Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 2004
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2004 Daily News, L.P.
Author: Frank Lombardi
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


The City Council is getting puffed up about marijuana.

After sitting on the shelf for nearly a year, a resolution calling on
the state to legalize the medical use of marijuana got its first
airing yesterday at a Health Committee hearing.

The measure had 13 sponsors before the session, but quickly picked up
four more backers during the hearing.

Ann Wilson of the Bronx tearfully testified that her brother, John
Holmberg, had used marijuana to ease the side-effects of chemotherapy
to combat pancreatic cancer before dying two years ago at the age of

"How can we deny marijuana to our friends and loved ones when it has
the potential to ease their pain and possibly prolong their life?"
Wilson asked.

The resolution urges the state Legislature to make New York the 10th
state to enact laws setting up strict procedures for the sale and use
of marijuana for medical treatment.

Its chief sponsor, Councilman Philip Reed (D-Manhattan), acknowledged
after the hearing that he had tried marijuana after he was diagnosed
with bone-marrow cancer eight years ago. His cancer is in remission.

"In my particular case, it did not relieve the symptoms of the
overwhelming experience of chemotherapy," he commented. "But I know
countless people where it has worked, and this compels me to make sure
that we get this issue from underneath this cloud that anybody who
supports this is a drug dealer."

Councilwoman Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), chair of the Health
Committee, said the hearing has put the issue "front and center" in
the Council. She wants to gauge the sentiments of the 51-member body
before scheduling a vote, she added. 
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