Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 1, 2010
Leno's medical pot advocacy a personal story

BB DEMCON TWO  295.JPGState Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, convened the media recently "to deliver some good news."

In an announcement at the state Capitol, Leno and other medical use advocates hailed the preliminary results from $8.7 million in state-commissioned research on potential benefits of medical marijuana.

The studies, conducted since 2000 by the Center for Medical Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, concluded that marijuana can provide relief for neuropathic pain caused by injuries, infections, diabetes, strokes and other medical conditions affecting the nervous system. The findings were covered in The Sacramento Bee and the full report can be found on-line here.

For Leno, who introduced the UC system researchers at the press event, the matter was personal. The openly gay lawmaker said he had watched sufferers of AIDS and HIV, including his own life partner, obtain relief from cannabis use. His partner, Douglas Jackson, died from complications related to AIDS in 1990.

"As someone who has been at the bed sides of so many dear friends, as well as my life partner who died," Leno said, "this study confirms all the anecdotal evidence."

Pictured: Leno during his 2008 Senate campaign. Brian Baer/The Sacramento Bee

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