Fw: Fw: Fw: US: Web: Unparallel Paths

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—– Original Message —–
From: "Cher Neufer" <cneufer@neo.rr.com>
To: <northohio@norml.net>
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 10:16 PM
Subject: NON: Fw: Fw: US: Web: Unparallel Paths

>> > Newshawk: The Leading Source for Marijuana News http://www.mapinc.org
>> > Pubdate: Fri, 23 Nov 2007
>> > Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)
>> > Section: Feature Article
>> > Webpage: http://www.drugsense.org/current.htm
>> > Website: http://www.drugsense.org
>> > Author: Mary Jane Borden
>> > Note: Mary Jane Borden is a writer, artist, and activist in drug
>> > policy, with a focus on medical marijuana. She serves as the
>> > Fundraising Specialist/Business Manager for DrugSense/MAP. This
>> > article was composed with the grateful assistance of Irv Rosenfeld to
>> > mark his 25th anniversary as a Compassionate IND patient.
>> >
>> > UNPARALLEL PATHS
>> >
>> > The statistics are staggering. In 2006, marijuana arrests reached a
>> > record 829,627, with one occurring every 38 seconds. Of these, 89%
>> > involved mere possession, not sale or ‘manufacture’. [1] The Bureau
>> > of Justice Statistics reported in 2004 that state and federal prisons
>> > held 41,507 individuals on marijuana-related offenses. [2]
>> >
>> > So, when Irv Rosenfeld of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, lit a joint at a
>> > press conference this past Tuesday, November 20, the fact that he
>> > wasn’t arrested should be newsworthy by itself. But the absence of
>> > handcuffs, Miranda warnings, plea agreements, and parole officers are
>> > what make Irv Rosenfeld a prominent public figure and what formed the
>> > basis for this groundbreaking press conference. That day, he
>> > celebrated his 25th anniversary as the second individual to
>> > participate in FDA’s now defunct Compassionate IND program. He
>> > marked this ‘Silver Anniversary’ by pulling another pre-rolled joint
>> > out of a round, silver tin containing 300 such cigarettes that he
>> > continues to receive each month from the federal government.
>> >
>> > To me, Irv would have been just another reform advocate had it not
>> > been for a video of him taken on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court
>> > after the U.S. vs. Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative hearing. In
>> > that video, he uttered four magic words, "Multiple Congenital
>> > Cartilogenous Exostosis." I played it over and over.
>> >
>> > That snowy February evening, I had returned from the Alzheimer’s care
>> > unit where my father lay dying. Until that video, my dad was only one
>> > of three people whom I had ever known to have ‘Multiple Exostosis.’
>> > My son and I were the other two. In a matter of days, I would lose
>> > one of those people, only to find another. It had always been
>> > comforting to be close to someone who understood this condition so
>> > well.
>> >
>> > Multiple Exostosis is a rather rare disorder, occurring in one of
>> > every 50,000 people, for an estimated 5,000 cases nationwide. [3] It
>> > is characterized by numerous lesions called tumors, which occur at
>> > the end of long bones and can result in a deformity of the bone,
>> > pain, spasticity, and even cancer.
>> >
>> > Even though we share an uncommon condition, it’s hard to suggest that
>> > Irv’s life and my life followed parallel paths. Although we’re almost
>> > the same age, Irv’s condition occurred spontaneously, while mine
>> > manifested genetically. Irv learned he had it after a childhood
>> > baseball injury; I knew from birth. We both grew up in middle class
>> > homes, but his condition was treated in a prestigious New England
>> > medical center; I went to a community hospital. By age 17, we both
>> > had relearned walking as a result of multiple surgeries. Irv
>> > underwent four procedures, three on his left leg and one on his right
>> > wrist; I had tumors removed from both of my knees.
>> >
>> > We both entered college in the early 1970s, and because it was, well,
>> > the 1970s, experimentation with marijuana was a ‘required course.’
>> > From cannabis, Irv regained the ability to sit for more than 10
>> > minutes. I was introduced to cannabis by my boyfriend and have
>> > enjoyed a 35-year love affair with both ever since.
>> >
>> > During the early 1980s, Irv was accepted into the FDA’s Compassionate
>> > IND program, which provided cannabis to patients who could complete a
>> > complex application process. I tracked this program through that
>> > decade as a market analyst for a pharmaceutical company. In the
>> > early 1990s, the program closed to all but current patients at about
>> > the same time a corporate merger eliminated my job.
>> >
>> > Both Irv and I have gone on to successful careers, which defy the
>> > stereotypes that often accompany marijuana. As a Ft. Lauderdale
>> > stockbroker, Irv handles financial transactions each day in the
>> > millions of dollars. He is also a skilled disabled sailor and avid
>> > softball player. A graphic designer by trade, I earned my APR [4]
>> > certification in 2000 and, shortly thereafter, joined the staff of
>> > DrugSense/MAP and co-founded the Ohio Patient Network.
>> >
>> > Fast-forward to 2007 finds us both well-known medical marijuana
>> > activists who share the same rare bone disorder. This commonality is
>> > where our unparallel paths end.
>> >
>> > When medical marijuana laws slice and dice qualifiers, the condition
>> > becomes a pivotal point. Have the more common cancer, glaucoma, or
>> > Multiple Sclerosis, and you’re in. Have a rare disorder like
>> > Multiple Congenital Cartilogenous Exostosis and you’re out … unless
>> > you have been grandfathered into the Compassionate IND program.
>> >
>> > This program accords Irv the special privilege of lighting a joint at
>> > a press conference without fear of arrest or prosecution. He will not
>> > lose any driving privileges or professional licenses. There will be
>> > no handcuffs, Miranda warnings, plea agreements, and parole
>> > officers. Unlike me, if I were to do the same, he will never become
>> > a statistic.
>> >
>> > And that’s the poignant irony. The Compassionate IND program showed
>> > what was possible for those with both common and rare medical
>> > conditions. It was based on cannabis’ therapeutic value, a
>> > physician’s care, a prescription, and a distribution model. Under the
>> > Compassionate IND, participants – even 25 years later – cannot be
>> > arrested, prosecuted, or hassled in any way for their marijuana use.
>> >
>> > Irv is a remarkable man. He could remain a successful Ft. Lauderdale
>> > stockbroker, who quietly receives his government-issued silver tin
>> > each month. Instead, he chooses to venture into a world where others
>> > risk arrest to testify before the cameras about the difference that
>> > cannabis has made in his life. He is a hero to many.
>> >
>> > To me, however, there is a unique connection. I hearken back to that
>> > snowy February evening, remembering the special man that Irv
>> > replaced. Irv holds an esteemed position. He is now only one of
>> > three people whom I have ever known to have Multiple Congenital
>> > Cartilogenous Exostosis.
>> >
>> > Happy 25th Anniversary, Irv. May our paths converge to end this war
>> > on medicinal cannabis.
>> >
>> > [1] "War Against Marijuana Consumers" NORML
>> > http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3400
>> >
>> > [2] "Senate Committee Weighs Costs of ‘Mass Incarceration’ as
>> > Marijuana Arrests Top 800,000," Marijuana Policy Project.
>> > http://drugsense.org/url/25hYzkvg
>> >
>> > [3] "The Genetics of Hereditary Multiple Exostosis (HME)," Sandra A.
>> > Darilek, MS and Jaqueline T. Hecht, PhD.
> http://drugsense.org/url/26WU5cOZ
>> >
>> > [4] Accredited in Public Relations (APR) certification by the Public
>> > Relations Society of America (PRSA).
> http://www.prsa.org/PD/apr/index.html
>
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