Marijuana Measure Moves On 

Marijuana Measure Moves On 
Posted by CN Staff on May 20, 2005 at 08:34:41 PT
By Joe Baker, Daily News Staff 
Source: Newport Daily News
Providence, R.I. -- The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would allow residents with debilitating diseases access to marijuana to ease their suffering.The 9-2 vote was the first time any legislative committee has approved the bill, which has been introduced for the past five years. The bill will be considered by the full Senate next week.
The House of Representatives is considering similar legislation. That bill was co-sponsored by 50 of the 75 representatives, giving supporters confidence that the measure can win House approval.Dedicating the bill to her nephew Edward O. Hawkins, who died of complications from AIDS in 2004, Sen. Rhoda E. Perry, D-Providence, said the bill would ease the suffering of people who have nowhere else to turn."It is time this bill passed so we can alleviate the pain, nausea and discomfort of these very ill people," Perry said.The legislation would allow those who get a doctor's referral to be certified by the Department of Health to legally possess up to 12 marijuana plants or 2.5 ounces of marijuana. The legislation also allows the patient to designate two "primary caregivers" over the age of 21 who would assist the patient in obtaining marijuana. The caregivers also would have to be certified by the Department of Health.Although the legislation does not address how the patient would obtain the illegal substance, it would allow nonprofit organizations, such as hospices, to "acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply or dispense marijuana" to qualifying patients.Committee approval came after the bill was amended, stripping out a section that would subject local police officers to losing their jobs if they assisted federal police officers in arresting local patients allowed to use medical marijuana. The federal government does not recognize state-approved medical marijuana laws. Ten states now have such laws."I think this is going to help a lot of people," said Sen. Joseph M. Polisena, D-Johnston.Sen. Leo R. Blais, R-Coventry, one of two senators who opposed the bill, said he feared doctors who prescribed medical marijuana could open themselves up to lawsuits if a patient developed problems from smoking it. The other opponent was Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis, D-Coventry.On Wednesday, David R. Gifford, director of the Department of Health, sent a letter to House Health, Education and Welfare Committee Chairman Joseph M. McNamara, D-Warwick, opposing the legislation. Among the reasons Gifford gave for opposing the bill was that it conflicts with federal law and "smoking marijuana plants can be harmful."Perry blasted Gifford for sending a letter and not showing up to testify against the bill so he could be questioned by legislators."This is not an area that Dr. Gifford knows much about," Perry said.Jeff Neal, spokesman for Gov. Donald L. Carcieri, said the governor had drafted a letter to be sent to senators stating his position, but Neal would not release the contents of the letter because he was not sure if the final version had been distributed.Senate Majority Leader Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, and Sen. Charles J. Levesque, D-Portsmouth, voted in favor of the bill. Source: Newport Daily News, The (RI)Author: Joe Baker, Daily News Staff Published: Friday, May 20, 2005Copyright: 2005 Newport Daily NewsContact: Editor NewportRI.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Senate Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Bill Debate Continues Consider Medical Marijuana Bill
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Comment #5 posted by global_warming on May 20, 2005 at 16:02:44 PT
It Is Time...
"It is time this bill passed so we can alleviate the pain, nausea and discomfort of these very ill people," Perry said."To separate the people with compassion from the people who lack such higher human skills. The line has been drawn in the sand, all those who can feel human compassion on one side, and all those, for whatever reasons, be they companionless, or beholding to some higher monetary obligation on the other side, that is also known as the darker side.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 20, 2005 at 13:06:05 PT
ASA: Patient Advocacy Group Appeals HHS Evasion 
For Immediate Release: Friday, May 20, 2005                                                   Agency Declines to Deny Marijuana has Medical Value, But Will Not Correct Statements. Washington DC – A medical marijuana advocacy group today filed an appeal to the Department of Health and Human Services after the agency declined their request to either  correct or deny their petition seeking to dismiss government assertions that marijuana is dangerous and medically useless. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a coalition of patients and doctors wanting easier access to marijuana for research and medical use, filed a petition under the Data Quality Act, a little-known but powerful law that gives people the right to challenge scientific information disseminated by federal agencies. The original petition calls for HHS to correct "scientifically flawed statements" about marijuana published in the Federal Register, saying they contradict findings of the Institute of Medicine and other authoritative sources. In a letter dated April 20, 2005, RADM Arthur L. Lawrence, Assistant Surgeon General, informed ASA that they would not be acting on ASA's information quality petition, but would instead consider the information presented thereby in connection to a petition to reschedule marijuana, which has been pending since 2002.ASA's appeal states that the Data Quality Act and the HHS Guidelines require prompt consideration of a request for correction of information, especially where vital health and medical information is at issue. The appeal states that HHS is evading federal law "by lumping a request for correction of information under the Data Quality Act together with a distinct, farther-reaching and much slower process." While the HHS Guidelines provide that the agency may use existing procedures to respond to information quality complaints that arise in “rule-making and other formal agency actions [that] already provide well established procedural safeguards that allow affected persons to raise information quality issues on a timely basis,” no such procedures exist for a marijuana rescheduling petition. That process is slow. One such petition was pending for more than twenty-two years.Such a move would allow -- though not compel – either the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Food and Drug Administration to remove it to a lower "Schedule", and allow it to be prescribed for specified conditions and more easily obtained for research. The petition challenges the government contention that "there have been no studies that have scientifically assessed the efficacy of marijuana for any medical condition." In fact, the group notes, a 1999 Institute of Medicine report concluded that studies have found marijuana helpful "for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation." # # # # A national coalition of 10,000 patients, doctors and advocates, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization working solely on medical marijuana. For more information, see: appeal filed today may be viewed at: full text of ASA's Data Quality Act petition may be viewed at:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 20, 2005 at 10:20:11 PT
R.I. Medical Marijuana Poll
Should Rhode Island pass a law legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions? Choice -- Votes -- Percentage of 593 Votes Yes -- 542 -- 91% No -- 35 -- 6% I'm not sure -- 16 -- 3% Please Vote:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 20, 2005 at 10:16:31 PT
Yes it would be amazing.
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Comment #1 posted by observer on May 20, 2005 at 10:09:59 PT
People who jail potheads...
On Wednesday, David R. Gifford, director of the Department of Health, sent a letter ... opposing the legislation. ... it conflicts with federal law and "smoking marijuana plants can be harmful."Hey, for once, wouldn't it be wild if a public servant stood up and said, "I'm opposing cannabis prohibition because jailing pot smokers violates the Bill of Rights and jailing people is harmful." Wouldn't that be amazing?Perry blasted Gifford for sending a letter and not showing up to testify against the bill so he could be questioned by legislators.Typical. If you're a prohibitionist, avoid real debate, because real debate demonstrates people who jail potheads to be the most ignorant and bigoted folks around, and it shows. Instead, a fiery letter of Official Condemnation from On High will do nicely to convince most of the herd of the Righteousness of jailing potheads. 
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