Medical Marijuana Bill Rekindled 

Medical Marijuana Bill Rekindled 
Posted by CN Staff on April 28, 2005 at 07:28:20 PT
By Jannell McGrew, Montgomery Advertiser
Source: Montgomery Advertiser 
Alabama -- Some thought state Rep. Laura Hall's bill to make medical marijuana legal in Alabama had gone up in smoke, but the Huntsville Democrat has managed to get her much-debated measure out of a House committee. The proposal is on its way to a vote before the full House, but another hurdle -- time -- may be the one thing that kills the bill for now. There are only three legislative work days remaining in the 2005 regular session of the Alabama Legislature.
Hall's bill would legalize the use of marijuana for the seriously ill and dying. It would make it legal for state residents like Laura Campbell, who smokes marijuana illegally for her pain, to use the drug without the prospect of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment. According to authorities, a person convicted of felony possession of marijuana could pay up to $5,000 in fines and serve up to 10 years in prison. Conviction for misdemeanor possession carries a fine of up to $2,000 and a year in jail. Campbell, who suffers from three forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia and takes 14 pills a day for her ailments, is hopeful the measure will pass. "A lot of people are saying they think it may die in three days," she said. "And some people said it would take nine days to elect a pope. Stranger things have happened, and we have three days." Hall, the bill's sponsor, is doubtful the measure will make it out of the House in time, but she vowed that if it doesn't pass this session, she'll be back in 2006 pushing her bill. She was pleased to at least see the measure out of committee. "At this point, it keeps the discussion going," she said. Some lawmakers oppose the bill, saying there are more viable alternatives, such as Marinol, the pill form of marijuana. Others, including state Rep. Dick Brewbaker, R-Montgomery, expressed concerns about the bill and wanted patients to be required to obtain the medication through pharmacies. Hall obliged. "It's a better bill now," Brewbaker said. "Essentially, what it does is treat medical marijuana like any other painkiller. You have to get it prescribed by a doctor, and you have to obtain it through a pharmacy. In other words, you can't go out and buy it on the streets illegally." Hall said she wished the state had enacted such a law years ago. Her son was diagnosed with AIDS in 1989. Hall said he suffered from loss of appetite and pain. She believes medical marijuana could have provided him some relief during tough times. Michael Blain, policy director for the Drug Policy Alliance, supports Hall's bill. He noted that several other states have allowed some form of medical marijuana. "I applaud Laura Hall for her courage and tenacity, but most of all, for remembering that in the final days of her son's life, he needed more compassionate care than was available," Blain said. "Alabamians have the right to have their physicians prescribe whatever is needed to ease the pain and suffering of debilitating illnesses. If you can't get compassion in Alabama, where can you get it?"  Source: Montgomery Advertiser (AL)Author: Jannell McGrew, Montgomery Advertiser Published: April 28, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Advertiser Co.Website: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Bill Approved by House Committee Bill Likely Dead for This Legislative Session Bill Introduced in State Legislature Introduces Bill for Medical Marijuana 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 20:37:02 PT
Medical Marijuana Bill Dies in Legislature
Related portion of article:***Dozens of Bills die in LegislatureThe Associated PressMay 03, 2005Dozens of bills died in the Alabama Legislature Tuesday, the final day that proposed legislation could pass either the House or the Senate and still have a chance of passing the other chamber.Bills that are dead for the 2005 session would have:* legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 28, 2005 at 10:53:31 PT
DPA: Compassionate Use Forges Ahead in Alabama
Thursday, April 28, 2005Alabama state legislators proved their compassion this week when they passed a medical marijuana bill out of the House Judiciary Committee, allowing it to move forward in the legislature. With only three days remaining in the legislative session, HB 703, sponsored by Rep. Laura Hall (D-Madison), there may not be enough time for the bill to reach the House floor for a vote. But with this being the first year such legislation was introduced, Alliance Policy Director Michael Blain called the committee approval "amazing progress."The cause of compassionate use has taken a prominent place in the public consciousness in Alabama this year - the Montgomery Advertiser ran an editorial in favor of compassionate use legislation, saying "... there is a strong case to be made for taking the side of compassion and allowing closely regulated use of marijuana for medical purposes rather than rigidly making its use and possession a crime in all cases." Prominent newspapers all over the state have written news articles that fairly portray the issue and show sympathy to the plights of seriously ill people who could benefit from the use of medical marijuana.The Alliance will continue to work closely with Rep. Hall to build upon the growing support for compassionate use. And if the bill doesn’t pass this session, then with a strong public education campaign, we’ll be better positioned for a compassionate care victory in the 2006 legislative session.
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