Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Medical marijuana bill dies

Our legislators have no desire to ease the suffering of sick people. That has been made pretty clear by their refusal to address stem cell research, so denying this bill should come as no surprise.

Must we do everything by ballot proposal?

LANSING -- A bill to allow people with "debilitating medical conditions" to legally use marijuana to ease their symptoms died in the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday, and backers say the issue will likely be left up to voters to decide.

Following an often emotional, 90-minute hearing before a state House committee, the panel broke without taking a vote. It was the first and only hearing on the legislation, introduced a year ago.

The inaction means the bill will have to be reintroduced in a new session in January.

Supporters of the legislation, many battling diseases, packed the standing-room-only hearing room wearing red buttons that said: "Stop arresting patients for medical marijuana."

Other states have made progress, but they also had to take it to the ballot box.

Eleven states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- have adopted laws to provide pot for patients with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and other serious medical conditions.

Most laws were put on the books by a vote of the people, not legislative action.

This proposal is coming to Michigan for 2008, provided they can collect enough signatures. Along with medical, the proposal calls for decriminalization on personal use. That, of course, would be the smart thing to do, but it might just mobilize the Reefer Madness crowd into a frenzy.

Michigan residents could legally use marijuana on private property for recreational or medical purposes under a measure proposed for the 2008 statewide ballot.

The Board of State Canvassers on Monday approved the form of a legislative petition proposed by Medical and Recreational Peace, an Eaton Rapids-based group backing the proposal.

The measure would make it legal for those 18 and older to use marijuana on private property. Those found using the drug in public would be guilty of a civil infraction punishable by a $50 fine.

The measure also would allow people to grow marijuana at their residences.
Medical and Recreational Peace must gather about 304,000 valid petition signatures over a six-month period to get on the November 2008 ballot.

They flew in an "expert" from Washington for the medical bill, what do you think they will do for recreational use?

Scott Burns, the deputy White House drug czar, flew in from Washington to oppose the bill.

He said the Food and Drug Administration, which for the last century has had the role of testing and approving new medications, has determined that marijuana "does not meet existing standards of safety and efficacy for modern medication."

Burns said legalized marijuana would send a confusing signal to the nation's youth.

Uh huh. Here we go again.

How long will it take until they realize that Prohibition doesn't work?