Push for Medical Marijuana Raises Many Questions

Push for Medical Marijuana Raises Many Questions
Posted by CN Staff on January 23, 2006 at 21:52:17 PT
By Jim Tiffin, Cibola County Bureau
Source: Gallup Independent
Santa Fe, N.M. -- As the New Mexico State Legislature considers whether to pass legislation making the use of marijuana legal for certain medical conditions, there are some questions that need to be answered. But first, some information: According to the Drug Policy Alliance News Mexico chapter, about 81 percent of New Mexicans support the use of medical marijuana. Nationwide, about three-quarters of Americans favor the use, according to a 2004 poll by AARP.
Reena Szczepanski, director of Drug Policy Alliance in New Mexico said Senate Bill 258, introduced by Albuquerque Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley, has bipartisan support again this year and nearly was passed in last year's legislative session. "There are about 100,000 medical marijuana patients in the country," Szczepanski said. "State and federal governments have laws against the possession and use of marijuana, but 99 percent of all arrests and prosecutions happen under state law," she said. "If the bill passes we have to have a safe source for the patients and take the drug dealers out of the situation," said Dr. Ron Vorhees, chief medical officer for the New Mexico Department of Health. The legal use of medical marijuana causes concern for one law enforcement officer, Lt. Harry Hall, Cibola County Sheriff's Department. "I would like to see the people that need it get it, but the legislators have to figure out some things," he said. "We have a test for people who drink alcohol and drive and are under the influence (DWI), and alcohol is legal," he said. "How do we test someone who is under the influence of marijuana? What test do we give them?" Hall said he can see the possibility of an increase in the DWI stops and arrests because what is to stop someone from taking their legal dose of marijuana and then decide to go to the grocery store? Another question he has is how will the patients secure the drug in their home to keep it from other people? After someone takes a drink, they are supposed to wait a certain amount of time before driving. Hall asked how much time does the medical marijuana patient have to wait? Hall also asked how do law enforcement officers know whether the person is in possession of marijuana for medical purposes legally? He said the state will have to issue some type of legal document for them to have. Vorhees said the state plans on doing just that. It will issue an identification card for the medical marijuana patient. Minors will need their parents' consent in order to receive the treatment, in addition to the doctor's written recommendation, Vorhees said. The health department will be required to set the regulations and limits on the usage of the marijuana if the bill passes, Vorhees said. Patients who are in six medically diagnosed conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy and patients with HIV are the only ones who will qualify under the bill to receive the treatment. If there are other conditions, those will be identified and set by an advisory panel of physicians to the health department, which should accept them, he said. There will be licensed growers certified by the state so that patients receive a safe supply of the drug, Vorhees said. Editor's note: This is the second 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. Source: Independent, The (Gallup, NM)Author: Jim Tiffin, Cibola County BureauPublished: Monday, January 23, 2006Copyright: 2006 Gallup IndependentContact: jimtiffin1 msn.comWebsite: http://www.gallupindependent.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Considering Legal Medical Marijuana Marijuana on Agenda Marijuana Bill Fails
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on January 24, 2006 at 07:53:07 PT
tests for drugs?
"How do we test someone who is under the influence of marijuana? What test do we give them?"Huh?What test do we give them for valium or ambien or xanex or darvocet or lunesta or oxycontin or vicodin or percocet or demerol or hydrocodone or dilaudid or ativan or trazadone or restoril? name just a few.These people are blowing cannabis all out of proportion.
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Comment #1 posted by whig on January 23, 2006 at 22:58:08 PT
I've said this before...
"We have a test for people who drink alcohol and drive and are under the influence (DWI), and alcohol is legal," he said."How do we test someone who is under the influence of marijuana? What test do we give them?"How do we test someone who is driving on LACK OF SLEEP? Or oh so many OTC antihistamines and other medications that may impair motor performance.You simply cite someone for RECKLESS DRIVING when appropriate.
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