Medical-Marijuana Bill Finds Support Moves Forward

Medical-Marijuana Bill Finds Support Moves Forward
Posted by CN Staff on January 25, 2006 at 07:06:43 PT
By Steve Terrell, The New Mexican 
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican
New Mexico -- A bill that would legalize medical marijuana cleared its first hurdle Tuesday, getting a unanimous, bipartisan “do-pass” recommendation from the Senate Public Affairs Committee.Senate Bill 258 would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer and AIDS, to use marijuana to treat their symptoms — and in some cases the side effects of treatment for those diseases.
The state Department of Health would administer a program under which doctors would be allowed to recommend marijuana for their patients. The marijuana used in the program would be grown in a secure facility by the state or a private agency contracting with the state. The committee heard from patients who say medical marijuana would ease their suffering. Fred McDonald, 45, who has multiple sclerosis, said he splits his time between New Mexico and Washington state. “My doctors in Washington treat me with medical marijuana,” he said. “But when I come here, it’s illegal.” Essie DeBonet, 61, an AIDS sufferer who has lobbied two years for a medicalmarijuana bill, said: “Nobody should have to choose between breaking the law and staying alive.” Also asking the committee to recommend the bill was cancer patient Erin Armstrong, the 24-year-old daughter of state Aging and Long-Term Services secretary Debbie Armstrong. Debbie Armstrong was one of three of Gov. Bill Richardson’s cabinet members at the committee hearing. Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde told the committee, “It’s time we sent a message to the federal government.” Health Secretary Michelle Grisham-Lujan told the panel that it would not be difficult to set up a program in her department to oversee medical marijuana. But one Richardson cabinet secretary not at the hearing was state Public Safety Secretary John Denko. During his tenure as Santa Fe police chief, Denko had testified in legislative hearings against previous medical-marijuana bills. The only opponents to testify Tuesday were from the law-enforcement community . Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos predicted the bill would run afoul of federal law if the Legislature passes it. But state Sen. Steve Komadina, R-Corrales , who is a doctor, said the bill has tight safeguards. He said the bill provides stricter controls on marijuana than current law does on much stronger and addictive drugs such as codeine and OxyContin. The bill goes on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Steve Terrell, The New Mexican Published: January 25, 2006 Copyright: 2006 The Santa Fe New MexicanContact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Bill Passes First Hurdle Panel OK's Medical Marijuana Bill for Medical Marijuana Raises Many Questions
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 27, 2006 at 07:18:51 PT
Press Release from DAMMADD
DAMMADD Urges New Mexicans to Sign Petition Opposing Bill 258, New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Bill
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 26, 2006 at 08:42:33 PT
Press Release from The Drug Policy Alliance
Action Alert: Send a Message to Washington, DC - New Mexicans Care About Their Sick and Dying (New Mexico Only)Wednesday, January 25, 2006We made tremendous headway on Tuesday! Thanks to your calls and emails to the Senators, the Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, Senate Bill 258, passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee unanimously! Several Senators spoke eloquently in favor of the bill, and also challenged the people who spoke in opposition. Many thanks to the patient advocates who came to the Committee hearing. You were all amazing.So with momentum building for this bill in the legislature, in the press, and among you, our members, I am asking you to do three things to get ready for the next hearing:-Call our next committee, Senate Judiciary (see below for contact information)-Call your Senator's Capitol office (find contact information here.)-Come to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday afternoon.This is an especially important hearing because federal government representatives will possibly speak against the bill.This is an especially important hearing because federal government representatives will possibly speak against the bill. The hearing will start at 2:30 pm on Friday, in Room 321. Only a few people will be permitted to speak, but we will need a strong show of hands from people in support of the bill. Please wear professional and neat clothing. This is our chance to show any federal officials that New Mexicans care about our sick and dying. This is a matter that should be decided in our state by our own state legislature, without interference from the federal government.This hearing promises to be a tough one, so without your phone calls or emails we may not be as successful. Please make your voice heard to the committee by Friday at noon. Committee members act on behalf of all of us when they vote on bills, so everyone can contact each member - regardless of whose district you live in. However, if you live in one of the districts below, please be sure to let the office know that when you call.Senate Judiciary Committee:Ask these committee members to support SB 258:Senator and Vice Chair Richard C. Martinez
D-5 (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and Santa Fe)
986-4389, richardc.martinez nmlegis.govSenator Rod Adair
R-33 (Chaves, Lincoln)
986-4385, radair dfn.comSenator Kent L. Cravens
R-21 (Bernalillo, Sandoval)
986-4391, klcravens alphagraphics.comSenator Clinton D. Harden
R-7 (Colfax, Curry, Harding, Quay, San Miguel, Taos, Union)
986-4369, charden theosogroup.comSenator William H. Payne
R- 20 (Bernalillo)
986-4276, william.payne nmlegis.govSenator Lidio G. Rainaldi
D-4 (Cibola, McKinley)
986-4310, No emailSenator Michael S. Sanchez
D-29 (Valencia)
986-4727, senatormssanchez aol.comSenator John T.L. Grubesic
D-25 (Santa Fe)
986-4260, john.grubesic nmlegis.govSenator Linda M. Lopez
D-11 (Bernalillo)
986-4737, No emailYou can also thank Senator McSorley for sponsoring the bill.Senator and Committee Chair Cisco McSorley
D-16 (Bernalillo)
986-4485, cisco.mcsorley nmlegis.govTips on Making a Call:Most legislators' staff answer their phones during the session and log all of the messages. Each call only takes a minute, so you can call all of them in about 10 minutes.* Be courteous, positive, and brief.
* Identify yourself and mention if you are a constituent.
* Ask the legislator to support Senate Bill 258, the Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act, to be heard on Tuesday in the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
* Feel free to briefly tell them why you personally support the bill.In Brief:This bill would allow qualified patients suffering from certain serious illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy - to use marijuana for relief from their symptoms. Feel free to refer to our fact sheet or talking points before you call.Thanks so much for calling - and please feel free to forward this information to other individuals and email lists that might be interested. The more voices that speak up for this legislation, the more likely it is to become law. If you are interested in attending the hearing, please call us at (505) 983-3277. We are coordinating attendees and speakers.Thanks so much for all your work to bring about reform!Learn More About the Bill:The Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act would allow qualified patients suffering from certain serious illnesses - such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy - to use marijuana for relief of their symptoms. The law would require a patient to receive a recommendation for cannabis (i.e., medical marijuana) from his/her medical provider. The patient could then apply to participate in the program through the Department of Health, and an independent review board of doctors would consider each application. Upon approval by the board, the patient would receive a registry identification card from the New Mexico Department of Health, certifying that he/she was a participant in the Lynn Pierson program. By registering in this way, the patient and the patient's primary caregiver would be allowed to possess only enough cannabis to treat the patient. Only providers who already can prescribe controlled substances could recommend patients for the program. The Department of Health will develop regulations for licensed producers within the state, identifying standards for safety, security, and distribution.The new law would not allow medical marijuana use in public, and would penalize lying to a law enforcement officer regarding the medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health would keep a registry of participants so that law enforcement officers could confirm the validity of a patient's registration card. Patients under 18 years old could only participate with parental consent.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Storm Crow on January 25, 2006 at 15:09:37 PT
You know what to do!
Judging by her statement, Pam Hyde rocks! It's past time to send the federal government a message! So why are you just sitting there puffing? Have you emailed your congressperson lately? Get on line and get busy! 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Had Enough on January 25, 2006 at 13:29:51 PT
Pam Hyde
Not only Unanimous/Bipartisan. (Had to check a few times myself).Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde told the committee, “It’s time we sent a message to the federal government.” I like that.Do not forget to register and Vote! Vote! Vote! Take a friend with you and you can stop at the Burger Doodle on the way home.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on January 25, 2006 at 09:08:21 PT
Unanimous/Bipartisan. Unanimous/Bipartisan. Unanimous/Bipartisan.Just wanted to make sure I was reading that right."The only opponents to testify Tuesday were from the law-enforcement community."Who are they protecting and serving again? Certainly not the public/people. Wage peace on war. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 25, 2006 at 08:37:12 PT
Off Topic: 'Book of Daniel' May Be Done
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment