Lots of older conservative folks favor medical marijuana for state

 


One of the most conservative members of the Wyoming State Senate is Cale Case (R-Lander). He favors approval of a medical marijuana bill and says there is a surprising amount of support for such an effort among older, conservative Wyomingites.

I happened to be with Case during his recent talk to the Lander Rotary Club. He asked the crowd of 50, how many would favor such a measure? Some 35 hands were raised – 70 percent!

Earlier, Cale had joined our Fox News All-Stars coffee group (average age 69) and took a similar poll. All of the nine people there favored it.

It could be assumed that all these people voting in favor were not anxious to become recreational users. But rather they all know people who have serious illnesses like cancer and worse and whose well-being could benefit from this legislation.

Case, who has been enduring a several-year battle with Melanoma cancer, has a new point of view when it comes to medicine and medicinal needs.

He is opposed to recreational use and says most of these folks who favor the medical marijuana implementation have no desire to start using it recreationally.

The reality is that since Colorado legalized marijuana, there are thousands of Wyoming people who are now using Colorado marijuana in various forms to help their loved ones relieve pain.

There is an older gal in Riverton who had pain issues and was nearly hooked on OxyContin (Percocet) but found she could get relief and could sleep with a cannabis patch.

We know a guy in Laramie who makes periodic trips to Fort Collins to provide cannabis drops that help his friend deal with chronic pain.

In Casper, there is a sick elderly couple that uses edibles to ease their chronic pain and sleep issues.

There is a national epidemic of addiction by people to pain killers like Percocet. Marijuana products appear to provide similar relief without the severe addiction properties of opioids.

Former publisher Bruce McCormack of the Cody Enterprise wrote a very informative editorial back in 2014 favoring such legislation. Some of what he wrote is as follows:

“A new proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes faces an uphill climb in the Legislature. We predict approval of such a measure by next year.

“Views are changing quickly on this issue which, even five or 10 years ago, would have been dead on arrival in the Legislature. But the manner in which cancer continues to ravage society has softened people’s views. It’s no longer Republican/Democratic or conservative/liberal. It’s personal.


“Few are the adult voters who’ve not had a friend or family member battle cancer. Some survive, many do not – but nearly all suffer through treatment with surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. It’s a blessing to have such effective treatment available, but it also can be anguishing.


“Which is where so many people in the U.S. are finding comfort in the medicinal uses of marijuana. It’s been shown to bring relaxation, sleep and a respite from pain, especially constant, painful nausea. It also can stimulate one’s appetite, which is so important for healing. And it’s been helpful in the treatment of AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

“One of the Legislature’s most conservative members, (the late) Rep. Sue Wallis of Recluse (and) . . . Sen. Bruce Burns of Sheridan, another conservative Republican . . . tell heartbreaking stories of their husband and mother, respectively, finding comfort in medicinal marijuana. These are only the first two of what are sure to be many such touching, personal stories lawmakers will be hearing.”

So how could Wyoming pass such a law during this session?

Easy. Just look north.

Montana passed a very loose law in 2009 and the number of people with marijuana cards ballooned to 30,000 and it was a joke how it was being abused.

In one famous instance, a reporter for the Billings Gazette phoned a doctor, feigned a sore back, picked up her medical marijuana card and made a purchase within a 90-minute period. That sent the whole state into a tizzy.

Their legislature over-reacted and killed the whole program. Recently, they passed it again with lots of restrictions and now they have 13,000 people using it for medicinal purposes under strict supervision.

It would appear that if Wyoming legislators have the intent to help legitimately ill people with a safe medicine that has been in use for centuries, they could look at the Montana plan as an easy route to success.

Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at http://www.billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books. His newest is “Wyoming at 125,” which is now on sale at fine bookstores. His books are available at http://www.wyomingwonders.com.

 

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