Opposition To Marijuana Ballot Initiative Forms
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Opposition To Marijuana Ballot Initiative Forms
Posted by CN Staff on October 05, 2009 at 05:26:10 PT
By Susan M. Cover, Staff Writer
Source: Morning Sentinel
Augusta, Maine --  New opposition has emerged in the debate about Question 5, a proposed expansion of the state's medical-marijuana law that would allow nonprofit dispensaries to distribute the drug. Don LaRouche, of Madison, a medical-marijuana patient, and the Maine Prosecutors Association recently took public stands against the measure, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
LaRouche said he's the spokesman for Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana, an offshoot of Maine Vocals, a group that has for years wanted to legalize marijuana.On this campaign, LaRouche is opposing a citizen initiative brought forward by the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative, a Lewiston-based group working to expand the current medical-marijuana law passed by voters in 1999."I've talked to people who have signed the petition and said they had no idea what was in it," he said. The ballot question adds to the number of medical conditions for which a physician can prescribe marijuana and allows the creation of nonprofit dispensaries. The state Department of Health and Human Services would oversee the dispensaries, and patients would have the option of getting an identification card to present to law enforcement to show they are medical users.LaRouche said he has concerns about the ability of the department to oversee the program, the $5,000 cost for a dispensary registration and the identification card process.Jonathan Leavitt, director of the marijuana initiative, said LaRouche represents a small splinter group that doesn't have patients' interests at heart."We think this question is way overdue," he said. "We're going to make this happen."Leavitt said the ballot question addresses a loophole in current law that allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, but requires patients to grow it themselves. In reality, most people buy it on the black market, he has said.The low-key campaign has thus far drawn sparse attention, although the prosecutors association voted late last month to formally oppose the measure.Kennebec/Somerset District Attorney Evert Fowle, president of the association, said the group has numerous issues with the ballot question, and that they are worried that voters won't understand what is in the measure."Question 5 goes a lot farther than the innocent description voters are going to see at the polling place," Fowle said. The ballot question reads: "Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution?"Fowle said the bill allows a medical patient to get the equivalent of 200 marijuana cigarettes a month, would permit someone with several misdemeanor drug convictions to run a dispensary and restricts the power of judges in child-custody cases if one of the parents is a medical patient."This law reeks of paranoia that the entire criminal justice system is not to be trusted," he said.The child-custody provision states that a medical-marijuana patient cannot be denied visitation or custody of a minor unless "that person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated."Fowle said the proposal creates a "special provision" for medical-marijuana users that's not available to other parents. The ballot measure came before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee earlier this year and the committee rejected the bill so it could go to a public vote. That's common procedure for citizen initiatives, four of which are on the Nov. 3 ballot. LaRouche said he doesn't think the Department of Health and Human Services should be in charge of the dispensaries."People have issues with DHHS all the time," he said, adding that he thinks the program should be supervised by the state Department of Agriculture.But Leavitt said the department is the proper agency to oversee the program because it's a medical issue."We understand people's fears," he said. "The whole point of this is it's a medical issue, pure and simple."Also, LaRouche said the $5,000 fee to open a dispensary is too high and that he's worried about the identification cards. Leavitt said the cards are voluntary.While the men disagree on the details of the bill, both say patients continue to need marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.LaRouche said he uses marijuana to get relief from glaucoma and back spasms. Under current law, he is allowed to grow up to six plants."My eyes don't feel like they are going to be popping out of my head," he said. "I can sleep at night. It helps me cope. I don't have to take as many narcotics."Source: Morning Sentinel (Waterville, ME)Author: Susan M. Cover, Staff WriterPublished: October 5, 2009Copyright: 2009 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.Contact: http://www.morningsentinel.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by christ on October 05, 2009 at 17:58:54 PT
Ms. Cover
Since this article is supposed to be about distribution, why didn't you ask LaRouche where he gets his medicine?ps. replace "prescribe" with "recommend".
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 05, 2009 at 08:04:55 PT
Wisconsin: Several Hundred Rally at State Capitol
Several Hundred Rally at State Capitol to Legalize Medical Marijuana October 5, 2009Several hundred people attended a rally at the State Capitol Sunday for a bill to legalize marijuana to treat serious illnesses.Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, are sponsoring the measure. It would let patients or caregivers grow small amounts of marijuana for medical use and those who canít grow it themselves could have it dispensed. Thirteen other states allow medical marijuana. Previous efforts to allow it in Wisconsin never went anywhere in the Legislature. The new bill is named for Jacki Rickert, 58, of Mondovi, who says marijuana has kept her alive after she suffered advanced reflex sympathetic dystrophy and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She led a 210-mile march of wheelchairs to Madison in 1997 to support legal medical marijuana. Rickert told Sundayís rally it provides more hope for people. Copyright: 2009 Forum Communications Co. URL:
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