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Delaware Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #678)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A bill that would make Delaware the next state to legalize medical marijuana passed the Senate on a convincing 18-3 vote last Thursday. The measure now goes to the House.

Medical marijuana is moving at the state capitol in Dover (Image via
The bill, Senate Bill 17, would allow qualified patients to obtain marijuana from state-licensed and -regulated compassion centers, which would grow it for them. Patients would not be able to grow their own, but would be allowed to purchase three ounces every two weeks and possess up to six ounces at a time. The legislation proposes at least one compassion center in each of the state's three counties within a year of enactment, but does not cap the number of centers.

The bill was approved after it was amended to lower the minimum age for qualifying patients from 21 to 18. Other states with medical marijuana laws allow patients of any age to use medical marijuana.

Proponents of the bill, which is based on model legislation prepared by the Marijuana Policy Project, pointed to studies suggesting that marijuana can alleviate pain, nausea, and other symptoms. Conditions that are covered include multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, and Lou Gehrig's disease.

"It's really a compassion bill," said chief sponsor Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington) during debate on the bill.

"I do believe we have an opportunity to alleviate pain and suffering in patients with certain medical conditions," said Sen. Michael Katz (D-Centreville), a physician.

The three "no" votes on the bill all came from Republicans, such as Sen. Colin Bonini of Dover, who said he thought the measure sent the wrong message. "We're saying marijuana is medicine, it's okay, and how many kids will internalize that message and start on the path to drug abuse?" asked Bonini.

Bonini also attempted to use the involvement of the Marijuana Policy Project as a club against passage of the measure. The group's stated goal is marijuana legalization, he said. "If you don't think this is step one toward legalization... I say you're sorely mistaken," he told fellow lawmakers.

But such rhetoric failed to sway his Democratic colleagues and most of his Republican colleagues. If the House follows the Senate's lead, Delaware could soon be the 16th medical marijuana state.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Realist (not verified)

Ahh, the old "Wrong Message" ploy!

There's proof that Sen. Bonini and the rest are alive and well and living in the 1950's.

Fri, 04/01/2011 - 6:53pm Permalink

We need to be asking ourselves "What message are we sending our children about marijuana through the paradigm of prohibition?".

Marijuana has been called a "gateway drug". To me the idea that a drug could have among it's side effects the creation of a desire to experiment with harder more dangerous drugs is absurd. There is no such thing as a gateway drug. There may be a gateway effect and if so it owes its existence to prohibition. Think about how we have demonized Marijuana over the decades. Children are naturally curious and often smarter than we give them credit. If we as a society demonize a plant saying "it will make our kids into addicts of harder drugs" "it will make men grow breasts" "it will make white women want to sleep with black men" "it will make you go insane" just to name a few of the false claims made against marijuana over the years then should a child experiment with marijuana and find out that all it did was make them laugh and eat a bigger lunch they will inevitably conclude the following "They lied to me about Santa Claus, they lied to me about marijuana, perhaps they are wrong about cocaine?" 

Additionally, by demonizing marijuana and other drugs we make them attractive to our youth and particularly to adolescents who are naturally going through a rebellious phase in their development. I call this the "Pandora effect". Is it any wonder that baby boomers who used to smoke pot back in the '70's and are now out of the "scene" are struggling with the ethical dilemma of asking their high-school aged children if they can "score" for them. What an utter indictment of the prohibitionist paradigm!

Finally for those of you who "get it" when it comes to the failure of prohibition the next time some fool puts forward the irrational argument made by senator Colin Bonini that we are sending the wrong message simply ask them for consistency and say "Then I suppose you would be in favor of outlawing tobacco and re-outlawing alcohol since they do far more harm to society than marijuana?" Oh Yeah by the way mr. Bonini in case you are reading, the medical efficacy of marijuana has been published in book form since before the birth of Christ! 

Sun, 04/03/2011 - 11:50am Permalink

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