NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 29, 2012

Vote Yes on ballot questions 1, 2 and 3

(Continued)

The law contains safeguards against abuse, however, as one might expect, these safeguards are not enough for critics. Notably, the measure is opposed by the Massachusetts Medical Society, which represents more than 23,000 physicians statewide. “Physicians of our society have clearly declared that physician-assisted suicide is inconsistent with the physician’s role as healer and health care provider,” said the society’s president, Dr. Lynda Young.

We believe that under proper circumstances, patients should be able to choose whether terminal illness and the pain and suffering it causes justifies taking this extreme measure. Based on states and nations where this measure has been in place, we do not see reason to be concerned about misuse.

Question 3 legalizes the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. It would remove punishment under state law for everyone from patients and physicians to dispensaries and personal caregivers for patients.

This measure is largely opposed by law enforcement, which views it as a means that can easily be abused and can create a gateway to heavier drug use. No doubt there will be some people who will abuse the law. But there are certainly many others who will find legitimate relief from pain through the use of medical marijuana. This is a medical option that, although controversial, has been proven effective for many patients.

Nearly half of the states in this nation have passed laws allowing for the use of medical marijuana, including three of the six New England states.

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