I'm A Police Officer In Favor Of The Medical Marijuana Bill
NH - As one of two active law enforcement officers to testify in favor of medical marijuana at a recent state Senate hearing, it became clear to me that many people do not fully understand the implications of opposing this bill.
Simply put, supporting the continued ban on medical marijuana means subjecting seriously ill or handicapped individuals to arrest and prosecution. HB 648 would allow a narrow class of sick and handicapped individuals to use marijuana with their doctor's permission.
At the Senate hearing, two members of the law enforcement community spoke against the legislation. They seemed defensive after I testified that as a sworn enforcer of the law, it was my duty to arrest and prosecute citizens who possess marijuana, even if it used for easing their intense suffering. Although I do not personally support this, it is my job to enforce the law as written, and there is currently no legal reason to be in possession of marijuana.
It seems that some law enforcement, as well as many others who oppose this bill, want to be disconnected from the reality of what it is trying to do. HB 648 is meant to protect sick, frail and handicapped patients from being handcuffed, arrested and labeled as criminals for using marijuana when it is recommended by their doctors.
Some argue that marijuana may be unsafe. Some argue that legalizing medical marijuana will make the job of law enforcement more difficult, or that it will put states in violation of federal law. These arguments distract from the real issue, which is whether these patients should be considered criminals under the New Hampshire legal framework.
Medical decisions between patients and their doctor should be sacrosanct. Neither legislators nor the police should stop sick patients from following their doctor's advice.
The chronically and terminally ill, the frail and handicapped all suffer from debilitating pain and other symptoms. They deserve our compassion, tolerance and understanding; not handcuffs, jail cells and criminal records.
If you should ever fall ill, it may be your quality of life that is improved by marijuana. Would you want to be arrested and labeled a criminal?
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Source: Concord Monitor (NH)
Copyright: 2009 Monitor Publishing Company
Website: Concord Monitor Online - Concord, NH 03301 - The news you need now
Author: Bradley Jardis