Medical Marijuana Measure Rejected 

Medical Marijuana Measure Rejected 
Posted by CN Staff on March 29, 2007 at 17:22:03 PT
By Daniel Barrick, Monitor Staff
Source: Concord Monitor
New Hampshire -- By a slender margin, lawmakers decided yesterday against letting people with debilitating illnesses use marijuana for pain relief or other medical purposes. The 186-177 vote in the House killed a bill that would have decriminalized the drug's use for patients under the care of a physician for severe illnesses such as cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis.
The debate preceding the vote heard testimony from lawmakers with medical degrees and some who said they would benefit personally from smoking marijuana for medical purposes. Rep. Evalyn Merrick, a Democrat from Lancaster who described herself as a cancer survivor, said no painkiller was able to relieve her pain during multiple chemotherapy sessions. She said marijuana would not provide a cure for her cancer, but it would be "a form of pain therapy." Opponents of the bill disputed the benefits of marijuana and highlighted what they called the drug's dangerous side effects. Rep. Joseph Miller, a Democrat from Durham who is also a retired physician, disputed even the term "medical marijuana." He said that the drug is hard to monitor and may be contaminated by insecticides or other pollutants. "Marijuana is not real medicine," Miller said, "nor is it a pure substance." But another lawmaker who is also a physician, Rep. William Chase of Westmoreland, said he had seen the positive impact of marijuana on cancer patients he had treated. "It is another tool in the treatment options to improve the quality of life for a patient," said Chase, a Democrat. Studies are mixed about the benefits and risks of smoking marijuana for medical purposes, though many patients say the drug helps relieve pain and other symptoms. Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, but 11 states have passed laws allowing the drug to be used with a doctor's approval. Note: State House vote sees debate over benefits.Source: Concord Monitor (NH)Author: Daniel Barrick, Monitor StaffPublished: March 29, 2007Copyright: 2007 Monitor Publishing Company Contact: letters Website: http://www.concordmonitor.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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