Patients Urge Governor to Allow Expansion of Medical Marijuana Law

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
MONTPELIER, VERMONT — With the legislature approving a bill to improve Vermont's medical marijuana law Friday, patients are appealing to Gov. Jim Douglas (R) to allow the expanded legal protections for patients with debilitating conditions to become law.

If the governor allows it to become law, S.7 would add serious conditions that cause nausea, wasting, chronic pain, or seizures to the list of conditions covered by Vermont's medical marijuana law. The current law, passed in 2004, only protects patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis from the threat of arrest and imprisonment. The new law would also increase the number of plants registered patients are allowed to grow. These improvements will bring more relief to more suffering patients, said Mark Tucci, a medical marijuana patient from Manchester Center battling multiple sclerosis.

"The modest change in plant numbers will help patients who grow their own medicine stay out of the black market a little longer, even though it still isn't enough," he said. "But it's vitally important to bring more suffering Vermonters into the registry where they'll at least be able to get some relief, so in that respect, this bill is a big step forward."

Of the 12 state medical marijuana laws, Vermont's law is the most restrictive in terms of qualifying medical conditions. Expanding the list of allowable conditions for which doctors could recommend medical marijuana would allow people like Steve Perry of Randolph Center, who suffers from a degenerative joint disease, to find relief.

"As one of the many patients who are helped by medical marijuana but are excluded from Vermont's medical marijuana law, I hope the governor will let this bill become law," said Perry, who was a former heating/plumbing contractor before his condition left him disabled. "Marijuana gives me relief from the extreme pain I suffer every day, relief that even powerful narcotics like OxyContin don't give, but today I risk arrest and jail every time I use it."

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Source: Marijuana Policy Project
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