HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Medical Pot Use Up In Smoke
Pubdate: Sat, 04 Mar 2006
Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)
Copyright: 2006 MetroWest Daily News
Author: Emelie  Rutherford, Daily News Staff
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


BOSTON -- Lawmakers effectively killed a bill to legalize marijuana 
for medical use in Massachusetts, citing concerns about a recent U.S. 
Supreme Court decision allowing federal agents to arrest people who 
use pot to ease their pain  or nausea from chemotherapy treatment.

The joint Public Health Committee sent a medical  marijuana bill to 
be studied on Wednesday, thus stopping it from advancing to  the full 
Legislature and effectively killing it this session.

"It was about the Supreme Court decision," state  Rep. Peter 
Koutoujian, D-Waltham, House chairman of the committee, said about 
why the bill was sent to study.

The committee, he said, didn't "even really get to  the issue of 
whether it should be allowed or not, because it was against the 
federal law and Constitution."

State Rep. Frank Smizik, D-Brookline, had filed the  bill. Its 
co-sponsors include state Reps. Deborah Blumer, D-Framingham, and 
Ruth Balser, D-Newton.

The Supreme Court's 6-3 decision last year allows  federal agents to 
arrest people who use pot to treat pain regardless of whether  their 
states have legalized medical marijuana. Rhode Island earlier this 
year  became the 11th state to allow medical marijuana, joining 
states including Maine  and Vermont.

At the State House, separate legislation to  decriminalize the 
possession of small amounts of marijuana was endorsed two  weeks ago 
by the joint Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee. That bill 
to make possession of less than one once of marijuana a civil offense 
is now before  the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
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