By "Radical" Russ Belville
(Delaware Online) DOVER – The Delaware Senate sent Gov. Jack Markell legislation late this afternoon that would make Delaware the 16th state to legalize marijuana use for medical purposes.
Under Senate Bill 17, physicians could recommend marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.
People with other chronic disease or debilitating medical conditions could qualify if other medicines or surgical procedures have failed to relieve their pain or caused seizures, severe or persistent muscle spasms and intractable nausea. Physicians and patients would have to have a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” and other medical treatments would have to be exhausted before marijuana is recommended, according to the legislation.
While I am thrilled that PTSD will be covered, making Delaware the third state (California and New Mexico are the others) to cover that mental illness, I am less than enthused about the “medicine of last resort” aspect to protecting those with pain, seizures, spasticity, or nausea. The state could argue that the pharmaceutical opioids, even though they cause you all sorts of awful side effects, do actually help your pain, so you don’t get to use safer non-toxic non-addictive cannabis.
The “bona-fide” relationship means few patients will actually get their cards, as so many of their “bona-fide” physicians can’t or won’t sign for medical marijuana.
Also, patients cannot grow their own but may possess up to 6 ounces of medicine purchased from three state-licensed dispensaries… and we’ve seen how much the current administration is threatening the other state-licensed dispensaries in Rhode Island, Colorado, and Arizona.
It is progress… but as the map gets filled with more “green” medical marijuana states we should be coloring them with increasingly lighter shades of green.