Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed in Colorado 10/24/97

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An initiative which, if passed by voters, would permit the possession and use of marijuana for specific medical ailments has been filed with the Colorado Office of Legislative Legal Services. The initiative was filed by Colorado residents Martin Chilcutt, a 63 year-old former psychotherapist, and Dr. Marshall Stiles III, a retired psychiatrist, representatives of the group Coloradans for Medical Rights. The Colorado initiative is thought to be the most carefully worded and tightly drawn medical marijuana initiative to be put on the ballot of any state thus far.

The language in the Colorado initiative gives a general exemption from prosecution to a very strictly defined class of patients. It covers those with AIDS, Cancer, Glaucoma and those suffering from the effects of other "debilitating medical conditions." The exemption is presumed for those in possession of one ounce or less of harvested marijuana or those who are growing up to six plants, only three of which can be mature and flowering. Above those limits, the burden falls to the patient to demonstrate that the larger amount is medically necessary.

The initiative, which will be voted on in the form of a state constitutional amendment, proposes an I.D. card system for patients. It also makes no provision for any legal source of supply.

The I.D. card system is carefully worded so as to maintain the greatest possible level of anonymity, while still giving patients an opportunity to avoid arrest if they are stopped by the police. Patients will not be required to have an ID card in order to gain the exemption, but those who do can show them to police at the scene of any potential arrest. The police will then be able to immediately verify the patient's status. As to the question of supply, a source familiar with the initiative told The Week Online "there is a problem in that anything that is put into state law regarding a legal supply of marijuana runs up against the federal Prohibition. Everyone who is involved in this issue is hopeful that initiatives such as this one will lead to a rescheduling of marijuana by the federal government which would free up states to create their own regulated systems."

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Issue #16, 10/24/97 11th International Conference on Drug Policy Reform | House Passes Bill Demanding Accountability: And the White House doesn't Like it a Bit | US Senators Question Mexican Certification | Referendum to Halt Recriminalization of Marijuana Qualifies for Oregon Ballot | Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed in Colorado | Mothers March on New Jersey State Capitol for Needle Exchange | Prohibition-Related Murder on Campus on Tennessee State University | William F. Buckley on Marijuana Myths | News from the UK | Link of the Week: Bringing realism and quality research to the Latin America debate | Editorial: Congressional Drug Warriors call for accountability and results... Hey, maybe they're on to something

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