Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jun 2002
Source: Parkersburg News, The (WV)
Copyright: 2002, The Parkersburg News
Author: Tracy Glaser
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Cindy Wimer's eyes filled with tears as she remembered the suffering and 
pain her best friend had to endure after being paralyzed.

Her friend died about a year ago and his pain sparked Wimer to found the 
Mountaineers for Medical Cannabis, a group dedicated to legalizing 
marijuana for medicinal uses. "I had to watch him suffer," 47-year-old 
Wimer said from her Wood County home. "The government needs to help these 

Wimer founded the group about eight months ago and was joined by her 
daughter-in-law, De Wimer, 28, and her good friend Linda Robinson, 49, both 
of Parkersburg.

The three women have done extensive research on the benefits of using 
marijuana for medicinal purposes. They have tried to rally support from 
residents and from their state legislators.

"We've been going to rallies and educating ourselves for several years," 
Cindy said. "I've been researching for four to five years."

But they became serious about passing legislation in West Virginia after 
they attended a NORML rally, the National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws, in Washington, D.C., in 2000.

According to information the group found on the Internet, marijuana can 
help numerous ailments, including nausea relief from chemotherapy and AIDS, 
epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, muscle spasms, arthritis, insomnia and 
anorexia to name a few, Robinson said.

"It is an option that should be open to the doctors, to the patients," 
Robinson said.

According to the group, the Federal Food and Drug Administration approves 
other drugs, many with negative side effects, and the MCC doesn't 
understand why cannabis is not one of them.

Other drugs are more addicting and have worse side effects, Cindy said.

"This is an option that should be available and medically help people," 
Robinson said.

Doctors who are against the legalization of medicinal marijuana haven't 
been able to come up with enough risks to offset the benefits, Cindy said.

"These people that are suffering, they need this," Cindy said.

"If the doctor says it is OK, it should be legal," Cindy said. "I want it 
to be a passed law that the patient and doctor can decide what's best for 

The group met earlier this month to discuss new information they found and 
to plan ways to find people who would support a legislation.

Cindy and her two friends have experienced stereotypes from the public 
associated with marijuana, even though many people support a purely 
medicinal use, she said.

"Our fight is solely for medicinal marijuana," Robinson said. "We're here 
to put out education on medicinal cannabis. "

This can be difficult when people associate medicinal marijuana with the 
pot-smoking hippies of the 1960s, which does not properly represent the 
cause, Robinson said.

"Do away with the stigmatism of a pot smoker. If you say the word marijuana 
people associate it with the hippies movement," Robinson said."They are 
afraid their neighbors will look down on them, afraid they will lose their 

"It was a concern when we first started. We are going to be looked down on 
and we've already been looked down on, but that's OK, they need to be 
educated," Cindy said.

According to a Web site for the Marijuana Policy Project, eight states 
allow medicinal marijuana use, Colorado, California, Maine, Oregon, 
Washington, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska.

The MMC has contacted West Virginia officials, including Sen. Donna Boley, 
Delegate Tom Azinger and Gov. Bob Wise, to try to motivate legislation for 
West Virginia.

The group was surprised at the quick feedback they received.

"Governor Wise has been just fantastic. He has answered ever one of our 
letters very promptly," Cindy said.

Boley, R-Pleasants, has also heard the group's need and responded.

"I would like to meet with them and see what it is they want, see where 
they are coming from," Boley said. "I think it is a matter of education and 
they are the ones who are going to be doing the educating."

No legislation exists that would support medicinal cannabis in the state. 
Boley said she does not see the future holding a legalization of marijuana 
in general, but that legislators would listen to arguments in favor of 
using it for medicinal purposes.

For the MMC, the fight has just begun.

"We need all the support that the West Virginia people can give us," Cindy said.
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