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April 9, 2004

First Case Victory Bodes Well For the Sick

David 'Kip' Koontz

It is a bit ironic that the first case testing the Maryland medical marijuana legislation was heard here in Frederick.

This law allows medical patients to use the smokable form of marijuana instead of the pill form when their doctors agree it lessens pain. The pill contains THC, the medicinal part of marijuana.

It is ironic because two members of our delegation to the General Assembly introduced and backed the bill while others adamantly opposed it.

It appears, however, the law worked just as the law was supposed to do.

You might be able to say though, that it is unfortunate that an ill person had to go through the experience of getting arrested and going to trial to prove they need to use the drug.

It seems that Jodi Delli's neighbors reported the smell of marijuana emanating from her home and reported it to the police who, upon finding the substance and "paraphernalia," arrested her.

Her case was heard this week, and, as the law prescribed, her attorney presented her doctor's medical support for her using the weed form of the drug as it is said to help alleviate her symptoms better than the pill form.

This is often a fact that those who need to use marijuana to alleviate the pain very often times cannot keep down the pill form of the medicine, while the weed form is inhaled and goes directly into the bloodstream-hence giving quicker and more effective relief.

The court agreed and Ms. Delli faces the penalty, as prescribed under the law, of a $100 fine.

Now there is not just the law on the books and case history in place, this will set the precedent where others who face chronic pain can use marijuana to help alleviate that pain, without the fear of prison terms, heavy fines, loss of property and so on, as was the case before the law was enacted.

During the debate of this issue, those opposed consistently used some of the most tiring reasons for their position.

One of the key arguments against allowing sick people to use marijuana to alleviate their pain is that the sick person would be an aggressive drug pusher.

This argument was proven inaccurate.

Then there was the implication that allowing sick people to use marijuana would lead to some wholesale ruination of society.

We do not seem to have been overrun with locusts, floods, plagues or other calamities of Biblical proportions.

It appears the framers of this legislation got it right.

Thank goodness the courts did too. That huge WHOOOOOOSING sound you heard the other day was a giant sigh of relief issued by some very sick people across the state.

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