Pubdate: Fri, 18 Feb 2005
Source: Pantagraph, The  (IL)
Copyright: 2005 The Pantagraph
Author: Phil Davidson
Cited: Irvin Rosenfeld
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


A state government building is about the last place a marijuana user
would go armed with a tin containing 300 joints.

When you're one of seven federally sponsored medical marijuana
patients, however, you can bring your marijuana anywhere you want.

Irvin Rosenfeld, a 51-year-old stockbroker from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,
testified before a state House committee Thursday on a measure that
would allow a person with a debilitating medical condition to possess
2.5 ounces of usable marijuana.

Immediately after the two-hour committee session in the Stratton
Building, secretary of state police officers stopped Rosenfeld and
asked to see the contents of his silver tin, which contained dozens of
marijuana cigarettes and roughly 2 ounces of cannabis. Rosenfeld was
ushered to a security office where his credentials were verified by
his pharmacist and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Although Rosenfeld was cleared, lawmakers defeated the legislation he
supported by a 7-4 vote.

State Sen. Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, sponsored the measure that was
rejected in the House Human Services Committee. The proposal drew the
attention of the White House, which sent National Drug Control Policy
Director John Walters to testify against the measure.

Walters said medical marijuana laws make a game of law enforcement by
adopting vague control measures regarding who is allowed to grow and
distribute the drug.

"There is very loose, unscientific basis for claiming medical
conditions," he said. "If some medical professional says you have it,
you have it."

Rosenfeld is the longest surviving federal marijuana smoker in the
United States. He receives 300 joints a month for a rare disease that
causes tumors to grow on his bones, leaving him in excruciating pain.

For 22 years, Rosenfeld has been a participant in a federal program
that provides marijuana for patients with ailments lacking known treatments.

The diminutive Rosenfeld, who smokes 12 marijuana cigarettes a day,
said his experience with the secretary of state police shows the
hassles that people with legitimate medical needs can go through.

"It's sad, but people need to be educated. They just don't understand
that this is a needed medicine and that's all it is," he said. "It
might be a social problem, but that's not our concern."

McKeon said he would personally contact Secretary of State Jesse White
to inquire about Rosenfeld's treatment.

"That two cops took it upon themselves to detain this person is a
clear example of why we need this legislation," said McKeon, who is a
former Los Angeles police officer.

McKeon, who has AIDS, said he will continue to fight for medical
marijuana laws in Illinois. He said Walters' presence points out
clearly the "stupidity, insanity and political ideology" that is
driving the issue.

"I'm a lowly state rep from a Midwestern state called Illinois and to
see this entourage sent directly by President George Bush, ... well,
I'm honored," he said. 
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