Jewish Leaders Testify for Medical Marijuana
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Jewish Leaders Testify for Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on December 10, 2009 at 13:53:02 PT
By Lee Chottiner, Executive Editor
Source: Jewish Chronicle
Pennsylvania -- Ruth Damsker still remembers how her husband, Jeffrey, a physician, was terminally ill with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He tried several therapies to find relief — all without success. Finally, his physician suggested an alternative treatment: marijuana.“He thought it would be helpful, but obviously my husband was uncomfortable experimenting with it because he knew it was illegal,” Damsker recalled. “It really saddened me that he was unable to have an alternative therapy that would at least make him feel more comfortable.”
That was in 2001 — the year her husband died — but Damsker retold that story last week to the state House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee, which is considering a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical use only.Damsker, a board member of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network in Philadelphia, testified in favor of House Bill 1393. Rabbi Eric Cytrin of Temple Beth El in Harrisburg, a Conservative congregation, also testified that medical marijuana was consistent with Jewish values.In fact, medical marijuana enjoys significant support in the Jewish world. In addition to JSPAN, which has a chapter in Pittsburgh, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted a resolution at its 67th General Assembly supporting its use.The Conservative movement, has yet to endorse medical marijuana but Rabbi Elliot Dorf, one of the movement’s leading scholars has come out in favor, as have several Orthodox rabbis.“In terms of Judaism, we would see this as part of our charge by God to be compassionate and merciful and respond to our neighbors’ distress,” Cytrin said. “That’s where we’re coming from ultimately.“There’s no indication in scripture whether this (marijuana) should be legalized or not, but when we think of the commandments to treat our neighbors with kindness, love and compassion, this is one way to do it.”In supporting medical marijuana, the Reform movement cited several talmudic sources for its stance including this commentary by Maimonides: “God created drugs and compounds and gave us the intelligence necessary to discover their medicinal properties; we must use them in warding off illness and disease. (Mishneh P’sachim 4:9).In Israel, people with cancer, multiple sclerosis or certain other conditions can apply for a license to receive a free supply of medical marijuana. It is provided by a charitable organization, Tikkun Olam, which supplies it to some 700 patients. Sponsored by state Rep. Mark Cohen, H.B. 1393 would permit the use of medical marijuana through so-called “compassion centers” where the narcotic may be dispensed.Under the bill, patients could legally use marijuana with a doctor’s written recommendation, said Cohen’s spokesman, Leon Czikowsky. The patient would obtain a photo ID from the Health Department then take it to a compassion center to purchase marijuana for use on the premises or at home.Compassion centers would either be private non-profit operations or run by the Health Department, according to the bill.Patients could use the marijuana through vaper machines at the compassion centers, as cigarettes, or other ways.“Depending on the medical condition, some people may find it easier to put in food,” Czikowsky said. Cancer, ALS, wasting disease, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma, are among the conditions for which marijuana could be legally dispensed.The Health Department, and State Police would regulate compassion centers, Czikowksy said. Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington already permit marijuana for medical purposes, and in Arizona, doctors are permitted to prescribe it.JSPAN President Brian Gralnick said his organization’s support applies to medical use only and not total legalization.“It hasn’t come up,” he said. “We’re just focused on this bill before us.”Gralnick expects further committee hearings in January and February with a possible committee vote by spring.Damsker said the Pennsylvania bill is quite different from the controversial California law, which blurs the distinction between medical and recreational use. “This is a very well crafted bill that protects the users and assures the compassionate centers have to be licensed,” she said.She is cautiously optimistic that the bill can pass.In fact, a 2006 poll conducted by Franklin & Marshall College found that 76 percent of Pennsylvanians support marijuana use if a physician recommends it.“Many people in Pennsylvania, which is a very conservative state, are not opposed to the medical use of marijuana,” Damsker said. “It really does help the chronically ill individual, and people should have the choice.”Source: Jewish Chronicle (PA)Author: Lee Chottiner, Executive EditorPublished: December 10, 2009Copyright: 2009 Jewish Chronicle URL: leec Website: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on December 11, 2009 at 05:57:19 PT
Poll: Most Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
December 10, 2009URL:
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on December 11, 2009 at 05:46:44 PT
Poll: From Blog
Daybreak for Marijuana: Most Americans Support LegalizationDecember 10, 2009URL:
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on December 10, 2009 at 21:13:36 PT
Happy Hannukkah
"The first day of Hanukkah in 2009 is on Saturday, December 12, meaning the first candle to be lit is on Friday night, December 11.""In 2009, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 11th." dreidel will rock!Thank you Jewish rabbis and friends for your intelligence and compassion.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 19:43:59 PT
OT: Long Wait for Legalization of LSD Over
December 11, 2009URL:
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 18:43:10 PT
News Article From The Grand Rapids Press
Grand Rapids Official: Allowing Medical Marijuana Sales From Homes Preferable To Allowing Stand-Alone Marijuana Dispensaries***By Jim Harger, The Grand Rapids PressDecember 10, 2009Grand Rapids -- Allowing medical marijuana sales from the homes of those who grow is preferable to allowing stand-alone marijuana dispensaries, City Planning Director Suzanne Schulz said Thursday."We are going to have people doing it anyway," Schultz told the city's Planning Commission.The commission tabled the matter, vowing to discuss it next month despite several members who said they were aghast at the prospect of allowing marijuana distribution in neighborhoods."Obviously it's an emotional issue," Commission Vice Chairman Paul Potter said."We have to educate ourselves or we will make a decision that is not fact-based."Schulz said her proposal to allow home distribution would allow the city to outlaw larger dispensaries that could cause problems.State law approved last year allows distribution by state-licensed caregivers who are limited to five patients each. Caregivers are allowed to raise 12 marijuana plants for each one of their patients.Not allowing home distribution would open the city to accusations it was illegally outlawing a legitimate business, Schulz said.URL:
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on December 10, 2009 at 17:46:26 PT
Rastafarians consider themselves to be Jewish, members of the lost Twelve Tribes of Israel!
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on December 10, 2009 at 17:31:08 PT
Sounds about right to me.
God created drugs and compounds and gave us the intelligence necessary to discover their medicinal properties; we must use them in warding off illness and disease. (Mishneh P’sachim 4:9).
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on December 10, 2009 at 17:29:21 PT:
Nixon's rotten soul is roasting in Hell
May 26, 1971, Time: 10:03 am - 11:35 am -- Oval Office 
Conversation: 505-4 -- Meeting with Nixon and HR 'Bob' HaldemanRN: "Now, this is one thing I want. I want a Goddamn strong 
statement on marijuana. Can I get that out of this 
sonofabitching, uh, Domestic Council?"HRH: "Sure."RN: "I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them. I see another thing in the news summary this morning about it. You know it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it's because most of them are psychiatrists, you know, there's so many, all the greatest psychiatrists are Jewish. By God we are going to hit the marijuana thing, and I want to hit it right square in the puss, I want to find a way of putting more on that. More [ unintelligible ] work with somebody else with this."HRH: "Mm hmm, yep."RN: "I want to hit it, against legalizing and all that sort of thing." from the Nixon White House Tapes.And I can just see ol' Tricky, pants forever ablaze, up to his arse in molten lava, screaming his head off that he was 'right, after all!" about the Jews.Of course, he had it all wrong; if anyone should know about compassion in the face of persecution, it's the Jews. And they just proved it again.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 17:21:14 PT
Ganja Gourmet - Medical Marijuana Restaurant Opens
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 10, 2009 at 17:06:18 PT
U.S. May Take New Look at `War on Drugs'
December 10, 2009If you had asked me 10 years ago whether the United States will ever change its interdiction-focused counternarcotics policies -- and perhaps even decriminalize marijuana consumption at home -- I would have told you, ``never.'' Today, I say, ``perhaps.''Earlier this week, in a tacit admission that current U.S. anti-drug policies are not working, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to create an independent commission to review whether the U.S. anti-drug policies of the past three decades in Latin America are producing positive results.The bill now goes to the Senate, where supporters say it has a good chance to pass, given its bipartisan support in the House. The 10-member panel, modeled after the 9/11 Commission that made recommendations to Congress and the White House after the 2001 terrorist attacks, would have to issue its report in 12 months.URL:,0,3695223.story
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on December 10, 2009 at 14:49:02 PT
Looks like we are turning the corner at long last!
Finally common sense and maybe some compassion.
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