Maine Medicinal Marijuana Bill Debated 

Maine Medicinal Marijuana Bill Debated 
Posted by CN Staff on April 24, 2007 at 05:33:19 PT
By Mal Leary, Capitol News Service
Source: Bangor Daily News 
Augusta, ME -- Maine voters approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1999 by 61 percent to 39 percent. But supporters told lawmakers Monday that the law has not worked and urged passage of a new bill that would assure they have access to the drug.The proposal elicited strong opposition from the Maine State Police and the Maine Attorney Generalís Office, as well as from other groups. The billís sponsor, Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, noted it has been eight years since the original measure was passed.
"Since then very few doctors have felt comfortable prescribing marijuana and very few patients ó even with the approved conditions and their doctorís permission ó have had access to their medication," he said.Strimlingís legislation, modeled on one drafted by the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, would increase the amount of usable marijuana a patient can possess and set up a state-run registry of nonprofit groups that would be licensed to grow marijuana which patients could buy.Several current users of pot for medicinal purposes testified in support of the bill. Bill Trogden of Newport has severe spinal injuries that cause him constant pain."For nausea, depression and certain aspects of my pain, cannabis works best with the fewest side effects," he told members of the Legislatureís Health and Human Services Committee. "And unlike other medications, it is not addictive."Faith Benedetti, former director of the Augusta-based Dayspring AIDS Services, said marijuana has been helpful to many AIDS patients but that the current law does not provide a "safe" way for those individuals to get the drug."Many people living with AIDS are on disability and are living on a fixed income," she said. "They canít afford to pay what the price is on the black market."Augusta physician John Woytowicz also supported the legislation. He told lawmakers that marijuana has worked well for some of his patients, but they have had problems obtaining it. "I simply do not see a patient once and grant them permission," he said. "While this has disappointed some patients that have not found a physician in their own community who supports their desire to use marijuana, I feel it is in the best interest of the patient."But the medical community is far from unified on the issue. Andrew MacLean, general counsel of the Maine Medical Association, said the association opposed the original bill in 1999 and also opposes its expansion. "While some individuals may find benefit from the medical use of marijuana," he said, "the weight of scientific evidence supports the use of prescription [drug] alternatives for each of the conditions covered by the legislation."The legislation also brought out law enforcement and state government in force against the measure. State police Maj. Robert Williams said provisions prohibiting local and state law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal officials will disrupt long-standing cooperative efforts in the war on illegal drugs.Assistant Attorney General James Cameron opposed the legislation on behalf of his boss, Attorney General Steven Rowe. Cameron said federal law makes possession and use of marijuana a crime, and it is clear U.S. authorities will enforce the law, as they have with state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries in California."These types of dispensaries can be prosecuted under federal criminal law and shut down," he said. "And they are."Cameron said the proposed legislation goes "well beyond" what the voters approved in 1999 and would not accomplish its goals any more than the original measure did. "It is still a crime to possess marijuana, to grow it, distribute it or sell it," he said. "Thatís the federal law. It overrides state law. Thatís the Supremacy Clause" of the Constitution.The legislation also was opposed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Substance Abuse and several representatives of the substance abuse treatment community. They argued Maine already has a drug abuse problem with marijuana and feared the legislation would make a bad problem worse. The measure will be considered at a committee work session before the full Legislature considers it.Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)Author: Mal Leary, Capitol News ServicePublished: Tuesday, April 24, 2007Copyright: 2007 Bangor Daily News Inc.Contact: letters bangordailynews.netWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 24, 2007 at 19:04:46 PT
AP: Update on Connecticut's MMJ Bill
April 24, 2007HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A bill that would allow the medical use of marijuana is continuing to move through the legislature.The General Law Committee, on Tuesday, approved the legislation 11-6 with two absent. The bill moves to the House of Representatives for further action.The legislation allows a physician to certify an adult patient's use of marijuana after determining he or she has a debilitating condition and could potentially benefit from the palliative use of marijuana. Patients and their primary caregivers would then register with the Department of Consumer Protection.A patient and his or her primary caregiver would be limited to growing no more than four marijuana plants, each having a maximum height of four feet.Rep. Frank Nicastro Sr., D-Bristol, a former youth officer, said he worries that the bill will send the wrong message about illegal drugs to children."I understand what we're trying to do. We're trying to help people who are sick," he said. "But ... in the process of reaching out to people who are sick, we have to make sure we don't hurt other people who aren't sick." 
Copyright: 2007, The Associated Press
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on April 24, 2007 at 17:43:10 PT
lie enforcement
Meet the prohibitionists:
The proposal elicited strong opposition from the Maine State Police and the Maine Attorney Generalís OfficeState Police = Police State
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Comment #1 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 24, 2007 at 05:44:43 PT
Anyone Going to Nimbin Mardigrass?
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