Sunday, March 15, 2009

Medical Marijuana Letters Published Sunday

Birmingham News

Bill protects medical users

I write today concerning House Bill 434, which would provide protection for physicians who recommend and patients who use medical marijuana in Alabama.

I am a patient who suffers from constant chronic pain resulting from a near-fatal motor vehicle accident nearly 22 years ago. In 2005, I became unable to work and began taking morphine, which was prescribed by a pain-management doctor. This medicine was horribly addictive and completely destroyed my quality of life.

Medical marijuana is a natural alternative to narcotic pain medicine. It is a plant that has many medicinal purposes and very few side effects, none of which is as bad as the stuff constantly advertised on TV.

In 13 other states, medical marijuana is a legal option for people who are suffering from chronic pain and terminal illnesses. In Alabama, however, those of us who choose to use medical marijuana are considered criminals and face dangerous circumstances to acquire it and prison if we are arrested for using it.

I am not a criminal. I am a patient. Does Alabama really want to continue the practice of arresting and prosecuting people with terminal illness and chronic pain? Only barbarians would engage in such a practice.

Please contact your representative in Montgomery and ask him to support HB 434, the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act, when it comes before the House of Representatives for a vote.

Christie O'Brien

Improves quality of life

I was Ms. Wheelchair Alabama 1996, and I carried the Olympic torch through Birmingham. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and medical marijuana user. I have suffered from multiple sclerosis since 1982.

Medical marijuana reduces muscle spasms so I can get good, restful sleep instead of being awakened often throughout the night. I can wake up aware of the world and not with a doped-up feeling that legal medications give me. Medical marijuana gives me a quality of life so I can enjoy my grandchildren while they are little.

Acquiring marijuana puts my family at risk. If one of my family members were arrested and jailed for buying my medicine, my whole family would be devastated. What if they were killed trying to get medicine for me? Who would care for me then? My doctors know I use it but cannot recommend it for fear of losing their medical licenses.

A bill in the Alabama House of Representatives would provide protection under the law for physicians who recommend medical marijuana and protect the patients from arrest and prosecution.

Please call the members of the committee and ask them to support the bill when it comes before them for a vote.

Margaret Ann Newman

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