Medical marijuana advocates blast Alabama lawmaker in email battle
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — State Rep. Jim McClendon has some advice for the medical marijuana advocates lobbying for their cause:
The third-term Republican legislator from St. Clair Springs, who chairs the Alabama House Health Committee, has been the target of hundreds of e-mails both before and after he agreed to have a Nov. 14 hearing on the issue of medicinal pot.
An even greater torrent of emails surged today after he responded Thursday to some emails with this strong message:
“The inundation of emails to members of the Health Committee is no more than harassment and does not advance your cause.”
That email prompted this reaction from Steve Elliott on tokeofthetown.com:
“If you’d like to ‘harass,’ I mean remind Rep. McClendon that he does, in fact, work for the people, and it is, in fact, his job to listen to their concerns you can school him, I mean email him at [McClendon’s email address].
McClendon was busy deleting his inbox this morning when reached by phone at his home.
“You’d think they’d say thanks for calling a hearing,” McClendon said.
Instead he gets this from Patrick Partridge: “Do you NOT realize WHO YOU work for? You sir are on YOUR WAY OUT SO START PACKING UP YOUR DESK/OFFICE BEFORE “WE THE PEOPLE” OF ALABAMA THROWS YOUR ASS OUT!! JUST PLEASE RESIGN SO WE DON’T HAVE TO RUIN YOU!!! Peace.”
Or this one from Oscar: “It is your job to listen to your constituents re medical marijuana, don’t be an obstructionist windbag!”
McClendon said he’s keeping an open mind on the issue. That’s why the hearing has been called, he said. As an optometrist, McClendon does have a medical background. He served in the Navy Medical Service Corps in Viet Nam and taught clinical optometry at UAB before retiring from private practice.
He said he wants to hear the experts especially about the contention that marijuana has pain-killing properties.
“From a pharmacological standpoint my understanding is there are no analgesic properties to THC,” he said. “I want to hear from pharmacologists who don’t have a dog in this fight.”
The hearing, he said, is on the broader subject of medical marijuana, but will also take a look at legislation proposed by state Rep. Patricia Todd, a Democrat from Birmingham.
“Not only is this a great thing for the patients in the state of Alabama, but it also proves that the emails we are sending out do work,” theAlabama Medical Marijuana Coalition wrote on its website after the hearing was set.
On the website, the coalition provides email addresses and boilerplate language with instructions to copy, paste and email to McClendon and other members of the Legislature.
Regarding the email campaign, McClendon said he doesn’t mind emails when they are signed by a real person, are civil and not threatening. He said he also has been receiving a lot of out-of-state emails which have “zero impact.”
“Receiving personal informative emails from Alabamians along with contact information (name, phone, address) can have an impact,” McClendon wrote in an email to James C. Moon.
He was responding to Moon’s email accusing him of “trivializing the voice of over 10,000 registered voters as ‘harassment.’ ”