Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 2004
Source: Providence Phoenix (RI)
Copyright: 2004 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group
Author:  Krissy Oechslin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


The Phoenix's recent article on Rhode Island's medical marijuana bill
came as somewhat of a surprise, as there are numerous indications that
the legislation will pass.

The 20 representatives signed on to HB7588 read like a who's who of the
Rhode Island Legislature: the House minority leader, the senior House
deputy majority leader, the deputy majority leader, the deputy majority
whip, the chairs of two House committees, the vice chairs of three
House committees, an advocate for the American Lung Association, a
registered nurse, and six of the 13 members of the Health, Education,
and Welfare Committee--the committee in which the bill currently sits. A
former cancer patient and lead sponsor of the bill, Representative
Thomas Slater, believes, "this bill is about simple compassion and
common sense."

The House bill has also drawn the endorsement of the Rhode Island
Medical Society and Kenneth Mayer, M.D., the director of the Brown
University AIDS Program and chief of the Infectious Disease Division
of the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, who believes medical
marijuana "should be an option" for those suffering from HIV wasting.
Similar legislation has drawn support on a national level from the
American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of HIV
Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Nurses
Association, among many others.

What's more, the idea that medical marijuana is a political "hot
potato" no longer holds true. To the contrary: It is opposition to
medical marijuana that presents a political risk to elected officials.
Polls have shown that voters are more likely to support candidates who
believe seriously ill patients should not face arrest and imprisonment
for the simple act of taking their medicine.

Politicians are learning--quickly--that they can no longer afford to
oppose medical marijuana legislation. HB7588 should--and will
hopefully--be a political "no-brainer."

To learn more about who supports this bill and why it's important for
patients, please visit If we have to have a war on
drugs, can we at least remove the sick and dying from the

Krissy Oechslin Assistant Director of Communications Marijuana Policy
Project Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin