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Marijuana Group Says N.Y. Support Is Gaining

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
After a bill to legalize medical use of marijuana passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly but not the GOP-led Senate this year, a national group is releasing polls showing that Conservative Party members and voters in several Republican senators' districts would favor the practice in New York.

Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project said the organization succeeded in dispelling a common belief that right-wing voters are against allowing people who have serious illnesses access to marijuana.

"Your voters aren't going to want to come and get you for wanting to keep cancer patients out of jail," Mirken said of lawmakers.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., found that between 61 percent and 76 percent of 500 voters surveyed in each of six GOP Senate districts -- including those of Thomas Morahan, R-New City, Rockland County, and Dale Volker, R-Depew, Erie County, said they were in favor of "allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to use and grow a limited amount of medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it." A survey of 500 Conservative Party voters found that 55 percent would back limited medical use of marijuana.

Independent polls have also shown widespread support. A Gallup Poll in 2005 found that 78 percent of Americans favored allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to reduce "pain and suffering."

The Conservative Party doesn't create its policies through polls, Chairman Mike Long said in response. Conservatives are against medical use of marijuana because it "opens a Pandora's box. We think there's no control on who's using it, who may be selling it."

Beyond that, he said, there is enough medicine on the market to make sick people comfortable, and use of marijuana is against federal law.

Mirken said there is enough of a track record in states that have grow-your-own provisions to show that the programs work. Patients who gave marijuana to people who weren't part of the program would be breaking the law.

Twelve states allow patients to use pot, which has been found to relieve nausea, increase appetite, reduce muscle spasms, alleviate chronic pain and reduce intraocular (within the eye) pressure. It is frequently used for serious conditions like AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

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Source: Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Author: Cara Matthews
Contact: Contact
Copyright: 2007 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Website: Marijuana group says N.Y. support is gaining
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