Both Sides See Hope In Marijuana Debate 

Both Sides See Hope In Marijuana Debate 
Posted by CN Staff on June 21, 2007 at 05:23:39 PT
By Judy Benson
Source: The Day
Hartford, CT -- Both believers in and skeptics of the medical benefits of marijuana found some reason for hope in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's veto Tuesday of a bill that would have legalized its use for those with chronic and terminal illnesses. Mark Braunstein is a librarian at Connecticut College who was paralyzed in a diving accident and said he uses marijuana to relieve chronic pain. He said the fact that the bill made it through both chambers of the state Legislature before being vetoed by Rell showed that progress has been made.
Rell's veto “wasn't a surprise or a disappointment to me, because she had only expressed reservations beforehand,” said Braunstein, who has been active for about a decade in support of legalizing marijuana for medical uses. The next attempt, which supporters may not make until Rell is out of office, could be the one that finally succeeds, he said. Lorenzo Jones, executive director of the Better Way Foundation, one of the groups that lobbied for the bill, agreed. “We don't see Gov. Rell's veto as a loss,” he said, because of the wide support in the legislature and shown in polls of Connecticut voters. His group is hoping for a face-to-face meeting with Rell to discuss the issue. “It's obvious the Senate and the House listened to Connecticut voters,” Jones said. “The question is whether Rell listened to voters.”Currently 11 other states including Rhode Island have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Federal law, however, still prohibits the practice.Dr. Edward Hargis is grateful for Rell's action. Hargis, a private practice physician who works in the Pain Management Center at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, said the governor stopped what would have been a huge mistake. “It would open up a huge can of worms,” he said. “It would be disastrous for our society.” Hargis said he has never had a patient he couldn't help with the prescription painkillers currently available, and believes that those who turn to marijuana for relief haven't exhausted all their legal options or haven't gotten adequate care. In addition, he's seen patients hurt by using marijuana.“I've seen patients who've had some mind-altering psychological effects,” he said. One he recalled had to be admitted to the hospital twice after using marijuana for what he called an “acute psychiatric event.” The bill would have allowed those suffering from certain chronic illnesses to grow up to four marijuana plants in their homes, and to use the drug by either smoking or eating it to relieve pain, tremors and other physiological afflictions. Hargis said the bill would have allowed the drug to be used in a nonstandardized way, where its dosage and frequency of use would be difficult to regulate. He is also concerned that it would be too difficult to control the use and distribution of the drug, and that some doctors would wind up in legal trouble for overprescribing it. Hargis said there is a lack of data demonstrating that marijuana is really beneficial for pain management and other medical uses. His view corresponded to a statement last year from the Food and Drug Administration that “no sound medical studies” support the medical use of marijuana. The FDA's statement contradicted a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine that found marijuana was “moderately well-suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.” AIDS patients and their advocates, led by the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition, were among those lobbying for the bill's passage. Sandra Brindamour, executive director of the Alliance for Living in New London, said she is hoping a future effort will succeed. “We have members for whom marijuana does give them relief, and gives them an appetite,” she said. “They're dealing with enough. To deprive people of something that benefits them, and is basically harmless ...” One of the strongest opponents of the bill was state Rep. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton. She was relieved by Rell's veto, she said, because she has come to the conclusion through her research that people who smoke marijuana for medical reasons are susceptible to the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers, as well as mental health problems. “It's not as mild as people assume,” she said. “We don't want people to become sicker.” Any future attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Connecticut, she said, may be made moot if Savitex, a marijuana-based painkiller made by a British company, is approved for use in this country. “Then we won't run up against federal law,” she said. Note: Approval Of British Painkiller In U.S. Could Make All Moot. Source: Day, The (CT)Author:  Judy BensonPublished: June 21, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Day Publishing Co.Contact: editor theday.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:GW Pharmaceutical Rell Delivers Veto On Bill To Allow For Marijuana Falls With Connecticut Governor’s Veto Crackpot Legislation
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Comment #13 posted by Had Enough on June 21, 2007 at 21:23:57 PT
Americans' Confidence in Congress at All-Time Low
PRINCETON, NJ -- The percentage of Americans with a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in Congress is at 14%, the lowest in Gallup's history of this measure -- and the lowest of any of the 16 institutions tested in this year's Confidence in Institutions survey. It is also one of the lowest confidence ratings for any institution tested over the last three decades. Gallup's annual update on Americans' confidence in institutions shows that confidence ratings are generally down across the board compared with last year. The public's confidence ratings in several institutions, including Congress, are now at all-time low points in Gallup's history of this measure. These low ratings reflect the generally sour mood of the public at this time.more…
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on June 21, 2007 at 20:18:58 PT
Like they said...
considering the support in the't not a loss at all. It's just another obstacle on what has been a hard, long, obstacle strewn road.
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2007 at 15:29:07 PT
Link to Cellucci 
Calian Technologies names former US ambassador Paul Cellucci to board., Canada - Jun 18, 2007
"Cellucci was Republican governor of Massachusetts from 1997 to 2001 and then American ambassador in Ottawa from 2001 to 2005, attracting rancour for his criticism of Canada's decision not to enlist in the war in Iraq."
more... Dismisses U.S. Warning on Decriminalizing Marijuana. 
November 15, 2004 "Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin brushed aside warnings from U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci of a border crackdown if Canada moves ahead with its marijuana decriminalization plan, the National Post reported Nov. 11."Martin dismissed U.S. concerns that relaxed marijuana laws would create even greater congestion at the borders, saying that Canada has the right to pass laws it considers appropriate."
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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2007 at 13:52:34 PT
The answer is boycott companies that hire prohibs
like Paul Celucci, former U.S. ambassador to Canada (who warned that Canadian decrim would slow the U.S./Canada border to a crawl) and now employed by a Canadian high-tech company.
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Comment #9 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:56:04 PT
Ask Ron Paul
Isn't cannabis at least as useful as gold?
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Comment #8 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:54:47 PT
What's wrong with a cannabis currency?
You prefer petrodollars?
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Comment #7 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:52:14 PT
your money is worthless
These pieces of paper, they guarantee nothing.I accept them when given to me in order to give them to those who accept them. This is true for all of us, we are just passing paper around because we are required to in order to live.I'd rather be paid in cannabis, something I can use, or give away if I had excess, or trade for barter. This is all prohibited, of course. This is why cannabis prohibition is at the root of the whole rotted tree.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:44:59 PT
Money is only a means to the things that we buy with it, this is obvious to any thinking person. People need to know that they will have things that they need to live, and money is a security that they will be able to get them when they need them.Ultimately, what we buy with our money is health care, because we all get sick sometime, and eventually we die if we are not killed. How much money would you spend to maintain your health and the health of your family?All of it, right?
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Comment #5 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:37:23 PT
In a manner of speaking, the Republicans understand this idea too, but exercise to to an extreme that does more harm than good. Their goal is for the mutual benefit of their members, so that they all profit together, and none of them want to be cast out and destitute, unable to maintain their lives.
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Comment #4 posted by whig on June 21, 2007 at 09:35:05 PT
If you want to retire from public office with any kind of financial benefit to your family...who is your paymaster?
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on June 21, 2007 at 06:45:13 PT
Governor Rell
Caught between the rock (of federal bullying and corporate greed) and the hard place (of losing the support of the majority of the voters for compassionate treatment of the ill now). Sounds like a career-ender. What a shame!Dr. Edward Hargis, your vested interest is showing. Interesting that he does not address the concerns of patients who have experienced the unpleasant side effects (like addictiveness and inability to work due to energy draining narcotics) of his so-called pain management alternatives."No army can resist the strength of an idea whose time has come."Building the future, one state at a time.
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Comment #2 posted by Yasuo on June 21, 2007 at 05:42:17 PT
What, is Savitex is lesser of two evils? Rell needs to put her thinking cap on.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 21, 2007 at 05:31:41 PT
I Won't Say Anything About This
I am counting to ten.Excerpt: Any future attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Connecticut, she said, may be made moot if Savitex, a marijuana-based painkiller made by a British company, is approved for use in this country. 
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