Monday, January 30, 2006
Medical Marijuana Bill Clears NM Senate Judiciary Committee
From Kate Nash's Albuquerque Tribune Roundhouse Report:
A bill allowing medical use of marijuana took a step forward Friday when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it 7-3. A full Senate vote could come as early as Tuesday.
The bill, SB258, creates a program in the state Department of Health to which doctors could refer patients with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer or AIDS. Patients who were certified by the department could possess marijuana without risk of state prosecution, although they could not grow it.
David Murray, special assistant to the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said medical marijuana proponents were engaged in a "manipulative and cynical" effort, using suffering patients to promote their agenda.
But Sen. Rod Adair, a Roswell Republican, said "the regular dope-smoker is not sitting around hoping we would pass this."
Editor's Note: SB258, entitled the "Lynn Pierson Compassionate Use Act," is sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley. Click to Contact your Senator about this bill.
Detailed coverage on the hearing is provided by Santa Fe New Mexican, which reports on the very negative testimony from a special assistant of the federal drug czar. Both Republicans and Democrats were very critical of his testimony.
Prior to its "do pass" from the Judiciary Committee, the bill passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee unanimously. Here's an article on the SPAC hearing on the bill from the Santa Fe New Mexican. An Albuquerque Journal article reports that Governor Richardson supports the bill:
Gov. Bill Richardson on Tuesday reiterated his backing for it and said a "substantial'' portion of the public agrees.
"I think there have got to be strict standards. But for those that are suffering ... I support it,'' the governor said.