MP Richardson contemplates pros and cons of legalizing marijuana

POSTED: 10/23/13 7:32 PM

GREAT BAY – Legalizing marijuana in St. Maarten requires parliament to look at all aspects before making a judgment, National Alliance MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson said on Sunday in that other Lloyd Richardson’s radio program People’s Voice.

“We have to look at how much we spend repressing it and we have to look at the medicinal benefits,” the parliamentarian said.

Marijuana functions as a bronchodilator that benefits asthma patients. A bronchodilator is a substance that decreases the resistance in the respiratory airway and increases airflow to the lungs. MP Richardson said however that the potency of the bronchodilator in marijuana is limited. “The potency of the molecule that would work for asthma is so limited that, if you take marijuana as it is, you’re going to be high before you are going to get any good effect for the asthma. We have to make sure that we extract the bronchodilators because you can use them very well to treat asthma.”

A study published in 2007 in the archives of Internal Medicine suggests that short-term exposure to marijuana is linked to bronchodilation but that long-term use increases respiratory symptoms suggestive of obstructive lung disease, such as cough and sputum production. The authors of the study noted at the time that their findings should alert primary care physicians “to the potential adverse health outcomes associated with the widespread use and abuse of and dependence on marijuana.”

Legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is not on the political agenda yet. MP Richardson pointed to the criminal element as something to look at: “How much is the sale of marijuana as an illegal substance? People are committing violence; what is this costing the justice system? We are putting people in jail at a cost of $200 per day. What is that doing to our budget?”

 

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