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Testimony: ‘It’s our kids’ future,’ ‘Look beyond stereotypes,’ ‘Everything boils down to choice’

More of the testimony this morning at the hearing on the two anti-marijuana measures:

Nick Chaffin, a 16-year-old from Idaho Falls, said he’s concerned that celebrities are promoting marijuana use. “We are getting mixed messages as teenagers. We don’t understand if it’s good or bad,” he said. “Marijuana is not the answer. It wouldn’t be the answer to anything. There’s other medicine out there. One last note, it’s our future, it’s our kids’ future, and it’s our grandkids’ future. How do you want it to look?”

Tim Teater said, “For many thousands of years, human perception of cannabis … was sacramental as a medicine and mild intoxicant. … Today in 2013 many of us still have the mindset of reefer madness. … I’d ask you to look beyond stereotypes, half-truths … and misinformation.”

Matt Wilcox, a massage therapist, said his professional knowledge of the human body suggests that marijuana is not a gateway drug. “I find it actually ridiculous that we’re even here today at all when millions of people are starting to stand out and agree nationwide that it should be legalized, decriminalized, recreationally and medically as well,” he said. “There are hundreds of beneficial reasons to its existence and how it can benefit humanity as a whole. … Ultimately everything boils down to choice.”

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, told Wilcox she was going to ask him “the hard question.” She asked, “Have you used marijuana?” Wilcox answered, “Yes.” Then she asked him, “Have you encouraged others to use marijuana?” Wilcox said no, that he’s encouraged people to make their own decisions. Then she asked him if he felt his professional knowledge exceeded that of Dr. David McClusky, a Twin Falls physician who testified on the other side of the issue earlier this morning and whom Lodge described as a “noted surgeon.” Wilcox said no.

David Benjamin Hall, a former candidate for mayor of Boise, told the senators, “Currently I am facing a charge for marijuana. And I’m not ashamed to say that I use marijuana. I’m 44 years old and I have used marijuana for 30 years of my  life, because I have a very deadly disease called depression.” He said, “I think this is a personal attack against me and my right to decide for myself how I’m going to live my life, how I’m going to treat my illness.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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