Medical Marijuana Bill Returns 

Medical Marijuana Bill Returns 
Posted by CN Staff on February 16, 2005 at 07:48:10 PT
By Fred Lucas, The News-Times
Source: The News-Times
Hartford -- Mark Braunstein doesn't want to break the law when he lights up a joint, but he said marijuana is the most effective treatment for his pain and muscle spasms.After a dive went bad in 1990, Braunstein, of Waterford, broke his back, injured his spinal cord and is partially paralyzed below the waist. Though he can walk with crutches, his muscle spasms can cause him to make strange movements if not controlled and make it hard to put his legs in braces.
"Marijuana relaxes spasms more effectively than do tranquilizers, and relieves pain more safely than do narcotics," Braunstein said. "Both my physicians approve of my medical use of marijuana, but here in Connecticut, neither can legally prescribe it."Braunstein was among the speakers Tuesday at the Capitol backing legislation to legalize marijuana for medical reasons. The proposal typically comes up each year in the legislature and is defeated. But it has evolved from a fringe issue. There is now some support in the medical community; 11 states allow limited use of marijuana for medical reasons."This bill is not about law and order, crime and punishment or legalizing drugs," said Rep. Melissa Olsen, D-Norwich. "This bill is about easing people's pain and alleviating human suffering."There will certainly be strong opposition to the bill this year. Opponents fear allowing marijuana to be used for medical reasons will open the door for abuse and possibly lead to legalized use for recreational reasons."It is illegal," said Rep. Mary Ann Carson, R-New Fairfield. "We cannot change federal law. We've heard conflicting testimony on how and whether medical marijuana is legitimately effective or even necessary."The proposal passed the House last year, but was referred back to the finance committee because legislators determined it had a budgetary impact. There it died without coming up for a vote in the Senate.Under the proposal, doctors can provide certificates to patients that would allow them or their caregiver to grow up to five plants in their home. The patient would have to register the plants with the state Department of Consumer Protection.According to a poll last year by the University of Connecticut, 57 percent of state residents oppose outright legalization of marijuana, but 83 percent would allow it for medical purposes."We know by anecdote and some studies that a selected group of patients clearly are helped by marijuana during their cancer experience," said Dr. Andrew Salner, director of the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. "My fellow cancer physicians are universally supportive of this type of legislation."Dr. Mary Jane Williams, the government relations chairwoman for the Connecticut Nurses Association, said her group recently passed a resolution to support the right of patients to have safe access to marijuana without risking prosecution. The resolution also supports clinical research into the effectiveness of marijuana.But the American Medical Association rejected a resolution in 2001 to support the use of marijuana for cancer patients. The organization's position is there is no scientific evidence to establish the medical effectiveness of marijuana.Senate Minority Leader Pro Tem John McKinney, a Fairfield Republican whose district includes Newtown, said he would like more research but would lean against supporting the legislation."I'm afraid of the precedent it sets and what it says regarding drug use in our state," McKinney said. "I am not yet convinced there is no other alternative treatment."For more information on the medical marijuana bill, go to: and look up House Bill 6578.Note: Lawmakers revive proposal to legalize drug for medical use.Source: The News-Times (CT)Author: Fred Lucas, The News-TimesPublished: February 16, 2005Copyright: 2005 by The News-Times Contact: flucas newstimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Lawmakers Reintroduce Medical Marijuana Bill Rejects Plan To Legalize Medical Marijuana
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Comment #1 posted by Max Flowers on February 16, 2005 at 14:24:05 PT
 -- "It is illegal," said Rep. Mary Ann Carson, R-New Fairfield. "We cannot change federal law. We've heard conflicting testimony on how and whether medical marijuana is legitimately effective or even necessary." --GUTLESS NON-REPRESENTATIVEYOU DON'T WORK FOR THE FEDSIT'S NOT YOUR JOB TO WORRY ABOUT THATYOU'RE FIRED
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