Police Oppose Pot for Patients
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Police Oppose Pot for Patients
Posted by CN Staff on April 14, 2009 at 04:26:12 PT
By Susan M. Cover, Staff Writer
Source: Morning Sentinel
Augusta, Maine -- Law enforcement officials said Monday they oppose a bill that would allow nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, fearing easier access to the drug would increase crime."If this bill becomes law, it will dramatically increase access to this intoxicant," said Geoffrey Rushlau, district attorney for Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.
Rushlau and others testified before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee as it considered a bill brought forward by citizen initiative.The bill, L.D. 975, adds conditions that a physician can prescribe marijuana; creates a voluntary identification card for qualified patients; and allows nonprofit dispensaries, which would make access to marijuana easier for patients who have a doctor's permission.Jonathan Leavitt, who spoke on behalf of Maine Citizens for Patients' Rights, said the bill addresses the biggest flaw in current state statute: access.Current law allows those who are qualified to grow up to six plants, but he said many patients don't have the equipment or the permission of a landlord to cultivate the marijuana."People access it via the black market," he said.Leavitt said more than 80,000 people signed the petition to put the new bill before the Legislature. He said he chose not to pack the hearing room with supporters and, instead, spoke on behalf of "the thousands of Maine residents" whom he said would benefit from medical marijuana."There is not a lot that could be added to the stories you have probably heard of: people with cancer using cannabis to lessen the pain of radiation treatments, or someone who was living HIV-positive using cannabis to simply allow them to eat," he said.Yet law enforcement officials fear creating storefronts for medical marijuana would increase crime, traffic and noise, said Roy McKinney, director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency."This legislation raises concerns for public health, safety and welfare of Maine citizens," he said.In all likelihood, it will be up to voters in November to approve or reject the bill. Although it is now before a legislative committee, lawmakers typically reject citizen initiatives, putting them to a public vote.The Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday.Dave Wilkinson, of Harpswell, who has stage two prostate cancer and leukemia, has been authorized to use marijuana by two doctors.However, he testified in opposition to the bill, saying he's worried about the names of patients ending up on a list if people sign up for a card."L.D. 975 treats a nontoxic herbal plant as if it were plutonium," he said. "Far more deadly are police harassment, employment problems and social stigma."The Maine Medical Association did not take a formal position on the bill, but said it is not aware of complaints from physicians about misuse of the current law, said Andrew MacLean, deputy executive vice president of the association.He said "most physicians" believe there are other prescription drugs that help address the conditions described by medical marijuana advocates.While some physicians acknowledge that marijuana provides some relief sooner than some prescription medications, "most believe that the health risks of smoking outweigh the potential benefit," he said.Yet Charles Wynott, who said medical marijuana helps control nausea caused by the pills he takes for HIV/AIDS, said people need safe access to medical marijuana."Please understand there are patients out there who need your help," he said.Source: Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME)Author: Susan M. Cover, Staff WriterPublished: April 14, 2009Copyright: 2009 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.Contact: Article:Medical Pot Issue Likely Headed To Voters Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on April 17, 2009 at 10:09:25 PT
The Case for Maine's Medical Marijuana Initiative
April 17, 2009URL:
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 16, 2009 at 11:19:16 PT
Maine Medical Marijuana Bill To Go To The Voters
Thursday, April 16, 2009AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill that seeks to make it easier for qualified patients in Maine to obtain medical marijuana appears to be headed to a statewide vote in November.The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee voted 8-0 Wednesday to reject a citizen initiative that would have the state issue identification cards to qualifying patients and allow licensed nonprofit dispensaries to provide marijuana to those patients.Mainers in 1999 approved a law to allow residents to possess marijuana for medical use with a doctor's recommendation. But patients contend there's been no practical way for them to legally obtain the marijuana.The Kennebec Journal reported that the bill will now go to Maine voters barring any unusual legislative maneuvers.Copyright: 2009 Associated PressInformation from: Kennebec Journal: URL:
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 14, 2009 at 12:00:34 PT
NM: More Diseases Could Be Treated With MMJ
More Diseases Could Be Treated With Medical Marijuana April 14, 2009 
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A medical advisory board is recommending more chronic conditions to the list of patients who can use medical marijuana. 
The state already allows its use for pain and other symptoms from 14 debilitating illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries. The state Department of Health added seven of those conditions in February. The program provides protection from state prosecution for approved patients. It has 284 patients so far. Now the advisory board is recommending eight more conditions: chronic muscle inflammation accompanied by muscle weakness, severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, post-polio syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and severe chronic pain. Copyright: 2009 by The Associated Press
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 14, 2009 at 10:45:22 PT
State Senate Weighs Medical Marijuana Use
 April 14, 2009CONCORD, N.H. -- Supporters told a Senate committee Tuesday that New Hampshire should join 13 other states in allowing residents with crippling ailments to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.But critics -- mostly law enforcement -- blasted the idea at a hearing Tuesday as unworkable because it carves out a nebulous exception in the criminal statute that will invite abuse and be difficult to regulate.The House voted 234-138 to send the bill to the Senate. Gov. John Lynch has said he has concerns about the bill.The bill would allow severely ill patients or their caregivers to grow and possess six marijuana plants and 2 ounces of the drug. It requires doctors to certify a patient has a debilitating medical condition and would benefit from the therapeutic or palliative benefit from using marijuana.Copyright 2009 by The Associated PressURL:
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Comment #7 posted by dongenero on April 14, 2009 at 08:11:58 PT
Isn't that the point?
"If this bill becomes law, it will dramatically increase access to this intoxicant," said Geoffrey Rushlau, district attorney for Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.I believe that is the point Mr. Rushlau. Increase availability of medical marijuana for patients through legitimate sources. Good comprehension sir.I wonder why the police would be lobbyists for the black market??? This is a question people should ask in these hearings.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 14, 2009 at 07:29:24 PT
When a person's job depends on chasing marijuana people and they see a loss in income if the laws are changed it must concern them. They will have to go after hard drugs ( like cartels) then and they will be involved in more violent confrontations. Why would they want that to be a policy?
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Comment #5 posted by George Servantes on April 14, 2009 at 07:21:50 PT
Yea, that's what i say old the time. It's not their job to take sides - but only only to enforce existing laws and let people and legislators work on laws. They should be neutral.Is police best argument and defender of prohibitionists policies?
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on April 14, 2009 at 07:14:48 PT
I'm just saying!
If ever I should witness a pitchfork and torch brigade marching on Uncle Sam I will put on my bifocals, grab my nitro-spray and heart meds, indigestion pills and back pain medicine, and join the march.What is more dangerous than a crotchety old wartime vet with an aching back?-eh?I'm just saying!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 14, 2009 at 06:38:11 PT
I don't know why we listen to anyone associated with the police. They are only suppose to enforce law not make law. Hopefully when the Obama administration gets it's drug policy program in gear we won't be hearing anything from police.
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Comment #2 posted by George Servantes on April 14, 2009 at 05:21:07 PT
Politicans send police to defend it's drug war
Wow police is acting like they will be selling weapons of mass destruction. Their ignorance so much amazes me. But I guess they can only appeal to ignorants like themselves, most people in Maine are not against marijuana, I think this ballot should pass easily. What we need is a better access, I have my doctors recommendation but I can legally buy it.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 14, 2009 at 04:37:00 PT
Shift in Policy May Ease Patients' Access To Pot 
April 14, 2009Maine -- One of the leaders of an effort to make it easier for qualified patients to receive medical marijuana told state lawmakers Monday that the idea is more politically palatable now, thanks to federal prosecutors' new reluctance to override state marijuana laws.Two years ago, Jonathan Leavitt from the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative addressed skeptical lawmakers who pointed out that the state's existing medical marijuana law runs afoul of federal law.Reconciling federal and state law is no longer an obstacle, Leavitt said Monday. He cited U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement of a change from the Bush administration's policy, which outlawed cultivating, using and selling marijuana for medical purposes despite state laws permitting it."I think we addressed some of the concerns, primarily whether the federal government was going to continue to interfere," Leavitt said after the hearing.If lawmakers don't enact the bill, the proposal automatically goes to a statewide vote because supporters collected more than the 55,087 signatures needed to put it on the November ballot. In all, supporters collected 80,000 signatures, Leavitt said.Critics included Roy McKinney, director of Maine's Drug Enforcement Agency, who is skeptical that marijuana can be properly controlled. The Maine Office of Substance Abuse, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, also opposes the bill.Mainers in 1999 overwhelmingly approved the existing law to allow residents to possess marijuana for medical use with a doctor's recommendation. Patients are allowed to keep up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to six marijuana plants.But patients contend there's no practical way for them to legally obtain marijuana.The proposed law would direct the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to issue identification cards to qualifying patients. It would also allow nonprofit dispensaries licensed by the agency to provide marijuana to those patients.If supporters are successful, medical marijuana is only the first step in what Leavitt sees as a wider legalization effort."The priority is to get qualified patients their medicine. However, we're here to examine and challenge all of the policies and laws that relate to marijuana prohibition," Leavitt said.Copyright: 2009 Associated PressURL:
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