"Public health is now personal for me," Raskin said. "I know what it means for people to be living on the absolute edge of hope and despair, and politicians should not get in the way of people getting the medical relief they need."

We agree with Maryland Senator Jamie Raskin, who championed legislation last spring (which ultimately failed) to legalize medical marijuana in his state.

As the Washington Post reports, soon after the legislation failed, Senator Raskin discovered he had a mass the size of a golf ball in his colon and a "new perspective on the issue" of medicinal marijuana use.  By the time he learned he had cancer, his colleagues had foreclosed his opportunity to utilize marijuana lawfully in treating his illness - even if his treating physicians believed it would be helpful to alleviate either his symptoms or his overall condition. 

We continue to support allowing ill Mainers and their physicians to make these highly personal, individualized treatment decisions based without governmental interference.  This session, we will be supporting an amendment in the current law to take these decisions out of the hands of lawmakers and return them to where they belong - in the hands of patients and their doctors. 

As they consider this new initiative, we encourage Maine lawmakers to listen carefully to the testimony of people "for whom medical marijuana is an absolute lifeline," as Rankin puts it, and vote to "relieve suffering" of these patients - before they, like Senator Raskin, find themselves or a loved one amid their ranks.