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  • November 4 2013

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    Illinois Considering Amendment to Medical Marijuana Law

    Lou Lang 5

    Rep. Lou Lang

    Rep. Lou Lang recently introduced SB 1955, which would amend Illinois’ brand-new medical marijuana law. It would add important new protections for veterans and for patients who use non-smoked forms of marijuana, though it would also make some negative changes.

    Many patients rely on non-smoked forms of medical marijuana, including edibles, tinctures, and topicals. These products use extractions from the marijuana plant, and SB 1955 would clarify that “resin extractions” are included in the protections of the law.

    Meanwhile, veterans who receive treatment from the VA may not be able to qualify under the current law because the federal government doesn’t allow its physicians to make medical marijuana recommendations. SB 1955 would allow veterans to register as patients without including their physicians’ written recommendations.

    Unfortunately, SB 1955 would also remove two qualifying medical conditions – RSD and CRPS – which opponents believe might allow for abuse. However, causalgia would remain as a condition. Also, EMTs would be prohibited from becoming patients. While we oppose these restrictions, as a whole, we feel the bill would do more good than harm.

  • November 4 2013

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    The New York Times: Marijuana is Safer than Alcohol

    Last Sunday, the New York Times published an editorial that compared marijuana and alcohol use, particularly the relative harms of the two substances and the influence people substituting marijuana for alcohol could have on road safety. 

    But assuming the argument that alcohol and marijuana are “substitutes” bears out, that could be good news, especially for road safety. Of the two substances, alcohol is far more hazardous.

    For the most part, marijuana-intoxicated drivers show only modest impairments on road tests. Several studies have suggested that drivers under the influence of marijuana actually overestimate their impairment. They slow down and increase their following distance. The opposite is true of drivers under the influence of alcohol. [MPP emphasis added]

    It should be noted that no one should drive under the influence of any impairing substance, including marijuana. Still, the overall impact on public safety due to making marijuana legal will certainly be positive.

    The New York Times has a rapidly growing readership and can have a tremendous impact on public opinion. For a paper of this magnitude to recognize and discuss the respective effects of marijuana and alcohol shows real progress in the changing attitudes towards marijuana.

     

  • November 4 2013

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    Medical Marijuana Lobbyists Obstruct Legalization Bill in Maine

    While Alaska and Oregon look to legalize recreational marijuana through ballot initiative in 2014, Maine Representative Diane Russell has been working with NORML to introduce marijuana legalization through the state legislature.