or for at least 10 years prior.
Still, the PSNA’s endorsement of marijuana should count as one more step forward for the marijuana advocate community, despite most state marijuana activists, like NORML, saying their eventual goal is full, recreational legalization.
Noting marijuana has been a way to heal ailments since “ancient times,” PSNA also note they encourage a more efficient delivery system throughout the U.S. — like in New Jersey, where medical marijuana is technically legal, but access is difficult.
“Despite a persistent federal ban on marijuana, claims regarding its efficacy for a host of illnesses and symptoms have soared. As a result, more than a quarter of the states in the nation have adopted laws to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes despite the continued federal ban. Marijuana may be an important therapeutic adjunct in hard-to-manage illnesses and for persistent symptoms,” the PSNA’s document reads. “Well-designed, rigorous research must be performed to truly assess the relative benefits and risks of medicinal marijuana.”
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