Lawmakers Consider Expanding Marijuana Law

Lawmakers Consider Expanding Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on February 19, 2009 at 19:53:16 PT
By Madelyn Fairbanks, P-I Reporter
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Olympia, WA -- JoAnna McKee wakes up everyday to a burning ball of pain from multiple injuries in her lower back. The pain nearly consumes her, making it almost impossible to begin her day."The doctors said they can't give me enough medicine to take care of the pain. So I do what I can with the pharmaceuticals, but marijuana is what keeps me from becoming totally overwhelmed by the pain," said McKee, 65.
"Without the marijuana to distract my focus of the pain, I wouldn't be able to get out of bed in the morning."McKee is lucky that she lives in Seattle where access to a physician is fairly nearby. Under current law passed by voter initiative in 2007, qualifying patients may possess marijuana upon obtaining documentation citing that a physician recommends that the patient may benefit from its use. This exempts them from legal prosecution for possessing marijuana.But many other Washington residents who qualify aren't so lucky. For some patients, who suffer anything from cancer or AIDS wasting syndrome, this may mean driving hours to meet with a physician at a major medical facility because they typically access medical care at a neighborhood clinic.Senate Bill 5798 would expand the definition of those who can recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Under current law, the provider must be a patient's physician. The bill proposes to change "physician" to "health-care provider" in order to include others in that category including registered nurse practitioners, physician assistant, osteopathic physician, and osteopathic physicians' assistant.Primary bill sponsor Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, wants to expand the provider's definition mainly out of concern for those living in rural areas, especially eastern Washington.Kohl-Welles said that people who are in ravaging pain shouldn't have to drive what can be hundreds of miles to visit with a physician, especially when they are accustomed to meeting with a nurse practitioner or assistant of some kind."It's just common sense that someone who is desperately ill, or has other physical conditions covered under the law, could get that recommendation from someone in a nearby clinic," Kohl-Welles said. Snipped   Complete Article: State Legislature: http://www.leg.wa.govSource: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)Author: Madelyn Fairbanks, P-I ReporterPublished: February 19, 2009Copyright: 2009 Seattle Post-IntelligencerContact: editpage seattlepi.comWebsite: Article:WA Lawmakers Consider Expanding MMJ Law
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 19, 2009 at 19:56:32 PT
Another Step
This is good.
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