Medical Marijuana

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DPA Press Release: Governor Rell Ignores Will of Voters and Legislators and Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2007 CONTACT: Lorenzo Jones, T: (860) 270-9586 or Gabriel Sayegh, T: (646) 335-2264 Governor Rell Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill, Changing Her Reasons for Opposition to Issue Yet Again Compassionate Use Bill Would Have Protected Patients With Debilitating Illnesses From Arrest, Prosecution Patients, Community Members Ask: Governor Rell, As a Cancer Survivor, How Do You Sleep At Night While Patients In Our State Continue to Be Criminalized for Seeking Relief? HARTFORD, CT—Today, Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed HB 6715, the Compassionate Use Act. The bill would have allowed certain patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes as recommended by their physician. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-13 after clearing the House of Representatives by an 89-58 vote weeks earlier, both of which were wide margins. By passing HB 6715, the Legislature ended a five-year legislative battle to win medical marijuana in a state that has overwhelming public support for the issue. A 2004 University of Connecticut poll found that 83 percent of Connecticut residents support the medical use of marijuana. Dozens of community organizations, including the CT Nurses Association, support allowing patients to access medical marijuana when recommended by their physician. “I am just 32 years old and yet due to my medical condition I feel as if, at times, I am 92,” said Joshua Warren, a patient in Wilton, CT, who suffers from chronic neurological Lyme disease. “I did not ask for this condition nor would I wish any of my pain and other symptoms on anyone else. If Gov. Rell had any compassion for people like me who are suffering with horrible pain and other debilitating illnesses, she would have signed this bill.” After the bill’s passage, patients, doctors, family members and advocates mounted a massive letter and phone call campaign urging the Governor to sign the bill. The Governor was receiving hundreds of phone calls and letters every day in support of medical marijuana, including from medical, legal, and health experts from across the country. “The Governor’s veto message shows that she’s grasping for straws,” said Lorenzo Jones, executive director of A Better Way Foundation. “She said previously that she’d support the bill if it was only for terminally ill patients, because clearly other treatments are not sufficient. Now she says she’s vetoing the bill because it’s still illegal under federal law, even though over 99% of all marijuana arrests are under state law. She has been so evasive on this that it makes one wonder if she hasn’t gotten a call from Washington. Is she taking the advice from the worst administration in history over the demands of 83% of Connecticut residents?” Thousands of Connecticut residents live with crippling pain, are suffering with cancer and HIV/AIDS, or other debilitating ailments. HB 6715 would have allowed Connecticut residents with certain debilitating medical conditions to cultivate and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a practicing physician. “It’s unconscionable that Rell would ignore all the science to veto this bill,” said Gabriel Sayegh, project director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The medical efficacy of marijuana is unassailable pain and suffering and are, as a result of this veto, still considered criminals?” Currently, there are 12 states with medical marijuana laws. New Mexico passed its medical marijuana bill in March. Last month, the Rhode Island legislature voted to make their state law permanent, and last week Vermont’s legislature voted to expand their medical marijuana law. Other medical marijuana bills are currently under consideration in New Jersey, New York and Alabama. Dawn Fuller Ball, President of A Better Way Foundation said, “In Governor Rell’s veto letter, she admits that the current legal pharmacology alternatives to medical marijuana are insufficient and that the State law enacted in 1981 is unworkable, yet the Governor continues to choose politics over patients.” Background Info: Governor Rell is Saying NO to Medical Marijuana When Connecticut Says YES: - CT's voters voted YES (83% approval rating in polls from UCONN polls to media polls) - Five Separate Legislative Committees voted YES - The House of Representatives voted YES (89-58) - The Senate voted YES (23-13) - This is a Republican sponsored bill (By some of most respected Republicans in the House and Senate) - The Black and Latino Caucus supports this bill (The President and Treasurer met with Rell's staff) - Faith Based Institutions voted YES (National and local pastors and Bishops have contacted Governor Rell) - Doctors, nurses, patients, and caregivers testified, wrote letters and called the Governor’s office on behalf of medical marijuana. ###
Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States

ASA's Medical Marijuana in the News: Week Ending 6/15/07

RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure Few remember that cannabis was a popular remedy in the early twentieth century, commonly prescribed by doctors and widely available at pharmacies in several forms, including oral tinctures and topical salves. Scientists are rediscovering the potential of cannabis preparations for treating skin problems. Cannabis helps treat allergic reactions New Zealand Herald A cannabis folk remedy has been resurrected by scientists who found that active ingredients in the drug reduce allergic reactions. Extracts from the hemp plant were traditionally used to treat inflammation and could be bought from chemists in the early part of the 20th century. New frontier for medical cannabis -- topical pot by Kavita Mishra, San Francisco Chronicle Skin allergies may be the next reason to use marijuana -- a topical form, at least. Scientists have long suspected that marijuana, used for recreational purposes and to help fight chronic pain, nausea and even some mental disorders like anxiety and depression, also had anti-inflammatory effects in the body. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court The most seriously ill patients must rely on others to grow medical marijuana, something California’s law recognizes with a “caregiver” provision. But many patients have also organized as cultivation collectives to help each other, which the state legislature expressly made legal in 2003. A new court case may help better define the responsibilities of law enforcement when dealing with those patient collectives. Medical marijuana suit could break new ground by Heather Hacking, Oroville Mercury-Register A Superior Court case heard in Chico is raising the question whether a medicinal marijuana case can be tried in civil court — a step that would open up law enforcement to fighting lawsuits from people who have plants confiscated or destroyed. Collectives were OK'd in March 2002 by the Legislature, said Joe Elford, a lawyer for Americans For Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana Ten years of tireless work by medical marijuana patients and advocates has made a difference in New York. The Governor himself has had his mind changed by the education he has gotten from patients and doctors. Myths and misinformation are the biggest barriers standing between many patients and a safe, effective treatment option. Legislators Grapple Over How to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use by Danny Hakim and Michael Grynbaum, New York Times Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders said this week that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal in New York State. But whether all involved can come to an agreement on how that should be done with one week left in the legislative session remains in significant doubt. NY Pols consider 'medical marijuana' by James T. Madore, NewsDay (NY) Legalizing marijuana for medical use appeared Wednesday to gain momentum here with lawmakers and then lose it as the legislature's two houses disagreed over implementation. Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes State Assembly by John Abraham, Long Island Press A new measure which would allow patients experiencing pain to ingest and grow marijuana cleared the state Assembly Wednesday in a 92-52 vote. The controversial measure is currently being debated between Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate. Spitzer is open to New York legalizing medicinal marijuana by Tom Precious, Buffalo News (NY) Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, in a reversal of a campaign position, said Tuesday he could support legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. In a debate last summer, Spitzer said he opposed medical marijuana. Now he said he is “open” to the idea after being swayed by advocates in the past couple of months. Medical marijuana bill passed in Assembly Capital News 9 (NY) The state Assembly passed a bill legalizing medical use of marijuana Wednesday, after about a decade of attempts to approve similar legislation in the state. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative Michigan's groundspring of public support is forcing lawmakers to recognize that medical marijuana is an option people want for themselves and their families. A flurry of local initiatives is being followed by a statewide measure that will be put to voters this fall, if organizers can get the required signatures. If passed, the bill will go to the legislature; if state lawmakers fail to act, it will return to voters. Prescription pot by Curt Guyette, Detroit Metro Times Rochelle Lampkin knows she's breaking the law when she lights a joint and takes a few tokes, but she doesn't feel like a criminal. The 48-year-old Detroit grandmother has multiple sclerosis, and an associated condition called optic neuritis, an excruciatingly painful inflammation of the optic nerve. It hits her a few times a month. Medical pot: Petition drive can put issue where it belongs - with voters by EDITORIAL, Lansing State Journal (MI) Six years ago, Michigan saw petition gatherers advocating a statewide vote on recreational use of marijuana. It was a bad idea at the time, as an LSJ editorial stated. It's still a bad idea, as Lansing-based pollster Ed Sarpolus affirmed in noting full legalization is still a no-go with state voters. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk Bipartisan support got a medical marijuana bill to the desk of the governor in Connecticut. She is being urged to sign it by her constituents and even a celebrity patient. Polling by the University of Connecticut shows 83% of the state wants to see the law enacted. MS Sufferer Montel Williams Makes the Case for Medical Pot by Montel Williams, AlterNet Editor's note: Connecticut may become the 13th state in the country to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. After legislation was passed in the state legislature this month, it is now up to Gov. M. Jodi Rell. What follows is a letter of support from Montel Williams. Marijuana Law in Connecticut Gains Ground by Stacey Stowe, New York Times Seventeen years ago, Mark Braunstein dived 60 feet off a footbridge into a river, landed wrong and became a paraplegic. A librarian at Connecticut College, Mr. Braunstein, 55, walks with the aid of crutches and leg braces. He smokes marijuana every three days or so to control the pain and spasms in his feet that would otherwise immobilize him. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged State laws that impose arbitrary limits on the number of plants or medicine patients can possess are not realistic. With other medications, we let doctors decide together with their patients what treatment levels are appropriate. In addition, differences in cultivation techniques mean some grow many small plants indoors while others grow a few larger ones outdoors. ASA is working with Sensible Colorado to help make state policy more reasonable. Veteran challenges arrest under medical-marijuana law Associated Press A former Marine who said marijuana helps him deal with injuries suffered during Operation Desert Storm is challenging the state’s medical marijuana law. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California Many California state and local officials have recognized that dispensaries provide an invaluable service to patients while allowing oversight by the community. The state legislature made provisions for dispensing collectives in 2003, and local officials around the state have been implementing or considering regulations for their operation. (See AmericansForSafeaccess.org/DispensaryReport) A study by ASA found that regulations are working well. But that has not stopped the federal government from trying to intervene in local attempts to help patients. Federal agents search dispensary in Pomona by Monica Rodriguez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency - assisted by Pomona police officers - served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon at a medical marijuana dispensary in the eastern end of the city. D.A. rejects marijuana raid case Jewish Journal The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has rejected a case against the operator of a Van Nuys medical marijuana pharmacy that was raided in April by police who allegedly desecrated a mezuzah at the shop. New assistant DA sees no change in dispensary policy by K. Kaufmann, The Desert Sun When it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will be standing by the white paper opposing dispensaries issued by former District Attorney Grover Trask last fall. City studying marijuana dispensary ban by Nisha Gutierrez, Whittier Daily News (CA) The Baldwin Park City Council is taking steps to consider placing a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, officials said. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS Find out more about ASA at http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org. More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?list=type&type=122.
Location: 
United States

Medical Marijuana Measure Falls With Connecticut Governor’s Veto

Location: 
Stamford, CT
United States
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/nyregion/20rell.html

Medical marijuana: New York is waiting to inhale

Location: 
Albany, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Buffalo News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/101789.html

Veteran using medical pot fights arrest

Location: 
Centennial, CO
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Denver Post (CO)
URL: 
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_6143690

Medical marijuana bill passes in Assembly

Location: 
Albany, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
Mid-Hudson News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/med_mar-14Jun07.html

Medical Marijuana: New York Bill Passes General Assembly, But Now Senate Balks

A bill that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in New York state passed the General Assembly Wednesday night on a 92-52 vote, but now the Republican-dominated Senate is balking. Although Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) sounded agreeable at a Wednesday morning news conference, just hours later he was criticizing the bill as unworkable and vowing to introduce competing legislation.

With the clock ticking toward adjournment of the legislature next week, the move could kill the legislation this year. Even if the Senate passed its own bill, there is little time left reconcile differences, and the lawmakers face other pressing matters.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who has fought for a decade to advance it, the bill, A04867, would allow patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other severe illnesses or their designated caregivers to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of usable marijuana and up to 12 plants. Patients must be certified annually by a physician and register with the state Health Department.

Gov. Elliot Spitzer (D), who last year had opposed medical marijuana, signaled this week that he was willing to sign a carefully crafted bill, but any elation on the part of the bill's proponents, which include the Marijuana Policy Project, was tempered by Sen. Bruno's contradictory pronouncements Wednesday.

During a morning news conference, Bruno said a colleague would introduce a companion bill this week and predicted "the chances are better than not that it will go to the governor." But by that afternoon, Bruno had changed his tune. The Assembly bill is, he said, "too broad and we think it just lets too many things happen that may be inappropriate... We're going to do our own bill."

The Empire State is potentially one vote away from enacting a medical marijuana law, but the Republican Senate leadership appears determined to use a procedural trick to derail it.

Montel Williams Calls on Connecticut's Governor to Sign Medical Marijuana Bill

Montel Williams, who suffers with multiple sclerosis, continues to crusade for medical marijuana, this time with a letter to Connecticut's governor, Jodi Rell (R), published on Alternet. Writes Montel:
Medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country -- less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real -- have experienced the same thing.
Now it's up to Gov. Rell to show if she is a reasonable, compassionate leader, or a heartless political hack. Montel at a 2005 press conference with Rep. Maurice Hinchey
Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States

New York Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Assembly Vote

The late-breaking news today is that the New York Assembly has passed a medical marijuana bill -- 92-52, according to an email from MPP. Richard Gottfried (D), who has been supporting the issue for years, was the sponsor. Last I checked on Google News, the vote had not made any of the news stories, but I'm sure that will happen anytime now. One encouraging report I gleaned from the articles is that Gov. Spitzer, who opposed medical marijuana during the campaign, says he's rethought the issue. Next stop, the State Senate, probably next week...
Location: 
Albany, NY
United States

Prescription pot: Drive under way to make medical marijuana legal in Michigan

Location: 
MI
United States
Publication/Source: 
Metro Times (MI)
URL: 
http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=10616

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