State Pot Bills Should Pool, Sponsor Says
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State Pot Bills Should Pool, Sponsor Says
Posted by CN Staff on February 23, 2011 at 06:34:56 PT
By Paul Fattig for The Tidings
Source: Ashland Daily Tidings 
Oregon -- The nearly dozen legislative measures backers say are aimed at fine-tuning Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program should be pooled together, says one of the bill's sponsors. "We need to take the best parts of all of them and put them together in one bill," state Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, said Tuesday.Esquivel, sponsor of House Bill 3202, which he said would stop abuse of the program approved by voters in 1998, has asked the co-chairs of the judiciary as well as the health and human services committees to consider his proposal.
"Collectively we can come up with the best bill this way," he said of the seven House bills and four Senate bills. "Maybe one bill lacks something or maybe there are some provisions in my bill or someone else's bill that needs to be included in the final. They all need to be brought out into the open and discussed."The point, he said, is not to do away with the program but to improve it."I don't dispute we need the program  there are people who need it as a medication," he said. "But I also think there is some abuse going on in the program now."But Robert Wolfe, director of the Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative, which represents a coalition of medical marijuana advocacy groups in the state, believes the bills are intended to severely limit and even dismantle Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program."This bill (3202) in particular would roll back the program in many areas that would disqualify a lot of people, and make it more difficult for people to get their medicine," he said Tuesday afternoon."A bunch of these legislators are attempting to gut Oregon's very popular and voter-approved program," he added. "HB 3202 is one of the bills that would accomplish the job."The bills all call for cutting thousands of patients from the program, making it harder for new patients to obtain doctor-approved medical marijuana cards for conditions such as AIDS and cancer, he said.In addition, they would dramatically reduce the amount of medical marijuana a patient may possess, cut the number of plants a patient may grow, add new restrictions on who is eligible for the program and allow much greater access into private homes by law enforcement officials, he said."There are two kinds of people smoking marijuana in Oregon," he said. "There are those who go to the black market and ignore the law. Then there are the people who want to legally participate in the program to get their medicine."To kick them out of the system that is self-funding and punish them by making them go to the black market doesn't make any sense," he added. "There is no need for it."Many of the bills would also require a background check on all the medical marijuana cardholders in the state, some 80,000, he said, noting his group estimates that would cost about $7.5 million."We are going to show up for every hearing on every bill and oppose them with all our energy," said Wolfe, whose coalition includes NORML, Oregon Green Free, Pro-Oregon and Voter Power.But Esquivel, noting he has worked with Jackson County officials on his bill, welcomes input."I think there is support across the aisle and across the chambers for this," he said. "We all understand we have some correcting to do in the program."For instance, he wants a primary care physician to be involved in the application process, that those convicted of a felony involving controlled substances not be allowed to obtain a medical marijuana card, and greater restrictions be placed on the number of plants that can be grown by a cardholder or caregiver.However, he urges that everyone wanting to participate in the debate be civil to each other."I had one adult call and rip my head off," he said, noting he eventually hung up on her. "But everyone else has been very articulate with common sense and down to earth."His goal is to come up with a workable bill in this session."But it needs to be done right," he said. "There is no sense in creating a bad bill. Right now, there are some good points in each bill. We just need to bring them all together."Source: Ashland Daily Tidings (OR)Author: Paul FattigPublished: February 23, 2011Copyright: 2011 Ashland Daily TidingsWebsite: tidingsopinion dailytidings.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 23, 2011 at 16:28:19 PT
Santorum Compares WI Protesters To Drug Addicts
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 23, 2011 at 15:41:47 PT
Baltimore County Legislators Choose Sides
Baltimore County Legislators Choose Sides on Medical Marijuana BillsFebruary 23, 2011Maryland -- A pair of bills that would legalize the use of marijuana in Maryland for medicinal purposes will face public hearings over the next two weeks in Annapolis.Del. Dan Morhaim, a Democrat representing Owings Mills and Pikesville in the 11th District -- and the only medical doctor in the legislature -- is a lead sponsor of the House bill that is set for a hearing Monday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m. in the Judiciary Committee in Annapolis.The Senate version of the medical marijuana bill will have its hearing Thursday, March 3, 1 p.m., in that chamber's Judicial Proceedings Committee."We have a safe, responsible bill that has won strong bipartisan support," Morhaim said Feb. 21.He said the bills have support from a number of Republicans and Democrats in both chambers -- its sponsors include 10th District Democrats Sen. Delores Kelly and Del. Emmett Burns (Woodlawn and Catonsville); and Republicans Sen. J.B. Jennings of the 7th District (Perry Hall and White Marsh) and Del. Wade Kach of District 5B (Timonium and Jacksonville)."You are seeing people you don't normally see work across party lines," Morhaim said. "This bill would not be earning this kind of broad base support from both parties unless this (bill) was responsibly done."The legislation would allow marijuana to be obtained and used for bona-fide medical purposes only -- namely for patients suffering from certain chronic illnesses that produce severe pain, severe nausea or seizures.Among its provisions, the bill would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to issue a request for proposals to select authorized growers of marijuana for medical use, and work with the state's Department of Agriculture to create certain requirements and standards for authorized growers.Similar legislation exists in at least 14 states and the District of Columbia, Morhaim said, and was introduced last year in Maryland but was held up by a House committee.Not all county legislators support the bills."There are a lot of moving parts in that bill," said Del. Steven DeBoy on his hesitancy in supporting it."My concerns are, for the pharmacists, are they now going to be dispensing marijuana? That's a concern," said DeBoy, a Democrat who represents Catonsville and Arbutus in District 12A."Is the state going to go into the business of growing marijuana? I don't want the state in the growing business," he said.DeBoy, a former Baltimore County police officer, said concerns about the impact of the bill on public safety, state pharmacists and the consumer all need to be addressed further.But state Sen. Jim Brochin of Towson's 42nd District said he's supported the measure in the past, and will support it again this year."I still think it's important to give relief to people who are suffering from the debilitating effects of chronic illness," said Brochin.Brochin said he believes Maryland can learn from other states' successes and failures with similar legislation in terms of safety and implementation."You really have to be careful with a bill like to this make sure it's not abused," he said.Del. Steve Lafferty, also of the 42nd District, said he's not worried about abuse. "If we can provide one more opportunity for a medication that can alleviate pain and address some of the struggles cancer patients have then we should explore that," Lafferty said.Keith Meisel contributed to this story.URL:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 23, 2011 at 15:30:43 PT
And it could be West Virginia!John Denver - Country Roads
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 23, 2011 at 15:26:36 PT
MMJ Bill Introduced In W.Va. State Legislature
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 
Legislatures consider permitting the use of medical marijuana. Charleston -- W.Va. Delegate Mike Manypenny has introduced the "Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act." 
The proposed legislation would allow any person suffering from a debilitating medical condition to use medical marijuana. Patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, seizures or severe nausea would qualify under the program. The bill limits certain people who may possess or use weed. Only persons 18 years old or older, who have never been convicted of a felony drug conviction, would qualify to own six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana. Health insurance companies would not be required to reimburse patients purchases of medical marijuana. The bill also requires the use of identification cards and sales tax be collected and deposited into a special fund for drug prevention programs and abuse. Copyright: 2011 West Virginia MediaURL:
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 23, 2011 at 14:40:28 PT
Which state will be #16
Statewide Poll Shows 72% of Maryland Voters Support Medical Marijuana (Press Release)
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