Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Michigan's Proposal 1 Would Allow Ill To Grow

UPDATE: Election results info here.

Now for something different... local/state news... on pot. Yay.

Posted by CN Staff on September 23, 2008 at 17:43:51 PTBy Nathan Bruttell, Argus-Press Staff

Writer Source: Argus-Press
Lansing, MI -- Dianne Byrum has heard the stories about countless individuals in Michigan who are in pain. Byrum has listened to “dozens upon dozens” of terminally ill cancer patients, others dying of AIDS and others in severe pain from multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

“You will hear all kinds of stories off the record,” Byrum said, “where you have constant vomiting and people who can barely move they are hurting so much.”

Each of the personal stories Byrum hears includes a plea for akind of relief that is currently illegal.

On Nov. 4 voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1, which would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes with a recommendation from their doctor.

A chemical in marijuana known as THC has been shown to alleviate pain caused by certain types of cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

Byrum is a representative for Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC), the consulting firm that organized the petition to put Proposal 1 on the ballot.

The petition needed 304,000 signatures to be placed on the November ballot - it got nearly half a million.

Yet few of the signers have been willing to speak about their reasons.
“People are afraid to step out and speak openly about it,” Byrum said. “They really do fear for arrest and prosecution.”

Byrum also said many of the signers were physicians in Michigan.
“There are physicians out there, but they are not going to step out until this is passed because that fear of prosecution is real,” she said.

There are several outspoken individuals against the legalization of medical marijuana, Byrum said, who fear the law will allow easy access for others.

There are provisions in the proposal to ensure that doesn't happen, she said.

The proposal requires a prescription, which must be renewed annually. The prescription allows the patient an ID card, which only the patient and select growers may use.

The proposal does allow patients to grow up to 12 plants legally in their homes. It also states the cardholders would be free of prosecution involving marijuana as long as they assert medical reasons for using.

Optometrist and State Rep. Richard Ball, R-Owosso said he has mixed views of the proposal.

“There are dozens or more pharmaceutical solutions that are designed to relieve ocular pressure (caused by glaucoma) that work a whole lot better,” Ball said. “If you want to control that pressure you're going to have to use prescription drugs.”

Ball said he has heard of a lot of support for medical marijuana for the relief of glaucoma that he says is unsubstantiated.
“I've wondered if they didn't want to use marijuana for different purposes,” Ball said. “I have never been convinced that the use of marijuana is better (at relieving pain caused by glaucoma).”

There are those with severe pain, such as terminally ill cancer patients, for whom Ball could justify the use of marijuana.
“Pain relief...that's pretty subjective,” he said. “You have to look at the fact that maybe for them it works, but you have to build in a system.”

Ball said there is simply too much risk of patients using marijuana for recreational and illegal purposes.

The Michigan State Medical Society opposes the potential law, but the proposal is based on a similar proposal put forth by the Rhode Island Medical Society - which supports it.

Currently 12 other states, including Rhode Island, California and New York, have laws in place for medical marijuana. Michigan cities Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint and Traverse City have local ordinances in place to support it - but current state and federal law still prohibit use.

Shiawassee County Health Department Director George Pichette is unsure if the proposed law will do more help than harm.

“Of course there are medical benefits...But, I don't know if there is a definitive answer,” he said. “That's why it's being left up to voters.”

Complete Title: Michigan's Proposal 1 Would Allow Seriously Ill To Grow and Use Illegal Drug

What an interesting proposal. I support the legalization of medical marijuana because who am I to take a treatment away from somebody that needs it? It's been proven to work for glaucoma, those in chemo and certain pain control. I hope my state, the State of Michigan votes YES on Proposal 1.

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