Pubdate: Wed, 09 Feb 2005
Source: Peoria Journal Star (IL)
Copyright: 2005sPeoria Journal Star
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Andrea Barthwell)


SPRINGFIELD - As a Chicago lawmaker pushes a proposal to legalize 
medical-use marijuana, a former drug-policy adviser to President George W. 
Bush is touring the state lecturing against the practice.

The conflict reached a head this week when Rep. Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, 
challenged Dr. Andrea Barthwell to a public debate about medical marijuana. 
Barthwell declined the challenge.

"I have no need to engage in street theater," Barthwell said.

McKeon charged that Barthwell's seminars appear to be a smear campaign 
against his proposal. The lawmaker - who is living with AIDS - said House 
Bill 407 attempts to improve the quality of life for terminally ill 
patients struggling with the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and 
other treatments.

"This is about dealing with health problems that traditional medications 
have failed at," McKeon said.

The proposal would allow individuals with a debilitating medical condition 
or their caretakers to own up to 12 cannabis plants and 21/2 ounces of 
usable cannabis.

Individuals would be registered confidentially with the Illinois Department 
of Human Services and receive an identification card exempting them from 
arrest, prosecution or penalty.

The measure also allows for the creation of not-for-profit organizations to 
grow the limited amount of marijuana plants for registered patients. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth