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Science Matters

Medical Marijuana: Helpful or Harmful?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Marijuana, considered a controlled substance by the Federal government, has been decriminalized for therapeutic purposes by some states, including California. Does it in fact provide an effective alternative treatment for the symptoms of various medical conditions, as its advocates argue, or is it a dangerous substance with no proven medicinal value, as its opponents maintain, and thus should remain illegal?

Also, in California, the passage of Proposition 15 and SB420 making the medical use of marijuana legal, has given rise to policies that vary from city to city, guidelines for implementation that are open to interpretation, and rules that are hard to enforce. The proliferation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city of the Los Angeles is a testimony to this state of affairs. What is their impact on local communities and are there solutions that can satisfy the opposing constituencies of this hotly debated issue?

At this informative and stimulating Science Matters program, a panel of experts addressed this complex problem from a variety of perspectives: medical science, community impact, public policy, and ethics.

Featured panelists included: (click name for bio)

Conan Nolan — moderator

Reporter, NBC4

Donald P. Tashkin, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Bridget Freisthler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Social Welfare, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA

Sari J. Steel

Principal Deputy County Counsel, Los Angeles County Counsel

Joyce Weitzberg, RN

Retired nurse and former medical marijuana dispensary director


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