NM Legislature Considering Legal Medical Marijuana

NM Legislature Considering Legal Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 22, 2006 at 06:59:11 PT
By Jim Tiffin, Cibola County Bureau
Source: Gallup Independent
Grants, N.M. -- Crippling nausea, painful muscle spasms and other types of medical problems can be reduced or relieved by smoking marijuana and the state legislature is considering making that legal. Reena Szczepanski, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico program said thousands of New Mexico residents could benefit by making the use of marijuana to relieve their symptoms legal.
"Family members of patients have told me heartbreaking stories,"she said. Szczepanski was told about an 18-year-old who had stomach cancer. Doctors and nurses told him and his family they should use marijuana to relieve the nausea and pain, but no one knew where to get it. "The doctors and nurses were afraid of being arrested if they told the family where to get it and the family members felt that way too," Szczepanski said. "So the 18-year old went out on the street and bought it,"she said."That family should not have been placed in that position." Choosing between life and the law if a consideration many individuals and families are faced with because using marijuana is illegal now, regardless of the situation, she said. The bill, SB258, was introduced Thursday by state Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque,, she said, and it has a lot of bipartisan support. The bill was introduced last year, and also in 2001, 2002 and 2003 in various forms gaining legislative support increasingly, she said. Last year the bill passed state Senate committees, a Senate floor vote 27-11, House committees, but because of internal problems at the state capitol, it never went to the floor for the final vote, Szczepanski said. There are several medical conditions that the use of marijuana relieves either nausea or pain, said Dr. Ron Vorhees, chief medical officer for the New Mexico Department of Health. He said the six conditions the bill has introduced for approval are: Cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy and patients with HIV. Marijuana is medically proven to control and reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy or the AIDS cocktails given to HIV patients, Szczepanski said. "It controls pain and stimulates appetite too, especially for AIDS patients,"Szczepanski said. "There is also evidence that it helps control seizures for people who have epilepsy,"she said. Vorhees said he had no knowledge of whether it controlled seizures or not. Gov. Bill Richardson has asked the legislature to consider the bill again this year, even though is a 30-day session. Some legislators said they didn't want to revisit the bill in such a short session. There are 11 states that currently allow the use of medical marijuana. They are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Rhode Island. A drug, "Marinol," has many of the components of marijuana, but it is poorly absorbed and it is difficult to monitor and control, according to information provided by the Alliance. In New Mexico, about 6,400 patients are diagnosed with cancer every year, about 2,700 cancer patients die each year and about 2,800 New Mexicans are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Alliance. Vorhees said the state does not have any statistics on how many patients there are in the various medical categories, and that of those, how many would actually benefit from marijuana. The health department will be required to set up rules and requirements for patients and doctors to follow for prescribing the drug as well as for issuing it to patients, Vorhees said. He said any doctors prescribing marijuana would have to provide information on what the patient's conditions is, why the patient needs it and what drugs have not worked. An advisory panel of physicians in various medical specialties would sit on a board and review requests for marijuana. "The advisory panel would make recommendations on what other conditions may be included and determine a list of what is acceptable as well as how much the patient would receive," he said. Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series on medical marijuana. The state legislature is considering the bill for passage this year, for the fifth time in six years. Complete Title: N.M. Legislature Considering Legal Medical MarijuanaSource: Independent, The (Gallup, NM)Author: Jim Tiffin, Cibola County BureauPublished: January 21, 2006Copyright: 2006 Gallup IndependentContact: ga11p1nd cnetco.comWebsite: http://www.gallupindependent.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Marijuana on Agenda Marijuana Bill Fails
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 23, 2006 at 14:11:17 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Keep the Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Through the New Mexico Legislature***Monday, January 23, 2006Last week, thanks to your help, Governor Bill Richardson decided to support patients throughout New Mexico and issued a message allowing medical marijuana legislation to be acted upon in this year's legislative session. We are on our way to reform!With momentum for medical marijuana building, there is an important event this week in the state legislature that you can influence. The Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, Senate Bill 258, will be heard by the Senate Public Affairs Committee this Tuesday, January 23, at 2:30 PM. Please take a moment to call the members of this committee before Tuesday and encourage them to support this bill!Committee members act on behalf of all of us when they vote on bills in committee, so everyone can call each member listed belwo - regardless of whose district you live in. However, if you live in one of the districts below, please be sure to let the office know that when you call.Senate Public Affairs CommitteeSenator Dede Feldman, Chair
District 13
986-4482Senator Mary Jane M. Garcia, Vice Chair
District 36
986-4726Senator Stuart Ingle, Member
District 27
986-4702Senator Gay G. Kernan, Member
District 42
986-4274Senator Steve Komadina, Member
District 9
986-4377Senator Steven P. Neville, Member
District 2
986-4266Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Member
District 12
986-4380Senator Mary Kay Papen, Member
District 38
986-4270Senator James G. Taylor, Member
District 14
986-4862Tips on Making a CallMost legislators' staff answer their phones during the session and log all of the messages. Each call only takes a minute, so you can call all of them in about 10 minutes.* Be courteous, positive, and brief 
Identify yourself and mention if you are a constituent 
Ask the legislator to support Senate Bill 258, the Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, to be heard on Tuesday in the Senate Public Affairs Committee 
Feel free to briefly tell them why you personally support the bill. 
In BriefThis bill would allow qualified patients suffering from certain serious illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy - to use marijuana for relief from their symptoms. Feel free to refer to our fact sheet or talking points before you call.Thanks so much for calling - and please feel free to forward this information to other individuals and email lists that might be interested. The more voices that speak up for this legislation, the more likely it is to become law. If you are interested in attending the hearing, please call us at (505) 983-3277. We are coordinating attendees and speakers.Thanks so much for all your work to bring about reform!Reena Szczepanski
Director, Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico
http://www.improveNewMexico.orgLearn More About the BillThe Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act would allow qualified patients suffering from certain serious illnesses - such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy - to use marijuana for relief of their symptoms. The law would require a patient to receive a recommendation for cannabis (i.e., medical marijuana) from his/her medical provider. The patient could then apply to participate in the program through the Department of Health, and an independent review board of doctors would consider each application. Upon approval by the board, the patient would receive a registry identification card from the New Mexico Department of Health, certifying that he/she was a participant in the Lynn Pierson program. By registering in this way, the patient and the patient's primary caregiver would be allowed to possess only enough cannabis to treat the patient. Only providers who already can prescribe controlled substances could recommend patients for the program. The Department of Health will develop regulations for licensed producers within the state, identifying standards for safety, security, and distribution.The new law would not allow medical marijuana use in public, and would penalize lying to a law enforcement officer regarding the medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health would keep a registry of participants so that law enforcement officers could confirm the validity of a patient's registration card. Patients under 18 years old could only participate with parental consent.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on January 23, 2006 at 07:25:46 PT
Off Topic: Canadian News
New Mad-Cow Case Confirmed
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Comment #15 posted by mayan on January 23, 2006 at 06:29:25 PT
FoM, I don't see this as an endorsement of the conservatives but rather a condemnation of those who failed to represent. The Canadian people now realize that they aren't represented either and any government that kisses Bush's ass won't last. Canada votes, seen choosing Conservative government:
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on January 23, 2006 at 06:00:32 PT
You might be right as the IOC could very well want to clean up Vancouver's image. The globalists will use any excuse to shove their agenda on others. All I know is that Ross Rebagliati,the toking Canadian snowboarder, will try to make a comeback then. He will be 37 in 2010 and I will be pulling for him even though I'm an American.
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Comment #13 posted by mayan on January 23, 2006 at 03:41:37 PT
Publish Em'
When George Met Jack: White House aides deny the President knew lobbyist Abramoff, but unpublished photos shown to TIME suggest there's more to the story:,8816,1151784,00.html
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on January 22, 2006 at 20:51:03 PT
I have wondered this more then one time and I wanted to mention it. Vancouver will host the Olympics in 2010. That is about 4 years from now. The Olympics are a very important event by world standards. Could this have anything to do with wanting to clean up B.C. for this reason? I have never been to Canada so I don't know if Vancouver seems to be out of step with other cities that have hosted the Olympics. It's just a thought.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on January 22, 2006 at 20:21:31 PT
While you're here I want to mention that I am very worried for Canada tomorrow. The polls don't look good. I wish it looked better. I hope someone other then Harper wins. I expect the Kubbys could be removed tomorrow because of it being a busy election day. I hope I'm wrong. I am a positive person but this does have me concerned. Hang in there friend. We do care and I know for sure that I care.
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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on January 22, 2006 at 19:56:08 PT
RE Comment #1's Link
{But marijuana is not as "harmless" as tobacco or alcohol}Tobacco is "harmless"? Alcohol is "harmless"?Now, these are two statements, wrapped into one, which are patently absurd. The implication is that "marijuana" is less "harmless" or more harmful. The reality is that cannabis is safer!
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 22, 2006 at 18:59:50 PT
That's really good. 
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Comment #8 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 22, 2006 at 18:42:19 PT
Dear Law Enforcement of America
Don't get me wrong, I am not seeking to kindle your ire here. And I don't think all drugs should be made legal, because some are really bad. But it's obvious to me that you are against recreational marijuana consumers, and think they should be treated like criminals, as opposed to people who need to be treated by health professionals if their use is excessive. Unfortunately, due to it's illegal nature, people will not seek treatment and the issue is kept in the closet until you take them to jail.Hopefully, by the time you are ready to retire, you'll have ruined enough peoples lives over nothing more than their use of cannabis, to have a different point of view. There are many law enforcement officers who became ashamed of their actions and quit there chosen profession. Drug use is not going away no matter what the law says, and you are destined to live a life in vain if you think it can be changed.Speaking of the courts, they're tired of putting people in jail for marijuana generation after generation after generation. You can't hardly get a Judge to consider a minor marijuana cas in the larger cities anymore. Recently, the Supreme Court fired a warning shot over Congresses' bough in the Raich v. Gonzales case last year when Justice Stevens basically told Congress to change the law. After the recent assisted suicide ruling, the next marijuana case that goes to the Supreme Court will be interesting. A few notes on your views: Crimes like murder or rape, and smoking a joint are an extremists argument as they are clearly not even in the same category. Smoking a joint shouldn't even be a crime.There are abuses by law enforcement in the field, I have read about law enforcement officers getting busted in relation to the drug war year after year. And I'm not very happy with the conversion of the "protect and serve" law enforcement of the past, to the new "mercenary like" law enforcement, that no one trusts anymore, that we have now.If law enforcement thinks changing laws, and they will change, will make their jobs too difficult, perhaps they should seek a job with less responsibility. Apple and orange arguments don't hold water. Opium for instance is a highly addictive drug and not comparable to cannabis in the least. THC potency is an alarmists arguement, because you can only ingest so much THC before you're ready to take a nap. In fact, potent marijuana is less harmful, because you smoke less. Forfieture laws are the same to me as legalized extortion, because you intentionally busting people to legally steal there money and property. On dealers, if marijuana alone were regulated for adult use, the black market which is perpetuated primarily by marijuana would all but dry up completely. Tobacco is a lot more addictive and dangerous than marijuana, 400,000 a year die from consuming nicotine, but where are the dead and dying marijuana consumers? Shouldn't they be filling the hospital beds and morgues right beside the nicotine abusers? They're not because marijuana is less dangerous than legal drugs. Of course regulation won't keep it out of the hands of children, I was a teenager once and I know better. Some kids are going to do it whether it's regulated or not. Doesn't matter and it is a moot issue made up by alarmists. But at least adults will be able to tell they're kids to leave it alone until they are an adult. As it is now, kids have better access than they would if it were regulated. These days it's more about being compassionate toward our fellow human beings, unless they hurt someone else. Vice, in other words hurts no one, except maybe their feelings, and you can't do anything about the way people feel. If they're going off on a fear, guilt or self-pity trip, maybe they need counseling. And it is about race, there is still prejudice in Society, I myself have experienced Social prejudice just because I like to sit back and enjoy a joint once in a while, and I'm white! LOLMy minor is in Psycology and it's about understanding human nature and removing only those who are a real danger to other people, murderers, violent criminals and rapists for instance. Not marijuana consumers, they're not hurting anyone any more that a person who smokes cigarettes or drinks. Our Citizens are being killed and put in jail, and law enforcement officers are being killed and put in jail over the drug war. Don't you think it's time for a change?Please think about what I'm saying.
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Comment #7 posted by museman on January 22, 2006 at 13:02:48 PT:
talk about hype
After all these years, you'd think that they'd come up with something new...but of course they can't because no matter how hard they try they can find very little evidence to support ANY of their claims. I didn't see any references to documentation in any of that blather.The only thing they stated that was anywhere near the truth was about carcinogens. There's 'carcinogens' in any kind of smoke. People who burn wood to keep warm probably inadvertantly inhale more carcinogens than pot smokers. Hell just hang out around L.A. for more than 3 hours and you'll get enough for a whole town of pot smokers. Believe me I know, I was just through there this past holiday, and I was coughing up black crap for weeks.When it comes to the truth about marijuanna they have taken hypocrisy to new levels of ridiculous.It was good to see that the first response was a debunk.
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Comment #6 posted by charmed quark on January 22, 2006 at 11:48:11 PT
Carcinogens ...
If this was really a worry to them, they could push for eating cannabis and using vaporizers. But these are often the same people who support the paraphanalia laws that make using vaporizers illegal.-CQ
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on January 22, 2006 at 11:25:40 PT:
I've addressed this issue here before. It is amazing and sickening how these guy just pull unreality out of the thin air. I'll not go into my usual diatride here but only to add. After millions and millions of reagular cannabis users over a recorded hunderds of years, were are all the dipilatating effects they keep talking about. Point to one. 
As you see we don't have enough eviedence to show efficacy where do they get their eviedence otherwise? These guys just should not be able to pull this kind of misleading junk out of their perverbial dark place,and call it truth.Grrrrrrr.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 22, 2006 at 10:31:45 PT
Yes and the lady is the long time live in housekeeper for Daniel's family. The daughter was selling marijuana to help finance her animation project. 
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Comment #3 posted by runderwo on January 22, 2006 at 10:24:29 PT
"Marijuana smoke also contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke, and produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into malignant cells."Wow. Perhaps he can explain to the slower minds among us how a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (presumably the "certain" type he is referring to) can somehow be converted into a malignant human cell. I'm baffled.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on January 22, 2006 at 10:01:09 PT:
Book of Daniel
What I saw that was so very interesting and realistic
was this elderly sick lady who had to steal some cannabis from a 15 year olds stash who was only using is for recreation [not that there is anything wrong with that]. But once again demonstrates how prohibition distorts reality. Here the compassionate 15 year old offers to score some more for her elderly friend because the nice old lady didn't know where or how to get her own. She said that cannabis was the only thing that eased her suffering. See, with prohibition a 15 year old can easly get herb but many sick people can't. Now the question. What is wrong with this picture?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 22, 2006 at 07:07:36 PT
News Article Courtesy of
This is a snipped souce for me. Thanks Marc!Don't Believe The Marijuana Hype
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