The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the country's largest public service workers' union, passed a resolution endorsing medical marijuana at its national convention in Chicago Tuesday. AFSCME thus becomes the latest major civic organization to advocate for access to therapeutic cannabis.
Passed on an overwhelming voice vote by convention delegates, the resolution notes that marijuana has been shown to effectively treat illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, chronic pain, and the side effects of medical treatments for these illnesses. And here's the bottom line: "Therefore, be it further resolved that AFSCME endorse and support legalization of medical marijuana for appropriate medically indicated ailments, including but not limited to AIDS, HIV, cancer, arthritis, etc."
AFSCME represents some 1.4 million American workers in both the public and private sectors, including bus drivers, child care providers, custodians, librarians, and other state, local, and federal government employees. Of particular relevance to drug policy issues, AFSCME also represents nurses and corrections officers. Some 6,000 delegates are meeting all week in Chicago for the union's 37th annual convention.
"Our efforts to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest are gaining new momentum every day," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC. "This year alone, we've seen such new supporters as the Presbyterian Church (USA), Citizens Against Government Waste, and now AFSCME. With support this broad and growing this fast, it's no surprise we saw record support in the US House of Representatives this year, and we expect to keep building this large and powerful coalition."