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Illinois Thu May 28 2009

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate

I'm not going to attempt to make any annoying puns or sly references to recreational drug use; just wanna say that the Medical Marijuana bill, called the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, narrowly passed the Senate yesterday 30-28-1. There are lots of people suffering from chronic illnesses who could use the relief that marijuana provides. This is a good move by our state government, so kudos. Here is the roll call vote. Check out the IPI's Tweet Illinois feed to follow legislators' chatter.

Given the rapidity with which marriage equality has gained acceptance in a country that has for years been called essentially conservative (or "center-right"), this gives me a glimmer of hope that decriminalization is just down the road.

Also, dude, weed.

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dm60462 / May 28, 2009 12:29 PM

We’ve been inundated by ads for a new prescription drug that is painted on eyelids to grow prettier eyelashes. If drug companies can come up with that, do you expect me to believe that smoking a joint is the only possible way to relieve side effects of cancer treatment?
The human genome has been mapped and you expect me to believe that there is no possible way to refine the compounds in pot to use for glaucoma patients?
Was you last job as an accountant for Enron or were you a real estate agent in the Everglades?

ramsin / May 28, 2009 12:35 PM

Hey DM. Let me answer your questions in order:

1. No
2. No
3. No

I'm sure there are other ways to address glaucoma and cancer pain. Medical marijuana proponents point out that the type of relief smoking (or injesting) marijuana provides is unique; I'm sure that could be synthesized. I'm not sure why you'd want to spend the R&D to do that and have pharma companies gouge you on it when you could grow marijuana locally and use it to relieve pain. Also not sure that the fact that the effects of marijuana could be synthesized justifies a prohibition that seems to cause more problems than it addresses.

Marijuana seems to provide relief to people in pain--why not decriminalize it, regulate it, and tax it? What good end does the prohibition serve? I'm open to arguments.

dm60462 / May 28, 2009 12:48 PM

I’m open to reviewing empirical evidence, but not anecdotal. There’s a profound lack of the former and abundance of the latter.

Ramsin / May 28, 2009 2:21 PM

There have been studies done on the medicinal quality, even as versus synthetic versions--here's a link to a dissertation presentation that was later given to the AMA:

and here's something (granted, from NORML) discussing the value of medicinal marijuana versus a synthetic competitor:

R.A. Stewart / May 28, 2009 3:10 PM

Let's remember, too, that one reason there is a shortage of empirical research has been the the federal government's restrictions on such research, as discussed in, among other sources, that notorious left-wing rag
the Scientific American.

One other thought: maybe, as a general principle, the burden of proof ought to be on those who want to restrict personal liberty rather than those who want to preserve and extend it.

Good Luck / May 29, 2009 9:12 AM

So you are basically saying that medical marijuana is a gateway bill?

What a nuanced position.

Ramsin / May 29, 2009 10:51 AM

I do think that prohibition has failed, but also that legalizing any drug in one fell swoop is not a good idea. A slow process of decriminalization that allows the public to understand and learn how to properly regulate it and build the infrastructure to deal with potential negative impacts is a better idea.

Of course, you could just make a snide comment and try to belittle the process of decriminalization; congratulations on not finding a way to work the lib'rul media or Barack Obama into this.

Good Luck / May 29, 2009 1:57 PM

Aw, poor wittle Wamsin. No sense of humor.

Ramsin / May 29, 2009 2:04 PM

To the contrary, GL. Just demonstrating the nuance you requested and following it up with some locker room trash talk. If you need to be more handled more gently, no problem, I can do that for ya.

Enjoy your Friday!

Good Luck / May 30, 2009 11:34 AM

Ah a little trash talk?

I'm sure that you have some divided emotions , since your boy Obama didn't have the stones to call out Turkey for slaughtering your ancestors (as he promised on the campaign trail), but has proven to be in the pocket of big labor.

How does Ramsin pull off the moral relativist position? Blood or ideology?

Ramsin / May 31, 2009 2:07 PM

Boo moral relativism! And those Turks sure did do a number on my ancestors.

Actually, Obama--not my boy by any means, though I did prefer him to John McCain--has not been good on labor OR Assyrians. What's a leftist Assyrian to do?

Best to call him out.

winediva / June 2, 2009 1:20 PM

Hey folks,

As a cancer patient, I can tell you that weed is not the only drug that relieves symptoms of treatment, but it happens to be a really good one and realitively inexpensive.

Depending on your regimen: surgery, chemo, radiation, bone marrow or stem stem cell transplant, etc it can provide relief from pain, nausea, anxiety, insomnia with few side effects or interactions. (Many narcotic based pain relievers add to a patient's nausea, for example.)

I'm not a recreational smoker and never have been - not even in college - but I am glad that the drug was made available to me during my last round of chemo and I won't rule it out for future treatment.

It would be nice to be able to source it legally, since the last thing I want to do after 45 straight hours of a drip of Oxiliplatin, Leukovorin, Avastin, and 5FU is to make small talk with a drug dealer. "Nice lava lamp, dude."

Yes, I imagine there will be some folks who manage to work any system of regulation that is created. There will probably be a sudden surge in glaucoma diagnoses or something else ridiculous, but I would hope that a few scurrilous stoners wouldn't keep our state from assisting cancer patients or any other seriously ill citizens with a drug that gives them great relief.

just one tumor assassin's opinion...

Eliza / August 19, 2009 2:55 PM

DM: Does your mother have cancer? Does she take every single one of these prescribed anti-nausea drugs during chemo? Do they do absolutely nothing for her--leaving her confined to a bed all day long with intermittent stops to the toilet to puke?


Then, shut up. Marijuana makes life actually livable for the 30-40% of chemo patients that are immune to the anti-nausea drugs.

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