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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lawrence Eagle Tribune: Democrats should support medical marijuana law

Letter: Democrats should support medical marijuana law

To the editor:

State Sen. Steven Baddour wants his party to restore voter confidence in our political process ("Column: Democrats must regain voters' confidence", Jan. 24). If he means it, he will lead efforts to pass an effective medical marijuana law before spring to replace the 18-year-old "Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Act," considered a cruel joke because it requires the state contract with a federally approved supplier. No administration, including the current one, has approved a supply.

Sen. Baddour serves as vice-chair of the Committee on the Judiciary. That committee refuses to bring S. 1739, a bill that for almost two decades has languished before it, to a vote. While our legislature ignores the suffering of patients in Massachusetts, 14 states enacted a law that gets it to patients without the approval of the federal government. One-third of all Americans live in a state that permits medical use. It required a veto in New Hampshire to prevent that state from adopting such a law. This fall we will see how those who voted to sustain the veto fare.

Sen. Baddour, lead your party back in touch "with the concerns of the majority of voters" expressed by over 70 percent of actual voters who voted yes on public policy questions calling for medical marijuana reform. Support confirmed this past September in a public opinion poll conducted by the Political Research Center at Suffolk University that found 81 percent support for "changing Massachusetts law to allow terminally or seriously ill patients to use, grow and purchase marijuana for medical purposes if they have the approval and are under supervision of their physicians."

It is unconscionable our Democratic-dominated legislature refuses to accept science, the known support of the people, and patient testimony that they use it as a substitute for far more dangerous and expensive prescription drugs. This is health care reform that lowers prescription drug costs.

Steven S. Epstein

Georgetown, MA

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