Dems and Medical Marijuana: Harkin v Michigan, IL

xpost at kos

While 1500 delegates to the Michigan Democratic State Convention were approving, by acclamation, a resolution supporting legal access to cannabis as medication (On Monday, an Initiative was approved for the Statewide November Ballot), Iowa Senator Tom Harkin replied to letter from a constituent/patient with hyperbole that would make even a Republican White House Drug Czar blush.

Meawhile, the Illinois Senate’s Health Committee holds a hearing today on a State Medical Marijuana bill. Action link

…WHEREAS, tens of thousands of patients nationwide, people with AIDS,

cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis have found

marijuana in its natural form to be therapeutically beneficial and

are already using it with their doctors’ approval (see here to

get more info on sourcing marijuana products online); and

WHEREAS, numerous organizations have endorsed medical access to

marijuana, including the AIDS Action Council, AIDS Project Rhode

Island, Alaska Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine

(AAHIVM), American Anthropological Association, American Bar

Association, American Nurses Association, American Preventive

Medicinal Association, American Public Health Association, Americans

for Democratic Action, Associated Medical Schools of New York, Being

Alive: People With HIV/AIDS Action Committee (San Diego), California

Democratic Council, California Legislative Council for Older

Americans, California Nurses Association, California Pharmacists

Association, California Society of Addiction Medicine,

California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church,

Colorado Nurses Association, Connecticut Nurses Association, Consumer

Reports magazine, Episcopal Church, Gray Panthers, Hawaii Nurses

Association, Illinois Nurses Association, Iowa Democratic Party, Life

Extension Foundation, Lymphoma Foundation of America, Medical Society

of the State of New York, Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota Nurses

Association, Minnesota Public Health Association, Minnesota Senior

Federation, Mississippi Nurses Association, National Association of

People With Aids, New Mexico Medical Society, New Mexico Nurses

Association, New York County Medical Society, New York State AIDS

Advisory Council, New York State Association of County Health

Officials, New York State Hospice and Palliative Care Association,

New York State Nurses Association, New York Statewide Senior Action

Council, Inc., Ninth District Of the New York State Medical Society

(Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Ulster

counties), Oregon Democratic Party, Progressive National Baptist

Convention, Project Inform (national HIV/AIDS treatment education

advocacy organization), Rhode Island Medical Society, Rhode Island

Nurses Association, Test Positive Aware Network (Illinois), Texas

Democratic Party, Texas League of Women Voters, Texas Nurses

Association, Union of Reform Judaism (formerly Union of American

Hebrew Congregations), Unitarian Universlist Association, United

Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, United Nurses and Allied

Professionals (Rhode Island), Wisconsin Nurses Association, and

Wisconsin Public Health Association; and…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that licensed medical doctors should

not be criminally punished for recommending the medical use of

marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should

not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the

patient’s physician has told the patient that such use is likely to

be beneficial. This is a fantastic development for those who rely on this substance for all kinds of relief, as is the growth of affordable cannabis products like Cheap Glass Bongs.

Harkin’s (presumably form) letter doles not directly address the constituent’s querry regarding medical use, instead, conflating this with meth. Text via NORML

Dear XXXX:

Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you.

I do not believe the answer in solving this country’s problem of drug abuse and the violence associated with drug trafficking is to make drugs legal. I have seen too much of the ill effects of these illegal drugs on our nation’s young people, as well as this country’s law enforcement officers, to believe the solution is to make these drugs more readily available by legalizing them.

Marijuana is often the drug singled out for legalization. However, marijuana is not the recreational drug that many believe it to be, it now has many health benefits for terminally ill people, although many do still use it for recreational purposes like using a beaker bong to get a high. In a study completed by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the number of marijuana related emergencies has nearly reached the level of cocaine related emergencies. As this statistic indicates, marijuana use often has fatal consequences.

I was deeply troubled when I learned of another recent study which found that nearly one-third of all eighth graders had tried marijuana. As the father of two daughters, it greatly disturbs me that children are exposed to drugs at such a young age. I am concerned that legalization of this drug will only increase the number of children who gain access to its harmful effects. With the many forms it now comes in such as CBD oil and edibles, marijuana is becoming more accessible and popular in many countries, resulting in questions such as ‘how long do edibles last?’ arising because of people wanting to get that lengthening high. However, there are plenty of benefits from marijuana for example, their healing properties.

The victims of the drug war are many – the small child whose parents are so addicted to illegal drugs that they sell everything including perhaps their own children to obtain a fix; the police officer’s family which must now learn to cope with the loss of their loved one as a result of a violent drug bust gone awry. These are the people I think of when I say that drugs pose a significant threat to the security of this nation.

In addition to helping to double federal funds for Iowa’s anti-drug programs, I am an active supporter of the Smoother Sailing Programs in the Des Moines public schools. This program is designed to help children cope with the violence, confusion and trauma associated with the abuse of drugs in our society.

Legalizing drugs is equivalent to declaring surrender in the war on drugs. However we may differ in tactics, I am hopeful that we can work together to fight drugs in our communities and to make Iowa drug free.

Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don’t hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.


Tom Harkin

United States Senator


    • pico on March 6, 2008 at 01:27

    It’s surprising Michigan’s gotten so behind it.  Ann Arbor has always had to fight with the rest of the state: when they tried to lift the penalties, the state forced them not to.   When they responded by lowering the penalties to a negligible fee, the state retaliated by sending state troopers to patrol.  Craziness.

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