Pot Proposal a Painful One

Pot Proposal a Painful One
Posted by CN Staff on March 08, 2008 at 05:04:32 PT
By Fran Eaton
Source: Daily Southtown
Illinois -- As the state creeps nearer and nearer to full-blown financial crisis, tensions run high at the Capitol, power struggles between the Legislature and the governor abound, morale among Republican lawmakers dips to an all-time low, and what do we find Democratic Senate Majority Whip John Cullerton pushing once again? Legalizing marijuana to relieve chronic pain. The controversial measure passed the Senate Public Health Committee on Wednesday and is on its way to a floor vote.
Despite a similar measure being defeated last spring, the Chicago senator has returned to promote legalizing marijuana once again, this time with a soothing new title: "Alternative Treatment for Serious Diseases Causing Chronic Pain and Debilitating Conditions Act."The Washington-D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project has hired professional lobbyists to push legalizing medical pot in Illinois, Minnesota and New York. Testifying at Wednesday's hearing were two Marijuana Policy Project lobbyists.Multiple sclerosis sufferer Judy Valco, of Chicago, told the committee she eats three marijuana-laced brownies each day to relieve her chronic pain. Lindenhurst resident Lisa Lange Van Kamp, who also testified from a wheelchair, said she finds no relief from her osteoarthritis pain other than by ingesting pot on a regular basis.Cullerton, who championed the statewide public smoking ban last year, assured the committee Senate Bill 2865 was stricter than California's medical marijuana bill. His specifies what conditions warrant medicinal marijuana use and requires medical pot distributors to register with the state and pay a $5,000 setup fee.Cullerton's legislation would protect marijuana users' rights over those of landlords, who would rather not have medical pot cultivated in their apartment complexes. The Illinois law enforcement community opposes Cullerton's bill because of the difficulty it presents to monitor growing marijuana indoors.Marijuana gardens, as they're called, attract illegal drug users and dealers and make it impossible to appropriately protect neighborhoods and medical pot-growers at the same time.Despite the women's passionate testimony, marijuana is not a victimless medication. It is an addictive drug. But lots of drugs are addictive, one might argue. Why should medical marijuana be restricted?"There is a direct correlation between perception of risk and use; the less risk perceived, the greater the use is," an informational sheet from Educating Voices Inc. says. "The message that marijuana is a medicine, thereby safe, is misleading to kids."Indeed, it's foolish 12- and 13-year-olds who are likely to try marijuana for the first time.There is no age restriction for marijuana use in Cullerton's proposal. Use would depend on a doctor's recommendation and obtaining a medical use card. Not only would the patient be given permission to transport pot, so would a patient's assigned designate.But Illinoisans shouldn't be conned with this phony setup. It is not paranoia to declare Cullerton's proposal just the first step toward full-blown legalization of illicit drugs in Illinois.The good senator has a track record of progressive legislation. It's his modus operandi.Cullerton's statewide ban on public tobacco smoking last year hasn't alleviated his concerns about cigarette smoking in Illinois public places. On one hand, he promotes smoking cannabis, but on the other, he's introduced two bills this spring that would further restrict smoking tobacco.One bill would allow a neighbor to sue another if the neighbor's tobacco smoke "drifts" onto his property. So if you're sitting in your back yard smoking a cigar twice within a seven-day period, your neighbor can sue you for the nuisance you're causing.Another Cullerton bill allows condominium associations to pass no-smoking bans, thereby expanding the public smoking ban into private homes.What's wrong with this picture? From a conservative perspective, individual rights are paramount over collectivism. Individual rights are based on the right to own property and enjoy it fully.But as the old saying goes, "Your freedoms end where my nose begins." Who would ever have thought that meant government would interfere to protect others from offensive odors such as certain types of smoke? That legendary nose of freedom balances the right to clean air with your neighbor's right to enjoy a smoke.But with marijuana, it's obviously different. Marijuana debilitates a person's reaction time and judgment, just as alcohol does. Children are killed by those intoxicated by hard liquor as well as by illegal drugs.There's no question Cullerton's latest proposal raises a need for more Food and Drug Administration investigation into so-called alternative treatments for serious diseases. What he's pushing on us now is causing chronic pain in the lower posterior.I wonder if that would qualify for medical use?Fran Eaton is a south suburban resident, a conservative activist in state and national politics and an online journalist. She can be reached at: featon illinoisreview.comSource: Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, IL)Author: Fran EatonPublished: March 8, 2008Copyright: 2008 Daily SouthtownContact: letters dailysouthtown.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Bill Legalizing MMJ Sent To Senate Senator Working To Legalize Marijuana
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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 09, 2008 at 06:10:40 PT
They just don't get it.
"But Illinoisans shouldn't be conned with this phony setup. It is not paranoia to declare Cullerton's proposal just the first step toward full-blown legalization of illicit drugs in Illinois."Legal or illegal, I reserve the personal right to use whatever kind of drug, eat whatever kind of food, and drink whatever kind of drink I chose regardless of any law. They may lock us up, but they cannot stop the progress of truth. The law, after all, is a human institution. I've noticed that groups are now lobbying against and suing groups of Americans fro profit. The Teachers Association in California just won a decision at the appealate level to require home schooling to be conducted by a certified teacher. Home schoolers should ignore the law, however people will probably be locked up for teaching their children, in their own home!
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on March 09, 2008 at 05:13:08 PT:
That's "...their own role..." Not enough caffeine yet, this morning...
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on March 09, 2008 at 05:09:55 PT:
'The mote in thy brother's eye'
The article showcases the huge retinal blindspot of prohibs: they're own role in creating the mess they pee-and-moan about:"Marijuana gardens, as they're called, attract illegal drug users and dealers and make it impossible to appropriately protect neighborhoods and medical pot-growers at the same time."Evidently this woman was not issued a 'thinking cap' in kindergarten. Or perhaps she was, mistook it for a barf bag, used it and threw it away. The level of mentation this article demonstrates sure looks that way.The risk to medicinal growers comes from cannabis remaining illegal - in spite of all evidence to the necessity for it being relegalized. It has remained illegal in large part because of (apparently, willfully) ignorant people like the author. Who now bears no small degree of responsibility for the very condition she decries with her support of prohibition. 'Mote in my eye, 2x4 sticking out of yours'. Don't they ever learn?
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on March 08, 2008 at 15:49:30 PT
I emailed this daily southtown rag
"Her name is Julie Falco, with an F. Your article was biased before you mention her and can't even get her last name right". 
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Comment #2 posted by ripit on March 08, 2008 at 09:38:28 PT:
what can ya do ?
how can ya point out their mistakes to ppl who just don't get it?and if being sick is all it takes to make one a professional lobbyist then count me in.and i still haven't seen them produce a victim other than the ones they created by destroying familys with inprisonment and outright killing. prohibition created the drug dealers,crooked cops and such.
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on March 08, 2008 at 09:01:20 PT
not logical
Did you notice this personís logic is all over the place? It starts off against medical use of cannabis with the same old discredited arguments and thatís OK. They should have left it there. But no, they go on about the tobacco smoking ban and how from a conservative perspective this goes against individual freedom etc. So then, if they are in favor of individual freedom, why are they against individuals exercising their freedom to use healthful cannabis products that have caused zero deaths (and actually have many things in itís favor), and in favor of people using tobacco products that, when used as directed, cause disease and death? The prohibitionist point of view does not make sense. It is not logical. It does not compute. 
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