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Letters: Favor legal pot for pain

An employee pulls marijuana out of a large

An employee pulls marijuana out of a large canister for a customer at the LoDo Wellness Center in downtown Denver, Colorado, on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Matthew Staver

"Health risks tied to pot" [News, April 27] presents erroneous conclusions about flawed studies that are designed to scare citizens about the effects of marijuana rather than to provide evidence of its true benefits and risks.

In the study cited from the Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers analyzed a database of drug-related cases reported to the French government. Of the 35 marijuana users who had cardiac complications, more than 60 percent also smoked tobacco. The study also did not take into account such complicating factors as diet, exercise and use of other drugs.

In the study from Northwestern and Harvard universities, the researchers didn't demonstrate changes in brain structure caused by marijuana use, but only differences in brain structure between users and non-users. Furthermore, the study showed no evidence of cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the marijuana-using group.

Let's not let biased science stand in the way of seriously ill New Yorkers who could benefit from medical marijuana. The State Senate should respect public opinion and credible science and move the Compassionate Care Act to a floor vote.

Doug Greene, Cedarhurst

Editor's note: The writer is the legislative director of Empire State NORML, the New York chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

I would like to applaud Newsday on its continuing coverage of the proposed legislation to make medical marijuana legal in New York ["Protest greets Guv on LI," News, April 29].

With 88 percent of New Yorkers supporting medical marijuana, it is time for legislators to listen to their constituents. Research shows that marijuana can help alleviate pain and debilitating symptoms, often when other pain relief has failed. New Yorkers with serious illnesses should have access to help alleviate their suffering and improve their quality of life.

It's time to end treating those who seek relief through medical marijuana as criminals. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already allow legal use of marijuana on the advice of health care practitioners.

Tiffany Liebling, Farmingville