Below is a letter to the editor I wrote that will be published in the Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 print edition of the Wisconsin State Journal:
Legalizing marijuana could curb heroin use — Gary Storck
Considering the article in Wednesday’s paper “State rep plans anti-heroin bills,” if Rep. John Nygren really wants to curtail opiate abuse in Wisconsin, he should consider sponsoring legislation legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
Research recently published by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research found that states that allow patients to access medical marijuana through dispensaries have reduced rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
In addition, a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that enactment of statewide medicinal cannabis laws is associated with a 24.8 percent lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rate.
Cannabis is not a gateway to harder drugs but a gateway back from addiction. Legalizing medical cannabis would not only offer patients safer pain relief but reduce Wisconsin’s opiate abuse problem. A clear majority of Wisconsinites have long supported legalizing medical cannabis. It’s time for lawmakers to catch up and be proactive about fighting addiction.
— Gary Storck, Madison, co-founder, Is My Medicine Legal YET?