Marijuana, considered as a medicine instead of a recreational drug. It is useful for treatment of glaucoma, among other ailments. It also helps relieve pain and nausea associated with AIDS medications and cancer chemotherapy.

Medical marijuana has been legalized by referendum in various states, but the Federal Government persists in killing people who need it, like Peter McWilliams.

Medical marijuana has been legalized by ballot initiative in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Nevada, and Washington. Hawaii was the first state to have medical marijuana legalized by the state legislature.

According to the NORML website, legislatures in Maryland, New Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts, and Vermont are holding hearings or have had bills introduced to legalize medical marijuana.

America’s relationship with marijuana has been conspicuosly tumultuous and political. In this century, marijuana, a substance that has enjoyed a rich medical history dating back thousands of years, has been relegated to merely another target in the war on drugs.

Such a war has been responsible for thousands of casualties in individuals suffering from illnesses such as cancer and AIDS, who cannot receive legally a form of treatment which can relieve their pain. Consequently, many otherwise law-abiding citizens have been forced to violate federal law. In many cases, these same individuals face criminal prosecution and possible incarceration. The recent burgeoning of medical marijuana laws in states throughout the country suggests that Americans will no longer tolerate this treatment of the seriously ill.

The federal government can elect the respect to the will of people by rescheduling marijuana or by exercising their prosecutorial discretion in a way that formally ends the prosecution of medical marijuana patients. It also can choose to protect the citizens against themselves. If so, should it be consistent with the notions of fairness, liberty and justice?

The Supreme Court has ruled in a 6-3 decision that Congress has the right to outlaw medicinal marijuana, thus subjecting all patients to federal prosecution even in states where the treatment is legalized. Meaning that doctors can still give medical marijuana in states where it's legal, but the DEA can bust down the door of a person using the drug to fight off a spinal injury and put them in jail. Which makes, well, no sense at all.

You can debate this issue on and on, but the fact of the matter is...medical marijuana works. I will never cease to understand the constant struggle to have it be used to treat ill patients suffering from various debilitating diseases and injuries in which a controlled use of cannabis would greatly benefit their recovery and coping process. And just because a drug is frequently used (and abused) recreationally isn't just cause to make it illegal for those in need who could use its benefits.

After all, Ritalin, sleeping pills, Adderall and many other FDA approved drugs are frequently used and abused recreationally. Shit, even ecstasy was approved by the FDA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in 2001! While the point can be made that you can't just grow these other drugs in your backyard, marijuana is no different from these frequently abused, yet beneficial and legal drugs.

And besides its medical use, I've never understood why the use of recreational marijuana is so harshly penalized in the United States. The negative effects over chronic marijuana use aren't nearly as severe as those suffered by chronic alcohol abuse and chain smoking cigarettes. Yet beer and cigarettes continue to be a-ok while marijuana is not. Legalizing marijuana in all forms would have similar perks that the fall of the Prohibition Era had in 1933. Violence caused by cartels selling drugs would drop significantly and our ever fluctuating economy would have a brand new business enterprise on it's hands. The latter sounds insane, but who knew 80 years ago that you would be greeted at every turn with advertisements selling you various brews of alcohol.

Myself and many other young Americans have used marijuana recreationally, I can admit to that. While many have just found it to "chill" or whatever, whenever I feel positive effects from the drug, I can't help but wonder what good it could bring to the world if the government would allow it to be studied to the point where we could discover how to tinker with the chemicals it contained to possibly grow something that could have various uses. Don't get me wrong, despite any possible modifications that could be made, like any substance that can be used to modify a chemical process in ones body, marijuana must be used with great caution and great control in able to enjoy its effects, whether recreational or medical. The bottom line is that the fact that marijuana still remains such a terrible thing in the eyes of the United States Government after all these years is absurd.

a straightforward argument for medical marijuana

My name is Kyle Hamilton, and I am 28 years old. I write this, knowing that I have committed a crime, knowing that the statute of limitations has not expired for that crime. But the story I have to tell is important enough that I will risk my freedom to tell it.


Last August, my boyfriend got a phone call... and received some really bad news. His father, he learned, had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, stage 3 (metastasized) -- meaning, it had already invaded his bloodstream, and caused malignancy to take root through the rest of his body.

It took us a while to get there to see him. Erik had shown me photographs of his father, who looked like a Harley-Davidson motorcycle rider... as we moved from Chicago to Tucson in a beat-up 1985 Volkswagen Vanagon. Once we arrived in Tucson, and got settled in, his parents sent us two plane tickets to fly back and see them.

And he looked different from the photos. He looked more frail, and more like a bag of skin loosely covering his withered muscles and bones. He had quit his job, because he could no longer do the work, and he was bald because the chemotherapy had caused all of his hair to fall out... and he looked as though he was dying, and it hurt me, and it hurt Erik, and we both cried later that night when he couldn't see it, when he couldn't see us.

Over the next few days, I learned what medications he was on. There's a 72-hour patch full of extremely dangerous narcotics that he was wearing. There were anti-nausea drugs. There were things designed to stimulate his appetite... and none of them worked very well. He was in pain all the time, and he had no energy, and he had no appetite, and all he could seem to do was sit and watch TV. He got worse, and worse, and worse as the days went by.

Finally, he couldn't bear it anymore... and his wife, Erik's mom, called up his sister, who brought him over some marijuana. He smoked about 1/3 of a joint, that night -- he offered me a hit off of it, but I'm not going to take medicine away from someone who needs it -- and then went to bed. I stayed up for a little while longer, and went to bed as well.

The next morning, he was a changed man. He was walking, he was doing things, he was cheerful, he had an appetite, and it was as though he wasn't suffering. He'd finally gotten a good night's sleep, he said -- the first good night of sleep that he'd had in months. That, plus the appetite stimulation, helped him a lot.


I had already been a medical marijuana supporter before. I knew, intellectually, what it could do, and how it did it. But it was then that it hit me, on that visceral level, just what it could mean... not only to those who suffer from cancer and other chronicly debilitating illnesses, but for their families and friends, their support networks, each of whom has to rely on each other for support.

It is not just for the cancer patients themselves, who actually need the marijuana for their chronic, debilitating conditions, but also for the sanity and well-being of their caretakers, that I believe that medical marijuana should be legalized.

And even though I'm not a doctor, even though I'm not a nurse, even though I'm very, very limited in what I can do... if someone has cancer, I will recommend to them, very seriously, that they look into marijuana as a means of controlling their secondary symptoms. It is, truly, a miracle drug.

Reverend Kyle A Hamilton
of the Church of Universal Life
07Aug2005, 0407PDT

The intent of this write up is not to argue about whether the use of medical marijuana is ethical or not. I’ll leave that to the doctors and politicians to debate and decide.

In general in order to qualify for its use the patient must be suffering from cachexia, cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy or other illnesses that cause seizures, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. Some states also allow treatments such chemotherapy and radiotherapy

If you live here in the States the following is a list of fifteen of them that currently have legalized the use of medical marijuana in some form or another as well as some other relevant information pertaining to its use.

Note: The details in this write up are subject to change based upon which way the current politcal wind is blowing and who is in power.

Alaska

The use of medical marijuana was placed before the voters in Alaska in 1998. It was subsequently approved by 58% of the people who cast their ballots.

Alaska allows you to possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana at a time. For those of you who like to grow your own you may not have more than six plants at once and of those six only three can be considered “mature”.

Arizona

The use of medical marijuana was placed before the voters in Arizona in 2010. It was subsequently approved by 50.13% of the people who cast their ballots.

In order to qualify for use of medical marijuana a patient must have a note from their physician stating they are suffering from a debilitating disease. They must procure the marijuana from a state licensed registered dispensary.

The law also requires the patient to register with the state and when a patient makes their purchase their registration is confirmed via a web based site. It also specifies that employers may not discriminate against registered patients unless they would lose money or some type of licensing under current federal law.

In Arizona you may purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in a two week period. Since Arizona distributes the marijuana through state run agencies, if you live more than twenty five miles from one, you may grow up to twelve plants of your own provided they are kept under lock and key.

California

The use of medical marijuana was placed before the voters in California in 1996. It was subsequently approved by 56% of the people who cast their ballots.

In order to qualify for the use of medical marijuana in California the patient must have written or oral recommendation from their doctor that they would benefit from its use. You then must register with the state and procure the marijuana from state run dispensaries.

If you or your primary caregiver qualify for its use you can’t possess any more than eight ounces and/or six mature plants.

Colorado

The use of medical marijuana was placed before the voters in Colorado in 2000. It was subsequently approved by 54% of the people who cast their ballots.

In order to qualify for the use of medical marijuana in Colorado you must have written documentation from your physician stating that you “might benefit” from its medical use.

Once you get issued your Medical Marijuana Registry identification card you may possess no more than two ounces of a usable form of marijuana and not more than six marijuana plants,

District of Columbia (DC)

Approved 13-0 by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 4, 2010; signed by the Mayor on May 21, 2010

The maximum amount of medical marijuana that any qualifying patient or caregiver may possess at any moment is two ounces of medical marijuana.

Hawaii

The use of medical marijuana was signed into law by Gov. Ben Cayetano on June 14, 2000. It was approved in the House by a vote of 38-18 and the Senate by a vote of 13-12.

In order to qualify for the use of medical marijuana you must have a signed statement from your physician affirming that you suffer from a debilitating condition and that the "potential benefits of medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks."

In Hawaii you cannot possess more than an “adequate supply” of medical marijuana. This means you cannot have more than three mature plants, four immature plants and one ounce at any given time.

Maine

The use of medical marijuana in Maine was placed before the voters 1999 and approved by a whopping 61 %.

In order to qualify for the use of medical marijuana you must have an oral or written "professional opinion" from your physician that you "might benefit from the medical use of marijuana." Unlike most other states, the law does not establish a state-run patient registry.

In Maine you may legally possess no more than one 1 ¼ ounces of usable marijuana, and may cultivate no more than six marijuana plants, of which no more than three may be mature.

Michigan

The use of medical marijuana in Michigan was placed before the voters 2008 and approved by an eye popping 63 %.

The site I referenced for this article did not include any information about how one qualifies for the use of medical marijuana in Michigan. I suppose everybody then qualifies by default.

In Michigan you may possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana and twelve plants as long as the plants are under lock and key.

Montana

The use of medical marijuana in Montana was placed before the voters 2004 and approved by an impressive 62 %.

Once again, the site I referenced failed to mention what the patient qualifications are for the use of medical marijuana.

A qualifying patient and a qualifying patient's caregiver may each possess six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana.

Nevada

The use of medical marijuana in Nevada was placed before the voters 2001 and approved by an even more impressive 65 %.

In order to qualify patients must have "written documentation" from their physician that marijuana may alleviate his or her condition.

Patients or their primary caregivers may legally possess no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, three mature plants, and four immature plants.

New Jersey

Signed into law by Gov. Jon Corzine on Jan. 18, 2010. Approved by the House by a vote of 48-14 and the Senate by a vote of 25-13

Protects patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary caregivers, and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes" from "arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties."

Basically it’s left up to your doctor to determine how much you’ll need but they can’t prescribe more than two ounces over a thirty day period.

New Mexico

Approved by the House by a vote of 36-31 and the Senate by a vote of 32-3. Went into effective in July of 2007

In order to qualify you have to have a signed recommendation from your physician stating that marijuana "may mitigate" any debilitating symptoms.

Patients have the right to possess up to six ounces of usable cannabis, four mature plants and 12 seedlings.

Oregon

The use of medical marijuana in Oregon was placed before the voters 1998 and approved by 55%.

Patients qualify as long as they’re "in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments."

If you qualify you or your designated primary caregiver may possess up to six mature marijuana plants and 24 ounces of usable marijuana.

Rhode Island

Originally approved by state House and Senate but later vetoed by the Governor. The veto was over-ridden by House and Senate and it went into effect in January of 2006.

The site I referenced for this article did not include any information about how one qualifies for the use of medical marijuana in Rhode Island. Rhode Island however is the only state that currently recognizes patients from other states and will dispense marijuana for medicinal purposes as long as they have the proper documentation from their accompanying state.

If you’re a patient the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown is 12 marijuana plants or 2 1/2 ounces of cultivated marijuana. If you’re a primary caregiver you may not possess an amount of marijuana in excess of 24 marijuana plants and five ounces of usable marijuana for patients under your care.

Vermont

Passed by the General Assembly by a vote of 82-59 and when into law unsigned in May of 2004.

The site I referenced for this article did not include any information about how one qualifies for the use of medical marijuana in Vermont.

No more than two mature marijuana plants, seven immature plants, and two ounces of usable marijuana may be collectively possessed between the registered patient and the patient’s registered caregiver.

Washington

The use of medical marijuana in Washington was placed before the voters 1998 and approved by 59%.

In order to qualify you must possess “valid documentation" from your physician affirming that you suffer from a debilitating condition and that the "potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks."

A qualifying patient and designated provider may possess a total of no more than twenty-four ounces of usable marijuana, and no more than fifteen plants. This quantity became the state's official "60-day supply" on Nov. 2, 2008.

Source(s)

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

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