Activists Cite Support for Medical Marijuana

October 2, 2008

Michigan — Support appears to be deep and widespread for a measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that would allow for the medical use of marijuana in Michigan.

If approved, cancer chemotherapy patients suffering from nausea and vomiting would be able to use marijuana to ease those symptoms. Other patients who might seek this treatment would be those with HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.

Former state lawmaker Dianne Byrum said a recent poll showed 67 percent of voters statewide support the ballot measure.

“I think it speaks to the compassion that this proposal is about,” said Byrum, spokeswoman for the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care. The organization obtained 500,000 voters signatures to get it on the November ballot.

Currently, five Michigan communities — Ann Arbor, Flint, Traverse City, Ferndale and Detroit — have local ordinances that allow for medical marijuana use. There are 12 states in the United States which permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

“There have been no law enforcement issues on it,” Byrum said, referring to the five Michigan communities.

Under the proposal, a physician would need to approve marijuana use for a patient with a debilitating medical condition.

Byrum said patients would receive an identification card. She also said they would only have protected use in their home and could not smoke it in public places.

The measure would only permit limited quantities for private use.

Organizers do not have figures on how many patients might seek this approach, but it’s been estimated to be between 10,000 to 35,000 in the state.

Byrum said physicians would remain an essential part of the treatment process.

“This is an option that they would be able to use when other medicines aren’t working,” she said.

Byrum said there is a pill that contains a synthetic form of one of marijuana’s 66 compounds that can be prescribed.

However, she said, a pill isn’t going to work for patients with severe vomiting because they can’t keep it down.

Byrum said certain medicines and treatments work for some people and not others.

“It’s just saying this could be a treatment option that your doctor would recommend to you,” Byrum said.

Source: Livingston Daily

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