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Do you support medical marijuana?

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The Illinois Senate has passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Illinois, and now it is up to the House to consider it.

Local politicians are split on it, weighing its supposed benefits - helping patients who have certain illnesses to deal with their symptoms and the side effects of their medicine - against the drawbacks, which include making drug laws more difficult to enforce.

Thirteen states already have legalized medical marijuana. Do you think Illinois should join them?

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26 Comments

Legalize it. Tax it. Many people need it. Make it safe for them!

Yes! Honestly all the arrests on marijuana are a waist of time by taking away someones marijuana youre not stopping anything! If they want to smoke there going to smoke taking the marijuana isnt going to change anything. Marijuana also has many medicinal uses such as lack of appetite, alchoholism, arthritis, brain caner, HIV and much more! The agrument that marijuana is a gateway drug is rediculous. Statisticly speaking you are 3 times more likely to use herione,meth,and cocaine by useing pain killers! Also in countries like Amsterdam there amount of marijuana users is actually less then Americas with marijuana being legal on a federal level. Also countries/states that legalize marijuana show a decrease in crime! I believe strongly in the legalization of marijuana for medicanial purposes.

IT IS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE THAT CANNIBIS (MARIJUANA) BE LEGALIZED IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND ELSEWHERE, FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES.

~ JULIE ST.JOHN
DEKALBPOET@YAHOO.COM

DEKALB, IL. U.S.A.

Maybe all the people who want marijuana to be legal are going about it the wrong way. If the government wants to decide that they are the ones who decide what is medically best for a patient even though they may not be experts in the medical field, perhaps we should just have some kids that works at McDonald's declare new law stating all drugs are legal. Not really his area of expertise, but who's counting...

I would hope that law enforcement could find its way to at least support doctor's being the experts to determine what helps severely impaired patients.

I believe the recreational use of marijuana to be much higher than those who use it as medicine. Taking into consideration the statistic from the FBI Uniformed Crime Report; [marijuana related arrests occurring every 38 seconds...], this may lower it to arrests every 67 seconds.

http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7698

http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7972

The FBI Uniformed Crime Report can be found directly through their website as well.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/30/frank.marijuana/

I am fairly confident if it is shown that every 38 seconds, "allegedly" that a person is arrested for marijuana charges, that would have an impact in the functions of police if it were found to not be prohibited.

I will definitely get right back with any stats I can find. From a personal standpoint, I was arrested for production of cannabis and have no gang affiliations or weapons charges included. I may have faced jail charges had I not been coerced into following every whim of the court. High fines and years probation that I am finally rid of, I find it hard to believe I had a unique run of "bad luck".

I did go with this assumption of my experience, that this is regular practice and have heard many stories from many sources, surely some reputable and not. I agree with you that I should have made sure I had specific reputable stats in mind when I made my prior statement, however, I will do my best to get back with some.

I will say that I believe finding any reputable facts seem hard either way. For almost any topic there will always be info either way. Just because info comes from a "good source" doesn't mean its right. Particularly I am reflecting on my experience on my last day of my court proceedings in my charge. The judge asked, as in most likely all cases, if I am proceeding with my own free will without coercion, ect... I said no BECAUSE WAS PART OF THE COERCION. (I felt and believed YES) I was pregnant, forced to have representation I did not want, and did not want to have any chance of having the State involved with my child. I'm sure some others facing other charges felt the same way for their reasons with similar impact, so even court recorded admissions might not be such a great proof of anything.

On top of all this, I was having W/D symptoms from prescribed medications and increased seizure activity for stopping everything (including mj) cold turkey when I found out I was pregnant. This was all a week before the police involvement began. I would've moved out of state to a place with medical laws already in place, but up until DEc 2009 I have a Veteran appointed fiduciary who had control of my funding and this was not permitted.

Things are not always so simple in anything. One thing that should be simple though, yes people use cannabis recreational, no it is not worse than other things were allowed. Yes, any drug not needed for healthy teenagers could be bad... so get rid of alcohol and tobacco, and pull every drug off the shelf that would be dangerous to a healthy teenager.

I am against legalizing marijuana, but as long as prescribed by an M.D. I am not against its use for medical purposes.

I'm not a tobacco smoker, but understand that a pack of cigs is over $5, much of it going to taxes. Can you imagine what the gov't would tax marijuana if it was legalized? I wouldn't be surprised if some states push to legalize it for no other reason than to find another tax revenue stream.

FYI: Cheetos are on sale this week at Dominick's

Has anyone ever done a study on if there is a difference between a drink of liquor having the same effect as marijuana? I suspect potheads just want a way of using it legally. Big deal that thirteen states have legalized it... 37 haven't.

Can you provide any facts from a credible source for either of these points?

I doubt that a couple of joints lands you in Statesville, a couple of joints and a gun in your jacket and a gang affiliation with some prior arrests might though.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
By angela Renee on January 10, 2010 8:09 PM

Many prisoners in our jail systems are there on cannabis related charges alone.

I would say that law enforcement may have some interests in keeping cannabis illegal if they feel state funding or their working hours may be cut short if one of their main "cash flows" suddenly disappears.

I don't think anything would be wrong if a licensed pharmacist dispensed it or a private dispensary. The cost to regulate it may not be much different than the prescription relative. The taxes paid by the dispensaries may make it worth the lesser investment of funding. I do not know know for sure which way, I would say whatever will give the easiest relief to the ones who will benefit, the patient, should be the priority. Whichever would cost more shouldn't matter if its what it takes to get the job done. Isn't that why anything costs us, because we feel its worth the investment?

If anyone has any actual numbers or knows the best route to find out how the cost of both prescription/private dispensary, offset with taxes and such, that would surely help more than any speculation on which one "might" be more costly.

I would assume having to go the prescription route, would delay help to patients for sure. The FDA has not approved marijuana for treatment of any kind, so all these states would be back to square one. I don't believe the pharmacies would be allowed to dispense without there approval, that is something to look into though, I have no actual knowledge of that.

By Anonymous on January 10, 2010 8:23 PM

What would be wrong or unwieldly with having the drug dispensed from a licensed pharmacy like other controlled substances that have medical usages? What would be gained by creating a new set of businesses to dispense the item along with increased laws and bureacracy to regulate the new businesses? Let's not increase the cost of government.

In response to psyche on jan 5

Wouldn't marijuana dispensaries be like other company's for prescriptions. They have to be a licensed business...just like others... they have to pay taxes....just like others....and they have to be qualified to do their work. Just because growing plants may not require chemistry degrees, does that make it not as valid?

If a group of graduate students who were all "qualified" and self-financed enough to open small "regular prescription" dispensaries/manufacturers, it could happen. It would likely be a little different because they would have to have a licensed pharmacist, whereas marijuana is always "recommended" not prescribed, making it not on the same level as other prescriptions. The grad students small dispensary would likely fail due to the monopoly and political strengths of their giant corporate opponents, but it would be legal.

I see that a few people have something to say about police perceptions in marijuana legalization. One of the arguments in the war against marijuana prohibition is that law enforcement spends many man hours and resources related to cannabis. Many prisoners in our jail systems are there on cannabis related charges alone.

I would say that law enforcement may have some interests in keeping cannabis illegal if they feel state funding or their working hours may be cut short if one of their main "cash flows" suddenly disappears.

I know this is not a catch all assumption for all law enforcement employees, but it certain cannot be discounted as highly improbable. Then again, if common sense were to be a prevalent natural force, we wouldn't be in many of these kinds of circumstances we seem to be in.

I was gonna commont but I forgot what we were talking about, doez aonyboydy remember what wer talking about?

I think I'll dirve to the liquore store for some smokes while i try to remembre

Yippee!!!!! My dream has finally come true. Legalized pot!!! I think i'm gonna pack my bong with some reefer and fire it up!!

Listen to the cops on this one? Sure, why not? Cops are citizens and should have the right to vote and express their opinions. Draconian "department policies" really do limit individual cops ability to express themselves without career repercussions or even disciplinary action... so much for the First Amendment...

I'm sure cops will have something to say, but then again so will many others. Like any issues there will be lightning rods in opposite directions and tons of more moderate views down the middle. If history is any kind of indicator I think we all need to brace ourselves for the fact that some kind of change is coming and the end result will be a political compromise that tries to find its way among the competing views and opinions to appease the greatest number of people.

In discussing this topic with cops it is clear that even the law enforcement community is not united and does not have a single view or voice at this time. What one hears does depend upon who is talking... and, of course, whether what they are saying is an "official" position or a personal opinion.

Listen to the cops? Which cops?

The hardline, true believer, "gung-ho" drug warriors? They'll tell you one thing.

Or those cops who see marijuana enforcement as a futile waste of time and money, arresting (unless they toss the dope in the ditch and send the "offender" off with a wink and a warning) otherwise law-abiding citizens? They will tell you something else altogether.

LEAP? They think EVERYTHING should be legalized.

This is a policy issue to be decided by policymakers, not by us cops. Law enforcement should have input, as should all interested voters, but you'd be surprised at how wide ranging the opinions are among police officers on this issue.

Where do you think I fall on the spectrum?

How about we listen to the cops on this one? I would think they have the front seat on this particualr show.

1. We should all be so lucky to live in the Naperville area.

The article mentions that implementing medicinal marijuana may overload the current police force since they will be busy enforcing new laws like the texting while driving ban. Really? Seriously? Oh God, texting while driving, what a tough city we live in where they can't take on any more responsibilities.

2. Not being able to tell if someone is high while driving if pulled over.

I forgot we have ways to test if people are pulled over while under the influence of OTC or prescription pain killers. That doesn't seem to cause a fuss.

3. How bout we just listen to those that are truly sick. They will tell you that medicinal marijuana is a potential savior, w/o all the side effects of prescribed medication. Try living in their shoes.

3.5 Doctors being lenient on prescribing marijuana.

It already happens with prescription pain killers, I don't think hyrdrocodone is going to be pulled off the market anytime soon.

4. Legalizing medicinal marijuana will lead to the outright legalization.

If that happens so be it, there will be a vote and it will have to pass like any other law. That's how this country works. Well it will be based on profit possibilities. Money is really how this country works.

It has always been a slippery slope in terms of what is legal or illegal, over-the-counter or prescription. This historically has more to do with profit and taxation than anything else. Let's not forget the government propaganda that has been put out for decades about drugs, crime, addiction, morals, etc. that has not only been a waste of taxpayer dollars but also mostly a bunch of lies predicated not upon scientific facts but rather upon the establishments' desire to maintain the status quo.

Alcohol is "socially acceptable" in American culture though other mind altering substances have yet to achieve the same level of public much less government acceptance though the end result is essentially the same. Of course there is the whole issue of legal "responsibility" for what one might do while in a mind altered state regardless of the source of alteration.

As to treating various diseases with medical marijuana I personally have no objection. If the person is taking drugs to treat a condition the question to me isn't which drug is morally right or wrong it is which drug is most effective. Medical grade heroin is available, as is street grade. The same is probably going to still be the case with marijuana. The end result is that medical grade marijuana will probably end up costing significantly more than street grade. What we will then face is the issue of someone with a medical condition possessing street grade instead of medical grade because they can not afford it and then what do we as a society do about it?

Those who see marijuana as a moral issue also see such changes as a nibbling away at tolerance and acceptability and that that will probably lead to evolving changes in the level of criminality associated with marijuana.

It is amazing that there was a lot of unknowns about marijuana when I was a teenager many decades ago and the scientific community hasn't stepped up to the plate and learned much in the ensuing years. So much of what we do and do not know is still predicated upon fear and the lack of factual information.

What is going to be truly interesting to see is if medical marijuana is legalized in Illinois what kind of conditions in terms of how and where marijuana may be smoked... In public? Outdoors? In hospitals... especially if it is with a doctors prescription? Will the smoking laws be revised to include marijuana with tobacco or will we have a whole new aspect of legal and medical issues to sort thru with "second hand" marijuana smoke?

In terms of full disclosure I also think all news media who are reporting on elected officials and their public stance in terms of the medical marijuana issue should also publish a personal statement in terms of that officials past personal use and or experience with marijuana.

This question is much more complex than it sounds.

First, I grew up in the drug culture and I can say with metaphysical certitude that NOT everyone who smokes herb does bigger & stronger drugs, but EVERYONE I knew who did those bigger & stronger drugs DID do weed.

Now, there is ample medical evidence that shows a little high, pure grade marijuana can offer tremendous succor to people with certain diseases. This means we should all be open-minded to it as a drug, just like we accept vicadin, morphine, etc.

My issue is with the distribution of it: other states, candidates in Illinois, etc., all seem to think weed is a different controlled substance and can be distributed through what we used to call, basicall, "head shops". This is where I get off the bus on legalization.

I am for it IF it is distributed just like all other controlled, legal, class whatever drugs (say, vicadin & morphine), such as through the Dr's office directly or through a registered pharmacy. Anything else is a scam.

For those who think taxing it makes it a good idea ---- uh, think again. Cigarettes are the #3 moneymaker for the mobs in America, and they have been legal for how many years? The avoidance of taxes, by itself, makes it attractive to corruption.

Also, check out this scenario for our cops: a guyis out partyiong, does a little horse, mesc, etc. then tops it off with a toke or two. Then, when he is pulled over, he smells of weed and gets off with a warning (best case for him) or a DUI (worst case), but no major drug conviction as he admits to the weed.

Bottom line: I will defer to the police orgs around the country on this one.

If we legalize and assign tax and so forth, are we under the influence while driving with any trace in our system? I wonder how that would work compared to alcohol screenings. How long does marijuana stay in someone's system, even while they are "sober", and how would levels and sobriety be determined?

I have an experience with a young person pulled over for DUI, did not have alcohol in their system but was bullied into saying they had smoked marijuana at a previous time, as it was obvious that this young person was not under the influence at the time. It is illegal, and this young person was afraid to take a urine test, as they had heard that "second hand smoke" could cause a false positive. Now think what you will, but this young person is very successful, has a high paying technical job and does not smoke anything, as it would jeapordize his success and could lead to job loss, not to mention it's illegal and this kid is very focused on his current and future success. This young person was doing a favor for a friend and was stopped driving home late and bullied into admitting previous marijuana use. This kid was told he could "go" if the kid admitted to smoking, but that didn't work out for the kid. Now, there was cause for this person to think they might test positive from second hand smoke, (even though 20/20 taught this person otherwise) and this person is paying all lawyer fees/fines and is paying for a year long breathalyzer in the car that is financed/owned and insured by this young person...even though there was no alcohol usage found. I just wonder if things might have been less prejudiced against a kid that found they could not fight the system, that common sense and fairness has no role...although there will be no conviction, if enough money (thousands) is paid by this young person. Lesson learned, trust in our roads being monitored fairly and safely by local officers and fair treatment--out the window. Money buys redemption? Yes. Leave a friend in need, when behavior is other than one's own value system? Yes. Venue? Our very local neighbor town and county.


I have three close family members that have died in their cars, believe me...I am all for DUI convictions. I am not for entrapment, bullying, false judgement.

Yes, I absolutely agree that Illinois should join the other 13 states that have already legalized medical marijuana usage. We're talking about helping people who have few, if any, other options to alleviate the medical symptoms and/or side effects of other required medication. The drug laws would be no more difficult to enforce than those already in place to prevent abusers from obtaining other prescription medication at pharmacies.

Pull back the covers and look at the real facts: this is about political control, not about either helping or not helping sick individuals who can benefit from using medical marijuana. Maybe we citizens should threaten to bring back prohibition and take away the politicians' alcohol, the fastest acting DRUG of all, and see how fast their split on this issue turns to 100% compliance.

Legalize it, assign a tax and be done with it.

Problem solved and it's a money maker. Win/Win.

Yes. There are proven benefits and the only argument against it is that some may illicitly use a prescription to legally use it. As those people are probably already using, I see no reason to punish a cancer patient, glaucoma suffer, etc. just so politicians can maintain the facade of a war on drugs.

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