Lawmaker: Doctors should govern medical pot

May 8th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

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AUGUSTA, Maine — Doctors, not Maine legislators, should have the final say on whether patients should be allowed to use marijuana to treat their illnesses, say supporters of an effort to expand the state’s medical marijuana law.

One such supporter, Rep. Deborah J. Sanderson, R-Chelsea, on Monday presented LD 1296, which, in addition to giving doctors the power to recommend marijuana to their patients as they see fit, would remove the requirement that medical marijuana patients register with the state before they can legally use the drug.

The issue, she said, is simple: Doctors are best qualified to recommend medical treatments to their patients, and marijuana is legal for medical use.

But under current law, which was amended by referendum in 2009, medical marijuana can be used to treat only certain conditions, including glaucoma or symptoms associated with debilitating diseases such as multiple sclerosis and AIDS.

Those limits, Sanderson said, take the power out of the hands of experts.

“Let the physician determine what conditions this form of treatment is appropriate for,” she said, asking her fellow members of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee to put themselves in a situation in which they were diagnosed with a grave illness, but their doctor-approved treatment was subject to state approval.

Sanderson’s challenge to the committee members drew applause from many in the crowded hearing room, where Dr. Dustin Sulak waited in line

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