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Medical marijuana advocates speak in favor of a bill to legalize the drug in Missouri

March 3, 2004
By: Josh Hinkle
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 1348

State House Health Policy Committee members heard witnesses speak in favor of medical marijuana in Missouri. Josh Hinkle tells why one lawmaker feels doctors must be allowed to reccommend the drug to patients.

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State representative Vicki Walker told health policy members the use of marijuana for AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and multiple schlerosis patients could greatly reduce their pain, nausea and loss of appetite.

She says a bill like this could offer some patients their only hope for comfort from these symptoms.

Actuality: Rep. Vicki Walker
RunTime: 12

Contents: "MY FATHER-IN-LAW HAD CANCER...HAD LUNG CANCER...COULDN'T EAT AT THE LAST...JUST COULD NOT EAT...WENT DOWN TO EIGHTY POUNDS. I DON'T THINK ANYBODY WANTS TO...WANTS TO WATCH THAT HAPPEN."

Walker says she wanted to wait to reintroduce the bill until a Fourth Circuit court said it was no longer legal to arrest doctors who prescribed medical marijuana.

From the State Capitol, I'm Josh Hinkle.

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State House Health Policy Committee members heard medical marijuana advocates speak in favor of the drug's use in Missouri. Josh Hinkle tells why not all lawmakers support a bill to legalize the drug.

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Health policy committee members heard witnesses list reasons why the legislature should pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri.

But state Representative Bryan Pratt says advocates have not considered all possible downsides of the bill.

Actuality:Rep. Bryan Pratt
RunTime: 12
Contents: "I THINK THIS IS THE CRITICAL PART OF THIS BILL. IF WE, AS A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE AND A MEMBER OF THIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, PASS A BILL DECRIMINALIZING A CERTAIN DRUG FOR WHATEVER PURPOSE I THINK THAT SENDS A TERRIBLE MESSAGE TO THE CHILDREN IN OUR STATE"

Representative Vicki Walker--the bill's sponsor--says the legislation outlines specific measures to restrict medical marijuana use to people with I-D cards giving them explicit reason to possess the drug.

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Advocates of medical marijuana spoke to members of the state House Health Policy Committee in hopes of legalizing the drug. Josh Hinkle tells why concerns about the drug could keep lawmakers from passing up this bill for another year.

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Some state lawmakers expressed concerns in a health policy hearing over legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri.

Dr. John Mruzik answered questions about possible addictions to the drug, saying lawmakers should focus their concern on the possible health benefits instead.

Actuality: Dr. John Mruzik, M.D.
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Contents: "YEAH THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DO HAVE PROBLEMS WITH IT AND THAT IS THE TRUTH. I JUST DON'T SEE HOW THAT WOULD HAVE ANY RELATION ON THE MEDICAL USE OF IT. AFTER ALL, WE USE VERY ADDICTING DRUGS IN TREATING CANCER."

Some opponents say legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to kids... that taking drugs like marijuana is acceptable.