Firstly, the health risks of cannabis have been exaggerated by people with an agenda. See my numerous articles: *Cannabis versus Tobacco*, *Cannabis Kills Brain Cells*, and *Does Cannabis Make You Stupid?* Numerous studies have shown that there is very little risk in the use of medical cannabis. The American College of Physicians report that cannabis has a "relatively low toxicity." The 1999 Institute of Medicine report claims, "the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications."
Secondly, let's be reasonable here... Doctors can prescribe cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine. Who would dare say that cannabis carries a higher risk in use than those?
Thirdly, all medicines have some side effects. Many common prescription and OTC medications have caused severe physical and/or mental damage and death, yet we are not crying to see them pulled from the market and banned. Tylenol, for instance, kills roughly 500 people a year from acute liver damage yet folks are still willing to take on the risk and consume it as the need arises. Not one occurrence of marijuana poisoning has been recorded - EVER!
The question is this: Do the benefits outweigh the risks? We ask ourselves this question if we pop some Advils for a headache or if we undergo chemotherapy for cancer. These are decisions made by doctors and patients - NOT the criminal justice system.