Medical Pot Backers Hail Vote
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Medical Pot Backers Hail Vote
Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2010 at 05:38:29 PT
By Annie Linskey
Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore, M.D. -- The Maryland Senate voted 35-12 on Saturday to give sick people access to marijuana, sending a strong message that the upper chamber is serious about the controversial idea. House leaders have said they will not take up the measure this year. The legislature's 90-day session ends on Monday.Nevertheless, advocates hailed the Senate vote as a victory. "We are very happy," said Mike Meno, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization promoting medical use of pot. "To vote by such a margin means that the Senate is in line with public sentiment nationally and here in Maryland."
Senators from both parties supported the measure, which builds on a Maryland law passed in 2003 that allows leniency to defendants charged with marijuana possession if they can show a medical need."I think the Senate recognized the plight of people who have sick and chronic conditions," said Sen. David Brinkley, one of the lead sponsors and two-time cancer survivor. The Western Maryland Republican said he views the issue as a libertarian cause.Fourteen states allow medical use of marijuana. Private dispensaries have become a cottage industry in California and Colorado, prompting a backlash from citizens who view the policy as de facto legalization. The Obama administration had signaled that federal authorities would not crack down on medical uses, though there have been federal raids in some states.Sponsors said the Maryland bill was crafted to avoid the criticism that has arisen in other states. The plan would require patients to have a long-standing relationship with the prescribing doctor and requiring the state to license any dispensaries.Opponents in the Senate included Lowell Stoltzfus, an Eastern Shore Republican who views marijuana as a "gateway drug" and worries about heading down a path toward full legalization. "It is a terrible idea," he said.The two doctors in the General Assembly have been split on the issue. Sen. Andrew P. Harris, a Baltimore County anesthesiologist who is running for Congress, said he'd be more likely to support the measure if the number of recipients were capped. Harris offered several changes to the legislation, but they were rejected.Del. Dan Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat and emergency room doctor, helped to write the bill saying he consulted with the Maryland State Police. He said he was "very excited" about Senate passage and said he hopes Saturday's action "prompts the House to take a fresh look at it." Both chambers met for hours Saturday, passing other key measures:• The House approved the final version of the state's $13 billion spending plan, which already has Senate approval.• The House gave preliminary approval to a 3-percent tuition cap at public universities.• The Senate delayed a vote on a ban on reading text messages while driving.• The Senate amended a House-passed slots bill to allow card games at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County, a measure the House opposes.• The Senate gave final approval to bill allowing a judge to shield records of peace orders or protective orders from public databases.Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)Author: Annie LinskeyPublished: April 11, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Baltimore SunContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 11, 2010 at 15:23:19 PT
I'm hoping the Chicago Tribune does a good story soon. Let's get it done!
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on April 11, 2010 at 15:01:01 PT
Go Illinois!!!
Be #15
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 11, 2010 at 14:23:28 PT
Medicinal Marijuana a Vote Away in Illinois
Sunday, April 11, 2010CHICAGO (WBBM) — Medicinal marijuana is one vote away from possibly becoming law in Illinois.The measure’s chief sponsor, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said Saturday that he is working behind the scenes to line up the needed votes, and is waiting for the right moment to call it for a vote in the Illinois House.If approved and signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois would become the 15th state to allow medicinal use of marijuana, which has been criminalized in Illinois since the 1930s.Lang claimed that privately, more than 90 members of the House support the bill. But he said nearly 40 refuse to vote for it because of fears about political fallout.The bill would allow those who obtain a doctor’s prescription and state licensing to own three marijuana plants.“It requires them to get a license from the Illinois Dept. of Public health, which would monitor and license each person, and it provides strict penalties for those who break the law, or use the marijuana and drive, or try to sell it or distribute it,” Lang said.Lang said studies have shown repeatedly that marijuana is not addictive and that someone cannot overdose using it. He said that, as a result, it makes a lot more sense in the treatment of chronic pain than Oxycontin or Vicodin, both of which are addictive and can kill.The bill has the support of Illinois Public Health Advocate Dr. Quentin Young, who is also Quinn’s personal physician.“The medical profession has no controversy on this, to speak of,” Dr. Young said.During a news conference at the James R. Thompson Center, a woman who has had multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years, Julie Falco, said marijuana use has not only relieved pain, it has “saved my life.”“I was released from debilitating depression and chronic pharmaceutical side effects that almost led me to take my own life,” she said.The bill won approval in the Illinois Senate 30-28 more than 10 months ago, and won approval 4-3 in the Illinois House Human Services Committee and 3-2 in the Rules Committee. Lang said he has been promised a vote by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) if he can muster the needed votes.Copyright: 2010
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