House Committee Votes To Make Medical Marijuana Law Permanent


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The House Health, Education and Welfare Committee passed legislation today to prevent Rhode Island's medical marijuana law from expiring on June 30. The bill, H 6005, passed the committee by a vote of 10-3.

The committee had previously heard testimony from several patients who have benefited from the program, including Craig Paquette of Richmond, who suffers severe pain from spinal injuries suffered in a 1992 accident, and who endured serious side effects from narcotic painkillers. Paquette praised the committee's vote, saying, "I do not want my family to see me suffer. I am off the painkillers now, and with a little marijuana, my pain is reduced, my sick stomach goes away, and I feel human again. Because of this law, I have a quality of life I would never have had without it, and I would hate to have that taken away."

The number of states with laws protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest increased on April 2, when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) signed the 12th state medical marijuana law. The other states with medical marijuana laws are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

In February, the journal Neurology published a University of California study showing that medical marijuana relieves a type of nerve pain that causes suffering to thousands of HIV/AIDS patients.

"As new research continues to document marijuana's medical safety and efficacy, it's become increasingly clear that there is simply no reason to subject patients using medical marijuana to arrest and jail," said Ray Warren, former circuit court judge and now director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Rhode Island is in good company, and the number of states protecting medical marijuana patients will only continue to grow."

Newshawk: CoZmO -
Source: Marijuana Policy Project (D.C.)
Copyright: 2007 Marijuana Policy Project
Website: Marijuana Policy Project - Home
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