Medical Marijuana Gets Support

Medical Marijuana Gets Support
Posted by CN Staff on March 11, 2008 at 05:45:34 PT
By Frank Radosevich II of The Journal Star
Source: Peoria Journal Star
Peoria, Illinois -- Sixty-eight percent of registered Illinois voters favor legalizing marijuana for medical use by seriously and terminally ill patients, according to a recent survey funded by a group that promotes the drug's legalization.The survey, conducted last month by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. but paid for by the Washington, D.C.,- based Marijuana Policy Project, polled 625 registered voters across the state. Findings, however, were released Monday by the advocacy group on the heels of an Illinois Senate committee approving a bill legalizing medical marijuana.
When asked how strongly they support "allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to use and grow medical marijuana for personal use if their doctors recommend it," 42 percent of respondents statewide said they strongly supported it, 26 percent somewhat supported it, 12 percent somewhat opposed it and 15 percent strongly opposed. Five percent of respondents had no opinion.In a similar survey of the Peoria area - which interviewed 400 voters in Peoria, Knox, Stark, Marshall, Woodford, Tazewell, Mason and Fulton counties - 31 percent of interviewed voters said they strongly supported it, 28 percent somewhat supported it, 13 percent somewhat opposed it, 21 percent strongly opposed it and 7 percent had no opinion."I think the poll results aren't surprising at all," said Dan Bernath, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "This is becoming less and less a political issue but more and more a public health issue."The group cites a 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine as evidence the drug is rarely addictive and doesn't necessarily lead to harder narcotics. Advocates claim the plant can be used to treat pain, sleep, nausea, appetite and tremors without serious physical or psychological harm.Some officials, however, aren't buying the results, saying the framing of the poll's questions skewed answers."When you couch it in terms of should sick people use marijuana when they are sick and dying, of course people would say yes," said Laimutis Nargelenas, deputy director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. "I think it's pretty poor that they have to hide behind sick people."The Illinois State Police also opposes the proposal and believes its wording would create a loophole to allow motorists to drive under the influence of marijuana.Nargelenas said law enforcement has no philosophical objection to medicinal marijuana but sees the current bill as nothing more than the precursor to fully legalizing the drug for all - ill or not. The measure also sends a mixed message to children on how to deal with drug use, he added.Currently, 12 states and six cities have laws legalizing marijuana use for medical reasons, but buying, selling or possessing the plant is still a federal crime. According to Illinois' proposed legislation, sponsored by state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, patients with chronic or debilitating disease could receive prescriptions for medical marijuana as well as "no more than 8 plants and two and one-half ounces of usable marijuana." Similar legislation passed the Senate Public Health Committee last year but was voted down by the full Senate. Note: Poll's findings come after committee OKs initial proposal on drug.Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)Author: Frank Radosevich II of The Journal StarPublished: Tuesday, March 11, 2008Copyright: 2008 Peoria Journal StarContact: forum pjstar.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Pot Proposal a Painful One Bill Legalizing MMJ Sent To Senate Senator Working To Legalize Marijuana 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 11, 2008 at 13:14:01 PT
Related Article From The Rockford Register Star
Poll: 65 Percent of Local Voters Back Medical Marijuana for Seriously IllBy Andrea ZimmermannMarch 11, 2008 SPRINGFIELD — A new poll shows that 65 percent of registered voters in the Rock River Valley support allowing seriously ill people to use and grow marijuana as a way to relieve their pain.The poll, which was released Monday by the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project, supports a Chicago Democrat’s legislation that aims to legalize marijuana for that purpose.The results from the Rock River Valley are similar to the poll’s statewide results.The poll surveyed 400 registered voters in Winnebago, Ogle, DeKalb, Boone and Stephenson counties.For more background on this issue, visit the In Chambers blog. 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc.
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Comment #1 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 11, 2008 at 07:35:06 PT:
Pot As Painkiller Creates Controversy
Medical Marijuana OK In Some States, Despite FedsCraig Clough, Staff WriterST. PAUL -- Lynn Nicholson has spent a great deal of her life in more pain than most people could imagine.When she was 10 years old, she and a friend were playing in the attic of her family’s house in Minneapolis when the floor gave way. The two girls fell 8 feet and crashed onto the floor below.Lynn landed on the hard floor. She stumbled up to get help, but her back was so hurt she wasn’t able to balance herself and tumbled down a flight of stairs.The falls compressed seven of her vertebrae and put her in the hospital. When she was brought home she couldn't even get out of bed."My mother said, 'Look, either you're going to get up and walk to the bathroom or you're going to pee on yourself, and you're going to get awful hungry if you don't get up and walk down to the dinner table,'" Nicholson recalled.Although the pain never fully went away, Nicholson said she just learned to grin and bear it. She became a downhill skier and took survival trips to northern Minnesota, sometimes slinging a canoe on her back while portaging between rivers.In 1975, she moved to Israel by herself when she was 16 and lived there for six years, becoming a dual citizen and serving several years in the Israeli military. She eventually moved back to Minneapolis, got married and had two children, who are now 18 and 20.One day in the mid-1990s, she woke up after remodeling her kitchen and found that her back had given out. Her life has never been the same since that day.She’s had 10 back surgeries and spent three years in a body cast. She’s been on a long list of painkillers and had to check herself into a detox facility in an effort to get off them. She received steroid injections in her back, which she said her doctors told her caused steroid-induced diabetes. She was prescribed the painkiller Fentanyl, of which a possible side effect according to some studies is tooth decay, and had to have all of her teeth pulled.She put on more than 200 pounds, has trouble getting around and sometimes has to use a wheelchair and stair lift.In order to help with the pain, Nicholson smokes marijuana. She said she does it because it does not produce the negative side effects of her prescribed painkillers, like addiction and tooth decay.Doctors Don't ArgueNicholson said some of her doctors have recommended to her that she smoke, and others have shrugged their shoulders when she told them. None, she said, ever told her to stop.The problem is that Nicholson lives in Minnesota, where doctors are not allowed to prescribe marijuana, so what she is doing is illegal. It's something that the former Hebrew teacher is not proud of."I don't like doing things that are illegal," said Nicholson. "I'm a mother. I don't believe in teaching my children to do as I say not as I do."Nicholson soon may not have to break state law anymore. The Minnesota Legislature is close to passing a bill that would allow smoked marijuana to be prescribed by physicians.
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