As Prop. 29 vote looms, dialysis patients brace for change
By JENNIFER SMITH
The San Jose Mercury News
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — As San Mateo County nurses prepare to cast their votes on whether to pass Prop. 29, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana for those with serious chronic conditions ranging from AIDS to seizures, they’re bracing themselves for a change in California’s medical marijuana laws.
On one side, they see the growing movement, which advocates for medical marijuana in San Francisco and elsewhere, and on the other, they may soon find themselves part of a growing movement in a state that has long been resistant to its use.
“We’re in the medical marijuana world now,” said Marybeth Leahey, a nurse at Peninsula Medical Center who has been involved in the battle for legalization. “We don’t just get a chance to be involved in the medical marijuana discussion.”
Proposition 29, which would grant patients with certain conditions from AIDS and cancer to arthritis and other degenerative diseases the right to use marijuana for medical use, is expected to be on the ballot on Nov. 8. At least seven other measures are on the ballot in the same election. Each measure or ballot initiative is a different way the public will vote on a measure that would legalize, regulate and tax the medical use of marijuana in California.
Proponents and opponents say Proposition 29 could be the most important vote in the country on a marijuana issue since Proposition 19 in 1996. Medical marijuana has become a hot-button issue in California, where there are already about 1,000 approved cases of the drug for specific medical conditions.
“It definitely has the potential to be a major moment in the history of medical marijuana in the United States,” said Daniel Keating, a spokesman for the California medical marijuana industry.
Proposition 29 would allow patients with certain illnesses, ranging from AIDS to cancer to epilepsy to multiple sclerosis to be allowed to use marijuana that has been grown, processed,