cannabisnews.com: Medical Marijuana May Soon Be Reality





Medical Marijuana May Soon Be Reality
Posted by CN Staff on March 03, 2007 at 18:03:48 PT
By Mark Brunswick, Star Tribune
Source: Star-Tribune
Minnesota -- A proposal that once inspired fears and jokes about drug abuse -- legalizing the use of marijuana for medical reasons -- stands a good chance of passage in the Minnesota Legislature this year.Political support for that controversial step is coming from unlikely places. Advocates for a bill to allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana with their doctors' recommendation say that as many as half of the 49 Republicans in the House would support the measure in a floor vote.
Former House Speaker Steve Sviggum, a Republican, is co-author of the medical marijuana bill and says he became a convert to the cause partly after being visited by two people who told him about how the drug would have benefited loved ones dying from cancer. And despite the concerns of social conservatives, other Republicans say they have come to view legalizing marijuana to help the sick as a quintessential conservative issue -- keeping government out of the patient/doctor relationship."Ten years ago it would have had no chance," Sviggum said. "Two years ago I probably would have been in opposition. This is a very emotional issue, but hopefully facts and information will come to the forefront."Social conservative groups and law enforcement officials remain strongly opposed to the measure. But the emerging bipartisan support for it suggests the issue is traveling a well-worn path toward gradual acceptance blazed by other social causes -- sometimes toward liberalization, sometimes toward tougher restrictions.Drunken driving, for decades considered a minor offense, now carries stiff penalties. Gambling, long frowned upon as a vice, now occupies a prominent and accepted place in society. Cigarette smoking, once widespread and glamorous, has been relegated to a furtive street-corner habit.Medical use of marijuana has been approved in 11 states, despite federal efforts to pressure voters and legislators in those places to abandon the policies and conform to federal anti-drug laws.Sviggum said he called law enforcement officials in three of the states where medical use of the drug is allowed and did additional research that has convinced him the new laws are working well. Politically, he also concedes he is impressed by poll results on the issue. A 2005 Zogby poll, for example, showed that Minnesotans favored the use of medical marijuana by a 4 to 1 ratio. Meanwhile, a national AARP poll in 2005 showed that seniors favored the idea by a 2 to 1 ratio.'Not a Moral Issue' Champlin resident Tom Fonio, 55, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, says he is too afraid now to try marijuana to relieve the muscle spasms and burning sensation caused by the disease. He is prescribed a medication called Marinol but finds its benefits fade by the end of the day. Shannon Pakonen, 41, of Brooklyn Park, who has Tourette's syndrome, said he obtains marijuana from friends and occasionally smokes it to relieve the ticks and spasms that result from the neurological disorder. Both men support legalizing medical marijuana and see the political wind shifting."As time goes on, politics have changed. ... Partisan politics really take a back seat to the human issue. It is not a moral issue," Fonio said.Pakonen, who said he would prefer marijuana over prescribed medications he takes now that leave him feeling lethargic and loopy, added: "The pot-head mentality, that's an older, antiquated generation that feels that way. The younger generation is starting to come into the fold. So many states are accepting it. ... I don't really have people who are down on me. I'm not a greasy grubby, go-nowhere person."Conservatives Divided Despite the apparent legislative support, Gov. Tim Pawlenty remains adamantly opposed to the bill. He supports law enforcement contentions that lessening restrictions on any use of marijuana sends the wrong message, particularly to youngsters, according to his spokesman, Brian McClung.Others, such as Eden Prairie Republican Sen. David Hann, question the science behind the medical claims for marijuana and worry about whether dosages can be effectively regulated.During a Senate committee hearing, where the medical marijuana measure passed on a bipartisan voice vote, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom testified against the bill, saying it would facilitate use of the drug by others, increase the potential for impaired driving and give the impression that marijuana is harmless.The measure is opposed by the state's County Attorneys Association, the Sheriffs' Association, and the Chiefs of Police Association. "Marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that poses significant health consequences. It has no proven medical value," Backstrom said.The conservative Minnesota Family Council also opposes the bill, saying it could open the floodgates for relaxing other drug laws and lead to legalization of marijuana.The group also has complained about the broad definitions of chronic illnesses that would be covered under the bill, claiming it could potentially authorize marijuana use for minor ailments such as tennis elbow or a sore knee.The Family Council has pressed Andover Republican Chris DeLaForest to renounce the bill and take his name off as a co-author. He has refused."There's still a few of us left in the Republican Party who try to honor the concept of individual liberties as opposed to governmental interference. We've sort of been run over the past few years by members of the Christian wing of our base," DeLaForest said. Note: Support is growing at Capitol for a measure to allow its use in seriously ill patients.Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author: Mark Brunswick, Star TribunePublished: March 3, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Star Tribune Contact: opinion startribune.com Website: http://www.startribune.com/ Related Articles: Making MJ Legal for Medical Use Gains Supporthttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22674.shtmlLawmakers Aim To Pass Medical Marijuana Billhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22585.shtml
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Comment #7 posted by charmed quark on March 04, 2007 at 15:25:59 PT
Registered Organizations
This us a very interesting provision of the Minn law. I don't think any other state has explicitly had such a provision to allow organizations to provide cannabis. Very nice.
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Comment #6 posted by potpal on March 04, 2007 at 10:23:38 PT
Meet the prohibitionists
"The measure is opposed by the state's County Attorneys Association, the Sheriffs' Association, and the Chiefs of Police Association. 'Marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that poses significant health consequences. It has no proven medical value,' Backstrom...read from his talking points exposing his ignorance about all things cannabis."And what would we do if we didin't have cannabis users to harrass, arrest and prosecute? One every 40 seconds.
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on March 03, 2007 at 20:18:10 PT
Good luck, Minnesota.
Cops, politicians and lawyers protect their jobs, not citizens. Now that Cannabis is becoming MainStream in the MEDICAL sector as a Safer Alternative For Elective Remedies, in the ENVIRONMENTAL sector as a Safer Alternative For Environmental Renewal, and in the SOCIAL sector as a Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, their jobs are starting to depend on SUPPORT for these issues and not RESISTANCE. Guys, we are over powering the old guard with facts they can no longer deny without jeopardizing their jobs in the near future. Public opinion has changed drastically about Medical, Industrial and Recreational Cannabis, with the exception of stubborn pockets of resistance in the more thoroughly brainwashed areas of our Nation. It's time to break out the Shout and Shout Out those stubborn spots of resistance! END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW! SAFER IS SMARTER!Toke.
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Comment #4 posted by Wayne on March 03, 2007 at 18:41:23 PT
cops & lawyers
"The measure is opposed by the state's County Attorneys Association, the Sheriffs' Association, and the Chiefs of Police Association. 'Marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that poses significant health consequences. It has no proven medical value,' Backstrom said."Mr. Backstrom, you are a lawyer. But just because you have a lot of money does NOT make you a doctor. The media really needs to do themselves a big favor and stop quoting these clowns as if they were qualified. Cops and lawyers are exactly what they are: coops and lawyers. They are not doctors; they are not qualified to make medical conclusions. They have had their way for the last 70 years. They now need to shut the hell up and let doctors and patients have THEIR turn at bat."The Family Council has pressed Andover Republican Chris DeLaForest to renounce the bill and take his name off as a co-author. He has refused. 'There's still a few of us left in the Republican Party who try to honor the concept of individual liberties as opposed to governmental interference. We've sort of been run over the past few years by members of the Christian wing of our base,' DeLaForest said."Thank God that the original true Republicans are still out there kicking and screaming. God bless this man for having the balls to speak up against those who prefer the 'laws of man'.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 03, 2007 at 18:18:20 PT
The GCW
That is exactly how synthetic estrogen is made. Lavender Essential oil produces some sort of natural hormone I read somewhere. Red Clover tea is good for that perfectly natural process of menopause.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 03, 2007 at 18:12:59 PT
FoM, 
You're a horse lover..."Drug price is too high"(Letters to the editor)You've got to hand it to the pharmaceutical companies. They have managed to convince us that natural bodily functions are a disease.Menopause is not a disease. It's a process of changes in the female body. Any adverse effects can be alleviated with diet, exercise and maybe an herbal remedy. The synthetic estrogen hormone in Premarin and Prempro are made from the urine of pregnant horses. Take a moment and think about how this urine is harvested. The horses are not running around in an open pasture, urinating in a bucket. Picture the stalls, the tubes, the slaughter of male babies and the 24/7 schedule. If you need more graphic details, call up "Redwing Horse Sanctuary" on your computer to see how it has rescued horses used for Premarin production."They" need for us to be lazy and ignorant. The price for the synthetic hormones is way too high. Just ask the horses.Margaret Geertsen 
Marina http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/opinion/16825884.htm
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 03, 2007 at 18:05:51 PT
Common Questions About Medical Marijuana
 March 03, 2007  Would the law legalize marijuana? No. It would allow patients to use marijuana with doctor approval (and parental approval for minors). They could not use the drug in public places or schools, or drive while under the influence. They would have to be suffering from "a debilitating medical condition" such as an illness that causes pain, seizures or nausea. An HIV-AIDS patient whose condition has worsened, for example, could qualify to use marijuana. But opponents contend the definitions are too open-ended. Doesn't the proposal conflict with federal drug laws? Federal law prohibits the sale, use and cultivation of marijuana. But enforcement is generally left up to local agencies. In the 11 states where similar laws are in effect, prosecutors have not generally pursued cases in which marijuana is being sold for medical use. Under the proposed law, any state or local law enforcement officials who cooperate with a federal agent to arrest or prosecute a qualified patient could have their employment suspended or terminated. Where would patients get the marijuana? Patients could grow their own marijuana or have it provided by "a registered organization," which would be a nonprofit registered with the state. Patients or their caregivers could possess up to 12 marijuana plants and 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana.MARK BRUNSWICK Copyright: 2007 Star TribuneURL: http://www.startribune.com/587/story/1032681.html
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