Law Enforcement Worries as Iowa, Illinois Mull MMJ
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Law Enforcement Worries as Iowa, Illinois Mull MMJ
Posted by CN Staff on October 24, 2010 at 06:35:54 PT
By Dustin Lemmon
Source: Quad-City Times 
Iowa -- With a note from a shady doctor, anyone could have quick access to numerous marijuana dispensaries, including some operated by street gangs. That is what Chris Endress foresees and fears if medical marijuana is legalized in Illinois or Iowa.Endress, director of the Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group, or MEG, which investigates drug crimes in both states, is campaigning against medical marijuana’s legalization. The Illinois House could vote on a medical marijuana bill in December. Iowa officials are discussing a possible medical marijuana law, but no legislation is pending.
Endress cites similar laws passed in California in 1996 and Colorado in 2000 as examples of what can happen. Statistics there show the majority of users are under the age of 35 and are not terminally ill.“The intent of the legislation is for people dying of cancer, but the application of the program has become a replacement for Tylenol for young male whites who complain of pain,” Endress said. “No one wants to see a person suffer, but this legislation isn’t the answer, (it) just opens the door to more problems.”Mike Meno of the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, is endorsing the Illinois legislation. He argues that the proposed Illinois law is restrictive enough to prevent misuse and thinks law enforcement officials should focus on existing problems.“In every state, there are a lot of criminals already selling marijuana,” he said. “If they’re worried, there is already an underground marijuana market, and that needs to be their focus.” Issues with Illinois Senate Bill 1381 The House will be voting on a bill passed by the Senate last year. Endress’ first complaint with the legislation is that the state won’t be able to effectively oversee the local manufacturing of the drug. With the state cutting expenses, it won’t have the manpower needed, he said.“The (Illinois) Department of Public Health is in no way shape or form capable of inspecting these places,” Endress said.Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said the concern is legitimate. The department wants questions about additional funding, staffing and oversight issues addressed before a final vote. “That is something we have concerns over and believe needs to be addressed,” she said. While police still would arrest anyone caught without a doctor’s permission to possess medical marijuana or who possesses more than is allowed, it would be difficult to monitor so many patients, caregivers and dispensaries, Endress said.Endress said that in California, which also is mired in financial difficulties, marijuana dispensaries, some operated by street gangs, have popped up in many locations with no oversight.Large quantities of the marijuana produced in California and other states is shipped across the country and much of it has been seized locally on the interstates or in neighborhoods, Endress said. “We deal with this crime on a regular basis,” he said. “We deal with large shipments of medical marijuana arriving in the Quad-Cities every week.”Endress said drug dealers turn large profits from selling marijuana — particularly that which is a higher grade.“They can use the profits to fund other things, such as the purchase of guns or cocaine and their criminal lifestyle,” he said.Meno argues that in 14 other states, medical marijuana laws are being properly enforced and that in every state criminals already are selling marijuana.“This is not precedent setting,” he said of approving medical marijuana. How Much Is Too Much? If users are allowed to grow their own plants, Endress questions how many they should have. The legislation calls for an individual limit of 2 ounces of dried cannabis and six cannabis plants, which Endress argues is too much. He said one plant can produce multiple pounds of marijuana.“Even the most innocent people are going to be compelled to sell this,” he said. Meno said allowing users to grow their own plants makes the most sense and having more than one plant allows for a steady supply.“For many patients, it’s the easiest way to have access,” he said.Endress argued that there are medications available that provide some of the benefits of marijuana without the high, but Meno said they’re not as effective.Endress argued that legalizing marijuana will put employers and landlords at a disadvantage when dealing with users who are abusing the system. Meno said they should not look at someone with a marijuana prescription any differently from the way they would other prescribed medications.“We can’t expect people to choose between their health and their employment,” he said.  Researching The Benefits of Medical Marijuana Bill Langley, executive director of Genesis Health Group, sat on a subcommittee of the Iowa Medical Society earlier this spring that discussed medical marijuana. The doctors agreed to support marijuana’s legalization in Iowa only to the point of allowing testing for medical uses.Langley said there never has been sufficient testing to determine if the claimed benefits are legitimate.“The evidence is pretty sketchy because so little research has been done on it,” the doctor said.The issues in California have given doctors some concern, Langley said.“L.A. is struggling ... with stores that hire a doctor and write a prescription based on the flimsiest of reasons,” he said. “As doctors, we’re interested in the science.” The Terminally Ill  There are terminally ill patients in the Quad-Cities who might use medical marijuana, but not many, Marianne Meyers, hospice operations director for Genesis Health System, said.The hospice is a 16-bed facility and serves about 120 patients at a time, including those who stay in their homes. Of those, about 50 might benefit from using marijuana to combat nausea, a lack of appetite and despair, Meyers said. Most are older than 65.“It is obviously illegal now, so we don’t condone it,” she said. “There probably are patients who choose to use that.”Terminally ill patients have been given a prognosis of six months or less to live. None was willing to comment for this story.Like Endress, Meyers thinks there are other legal drugs available that can provide the same comfort marijuana can.“In my opinion, at this point, I don’t really see the need for the use of marijuana,” she said. “I wouldn’t rule it out because our goal is for our patients to be comfortable.” Marijuana Dependency on The Rise  Mary Engholm, director of the Rock Island County Council on Addictions, or RICCA, is concerned about the drug falling into the hands of people with a marijuana dependency.She said the number of marijuana addicts has been growing in recent years to the point where 50 percent of RICCA’s clients have a marijuana dependency.“If it’s not as accessible, it’s easier to treat,” she said.Engholm said the law allows for a medical marijuana patient to declare a caregiver who also can carry a certain amount of the drug. Allowing others to have access has her concerned that it will be misused.As for using it to relieve pain, she said RICCA already sees a number of clients with painkiller addictions.“Painkillers are now one of the most difficult addictions to treat,” Engholm said. “We could be facing a similar scenario to that” with marijuana.Source: Quad-City Times (IA)Author: Dustin LemmonPublished: Sunday, October 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 Quad-City TimesContact: opinions qctimes.comWebsite: http://www.qctimes.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on October 25, 2010 at 15:49:37 PT
Magical Forest
I have no doubt that it's real, Museman.The wonder and joy in his voice made me have joy and wonder, too. That kind of laughter... as though I could see it, too.The kind of joy when you laugh and clap your hands like a child.... or me. Delight.I loved the thought and the image it brought to mind.
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Comment #10 posted by museman on October 25, 2010 at 09:43:11 PT
The Magical Forest
Is not a joke, or a myth, or an 'unreal' sentimentalism.The State Of Jefferson has it all.One of the reasons Oregon is an environmental beachhead is because of the nature of this forest. We have been fending off the Bush-Reagan-Bush forest rapers for decades.It's also no coincidence that many 'environmentalists' also support cannabis legalization.74 is a step in the right direction, even though I question it's leaving the door open for money-fat elitists to carpetbag all the old time growers right out of opportunity. Even so I endorse and recommend it -simply from my experience as a medical card holder, and the current out-of-balance priorities many current medical growers have (making money first -patients medicine second).But a word to the growers; Better get your associations together before the opportunity to grow is co-opted by the wealthy -if 74 passes. I personally care more about getting quality herbal medicine, than who makes profit, so I am voting for it.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #9 posted by RevRayGreen on October 25, 2010 at 03:26:21 PT
Hope, that's Lord Mota
of the "magical forest"......the video link is right next to the audio link.......Thanks again
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on October 24, 2010 at 19:22:31 PT
Revanator.Like Governator.It was a good show, though. I enjoyed it, but I couldn't find a video. Just sound."Magical Forest". I loved the wonder in his voice.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 24, 2010 at 18:17:57 PT
"Magical Forest"
Lol! "Magical Forest". That's a good show, Revenenator... I laughed out loud when you, or one of you, I don't see the video, but it's good sound... said that "California and Oregon seemed like a "Magical Forest" to them, compared to the way the rest of the country is.I can understand that. 
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Comment #6 posted by RevRayGreen on October 24, 2010 at 09:02:06 PT
Endress really gets me mad
I'm all over these reefer sad Iowans who constantly use the same tired LEGAL LIES.Fresh ink,fresh ideas,same as the old boss or not
10/23/2010RevRayGreen, the 'Deacon', Saint Michael & Lord Mota give pause for the cause to the passing of Michelle Rainey, longtime medical marijuana activist from Canada......
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on October 24, 2010 at 08:33:37 PT
As for using it to relieve pain, she said RICCA already sees a number of clients with painkiller addictions.“Painkillers are now one of the most difficult addictions to treat,” Engholm said.So why not ban them? What are you waiting for? Send the cops in to round up all the sick people. 
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Comment #4 posted by rancher on October 24, 2010 at 08:29:43 PT:
Measure 74
FOM thanks for posting that link to news about Measure 74 in Oregon. This election will create the best model for distributing medical marijuana in all the states so far. M 74 maintains the right of patients to produce their own marijuana but it also creates a system of producers and dispensaries where patients could shop for medical marijuana products. If we can win this election, Oregon will be the first state to have state licensed commercial marijuana producers. M 74 also has provisions for a program for low income patients and to allow the health deptartment to conduct research - important because the California research program is being defunded. This Oregon election is going to be close. Opponents have painted M 74 as vague because it doesn't limit dispensaries to a specific number. People all over the country can help us pass M 74 by visiting and making calls or making donations. Help us win this crucial election to advance marijuana reform!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 24, 2010 at 07:31:04 PT
Watch The Rally Live On Air and Online
I am so happy about this rally. We need sanity to return and soon. So much hate isn't what our country is about.***Don’t have time to schlep all the way down to D.C. for the Rally? That’s totally cool. We’re broadcasting it live on Comedy Central, streaming it totally uncensored online and beaming it to your iPhone, iPad or Android 2.2 device, so that you can half-pay attention while you pay your bills, do your laundry or try and auction off your 50 state quarter collection on the Internet. Whatever you gotta do to keep it sane.URL:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 24, 2010 at 07:17:22 PT
Off Topic But Worth The Read
I am really looking forward to this Rally and seeing Obama on Jon Stewart this week. ****For Liberal Groups, "Daily Show" Rally on Mall, Not Just for Laughs***By Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, October 23, 2010URL:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 24, 2010 at 06:45:51 PT
Measure 74 Supporters March For 'Safe Access'
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