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Advocates Argue for Medical Marijuana PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Health
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 01 July 2009 07:02

On June 20, the Marijuana Policy Project hosted a medical-marijuana forum at the Bettendorf Public Library. The event featured a screening of the documentary Waiting to Inhale as well as a discussion with patients who use medical marijuana and proponents of legalizing the drug for medical use. Video of the discussion follows.

Medical Marijuana Forum June 20, 2009; Bettendorf, Iowa from James Getman on Vimeo.

Two patients discussed the benefits of medical marijuana, particularly in situations in which few existing prescription options are effective and/or safe. Jeff Elton, who has Diabetic Neuropathic Gastroparesis (a paralysis of the stomach), said marijuana was the only drug able to control his nausea, vomiting, and weight loss; he was prescribed a drug that could cause permanent tremors. "We are being prescribed ... drugs that are worse than the disease," he said.

A doctor said that marijuana (and the prescribed derivative Marinol, which contains cannabis' psychoactive component) is an effective therapy for some patients.

Carl Olsen spoke about his efforts to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and in Iowa, and about the drug's legal history. On June 1, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy ruled against medical marijuana, although some people claim the board violated the directive of a court order in its action. The Drug Enforcement Agency last year rejected Olsen's petition to reschedule cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act.

Jimmy Morrison of the Marijuana Policy ProjectBeyond those administrative efforts, legislation is being considered at both the federal and state levels.

In Iowa, Senator Joe Bolkcom this year introduced legislation to provide for medical use of marijuana for people suffering from "cachexia or wasting syndrome," "severe pain, "severe nausea," "seizures," and "severe and persistent muscle spasms." The bill was assigned to a subcommittee and advanced no further. More information can be found here.

In Illinois, a medical-cannabis bill passed the Senate but not the House.

Advocates for medical marijuana are also pushing federal legislation, although based on comments at the June forum, they appear to focusing their efforts at the state level.

Thirteen states have approved medical marijuana. For information on state-level programs and legislation, visit NORML's medical-marijuana page.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Local support needed
written by Jim Getman, July 01, 2009
A grassroots effort on the local level is needed to combat big pharmaceutical companies. I ask the County Attorney to take it easy on patients arrested with small amounts of marijuana that can show a medical need. If our area State Lawmakers don’t have the balls to protect patients; we as citizens must do it on the local level through jury nullification and political pressure on county officials.
Federal Injustice?
written by Gary J, July 08, 2009
I agree with Jim about lawmakers on the state level only caring about not making waves instead of the well being of their constituents. But why pass a state law if it will just bend the federal laws? What ever happened to the Constitution? I am pretty sure that this should be decided by the individual state governments and the state governments alone.

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