New Push for Medical Marijuana Legalization

New Push for Medical Marijuana Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on February 11, 2009 at 05:30:14 PT
By Mark Brunswick and Bob Von Sternberg
Source: Star-Tribune 
Minnesota -- Backers of medical marijuana want the face of Stephanie Whiting-Shadinger to be one of those Minnesota lawmakers remember as debate resumes at the State Capitol on allowing some patients to use the now-illegal drug.Whiting-Shadinger died in 2003 at age 26, suffering from malignant melanoma that required experimental treatments, chemotherapy and 10 surgeries. Daily doses of pain killers failed to relieve her misery.
Joni Whiting, a suburban grandma from Jordan, will be testifying today in a Senate committee that she reluctantly abandoned her anti-drug sentiments and went along with her daughter smoking marijuana in her final days. And she's glad she did.Opposition to legalizing medicinal marijuana remains strong among those concerned about its effects on drug abuse. But supporters hope new strategies can build support for their cause.Like nothing else, Joni Whiting said, marijuana eased some of her daughter's pain and restored some of her appetite. She lived three months longer than doctors predicted, smiled for the first time in months and was able to eat a mushroom and cheese omelette the day before she died.Before her daughter's illness, Whiting said, "I looked at people talking about medical marijuana as the potheads, lazy people wanting to smoke pot and sit on the couch all day. My daughter was living proof that this plant is a miracle plant and it worked."She smiled again and she played with her children. It was a miracle what happened to my daughter from the moment she smoked that pot."It's stories like those -- from people no one would expect to sing marijuana's praises -- that supporters hope will persuade legislators to add Minnesota to the list of 13 states that permit some form of medicinal use of marijuana. The proposal, debated repeatedly in recent years, has gained support among legislators but has been blocked by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor remains opposed but would reconsider if law enforcement officials do.  A Different Strategy  The proposal, as in past years, would establish a system through which qualified patients could obtain marijuana to ease pain and other symptoms through nonprofit organizations registered with the state. Its proponents are aware that credibility is an issue, having failed to win decisive support in previous years with the testimony of pony-tailed supporters saying they needed the marijuana to treat unusual or elusive conditions.This time, advocates will be bringing forward people with spinal cord injuries, cancer and HIV-AIDS to make their case."There are real human faces behind this issue," said Chris DeLaForest, a former Republican legislator now lobbying for the medical marijuana advocacy group. "What we are doing is presenting, in flesh and blood, people who represent those medical conditions."Even though one quarter of the states have passed laws regulating the use of medical marijuana, they remain in conflict with federal law. But the Obama administration has sent signals that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws related to medical marijuana. Advocates hope the new president's views will aide their cause.  'Our Opposition is Steadfast'  But local law enforcement has seen nothing new to lessen their opposition. Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, immediate past president of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, said law enforcement's concerns that medical marijuana systems are rife for abuse and legitimize drug use remain serious."Every major law enforcement organization continues to oppose it. It would simply be bad public policy to adopt the bill. Our opposition is steadfast," Backstrom said.In addition, the Minnesota Family Council plans to oppose the bill as it has in the past, with people testifying about personal experiences with the dangers of smoking marijuana and how the bill will put the public's health at risk.Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author: Mark Brunswick and Bob Von Sternberg, Star TribunePublished: February 11, 2009Copyright: 2009 Star Tribune Contact: opinion Website: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on February 11, 2009 at 15:39:27 PT
Medical Marijuana Debate Revived
Morris Sun TribunePublished: Thursday, February 12, 2009ST. PAUL – George Wagoner said all it took was two breaths of marijuana smoke and his wife could cope with the pain of terminal ovarian cancer.“She received dramatic relief,” said Wagoner, a Michigan physician and medical marijuana advocate.Ryan Rasmussen said he is recovering from a troubled lifestyle that started when he smoked marijuana, which led him to dabble in a stronger street narcotic and criminal behavior.“Legalizing medical pot will cause more crime, not less crime,” the 28-year-old Burnsville man warned.The two sides of the medical marijuana debate lined up Wednesday for another legislative fight as lawmakers said this is the year Minnesota will permit use of the drug as a pain reliever for people suffering from certain illnesses.“This is about compassionate health care,” bill author Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said.Like in past years, law enforcement organizations are leading the opposition, warning the drug will get into the wrong hands, but are backed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. A spokesman said the governor continues to oppose the legislation.Bill supporters said they hope Pawlenty changes his mind after learning more about the legislation. Similar laws in other states have not led to increased criminal behavior, they said.Law enforcement officers are sympathetic to people suffering from chronic pain, but oppose medicinal marijuana in part because it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, said Harlan Johnson of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.The legislation allows people with a “debilitating medical condition” – such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS or other chronic diseases – to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana if they obtain a government registration card and a prescription.Murphy convinced the Senate to support similar legislation in 2007, but the effort stalled in the House amid opposition from law enforcement.“There is more than enough regulation in here and more than enough penalties that I think takes care of their concerns,” said Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, who is sponsoring the House bill this year. His first committee hearing is later this month.The legislation makes it a felony for patients to sell or give away the drug or their registration card that allows them to possess medical marijuana. It also requires criminal background checks for caregivers and prohibits the use of marijuana in public places and where it could be inhaled by a child.The Senate bill’s first stop was a largely receptive Health, Housing and Family Security Committee. Sen. Yvonne Prettner-Solon, DFL-Duluth, said she watched her husband suffer with cancer before he died seven years ago. She succeeded him in the Senate.“We’re talking about end-of-life issues, a last resort for people suffering,” she said.Republican Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie echoed other opponents when he said medical marijuana needs more research.Supporters are hoping tearful testimony from the relatives of people who suffered from chronic illnesses will help their cause.Joni Whiting of Jordan cried as she told senators about her daughter’s struggle against skin cancer. Whiting said she initially refused to allow her ill daughter to use marijuana, but later allowed it after seeing that it helped relieve pain. Whiting said her daughter died in 2003.“What would you have done had you been in my shoes?” Whiting asked. “Could you sleep at night when your child was screaming in pain?”Copyright: 2009 Forum Communications Co.§ion=homepage
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on February 11, 2009 at 11:45:34 PT
I understand that. Still it's good to hear from you. Jump in anytime. Of course. We're always glad to hear that you're still out there... or in here... or something.
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Comment #7 posted by mydnytmover on February 11, 2009 at 11:09:26 PT
Thanks Hope
I check the news here a few times a day,,I have always been a quiet, keep to myself kind of guy, unless I am mad, greedy stupid people make me mad..
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on February 11, 2009 at 10:08:31 PT
Seems like I haven't seen your moniker in a long time. Good to see you.
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Comment #5 posted by mydnytmover on February 11, 2009 at 09:44:05 PT
evil people
Minneasota made it just a ticket if you are caught with under an ounce in the 80s, But they will not let sick and dieing people have medical marijuana???? What a joke, Is so sad we have to live in a world with people that cannot use there brain
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on February 11, 2009 at 08:25:44 PT
Arrogance. Pride. Hatred. Sheer, rank, stupidity.
People who refuse to see are literally blinded by their own arrogance."Before her daughter's illness, Whiting said, "I looked at people talking about medical marijuana as the potheads, lazy people wanting to smoke pot and sit on the couch all day. My daughter was living proof that this plant is a miracle plant and it worked.""Its proponents are aware that credibility is an issue, having failed to win decisive support in previous years with the testimony of pony-tailed supporters saying they needed the marijuana to treat unusual or elusive conditions."
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on February 11, 2009 at 08:10:07 PT
"a miracle plant "
The Bible's very 1st page informs Us God created all the seed bearing plants which includes cannabis and indicated they are all good.Some people go as far as saying cannabis is"a miracle plant" Some people say cannabis is the tree of life.Some say, superplant, etc.Cannabis is good. -0-Government must stop trying to exterminate cannabis.God may exterminate government before government exterminates cannnabis.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on February 11, 2009 at 06:48:05 PT
When "Right" is good!
This is the sad and inhumane situation created by greedy industry with nothing but profits on their minds.The term for this, profits at any cost mentality is, "predatory capitalism". Many have died and suffered, have been incarcerated, killed, families broken and children displaced, all in the name of drug profits. It is a matter of recorded history that American Industry has caused, instigated, and supported wars and government overthrows the world over. Often with the military aid of the US for control of raw goods for manufacturing and produce.This war on the Plant is metaphorically like burning down your house to rid yourself of a mouse. How they were able to sell the twisted logic that goes with this war on a plant I'll never understand? Anslinger? This guy was a clumsy idiot with strong political ties. He was not a scientist or a doctor or a rocket surgeon. I doubt that he had much of an education at all? He had a mission, an agenda, that's all! Now look! 70 years later half of America is trying to convince the other half that there is no boogeyman under the bed! The American majority, I don't know? They gave us W, Iraq, the WoD. I have always been out of step with the "majority" and I have never regretted it! I've suffered for it but I don't regret being on the right side, ever!
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on February 11, 2009 at 06:04:26 PT
It continues to amaze me how much power law
enforcement has in the USA. Add to this a republican governor with veto power and progress has come to a screeching halt.Then we are back to convincing law enforcement that marijuana has medical uses. However it is impossible to convince someone of another view if his or her job depends on it.This is the situation in USA; ignorant and incompetent police is laying down the law for all of us ...
On a mission from God!
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