SD panel kills medical defense in marijuana cases
Category: News | Posted on Tue, February, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A proposal to let people charged with possessing small amounts of marijuana argue in court that they need it for medical reasons was narrowly rejected Tuesday by a South Dakota House committee torn between compassion for chronically ill people in pain and fear that it could lead to increased drug use.
The Health and Human Services Committee voted 7-6 to kill the bill, which was sponsored by two lawmakers with roots in law enforcement.
Rep. Melissa Magstadt, R-Watertown, a nurse, said the South Dakota Medical Association and the Nurses Association oppose the measure, which would allow an unregulated and untested drug to be used for medical purposes. Marijuana often leads people to use other drugs, she said.
"If you talk to drug users, nine times out of 10 they started with marijuana first," Magstadt said.
Rep. Karen Soli, D-Sioux Falls, said she supported the bill because it could help seriously ill people who need marijuana for pain and other problems.
"This is about being compassionate to our folks," Soli said.
"When I first heard of this, I thought no way. I'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana," she added. "It's quite a surprise to me I'm going to vote for this."
Category: Nugs | Posted on Tue, February, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
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Democrats seek to give states say over marijuana, levy tax
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - The states would be free to decide whether to legalize marijuana without running afoul of federal law but would require purchasers to pay federal taxes on its sale under legislation being proposed by two Democratic lawmakers.
The proposed bills in the House of Representatives aim to offer a new federal policy toward pot, amid a growing movement to legalize it for personal use, whether recreational or medical.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Jared Polis of Colorado, both Democrats, planned to introduce the legislation on Tuesday.
One bill would end a federal ban on marijuana and give states jurisdiction over its use and regulate it in a similar way to alcohol sales, while the other would levy a federal tax, the congressmen said in a statement.
The Democrats' bills likely face a hurdle in the House where Republicans hold a majority and control what legislation moves forward. A similar, bipartisan effort by other representatives failed to gain traction in 2011.
Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize the drug in 2012 but now face questions on how to implement their laws while U.S. authorities still consider pot illegal. Illinois is also considering acting on the issue.
Eighteen states, including California and Oregon, plus the nation's capital city already allow sales for medical use to help certain patients cope with pain and other chronic conditions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws.
Last year's votes have buoyed those who support easing access to the drug, which U.S. health officials say is the most commonly used illegal drug. Polls show most Americans support legalizing pot.
Critics say that despite widespread use and acceptance, the drug carries health risks, especially for youth. They question whether the drug, derived from the cannabis plant and usually smoked, has benefits for medical use.
Advocates on both sides of the issue are waiting anxiously to see how federal authorities will act as Washington state and Colorado move forward.
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