Mar 18, 2003
The Vermont senate on Thursday voted 22-7 in favor of a bill that would
prohibit the arrest or prosecution of people using marijuana to treat medical
problems, including HIV/AIDS. Although the bill does not legalize the use
of the drug, the bill would exempt from arrest and prosecution people suffering
from diseases with "severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms," such
as HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma, who use marijuana
to treat nausea, pain, and other chronic symptoms. Those qualifying for
an exemption would be issued a card indicating their status and would be
allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and be permitted to grow
three mature plants or four immature plants. Supporters of the measure
called it a "compassionate response to people suffering" from AIDS and
other diseases. The bill now goes to the house, where a similar measure
passed last year. Vermont governor James Douglas, a Republican, does not
support the bill but has not said whether he will veto it.
© 2003 by Liberation Publications Inc.