Skip to comments.Medical pot bill advances
Posted on 02/07/2003 7:24:47 AM PST by MrLeRoy
CHEYENNE -- Sen. Keith Goodenough's years-long crusade to get the Legislature to legalize marijuana for medical purposes got off to a good start this year when the Senate Judiciary Committee gave its approval to Senate File 44 on Wednesday.
"This is a big deal -- a glimmer of progressive light -- after many predicted it would sink for sure in committee," said Goodenough, D-Casper, after the 3-2 committee vote for his medical marijuana bill.
Joining him in support of the bill were Sens. Ken Decaria, D-Evanston, and Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan. Panel Chairman Sen. John Hanes, R-Cheyenne, and Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, voted against it.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for debate.
Goodenough said the strongest points for the bill are that "it's logical, and it would help sick and dying people."
It mirrors the initiative Colorado voters passed in 2000, he said.
Under the bill, if a doctor prescribed marijuana for a specifically listed medical purpose, the patient could then apply to the state Department of Health for a medical necessity card. Ownership of the card would be a defense against otherwise unlawful possession of marijuana.
Burns has some personal experience with the benefits of marijuana use -- he remembers when his uncle used the drug to regain appetite and suppress pain during a losing battle with lung cancer.
"This was 20-plus years ago, so at that time, radiology was quite crude and was really doing a number on him," Burns said. "He lost 30 pounds, couldn't eat and was quite miserable. He started smoking marijuana, and in the last six weeks of his life, he gained 15 pounds and was much more comfortable right up to the time of his death than he had been previously.
The uncle was living with Burns' mother at the time, "so I've seen the benefits in my own house," Burns said.
He said the bill might have some problems that could be remedied with amendments on the Senate floor. Byron Odekoven, executive officer of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs, said a provision in the bill that allows patients to grow their own marijuana could open the door to abuse, such as sharing with neighbors and friends.
Abuse may be a possibility, Hanes said, "but I think it has been successfully used by people who are really sick and dying, and it's done some good for them."
He said his main concern with the bill is that federal law prohibits marijuana use and possession regardless of what state laws may allow.
So have I. So has William F. Buckley. Come jail us.
Not good enough for the drug warriors.
At a press conference Nixon names drug abuse as "public enemy number one in the United States." He announces the creation of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP), to be headed by Dr. Jerome Jaffe, a leading methadone treatment specialist. During the Nixon era, for the only time in the history of the war on drugs, the majority of funding goes towards treatment, rather than law enforcement.
!NUTS Who is pushing what?