Lawmakers Rally Behind Legalizing Med Marijuana

Lawmakers Rally Behind Legalizing Med Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on April 06, 2005 at 09:36:34 PT
By Liz Anderson, Journal State House Bureau
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island -- Support is building in both the House and the Senate for passage of a bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Rhode Island, an idea endorsed by leaders of the General Assembly, the Rhode Island Medical Society and the Rhode Island State Nurses Association. In the House, 50 lawmakers have signed on to the bill, including Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence. The lead sponsor, Rep. Thomas Slater, D-Providence, said House Speaker William J. Murphy, D-West Warwick, had pledged his support.
In the Senate, the cosponsors include Senate President Joseph Montalbano, D-North Providence; Majority Leader Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport; and Judiciary Committee Chairman Michael McCaffrey, D-Warwick, whose committee last night gave the bill its legislative debut for the year last night. The bill proposes to protect patients, their caregivers and doctors from arrest if a doctor certifies to the Department of Health that the patient has a debilitating condition and the benefit of marijuana treatment would outweigh any health risks. Among the illnesses that could be covered would be cancer, glaucoma, HIV-AIDS, hepatitis C, or another "chronic or debilitating disease" that results in symptoms such as nausea, seizures, wasting, chronic pain or muscle spasms. The patient or caregiver, who would be issued registration cards by the Department of Health, could not possess more than 12 plants, or 2.5 ounces of "usable marijuana," at any time. Senate sponsor Rhoda Perry, D-Providence, said Rhode Island would be the 11th state to legalize the limited use of marijuana. "We believe this bill is about compassion for those with serious illness and those who are on the precipice of dying," she told colleagues. Rhonda O'Donnell, 42, of Warwick, rolled her wheelchair to the witness stand and walked stiffly to the seat provided. She told senators she was a registered nurse and mother of two who has suffered the effects of multiple sclerosis for more than a decade. O'Donnell said her symptoms include "painful spasticity" and burning sensations in her legs. She takes 11 pills a day, does physical therapy and has had cortisone shots in her spine. Still, she said, some symptoms of her disease do not respond to traditional therapies. She knows some people who have found relief from using marijuana, and said she would consider trying it herself to alleviate stiffness and pain, although she has not, so far. "Please make this issue a medical one rather than a political one," she said. Snipped:Complete Article: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author: Liz Anderson, Journal State House BureauPublished: Wednesday, April 6, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony House & Senate To Hear MMJ Bill Believes There's Support for Marijuana
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 07, 2005 at 07:36:31 PT
Medical Marijuana Receives Hearing in Rhode Island
Take Action Now! is pleased to announce that SB 710, a bill to legalize medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, continues to move forward in the Rhode Island Legislature. On Tuesday, April 5, 2005 the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony in favor of SB 710. Though several members of the committee responded positively to the testimony, no vote was called and the bill remains pending. Therefore, if you have not done so already, please take a moment today to write your Representative and tell him or her to support Senate Bill 710. Pre-written letters are available online from NORML at: addition, if your Senator serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is vital that you call him or her TODAY, and voice your support for medical marijuana. The Committee is expected to vote on this proposal in the near future.The following Senators serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee:Senator Michael J. McCaffrey, Chair - (401) 739-7576 Senator Joseph M. Polisena, Vice Chair - (401) 949-3119	 Senator Leo R. Blais - (401) 823-4536	 Senator Michael J. Damiani - (401) 433-4522 Senator Charles J. Levesque - (401) 683-9194 Senator John F. McBurney III - (401) 725-2459	 Senator Harold M. Metts - (401) 272-0112 Senator Rhoda E. Perry - (401) 751-7165 Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis - (401) 397-2720 Senator John C. Revens Jr. - (401) 822-2900The large outpouring of support from people like yourself was partly responsible for SB 710 receiving Tuesday's hearing. We hope that we can count on your support as legislature continues to debate this vital piece of information.To help support NORML's state legislative efforts, please donate today at: you again for your support of NORML's legislative efforts in Rhode Island.Regards,Kris Krane, Associate Director NORML
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on April 06, 2005 at 15:52:32 PT
Expose Them!
Whether or not these bills pass, we are exposing the prohibitionists as corporate puppets. At the very least they are guilty of not representing the vast majority of their constituents.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on April 06, 2005 at 10:24:59 PT
Thank you for the article!
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Comment #4 posted by Druid on April 06, 2005 at 10:09:11 PT
New Study?
Marijuana ingredient slows heart disease progression in miceBy MALCOLM RITTER
AP Science Writer
Published on: 04/06/05Low doses of the main active ingredient in marijuana slowed the progression of hardening of the arteries in mice, suggesting a hint for developing a new therapy in people.Experts stressed that the finding does not mean people should smoke marijuana in hopes of getting the same benefit.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 06, 2005 at 10:05:30 PT
You're very welcome! It is something isn't it? 
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Comment #2 posted by Druid on April 06, 2005 at 09:56:01 PT
Keep these Bill's rolling!
Thank you for the update FoM :) I can't believe all these bills recently...MMJ and Hemp alike!Keep 'em coming!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 06, 2005 at 09:46:37 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Compassionate Use Bill Clears CT Judiciary CommitteeWednesday, April 6, 2005 
The Drug Policy Alliance, in collaboration with the Alliance Connecticut, A Better Way Foundation, and the Alliance’s sister organization, the Drug Policy Alliance Network, made history yesterday in Connecticut. The Alliance’s bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes received a favorable report in the Joint Judiciary Committee yesterday, passing out of committee with a vote of 26-13. At the last minute, the opposition tried to offer an amendment to take glaucoma off the list of ailments for which medical marijuana could be used, and to require doctors to file their certificates with the Department of Health. That amendment was defeated on a vote of 22-9. This major step is the result of several years of hard word work on many fronts. 
This is historic for a number of reasons. We’ve got an energized base of reform activists, an incredibly brave sponsor in Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers), and a growing chorus of support within the state legislature. When this bill passes, Connecticut will be only the third state in the country to have medical marijuana passed through legislative process instead of proposition. And the bipartisan support for this bill by some of the state’s most respected policy makers is an example of how far we’ve come in the state. After years of hard work, we came close to winning medical marijuana legislation last year, but lost when we couldn’t get the legislature to vote on the bill. Now, we are far ahead of the game. “Not only does this bill protect the rights of Connecticut citizens to receive compassionate care, but it also protects their sacred relationships with their physicians,” said Michael Blain, Director of the Alliance's Office of Public Policy.
 The bill, now with the new number SB 124, is on its way to the Senate, which will refer it back to additional committees. We will keep you updated on the progress of this important legislation. For those of you in Connecticut, we’ll let you know how you can continue to assist—your support thus far has proven to be crucial to advancing the bill. 
We are moving forward in Connecticut—and the time for reform is now!
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