Drug Policy Official Fails To Sway Senate 

  Drug Policy Official Fails To Sway Senate 

Posted by CN Staff on January 28, 2006 at 07:48:00 PT
By Steve Terrell, The New Mexican  
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican  

New Mexico -- The Bush administration got involved in New Mexico’s medical marijuana issue Friday, sending a top drug-policy administrator to testify against SB158. But David W. Murray, a special assistant to national drug czar John Walters, had little or no effect on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which gave the measure a do-pass with bipartisan support. And some senators said Murray’s presentation was heavy-handed. 
Murray told the committee that marijuana is an addictive substance with very serious health consequences, has no proven medical value and can lead to “serious mental illness,” depression and suicide. He likened medical-marijuana proponents to “medicine shows, traveling charlatans and snake-oil salesmen” selling phony “tinctures, magical herbs and remedies.” Murray said medical marijuana is an issue that has been brought forth not by the medical profession but by advocates of drug legalization. “They use emotion, they use suffering patients, they use anecdote,” he said. And in a statement that some committee members criticized, Murray added: “I regard much of that as cynical and manipulative.” Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, took him to task for those words, pointing out that sponsors of crime legislation often bring victims of crimes to testify without being called “cynical and manipulative.” “I don’t know how you do it back East,” Sanchez told Murray, “But this is the people’s house. Everybody has a right to be here just as much as you do. When you said this to us, you showed us where you were really at. I don’t think you should go to a state and say such things about their people.” Some of Murray’s toughest criticism came from Republicans on the Judiciary Committee. Noting his argument that marijuana has no medicinal value, Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, said, “We are not talking about the healing power of marijuana. The purpose of this is to reduce pain.” Murray noted that the federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana for medical treatment. The FDA, not politicians, should make some determinations, he said. Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, disputed statements by Murray and some state law-enforcement representatives that medical marijuana will increase use of the drug. He compared the bill to the concealed-carry law, which lets people apply for permits to carry hidden guns. Some opponents said that law would give criminals the right to carry concealed weapons. “But robbers are already doing that,” Adair said. Likewise, those who smoke marijuana illegally are doing so without a medical-marijuana law, he said. Sen. John Grubesic, D-Santa Fe, told Murray he had a hard time accepting the claim that medical marijuana is “the huge bogey man you want it to be.” But Sen. Bill Payne, R-Albuquerque, said the bill boils down to a state challenge of the federal Controlled Substances Act and “whether or not the government has the right to control drugs.” The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, responded that all it does is tell a small number of medical patients that the state will not prosecute them for using marijuana. The measure goes on to the Senate floor, where a spokesman for the Senate said it could be heard as early as Tuesday. Last year, a similar bill that the Senate passed died in the House. SB158 would let patients with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer and AIDS, use marijuana to treat pain and nausea caused by serious diseases and in some cases the side effects of treatment for those diseases. The state Department of Health would administer a program under which doctors would be allowed to recommend marijuana for their patients. The marijuana used in the program would be grown in a secure facility by the state or a private agency contracting with the state. Complete Title: Drug Policy Official Fails To Sway Senate -- Committee Sends Medical Marijuana Bill Forward On The Web: Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Steve Terrell, The New Mexican Published: January 28, 2006 Copyright: 2006 The Santa Fe New MexicanContact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Bill Finds Support Moves Forward Bill Passes First Hurdle Panel OK's Medical Marijuana Bill

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Comment #21 posted by FoM on January 30, 2006 at 12:04:22 PT

Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Thanks to You, Our Medical Marijuana Bill Passed Another CommitteeJanuary 30, 2006Despite hours of negative testimony from David Murray, a representative of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, our medical marijuana bill passed its final committee in the Senate by a vote of 7-3! The room was full of people who support the issue - we are a force for change! Your calls, letters, and visits are making a difference. Thank you! Also, a special "thank you" to the class of graduating nurses who came to show their support - we hope that you can come again! 
The next step is a vote on the Senate floor, and your work can help it pass. Please call your senator at his or her capitol office as soon as you can and tell him or her that you support the Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, Senate Bill 258. You can find contact information for your senator here. The floor vote in the Senate could happen as early as TOMORROW, so your senator needs to hear from you right away.
 Once SB 258 passes the Senate, it will head to the House. We will be hard at work to make sure the bill passes there, but we can't do it without you. Please begin calling your representatives and stay tuned as we move forward! Our polls show that over 80% of New Mexicans support making medical marijuana legally available for seriously ill people. That's because you and your neighbors value reason, compassion, and justice when it comes to our state's drug policies. Please let your state legislators know that you care about medical marijuana today!Tips on Making a CallMost legislators' staff answer their phones during the session and log all of the messages. A call will only take about a minute.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.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.Sincerely,Reena Szczepanski
Director, Drug Policy Alliance New MexicoLearn 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 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 - primary caregiver would be allowed to possess only enough cannabis to treat the patient. Only medical 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 #20 posted by mayan on January 30, 2006 at 05:51:12 PT

The People's House
“I don’t know how you do it back East,” Sanchez told Murray, “But this is the people’s house. Everybody has a right to be here just as much as you do. When you said this to us, you showed us where you were really at. I don’t think you should go to a state and say such things about their people.”David W. Murray, take your lies and go back to your twisted master's castle. Just ain't no room for you and your pack of lies in the people's house. 
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Comment #19 posted by Critto on January 30, 2006 at 05:00:37 PT:

Three cheerz for the senators for telling this Murray what he belongs to. He and his tyrannic, nazi-like DEA deserves much harder criticism. I hope that when enough states (2/3 of all 50??) will get their MMJ legislation, they will come up with an idea of amending the federal constitution with amendment that openly legalizes the medical marijuana.

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Comment #18 posted by Sam Adams on January 29, 2006 at 09:47:47 PT

You're not alone. I've done a bit of petitioning for MJ causes and on several occasions I've had teenagers come up to me with stories very similar to yours, they've found cannabis to be BY FAR the best medicine for bi-polar disorder & other problems. All you have to do is look into their eyes & listen & it's easy to see that cannabis has performed a miracle for them. Usually they wait until their friends walk away to confide in me quietly, no one wants to talk about health problems. And all the medical research of the last 10 years has validated what you're feeling. Cannabis has powerful, beneficial effects on the nervous system & brain.Fortunately, the government hasn't actually invaded all of our homes and clapped us in irons just yet, so we can still find ways to medicate. What the feds are doing in NM and elsewhere is nothing less than the dismantling of modern human civilization. They're trying to once again subjugate scientific truth to religious dogma. Just look at global warming. The rich elite are trying to steal as much of the world's (and it's peoples') resources in one final, prolonged orgy of greed. If they're successful, we'll be left with a ruined planet, mass extinction, flooded cities, epidemics of incurable disease, and worse.  The process is already well underway, isn't it?It's no surprise, we're the 26th great civilization on Earth. What happened to the other 25?  The exact same thing that's happening to us.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 28, 2006 at 22:38:51 PT

Thank you for your testimony. I certainly don't doubt or discount your testimony in any way. I'm glad you found something that helps you so much. It's seems utterly impossibe that anyone would want to prevent you, a grown person, from using something that you know is beneficial, just because they don't like you to use it and feel that they have the right to make such a choice for you. Someday we will right this wide spread wrong. Someday soon, I hope.
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on January 28, 2006 at 17:21:34 PT

Thank You for Your testimony.
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Comment #15 posted by siege on January 28, 2006 at 11:05:11 PT

looks like they have read there letter and emails on the (FDCA) Sen. Bill Payne just put his foot into San Diego County supervisors, and San Bernardino supervisors, Donkey. lets hope
it is a wake up call.
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Comment #14 posted by mai_bong_city on January 28, 2006 at 10:50:11 PT

a word about mental illness and marijuana.
i've had it up to here with the blame being put on marijuana for mental illness.
i deal with severe bipolar disorder, depression, suicidal ideation and dissociative states. i was symptomatic by age two. the first time i smoked marijuana at age fourteen, i knew there was something extremely beneficial for me in it, but try telling that to parents or doctors.
at this time, i manage my mental and physical illnesses solely with cannabis. marijuana has proven to be the best mood stabilizer with the least side-effects, for me. when i am depressed, it helps me tolerate the mood. i do not attempt suicide ever, when i have my medicine. without it, the risk increases greatly, due to the exacerbation of my physical symptoms, as well of course - it's just too much to think of not being able to take what saves me.
as far as the mania portion of bipolar, it is such a blessing - i don't have to rely on the addictive benzo's to keep me from spinning out-of-control, i sleep regularly, i eat right, it keeps me balanced.
not every person has this type of success with one medicine - and my goodness, i've been on dozens at a time - the cost, and the damage they did to my body and mind, i must say - was hell.
marijuana did not cause my mental illness - i would go so far as to say it's looking like now, i might be as cured as i'll ever be.i owe my life and my sanity to this great wonder, this amazing plant.
just wanted to get that off my chest, thanks!
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Comment #13 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 28, 2006 at 10:38:29 PT

Cry wolf too many times and sooner or later, no one listens to you. Well ONDCP has cried wolf so many time that nothing they say is believed anymore. Federal *cough* authorities *bu!!sh&t* must be in some kind of weird state of denial. They're going around still status quo wasting time with drug test initiatives, denying student loans, arresting people, anti-pot commercials and lobbying state officials like nothing is going on. When do you think they'll realize they're through? I mean, the fat lady is singing about the end of marijuana prohibition, and they're fighting tooth and nail to the bitter end. I love a good challenge. It will make it more interesting to see their blank faces when the law is changed.

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Comment #12 posted by kaptinemo on January 28, 2006 at 10:30:46 PT:

I've said this before, many times
Isn't it it's those that society has looked down upon because of our choice of intoxicant/sacrament/medicine that are reminding said society of it's responsibilities to maintain the freedom of it's citizens? And that, all too often, it is those who are sworn to and charged with protecting those freedoms that are in fact the worst transgressors against them?
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Comment #11 posted by siege on January 28, 2006 at 10:18:15 PT

state challenge
But Sen. Bill Payne, R-Albuquerque, said the bill boils down to a state challenge of the federal Controlled Substances Act and “whether or not the government has the right to control drugs.”
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 28, 2006 at 10:02:51 PT

Yes sir I agree!
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Comment #9 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 28, 2006 at 09:59:22 PT

And an Observation
It's been said that legalizing marijuana would make the people of America passive and unable to defend our country. Oh Yeah? It seems to me that marijuana users are bringing the massive American government with all it's money and manpower, to it's knees. That doesn;t sound too passive to me. If they should fear anything about marijuana users, it should be their superior intellect.
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Comment #8 posted by herbdoc215 on January 28, 2006 at 09:57:27 PT

The yarn is unraveling....
This is the very thing I was talking about after my release, I was shocked at how many LEO, jailers, and Federal Marshals gave me encouragment and support while I was in the belly of the beast! This is why LEAP is Soooo important, the only way this war on patients will ever end is by showing these people the truth about what we have seen with our own eyes about cannabis! We who use cannabis to enable us to lead normal lives must come out and show those around us that they have been fed lyes all these years. Just like the old dude in HumCo back in 98 who cried when he obtained the first relief from arthritus in 10 years after bringing a friend to club and trying some brownies...I thought it was from relief but he said it was cause he was a fool and threw his son out of the house over this stuff 14 years before that and he saw right then just how wrong he was...I haven't seen him since then so I don't know if he made it right but it sure was powerful to see! Peace, Steve Tuck
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Comment #7 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 28, 2006 at 09:55:37 PT

Feds Get Spanked In New Mexico
That would have been a better title FoM.I still think there is something wrong with the Federal Government strong arming state representatives about their own state's laws. Just how loud and often do the people and representatives of the states have to scream in the Federal Government's face to, "F*** Off!" Before they get "The Message?"The article reminds me of a Kung Fu movie where the little guy finds his gi force and beats the heck out of the kung fu bully.Bully: "What is the name of your technique?"Little Guy: "You want to Learn? I will teach you."LOL
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on January 28, 2006 at 09:38:17 PT:

Proof the tide is turning
And one more instance of the States saying to the Feds, "We're tired of the lies, the bull, and the snowjobs! We know the well as feel the pain of the economic reality of not being able to pay for this dimwitted war on potheads; we got the d**n meth 'ice' problem to worry about! Pack up your snake oil and beat feet outta here! We got better things to do than listen to you!"Chickens are coming home to roost, and they look like something from a "B" grade 1950's horror movie about atomic mutations run wild. With decades of chafing under unfunded Fed mandates, shrinking budgets, and Fed arrogance, the States have had enough, and this is their way of letting Uncle know it. Good for them! 
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on January 28, 2006 at 08:31:28 PT:

One more thing.
I've always said the CSA is a phoney law. An illegal law.
What would you expect from the biggest crook to ever sit in the white house since U.S. Grant and untill G.W. Bushido.
[Bushido is Japanese for war lord]. The CSA has nothing to do with controling or regulating drugs and anyway that would take an Ammendmet to the constitution like the 18th ammendmet. The CSA is like a turd in a punch bowl.
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on January 28, 2006 at 08:24:27 PT:

Oh my God!
Am I dreaming? It is good that I was not sitting in the peanut gallery during this hearing. I would surely have been thrown out for all of my whooping and cheering not to 
mention my audible snickering. But hey It's seeing the school yard bully being slapped down after years of abusing
the smaller people in his school. Hey Bobby, "The times they
are a' changin'!"

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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 28, 2006 at 08:02:22 PT

Medical Marijuana Poll At Bottom of Page
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Comment #2 posted by duzt on January 28, 2006 at 07:56:34 PT

we should all call to thank them...
It almost brings tears to my eyes to see local officials standing up for their neighbors and putting these federal officials in their places. The feds represent Washington, not the people and these folks that stood up for us deserve to hear that we appreciate it.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 28, 2006 at 07:49:19 PT

Thank You New Mexico
I really like the title.
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