Measure Urges Support for Medical Marijuana Legislation
February 23, 2004
A new television commercial supporting Question 9 on Burlington's March 2 primary ballot debuts Tuesday, February 24, on Adelphia Cable Television in Burlington.
The commercial features multiple sclerosis patient Mark Tucci of Manchester Center, who uses medical marijuana to ease his symptoms, with the approval of his physicians. "I am a criminal," Tucci says in the ad. "I buy from the black market." Under current Vermont law, possession of any amount of marijuana can bring six months in jail, with no exception for seriously ill patients. Cultivation of as few as three plants is a felony punishable by three years in prison, again with no exception for patients such as Tucci.
The commercial urges Burlington voters to support Question 9, which asks, "Shall the voters of the City of Burlington urge the State Legislature to exempt seriously ill Vermonters from state arrest and prosecution for the medical use of marijuana in the privacy of their homes, with the guidance of their doctors, if registered with the state?" To view the commercial on-line, please visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org/streaming/VT_commercial2.mov .
A bill to create such an exemption, S. 76 -- modeled on the successful laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington -- passed the Vermont Senate last year and is presently stalled in the House Health and Welfare Committee. Rep. Bill Keogh (D-Chittendon-3-5) is considered the key vote on the committee.
"A strong vote in support of Question 9 will send a message to Bill
Keogh," said Neal Levine, director of state policies for the Marijuana
Policy Project, which is sponsoring the ad. "Keogh supported a nearly identical
medical marijuana bill two years ago but now opposes S. 76. His vote could
be what keeps Mark Tucci and other seriously ill Vermonters from going
to jail for the simple act of taking their medicine."
Copyright © 2004, Common Dreams