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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stem cell, medical marijuana props approved

Michigan voters easily approved a law Tuesday to allow the seriously ill to smoke marijuana, while a proposal to ease restrictions on stem cell research research won by a tighter margin.

Michigan became the 13th state -- and first in the Midwest -- to legalize medical marijuana. While backers said it would help as many as 50,000 residents ease the pain of cancer, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and other illnesses, Proposal 1 drew widespread opposition from law enforcement, business groups and health organizations.

Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care which championed the proposal, said the opposition ads didn't work.

"This is a victory for the patients and their stories resonated with voters," she said. "The scare tactics from the opposition were over the top and not believable."

Said Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Bill Schuette, spokesman for the group opposed to medical marijuana: "We waged a good fight and talked about the unintended consequences. But we were underfunded and came up short."

Mike Chaffee, 48, an accountant from Troy , said medical marijuana is an "alternative to high-cost drugs" and allows patients to "decide what's best for them." [Mark Godsey]

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