I recently posted a commentary on marijuana (cannabis) in the Ste. Genevieve Herald, and the commentary was later posted on the Facebook page “What’s Happning in Ste. Genevieve.” I am extending my appreciation to all who have chosen to read that commentary and the comments that followed. My intent was to inform, hopefully educate, and stir discussion. Success? I hope.

I am a physician and surgeon. I am not a businessman, nor am I a politician. I am not an expert on cannabis. I’m not sure if anyone is. My profession is an honorable one; and I accept no ill-gotten gifts, no “big pharma” kickbacks. My commentary was a simple response to a stimulus — the recent Planning and Zoning decision on the proposed “medical” marijuana zoning issue. Although I reserve my opinion on the matter, a look into the essence of that opinion led to my decision to deliver the facts on marijuana, and more specificially THC and its potential harmful effects. Actually, I saw it as a responsibility. You see, I do not expect this “medical marijuana” to remain within its proposed medical boundaries. I am well aware that some of the known benefits of medical marijuana when it is used in its strictest sense of that term and when medically indicated. And any adult who chooses to use it — medically or otherwise — certainly has a right to do so.

I am proud to be part of this community, and I hope to administer medical and surgical care to best of my ability to those who seek my services.

I will always act to preserve the finest tradition of medicine, my calling.

I hope to enjoy a long life experience of trying my best to heal all those who seek my help. And ... I will continue to strive for prevention of disease, as prevention is always preferable to cure.

Thank you.

[Dr. Joseph Sharlow is a surgeon on staff at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital.]