Medical Marijuana Hits Legislature

Medical Marijuana Hits Legislature
Posted by CN Staff on December 06, 2005 at 07:16:04 PT
By  Julie Isen
Source: Badger Herald 
Wisconsin -- Republican Representative Gregg Underheim has once again proposed legislation to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the state of Wisconsin. This year, as opposed to last year when Underheim also introduced this bill, the Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on AB 740, the Medical Marijuana Bill. On Nov. 11, 2005, the Committee, chaired by Underheim, heard 17 people speak in favor of the legislation and one speak against. There is strong public support for this as well; a 2004 poll conducted by Chamberlain Research Consultants revealed that almost 80 percent of Wisconsin residents are in favor of medical marijuana legislation.
Now, you may be asking yourself why a Republican from Oshkosh is introducing legislation that seems as though it could have come straight from a Democrat from Madison, but Underheim has his reasons. And they’re good reasons at that. Underheim, a true compassionate conservative, was diagnosed with cancer in 2002. While he was fortunate enough to not have to go through chemotherapy, he has spoken with patients who were not as lucky as he was.Through dealing with a personal tragedy in his own life, Rep. Underheim has learned that problems such as loss of appetite from certain medications and chronic pain can be lessened with the use of medical marijuana. Patients with HIV/AIDS or those going through chemotherapy would not need to lose so much weight and risk complicating factors such as a lack of nutrients from food. The side effects of some treatments for cancer and HIV are so devastating that some even choose to not suffer the debilitating stomach pain and nausea and forego treatment. With medical marijuana, these symptoms can be alleviated. Those who suffer from glaucoma and chronic pain can ease the pressure associated with their pain and live fuller lives.Although Rep. Underheim does genuinely feel strongly about the benefits of medical marijuana for those who are suffering, his bill does not go far enough to ensure help to those who need it. This bill does not allow a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, only recommend it. Also, the bill merely provides a possible defense for those who have registered and for whom marijuana has been recommended if they get caught.The law prohibiting manufacturing, delivering and possessing remains intact. This begs the question, how exactly do those suffering HIV, cancer, glaucoma, and chronic pain patients get this miracle drug that can alleviate their pain without many harmful side effects? This question has been left unanswered by the proposed legislation.The compassion shown by Rep. Underheim and the good intentions of his legislation are admirable. It has drawn large numbers of bipartisan supporters and has the support of the people of Wisconsin. However, in order to make a significant difference for those who live in pain and suffer on a daily basis, medical marijuana legislation must be taken a couple steps further.This has been made somewhat more difficult recently. In what was yet another hindrance to improving the quality of life for suffering Americans, the Supreme Court decided in June to allow the prosecution of legal users of medical marijuana in states that have official programs. Another legislator from Wisconsin, U.S. Representative Baldwin, has re-introduced legislation from 2001 that allows states to define their own medical marijuana programs. The bipartisan “State’s Rights to Medical Marijuana Act” could facilitate a compromise between the federal government and state’s rights. If the coalition that has been built and spans party lines is successful, perhaps some positive change can be made in the lives of those who are in need of some relief as well as hope.Source: Badger Herald (Edu, Madison, WI)Author: Julie IsenPublished: Tuesday, December 6, 2005Copyright: 2005 Badger HeraldContact: editor badgerherald.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Wisconsin NORML My Medicine Legal Yet? Compassion For The Sufferers Bill Could Legalize Medical Marijuana Ready for Medicinal Marijuana 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 07, 2005 at 08:03:13 PT
Related Published Letter To The Editor
Marijuana Column Misguided***Wednesday, December 7, 2005Julie Isen makes a number of important points in her column supporting legal access to medical marijuana (“Medical marijuana hits Legislature,” Dec. 6). Unfortunately, she seems unclear regarding some of the provisions of Rep. Gregg Underheim’s bill, AB 740.Isen is incorrect when she states that the bill “merely provides a defense” for patients who get caught, while leaving the law against marijuana possession intact. Under Rep. Underheim’s legislation, legally qualified patients would be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and would not be subject to arrest.Isen also objects to the fact that the legislation allows doctors only to recommend marijuana but not to prescribe it, and that it doesn’t address the issue of how patients can obtain marijuana. While many agree that the best solution would be to allow the doctor to write a prescription that the patient could have filled at the pharmacy of his or her choice, federal law presently makes this impossible.Prescriptions are governed by federal law, and federal law specifically bans marijuana prescriptions, erroneously classifying it (along with heroin and LSD) as a drug with no medical use. Until this changes, states are left with little ability to create a safe, well-regulated system for patient access to medical marijuana.What states can do, however, is protect patients from arrest under state law, which is what AB 740 would do. Passage would also send an important signal to the federal government that it’s time to bring federal marijuana laws into the 21st century.Bruce Mirken is director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on December 06, 2005 at 17:53:23 PT
One Is The Loneliest #
On Nov. 11, 2005, the Committee, chaired by Underheim, heard 17 people speak in favor of the legislation and one speak against.17 to 1? Such a lonely 1! I'd bet that person was either lying or extremely ignorant. Either way, these prohibitionists are becoming a very small minority! Thanks, Gary! 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 06, 2005 at 17:19:53 PT
News Article from AScribe Newswire
Current Lewis & Clark Law Review Focuses on Medical Marijuana Use***PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 6 (AScribe Newswire) -- Comments and reactions continue to swirl in the aftermath of last summer's U.S. Supreme Court decision on medical marijuana use. Lewis & Clark Law School's forthcoming law review focuses scholarly attention on the doctrinal and policy implications of the case, Gonzales v. Raich. "These are among the very first postdecision papers published about Raich following the Supreme Court's decision last June," said Amanda J. Austin, editor of the Lewis & Clark Law Review. "This issue is essentially a symposium in print that offers scholarly insight into the case, with accessible and engaging articles." Randy Barnett, Austin B. Fletcher Professor at Boston University School of Law and currently a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School, argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiffs in Raich. In the foreword to the Lewis & Clark Law Review, he writes: "I am saddened for my clients, and the thousands like them, whose suffering is alleviated by the use of cannabis for medical purposes, as recommended by their physicians and permitted by the laws of their states, but who are nevertheless considered criminals by the federal government." Austin added that Oregon has a compassionate use statute similar to the California statute that was at issue in Raich. "So this case, like Oregon's assisted-suicide case currently before the Supreme Court, deals with the critical issue of federalism," she said. Included in the forthcoming law review (Volume 9, Issue 4, Winter 2005): "Is Morrison Dead? Assessing a Supreme Drug (Law) Overdose" Jonathan H. Adler, visiting associate professor of law, George Mason University School of Law; associate professor and associate director, Center for Business Law and Regulation, Case Western Reserve University School of Law. "Why Not Heighten the Scrutiny of Congressional Power when the States Undertake Policy Experiments?" Ann Althouse, Robert W. & Irma M. Arthur-Bascom Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin at Madison. "Raich and Judicial Conservatism at the Close of the Rehnquist Court" Eric R. Claeys, assistant professor of law, Saint Louis University School of Law. "Rescuing Federalism After Raich: The Case for Clear Statement Rules" Thomas W. Merrill, Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law. "Society Must Be [Regulated]: Biopolitics and the Commerce Clause in Gonzales v. Raich" John T. Parry, visiting professor of law, Lewis & Clark Law School; associate professor of law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law. "The Medical Marijuana Case: A Commerce Clause Counter-Revolution?" Robert J. Pushaw Jr., James Wilson Endowed Professor, Pepperdine University School of Law. "What Hath Raich Wrought? Five Takes" Glenn H. Reynolds, Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law; and Brannon P. Denning, associate professor of law and director of faculty development, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University. Students at Lewis & Clark Law School publish Lewis & Clark Law Review, a general-purpose law review, four times a year. The review focuses on original scholarship and is among the top 50 general law journals in the nation, according to the annual citation study conducted by Washington & Lee University Law School. The study tracks the number of articles from the preceding eight years in the Westlaw Law Review database that contain at least one citation to a piece from a given journal. This year, the study ranks Lewis & Clark Law Review number 45 out of more than 200 general law reviews. Single issues are available for $10, or an annual subscription for $30. To subscribe, send a request with payment to: Lewis & Clark Law Review--Subscriptions, Lewis & Clark Law School, 10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219-7899. More information is available online at: - - - - CONTACTS: Amanda J. Austin, Editor in Chief, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Lewis & Clark Law School, 503-768-6750, aaustin Tania Thompson, Senior Communications Officer for Public Relations, Lewis & Clark College, 503-768-7961, taniat Copyright: AScribe NewswireLink:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 06, 2005 at 11:01:07 PT
Good luck to you. Keep up the good work you are doing. You are making a big difference.
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Comment #1 posted by Gary Storck on December 06, 2005 at 10:45:33 PT
Nice article
It's good to see a steady trickle of post-hearing media. A slight correction, the hearing was actually Nov. 22. It's great that she mentioned Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's support of the States Rights MMJ Act. Now, we need the Health Committee to exercise some independent thinking and vote for the bill on its merits, not politics. I'll be at the Capitol on Wednesday with some other patients while lawmakers are in session this week, trying to nudge some lawmakers to do the right thing. If Rep. Underheim can have a conversion, hopefully others can too.
Chamberlain Research WI mmj poll on behalf of IMMLY
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