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Durbin Supports Medical Marijuana


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Sen. Dick Durbin said Thursday federal law should change to allow for the use of medical marijuana when prescribed by a physician.

The Illinois Democrat spoke at a constituent breakfast in response to a question from a Pinckneyville woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Durbin said people with "pain issues'' look for relief in every direction, including different chemicals, drugs and prescriptions.

"Why would we exclude the chemical in marijuana simply because some people abuse it for recreational purposes, or whatever?'' he asked. "That makes no sense at all.''

Durbin, who is the Senate's second-highest ranking Democrat, said in an interview with The Associated Press afterward that he has no plans to offer legislation to change federal law.

"I've got an interest in it, but I haven't been really focused on it,'' he said.

In 2004, Durbin introduced and was the unsuccessful sponsor of a measure intended to allow federal juries to be told when a defendant facing federal marijuana charges was in compliance with state medical-marijuana laws. Critics said it would have led to juries refusing to convict in federal cases involving medical marijuana.

Durbin said at the Capitol Hill breakfast that medical problems such as glaucoma may be dealt with by a chemical in marijuana that brings about immediate relief.

"I just can't turn my back on it and say, 'Well, because it says marijuana on the label, we shouldn't use it,''' he said. "If the doctor believes it's right for a person, then I think it should be prescribed – legally.''

Durbin said in the AP interview that a person prescribed to have marijuana for an appropriate medical purpose should not be viewed the same as "somebody hiding behind the bleachers smoking a reefer.''

In Illinois, lawmakers approved the use of medical marijuana in 1978 but left authorization to the state's Public Health Department, which has never taken action.

Efforts in the Illinois General Assembly to pass measures requiring a marijuana treatment option for people who can't get relief from traditional drugs have failed in recent years.

At the start of this year, 11 states allowed the use of medicinal marijuana, with more considering to make the move, according to reform advocates.

News Mod: CoZmO - 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: The Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL)
Author: Dennis Conrad
Contact: newsroom@pantagraph.com
Copyright: 2007 Pantagraph Publishing Co.
Website: Pantagraph.com | Sen. Durbin supports medical marijuana


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