Vermont senate approves medical marijuana bill
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.