Friday, September 28, 2007

Medical Marijuana

I am a member of one of the local Republican women clubs, actually it is a political action committee (PAC). Our chapter, along with a couple of others in the city, are viewed a bit differently than the other Republicans. I have been told we are considered a 'moderate to liberal' group.

Thank goodness.

One of the bragging points I have heard expressed in recent months by our group's president is that our chapter endorses the legal use of medical marijuana. Unfortunately the endorsement was necessary due to the fact that medical marijuana is not legal in Texas. Actually, it's only legal, or not criminalized, in a few of our fifty states. Did you know that?

So far, medical marijuana use has been legalized, or decriminalized, in the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

What caught my eye today was an article in the Houston Chronicle by Lynn Marshall of the LA Times. The writer speaks to the struggle to regulate the drug. In Washington, for example, a patient is allowed a two month supply. The problem arises, though, when you understand that a two month supply for one sick person is not a two month supply for another. Each case would be different, wouldn't it? I know I would want to have individualized treatment, not something considered 'standard' for all. The writer points out that medical marijuana is used by patients with chronic pain, like chronic back pain as well as cancer. How does a regulator, the State, find a 'standard' there?

Then there is the consideration of the administration of the drug. The patient who puts it in food would have a different measurement than one who smokes it. That's just common sense.

Washington is the only state without clear guidelines allowed for possession of a patient or the caregiver. Each state is different. For example, Oregon allows 24 ounces or six mature plants, the largest amount allowed by any state. Some states allow a patient to have one ounce. California allows 8 ounces or 6 mature plants. Cities and counties are allowed to establish higher guidelines.

It's all very confusing.

And quality control. Regulations have to be in place for those who are in charge of the seeds of the crops, I would think. I think it should be of the best and strongest quality possible.

I think those suffering from chronic pain, whether it is your back, cancer, or MS, everyone should have the option to find out if medical marijuana could ease the pain.

I think it should be an available option in all fifty states.


Paul is a Hermit said...

I do too.
If we're worried about abuse, what do we think is happening now?
About physicians getting rich illegally prescribing it? Marijuana can just join the list of substances illegally prescribed.
Drivers under the influence? It can join the crowd of substances which impair.

If there is a medical necessity, including relief of pain, give it in the quantities needed. Let physicians decide. And not with the threat of losing their license should they prescribe a little more than strict guidelines for an individual patient.

No, I have never smoked it, seriously, but if I'm terminal and it will relieve my pain, damn it! Give it to me.

vicki said...

Dudette! Right on!

Jennifer said...

I didn't know it was legal in any of our fifty states, so - once again - I've learned something here. I knew it had been in Cali, but thought that it had been reversed since. I couldn't agree with you more on the medicinal front.

I'd go further, even, and say it should be legalized across the board to certain quantities, controlled like alcohol. Our jails and courts are so clogged with petty possession cases, and the efforts to keep it a criminal offense are ridiculously costly when balanced against the realities of the world. I don't know. I just don't see it as being a bigger criminal issue than, say, a person's "right" to own AK47's and the like.

Kris, in New England said...

Karen - as someone who's husband has very difficult to control Glaucoma, we did start seriously considering using marijuana to help him - during the darkest 6 months of our lives, when the Glaucoma was spiraling out of control and no combination of meds would work. My husband was only 40 years old at the time and facing the potential of losing his eyesight. Even our Opthamologist recommended it, if only as a stop-gap measure until we could find the right meds for him.

Thankfully we never had to go that far - it took 6 months but we got it under control and my husband's eyesight is just find. But if we had to resort to the use of marijuana, we would have. And it would have been illegal - and I would have become a HUGE activist to changing the laws.

So kudos to you and your group for endorsing what can be the only resort left to a small group of people.