McKeon Ready to Debate Medical Marijuana Issue

February 15, 2005

, Windy City Media Group

Openly gay state Rep. Larry McKeon, D-Chicago, who is sponsoring a medical marijuana bill in the Illinois General Assembly, challenged former White House official Andrea Barthwell to a face-to-face debate. According to a release from the Marijuana Policy Project ( MPP ) , McKeon has charged Barthwell with spreading misinformation in her “Illinois Marijuana Lectures.”

McKeon is quoted in the statement as saying that Barthwell “regularly claims that medical marijuana is a ‘hoax’ foisted upon us by some cabal of ‘legalizers’ who are exploiting patients. As a person who lives with AIDS ... I know that’s false, and I am personally insulted by this smear campaign.”

McKeon and other advocates of the measure, HB 0407, also detailed Barthwell’s history of making false statements. HB0407 has been referred to the House Human Services Committee.

According to another statement from MPP, the 6,000-member Illinois Nurses Association ( INA ) has declared its support of HB 0407.

In a position paper issued in December, the INA came out in favor of “legislation to remove criminal penalties, including arrest and imprisonment, for [ actual ] patients and prescribers of therapeutic cannabis [ marijuana ] .” The full statement is on the Web at www.illinoisnurses.org .



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