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Delaware Medical Marijuana Proposal Advances

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DOVER -- Trevor Wiberg's rare connective tissue disorder, arthritis and bone spurs cause what he says is "more pain than I can describe."

"It's sufficient to say that I'd rather wake up to a savage beating of a baseball bat than wake up to this pain everyday," the 25-year-old Rehoboth Beach man told a state Senate committee on Wednesday.

Wiberg said high doses of legal opiates don't come close to relieving his pain the way illegal marijuana does. But his pain management plan prohibits him from using the illegal drug.

"Until the law changes, I'm forced to choose between living in agony or living in terror, in fear of law enforcement and being cut off from my pain management," said Wiberg, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

After being urged by Wiberg and others who suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses, the Senate Health and Social Services Committee advanced legislation that would make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes in Delaware.

Fifteen other states and the District of Columbia already have medical marijuana laws on the books and Pennsylvania and Maryland also are considering decriminalizing cannabis.

Senate Bill 17 would allow residents 21 years of age or older with debilitating conditions to get certified by their physician to purchase medical marijuana at one of three state-licensed dispensaries. Qualifying conditions include cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, PTSD, glaucoma, Crohn's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease or other chronic wasting diseases.

Under the proposal, patients would be allowed to possess up to six ounces of medical marijuana, less than the amount the National Institute on Drug Abuse has said is a month's supply for medical use. Delaware residents who qualified for a state-issued medical marijuana card would not be able to grow their own.

But low-income residents who qualify for Medicaid would be eligible for discounted medical marijuana, said Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington.

Henry, the bill's sponsor, said she hopes to have the full Senate debate the bill on March 31.

The hearing turned into a debate between those who swear by the positive effects marijuana has in relieving debilitating pains and treating nausea to law enforcement officials who fear legal medical marijuana would open the door to new criminal problems.

Lewes Police Chief Jeffrey Horvath said the bill would send "the wrong message" to children.

"We're going to send a message that marijuana is a good thing, marijuana isn't necessarily a bad thing," said Horvath, vice chairman of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council.

Wilmington Police Chief Michael Szczerba did not testify, but was present. He said legalizing medical marijuana will make enforcing current laws tougher. "It would open the floodgates for outright legalization and that's a scary thought for the safety of our community," Szczerba said.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: delawareonline.com
Author: Chad Livengood
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: delawareonline.com
Website: Delaware medical marijuana proposal advances
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