Important! Vote Yes on Proposal 1 for Medical Marijuana

October 6, 2008

Michigan — Marijuana has proven benefits in limiting pain and reducing the side effects of other medicines used to treat certain illnesses. Proposal 1 would allow the use of marijuana for these limited medical purposes. Voters should say yes to Proposal 1.

Proposal 1 would legalize doctor-prescribed marijuana. The Detroit News has reported that upwards of 500,000 Michiganians with “debilitating medical conditions” — HIV/AIDS, cancer, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis and the like — will qualify. It can be useful, for example, in controlling nausea during chemotherapy in cancer treatments.

Anyone found to be lying about their medical condition or distributing marijuana to friends would be barred from future participation.

The proposal contains other safeguards. If voters accept Proposal 1, the Michigan Department of Community Health would create a state medical marijuana registry, and each user will be given an identification card. Anyone without such a card, debilitating illness or not, is still subject to state law. And Michigan law is harsh on marijuana. The penalty for possession is up to one year of imprisonment and up to $2,000 in fines. Dealers risk $10 million in fines and imprisonment for up to 15 years — and these are for first offenses. None of that would change with Proposal 1.

Proposal 1 would also protect the over-21 primary caregivers who handle marijuana for and administer marijuana to sick family or friends. Users are protected from the threat of prosecution and the possibility of losing custody of their children due to smoking medical herbs.

The law would no longer view primary caregivers administering marijuana as drug dealers. And compassionate doctors will no longer have to risk their medical licenses and livelihoods every time they prescribe marijuana to ailing patients.

There are also standards for registered users. All the normal laws apply to smoking in public. No one will be permitted to smoke in public places or near schools or prisons, and “drugged driving” will still be illegal.

Employers won’t be forced to allow use of medical marijuana in the workplace. Insurance providers can decide for themselves whether to cover it.

Twelve states allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The record is that it can be properly administered as one more part of the mix of medicines available to physicians.

Proposal 1 seems to have been written to anticipate and address concerns that it is a backdoor route to full-blown legalization. The standard for obtaining a registry card is high and the penalty for misuse is steep.

Proposal 1 won’t make pot any more publicly visible or available than it already is; all it will do is allow doctors, primary caregivers, and most importantly patients another option in managing serious and painful illnesses. Vote yes on Proposal 1.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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