Delaware House OKs Medical Marijuana

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  Delaware House OKs Medical Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on May 06, 2011 at 06:27:25 PT
By Chad Livengood 
Source: Delaware Online 

Dover -- The Delaware House on Thursday approved use of marijuana for medical purposes, but tacked on additional restrictions requiring the drug be distributed in tamper-proof containers and prohibiting smoking cannabis in buses and vehicles.The House voted 24-17 on Senate Bill 17, which now must go back to the Senate for the upper chamber to consider the House's changes. Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, the bill sponsor, said a final vote could happen as early as Tuesday. "They're fine," Henry said of the amendments. "It's not a problem."
The legislation allows Delawareans with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating diseases to get a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana to treat their pain, nausea or illness. Qualified patients would be issued a state identification card.Three state-regulated not-for-profit dispensaries would be established in each county to sell and distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients and caregivers. Only licensed dispensaries would be allowed to grow marijuana; home cultivation would remain prohibited under the bill.Patients would have to get a doctor's recommendation to smoke, ingest or use a marijuana vaporizer after other medical treatment or prescription drugs failed to treat their illness, said Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington West."Whether you are diagnosed with cancer, whether you are diagnosed with MS, you must have tried other drugs," Keeley said. "Those drugs must fail first."In negotiations with the Delaware Medical Society, Henry agreed to remove glaucoma, Crohn's disease and early stages of hepatitis C from the list of qualifying illnesses from the bill to help ensure its passage, Keeley said.Under the bill, qualifying patients also would be allowed to designate a person to serve as their caregiver and pick up their medical marijuana for them.Since the bill was introduced in January, lawmakers have heard countless testimony from individuals with debilitating diseases about how marijuana, used illegally, has eased their debilitating pain and helped treat nausea caused by cancer and HIV drugs.T.J. Jurgens, a 55-year-old Smyrna woman who has battled breast cancer for 18 years, said smoking marijuana has helped her with sleeping problems, pain management and nausea from cancer drugs."I will do whatever I have to save my life," Jurgens told the House. "I want to obey the law. If this bill does not pass today, I will be a cancer criminal."Rep. John Atkins, D-Millsboro, got two amendments tacked onto the bill. The first amendment would require dispensaries to package marijuana in tamperproof containers so that caregivers could not remove any of the cannabis before it arrived in the hands of the patient.Atkins' amendment got the support of House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, who said he was "uncomfortable" leaving the decision of whether to require tamperproof containers up to regulators at the Department of Health and Social Services."I think one more layer of protection -- a simple sealed and tamperproof container that is readily transported -- isn't too much to ask if we're going to do this bill right," Atkins said.If changes to the bill are approved by the Senate and Gov. Jack Markell, DHSS would have a year to develop regulations for the licensing of medical-marijuana dispensaries, Keeley said.Henry said she expects medical-marijuana dispensaries -- also known as "compassion centers" -- could be operating by mid-2012 in Delaware.Atkins' second amendment would prohibit patients from smoking medical marijuana in any form of transportation, including DART buses. Atkins said he wants to prevent so-called "hot boxing" where a legal patient smokes medical marijuana in a vehicle so the other passengers can experience a "contact high.""This is a common-sense public safety measure," Atkins said.Rep. Deborah Hudson's amendment seeking a $2 fee for every ounce of marijuana to pay for state regulations of the program failed on a 35-1 vote, with Hudson casting the lone vote for her proposal."I don't think that this project is a core value of state service, therefore I think a fee is in order," said Hudson, R-Fairthorne.Rep. Donald Blakey, R-Camden, proposed amending the bill to allow children to obtain marijuana for medical purposes. The Senate previously lowered the minimum age from 21 to 18.Blakey, who ultimately voted for the bill, said it would be "unfair and discriminatory" to exclude children with qualifying illnesses from using marijuana to treat their pains."It should be left up to a qualifying physician to determine who should get the medication and who should not," Blakey said.Blakey's amendment was defeated.After amendments were added and defeated, 23 Democrats and four Republicans teamed up to pass the bill. Eleven Republicans and three Democrats, including Atkins, Rep. William Carson and Majority Whip Valerie Longhurst, voted against the legislation.Rep. Brad Bennett, D-Dover, voted for the bill, citing his experience caring for his cancer-stricken father."When you see somebody suffering that much, if there's something that can help them get through the pain, get through the next day, that's the reason I am supporting this bill," Bennett said.Source: Delaware Online (DE)Author: Chad LivengoodPublished: May 5, 2011Copyright: 2011 Delawareonline.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 07, 2011 at 06:36:52 PT
That's wonderful. I wish you the best luck with your book!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by runruff on May 07, 2011 at 05:43:31 PT
My new book on Amazon. don't know if the URL is too long or not?My book is realivant here because it is a story about healing with natural herbs and eating primitive foods.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 06, 2011 at 21:03:36 PT

When CNews started late in 1998 my goal was to help reform marijuana laws. It has always been mostly medical because that is the way it started and has stayed. We have a few very close friends that are men and we have known each other for 30 or more years. They are Republicans. When they visit we spend about 5 or 10 minutes talking about politics and our views and then it's over. We have debated almost for fun and stop when we think it starts getting serious. Politics shouldn't divide us. Politics are personal and I have always felt it shouldn't be a big part of a discussion. I believe in following politicians to see how they stand on our issue. Whoever is President isn't as important as how many politicians are for or against reform. Change is happening. It has been changing ever since it all started mostly under Nixon. It leans more our way now though and that is good.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #7 posted by por1 on May 06, 2011 at 19:58:52 PT:

FoM and all
I hope i did nouthing wrong by posting this.I have nouthing but love in my heart.I love my country and fellow man.I am scared for you and me and mine.Please lets pay attention to what is really going on.
I know we come from diferent sides of politics, yet we are one. 
It is time for us all to come together with love for what is right!
Right, left it no longer matters it is time to imbrace each other or america will fall.
with Love
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on May 06, 2011 at 14:29:20 PT

I see that the only thing they'll allow are dispensaries. That's easy to understand - one letter from the IRS or state Attorney General and the dispensaries will be DOA.of course personal growing must be kept illegal as this is completely "off the grid", can't be stopped by the feds, and will directly reduce peoples' pharmaceutical spending.For those of us with a little mileage under our belts this is "back to the future". The govt. has returned to their very successful stalling tactics of the 70's, 80's and 90's.  i.e., do some sentimental grandstanding and then pass a law that quickly gets invalidated by the feds.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 06, 2011 at 14:08:58 PT

Just a Comment
I think most people know why I don't post stories like the one about this little boy but in case someone doesn't I want to say why. I know CNews is monitored and I do not want this site to contribute to any harassment towards anyone. 
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 06, 2011 at 13:02:56 PT

por1 Comment 2
I knew that was going to be about Cash Hyde before I clicked on it. Poor baby. He is blessed, though, to have a Daddy that is so smart, loves him so much, is there for him, and is so brave.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 06, 2011 at 12:57:29 PT

Thank you so much for the video. That has to be the most amazing video I have ever seen. This should be sent to the President for at least someone to watch it.PS: I have a friend that his 2 year old son was diagnosed with a similar brain tumor. This happened back in the late 80s. His name was Zack. Even though the family spent many months at the Cleveland Clinic hoping to cure him Zack didn't make it. He didn't last one year. Seeing his little body in a casket was overwhelming for me to see. I will never forget it.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by por1 on May 06, 2011 at 12:33:04 PT:

A Sad story with a Happy ending
Sad in many ways yet cannabis saved the day the children Releagalize
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by ripit on May 06, 2011 at 10:26:04 PT

why dont they get it?
i still do not understand why they keep throwing laws at us that they use to control alcohol to regulate medicine?i've never seen any illness wait for somebody to turn 18 strike them down!
[ Post Comment ]

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