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News (Media Awareness Project) - US KS: Lawmakers See Little Support For Medical Marijuana Bill
Title:US KS: Lawmakers See Little Support For Medical Marijuana Bill
Published On:2012-01-24
Source:Wichita Eagle (KS)
Fetched On:2012-01-27 06:01:06

TOPEKA - The prospects for a formal debate on medical marijuana in
the Statehouse all but died after a hearing Tuesday.

"They didn't bring anything that we haven't heard or seen," said Rep.
Brenda Landwehr, a Wichita Republican and chair of the Health and
Human Services Committee that heard the proposed medical marijuana bill.

Several other lawmakers on the committee said they don't think
there's enough support to warrant more discussion, at least during
the 2012 session.

But about 20 supporters were poised to press on and told lawmakers
about the relief marijuana has provided for a wide range of diseases
and aliments. That was contrasted by a few opponents who said medical
marijuana has caused problems in other states and is ripe for abuse.

Eric Voth, an internal medicine specialist who is chairman of the
Institute on Global Drug Policy, said legislative approval of medical
marijuana would bypass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and set
a dangerous precedence by creating medicine policy based on popular vote.

Voth warned that smoked pot is highly impure and varies widely in the
amount of THC, marijuana's psychoactive component.

"That, in comparison, would be like saying taking a 500 milligram
Tylenol tablet or a 5,000 milligram Tylenol tablet but having no idea
what's actually being presented to you because that's not done in
these marijuana dispensaries," he said.

Jon Hauxwell, a retired family physician from Hays, challenged that.

"When people scam Oxycontins or Loritabs or Valium, the results can
be fatal," he said. "Cannabis is very different in this respect
because it has no potential for lethal toxicity, such as 5,000
milligrams of Tylenol."

He said critics brush aside marijuana supporters, saying many just
get a permit to smoke recreationally. He acknowledged that some
obtain cards for medical marijuana to avoid prosecution. But Hauxwell
said dismissing thousands of people who say their symptoms are
relieved by cannabis is a cruel deception, and that many people abuse
legal prescription drugs already.

The proposal, HB2330, would allow licensed nonprofit groups to grow
and dispense up to 6 ounces of marijuana per month to people with a
physician's prescription and cards issued by the Kansas Department of
Health and Environment.

The proposed law would allow marijuana to be used to treat cancer,
glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, agitation of
Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, chronic wasting, severe pain,
nausea, seizures and other problems.

Rep. Geraldine Flaharty, D-Wichita, said she hasn't decided whether
she supports the bill or not, but she said she doesn't want Kansas to
have the situation produced in California, where medical marijuana
dispensaries profilerate.

"Obviously many people think it would give them relief," she said.
"If we had some control over it, I wouldn't have the heartache, even
if it doesn't have a lot of medical studies behind us."

She said the stigma of marijuana seems to be the difference between
allowing powerful prescription drugs and marijuana.

"We've had all this adverse publicity about the war on drugs in this
country and in our culture for a long, long time," she said. "So I
think that culturally, it's a different step."
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