Pubdate: Mon, 09 Feb 2009
Source: Asbury Park Press (NJ)
Copyright: 2009 Asbury Park Press
Author: Jim Miller


Former Gov. Christie Whitman says she believes the GOP  should focus
on "pocketbook principles while  downplaying differences on divisive
social issues"  ("Whitman urges Republican unity," Feb. 3).

Why not start with an issue Republicans have  consistently opposed --
the use of marijuana for  medical purposes -- even though it has the
support of  86 percent of New Jersey residents and three-quarters  of
registered Republicans in this state? Whitman would  have to set the
example, which is a lot harder than  telling others that it's time for
them to change.

In 1997, Whitman began saying that legalizing medical  marijuana would
send children a mixed message in  response to a question about my late
wife. Republicans  lined up behind her. Even though my wife Cheryl was
in  the end stages of multiple sclerosis and in pain, it  was all
about the kids. Whitman didn't mind that  taxpayers were paying for
more than $20,000 worth of  Marinol (synthetic THC) for my wife each
year -- even  though marijuana worked better. It didn't matter that
we could have grown marijuana at no cost to taxpayers.

In December, Republican Sen. Bill Baroni, R-Mercer, was  the lone
Republican on the state Senate Health  Committee to vote "yes" on
S-88, the Compassionate Use  Medical Marijuana bill. That was only
after listening  to all the testimony presented to the committee.
Another Republican on that committee, state Sen. Tom  Kean Jr.,
R-Union, couldn't bother to be present when  seriously ill patients
testified on behalf of the bill  or while his "no" vote was recorded.

Perhaps Kean believes that endears him to Republicans;  it doesn't.
It's time for the GOP to stop poking holes  in their sinking ship. The
full Senate will vote on  S-88 in a month or so. It's in their best
interest to  follow the example of Baroni and abandon the Republican
ways of Kean.

I wonder what former Gov. Whitman would think about

Jim Miller

Toms River
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