(Host) A national organization that favors the decriminalization of marijuana has launched a TV campaign in Vermont. The ad urges people to contact lawmakers and Governor Jim Douglas in support of a medical marijuana bill. Douglas says he has serious problems with the marijuana legislation.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.
(Kinzel) Backers of legislation that would allow patients with serious and chronic illnesses to use marijuana for pain relief are hoping to galvanize public support for their plan. The measure passed the Senate last year but a number of House Republican leaders have problems with the bill and its fate in the House is uncertain.
The Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that is working to decriminalize marijuana across the country, has launched a TV ad campaign in Vermont in an effort to force a vote in House. In the ad, Debbie Ramsdell of Charlotte, discusses her late husband’s battle with brain cancer:
(Sound from advertisement) “They finally did a cat scan on him and found this huge tumor. I really think that the marijuana was the most helpful. You know morphine just knocks you out. How can you be against this when it helps people who are ill? Who are dying, most of them are dying. How can you be against that?”
(Kinzel) Governor Jim Douglas doesn’t support the bill. Douglas says possessing marijuana is in violation of federal law and he believes there are other options for patients seeking pain relief:
(Douglas) “There are alternatives. THC – the active ingredient in marijuana – is available through a pill form that’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and I think that’s the appropriate agency for making the determination. Those are the professionals, not the Vermont Legislature.”
(Kinzel) The proposed legislation is being reviewed by the House Health and Welfare Committee. It’s not clear if the panel will vote on the bill during the current session.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.