A recently launched web site, MarijuanaInfo.org (http://www.MarijuanaInfo.org), is attempting to bring an unbiased, scientific approach to the contentious issue of medical marijuana. Shaped around a central question -- should smoked marijuana be a medical option now? -- the easy to use web site provides a massive FAQ on various related topics, along with responses from scientific studies, experts and interested laypersons, all ranked on a straightforward "credibility scale."
Examples of the dozens of topics covered include "Marijuana's Medical Value," "Medical and Other Risks," "Legal Issues" and "Gateway/Stepping Stone Theory." The responses are concise and often authoritative, citing such landmark studies as the 1999 Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana.
MarijuanaInfo.org attempts to present a broad spectrum of views on the medical marijuana issue and its myriad sub-issues, and appears well on the way to doing so. Contributors so far include the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Epilepsy Association, Dr. Denis J. Petro, Dr. Ethan Russo, and numerous others on the "pro" side. Organizations and individuals quoted on the "con" side include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Dr. Eric A. Voth, Dr. Daniel Brookoff and dozens of others.
"There was not another web site that provided information on both sides of the medical marijuana issue in an unbiased format," MarijuanaInfo.org told DRCNet.
The nonprofit project was launched by Los Angeles businessman Steve Markoff and is only the latest of his forays into the public policy arena. Markoff previously established similar "point-counterpoint" web sites dealing with nuclear power and former California Supreme Court Justice Rose Byrd, and has demonstrated a commitment to supporting enlightened public policy debate in an unbiased, non-politicized fashion.
"By recruiting physicians, scientists, judges, authors, government officials, patients and activists to provide answers, pro and con, the web site allows readers to come to their own conclusions about each question," MarijuanaInfo.org said in response to a DRCNet inquiry. "Those who answer each question are identified and links are provided to descriptions of their individual history and experience. The site should be a valuable resource to reporters and editors, as well as public officials, looking for an unbiased presentation of the facts, expert opinion on both sides of the issues, and quotes that can be incorporated into articles and reports."
Interested parties are urged to check it out and add their own wisdom.