Pubdate: Sat, 02 Jun 2007
Source: Bennington Banner (VT)
Copyright: 2007 by MediaNews Group, Inc.
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont's medical marijuana law -- which lets
people with life-threatening conditions use the illegal drug without
fear of prosecution -- now covers people with chronic, debilitating

On Thursday, a bill making that change became law after Gov. Jim
Douglas balked at signing it. Under the state Constitution, any bill
approved by the Legislature and sent to the governor becomes law if he
doesn't sign it within five days.

Douglas also balked at signing the original version of the law passed
in 2004.

"The governor has compassion for people who are suffering from
debilitating diseases, but he can't in good conscience sanction a
violation of federal law," said spokesman Jason Gibbs.

In addition to broadening the field of people covered, the law
increases the number of plants they can grow at home and cuts the
annual registration fee from $100 to $50.

the Marijuana Policy Project.

Senate Majority Leader John Campbell, a former police officer, was
among those in favor of expanding the law to cover more people,
although he says he understood Douglas' reluctance.

"We chose to look at the human side, to take a compassionate view,"
said Campbell, D-Windsor.

Multiple sclerosis sufferer Mark Tucci, of Manchester, one of 35
people on the state's medical marijuana registry, uses two ounces a
month to relieve pain and muscle spasms.

He welcomed the law change, but said it still won't be enough to let
him legally grow the amount he needs.

"It still forces me out on the black market, but it certainly helps."
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