Letters to the Editor

Manatee County sheriff's commentary against medical marijuana lacks solid foundation

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube states that medical marijuana could be used to treat anorexia, migraines, muscle spasms, neck pain, back pain, menstrual cramps, throat pain, trouble sleeping and problems eating, which he insinuates are not debilitating.

Sheriff Steube seems to be offering a medical opinion, yet he is not a doctor and has little if any medical knowledge. The fact is each of those conditions could be debilitating and only a physician and not the sheriff can make that diagnosis.

The sheriff states that the Florida Medical Association (FMA), representing 20,000 physicians, does not support it but what about the other 44,000 Florida physicians who are not part of the FMA?

A 2013 New England Journal of Medicine survey found that nearly 8-in-10 doctors approved the use of medical marijuana.

The sheriff states without any noted source that only 10 percent of medical marijuana is going to those with "debilitating" illness but state facts contradict him.

Colorado's state website discloses the reasons for use: 3 percent, cancer; 1 percent, HIV/AIDS; 1 percent, glaucoma; 1 percent, Cachexia; 13 percent, muscle spasms; 2 percent, seizures; 94 percent, severe pain; 10 percent, severe nausea. The numbers do not add up to 100 percent, as some patients report using medical marijuana for more than one medical condition.

The CDC/California study indicates 92 percent received healing or some measure of relief from chronic pain, nausea, insomnia, and anxiety.

The sheriff's editorial in Sunday's Herald clearly indicates why law enforcement needs to stay out of the doctor's office and why a constitutional amendment is the proper way to keep them out.

My hope is that, when voting, Floridians will remember Dr. Albert Schweitzer's words: "Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself."

P.S., sheriff, pain pill OD's are 20 percent lower in states with medical marijuana.

Paul Sloan