North Dakota likely to debate medical marijuana proposal

2012-08-06T16:42:00Z 2012-08-06T23:08:39Z North Dakota likely to debate medical marijuana proposalThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 06, 2012 4:42 pm  • 

North Dakota voters are likely to have a chance this fall to decide whether marijuana may be used legally as a pain reliever, an option the Legislature has never ad-dressed and that South Dak-otans have rejected twice.

Supporters of medical marijuana have been circulating a citizen initiative to put the issue on the November ballot. On Monday, Dave Schwartz, campaign director for a pro-medical marijuana group called North Dakotans for Compassionate Care, delivered petitions that he said contained about 20,000 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office.

The petitions need about 13,500 signatures from North Dakota voters for the initiative to qualify for a vote. Jaeger has about a month to review the petitions and decide whether they are valid.

The measure would allow someone who suffers from cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating illnesses to use marijuana if a doctor recommends it.

Medical marijuana users could grow a limited supply for their own use, and possess up to 2½ ounces of pot for medical reasons, the measure says.

People who needed to obtain the drug would do so from a state-licensed dispensary, with the North Dakota Health Department given regulatory responsibility over medical marijuana.

Terry Dwelle, the Health Department’s chief administrator, was traveling Monday and not immediately available to comment about the measure, a spokeswoman said. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he will not comment unless the measure is approved for the ballot.

Seventeen states, including Montana, have laws that allow for medical uses of marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a Denver organization that collects data on the subject. An 18th state, Maryland, allows someone who is charged with using or possessing marijuana to offer a defense that it was for medical reasons.

South Dakota voters have rejected medical marijuana initiatives twice. In 2006, 52 percent of South Dakota voters opposed the idea; in 2010, the “No” faction grew to 63 percent.

Schwartz said he believed public attitudes on the medical use of marijuana have changed in favor of those who advocate it.

Many people know someone who has suffered from chronic pain, a debilitating disease or cancer chemotherapy, and marijuana can be useful in relieving pain and nausea, he said Monday.

“Some of the myths that we often hear is that, this is only for people to just go ahead and get high, and that’s not the case,” Schwartz said. “This is about medical patients that would benefit greatly from it.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(21) Comments

  1. RoTiSeRiE
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    RoTiSeRiE - August 30, 2012 7:06 am
    Wow 1Love, a nurse to bring in to the sick? A fix at the hospital. MJ was used by our early founding fathers. The plant heals so many diseases that it estimates it could eliminate 80% of the meds from big pharmaceutical companies.

    There is a reason the sick are allowed to grow. Number one, hospitals charge an enormous amount of money for EVERYTHING from meals, to changing of towels. I seen a doctor for a ear infection, and that was a instant $200.00 bill. I can't imagine what they would charge for administering the medicine.

    Number two do you think that all cancer patients, or any type of ailment could afford to have a nurse at their home every single day on top of the chemo, prescription drugs, and all the other medicines they need. Get real! Growing it is low cost and low maintenance, and anyone with a brain could grow. Not only that, but many of the people cannot afford the prices of a dispensary. Some of the elderly are on fixed incomes, and a caregiver provides for them sometimes for free or at a very low cost.

    You're very immature to say its a fix. Your like the pharmacist that probably made my grandmother cry when she had to buy needles for her insulin shots, and they claimed she was buying them for a drug habit, but she needed them for her daily insulin shots for her diabetes. Don't be judgmental!
  2. greener
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    greener - August 07, 2012 2:11 pm
    GadsdenFlag - good points. And to any other posters out here/there. if you want some interesting history information do some research on William Randolph Heart, Refer Madness, DuPont chemical and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. In an effort to keep this thread on topic I will leave it at that. Funny how a few people with money can brainwash an entire country for decades!
  3. greener
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    greener - August 07, 2012 2:02 pm
    optimistic - I think the others have provided plenty of evidense of why real marijuana is better and more effective than synthetic THC, also known as 'Merinol'. But one thing your post did provide, though not your intent, is proof that there are medical benefits to using pot. If there were not legit medical benefits why would large phram. companies produce a synthetic version that is less effective and more expensive? Oh, on a side note. My Father-In-Law was precribed merinol and it did absolutely nothing for him. nothing. Then he tried the real stuff and guess what? It worked like a charm. He also told his doctors about it and they supported it, although they said they could not recommend or precribe it 'on the record' but told him to keep taking it as long as it was helping. The true motive helping sick people get a little bit of 'normal' back before it's their time to check out.
  4. GadsdenFlag
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    GadsdenFlag - August 07, 2012 1:47 pm
    Cannabis is not a gateway drug. The fact that it is not regulated means users have to go to the black market to acquire and in that environment is where you are exposed to other drugs.
  5. GadsdenFlag
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    GadsdenFlag - August 07, 2012 1:43 pm
    Merinol is not to save us from the omg deadly effects of *gasp* euphoria but a ploy for big pharm to patent a product that is NATURAL and HARMLESS so they can make big $$$.

    If cannabis is a schedule 1 drug, then why did the FDA even approve marinol in the first place? The fact is that cannabis is one of the most important plants to mankind. not only for its medicinal purpose (proven to shrink cancer cells by 60% - British scientists tested on military pilots) but its use as a fiber. One that William Randolph Hearst was so afraid of losing money to that he launched a wicked campaign against it so it could not compete with his logging interest.
  6. GadsdenFlag
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    GadsdenFlag - August 07, 2012 1:43 pm
    Merinol is not to save us from the omg deadly effects of *gasp* euphoria but a ploy for big pharm to patent a product that is NATURAL and HARMLESS so they can make big $$$.

    If cannabis is a schedule 1 drug, then why did the FDA even approve marinol in the first place? The fact is that cannabis is one of the most important plants to mankind. not only for its medicinal purpose (proven to shrink cancer cells by 60% - British scientists tested on military pilots) but its use as a fiber. One that William Randolph Hearst was so afraid of losing money to that he launched a wicked campaign against it so it could not compete with his logging interest.
  7. OneLove
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    OneLove - August 07, 2012 1:30 pm
    I see nothing wrong with people using marijuana for strictly medical reasons. It has been known to help people with unmanageable pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other incapacitating illnesses. However, I also feel that patients should not be able to grow their own supply. I can see that leading to misuse and also an opportunity of theft for those not able to get a prescription. It should be strictly enforced. Perhaps they could go to the hospital for their "fix". If they are unable to go to the hospital, a nurse could take a monitored dosage to their residence...It is unfortunate that there are so many who abuse it and therefore make it difficult to obtain for those who truly need it.
  8. GadsdenFlag
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    GadsdenFlag - August 07, 2012 1:23 pm
    Cannabis is NON TOXIC. I cannot believe the ignorance surrounding such a harmless plant. I STRONGLY recommend many of you reading "Marijuana Reconsidered" by Dr. Lester Greenspoon who is a Harvard scientist. Or look over the many FACTS in "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer.

    GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT and stop spouting off propaganda. Why do so many of you tolerate alcohol but freak out over cannabis?
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    GDTRFB - August 07, 2012 12:50 pm
    optimistic, I think you need to do some more research of your own.

    Marinol is a pill containing THC. But THC is not the only active ingredient in cannabis. There are over 60 cannabinoids (CBD) in cannabis. The combined effect of all of these CBDs as well as THC is what the medical marijuana users are looking for. These CBDs are some of the best pain relieving substances found in cannabis. Not all of these CDBs are psychoactive, and there is also research and testing being done in states that have MMJ for a non psychoactive CBD medicine containing no THC (medical marijuana that does not get you high at all).

    Marinol only contains THC, thus is does not give the same effect as the raw cannabis plant. Marinol is also very expensive, costing four or five times that of the natural product. Also, because of the high concentraion of THC found in Marinol patients complain about being "too high" (yes, higher than if they were to ingest raw cannabis).

    Why should people hand over there money to huge pharmaceutical companies for an inferior product when they can grow there own medicine, or get it from a local caregiver?
  10. dbrulz
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    dbrulz - August 07, 2012 12:47 pm
    Optimistic....I have done research into Marinol. It is not as good a product of the real, natural product. 1) Patients can't control the dosage. 2) It has a slow onset of action, low absorption rate, and the amount of medication absorbed varies from person to person. and 3) Marinol is more expensive to produce than marijuana
  11. Uhneed
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    Uhneed - August 07, 2012 12:03 pm
    This would help a lot of people. I fully expect it to fail.
  12. optimistic
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    optimistic - August 07, 2012 12:01 pm
    The medical marijuana debate, in my opinion, is a ploy or the starting point to have marijuana legalized as a whole. If the supporters of this petition drive were truly concerned about the medical use of marijuana, they would also bring up the fact that any doctor in this country can prescribe “Merinol”, the pill form of THC or the active ingredient in marijuana. Merinol has the same medical use as smoking the drug but can be purchased at any pharmacy in the state with a valid prescription. Before you support this cause, please do your research on the medical marijuana issue and research the backers of this drive. In most cases, you will find out of state interests being the main driving force. In the end, your vote should be based on whether you support or don’t support legalizing marijuana. Although you won’t find it on the surface, their ultimate goal over time will reveal their true motive.
  13. Cece
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    Cece - August 07, 2012 11:19 am
    I would like to see marijuana legalized in North Dakota, did you ever see anyone die from marijuana? No! unlike other drugs, cocaine,meth all those other bad drugs. I've seen on that show "The Doctors" Medical Marijuana helped people with seizures, & some types of cancers. & I've seen Medical Marijuana help people with cronic pain. So I' am all for the leagalization.
  14. graciecat
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    graciecat - August 07, 2012 11:15 am
    Has texting been around for 6 years? man I'm old can't even remember when it started...or did I lose a brain cell in high school
  15. RockNDBakken
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    RockNDBakken - August 07, 2012 10:48 am
    This will never pass in N.D., because no one wants Grandma to end up mainlining heroin or cocaine because she became an addict.
  16. JanuaryJones
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    JanuaryJones - August 07, 2012 10:22 am
    A friend of mine died of cancer shortly after high school. As recommended by his dr he smoked pot towards the end to deal with his discomfort. It needs to be legalized!
  17. dbumstead
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    dbumstead - August 07, 2012 10:18 am
    I'm for legalizing marijuana in a purely medical situation. I think it does wonders for those who are too sick and in pain to have any appitite. However, I'm against it for recreational use. I think it could be as bad if not worse than alcohol for people that are driving.
  18. TomJ
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    TomJ - August 07, 2012 9:37 am
    I am as conservative as one person can be. However I was in a severe car accident (girl texting t-boned me doing 80) six years ago and would have liked to have had the choice. I went through 10 different meds and eight months of severe pain before I researched a med that gave me relief. I am not sure if medical marijuana would have worked but I would have like the choice in those first eight months. I also have a close friend who passed of brain cancer. He was in severe pain until a package arrived to his front door. It was marijuana. He used it to incredible relief. He gained weight and was able to eat and fight on for six months more with manageable pain. I know his wife and even his Mom (ultra conservative) will vote yes for this in November. The key is the regulation and monitoring of this process so we don't have business like big willies selling.
  19. Thomas Payne
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    Thomas Payne - August 07, 2012 8:55 am
    When our political leaders inevitably come out against the measure, some reporter should ask them if they have ever smoked marijuana. For those honest enough to admit it, follow-up questions should include, "How did it make you feel?" and "Did you have the urge to then try heroin or other heavier drugs?" and "Do you think it harmed you, physically or mentally?" Criminalizing marijuana use is economically foolish; preventing cancer patients from using it is downright inhumane.
  20. greener
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    greener - August 07, 2012 8:24 am
    Mike from Mandan - I don't think the 'no tobacco coalition' will have much if anything to say about smoking pot, but you just never know. The smoke shouldn't be out in public as it has to be consumed in your home. Plus, it can be eatin (but it takes 30-60mins to be effective) instead of smoked which basically eliminates the risk for cancer. Or, if still want the effects quickly (3-6mins) without smoking it can be vaporized which drastically reduces the carcinogen levels.I think this is a step in the right direction for ND, but i have a feeling it won't pass. unfortunately we will continue to restrict the best medicines for our sickest people due to stereotypes and a lack of profit for the big pharm. companies. I have first hand knowledge of it helping cancer patients, the stuff really does work. It won't cure anything but it sure will make them more comfortable and able to eat food for those last few months/years. My father-in-law was about as anti-pot as they come, would have never touched the stuff. took almost a year before he broke down and gave it a try, after trying everything he could get from the doctors with no luck. He was a changed man after that, back to eating and talking, something we hadn't seen for a long time. He didn't like how it made him feel, but he took it because it helped him live the last 6 months of his life in a somewhat decent fashion. wish he would have tried it sooner, we may have enjoyed a little more time with him while he was feeling good enough to be around people.
  21. mike from mandan
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    mike from mandan - August 07, 2012 3:28 am
    It will be interesting to hear what the "no tobacco coalition" has to say about smoking pot. They want to ban all tobacco use and E cigs because of second hand smoke, and all the carcinogens in tobacco and tobacco products. Wouldn't cannibus be just as dastardly and evil and full of nasty stuff?
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