I think it's first instructive to look to Colorado who first began using medical marijuana in 2001. The medical marijuana registration indicates that from 2001 to 2013, 94 percent of the reporting conditions for use of medical marijuana were for severe pain and not cancer or glaucoma or AIDS. Other authorized conditions weren't even close, with muscle spasms coming in at a distant second place at 13 percent.
So I think it's instructive to point out that if those statistics carry over to Minnesota if this bill were to become law, Minnesota legislators would be authorizing for users overwhelmingly claiming severe pain, the use of a highly addictive and unproven drug and at the very least this should give pause for some serious concern.
Bluestem certainly pauses at that opening, but not for the reasons Leva hopes. First, there's that math, wherein 94 percent took medical marijuana for severe pain, and 13 percent for muscle spasms. That's a whopping 107 percent, suggesting that while many patients reported severe pain as a medical condition requiring treatment, many on the registers were experiencing more than one condition.
So it goes: being sick is often painful, and therein comes our second concern. What's wrong with treating pain? Indeed, earlier testimony tonight to the committee from Joanie Whiting, who spoke about how medical marijuana helped her daughter deal with the pain and nausea caused by treating melanoma cancer on her face.
Here are the two testimonies side-by-side. First, Leva:
Next, Whiting, who describes how legal (and addictive) painkillers didn't help with relieving the extreme pain her dying daughter experienced:
Photo: Autumn Leva wants you to feel your pain.
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