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I support medical, not political, marijuana

“If medical marijuana helps a patient, they should have it.” Most Tennesseans will agree with this statement.

As a physician and as a legislator, I do too. We are a caring people and we want to help those who are sick.

That is why 78 percent of Tennessee voters favor “medical marijuana.”

Certainly, those answering this question do mean this to be “medical.”

However, proposed legislation before the Tennessee Legislature is “political marijuana.”

We should understand the difference. This matter has profound societal consequences.

Medical marijuana means that a patient is under medical care. The patient has a medical condition, for which there is evidence that marijuana will help.

This evidence is scientific and not based on anecdotes or social media.

The patient and the doctor have reached a point that current treatment is not satisfactory. They decide to use the cannabis/marijuana option.

The doctor writes a prescription and the patient fills it at the pharmacy. This medicine is in the exact dosage, safe, and free of impurities.

It is legal, has been tested, and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The patient’s progress is monitored by the doctor and adjustments in dosage are made as needed.

This treatment is medical and it is available today!

Now, here is how political marijuana will work.

The term “cannabis” is used instead of “marijuana” to give it a scientific flair. A Medical Cannabis Commission will be created under this proposed initiative.

The commission will have nine political appointees, including two physicians. Members, naturally, will be knowledgeable of and have connections to the marijuana industry.

The commission will oversee all aspects of this industry. The commission, without a medical license, will decide what conditions this marijuana is recommended for and the dosages to be used. The patients will self-medicate and be free of medical supervision.

Despite the fact that it is “medical” cannabis/marijuana, the physician’s role, in this law, is limited to giving a “qualifying diagnosis” that allows the patient to purchase marijuana from the dispensary.

The physician will not monitor the use, dosage, dangers or side effects of this “medical” marijuana use, nor will the commission.

The goal of the industry is monetary. The commission will allow everybody to purchase marijuana. It is a gateway for the recreational users to qualify.

The reason this is “political” marijuana is that it is prescribed by politicians, with one eye on the polls and the other on money. Politicians will give us what we want, whether it is good for us or not.

I say, in Tennessee, let us choose “medical” over “political” marijuana!

Sabi ‘Doc’ Kumar, M.D., is a state representative from District 66, Robertson County.

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