The decision on the medical value of marijuana has been sharply debated. One faction simply dismisses medical marijuana as a joke that brings out our natural compassion for the sick while others maintain it is a one of a kind soothing medicine that has been hindered from patients through regulations based and false claims.
Both sides say their views are supported by scientific proof to support their views and have expressed those views at the ballot box in recent state elections.
In January 1997, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy petitioned the Institute of Medicine to conduct a review of the scientific evidence to assess the potential health benefits and risks of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids.
That review began in August 1997 and culminates with this article.
The ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy) request came during the medical marijuana initiatives. By November 1996, voters in California and Arizona passed referenda designed to permit the use of marijuana as medicine.
Although Arizona’s referendum was invalidated five months later, the referenda generated a national response.
The voters of the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington passed ballot initiatives in support of medical marijuana In November 1998.
At that time, the Colorado vote did not count, however, because after the vote was taken a court ruling determined there had not been enough valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.
As of June 1, 2006 Colorado joined the growing list of states with active medical marijuana programs.
This occurred in the wake of last November’s voter approval of Amendment 20, the medical marijuana initiative sponsored by Coloradans for Medical Rights and its parent group, California-based Americans for Medical Rights, and after the Colorado legislature passed necessary implementing legislation this spring.
As of June 7th, the state registry for medical marijuana patients had sent off 150 applications to patients and received 13 completed application forms, according to the registry administrator.