Changes Sought for Medical Marijuana

Changes Sought for Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on January 28, 2007 at 06:48:55 PT
By Mike Dennison, Gazette State Bureau
Source: Billings Gazette
Helena -- It has been two years since Montana voters approved medical marijuana use by people with debilitating diseases, and about 280 people are signed up to use the drug.But the program needs some tweaking, its supporters say, and they're asking the 2007 Legislature to make it easier and less risky for patients to obtain and use the drug.
"A program that's already working could reach more people and protect caregivers, and make sure no one is doing anything illegal," said Rep. Ron Erickson, D-Missoula.Erickson is sponsoring House Bill 311, which would make several changes in the program that allows certain chronically ill patients to use marijuana to ease their pain or medical condition. On Monday, HB311 comes before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing at the state Capitol.Under the current program, a patient can use medical marijuana only after being diagnosed by a physician as having a "debilitating medical condition" and registering with the state. Debilitating medical conditions include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, severe muscle spasms or chronic pain.Patients and registered caregivers, who may be relatives or friends, are allowed to possess up to six marijuana plants and one ounce of marijuana.HB311 would change the law so diagnoses also can be made by nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and so registered patients and caregivers can possess six mature plants and up to 12 ounces of marijuana.The bill also creates a category of person who can possess the drug: A "transporter," someone who is delivering the drug to a registered patient.An Eastern Montana man who is a registered patient and who grows marijuana for five other patients says the changes in HB311 make the program more workable.From 75 to 90 percent of marijuana plant seedlings either die or don't produce the active element of the drug, so being able to possess six "mature" plants makes more sense, he said.Some patients also may consume one ounce of the drug in a few days, so harvesting 12 ounces at a time is simply more efficient, he said."Patients can be threatened with jail for doing what the voters intended they do," he said. "I think the bill would prevent this problem, by allowing patients to grow enough plants to produce the medicine they need and to bring it to their bedside."The man did not want his name used, saying he's worried about possible harassment by law enforcement or others.He said the transporter category is needed to protect people who bring the drug to registered patients. He said he knows one patient in an Eastern Montana town whose elderly mother comes to his house to pick up the marijuana."She feels a little spooky picking up the medicine," he said. "On the ride home, if she were to get pulled over, she's in possession of something that could send her to jail."Erickson carried a bill in the 2003 Legislature to legalize medical marijuana, but it was killed. Supporters of the program then took the issue to Montana voters in 2004, through an initiative. It won with 62 percent of the vote.Erickson noted that the 2004 ballot initiative won approval in 97 of the state's 100 House districts and 48 of its 56 counties.If lawmakers vote with their constituents on HB311, it should have no trouble passing, he said."We have a compassionate population, and I'm hoping we have a compassionate Legislature," Erickson said. Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Mike Dennison, Gazette State BureauPublished: January 28, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Articles: Medical Marijuana Registry Frustrates Medical Marijuana Muddle Patients Uneasy About Unknowns
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 30, 2007 at 16:50:59 PT
Medical Marijuana Bill Shelved
 January 30, 2007By the Associated Press  HELENA - A plan to expand the state's 2004 medical marijuana was shelved in committee on Tuesday.Supporters of the provision wanted to let patients grow more plants and posses more marijuana. Voters passed the medical marijuana two years ago after the Legislature initially rejected it.Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee led an effort to table the bill, sponsored by Rep. Ron Erickson, D-Missoula. They argued the current law has protections built into it to make sure marijuana is not abused. 
Erickson argued a day earlier that users of medical marijuana need to be allowed to posses more than one ounce to make sure they always have some available.Other changes Erickson proposed include expanding the law to allow a sick person to designate a "transporter" to legally pick up marijuana for them, and allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe medical marijuana.A patient must be diagnosed by a physician as having a "debilitating medical condition," such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, severe muscle spasms or chronic pain, to get medical marijuana.Erickson's bill is House Bill 311. Copyright: 2006 Missoulian, a division of Lee Enterprises
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on January 28, 2007 at 19:33:06 PT
Report Supressed That Marijuana Components Can Inh
US: Report Supressed That Marijuana Components Can Inhibit Cancer GrowthPubdate: Mon, 1 Nov 2004 Source: Coastal Post, The (CA)
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on January 28, 2007 at 19:17:24 PT
Corporate Drugs Useless Against Alzheimer's
US: Web: Column: Corporate Drugs Useless Against Alzheimer'sPubdate: Sat, 21 Oct 2006 Source: CounterPunch (US Web) Author: Fred Gardner
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on January 28, 2007 at 13:54:00 PT
drop the "d" word
I agree. The “drug” word has a whole lot of connotations in a lot peoples’ minds and not all of them are positive. The “d” word should be dropped altogether for legal and media purposes. Call it medical cannabis or the medicinal plant or the medicinal herb, anything but something that can be construed pejoratively. 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on January 28, 2007 at 07:47:36 PT
Plant.As in: Plant; Christ God Our Father (The Ecologician) indicates He created all the seed bearing plants saying they are all good, on literally the very first page of the Bible (see: Genesis 1:11-12 and 29-30). The Green Collar Worker
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on January 28, 2007 at 07:44:50 PT
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