Doctors Just Say No to Marijuana as Medicine

A group of doctors calls marijuana as medicine a bad idea supported by bad science.

While the boards and societies that represent doctors have yet to take a position on Issue Five, these doctors are encouraging Arkansans to vote against the ballot initiative that seeks to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

This group claims the majority of doctors in Arkansas are against Issue Five.

If Issue Five passes, many Arkansans will be able to grow and administer as medicine their own marijuana.

The Physician Coalition Against Medical Marijuana thinks that is a bad idea.

"My primary message today is that the so-called "medical marijuana" is not a scientifically validated way to relieve pain or suffering," says Dr. David Smith of Little Rock. "Smoked marijuana should not be called a medicine."

These doctors say supporters of Issue Five trumpet compassion and offer testimonials but lack the science and testing required of most medicine.

We asked supporters of Issue Five for the name of an Arkansas doctor who believes in marijuana as medicine.

They referred us to a retired ear, nose and throat specialist from Missouri who lives in Fayetteville.

"If people are worried about it lets schedule it like Demerol," says Dr. Marvin Singleton. "Let's schedule it like morphine. Let us prescribe it. Let us study it. But before you are able to study itbefore you are able to get objective findingsthey've said it is off-base. You can't touch it."

"I stand with my colleagues against this measure," says Dr. William Benton of Little Rock. "Because I feel it is not only bad medicine and bad science but clearly we will have innocent bystanders in this process that will be affected."

Dr. Benton heads up Baptist's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and was talking about the effect of THC on unborn children but the doctors also mentioned the threat they say marijuana poses to teenagers.

If you are wondering if any practicing Arkansas doctors support Issue Five, the backers of the ballot initiative say the answer is yes. They claim to have the names of over 70 Arkansas physicians who support the measure, although so far none have been willing to go on the record with that support.

Air date: October 24th, 2012