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Lawmakers Speak On Medical Marijuana

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Minnesota- After watching his own mother die an excruciating death from cancer, Sen. Paul Koering changed his mind about the appropriateness of medical marijuana use among the dying.

“Who in the hell are we to say ‘No’ to that?” asked Koering, Republican from Fort Ripley, speaking at a Capitol press conference today (Feb. 11).

The medical marijuana debate is back at the Capitol, and it’s an issue that touches close to both supporters and opponents.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including conservative Republicans, spoke at the pro-legalization press conference that took place shortly before a Senate health committee moved the legislation forward.

Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, spoke of a friend, a constituent, whose nausea was quilled by medical marijuana during their aggressive cancer treatment.

“As far as I’m concerned,” said Carlson, “this is not only end of life issues — pain issues — but this is for treatment issues,” he said.

Sen. Debbie Johnson, R-Ham Lake, who infrequently appears at press conferences, argued that medical marijuana offered an alternative to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs that are nonetheless addictive.

“So let’s give it (medical marijuana) to them,” she said of people facing end of life issues.

Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, bill author, flatly stated that Minnesota law enforcement in opposes the medical marijuana bill.

Others do, too.

Tom Pritchard, of the Minnesota Family Council, argued that the legislation is too loosely written.

Additionally, Pritchard saw the bill as part of a larger effort to legitimize marijuana — of children being told that marijuana is medicine.

“It sends them the wrong message,” said Pritchard.

A Minnesota Chief of Police Association official testified before the Senate committee of the association’s opposition to the bill.

Others, including two former addicts, spoke of marijuana as a “gateway drug” and also opined that medical marijuana growers would be subject to robbery and extortion by criminals trying to get their hands on the plants.

But the Senate has previously passed medical marijuana, and members of the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee did not accept all of the arguments voiced by bill opponents.

Sen, Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, a registered nurse, argued that the depiction of marijuana as a “gateway” drug by one former addict was illogical as many people can drink wine or use drugs and not become addicted.

“They don’t always get into addictive cycles,” she said.

Murphy, a recovered addict, also took issue with some of the criticism.

The “sky is falling” attitude of some of the opponents is just that, said Murphy.

Murphy, who admitted to having used marijuana, scorned the idea suggested by opponents that the two and a half ounces of medical marijuana qualified patients could obtain under the bill is enough marijuana to roll 100 ““joints”” simply isn’t true.

The committee passed the bill.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, who is carrying the legislation in the House historically unfriendly towards the legislation, said he intends to “push it.”

He suggested that the governor, if he didn’t want to sign the bill, could let it become law without his signature.

Rukavina also pointed to former Republican lawmakers Chris DeLaForest of Andover, now a lobbyist working the medical marijuana legislation, as an asset in nursing the bill through the House.

For his part, he would make his support of the bill known to administration, said Koering.

This because Pawlenty opposes the bill doesn’t mean lawmakers should stop working to pass it, he opined.


News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Princeton Union-Eagle
Author: T.W. Budig
Copyright: 2009 Princeton Union-Eagle
Contact: Princeton Union Eagle - Home
Website: Princeton Union Eagle - Lawmakers speak on medical marijuana
 
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