Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 2004
Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2004 The Billings Gazette
Author: Paul Befumo
Cited: Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


It was unfortunate The Gazette's survey of gubernatorial candidates
combined two entirely separate issues: Allowing seriously ill patients
to use medical marijuana with their doctor's recommendation and
decriminalizing the possession of marijuana in Montana across the
board. I-148, the medical marijuana initiative, has nothing to do with
general decriminalization of marijuana possession.

Highly respected research on medical marijuana, such as the 1999
National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine study, establishes
the therapeutic value of medical marijuana to relieve pain, control
nausea and improve appetites. Research in states that have medical
marijuana laws shows no evidence that allowing the use of medical
marijuana by patients would increase illicit drug use among the
general population.

I-148 addresses only one issue: Protecting patients who are fighting
for their lives against cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other
illnesses from the threat of arrest and jail for simply trying to
survive and relieve their suffering. Eight other states - Alaska,
California, Colorado Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington -
have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, with no negative
effects. I-148 provides a simple, compassionate, humanitarian approach
to relieve suffering that is in line with the weight of scientific
evidence concerning the medical use of marijuana. While we have a war
on drugs, let's remove the sick and wounded from the

Paul Befumo

Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana


Editor's note: The gubernatorial candidates were responding to a
question that a reader submitted to the Gazette's state bureau. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake