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The War on Drugs: Time to Relocate the Battlefield?

Eric A. Voth, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(6):459-460. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520300029027.
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To the Editor.  —The Medical News & Perspectives articles1 addressed some controversial but important issues regarding drug use and legalization. It is important to note that the first major efforts to legalize drugs appeared in the early 1970s initiated by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Members of NORML later formed other drug-culture organizations such as the Drug Policy Foundation with the intent of diffusing attention on legalization and broadening legalization efforts. The Drug Policy Foundation remains one of the most outspoken legalization proponents, and its leadership is frequently quoted in the press, including the recent JAMA articles.The drug culture has asserted that thousands of chemotherapy patients, glaucoma sufferers, and those with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome would benefit from access to smoked marijuana as medicine. The toxic effects of smoked marijuana far outweigh the alleged benefits. Mostly anecdotal reports are used to support the


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