Lawmakers Reintroduce Medical Marijuana Bill

Lawmakers Reintroduce Medical Marijuana Bill
Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2005 at 15:35:41 PT
By Noreen Gillespie, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Hartford, Conn. -- When he broke his back in a diving accident in 1990, Mark Braunstein says the only thing that eased his pain was pot. Because it's illegal to use marijuana for medical reasons in Connecticut, the Waterford resident went to Holland. He got a prescription there, and uses less than a half ounce every three days to combat his painful muscle spasms. He told reporters and lawmakers Tuesday he suffers from just one side effect.
"Paranoia," he said, as he gripped a podium to support his weight. "Paranoia about arrests, court costs, criminal fines, prison sentences, and lifelong loss of civil rights." Connecticut lawmakers are reviving a bill to legalize the growth and use of marijuana by seriously ill people. An amendment won approval in the House for the first time last year, but the bill eventually failed. The bill's chief proponent, Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, risked arrest 20 years ago to get marijuana for her husband, who eventually died of bone cancer. The legislation would take away the fear of arrest for the loved ones of sick patients, she said. "We are the ones who are afraid to purchase it for our loved ones in fear of prosecution," said Bacchiochi, R-Somers. Under the proposed law, patients and primary caregivers would be able to keep as many as five plants and one usable ounce of the drug. Dr. Andrew Selner, director of the cancer center at Hartford Hospital, said that many traditional drugs don't work for every patient. "While we have a good series of medications to help control these symptoms in general, each individual patient needs to have an individually tailored treatment plan," Selner said. The Connecticut Nurses' Association passed a resolution supporting safe access to medical marijuana last summer, but others in the medical community remain skeptical about using a drug that has not gone through the government's approval process. "Here's the bottom line. This is a chemical that people are advocating to go from the garden or wherever it's grown, into your body, without going through the scrutiny of science," said Dr. Mark Kraus, the immediate past president of the Connecticut Society of Addiction Medicine. Connecticut passed a provision in the 1980s that allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to help patients with pain and nausea. But state doctors never have, because it is illegal under federal law. The issue is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. In November, justices heard arguments in a case that examines the power of federal agents to prosecute sick people who use marijuana under the supervision of their doctor and the blessing of state laws. Ten states _ Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington _ currently have laws on the books permitting use of medical marijuana. Arizona has a law permitting prescriptions, but no active program. A defeat for the two California women who filed the Supreme Court case could invalidate those laws, and would likely dampen efforts by Connecticut and other states to pass new ones. Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Noreen Gillespie, Associated PressPublished: February 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Rejects Plan To Legalize Medical Marijuana Medical Marijuana Bill Surprises With Support Marijuana Bill Heading For House
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Comment #7 posted by dongenero on February 16, 2005 at 07:54:02 PT
I agree charmed
The "experts" cited always comment about using a crude plant or unrefined medicine, inferring that something can only be beneficial if it is refined or synthetic.Then we read about all the benefits that are being discovered from various "crude" or natural compounds such as lycopene in tomatoes, beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants in tea, chocolate, coffee, wine, brocolli, spinach. The list goes on and on. I reject these claims that we need refined or synthetic compounds. This is just a money grubbing ploy. You can't make big money if it's as easy as growing it in your backyard, whether it is tomatoes, vegetables, healthful herbs or cannabis.
 I suspect many problems we have are due to the lack of whole foods along with all of their "crude", unrefined compounds. 
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on February 16, 2005 at 07:34:51 PT
CQ, I couldn't agree more, that's why I keep posting updates on the Vioxx/Celebrex/FDA situation. The government operates in a vacuum, their own little self-contained world. Where everyone is brainwashed to believe that only FDA, Big-Pharm produced pills are medicine, and cannabis is horrible. Even though 98 million Americans have already used cannabis without ill effect. Look at their rhetoric when medical MJ laws are proposed - "where will they get the drug? Where will they get the seeds?".  Any high school kid with a 20 dollar bill can get cannabis! There are dozens of thriving business selling seeds on line. But no, the high priests of prohibition insist that the world is flat. I'm surprised Bush hasn't had Barney Frank excommunicated from Congress by now. In the old days of heresy and the Inquisition, the Pope would just send a hit squad to your house. 
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on February 15, 2005 at 18:29:32 PT
But it's already been scrutinized by science
"Here's the bottom line. This is a chemical that people are advocating to go from the garden or wherever it's grown, into your body, without going through the scrutiny of science," said Dr. Mark Kraus, the immediate past president of the Connecticut Society of Addiction Medicine.Sounds like he's talking about foodstuffs. Imagine what would have happened to the human race if we had followed this dictum: that no matter how long mankind had been safely using a food or herb, we had to stop using it, on pain of jail, until it had been thoughrougly scrutinized by science. We would all starve to death.In any case, cannabis is now the most scrutinized medication ever. The goverment has been spending millions upon millions over the last 30 years looking for harmful side effects. So far it's looking good.Imagine how safe our other drugs would be if they went through this sort of scrutiny. We would certainly not have had drugs like the COX-2 inhibitors. BTW, I was reading that they probably will allow Celebrex to remain on the market even though the latest study shows a 2x increase in heart attacks, even amoung users with no history of heart disease. It's felt that it is too valuable of a drug for controlling pain. Too bad they won't consider cannabis as a possible replacement.-CQ
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 15, 2005 at 18:24:19 PT
Just a Note
I'm wondering if Connecticut's Bill was introduced today and not New Hampshire. I thought I would have found an article by now if it was introduced but I haven't. Tomorrow is my state and even though I have tried not to focus on what would make me happy I must admit it really does. I stopped and stared at the link about the Bill on NORML's site and thought how good it would be for so many people. I hope all the Bills do well. 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 15, 2005 at 16:55:37 PT
You're welcome. I think they are necessary to have so we know where we are going. I know these articles don't generate and a lot of conversation but they are important to have. I'm looking for one from New Hampshire and tomorrow it should be Ohio. I'm not sure beyond those two but I am keeping my eye on the news. 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on February 15, 2005 at 16:42:19 PT
FOM, I really appreciate the postings of these state-level updates, it's extremely useful.  Thank you!As for Dr. Kraus (let me take a guess at his habit: addiction to federal funds and/or a steady stream of young MJ "addicts" with mandated treatment); he's got an excellent point. What about the science?Well, let's see. Over the last 5000 years, we've had a cannabis-using population, and a control population of non-cannabis users. No one in the cannabis-using group died from using cannabis.  So the rate of death in the control population is equal to that of the cannabis users. What else do you need? Where is the science on NSAID drugs, which annually kill 13,500 Americans from GI bleeding alone? Actually, why is an Addiction Medicine guy commenting on medical MJ at all? No one is suggesting that MJ be used to treat addictions (although it's not a bad idea). Shouldn't they talk to a pain management specialist, or an oncologist, etc?I've got a new application of the scientific method: let's compare the population using cannabis to the one using prescription drugs. What an evil person. Hopefully he'll get a chance to explain to a dying relative why they can't use cannabis - they must wait for the science! Perhaps in another 5000 years the "science" will be ready.
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Comment #1 posted by global_warming on February 15, 2005 at 16:03:25 PT
The New Alters of God
"Here's the bottom line. This is a chemical that people are advocating to go from the garden or wherever it's grown, into your body, without going through the scrutiny of science," said Dr. Mark Kraus, the immediate past president of the Connecticut Society of Addiction Medicine."Science does not have all the answers, and it never will, for no matter how fine you slice it, this world is a miracle, along with all the plants and animals, we may try to scratch the surface of this iceberg, but, the answers will forever elude us.The good doctor of addiction medicine should consider that this world has somehow survived many of thousands of years without his personal understanding, and like the animals who know instinctively how to self medicate, they do so without the approval of man or his scientific fda approvals, they do so without fearing imprisonment.If this world has to wait for scientific approval, that has been hindered and stonewalled for too long, it will have to wait too long, while sick people, terminally ill people, who do not worry about smoking or respiratory problems, they should not have to worry about cops and lawyers, the end of life is a terrible and frightening thing and all of our efforts should be directed towards making the transition as comfortable as possible, not working to hurt these people any more than they are 
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