Washington Citizens for Medical Rights, a broad coalition of doctors, patients and state citizens, reports submitting more than 230,000 signatures today (July 2) to place Initiative 692, the Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana act, on the November 3 ballot.
"These signatures represent thousands of citizens who care about relieving the suffering of patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses such as cancer and AIDS," states Tacoma physician, Dr. Rob Killian, sponsor of the initiative. "We have worked with doctors, patients, law enforcement and legislators to bring Washington voters an initiative that is tightly drafted, narrowly focused, and protects the doctor-patient relationship," said Killian.
The initiative allows patients with specific terminal or debilitating illnesses to use limited amounts of medical marijuana, and permits physicians to authorize and recommend such use. Qualifying terminal or debilitating illnesses are limited to cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma and some forms of intractable pain. Patients would be required to have valid documentation authorizing the use from a state-accredited physician.
Initiative 692 is modeled after senate bill 6271, which was introduced to the legislature during the 1998 session by State Senators Jeanne Kohl and Pat Thibadeau. That effort received editorial support from the Seattle Times and Post-Intelligencer. "I enthusiastically support I-692," stated Senator Kohl. "My dearest friend of 23 years died recently of uterine cancer. I saw the difference just a small amount of medical marijuana made in relieving her suffering, she should not have had to die a criminal."
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Issue #48, 7/2/98
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