The information presented on this site is intended for the public and the media. It is not represented as science, but rather a compilation of the best pro and con responses we can find on the core question; "Should marijuana be a medical option?"
You will find the completion percentage of the site at the right side of the top and bottom tool bars. When the site is less than 50% complete, the completion percentage will additionally be noted in the center of the site's home page.
Our questions are developed by contacting people involved in the medical marijuana debate, and are intended to thoroughly cover the medical marijuana question and related issues.
We encourage readers to send us questions and responses that are specific, direct and/or have credible sources.
The Credibility Ranking Chart was designed as a simple way to gauge the theoretical credibility of the responses received, which we based primarily on education and review. We note however that sometimes, for example, a 1-star source () may be better informed or more credible than even a 5-star () source, and that a 5-star government report or peer-reviewed study can be inaccurate.
The chart is based upon the premise that many people equate a level of education and knowledge with credibility. We have used that assumption because we believe it is generally true, and because our Foundation doesn't have the resources to make a complex individualized evaluation of the credibility of each contributor to this website.
Some have questioned why we have chosen to give the credibility of government reports (normally facts and statistics) our highest theoretical rating of five stars.
We believe that government reports are generally quite reliable. However, we give lower ratings to the statements by government officials because they don't usually pass through the same rigorous review process as government reports. When such statements quote from government reports, they are sometimes taken out of context to further the speaker's specific purposes, and are therefore less credible than the government reports themselves.
For example, we generally would give our highest rating--five stars, to a government report saying that there have been 52,850 killed in auto accidents in a given time period, but we would consider it less credible for a government employee to say in a speech, “Fifty-thousand people died last year in auto accidents.” The government employee's statement often wouldn't clearly define the time period, would approximate the report's figures and therefore would probably receive one, three, or possibly four stars, depending on the person's education and position.
We usually don't rank the statements of non-government organizations [NGO] as anything other than 1-star because they are often dynamic and composed of a myriad of influences, making a ranking difficult and subjective.
When we do rank organizations higher -- such as The New York Times (which we rate as 2-star) -- and that organization prints an editorial, a quote from that editorial would carry the paper's 2-star rating. However, if the posted response is essentially that organization quoting an individual whom we believe should be rated as a 1, 3 or 4 star source, that quote would carry that 1, 3 or 4 star rating.
Those who request their name be withheld from their responses will be posted as anonymous.
Striving for diversity in responses, if two similar responses to a question are received from two equally credible sources (for example, both 3-stars), and we must choose between posting one or the other, we will generally post the response from the individual/organization that has fewer responses posted on our site.
We normally will post up to ten of the best responses (responsive, clear, concise and sourced) per question; although we will post more if necessary to represent the diversity of opinions on an issue. Our goal is to have at least 5 pro and 5 con responses to each question.
We have more interest in responses that cite objective sources, and less interest in purely political or emotional statements. We sometimes post such statements, however, if we feel they are particularly interesting or thought provoking.
5. Gathering/Posting Responses
The quotes listed are responses to the question "Should marijuana be a medical option?"
We contacted the individuals and organizations' principals (or spokespersons) or found a quote in a mainstream publication that answers the question. The quotes are dated so the reader can put them into an historical context.
We will usually comment on government responses that we believe are factually misleading and/or erroneous.
In the case of published reports, the site editor may apply findings to either the pro side or the con side, despite the author's personal opinion of the merits of medical marijuana.
We welcome additional responses to either the pro or con side, or both.
When we receive a response to one of our questions, we generally send an e-mail to make sure the respondent understood the question and, when necessary, requesting that the respondent clarify or simplify the response in order to keep it on point.
All quotes and comments are sourced and/or cited as to source.
"Exact Quotes" are shown in italics with "double" quotes. Although some style guides suggest that publications, when quoting several paragraphs that continue the quotation, use quotes at the start of each paragraph, we utilize quotations only at the beginning and end of the quote.
Omissions are shown with ellipses (...); words added to quotes, usually for context, are shown with square brackets [...].
"Paraphrased quotes" that we may have edited for clarity or brevity (without, we hope, changing the intended meaning) are shown without quotes, but are sourced and/or cited as to source.
8. Editorial Commentary on the Accuracy / Honesty of Statements
Although many people and organizations are occasionally careless or intentionally misleading with facts, data, and communications, we at ProCon.org believe that government and their officials should always disseminate accurate and truthful information (with the arguable exception of real national security needs).
The site's Editor will therefore comment when we believe that information put out by government officials or organizations is false, misleading, or erroneous.
We will also comment in those few cases when the contributor believes that the information they are contributing should appear to others as having the opposite view as a plain reading of the material would seem to suggest.
We don't comment on information that may be slanted, biased or not clearly valid.
All comments by the site's Editor will be noted in red in this format: [Editor's Note: The government report is based on the dubious testimony of a physician whose license to practice medicine was revoked within six months of the report's release.]
Like most people, those involved in this site have personal biases. However, we work hard to keep bias off the site. If you perceive bias on the site, let us know so we can review it and try to correct it.
Additionally, we have made some graphic design decisions, such as pro v. con, red v. green, left-column v. right-column, and other distinctions. While some may consider that some of these choices suggest bias to one side or the other (for example; that a column on the left suggests the political "left"), any such bias is unintended.
When someone writes to suggest that we review particular studies and/or articles, we will normally ask for the exact comments they think are suitable for specific questions so we can more efficiently find and review them.
We invite comments on how to make our methodology and policies better, clearer and more evenhanded.
We will also publish readers' comments which we believe are pertinent and relevant to our core question; "Should marijuana be a medical option?"
They are published, pro, con and neutral, in the approximate ratio received (for example, if 50% of the responses received are "pro," then about 50% of the responses posted should be "pro"). The comments are in reverse chronological order -- most recent first. To preserve confidentiality, only the writer's first name is noted, unless they had waived confidentiality. Respondents are generally notified when we add their response.
We reserve editorial discretion to make the final determination as to what materials are put on and taken off the site.