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Archive for Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stephan joins push for medical marijuana

Former Kansas A.G. says treatment of drug ‘absurd’

August 18, 2007

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Fomer AG pushing for medical marijuana

Smoking pot - not to get high - but to ease the pain of illness. Enlarge video

Legalizing medical marijuana

Former Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan talks about legalizing medical marijuana

Former Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephan, right, looks at Laura Green, director of the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, during a news conference Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. The group is calling for the legalization of medical marijuana by the Kansas Legislature.

Former Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephan, right, looks at Laura Green, director of the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, during a news conference Friday at the Statehouse in Topeka. The group is calling for the legalization of medical marijuana by the Kansas Legislature.

— The push to legalize medical marijuana got a big lift Friday when former Attorney General Bob Stephan announced his support and urged Kansans to get behind the effort.

"The state should not pre-empt the role of the physicians when it comes to deciding what is best for ill Kansans," said Stephan, a cancer survivor and the longest serving attorney general in state history.

But lawmakers said there was little chance of legalizing medical marijuana, at least in the 2008 legislative session that starts in January.

The Kansas Medical Society has taken no stand on the issue, but the Kansas State Nurses Association plans to consider a resolution in October for the legal use of therapeutic marijuana.

"On behalf of registered nurses statewide, we believe that this is a relevant and timely health care issue that warrants discussion," KSNA President Ellen Carson said.

At a news conference with the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, Stephan recounted his own fight with cancer, and thousands of visits with other cancer victims.

Stopping to gather his emotions, Stephan said marijuana should be available to people who are suffering pain that cannot be alleviated by other treatments.

"When it comes to marijuana, it is treated like some voodoo medicine that should not be recommended by physicians. I find this to be absurd," Stephan said.

Stephan served as attorney general from 1979 until 1995. In response to questions, he said he never used marijuana.

The Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, which has 400 members in chapters in Wichita and Lawrence, seeks to have Kansas join 12 other states in passing legislation that allows physicians to recommend the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Stephan and the coalition said marijuana can relieve pain and nausea for patients with cancer and other conditions, such as AIDS, glaucoma and anxiety disorders.

But Jerry Slaughter, executive director of the Kansas Medical Society, said his concern would be the legal protection of physicians because marijuana is an illegal drug under both state and federal law.

Slaughter said there are probably doctors on both sides of the issue.

"There is a growing debate about pain management," he said.

State Rep. Jim Morrison, R-Colby, said he would oppose the proposal.

Morrison said if marijuana were legalized for medical reasons, then other drugs, such as LSD, would have to be legalized for medical purposes.

He also said it would be difficult to control the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, and that he believed physicians have adequate medicines to treat pain.

State Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville, said he opposed it too, but was willing to consider it.

Journey said he doubted such a proposal would be approved by the Legislature, but that Stephan's backing gave the issue more traction.

Comments

oldgoof 7 years, 4 months ago

Morrison said if marijuana were legalized for medical reasons, then other drugs, such as LSD, would have to be legalized for medical purposes. .. huh?

KS 7 years, 4 months ago

oldgoof - have you not heard of discrimination? What's good for one should be good for the others.

af5 7 years, 4 months ago

If LSD "had to" be legalized, wouldn't you think that it may have some medicinal benefits?
http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/795_psyche.html

Is it difficult to get research grants for a Schedule I drugs? I'm not a promoter of recreational drug use, but do believe drugs should be available for those in need of them. I don't think that my opinion will change, but what are your reasons for not allowing the prescription of certain drugs? (no flames please, just opinions).

kujeeper 7 years, 4 months ago

b3 - you must be from the old school of thought. Our nation would do itself the biggest favor if it would just legalize marijuana and tax the hell out of it. We could do wonders with the tax revenue, help the needy, actually have decent schools for our kids to learn, have proper law enforcement and slow the drug trade. The list of benefits could go on and on. No one smokes too much pot and shoots up a business, no one smokes too much and drives 100 MPH and kills people, they drive 10 MPH. There is no reason it's illegal except that our country and our right-religious leaders think that they need to fight the "war" on drugs.... That "war" is a bigger losing battle than any other we have ever engaged in. LEGALIZE IT!

Richard Heckler 7 years, 4 months ago

If the country were seriously interested in practical reduction of crime then marijuana should be considered. Legalization takes the big bucks out of it and allows users to grow their own which makes sense.....or simply decriminalize marijuana. Get out of the way of medicine.

This would also open doors for farmers to do industrial hemp for which there is also a huge market instead the USA imports goods made from hemp. Get out of the way of a farmers chance to make some money for a change on a crop that has diversified applications.

Calliope877 7 years, 4 months ago

"Morrison said if marijuana were legalized for medical reasons, then other drugs, such as LSD, would have to be legalized for medical purposes."

WTF?
That doesn't make any sense at all! Marijuana and LSD aren't even comparable in my opinion as far as their effects are concerned -- I've never heard of anyone not coming down from a high after smoking pot.

b3 (Anonymous) says:

"Yes, I too think that drugs Viagra and Cialis are somewhat questionable, their commercials are certainly not sutiable for TV."

I suppose you think tampon commercials aren't suitable for TV either?

libertarianjim 7 years, 2 months ago

I suggest everyone read the Constitution. The government has been destroying the liberties and freedom the founding fathers envisioned for the citizenry for years. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abe Lincoln etc. are rolling over in their graves right now. Doctors and patients should make medical decisions, not politicians and fascists.

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