Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 2015
Source: Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (WY)
Copyright: 2015 The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Author: Trevor Brown


CHEYENNE - Another statewide organization has come out against a 
possible ballot initiative that would legalize medical marijuana in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Medical Society recently published a position paper 
opposing the proposal.

The organization counts more than 700 physicians and physician 
assistants across the state as its members.

It announced its opposition citing concerns that legalizing medical 
marijuana at the state level would subvert the U.S. Food and Drug 
Administration's drug approval process.

"The WMS opposes legalization of medical marijuana outside of the 
regulatory process of the (FDA), recognizing however that marijuana 
may be an option for cannabinoid administration for children and 
adults with life-limiting or severely debilitating conditions for 
whom current therapies are inadequate," said Sigsbee Duck, president 
of the group's board of directors, in a statement.

The WMS supported a bill during this year's legislative session 
allowing for the supervised medical use of hemp extract.

But the group's policy statement call for more studies on the impact 
on marijuana before broader changes are accepted.

This comes as Wyoming voters could be asked to decide whether to 
legalize medical marijuana as early as November 2016.

The Wyoming chapter of National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws must collect 25,673 signatures of registered voters by 
Feb. 8 to get the question on the ballot for the 2016 general election.

Tom Lacock, a spokesman for the WMS, said the group consulted with 
many Wyoming medical professionals and the Colorado Medical Society 
in deciding to oppose the proposal.

The group also looked at the American Academy of Pediatrics' position 
that marijuana can have detrimental effects on the adolescent brain.

"We talked with a lot of people to see how they are feeling about 
this," Lacock said. "So I feel like we came to this from an educated position."

Lacock said there are no plans for the WMS to actively campaign 
against the proposal if it makes the ballot. Instead, he said the 
group plans to make itself available as "a resource."

This is a different approach than one being taken by the Wyoming 
Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police.

That group announced earlier this summer that it is a preparing a 
statewide push to inform residents on the "harmful personal and 
societal effects of marijuana." This includes lobbying elected 
officials to sign onto the campaign as well as handing out literature 
citing statistics on the dangers of marijuana use.

But Wyoming NORML Executive Director Chris Christian said she doesn't 
see either of the groups' opposition having a major effect on public 
opinion in the state.

She added her primary goal is get petitions signed instead of 
lobbying for the possible law change.

"I am totally focused on getting petitions to the people who have 
requested them," she said. "I think most people who are going to sign 
the petition and going to vote for it already know they are going to do it."

But Christian said the group would still be relying on social media 
and grassroots activism to emphasize the benefits of medical 
marijuana. She added there are plenty of personal stories to 
illustrate their cause.

She said she talked to dozens of people about how marijuana would 
help them medically, and she believes the opponents' fears are unfounded.
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