Letter: Sick people need medical marijuana

File photo of a marijuana plant.

File photo of a marijuana plant. (Credit: AP)

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Jeffrey L. Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, tells New York legislators, "Don't hurry to OK medical marijuana" . But he never acknowledges that on June 3, the Assembly approved a medical marijuana bill for the fourth time since 1998, heeding the call of health care professionals such as the New York State Nurses Association, the New York State Pharmacists Society, New York Physicians for Compassionate Care and the New York State Psychological Association.

Reynolds' concerns about contaminants are valid, but they can easily be addressed by requiring dispensaries to test their marijuana, as other states, including Massachusetts and Delaware, have done. While smoking marijuana or any substance poses health risks, it's more therapeutically effective and allows better control of dosage than taking a synthetic THC pill. And vaporizers eliminate much of the danger of smoking.

State governments regulate the practice of medicine, not the federal Food and Drug Administration. Since 1996, 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws. Now it's up to our own senators to vote for the bill.

As part of the 18 percent of New Yorkers who oppose medical marijuana, Reynolds may not be in a hurry, but thousands of New Yorkers with serious conditions can't wait another year for relief.

Doug Greene, Manhattan

Troy Smit, Babylon

Editor's note: The writers are the legislative director of Empire State NORML and executive director of NORML Long Island. NORML is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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