Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House Subcommittee Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted by on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM

"Medical cannabis is no longer a radical idea — this is not Cheech and Chong with a bong."

With those words, Memphis Rep. Jeanne Richardson heralded the House Health Subcommittee's passage of HB 0294, aka the "Safe Access to Medical Cannabis Act," which would allow doctors in the Volunteer State to offer patients the option of ingesting marijuana to cure what ails them.

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jeanne Richardson, D-Memphis, said the bill would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to cancer and other patients.

It creates a licensure and enrollment program for the production, distribution and dispensing of marijuana for a qualifying medical condition. The measure also authorizes a person with a qualifying medical condition to enroll in a “safe access” program in which the patient can receive a prescription from a licensed practitioner for marijuana and receive the product from a licensed pharmacist at a participating pharmacy.

Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, a physician, opposed the measure, saying “we’re not really trained to prescribe cannabis” and doctors “don’t know how much is needed” to relieve pain or nausea.

The bill now goes to the full House Health and Human Resources Committee and must clear other panels before going to the House floor. The Senate bill has not started moving.

The Senate bill, SB 0251, has been filed by Memphis Democract Beverly Marrero.

Responding to Hensley's claims is Morgan Fox, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, who wrote in an email to Pith that he hopes people will realize that the drug can help seriously ill people who just want to lead normal lives.

"There are thousands of drugs available to doctors and new ones are released all the time, Fox wrote. "It is the responsibility of physicians to familiarize themselves with these drugs and stay informed of new research. Marijuana is no different in this respect. The only difference is that it is impossible to fatally overdose on marijuana, unlike many prescription and over-the-counter drugs. In addition, there are numerous resources and conferences available for physicians to educate themselves on the medical applications of marijuana."

The legislation would allow those suffering from the following ailments to partake in the healing powers of Kandy Kush:

"Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Hepatitis C, or the treatment of these conditions ... A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one (1) or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating, chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease; or agitation of Alzheimer's Disease; or to delay the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease)."

If passed, we could prevent things like this from happening (unless, of course, the Obama DoJ decides to raid your home):

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