Friday, June 12, 2015

Patients Want Relief From Pain Without Government Interference-- Even In Red States


Lets all pray Sen. Isakson gets the pain relief he needs to battle Parkinson's disease

One of Georgia's two conservative Republican senators, Johnny Isakson, announced this week that he's running for reelection in 2016 and that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Medical marijuana has proven to be a boon for people suffering from Parkinson's. I hope someone hips Isakson to the benefits. But I suspect imedical marijuana use is illegal in Georgia-- although it isn't illegal in DC, where Isakson resides.

I never thought about marijuana as a political issue-- until I went through chemotherapy recently. Marijuana helped me recover from the worst of the chemo side effects. I couldn't understand why legislators wanted to come between doctors and their patients by buying in to old and outdated propaganda nonsense about marijuana. But, generally speaking, conservatives are still opposing decriminalization of medical marijuana. Most Republicans vote NO on marijuana issues, and there are still enough backward and ignorant Democrats-- still about a dozen-- who vote with the GOP on this.

Congress has started making some headway. Recently two amendments from California congressmen-- Democrat Ted Lieu and Republican Dana Rohrabacher-- were adopted in the House. Last year, one of Rohrabacher's amendments passed both Houses and got signed into law:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
Rohrabacher's goal is to stop government from interfering between the doctor prescribing marijuana and the patient in need of it. At the time the amendment passed Rohrabacher said, "Despite this overwhelming shift in public opinion, the federal government continues its hard line of oppression against medical marijuana." The amendment passed 219 to 189, 172 Republicans voting NO along with 17 Democrats. Among the anti-medical marijuana Democrats voting NO, 5-- all vile right-wing Blue Dogs-- were kicked out of Congress by their constituents after the vote: Barrow (GA), Gallego (TX), Matheson (UT), McIntyre (NC) and Rahall (WV). 49 Republicans joined 170 Democrats to pass the amendment.

But now the newest state talking about legalizing medical marijuana is another red one, South Dakota. It looks like a measure may be headed directly to the voters in 2016, bypassing a state legislature dominated by ignorant rightists-- 27 Republicans face 8 Democrats in the state Senate and 58 Republicans face off against 12 Dems in the state House.
The Attorney General's Office said Tuesday that an explanation for an initiated measure to legalize marijuana has been filed with the Secretary of State's Office.

Melissa Mentele, the founder of an advocacy organization that has helped two families relocate to Colorado, authored the measure. Despite past failure to legalize medical marijuana use in the state, she feels confident this latest measure will garner strong support.

"Personally I think it's a slam dunk," she said. "I think there is so much science out there that people can't dispute it."

The initiative would allow qualifying patients to get a registration card from the South Dakota Health Department that details their medical condition. Non-South Dakota residents would be allowed to use their registration cards from other states.

Patients would be allowed 3 ounces of marijuana and a minimum of six plants if cultivation is allowed. Quantities of other marijuana products would be determined by the Health Department.

Marijuana possession, use, cultivation and distribution would remain illegal under federal law.

The sponsor has 180 days to get the 13,871 signatures needed to have the measure placed on the November 2016 ballot.

...Attorney General Marty Jackley has opposed the general legalization of marijuana for safety and public health reasons. But he said marijuana can evolve into an accepted, regulated and FDA approved medical cure.

"I do hope that medicine may reach a point in which some form of marijuana or THC can safely be prescribed under a doctor's care for treatment," he said. "That would include FDA approval, prescribed by a licensed South Dakota physician, and dispensed by a licensed South Dakota Pharmacist. The FDA approval would likely give rise to a drug schedule change that would not require significant changes under South Dakota law to allow such a drug to be used legally."
A poll in the Argus Leader shows that almost 80% of those responding favor legalization.

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