norml09 - Page 17

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 There are doctors willing to testify that marijuana has
 medical uses. NORML found over a dozen to testify in this
 case° We have a natural tendency to believe doctors. We
 assume their opinions are entitled to respect° But what if
 a doctor is giving an opinion beyon_ his professional
 competence? Evaluating the safety and effectiveness of
 drugs is a specialized area° Does the doctor have this
 specialized expertise? Is he familiar with all the
 published scientific studies? Or i:s he improperly basing
 his opinion on mere stories or anecdotal evidence? Does he
 really know what he is talking about? Does he have a
 personal motive to exaggerate or lie? Questions like these
 led the United States Supreme Court, in 1973_ to warn about
 the opinions of doctors concerning the value of drugs as
 medicine, when not supported by rigorous scientific testing,
 Weinber_er v. _ nson Etco, 412 U_S. 609, 639:
 [I]mpressions or beliefs of physicians, no matter
 how fervently held, are treacherous.
 Nearly half the doctors who testified for NORML are
 psychiatrists. They do not specialize in treating or
 researching cancer, glaucoma or MSo One is a general
 practitioner who works as a wellness counselor at a health
 spa° Under oath he admits to using every illegal, mind-
 altering drug he has ever studied_ and he prides himself on
 recommending drugs that would never be recommended by
 medical schools or reputable physicians. Another is a
 general practitioner who quit practicing in 1974. He admits

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