Second medicinal marijuana hearing held - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Second medicinal marijuana hearing held

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - It's legislation that certainly sparked debate in the community. A bill proposing to legalize medicinal marijuana in Guam.

Department of Public Health director James Gillan was first to testify on Bill 215, legislation aiming to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Gillan testified that although he supports any reasonable consideration for alternatives to alleviate pain and suffering for those whom conventional means have failed-he could not support the legislation as proposed.  Under the bill his agency would be responsible for establishing a seven member advisory board along with promulgate rules that include considering applications for registry identification cards and define the amount of cannabis that is necessary to constitute an adequate supply.

He said, "Quite simply the administrative and regulatory burden created by this bill is impossible to achieve without adequate funding."

There were several people however that showed up last night testifying in support of the legislation and wanted to clear up misconceptions. "The thing about marijuana is that it does not need to be smoked there are other ways to take it. In fact I think its important for everyone in this room understand that when it comes to medical marijuana raw marijuana doesn't even get you high and that is the one that cures the cancers," a proponent said.

For multiple cancer survivor Bradley Hewitt he testified against the bill and recommended the use of Marinol which is the only USFDA approved synthetic cannabinoid and is often marketed as a legal pharmaceutical alternative to natural cannabis.

"Marinol is available for just about everything for nausuea to vomiting but it does not include some of the conditions that are out there some of these conditions include pain and PTSD these conditions have numerous websites that allow you to trick your doctor to allow you to believe that you need these drugs when in fact you really don't, people just want to get high," he said.

The Committee on Health is still accepting written testimony on the measure and for those who wish they will keep their testimony confidential.

Meanwhile the hearing ended with a video of Joaquin Concepcion or Savage K in which Bill 215 was named after.  KC was diagnosed with stage four gastric cancer two years ago and endured 34 chemotherapy sessions before passing away on July 25.  He recorded a video in December 2012 to raise awareness about medicinal marijuana. In the video he talked about his weekly regiment of using medicinal marijuana and other herbal remedies to deal with the pain and side effects of the chemotherapy treatments he was receiving. "Don't be afraid to learn about something you don't know marijuana is not evil it is actually really good for you so please do your research ," he said.

The island's medical community was invited to attend, but instead submitted written testimony.

The bill's co-author Senator Tina Muna Barnes meanwhile plans to work on amendments to the legislation based on feedback received from the public hearings. "Some of the concerns that were brought up were the funding source the start up cost if the bills to pass the other concern was the rescheduling part from the controlled substance one to an appropriate scheduling if this were to pass. There was the make up of the advisory board four was more clarity if they were going to give identification cards what those steps would be," she said.

Bill 215 was co-authored by Senator Aline Yamashita.

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