Pubdate: Sun, 06 Dec 2009
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Times


The debate over legalizing marijuana as a medicine  arrived in
Pennsylvania last Wednesday. The House  Committee on Health and Human
Services heard testimony  from patients, doctors and members of
advocacy groups  who say medical marijuana should be legal because it
is  effective in treating chronic pain, nausea and other  ailments

Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia, sponsored the bill,  which would
allow the state Department of Health to  issue ID cards to patients
who have been diagnosed by a  physician with a debilitating medical
condition, such  as cancer or HIV, and whose physician recommended the
  use of marijuana. The department would establish or  license
dispensaries to grow and distribute marijuana.

Committee Chairman Frank Oliver, D-Philadelphia, plans  more hearings
on the bill before a vote is taken, but  Attorney General Tom Corbett
and the Senate's  Republican majority have already lined up against
the  bill.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of  Chester, said the
chamber's GOP members have no plans  to consider such a bill, even if
it were to pass the  Democratic-controlled House.

Maybe Sen. Pileggi and his GOP friends and  soon-to-be-running for
higher office Tom Corbett should  listen to some of the testimony
before they decide how  to vote or when to voice their opinion.

Testimony lasted three hours in Harrisburg, with an HIV  patient
telling the committee marijuana is the only  thing that relieves his
pain, while another man said he  watched his mother smoke marijuana to
ease the pain of  her terminal breast cancer.

While 13 states already allow the medical use of  marijuana without
penalty, relying on a doctor's  recommendation, others considering
implementing the  drug include New Jersey and Wisconsin.

During testimony to the Legislature in Wisconsin, a  woman said her
three-year ordeal of hardly being able  to move ended when she threw
away 25 different pills  prescribed for her chronic condition and
began using  marijuana.

Testifying in Harrisburg against the use of medical  marijuana was a
woman whose daughter died of a heroin  overdose. The mother blamed
marijuana for leading her  daughter down the path to drug addiction.

There is no argument some drug addicts began their  lethal habits with
marijuana. There is also no argument  that many others have smoked the
Cannabis sativa plant  and not gone on to addiction. Just as many
alcoholics  started with one beer, many people continue to drink  beer
with no need to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous  meeting.

It is amazing how years of indoctrination lead people  to believe that
a plant that has been cultivated for  thousands of years is more
dangerous than the  chemically manufactured pills making drug
companies  rich.

One pill deemed safe by the FDA and, apparently, not  causing alarm
among Pennsylvania's GOP senators or Tom  Corbett, is OxyContin.

OxyContin is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain  relievers. The
extended-release form of the medication  is for around-the-clock
treatment of pain.

The Daily Times ran at least 72 stories in the last  seven years about
OxyContin. They ranged from the death  of a 14-month-old boy who
ingested its tablets to the  arrest of a man for illegally
distributing OxyContin  and other pain medications over a three-year
period to  prescription drug addicts. Yet, no one is carrying  signs
warning about the dangers associated with  pharmaceutically supplied
pain medications.

Medical marijuana patients do not need to "smoke" the  medication,
there are other forms in which it can be  dispensed.

No one has ever overdosed on marijuana, but many have  overdosed on
the medications marijuana would replace.

Medical experts think this naturally grown substance  can help people
suffering from pain. Shouldn't  legislators listen to doctors when
deciding what is in  the best interests of patients suffering from
chronic  pain? 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D