If you live in the state of Michigan, when you go to vote on November 4th you will be asked to vote on two proposals, 08-1 and 08-2 (State Proposals: November 4, 2008 General Election [PDF], from the State of Michigan).
I would like to ask you to vote YES on each of these proposals. Here is the text of each proposal along with why I feel that you should support it:
PROPOSAL 08-1: A LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO PERMIT THE USE AND CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA FOR SPECIFIED MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The proposed law would:
· Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.
· Permit registered individuals to grow limited amounts of marijuana for qualifying patients in an enclosed, locked facility.
· Require Department of Community Health to establish an identification card system for patients qualified to use marijuana and individuals qualified to grow marijuana.
· Permit registered and unregistered patients and primary caregivers to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marijuana.
In our country marijuana (specifically Tetrahydrocannabinols) is currently classified by the Federal government as a Schedule I drug, requiring that this drug not be prescribed for any reason. This is despite research showing that THC can be effective in treating a number of conditions, particularly the nausea which is associated with chemotherapy.
This legislation proposes allowing marijuana (and thus THC) to be prescribed by doctors for treating conditions as seen fit. We currently allow doctors to prescribe countless other controlled substances (opiates, in particular) which will help patients, so why not this?
Sure, it’ll fly in the face of Federal law, but changing things at a state level is the first step towards removing this Federal prohibition. It’s a slippery slope which we must start down, as once a critical mass of states adopt reasonable legislation such as this the Federal government (and in particular the DEA and drug lobbying firms) will be unable to stop it.
PROPOSAL 08-2: A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ADDRESS HUMAN EMBRYO AND HUMAN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH IN MICHIGAN
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
· Expand use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law subject to the following limits: the embryos —
— are created for fertility treatment purposes;
— are not suitable for implantation or are in excess of clinical needs;
— would be discarded unless used for research;
— were donated by the person seeking fertility treatment.
· Provide that stem cells cannot be taken from human embryos more than 14 days after cell division begins.
· Prohibit any person from selling or purchasing human embryos for stem cell research.
· Prohibit state and local laws that prevent, restrict or discourage stem cell research; future therapies and cures.
As I read this law, it will allow medical research to continue to explore the possibilities of stem cells to without imposing undue restrictions. I feel that we should do whatever we can to understand both our selves and the world around us (particularly things which may help us as a society), and I see nothing in this legislation which should be problematic. I see this legislation as bringing potential research to Michigan (read: jobs) while potentially helping the world.
One particular site, 2goes2far.com is the flag bearer forarguments against this law, but each argument seems to be quite far off base. Here’s how I see each argument, as presented by TV commercials the group is showing:
· Bull and Bricklayer: Both ads indicate that this legislation will cost taxpayers money, despite there being nothing in the text of the legislation indicating where funding will come from.
· In The Name Of Good: States that this law will allow unrestricted research on live human embryos, visually comparing the research to poorly conducted science headlines interspersed with images of black people. Tries to equate this research with scientists taking advantage of the helpless.
· In The Wrong Hands: Hints that this law will allow “profit-driven corporations” (aren’t they all?) to find a way to profit from producing embryos via purchases made from women. As selling eggs is legal and this law outlaws the sale of embryos, I don’t see how this argument applies.
· Teacher’s Pet: Hints that scientists will make human-animal hybrids after talking about using combinations of human and animal DNA for research and how this is too extreme. The jump from DNA research to full-on hybrids is a huge jump and strikes me as misguided, at best.