|Mississippi state Senator Deborah Dawkins: "I think most people want their doctors to help them make their own decisions"|
According to the experts, when used for medicinal purposes, cannabis can be quite useful. And that's why Senator Dawkins is working hard to legalize its medical use in Mississippi, reports Terrance Friday at WLOX.
"I think most people want their doctors to help them make their own decisions," Dawkins said. "And to me, we're taking something away from the patients and their physicians."
A number of studies have shown that some attributes of the cannabis plant can help relieve pain, control nausea, and help with a long list of other ailments. As of now, 16 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions.
Dawkins wants to add Mississippi to that list with Senate Bill 2252 [PDF], especially since a lab at the University of Mississippi is already involved in federal research into the plant. The lab serves as the federal government's marijuana source, growing it for research facilities across the country.
"It's something that seems very unfair," Dawkins said. "That we in Mississippi provide this medicine -- that's what it is, medicine -- for people in other states and not in our very own."
Senator Dawkins is right: the University of Mississippi has been growing marijuana for the federal government's little-known medical marijuana program, the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, for decades.
Each month, the federal authorities send four patients a tin canister filled with 300 ready-rolled joints.
If the federal government can grow marijuana for out-of-state patients in Mississippi, why can't Mississippi's own seriously ill patients access the medicine they need?
Dawkins' bill would authorize the doctor-recommended medical use of marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions and reschedule marijuana to Schedule II in Mississippi.
Reader comments on WLOX's article are running overwhelmingly pro-medical marijuana, with only two commenters opposing its legalization out of 42 comments.
"When I was growing up, I was taught that marijuana was a harmful, hardcore drug," commented William. "I believed it until I got to know an older man with stage 4 cancer that used it for pain relief and to stimulate his appetite. Marijuana didn't save his life, but it did make the time he had left much less agonizing that it would have been.
"I am now a supporter of legalization, and I challenge anyone to give a valid reason to deny anyone from using this wonderful plant," he commented.
Commenter "Carter," who seemed to be representing the Reefer Madness mentality, received 12 "thumbs down" votes for his insulting tirade against medical marijuana in which he suggested patients who need cannabis are "trash" and should be in therapy.
"If your life is so hard where you need to get high to cope and make it through life, you need to see a therapist and get some help," Carter commented. "In my opinion, those of you who advocate the legalization of drugs are true trash. Pack you [sic] bags and get the **** out of my country!! You ain't wanted here!!! Get the **** out!!"
Mississippians, Contact Your Legislators:
Tell Them You Support Senator Dawkins' Medical Marijuana Bill, S.B. 2252
Please email your state legislators to let them know you support legislation that protects Mississippi's seriously ill. The more legislators hear from people like you, the more likely they are to pass effective medical marijuana laws. It only takes a few minutes, but it can have an enormous effect.
The Marijuana Policy Project has made it easy for you to email your Mississippi legislators; just click here and fill out the form with your information.
Contact Information for all MS Representatives and Senators
Writing letters and making phone calls to your legislators can be even more effective. Best of all would be a personal visit to his or her office.
For contact info on all Mississippi legislators, click the links below.
Representatives Contact Information PDF listing of all MS Representatives' contact information.
Senators Contact Information PDF listing of all Mississippi Senators' contact information.