TV talker says pot is healing

Albany Times Union, NY
May 3 2004

TV talker says pot is healing

After he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, TV talk show
host Montel Williams tried a battery of prescription drugs to combat
the extreme pain in his legs and feet.
OxyContin. Vicodin. A morphine drip that left him “in the corner,
drooling.” Nothing worked.

Then he tried pot.

“I tell you that the only thing that seems to work for me and make me a
contributing member of society is marijuana,” Williams said from London
during a recent telephone interview.

Williams said he prefers eating marijuana, but in a pinch, a few tokes
can bring his pain from a “level five down to a three.”

Williams has even started a company to package and market pot in
countries where it’s legal for sick people to use.

And, he’ll be in Albany Tuesday to lobby for legalization of medical
marijuana. He said he is scheduled to meet with Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno,
R-Brunswick.

The Democrat-led Assembly Health Committee has twice passed a bill to
allow marijuana prescriptions primarily for terminally ill patients. It
is widely endorsed by the medical community.

Nine states have passed such laws, but Bruno and Republican Gov. George
Pataki are opposed.

Williams, an ex-Marine and U.S. Naval Academy grad who says he voted
Republican or independent all his life, isn’t for legalizing marijuana
— or any other drug — for general use. But for those who are ill, his
opinion is clear.

“A doctor told me I could take up to 30 pills of OxyContin a day, yet
you’re going to tell me it’s not OK for me to take the equivalent of
one gram of pot and eat it in a cookie in the comfort of my own home?”
said Williams, 47. “Do you want a junkie or someone who’s paying their
taxes? I’ve been paying them real well for the past four years.” As of
Friday, the Powers Crane & Co. lobbying firm was no more.

After months of acrimony, founder Constance Crane and her partner since
2001, former state GOP Chairman Bill Powers, chose to go their separate
ways.

On May 1, Crane officially opened Crane & Vacco, with former state
Attorney General Dennis Vacco, who joined Powers Crane last fall, and
her husband, Jim Crane, a partner in the law firm Crane, Greene &
Parente.

Powers’s son, Matthew, will stick with dad. The firm’s clients will be
divvied up, and both firms will remain at 90 State St. It’s no secret
Republican President Bush is way behind in New York. But is he losing
some of his loyal base?

At the state Capitol last Monday to mark the Armenian Genocide Day of
Remembrance, Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, said he hopes a
resolution he’s introduced will pass so future anniversaries will be
honored by Congress and the president, “whoever that is.”

Could Sweeney, a key Bush operative during the 2000 Florida recount,
doubt Bush will be around much longer?

“Not at all,”said Sweeney’s press secretary Demetrios Karoutsos. “Our
support for the President hasn’t changed a bit.”

The remark, Karoutsos said, likely referred to all future presidents —
whoever they are. Contributors: Capitol bureau reporters Elizabeth
Benjamin and Erin Duggan. Got a tip? Call 454-5424 or e-mail
[email protected]