Marijuana Legislation Dies in KS Senate Committee

Marijuana Legislation Dies in KS Senate Committee
Posted by CN Staff on March 03, 2008 at 04:39:22 PT
By Adrianne DeWeese 
Source: Kansas State Collegian 
Kansas -- A proposed bill in a Kansas Senate committee that would establish a medical marijuana defense act failed to advance further nearly three weeks after its introduction. After testimony from supporters and opponents on Feb. 11, the Senate Committee on Health Care Strategies members chose to not advance the proposed bill to a stage of committee debate. The legislation is now considered "dead" for the 2007 Kansas legislative session, but those in favor and against the issue continue their debate and stances.
 The Proposed LegislationSenate Committee on Health Care Strategies vice chairman Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, said the proposed legislation died in committee Friday because of today's Kansas legislative session turnaround. The legislature now is in the second year of its biennium, which means all proposed bills in either the Kansas House or Senate had to leave the Senate on or before Friday. An exception to the rule takes place if proposed legislation is introduced in the Ways or Means Committee or Federal State of Affairs, in which case the bill would have until the end of the legislative session, Brungardt said. Health Strategies committee members had a general consent that more medically effective and legal drugs exist, Brungardt said, and the proposed legislation received no further debate or discussion in committee. "The impression you get with casual talk from members is that it was not supported," Brungardt said. The proposed Senate bill would be known as the Medical Marijuana Defense Act, according to the proposed legislation. The proposed bill defined what constitutes a "debilitating medical condition" and "written certification" from a physician. According to the proposed Senate bill, "debilitating medical condition" might include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:* Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease or the treatment of these conditions; or * A chronic or debilitating disease or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not those limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy; bladder spasticity or inflammation or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis. "Written certification" from a physician means a physician-signed document who also is in good standing with the state board of healing arts, according to the proposed Senate bill.  A Collaborative EffortWith Former Kansas Attorney Gen. Robert Stephan as their legal consultant, the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition testified before the Kansas Senate Committee on Health Care Strategies on Feb. 11 in support of the proposed legislation. The Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition has existed for about a year-and-a-half, said Laura Green, coalition director. The coalition has about 850 members, including cancer patients, their family members, doctors, nurses and caregivers. Stephan's press conference about medicinal marijuana at the State Capitol in August 2007 developed an interest about the proposed legislation, Green said. "With his involvement, we were able to bring it to the legislature," Green said. "I don't think we would have been able to advance our bill without his support, especially in an election year." Stephan, who served as Kansas attorney general from 1979-95, said in a telephone interview that he supports only the medicinal uses for marijuana. He said under the proposed legislation, patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes could still be charged with a crime. However, if a judge finds that the marijuana had been recommended for medical purposes, Stephan said the person in possession of marijuana would have a defense for it. Stephan has supported medicinal marijuana for 25 years and the reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and have no currently accepted medicinal use in treatment in the U.S. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse along with a currently accepted medical use treatment in the U.S. or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, according to the DEA's Web site. During his testimony before the Senate Committee on Health Care Strategies, Stephan said he visited cancer patients for 15 years in Topeka and Wichita hospitals. He said some patients told him they resorted to marijuana as a last resort to relieve their nausea. "I hope these people who oppose medicinal marijuana never have to suffer like the people I have seen and talked with and the people who use it as a last resort," Stephan said a telephone interview. "If I was a researcher, I'd probably say, 'May God have mercy on their souls.'" Stephan said he will continue to advocate medicinal marijuana use and proposed legislation in its support.On May 15, 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner submitted her recommendation to the DEA's deputy administrator that stated she found it is "in the public interest" to end the federal monopoly on the marijuana supply that could be used in FDA-approved research. "If we can get enough states, its passage will send a message to the DEA and federal government to reclassify it and allow for further research," Stephan said. "Even the opponents say further research is needed, but they know darn well that adequate marijuana cannot be produced for research, so they're talking through both sides of their mouths."Green said coalition members plan to reintroduce the bill during the 2009 Kansas legislative session. "That's very disappointing for us that they wouldn't take the vote in the committee to advance the bill," she said. "We'll hope that whatever committee it goes through next year that they'll have the political willpower to at least hold a vote in the committee." A Medical Perspective Dr. Eric Voth, a medical director at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, is the chairman of The Institute on Global Drug Policy. Voth has more than 30 years of experience as an authority on drug use. He said medicinal marijuana is bad medicine because of its THC ranges. THC levels in available marijuana range from 2 percent to 30 percent, Voth said. Because of this range, Voth said marijuana has a very narrow therapeutic window for pain relief - lower levels have no effect on pain while THC levels above a certain point intensifies pain, he said. According to a recommendation from National Academy Press in 1999, clinical trials of marijuana for medical purposes should be conducted under limited circumstances, including the following: trails should involve only short-term marijuana use of less than six months; be conducted in patients with conditions for which there is a reasonable expectation of efficacy; be approved by institutional review boards; and collect data about efficacy. Voth said the FDA should take precedent in its establishment of drug policies instead of the legislative process. "There's a tremendous amount of emotion with marijuana that's making people not think clearly," he said.According to the U.S. Department of Justice Web site, a pharmaceutical product called Marinol is widely available through prescription as a pill. Marinol's active ingredient is synthetic THC, which has been found to relieve nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy with cancer patients and loss of appetite with AIDS patients, according to the department's Web site. Other States' Policies Laws that effectively remove state-level criminal penalties for growing or possessing medical marijuana now exist in 12 states, including New Mexico. A bill in support of medicinal marijuana passed the New Mexico state legislature and received Gov. Bill Richardson's support in spring 2007. New Mexico Rep. John Heaton, D-Carlsbad, said he "vehemently opposes" the legislation. Heaton, a pharmacist, said marijuana is a weak painkiller and anti-nauseant. He also said the issue supersedes the FDA and its drug-approval process. "Legalizing one more drug in our society is now what we need to be doing as policy-makers; we should be doing just the opposite," Heaton said. "We have a national organization that approves or disapproves drugs, and that national organization has not approved marijuana for inhalation. The day it is, it will be legal in the United States, but today it's not legal." Complete Title: Medicinal Marijuana Legislation Dies in KS Senate CommitteeSource: Kansas State Collegian (KS Edu)Author: Adrianne DeWeese Published: March 3, 2008Copyright: 2008 Kansas State CollegianContact: News spub.ksu.eduWebsite: Articles & Web Site:KSCCC Marijuana a Topic for Study Should Allow Medical Marijuana Bill Unlikely To Advance in Kansas
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on March 03, 2008 at 15:02:11 PT
News Article from The Detroit Free Press
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 03, 2008 at 14:58:08 PT
Good news.
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Comment #17 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 03, 2008 at 14:50:13 PT:
Here it is!
Officially Certified!Medical marijuana proposal advances in Michigan
3/3/2008, 5:22 p.m. ESTThe Associated Press	 	LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan voters are a step closer to considering whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes.A state elections panel OK'd petitions Monday that puts the issue before state lawmakers.If lawmakers don't approve the measure within 40 days, the proposal will be placed on the November ballot.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 03, 2008 at 13:09:42 PT
Good information. Thank you. 
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Comment #15 posted by ekim on March 03, 2008 at 12:27:52 PT
good going paul
if only Sir Paul or Sir Mic or Sir Elton would speak out against this
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on March 03, 2008 at 12:23:26 PT
OT FoM: network neutrality
Remember HughesNet and getting FAPped? stuck in slow lane on 'traffic shaping'
Mar 03, 2008 04:30 AM. 
Michael Geist
Last fall, the Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States, was actively interfering with network traffic by engaging in traffic shaping. The practice – largely undisclosed by the company – resulted in reduced bandwidth for peer-to-peer file sharing applications and delayed the delivery of some Internet content.The revelations sparked an immediate outcry from the public and U.S. officials. Class-action lawyers filed lawsuits, members of Congress introduced legislation mandating greater transparency and neutral treatment of Internet content and applications, state law enforcement officials issued subpoenas demanding that Comcast turn over information on its network management practices, and the Federal Communications Commission, the national telecommunications regulator, launched hearings into the matter. ... Moreover, the issue has seeped into the U.S. presidential race. Democratic front-runner Barack Obama has committed to introducing net neutrality legislation during his first year in office and a recently introduced bill on network neutrality is garnering growing support in the U.S. Congress.
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Comment #13 posted by paul armentano on March 03, 2008 at 11:37:28 PT
Reefer Madness From Across the Pond
NORML has launched a new blog on its front page. Check it out at: Below is my latest post. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. ‘Journalism’ Hits New LowFebruary 29th, 2008 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy DirectorAccording to a recent news item making international headlines, a journalist in a forthcoming BBC ‘documentary’ will “inject” herself with the “main ingredient” of so-called “skunk cannabis” in an effort to warn viewers of the “dramatic” and “unpleasant” effects of marijuana.For readers on this side of the pond who have not followed this story, “skunk” is the slang term British prohibitionists have chosen in their attempt to rebrand cannabis as this millennium’s most dangerous drug. (US authorities executed a similar game plan in the early 1900s when they successfully outlawed hemp by rebranding it “marijuana”.) For years now, British police and news reporters have blamed everything from psychosis and suicide to criminal acts like rape and murder on the after-effects of smoking “skunk,” aka allegedly super-potent pot.Never mind that a recent study reported that so-called “skunk” only comprises a minute fraction of the UK’s marijuana market.Never mind that teen use of cannabis in Great Britain recently fell to a record low.Never mind that a legal pill containing 100 percent THC is available by a doctor’s prescription and that its side-effects do not include psychosis, suicide, rape, or murder.And, most importantly, never mind that — to date — nobody in Britain or anywhere else on the planet is actually “injecting” the “main ingredient” in “skunk” (which, of course, is THC). Let’s not let facts get in the way of a good horror tale.Of course, this pseudo-documentary — along with the recent rash of alarmist headlines — is all part of a concerted effort to push through PM Gordon Brown’s ill-conceived plan to recriminalize minor pot possession. And there’s no chance of government officials letting truth get in the way of that.
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on March 03, 2008 at 11:25:55 PT
OT: Strange Bedfellows - Sign of Hopeful Change
Albertans looking a little Green:
Farmers join forces with 'tree huggers' to protest Tories' lax environmental record.
Mar 02, 2008 04:30 AM. 
Murray Whyte, 
Staff Reporter.
Joe Anglin, right, a Green Party of Alberta candidate, and friend Mike Blessing prepare election signs on Feb. 4, 2008. 
The Tories are Canada's Republicans, but environmental damage is making them do a rethink and changing alliances.Go Mother Earth!There's always room for Freedom!
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Comment #11 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 03, 2008 at 11:17:25 PT:
Good old Kansas
"The Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition has existed for about a year-and-a-half, said Laura Green, coalition director. The coalition has about 850 members, including cancer patients, their family members, doctors, nurses and caregivers."Looks like they have quite a movement going in Kansas. To gather up 850 members in just a year and a half is quite an accomplishment.They definitely have a good foundation already it seems.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on March 03, 2008 at 09:58:53 PT
Tintala comment 5
"Stark" injustice, indeed. Maybe, at last, this new found ability on the part of some higher ups in the system, to see blatant "stark" injustice in our drug laws will increase. 
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on March 03, 2008 at 09:52:37 PT
Dongenero Comment 7
I agree.When this effort at legislation came up, I was surprised to realize that there were even any valiant patriots of a free, progressive, and compassionate USA there in Kansas government to bring this up. It seems amazing to me that someone there even tried, but it was totally expected that it wouldn't succeed. Kansas... progressive, compassionate, bold, and brave? It wouldn't seem right. 
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on March 03, 2008 at 09:33:43 PT
So many pharmacists seem to be involved...
It's getting kind of spooky that it is being revealed that there seem to be a notable number of "Pharmacists" that are also legislators all over the country. And pharmacists all seem to be very much against natural medical cannabis. Could it be that they don't want some little plant interfering with their profit on pharmaceutical chemicals and their being wealthy enough to run and have enough free time to legislate on the side? Maybe pharmacists have a not so hidden agenda in their opposition to medical cannabis."New Mexico Rep. John Heaton, D-Carlsbad, said he "vehemently opposes" the legislation. Heaton, a pharmacist, said marijuana is a weak painkiller and anti-nauseant. He also said the issue supersedes the FDA and its drug-approval process."
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Comment #7 posted by dongenero on March 03, 2008 at 09:22:17 PT
This is not very surprising. My preconception of Kansas politics is more of a repressive mindset rather than progressive.I was surprised however, to see this legislation proposed at all in Kansas.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on March 03, 2008 at 09:21:49 PT
Drug War doing irreparable harm "Not many people get to see the War On Drugs from the viewpoint of an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. I have and it is not a pretty sight. Twelve of my 20 years in law enforcement were spent in the DEA, six straight years of them in undercover operations in North, Central and South America.Based on my experience, I can assure you that our drug war is a vile and despicable presence doing irreparable harm to all of the American landscape. Nowhere has this war presented itself as a positive policy. "
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Comment #5 posted by tintala on March 03, 2008 at 09:01:53 PT:
AN ARTICLE ABOUT CRACK OFFENDERS BEING RELEASED EA sentencing guidelines were expected to lead Monday to the early release of more than a dozen federal inmates convicted on crack-cocaine charges.Judges could reduce sentences or grant early releases for thousands of inmates convicted on crack-cocaine charges. Approximately 1,600 federal inmates are currently eligible to ask a court to reduce their sentences because of December's decision by a federal agency to make retroactive reduced sentences for some crack-cocaine related convictions.The decision was based on the stark difference in terms handed out for crack convictions versus those convicted on charges for powder cocaine.Judges could reduce sentences for nearly 20,000 inmates following the decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission -- an independent federal agency that advises all three branches of government on sentences. Advocates of the sentence reduction say it is only fair, but the Justice Department counters and says that the move will allow dangerous criminals back on the street.The Justice Department is concerned "that so many people would be released all at once -- people who have shown that they are repeat offenders, and without the possibility of any kind of transition or re-entry program to bring them from prison back to the streets," Deborah Rhodes, an associate deputy attorney general, told CNN. Watch why officials are worried about inmates' early release »But lawyers and groups that have been pushing for the change in sentencing disagree. They say that most of these prisoners are not hardened criminals, and that judges will have to approve any reduction on a case-by-case basis and will not grant an early release to those considered dangerous."Judges have a lot of discretion," Virginia public defender Michael Nachmanoff told CNN. His office filed 16 motions for early release and expects at least four of his clients to be set free Monday, with some others going to halfway houses.Don't Miss
FindLaw: Opinion (Kimbrough v. U.S.) 
FindLaw: Case Docket 
Justices: Judges can slash crack sentences 
"If [judges] view a particular defendant a public danger there is nothing in the law that obligates them to lower that sentence," he said.Judges "can also impose intermediate protections as well or refer someone to a halfway house, or to home confinement," he said.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in December that judges can impose shorter prison sentences for crack cocaine. If reductions are approved by judges, the Justice Department hopes they will be as limited as possible.The Supreme Court case dealt with Derrick Kimbrough of Norfolk, Virginia, who according to court records, pleaded guilty to distributing more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.Federal sentencing guidelines called for 19 to 22.5 years behind bars. However, Judge Raymond Jackson instead gave the defendant a 15-year sentence, calling the case "another example of how crack-cocaine guidelines are driving the offense level to a point higher than is necessary to do justice." A federal appeals court later overturned the case and sent it to a higher court, claiming Jackson's discretion was "unreasonable when it is based on a disagreement with the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine offenses."But writing for the majority in the Supreme Court's decision, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it is important to preserve judicial discretion, while ensuring most sentences remain within federal guidelines.Attorney General Michael Mukasey told a police group last week that statistics from the Sentencing Commission show that nearly 80 percent of the almost 20,000 who can ultimately apply in the coming years for reductions have a prior criminal record.The commission, however, in a recent report also pointed out that only 1 percent of the 1,600 immediately eligible were considered "career criminals."Previously, a person with one gram of crack would receive the same sentence as someone with 100 grams of the powder version. Those advocating sentencing reform, such as the Families Against Mandatory Minimums, argue that such a ratio is discriminatory, and they point to a racial issue associated with the disparity in sentencing. Many of those found with crack are African-American, while powder users are mostly white.While the commission set Monday as the date for the retroactive measure to take effect, some of the eligible prisoners are already free -- since the panel's date was considered advisory and let judges make their own decisions.Public defender David Porter, who works in Sacramento, California, told CNN that judges there had already approved the release of two of his clients.Since the Sentencing Commission action, lawyers around the nation have been working vigorously file motions for many of those eligible so they could be released as close to March 3 as possible if judges approve.Other inmates, such as 60-year-old amputee Burton Hagwood, who has been in prison since 2000, petitioned courts themselves. His wife, who did not wish to be identified, said he is not violent and would not be a threat to society."He wants to come back to the community. And he also wants to help the community. He plans on doing some paralegal work when he gets out. So he would be an asset," she told CNN
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on March 03, 2008 at 08:50:42 PT
Latest on Barry Cooper officer sells DVDs with tips on avoiding drug arrests
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 03, 2008 at 07:21:30 PT
I can relate to what you are saying.
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on March 03, 2008 at 06:47:07 PT
I'm not sure if I've simply been 'obamafied' but I feel a change a comin', it's rolling round the bend, I pray to god we get it right this time my friends.It's the 21st Century, time to create a 21st century world and leave the 13th century behind.
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Comment #1 posted by JohnO on March 03, 2008 at 05:22:21 PT:
This is unfortunate, but the debate continues
Unfortunately the resistance to reason persists at all levels of government, I believe it has more to do with the fact that law enforcement are able to make more money from forfeitures surrounding the drug trade than from the prescribed appropriations methods of old. Forfeitures need to be abolished first to remove the ulterior motivations for opposition to what everyone knows is the best move for sick patients, and just Joe Dimebag winding down after a hectic day at work. If the legislators can get used to seeing large numbers of people advocating against such things as normalized forfeitures and excessive use of eminent domain, perhaps after a few years some will take it seriously and do away with those illicit forms of public funding. After that, the drug warrior must figure out a different path to funding. All their energy is spent on the issues of funding, let's put them on the defensive first and we then can advance our issues better. JohnO
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