Marijuana: Doctors face off over Amendment 64

claudia kunrath.jpg
Kunrath.
The campaigns for and against Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, continue to engage in endorsement wars.

The latest salvos? Opponents are hyping a letter decrying Amendment 64 connected to Dr. Claudia Kunrath and the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (read it below), while backers are countering with a supportive pediatrician and a tease about 300 doctors expected to back the measure this week.

As noted by Smart Colorado, the leading No on 64 organization, Kunrath and several other pediatricians penned an open letter attacking the act. "Regardless of your feelings about marijuana, we, as pediatricians, feel it is important to know about how marijuana legalization can affect children and teenagers and the increased risks they could face if Amendment 64 passes," they wrote.

To bolster this assertion, the letter's signatories shared arguments synopsized by Smart Colorado like so:

• Since medical marijuana dispensaries began operating in 2009, there have been more accidental ingestions of marijuana by young children in Colorado. Between October 2009 and December 2011, there were 14 children (ages 8 months-12 years) seen for accidental marijuana ingestions at Children's Hospital Colorado. Of these children, 9 had documented exposure to someone else's medical marijuana, 8 were hospitalized, and 2 required admission to the intensive care unit.

• Chronic use of marijuana before age of 15 leads to worse neurocognitive functioning (i.e. ability to think, to reason, and to work) later in life.

• Using marijuana as a young teenager puts vulnerable individuals at increased risk of developing of psychosis.

• Compared to 2007-2008, there have been 15 more fatal car crashes involving a driver under the influence of marijuana in 2009-2010.

These factoids proved persuasive to the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors, who have now endorsed the letter as well.

richard karsh.jpg
Richard Karsh.
The campaigners in favor of Amendment 64 countered with a physician of their own: Dr. Richard Karsh, a Colorado Springs doc certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He responded to the letter with this statement:
I share my colleagues' desire to prevent and reduce the use of marijuana by teens, but I do not agree with their desire to maintain our current system of marijuana prohibition. Not only has it failed to accomplish that goal, it has been exceptionally counterproductive. If our goal is to control marijuana and keep it out of the hands of teens, it makes little sense to keep it in entirely uncontrolled underground market, where those selling it do not ask for ID and might also have access to other more dangerous drugs.

Marijuana prohibition poses far more health and safety problems than it solves, which is why hundreds of Colorado physicians and I support Amendment 64. It is time for a more sensible, evidence-based approach.

Also adding her thoughts was Betty Aldworth, an Amendment 64 spokeswoman. She said the initiative will actually make it more difficult for teenagers to access weed than is currently the case. She also pointed out that government surveys show teen marijuana use has actually declined in Colorado since the state began regulating medical marijuana, while rising in the nation as a whole.

Most intriguing, though, is Aldworth's note that this week, "we will be holding a news conference to announce that more than 300 Colorado physicians have endorsed Amendment 64, including a number in the field of pediatrics."

Continue to read the entire letter endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatric's Colorado chapter, as well as the press release response by the Amendment 64 campaign.


My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
toogood61
toogood61

The reasoning behind the anti marijuana drive doesn't add up. I've smoked marijuana since I was 14, I'm now 51,at 18 I was hired by a major communications company. All during that time I worked for the one company, never having any disciplinary problems or absentee issues, I retired after I reached 30 years with that company. I retired to start my own company, the pundits that claim marijuana is so bad that you can't think or control what you do are the ones that aren't thinking! I never graduated to harder drugs, I never had withdrawals from not smoking, I never got violent, etc. These people are tools of the pharmaceutical/alcohol companies....alcohol is something I rarely use (btw) I don't like the feeling I get when I use alcohol!

tribune420
tribune420

The so called doctors endorsing Kunrath are more than likely government hacks.  No one has ever died from ingesting cannabis.  This fact alone makes what they say ridiculous. 

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

All these docs are terrified of being looked at as another Dr . Clemmer .

This guy single-handedly destroyed  pain management in the metro area .

Unfortunately , his abuse of his license to practice medicine , has made ALL docs afraid to prescribe ANYTHING narcotic . His former patients have gotten many other clinics closed or suspensions handed out to honest doctors .

Tony_42
Tony_42

Doctors are shills for pharmaceuticals. That's how they get paid. What else do you expect them to say.

Tony_42
Tony_42

Nobody wants kids using marijuana (unless it's medicinally beneficial).

 

Marijuana prohibition exposes kids to the dangerous hard drugs like meth and heroin because it is sold in the same black market.

 

Nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with money, markets, control and the politics of fear.

orson
orson

So 300 hundred physicians out of around 11,000 in colorado support legalization, less than 3 percent?  900 physicians have recommended marijuana so it looks like the majority of docs that see medicinal value in marijuana are against legalization.  Listen to the docs, don't vote to re-brand marijuana from a medicine to a recreational drug.  Keep marijuana medical and expand access and rights to medical marijuana.

 

http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/site/media/doctoreconomy.htm

http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDPHE-CHEIS/CBON/1251593017044

Chuck
Chuck

15 more accidents;  15 more than 0?  Claudia how come you don't compare the DUI related deaths?

pirates_r_awesome
pirates_r_awesome

children- none (provided their parents are responsible, but that can; hopefully not, another matter entirely./ teenager- some, because its less strange for an older teen to have some adult friends. (although, they are able to get it much easier with it being illegal.) it's really sad that pediatricians don't know this. and what's more sad is the loads of people using kids as an excuses for their political agendas. If there's enough people to stop pot then there should be enough to stop booze and tobacco. and shame on those against pot for that reason. even if your against all of them, but you don't bother to press the hypocritical person next to you; at the anti pot rally. that just prove your more ignorant and lazy than a stoner. AND NOT ALL POT RECREATION USERS ARE STONERS. so that makes you even lower.

santor420
santor420

It's a shame Dr. Claudia Kunrath and the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics wants us to support the gangs and cartels that sell marijuana to children and perpetrate violence. Why do you support the black market instead of regulated outlets? Since the main result of this is that gangs and cartels keep their lucrative market selling to children with no competition from legal suppliers who don't, one wonders why Dr. Claudia Kunrath and the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics wants children to have greater access to marijuana? Or do they just prefer gangs and cartels to legal regulated supplies?

TheSpleen
TheSpleen

Somehow I doubt that the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses the prohibition of alcohol. My guess is that this is the act of a small number of people who run the state office; survey results of the entire organization might very well yield different results. Doctors are starting to wake up to the madness and idiocy of prohibition just as members of the law enforcement community have begun to take a stand against the war on (some) drugs. 

 

Also, I'm fairly certain that most Coloradans have already decided the fate of Amendment 64 one way or the other; although there will be much posturing on both sides (I expect many hysterical reefer madness-style screeds from clowns like "Commander" Jerry Peters during the next few weeks) I think it may be a done deal.

Monkey
Monkey

Who cares what doctors say, both sides are deceiving you when they say A64 does anything to stop kids from smoking weed. Oregon's legalization campaign allows residents to cultivate without arbitrary limitations, yet only received $32,000 in funds. Colorado's legalization campaign only allows small amounts to be grown by residents, receiving $830,000 in funds. Washington's legalization campaign prohibits residents from growing their own, and received  $4,000,000 in funds. It's not hard to figure out, the more residents get to grow, the less funding. Financial backers don't care about legalization, they care about entering, or maintaining, a weed market that can be monopolized, using the word "legalization" to fool potential customers, and apparently doctors. Stoners are usually against being suppressed and corporate greed, why would any of us vote for a commercialization campaign. 

Gary_Bowlmen
Gary_Bowlmen

Yes on A-64 its a step in the right direction !! 

orson
orson

 @Juan_Leg  Unless you have a terminal illness, most doctors refuse pain treatment and it's sad.  Thank goodness for medical marijuana.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

 @orson I was run over by a train in 1995 , losing a leg & doing perm damage to remaining foot & knee . A cpl yrs later , I was run over by a car while crossing the street in a wheelchair .

I no longer drink to address the pain  . I believe I have 'earned' more than an Advil & a bong hit ....

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...