Senate Bill Seeks To Clarify Medical Marijuana Law

Senate Bill Seeks To Clarify Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on March 22, 2007 at 08:15:21 PT
By Russ Zabel
Source: Queen Anne and Magnolia News
Washington State -- By passing Initiative 692 in 1998, Washington state voters approved the medical use of marijuana. The initiative allowed for patients suffering from a number of debilitating diseases such as cancer to have a 60-day supply of the drug as long as they had written approval from their physicians.However, there are a couple problems with the medical-marijuana laws in Washington and 10 other states. One is that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that federal law making the use or possession of marijuana illegal under any circumstances trumps state laws.
The other problem in Washington state is what defines a 60-day supply of grass. But while the dispute between federal and state laws governing marijuana is ongoing, State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Queen Anne) has sought to clarify the supply question and add new diseases the drug can treat by sponsoring a bill that made it out of the senate in a 39-10 vote on March 14.Kohl-Welles added that she worked with the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Washington Prosecutors Association to help craft the bill.It's not the first time Kohl-Welles has tackled the issue in Olympia. "We'd gotten the bill through the senate many times," she said, adding that some conservative members of the senate insisted on adding some amendments in the latest attempt. "In the end, it turned out pretty well," Kohl-Welles added.Passage of the bill in the state House of Representative is another matter. House speaker Frank Chopp is cautiously optimistic that a clarifying marijuana bill will pass, she said. But there's no guarantee, according to Kohl-Welles. "There's always a challenge whenever you have marijuana in a bill."The senate bill calls for the state Department of Health to decide by Jan. 1, 2008, what constitutes a 60-day supply based on, but not limited to: "a review of available medical and scientific literature, consultation with experts, surveys of other states' best practices, and public input."Kohl-Welles thinks it's likely the state Department of Health will come up with a maximum 60-day supply of marijuana for patients, and the bill notes the amount can be increased "with evidence of the qualifying patient's necessary medical use."Defining a maximum amount won't necessarily be easy, according to Joanna McKee, state cofounder and director of the Washington Green Cross. "We grow our own medicine for ourselves," she said.But the quality of marijuana can vary greatly, some people are better at growing it than others, and some need more of the drug to treat disease symptoms than others, McKee said. She agrees that the medical-marijuana law passed by initiative needs clarification. "I tell people it won't stop you getting arrested." However, under the senate bill, medical users of the drug or providers who assist a qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana can claim "an affirmative defense" if they are arrested.While the feds have been clamping down hard on marijuana suppliers and their patients in places like California, the same can't be said for the Puget Sound region, according to Emily Langlie, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle. ACLU Survey Shows Growing Support For Medical Uses of Marijuana The medical marijuana initiative passed by 57 percent of voters in 1998, and the support for medical use of the drug has grown since then, according to a January 2006 survey commissioned by the ACLU. Here are some of the results.The survey used a sampling of 1,200 registered voters, and 68 percent strongly agreed that Washington state - not the federal government - should be able to make laws regarding medical marijuana. Ten percent strongly disagreed, while 15 percent somewhat agreed.Eighty-eight percent felt it was true that marijuana effectively relieves pain for people with serious illnesses, while 8 percent thought it wasn't true.A majority of respondents, 54 percent, didn't think possession of marijuana with the recommendation of a doctor was legal, while 27 percent thought it was and 20 percent didn't know.The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.Source: Queen Anne and Magnolia News (Seattle, WA)Author: Russ Zabel Published: March 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Pacific Publishing CompanyContact: qanews nwlink.comWebsite: Article:Senate OKs Revamping Medical Marijuana Rules Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by doc james on March 23, 2007 at 08:07:37 PT
60+ days in the hole
The Federal Gov't's "Compassionate IND" program sends about 1.5 pounds from the University of Mississippi to Irv Rosenfeld over the course of 60 days.
Yet I must hide and sneak and pray that my measly 1K'er will shine enough to get that much, a bit more with the right strain and it sure isnt that crap U Miss grows. I'm Lovin it! crossing all fingers and toes that my karma will protect me from Leo!
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on March 22, 2007 at 08:43:15 PT
lets make it easier...
Attention! Washington State! the search window, type:Compassionate INDand/orIrv RosenfeldGood luck!
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on March 22, 2007 at 08:39:02 PT
60 day supply......
Once again, perhaps they could look to the standard of what the Federal Government supplies over 60 days to those in the federal government's Compassionate IND program?(Ironic isn't it!? not only in name but in practice as well!)The Federal Gov't's "Compassionate IND" program sends about 1.5 pounds from the University of Mississippi to Irv Rosenfeld over the course of 60 days.Sheesh, Washington State legislators, pull you head out of....the sand, and do a couple minutes of research for your job at hand!
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