Northeast states high on medical marijuana

By chillinwill · May 30, 2009 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    Now Delaware has joined a handful of Northeastern states considering legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

    To say the issue is smoking hot would an exaggeration.

    Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island are among 13 states nationwide that have approved medical use of marijuana, but no Northeast state has joined their ranks since 2006.

    Clearly, though, regional interest in the issue has been gaining momentum.

    New Hampshire would become the 14th state with such a law if Gov. John Lynch signs a bill that the legislature passed last month.

    On Tuesday, the New York Senate's Health Committee passed along a bill to that would let registered patients or caregivers possess and grow limited amounts of pot. An Assembly committee is weighing the same legislation.

    On April 20, State Rep. Mark Cohen (D., Phila.) and six other sponsors introduced a bill in Harrisburg. House Bill 1393 - the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act - is before the Health and Human Services Committee.

    Patients and caregivers with registration cards would be permitted to possess one ounce of marijuana and grow six plants, and "compassion centers" could be established for dispensing the drug.

    Federal agents will no longer raid such establishments, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declared in late February.

    In New Jersey, a bill passed by the Senate is in the hands of the Assembly's Health and Senior Services Committee.

    State Attorney General Anne Milgram last month called the plan "workable," and Gov. Corzine has said he would sign the bill.

    In Delaware, Senate Bill 94, introduced May 13, would allow registered citizens to have six ounces of marijuana, and permit licensed "compassion centers" to grow and sell it.

    In addition, on May 18 the Rhode Island legislature passed a bill that would set up dispensaries. Current law allows patients to use marijuana but provides no legal means for them to get it.

    Gov. Donald Carcieri might veto the bill, but the legislature seems to have the votes for an override, according to the Providence Journal.

    Besides Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine, the other states that have legalized medical use of marijuana are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

    Minnesota could have become state No. 14, but last week Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill that applied just to the terminally ill.

    Illinois may be the only other state with pending legislation. On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill and sent it to the House.

    By Peter Mucha
    May 29, 2009

    Share This Article


  1. chillinwill
    DOVER, Del. (AP) — A bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana in Delaware cleared a Senate committee Wednesday with no opposition.
    The Senate Health and Social Services committee released the bill Wednesday after a 90-minute hearing in which no one spoke against it. Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, the chief sponsor, said amendments to clarify language in the bill will be drafted before it is brought up for a vote by the full Senate.

    As written, the bill would allow people with debilitating medical conditions such as glaucoma, cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to use marijuana to treat their conditions or alleviate their symptoms.

    Anyone seeking to use medical marijuana would be required to submit written certification from a medical practitioner licensed to prescribe drugs that it likely would provide therapeutic benefit. The patient, or a designated caregiver, would then receive an identification card permitting him or her to grow marijuana or purchase it from state-regulated, nonprofit "compassion centers."

    The measure, based on model legislation developed by the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, would allow a qualifying patient or caregiver to possess up to 12 marijuana plants and up to six ounces of usable marijuana. Supporters said that amount is less than what the federal government has determined would be a one-month supply for patients in an investigational drug program.

    Noah Mamber, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, said 13 states currently have medical marijuana laws, and the legislation is pending in a handful of others.

    The Medical Society of Delaware has decided not to take a position on the bill, according to Robert Byrd, a lobbyist for the organization. Byrd said members of the society's legislative committee discussed the bill Monday, and there were "very strong feelings" on both sides of the issue.

    Sen. Patricia Blevins expressed concern that if the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana is too broad, the bill could face difficulty passing muster with lawmakers and law enforcement officials.

    "We may have difficulty in getting the necessary relief to the people who need it," said Blevins, D-Elsmere.

    But Henry, D-Wilmington, responded that "pain is a relative thing," and that she was wary of narrowly limiting the conditions for which medical marijuana might be useful.

    "We don't know what will always help and benefit a person," she said.

    Posted: June 3, 2009 04:47 PM
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!