House includes marijuana study in end of life bill

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(Host) Backers of legislation that would allow the medical use of marijuana won a key battle on the House floor on Wednesday.

The House was debating a bill allowing Vermonters to plan for their long-term care before they reach the last stages of life. Included in the legislation is a provision that calls for a comprehensive study of pain management for chronically ill patients.

Burlington Representative David Zuckerman offered an amendment to the bill that would include a study of medicinal marijuana in the pain management review:

(Zuckerman) “Mr. Speaker, it’s a valuable thing to add to this study because actually, there are actually nine states in the United States that have medical marijuana laws. Two summers ago we had a summer study committee that found unanimously that there is a medical use for marijuana. And therefore it’s appropriate that this training be incorporated in this study section.”

(Host) But Rutland Town Representative David Sunderland argued that adding medical marijuana to the bill would make the overall legislation much more controversial:

(Sunderland) “Why would we want to threaten progress on such a critical issue by mandating a discussion of an option that is not even permissible under law? Make no mistake, bringing the issue of marijuana into this discussion will overshadow the underlying discussion of pain and management.”

(Host) By a vote of 79 to 57, the House backed the medical marijuana amendment. The bill goes to the Senate next.

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