Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Medical Marijuana Debate - Pro

The debate was printed in this Sunday's post.

If you are sick or dying in Colorado, you can legally smoke marijuana. It's a fact that law enforcement and elected officials are less than eager for you to know.

Sadly, six years after the state's voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment allowing the use of medical marijuana, there is an intolerable disrespect of the will of the people - and the sick and dying - by those in our government.

Article XVIII, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution reads: "It shall be an exception from the state's criminal laws for any patient or primary care-giver in lawful possession of a registry identification card to engage or assist in the medical use of marijuana ... ."

Medical marijuana is a recognized treatment for many of the complications associated with serious medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes and AIDS. It's also a viable pain-treatment alternative for those barely surviving on conventional narcotic therapies like the highly addictive morphine, vicodin and oxycodone. As far back as 1997, the American Medical Association publicly supported the right of doctors to freely discuss marijuana as a possible therapy.

Since Colorado first implemented its program in June 2001, more than 1,340 people have successfully registered as patients, a move that requires obtaining a recommendation from a licensed physician for treatment of an authorized medical condition.

Registry statistics paint a compassionate picture of the average patient, most likely a male in his 40s suffering from severe pain (with 82 percent of all applicants approved for the registry for this condition). Thirty percent of all patients use marijuana to deal with muscle spasms and more than 20 percent have sought out marijuana to help them deal with nausea resulting from another medical condition. Thirty-two registered patients suffer from HIV or AIDS. Nearly 70 patients have died since the program began.

Read More at The Denver Post