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Medical Marijuana Issue Moves Through State Legislatures

Bills Being Debated In At Least 25 States, Some Seen As Likely To Pass


Oregon passed a law by citizen initiative to allow medical patients with a valid doctor's recommendation to grow and use a limited amount of marijuana. Recently, patients and advocates testified in the state capitol of Salem, OR, to argue for changes in the rules under which medical marijuana is allowed. According to the Eugene, OR Register-Guard on May 8, 2001 ( "Patients Urge Easing Marijuana Law"), "The 1998 law allows patients who qualify for medical marijuana cards to possess up to 3 ounces at a time -- which is what most patients need to medicate themselves for a period of a month or so, according to Monday's testimony."
"House Bill 3919 would increase the amount to 5 ounces. It would loosen other provisions of the law as well. It would increase the number of plants a patient can possess at a time to five mature plants from three and to five immature plants from four.
"The bill also would expand the definition of who qualifies -- currently, those who qualify must have a medical condition listed in the original version of the law or added later by the Oregon Health Division. The bill would leave it to the judgment of a health care provider if they believe a patient 'would be benefited by the medical use of marijuana.'
"The types of medical care providers who can make patients eligible to use marijuana for treatment would expand from physicians and osteopaths to include nurse practitioners and naturopaths.
"About 1,600 Oregonians hold cards that allow them to legally use marijuana to treat specific maladies including cancer, glaucoma, severe pain or nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, HIV or AIDS."

New Hampshire

A medical marijuana bill was recently introduced in the New Hampshire House. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill (HB721) in the beginning of March, 2001, according to the Nashua Telegraph.


In Maryland, the State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on legislation to allow medical marijuana for some patients. The Frederick (MD) News Post reported on March 1, 2001, that "The bill hearing drew testimony from 20 supporters, some of whom described losing their appetite because of the disease or because the treatment was so harsh."

The Washington Times reports ("Bipartisan Bloc Backs Legalizing Medicinal Marijuana") that "About a third of the House sponsors are Republicans; the rest are Democrats.".

The Times story also notes that a number of the House co-sponsors have personal experience with some of the illnesses covered in the legislation: "At least three of the 28 delegates co-sponsoring the bill are cancer survivors, one has glaucoma and several, including Mr. Murphy (Delegate Donald E. Murphy, R-Baltimore County), have watched friends or relatives battle symptoms some contend are often best relieved by marijuana -- still an illegal drug under state and federal law."


The effort in Texas is being led by Terry Keel. In the story "Medical Marijuana Bill A Surprise" in the Dallas Morning News, "Mr. Keel, a conservative Republican from Austin, is an ex-prosecutor and a former Travis County sheriff."

In a recent news release, Robert Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, noted "While 25 states are debating medical marijuana bills, Maryland is one of three states that are the most likely to pass a bill this legislative session. The other two states are Massachusetts and New Mexico."

There is a great report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine available online, entitled "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing The Science Base".

On the 27th of March, CSDP President Kevin B. Zeese participated in a Cate Institute forum on medical marijuana. Click here for more information, including video of the event.

Click on this link for information on the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club case going before the Supreme Court.

Click on this link to view articles on medical marijuana from the MAP media archive.

Get the Facts about Medical Marijuana from the online publication Drug War Facts.

Updates on medical marijuana issues can usually be found at the NORML website.

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copyright © 2001, Common Sense for Drug Policy,
Kevin B. Zeese, President -- Mike Gray, Chairman -- Robert E. Field, Co-Chairman -- Melvin R. Allen, Director -- Doug McVay, Editor & Research Director
Updated: Thursday, 09-Jul-2009 18:09:04 PDT   ~   Accessed: 7460 times
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