Pubdate: Sun, 28 Sep 2008
Source: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (MI)
Copyright: 2008 Livingston Daily Press & Argus
Author: Jim Totten, Daily Press & Argus
Cited: YES on 1
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Support appears to be deep and widespread for a measure on the Nov. 4 
ballot that would allow for the medical use of marijuana in Michigan.

If approved, cancer chemotherapy patients suffering from nausea and 
vomiting would be able to use marijuana to ease those symptoms. Other 
patients who might seek this treatment would be those with HIV/AIDS, 
multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

Former state lawmaker Dianne Byrum said a recent poll showed 67 
percent of voters statewide support the ballot measure.

"I think it speaks to the compassion that this proposal is about," 
said Byrum, spokeswoman for the Michigan Coalition for Compas-sionate 
Care. The organization obtained 500,000 voters signatures to get it 
on the November ballot.

Currently, five Michigan communities -- Ann Arbor, Flint, Traverse 
City, Ferndale and Detroit -- have local ordinances that allow for 
medical marijuana use. There are 12 states in the United States which 
permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

"There have been no law enforcement issues on it," Byrum said, 
referring to the five Michigan communities.

Under the proposal, a physician would need to approve marijuana use 
for a patient with a debilitating medical condition.

Byrum said patients would receive an identification card. She also 
said they would only have protected use in their home and could not 
smoke it in public places.

The measure would only permit limited quantities for private use.

Organizers do not have figures on how many patients might seek this 
approach, but it's been estimated to be between 10,000 to 35,000 in the state.

Byrum said physicians would remain an essential part of the treatment process.

"This is an option that they would be able to use when other 
medicines aren't working," she said.

Byrum said there is a pill that contains a synthetic form of one of 
marijuana's 66 compounds that can be prescribed.

However, she said, a pill isn't going to work for patients with 
severe vomiting because they can't keep it down.

Byrum said certain medicines and treatments work for some people and 
not others.

"It's just saying this could be a treatment option that your doctor 
would recommend to you," Byrum said. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake