Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Support 

Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Support 
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2007 at 06:14:18 PT
By Dirk Perrefort 
Source: Danbury New Times 
Hartford, Conn. -- Ridgefield native Kathleen M. Anderson never thought she'd be promoting the legalization of medical marijuana. "If someone told me 10 years ago I would be an advocate, I would have said no way."Then, nine years ago, her now 23-year-old daughter was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a chronic disease that results in intense pain, especially when touched, that increases over time.
"I'm a conservative mom," she said, "but any parent who has had to watch their child suffer for years as I have would support this effort."Anderson, who now lives in Berlin, Conn., brought her daughter to the State Capitol Friday along with two large bags filled with hundreds of empty bottles from the prescription medications she has tried since she was diagnosed at age 14.Anderson said she's tried everything to help relieve her daughter's intense pain, which can flare up at the slightest touch of her skin, including surgery that cut in half her daughter's ganglion nerve, located near the base of the spine."Our doctor said it had a 90 percent success rate," she said. "It's the worst thing we could have done. Now the sweat glands don't work on the right side of her body and she has problems with her heart rate and blood flow." Anderson said one of the few substances that has helped her daughter is marijuana."If someone touches her arm, it swells up and she's in agony," she said. "Just a few puffs help to lessen the pain and the swelling goes down in minutes."Unfortunately, she could be arrested for it. Going to jail would kill my daughter. Just putting handcuffs on her wrists would result in excruciating pain."She added that her daughter doesn't experience any of the substance's euphoric effects.Popular talk show host Montel Williams, who spoke Friday in Hartford about his use of marijuana to reduce the pain and spasms he suffers as a result of multiple sclerosis, also said he doesn't experience the euphoric effects.Williams said most viewers of his show never get to see his spasms -- or the three injections and 90 pills a day he takes to try to relieve his pain. He added that he takes more than $2,500 worth of prescription drugs a month, including Oxycodone, Percocet and Vicodin, but nothing helps his pain more than marijuana."I spent 22 years in the military in the Marines and the Navy," he said. "I put my life on the line for this country over and over again. I'm begging the people for what I almost died for -- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."Williams received a standing ovation when he announced what he planned to do after leaving the press conference."I have to pray that the local law enforcement gives me a right of passage to my state," the New York resident said. "When I walk out of here I will smoke pot."Opponents of legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and allow patients with a prescription to grow it for their own use held their own press conference Friday. State Rep. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, a staunch opponent of the proposal, said that while there are hundreds of chemicals in marijuana that have yet to be scientifically tested, testing that has been completed shows there are serious adverse health effects.They include lung cancer, respiratory and breathing problems, loss of motor skills, and an increased heart rate associated with sudden death syndrome."Marijuana is a harmful drug that doesn't save or improve lives," Boucher said. "With the greater use and abuse of this drug, we are now seeing the damage to health that smoking marijuana produces. "Smoked marijuana is associated with higher concentrations of tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens than even cigarette smoke," she said.Dr. David Kloth, founder of Connecticut Pain Care in Danbury, and the immediate past president of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, said there are limited studies on the effectiveness of marijuana as a pain medication, although it has been used for nausea and as an appetite stimulant for chemotherapy patients."The few studies that have been done have not found conclusively that it's good for pain management," he said. "It may work in combination with other medications, and some people may benefit from it."In general, however, the majority of pain physicians in this country would not support the use of marijuana for pain management."Kloth said that while the substance could act on some receptors in the body with pain-relieving effects, those who could benefit are few and far between."The one thing in favor of it is that it's safe," he said. "Nobody is going to overdose and die from marijuana. It's probably safer than alcohol."The proposed legislation passed the Judiciary Committee last week with a vote of 32 to 8, with several area legislators, including state Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, and state Rep. Bob Godfrey, D-Danbury, voting in favor of the measure. The proposal would still need to be approved by the House and Senate before it goes to Gov. M. Jodi Rell for her signature. A similar proposal passed the Senate last year with a vote of 19 to 15, but died in the House from inaction.Cappiello said he supports the measure because medical decisions are better left with doctors than lawmakers."Medical doctors should be able to make decisions based on their patients' needs," he said. "Under our laws now doctors can prescribe a slew of painkillers, including morphine and derivatives of cocaine, but as a legislature we're saying under no circumstances can they prescribe marijuana, even if it could provide some medical benefit. "Shouldn't we let doctors make that decision?" Source: Danbury New Times (CT)Author: Dirk Perrefort Published: March 24, 2007Copyright: 2007 News-Times Media Contact: editor newstimes.comWebsite: Articles:Rell Warms To Medical Marijuana Williams Makes Emotional Plea for MMJ
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on March 25, 2007 at 07:33:15 PT
if it helps, use it
Isnít it odd that people who find relief in using medical cannabis in treating their conditions still have to debate its use with idiots who cite statistics to them and tell them they are wrong and to keep on suffering. ďI found something that helps my condition. No. You are wrong. You canít use that product. You have to keep using stuff that doesnít help you.Ē Weird, isnít it?
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 24, 2007 at 13:38:45 PT
"I'm a conservative mom," she saidSorry to hear that! But you're doing the right thing.  Too bad your politicians won't.As for Dr. Kloth, he's pitifully uninformed, but should be commended for being opened-minded and supporting freedom to use medical MJ. That's all we're asking for.I guess Dr. Kloth didn't see the big study that showed cannabis is equally effective to codiene? And less addictive. And he must have missed the recent one on neuropathic pain. Oh well, I hope his patients are smart enough to go out and educate themselves.
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on March 24, 2007 at 06:58:10 PT
Don't Sweat The Dumbf*cks
This legislation will soon be on Gov. M. Jodi Rell's desk. She can side with the sick and the dying or with the corrupt and greedy. I hope she realizes that there are lives in the balance. 
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Comment #1 posted by duzt on March 24, 2007 at 06:34:28 PT
god these guys can BS
"They include lung cancer, respiratory and breathing problems, loss of motor skills, and an increased heart rate associated with sudden death syndrome."I would love to see one of these proven (except respiratory problems, like phlem). Now we have sudden death syndrome, that's classic. Smoke herb and your going to get drunk and your heart may explode. Right after you grow breasts and horns. Eventually these fake religious nutjobs will be called on their lies. The world isn't flat and the sun doesn't revolve around the earth. Damn these people are ignorant. They've lost the fight and they know it, now they are entering the kicking and screaming, throwing a fit stage. Dennis K. is the best chance to change these laws in the position he is in now. Get those letters going.
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