New push for medical marijuana legalization

February 11, 2009 – 5:42 AM

Backers of medical marijuana want the face of Stephanie Whiting-Shadinger to be one of those Minnesota lawmakers remember as debate resumes at the State Capitol on allowing some patients to use the now-illegal drug.

Whiting-Shadinger died in 2003 at age 26, suffering from malignant melanoma that required experimental treatments, chemotherapy and 10 surgeries. Daily doses of pain killers failed to relieve her misery.

Joni Whiting, a suburban grandma from Jordan, will be testifying today in a Senate committee that she reluctantly abandoned her anti-drug sentiments and went along with her daughter smoking marijuana in her final days. And she’s glad she did.

Opposition to legalizing medicinal marijuana remains strong among those concerned about its effects on drug abuse. But supporters hope new strategies can build support for their cause.

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