Informal Conversation on Medical Marijuana

Informal Conversation on Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on June 03, 2008 at 06:49:03 PT
By Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times Health Reporter
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle, WA -- State health officials met with representatives of law enforcement and medicine Monday, another step in their legislatively mandated mission to define the "60-day supply" of marijuana granted in state law to patients with serious health conditions.The Department of Health allowed about a dozen medical-marijuana advocates, some in wheelchairs and walkers, to listen to the "informal conversation." Some had vowed earlier to disrupt a closed meeting.
The discussion table included invited representatives from police and sheriffs, prosecutors and the American Civil Liberties Union, a lone doctor, a medical-marijuana patient advocate, and the sponsor of the bill mandating a limit.Although the health department sought public comment in an unusual set of workshops around the state before drafting a rule  which will start the clock on a set of formal hearings  Gov. Christine Gregoire directed it to seek more comment from law enforcement and the medical community, which were barely represented among the hundreds who spoke at the workshops.For an hour and a half, the participants wrestled with the task."This is a medical decision. It should be determined by physicians," said Don Pierce, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. But the number shouldn't be so big that "anybody involved in cultivation and sale could hide behind it."Earlier this year, health officials told the governor they planned a limit of 35 ounces and a 100-square-foot growing area.Dr. Bob Wood, director of the HIV/AIDS Program for Public Health  Seattle & King County, said a pack-a-day smoker would use about 4.4 pounds of tobacco in two months. And two months' worth of the HIV/AIDS pills he takes weigh 2.2 pounds.Setting a medical-marijuana limit is difficult, Wood said, because the health department is seeking a "one size fits all" number, something unusual in medicine.Sen. Jeanne Kohl Welles, D-Seattle, the limit-setting bill sponsor, said she began her effort after watching her sister-in-law and her best friend die of cancer. "They could take a couple of puffs from a little [marijuana] cigarette, and the nausea would dissipate."Reluctantly, her in-laws  "conservative Republicans"  helped their son-in-law buy marijuana on the street. "That's just appalling," she said.Health officials said they expect to produce a draft by July 1.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author:  Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times Health ReporterPublished:  Tuesday, June 3, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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