2 Jun 2018

CNMI doctor advocates marijuana as medicine

11:28 am on 2 June 2018

An internal medicine physician at the Northern Marianas' Commonwealth Health Centre says legalising marijuana would provide patients with access to a cheaper alternative to expensive medicines.

The CNMI House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations earlier this week unanimously approved a bill to allow adults to grow, possess and consume marijuana.

The legislation also provides for establishment of a system of taxed and regulated sales and production.

John Doyle said the Centre currently uses Dronabino, a pharmaceutical-grade medicine that is pure tetrahydrocannabinol or the extract from the cannabis plant, to treat patients.

He said that medicine is no different in form and function from the actual marijuana plant, but the downside is unless you have US$3,000 a month to pay, you can't take the medicine.

Dr Dolye points out that marijuana can be grown in one's own backyard and is much cheaper.

He also said that states and other jurisdictions which have legalised marijuana have seen a significant drop in opioid deaths and methamphetamine use.

The bill has already passed the Senate and now awaits a House floor vote.