Westchester Drug Prevention Groups Respond To Medical Marijuana Propsoal

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Melvin Berger said he is cautiously in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to allow medical marijuana in New York.
Melvin Berger said he is cautiously in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to allow medical marijuana in New York. Photo Credit: File Photo

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Drug prevention groups in Westchester are hopeful legalizing medical marijuana in New York does not lead to increased marijuana use among teens.

According to reports, Gov. Andrew Cuomo intends to legalize medical marijuana in approximately 20 hospitals around the state, under extreme restrictions. It will be a limited-use program that will be made possible through an executive order.

The drug would only be available with a prescription, to treat extreme or grave illnesses such as cancer and glaucoma. Prescriptions may be given for additional diseases, which will be oversaw by the state’s Health Department.

Ossining Communities That Care Coordinator Alice Joselow, speaking on her own behalf, said it was a very complicated area. 

"I believe that medical marijuana should go through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as no other drug in our nation has bypassed the review of the FDA," Joselow said. " I am very sympathetic for the parents of children with seizure disorders who are seeking the CBD rich extract from marijuana that has shown promise to reduce seizures."

Joselow said she was fearful of a dispensary-based distribution model.

"My fear is for teens, as when medical marijuana is approved in states, teen usage goes up," Joselow said. "The research is compelling that marijuana use harms the teen brain and 1 in 6 teens will become addicted.   So the challenge is to keep teens from starting to use marijuana as it can adversely affect their brain development."

Nan Miller of Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention said their mission is  to prevent underage substance use of marijuana or alcohol. 

"That's what we target and are most concerned about," Miller said. "We hope the governor's proposal is as restrictive as possible like he said it is."

Miller said they are concerned about the harmful effects of smoking on the body.

"We certainly support research on marijuana and other aspects," Miller said. "Smoking is a problem."

Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council chairman Melvin Berger said they are cautiously in favor of Cuomo's plan.

"It's important that people realize marijuana is not a harmless drug," Berger said.

Berger supports limiting marijuana to 20 hospitals and only allowing physicians with a special license to dispense it to people over 21.

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Comments (5)

I believe the nationwide numbers are something like 400,000 tobacco deaths per year, 100,000 alcohol deaths per year, and 0 marijuana deaths per year. Legalization is way overdue.

That's because Marijuana isn't legal, wait and see what happens with those stats if it ever becomes legal.

There are also many studies of people who started smoking Marijuana for recreational use and it wasn't enough for them in the high they were getting which resulting in them moving to cocaine and then heroin. I'm aware of several youth where that was the case and several who eventually over dosed. Alcohol on the other hand doesn't tend to lead someone to drugs but to more alcohol and we have a big enough problem there with alcoholics and those who drive drunk and kill the innocent victims that many of them wind up in accidents with while they walk away with a nominal jail term. I'm sure there are stories on both sides of the isle on this but I think we need to move slowly and not make it available to everyone. I personally believe that limiting it for medical use at this time, through the FDA is the proper course of action. See how that goes before we open the doors to allowing it for recreational use as well. Again an opinion and calling people ignorant because they don't agree with you only shows your ignorance.

Wow. I'm sorry, but you obviously have no idea what you're talking about. Marijuana is less addictive than coffee, less harmful than drinking alcohol, and is NOT a harmful drug. Anyone who makes these types of statements is obviously someone who has been brainwashed by the media over the years and actually believes anything the news outlets say about it. I've been smoking since I was 16, mostly because it helps me deal with a painful condition that I have, and I was a straight A student in high school and a straight A student in college. Not everyone has the same reaction to it, just like drinking alcohol affects people differently. I'm getting really sick and tired of hearing people who think they know what they're talking about, opening their mouths and sounding like a bunch of ignorant fools. If you're going to discuss research in an article, have the brains to cite your sources and the research, otherwise, you sound ignorant. President Regan commissioned a group of researchers to look into marijuana and even they gave him a report stating that it should be decriminalized. If you're going to be worried about drug use amongst teens, I would be more concerned about them using prescription drugs (which are man-made and can be deadly), cocaine, heroine, meth, etc. Marijuana on the other hand, is a plant that grows naturally from the ground, has very few harmful side effects (if any) and no one has ever died from using it.

Thank you TCarroll1014 for shedding some light on Marijuana. Hopefully as more people begin to see the truth about its benefits and as you mention very few (if any) side effects it will become more widely accepted and legalized. It amazes me how accepted alcohol is in our society yet it is so incredibly addictive, destructive and deadly.