(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.

THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

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ABOVE:  LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY

FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana is medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association concludes

Posted on June 23, 2015 at 10:06 am by David Downs in featured, Health, Science

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Marijuana is one hundred percent a form of medicine, researchers conclude in a bombshell series of reports released today by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cannabis — which has been used medicinally for thousands of years — reduces nausea, and vomiting, and pain, as well as spasticity, a panel of researchers conclude, after reviewing a total of 79 trials.

“Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence,” one of the reports found.

Researchers bemoaned the lack of high-quality trials of marijuana. That situation that can be laid at the feet of cannabis prohibition. The federal government maintains cannabis is a highly dangerous drug with no medical use. Researchers must cut through more red tape to research a pot plant than any other substance on the planet, doctors say.

However, this week, the federal government slightly reduced the regulatory hurdles to study cannabis — down from eight layers of review, to seven.

More than 750,000 Americans will be arrested for cannabis this year.

The Obama administration has spent an estimated $300 million interfering with state medical marijuana programs and patients, including arresting and prosecuting patients and caregivers. Thirty-five states have medical cannabis laws, and some members of Congress are working to de-fund federal attacks on medical marijuana.

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to let certain pediatric seizure patients use an oil derived from hemp and marijuana.

FRANKFORT — In a vote that state Sen. Julie Denton said was unimaginable a decade ago, the Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to let certain pediatric seizure patients use an oil derived from hemp and marijuana.

“This was one of those tingly moments you get when you pass a bill that you really know is good for the commonwealth. It is really going to help people’s lives,” said Denton, R-Louisville.

The 38-0 vote on Denton’s Senate Bill 124 is believed to be the first time a Kentucky legislative chamber approved a measure allowing the use of any derivative of hemp and marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The Senate vote occurred as Laureen Vassil of Lexington anxiously looked on in the gallery. Her 15-year-old daughter, Allison, has seizures that are not controlled by medication. She is only able to do first grade work in school.

“I think this bill will help,” Vassil said, adding that her family has considered taking Allison to Colorado, where marijuana usage is legal. “But we don’t have the means to do that.”

The bill would allow the use of cannabidiol, a derivative of hemp, when recommended by a physician practicing at the University of Louisville or University of Kentucky state research hospital.

It also would exempt the oil from the legal definition of marijuana when used in studies approved by the Federal Drug Administration and compassionate-use programs. Such programs use new, unapproved drugs when no other treatments are available.

Debbie McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, said she was “thrilled” by the Senate vote.

McGrath said thousands of Kentucky families could benefit from the legislation, which now goes to the House.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the bill does not open the door to unlimited use of marijuana plants for medical purposes, as some lawmakers advocate.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, said he cannot stand “the scourge” of illegal drugs in the state and stressed that SB 124 does not legalize illegal drugs.

He called it a “careful, measured approach” to using hemp and marijuana plants. The Kentucky State Police also supports the bill.

Westerfield said his vote was motivated by a young girl in his district named Clara.

“If I don’t take this opportunity to help her, she won’t grow up,” he said in casting his “yes” vote.

Denton said she thinks the bill has a good chance of winning approval in the House.

“This was drafted with House members as well,” she said. “Depending on the committee that it goes to, I think it will have unanimous support or very close to that.”

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

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Kentucky: Health and Welfare Committee to Hold Public Hearing Regarding Medical Marijuana Bill

 

 

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Posted: 07/26/2013 6:02 pm

The Health and Welfare Committee in Kentucky is slated to hold a public hearing on August 21 for Senator Perry Clark’s proposed legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal dedications in his republic.

“It’s time. Forty percent of the states have already passed medical marijuana laws and Kentucky is kind of fallen behind on that. The science is far on our side. Cannabis is medicine. It is medicine in its many forms,” Senator Clark avowed.

Senator Clark and a group of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana celebrated the news of the upcoming hearing at Clark’s home in Louisville on Sunday.

Per usual, the opposition feels legalizing the plant would merely cause an influx of crimes that they apparently feel is associated with medical marijuana regardless of the existing studies that debunk that very philosophy.

Senator Clark introduced similar legislation in 2012 but it failed to successfully traverse the gauntlet of legislative scrutiny.

Stay with The 420 Times for any updates concerning Senator Clark’s attempt to bring legalized medical marijuana to the state of Kentucky and for all your marijuana community news.

Follow The 420 Times on Twitter: www.twitter.com/The420Times

Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff.

Marijuana Crimes: Five Senior Citizens Serving Life Without Parole For Pot

AlterNet  |  By Kristen Gwynne Posted: 12/26/2012 11:16 am EST

Should five non-violent offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?

December 23, 2012  |  

Photo Credit: Farsh/ Shutterstock.com

Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. Their names are John Knock, Paul Free, Larry Duke, William Dekle, and Charles “Fred” Cundiff. They are all more than 60 years old; they have all spent at least 15 years locked up for selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners, serving life without parole. As time wrinkles their skin and weakens their bodies, Michael Kennedy of the Trans High Corporation has filed a legal petition with the federal government seeking their clemency. Otherwise they will die behind bars for selling a drug 40% of American adults have admitted to using, 50% of Americans want legal, and two states have already legalized for adult use. Since these men were convicted of these crimes many years ago, public opinion and policy related to marijuana have shifted greatly. Should these five non-violent senior-citizen offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?

1. John Knock, 65, has been incarcerated for more than 16 years. The only evidence against him was the testimony of informants; Knock was convicted of conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana. The judge sentenced him to 20 years for money laundering plus not one, but two terms of life-without-parole — a  punishment typically reserved for murderers. Despite the uniquely unjust sentence, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his pleas for reconsideration via appeal or court order.
Waiting for death in jail, Knock suffers from chronic sinus problems linked to an untreated broken nose. Due to circulatory problems, one of his ankles swells to twice its size. Knock also suffers from what the legal petition called “untreated” hearing and vision problems. Easing some of his pain are visits from his family and his participation in prison programs. He has taught home building and physical education inside the prison that has become his home. According to the legal petition, he is assured employment and a home should his sentence be commuted.

2. Before he was incarcerated, Paul Free obtained a BA in marine biology and was starting a school while teaching English in Mexico. Now 62, he has continued his passion for education behind bars, where he has lived for the past 18 years. Free helps inmates prepare for the General Equivalency Diploma tests, and according to the petition, prison officials have applauded Paul’s hard work and his students’ high graduation rate. Paul suffers from degenerative joint disease, failing eyesight, sinus problems, and allergies, and he has had 11 skin cancers removed.

3. Once a union carpenter, Larry Duke, a 65-year-old decorated Marine, has spent the last 23 years of his life behind bars for weed. On top of the difficulties life in prison lays on the psyche, Duke suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from multiple tours in the Vietnam war. Like Knock, Duke received two life sentences without parole for a non-violent marijuana conspiracy, and was unsuccessful at appeal. According to the legal petition, Duke is the longest-serving nonviolent marijuana prisoner in the nation.  
Despite his incarceration in a country that has failed him, Duke works from behind bars to design patentable concepts that would assist the general public. While locked up, he has already managed to obtain a federal patent for a water-delivery system he plans to market to the U.S. Department of Defense. According to the legal petition, Duke enjoys the support of his wife and a growing family including two children, two grandsons, three siblings and many nieces and nephews. “They all want him to come home and be part of their lives and dreams,” the petition said.

4. William Dekle, 63, is also a former U.S. Marine serving two life sentences without parole, 22 of which he has already completed in a Kentucky penitentiary. Despite the depressing possibility that he will die behind bars, Dekle has participated in more than 30 prison courses, including counseling other inmates. Before his conviction, Dekle was a pilot certified in commercial and instrument flying, as well as multiengine aircraft. Now he suffers from a chronic knee injury. He is supported by his wife, two daughters, and grandchildren, who call him “Papa Billy.” Dekle’s relatives would ensure a stable home environment should he be granted clemency, the legal petition said.

5. Charles “Fred” Cundiff is a 66-year-old inmate who has served more than 20 years of his life sentence for marijuana. Before the marijuana arrest that changed his life forever, he worked in construction, retail and at a plant nursery. In prison, he worked for Unicor (Federal Prison Industries) for 12 years before his declining health interfered with his ability to work. Battling skin cancer, eye infections, and severe arthritis in his spine, Cundiff uses a walker. While the legal petition makes no mention of family, it says he is regularly visited by “friends from his youth.”
While these men have all spent many years behind bars for crimes they were convicted of many years ago, the same draconian punishments are handed down to marijuana criminals — young and old — to this day. Conspiracy charges, combined with mandatory minimums for marijuana sale and firearms charges, can quickly add up to decades behind bars. Should anyone in the entire criminal operation have a gun (legal or not), everyone involved can be charged with firearm possession during a drug offense, a five-year mandatory minimum that can reach 20 if the person is charged with continuing criminal enterprise — a long-term, large-scale operation. In the end, these sentences are often not applied, but used to encourage guilty pleas in exchange for a lesser sentence.

Marijuana prisoner Chris Williams is an example of one such case. He was recently facing a mandatory minimum of 85 to 92 years behind bars for providing medical marijuana in Montana, where it is legal. Citing a moral opposition to plea bargains forced by the threat of a lifetime in jail, WIlliams rejected a deal that would have drastically reduced his sentence by cutting away mandatory minimums. Then, this Tuesday, federal prosecutors agreed to drop six of eight of Williams’ charges, provided he waive his constitutional right to appeal. Now Williams faces a mandatory minimum of five years for the firearm-related charge, and another five for distribution.

“With the rest of my life literally hanging in the balance, I simply could not withstand the pressure any longer,” Williams said in a statement. “If Judge Christensen shows mercy and limits my sentence to the five-year mandatory minimum, I could be present at my 16-year-old son’s college graduation. This would most likely be impossible had I rejected the latest compromise.”

Kristen Gwynne covers drugs at AlterNet. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and psychology.

CONTINUE READING….

OPEN Letter to Ohio Legislators and Washington DC

 

 

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by Tonya Davis on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 9:33pm ·

Lawmakers… Please don’t let me die knowing that this plant could have saved me and you denied the same access as 18 states and DC as well as the 4 federal patients. You can stand up for me and many folks like me..

(I just want to say thank you for reposting my Open Letter Note.)

Come on Obama Administration… I need access to the whole plant of cannabis. I do not buy …. sell or grow… I should have the right to grow it like tomatoes for my medicine. I should be able to use its oils and juice its leaf or eat is raw. or smoke a joint whichever I need at the time.End marijuana Prohibition TODAY!!! and also SAVE Americans at the same time. This plant is the only thing that could save my life. Facebooker’s will you share this everywhere please.

This is an open letter to my Ohio legislators.

I have nowhere else to turn. I hope you hear my cries for help and I hope you stand up for me. Representative Bobby Hagan will be  Re introducing the Ohio medical compassion act which I hope you will consider cosponsoring  in January 2013.

It would merely allow Ohio’s doctors and patients to decide whether or not medical cannabis could benefit them or not. It would allow the department of health to keep an eye on the program and make sure there were no abuses. Anyone that is in the program would be in a database so that you can keep track of this act of compassion.

We also believe that it would save Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars by not arresting, incarcerating  and prosecuting folks for making a choice using cannabis as medicine. we also believe that the Obama administration would not bother our program because there would not be storefronts or dispensaries selling the product.

Over 73% of Ohioans support the compassionate use of marijuana..I am not sure you are aware but our sister state of Michigan has a medical cannabis program. We believe that we should have the same rights as those folks  just across our border.

Also Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana for personal use.

My name is Tonya Davis and I’m your constituent. I am a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter. I could be your neighbor, friend, coworker. You have seen me at the Ohio Statehouse over the last decade in a suit rolling around in my wheelchair trying to bring your attention to alternative medication that is actually safer than aspirin. Yes I’m talking about medical cannabis and this has been my choice of medicine. For a long time you said to me to “bring in a doctor that supports this issue” I have!  you have said “bring in the science that supports cannabis as medicine” I have.. You have said ” get a Republican on board” WE HAVE… we have jumped through the hoops that you have asked us to jump through.

We have a certified petition for the Ohio alternative treatment amendment that was certified by the SOS and the AG October of last year. We currently have house Bill 214  that is being ignored in the health committee because our speaker of the house refuses to give it a hearing. Now I’m asking you to save my life.

My whole life I have begged for help no one ever hears me. I will be heard this time because  this is my life I’m fighting for and I’m going to die on my terms.

Our government knows that cannabis is a medicine and that it is a neuro protective and antioxidant. they have  patents on it.  I am literally fighting for my life and my independence as well as tryin to keep my cognitive thinking okay.  By allowing me the same access as the 18 states plus Washington DC as well as the four patients that are currently allowed on federal level …it is not harming anyone.

I deserve that same access even though I am in the state of Ohio. I should not have to go die like a wounded animal in the woods. (going to a state that does have medical cannabis laws) where  I have no family and a support system.

I am not a drug addict, suffer from mental illness or have any type of criminal record.

I do have my Ohio doctors support , I have my pharmacist support… I have my out-of-state written recommendation from my cannabinoid specialist .  I have lived in same place for the decade ive fought for this issue. Here is a video clip of me and my cannabinoid specialist 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5QOvkv77Y&feature=share

My neurologist came into my hospital room and told me a year ago that there was nothing that they can do for me anymore except keep me comfortable and treat symptoms. I have massive calcium deposits on my brain. I have pseudo-hypo parathyroidism which has completely disabled me and caused major medical problems such as crippling arthritis ,diseased esophagus, hiatal hernia ….inflamed bowel disease with adhesions wrapped around it…. severe hypocalcaemia…. very high phosphorous..  my blood pressure is all over the map … my heart rate is through the roof. All of this can be proven and backed up. Will you do the right thing and support compassion not corruption?

My future is bleak but I have an opportunity to change things and to protect what brain that is not damaged yet.  and most importantly die on my terms.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES IN WASHINGTON.

ADDITIONALLY, MS. DAVIS WROTE THE FOLLOWING…..

If anything happens to me I blame my government for not allowing me the same access as my sister state Michigan or the other 17 states and DC …. I want my President to open his heart and allow me to fight for what life I have left with dignity and feel like I belong in this world as well. No ones ever heard me. As a child being abused and molested raped …I tried to tell anyone that would listen I was not heard or protected from age 5 to 12 when someone believed me I was removed to an orphanage. This is just the beginning of how my life spirals I am asking you remove sick people out of this drug war. I can not understand for the life of me how you can do anything you want to smoke a lot of pot do not get caught and you can be president of the United States. But If you do get caught with one joint it can ruin your life. Can we use common sense for drug policy when it comes to cannabis? why can the sister state Michigan get compassion and we don’t? I could go on about my life and I will but not right now. So as you can see there is a way you can save me. If our doctors are smarter now which I believe they are. They are licensed in the state of Ohio… We trust them to write prescriptions / with our lives in their hands anyway why can’t we trust them on determining whether or not their patient can benefit from the use of cannabis as a medicine? DEA will still have their work because people will still break the law. let our law-enforcement get real bad guys those committing domestic violence, violent crimes, home invasions harder drug addictions anything where there is a victim. There has to be a middle ground. I am tired of feeling like I’m a criminal and I don’t deserve to have to live in fear. It is the worst feeling ever. Let me know what you think on the subject. President Obama you are the one president that could change my life forever. What harm does it cause to allow someone like me to use cannabis as a medicine? I should be allowed to use that plant in any form. You could be America’s hero you could be my hero. Please read my open letter to share with your friends I would like you to care enough to stand with me. You all know this drug war is a lie? Have a lot to say tonight. I also want to say I am watching my friends die off one by one and I’m ready when father God calls me home… I don’t have to die right away I believe that with all my heart. Okay I’m done for a while… I may continue my talk if my community is watching ,thank you for being tolerant of me. You guys gave me my voice. Some day you will hear my whole story my life didn’t change until my mid-30s. It’s been a vicious cycle of domestic violence rape home invasion theft..even kidnapping my life has been a nightmare. No one has ever heard me I always fell before things changed. my life is make life movie. I would call it “If Only Heard” I have a strong testimony and willing to share it as well.. God has been a big part of my survival. seems like I had to experience all this to understand so id be a strong servant. my life is in Gods hand as well as our government…

CA scientists prove marijuana fights aggressive cancers, human trials soon

Cancer survivor says medical marijuana saved her

A pair of scientists at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute are preparing to release research data which proves cannabidiol (CBD) – a marijuana compound – has the ability to “turn off” the activity of a gene which causes cancers to metastasize.

“The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there’s no toxicity. There’s really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited,” said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana – called cannabinoids – as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Marijuana is already proven to alleviate nausea and pain related to cancer therapies, but these recent findings indicate a much more vast use for the natural plant which has been vilified by politicians and U.S. laws for decades.

Marijuana a vital tool in fighting many cancers.

Marijuana a vital tool in fighting many cancers.

Photo credit: 

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

McAllister’s previous research has shown marijuana has anti-cancer properties as well.

The implications of further scientific research are staggering, yet severely limited, given current federal prohibition of the cannabis plant.

After seeing the initial results of testing cancer cells with the CBD compounds found in marijuana, Desprez and McAllister wondered if they’d made an error, so they repeated the tests again and again, each time receiving the same result: the cancer cells not only stopped acting “crazy” but reverted to a normal, healthy state.

“It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Desprez to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”

Desprez hopes the human clinical trials will start without delay.

In an article posted on NBC Bay Area website, “‘If this plant were discovered in the Amazon today, scientists would be falling all over each other to be the first to bring it to market,’ said Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of oncology at the University of California San Francisco, which has also found science behind marijuana’s efficacy.”

Marijuana advocates have suspected these truths for decades but have found themselves widely shunned or ignored by U.S. lawmakers.

Dr. T.G., an oncologist who wishes to remain anonymous, told Examiner.com that her practice encourages early-stage cancer patients to use marijuana in an effort to slow cancer progression.

“I’ve treated patients dealing with cancers for nearly thirty years and I am convinced even consuming cannabis-laced edibles can have a noticeable effect in reduction of cancer cell growth over the long-term. Although cannabis flowers themselves don’t contain enough of the CBD component to have the same effects as those in the California study, it is clear intensive research and human trials are warranted,” said Dr. T.G. “But it would be much more efficient if all cancer research laboratories could test cannabis and, with federal restrictions on cannabis cultivation, that level of research is not viable.”

With healthcare occupying a large segment of the 2012 election focus, President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney may want to consider the continued wisdom of marijuana prohibition.

By publicly calling for marijuana/cannabis to be rescheduled as Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana will be recognized as having medicinal efficacy and would then be available not only for those 17 states which already have medical marijuana laws in place, but would make the plant available for further clinical research.

Dr. T.G. stated, “In light of emerging evidence and millions of patients who’ve received benefit from cannabis, there is no logical reason to avoid a federal reversal of prohibition.”

It may irritate politicians and prohibitionists nationwide, but it turns out the potheads of the world were right all along…

CONTINUE READING…

Collective endurance: A decade later, lasting impacts from famed WAMM marijuana bust near Davenport

 

 

By JASON HOPPIN – Santa Cruz Sentinel

DAVENPORT – On Sept. 5, 2002, the country was debating whether to invade Iraq to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction, just as it was bracing for the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Stocks were still down, but the Oakland A’s had just notched their record 20th straight win.

Early that morning, 30 federal Drug Enforcement Agency-led law enforcement officers stormed the Wo/Men’s Medical Marijuana Alliance, a high-profile collective with a small pot farm outside Davenport, chopping down plants and setting off a furor with lasting impacts on the statewide medical marijuana debate that endures today.

“I just remember waking up at 6:45 a.m., because I heard vehicles in the driveway of the house I was in,” recalled WAMM’s Mike Corral recently, who looked out to see agents carrying a battering ram. “We always knew that there was this possibility of the feds doing something. [But] at the time, we were the darlings of the medical marijuana movement.”

Founders Mike and Valerie Corral were never charged, but the raid spurred a lengthy court case, contributed to local suspicions of federal law enforcement and beatified the Corrals as the spiritual center of the medical marijuana movement. Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the raid, and several key figures reflected on their roles.

“I think that event was one of the most important developments in the growth of understanding about medical marijuana in the country,” said local attorney Ben Rice, part of an all-star legal team that leaped to the Corrals’ defense.

But for a long time, prison was a real possibility. For Valerie Corral, the saga began when she heard boots crossing her porch. She knew who it was before she saw them, but said she was inoculated by calm.

GUN TO HER HEAD

“Something happened when they pushed me to the ground and put a gun to my head,” Corral recalled. “It’s hard to say exactly what it was. I wouldn’t say I felt safe with a gun to my head – I’m not trying to make light or change the image – but there was something that came together and strengthened inside of me.”

For the next several hours, Corral says she bent the ears of federal agents about the miracles of medical marijuana. The Corrals were taken to a holding facility in San Jose, while patients, some of whom needed help walking, gravitated toward the Corrals’ property and barricaded the police in.

Back in San Jose, agents asked the Corrals to help disperse the crowd, which they did.

“I didn’t want the energy to shift away,” Valerie Corral said. “I didn’t want it to become a screaming match.”

“I made this comment to an agent and said, ‘What do we have here, a hostage exchange situation?,'” Mike Corral said. “And he actually laughed a little bit.”

It turned out to be a wise move. Sympathetic to broad swaths of the community, the Corrals were embraced, with a medical marijuana giveaway even organized on the steps of Santa Cruz City Hall.

“I always said it was like representing Mother Teresa,” said Santa Clara University Law School professor Gerald Uelmen, of Valerie. “She is the most compassionate person I think I’ve ever encountered.”

By this point, the story of the raid had gone national. Many states were following in California’s Proposition 215’s footsteps, and the Bush Administration seemed to be drawing a line in the dirt. Hundreds of reporters were on hand for the pot giveaway and CNN carried the story live.

“Virtually every mayor in, at that time, the last 20 years was there,” Rice said.

Valerie Corral said she and Mike, now separated, spent the night in a hotel to avoid the risk of being taken back into custody before the big day.

MEMBERS CARRY ON

WAMM members kept the collective going by scrounging together marijuana and distributing it, and the DEA appeared unaware the Corrals had recently secured an industrial office on Santa Cruz’ Westside, which is still in use. But members said marijuana was in short supply, and that the raid contributed to the deaths of many.

“Sure, they were going to die anyway. It’s just that they died faster than they should have. And in pain that they shouldn’t have had, because they took the medicine away,” said longtime WAMM member Leona Powell, while rolling joints recently at WAMM’s Westside office.

The raid seemed divisive, not just among local police – who had long known the Corrals – but perhaps even among federal law enforcement.

Santa Cruz deputies did not participate, and then-San Jose Police Chief William Lansdowne later yanked his officers off a joint DEA marijuana task force that executed the raid.

Many WAMM members also believe the raid order came from Washington and surprised the local U.S. attorney’s office. Deborah SilverKnight, a patient then and now, said she even got a call from then-Sheriff Mark Tracy telling her what had happened. Rice was alerted by the county’s top jailer.

“It was very tragic. Surreal,” SilverKnight said.

The Corrals moved to suppress evidence from the raid before it even went to a grand jury, and it was clear fairly early that they wouldn’t be charged. (Within months, federal drug prosecutors would turn their attention to another co-op – a storefront called the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, or BALCO, signaling the federal effort to root illegal steroids from pro sports.)

VICTORY IN COURT

Nevertheless, WAMM members went on the offensive, suing the Justice Department. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel eventually ordered that their farm be left alone, and the case stands as the only clear win for the medical marijuana movement in federal court.

WAMM struggles forward today. The collective was organized along Marxist principles – from each according to their abilities, to each according to their need – and has never been a cash register for its owners.

“We’re connected to the people that we serve, and each of us serves one another,” Corral said.

For all the well-placed criticism of the state’s medical marijuana industry, WAMM’s patients have always tended to be truly and severely ill. But it also acknowledges market realities, recently diversifying its product range and now offering cannabidiol-rich pot.

Richard Johnson, who has HIV, said many at WAMM mix marijuana with more traditional medicines. To control an illness, he added, one must be able to control their medicine.

“The beauty about this group is we have the support of people with very different illnesses coming here,” Johnson said. “We share information about what helps you heal, both mentally and physically.”

REMEMBERING FRIENDS

The collective has had thousands of members over the years, and 361 have died. WAMM is collecting pictures of the deceased, assembling them into a mural in their Almar Street office. Valerie Corral seems to hold each one especially close, having visited many deathbeds.

“You think you know something,” she said, “until you sit so close to something that you cannot imagine.”

Most see the raid as backfiring on the federal government. WAMM was a public relations nightmare, and partly because of that, arguably a bigger legal problem for the feds than the Corrals. Mike Corral believes a prosecution might have toppled federal drug laws.

Ten years later, the state is in the midst of another searching debate about medical marijuana and how much autonomy California should have regulating it, with many accusing President Obama’s administration of backtracking on a hands-off pledge.

Several dispensaries have been targeted for raids, with federal prosecutors saying they are targeting marijuana profiteers – something Corral (who believes the pharmaceutical industry is preparing to enter the business) has criticized. And in an uncertain legal environment, many have shut their doors.

“I think it really taught the feds a lesson that they took to heart,” said Uelmen, who brings his drug abuse law seminar students to WAMM. “I think it’s still being taken to heart. The fact that all these other dispensaries are being raided but WAMM is openly operating reflects that we taught the feds to make some distinctions that there are legitimate patients out there whose health depends on marijuana.”

‘WE WON THE WAR’

And when asked about the legacy of the raid, Mike Corral is clear: it led to the expansion of dispensaries throughout the state and the country.

“Medical marijuana is a done deal, in the United States and worldwide,” Corral said. “We won the war; it’s just ‘What are the terms of surrender going to be?'”

Valerie Corral said the raid also contributed to a personal evolution.

“It’s interesting how it moved us toward becoming the people that we really wanted to be,” she said. “To help us model ourselves after the many activists, civil rights activists that had gone before us and taught us, and taught the world to awaken. To recognize that we’re walking among need, and great suffering. To become what we wanted to be as human beings. To offer something that’s bigger than ourselves to other people.”

Follow Sentinel reporter Jason Hoppin on Twitter: @scnewsdude

CONTINUE READING

Marijuana Fights Cancer and Helps Manage Side Effects, Researchers Find

Sep 6, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects.

Cristina Sanchez, a young biologist at Complutense University in Madrid, was studying cell metabolism when she noticed something peculiar. She had been screening brain cancer cells because they grow faster than normal cell lines and thus are useful for research purposes. But the cancer cells died each time they were exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.

Instead of gaining insight into how cells function, Sanchez had stumbled upon the anti-cancer properties of THC. In 1998, she reported in a European biochemistry journal that THC “induces apoptosis [cell death] in C6 glioma cells,” an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Subsequent peer-reviewed studies in several countries would show that THC and other marijuana-derived compounds, known as “cannabinoids,” are effective not only for cancer-symptom management (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue), they also confer a direct antitumoral effect.

A team of Spanish scientists led by Manuel Guzman conducted the first clinical trial assessing the antitumoral action of THC on human beings. Guzman administered pure THC via a catheter into the tumors of nine hospitalized patients with glioblastoma, who had failed to respond to standard brain-cancer therapies. The results were published in 2006 in the British Journal of Pharmacology: THC treatment was associated with significantly reduced tumor cell proliferation in every test subject.

Around the same time, Harvard University scientists ++reported++[http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v95/n2/abs/6603236a.html] that THC slows tumor growth in common lung cancer and “significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.” What’s more, like a heat-seeking missile, THC selectively targets and destroys tumor cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed. Conventional chemotherapy drugs, by contrast, are highly toxic; they indiscriminately damage the brain and body.

There is mounting evidence, according to a report in Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, that cannabinoids “represent a new class of anticancer drugs that retard cancer growth, inhibit angiogenesis [the formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor] and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells.”

Dr. Sean McAllister, a scientist at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, has been studying cannabinoid compounds for 10 years in a quest to develop new therapeutic interventions for various cancers. Backed by grants from the National Institute of Health (and with a license from the DEA), McAllisterdiscovered that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive component of the marijuana plant, is a potent inhibitor of breast cancer cell proliferation, metastasis, and tumor growth.

In 2007, McAllister published a detailed account of how cannabidiol kills breast cancer cells and destroys malignant tumors by switching off expression of the ID-1 gene, a protein that appears to play a major role as a cancer cell conductor.

The ID-1 gene is active during human embryonic development, after which it turns off and stays off. But in breast cancer and several other types of metastatic cancer, the ID-1 gene becomes active again, causing malignant cells to invade and metastasize. “Dozens of aggressive cancers express this gene,” explains McAllister. He postulates that CBD, by virtue of its ability to silence ID-1 expression, could be a breakthrough anti-cancer medication.

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy,” says McAllister, who is seeking support to conduct clinical trials with the marijuanacompound on breast cancer patients.

McAllister’s lab also is analyzing how CBD works in combination with first-line chemotherapy agents. His research shows that cannabidiol, a potent antitumoral compound in its own right, acts synergistically with various anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, enhancing their impact while cutting the toxic dosage necessary for maximum effect.

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.

Investigators at St. George’s University in London observed a similar pattern with THC, which magnified the effectiveness of conventional antileukemia therapies in preclinical studies. THC and cannabidiol both induce apoptosis in leukemic cell lines.

At the annual summer conference of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, held this year in Freiburg, Germany, 300 scientists from around the world discussed their latest findings, which are pointing the way toward novel treatment strategies for cancer and other degenerative diseases. Italian investigators described CBD as “the most efficacious inducer of apoptosis” in prostate cancer. Ditto for cannabidiol and colon cancer, according to British researchers at Lancaster University.

Within the medical science community, the discovery that cannabinoids have anti-tumoral properties is increasingly recognized as a seminal advancement in cancer therapeutics.

Martin A. Lee is the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific (Scribner, August 2012). He is the cofounder of the media watch group FAIR, director of Project CBD, and the author of Acid Dreams and The Beast Reawakens. For more information and regular updates, follow Smoke Signals—the book on Facebook.

Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast ateditorial@thedailybeast.com.

Medicinal marijuana home grow-ops on Ottawa chopping block

Burlington resident John Fattore uses medicinal marijuana to treat the pain that stems from ankylosing spondylitis.

Health Canada plans to no longer allow individuals to grow marijuana for medical use, with all approved grow operations instead being produced by larger industrial growers.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the agency is moving to eliminate personal grow-ops that will not require inspection.

“We are moving forward in looking at medical marijuana in terms of how any other prescription drug is accessed,” the minister said.

More than 15,000 people are licensed to grow medical marijuana in Canada, but Health Canada has no record of staff ever inspecting any of the growers, CBC News has learned.

Medical marijuana by the numbers

As of May 29, 2012:

  • 19,482 people had a permit to possess medical marijuana
  • 12,649 had a licence to grow medical marijuana
  • 2,550 people were designated to grow

Burlington resident John Fattore has ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones.

It has destroyed his feet and makes him experience immense pain. He spent years bedridden, taking OxyContin and Percocet to ease the pain.

“It will kill him,” said his wife Brenda of the disease.

By chance, Brenda met Hamilton’s Derek Pedro, a Health Canada designated medical marijuana grower and user, at a doctor’s office. He recommended her husband try it.

“The pain relief was instant,” Brenda said.

Health Canada implemented its medical marijuana access regulations in 2001. Under the program, people with “grave and debilitating illnesses” can be granted legal access to marijuana for medicinal purposes. People seeking a permit apply in writing to Health Canada, with a supporting document from a medical practitioner.

People who are licensed by Health Canada to possess medical marijuana can then apply for a permit to grow it for personal use, or to have someone else grow it for them through a “designated-person production licence” if they weren’t able to grow their own.

Fattore has had a license to grow marijuana for personal use for two years and now grows his plants on Pedro’s property. He no longer spends his days in bed, but is mobile in a motorized wheelchair.

As of May 2012, over 12,000 people have a licence to grow medical marijuana.

As of May 2012, over 12,000 people have a licence to grow medical marijuana. (Julia Chapman/CBC)

Brenda says he uses half of the pharmaceutical medicine he used to, and some days, doesn’t take any at all.

The Hamilton Spectator reported that in June, the RCMP charged Pedro with trafficking marijuana and conspiracy to produce marijuana. Police allege he indirectly sold 500 marijuana clones to undercover police officers involved in the probe. Clones are the rooted cuttings of adult marijuana plants.

Pedro is out on $2,500 bail for a court appearance in London, Ont. in July.

Brenda was a health care aid before she quit her job to take care of her husband. At first, she was uneasy about John using medical marijuana.

P.O.V. Should Health Canada centralize medicinal marijuana production? Take our poll.

“I was paranoid for my husband to use it because of my medical background,” she said. “Now I totally believe in the transformation of the sick.”

If the Fattore’s are no longer allowed to have a license to grow medical marijuana, Brenda said they will “absolutely not” be able to afford marijuana at the price health Canada will charge — $150 an ounce. Fattore uses half an ounce a day.

“He’ll have to go back on hydromorphine and he’ll be a vegetable in bed,” she said.

“The government wants the money,” she said. “They don’t want the little guys taking care of the sick people.”

Curtis Wallace, a designated grower who works with Pedro, said he’s in the business because of the “satisfaction of helping people” — and because he believes in the plant.

A 2010 report prepared by the RCMP for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police analyzed 190 cases of medical marijuana abuse. Just over one-third of the cases documented in the study involved trafficking or the production of more marijuana than permitted in the licence.

Ottawa isn’t expected to unveil new medical marijuana rules until 2014. In the meantime, Health Canada keeps issuing individual growing permits for a program it struggles to police.

Sen. Clark moves to legalize medical marijuana

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville lawmaker unveiled long-shot legislation Thursday to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Kentucky, a state where police mount huge campaigns each year to cut and burn clandestine pot crops.

Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, said he wanted to get an early start promoting the legislation to make marijuana available by prescription to cancer patients and others who would benefit from the “miracle plant.”

The legislature isn’t scheduled to reconvene until January.

Clark called for other Kentucky lawmakers to help him “end this folly” of barring people who are suffering from being able to use a drug that could help them.

“The concept of prohibition of a medicine that you grow with a seed that you put in a garden is an anathema to freedom,” he told supporters who gathered Thursday afternoon in the Capitol Annex. “I say it’s time we get brave. We educate. This is a liberty issue to me.”

Clark will dub the bill the “Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act” in honor of the late Lexington attorney who was the state’s leading proponent of marijuana legalization.

A similar measure by the same name failed in a legislative session earlier this year in Kentucky, one of the nation’s top marijuana-producing states. Kentucky has a near-perfect climate for growing marijuana, and was once a major producer of industrial hemp before the federal government banned it. Even so, the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical use, which has already been done in 17 other states, is frowned on by most Kentucky lawmakers and has little chance of passing.

Galbraith, a perennial candidate for governor who was known for his fiery stump speeches, also was an advocate of lifting federal restrictions to allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp. That idea has gained momentum among Kentucky political leaders in recent years, with most of the state’s candidates for agriculture commissioner last year favoring it.

Galbraith’s daughter, Molly Galbraith, said passing the medical marijuana bill would be a fitting tribute to her father, who died in January.

“For the better part of 40 years, he has been talking about the benefits of medical marijuana,” she said. “And right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering and they need and deserve access to this plant that our grandfathers and our great grandfathers grew by the thousands of acres. In our opinion, there’s no better way to honor our father’s work and his legacy than to see this bill passed.”

Kentucky State Police are among the leading opponents.

“The legalization of marijuana, whether for medicinal use or hemp growth, presents serious challenges to Kentucky’s law enforcement,” said Capt. David Jude. “To distinguish what would be grown and or possessed for ‘legal use’ versus ‘illegal use’ would prove to be difficult, making our enforcement efforts less efficient and possibly less effective. I feel confident that our legislators will consider the impact that legalizing a drug like marijuana will have on all of our communities as well as law enforcement.

Jude said state police troopers will continue to “aggressively enforce” current marijuana laws, “and if those laws are changed, our enforcement efforts will adapt accordingly.”

CONTINUE READING….

Senator Perry B. Clark (D),(KY) to reintroduce SB129

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Kentucky: Medical Cannabis Bill Named in Honor of Iconic Freedom Fighter Gatewood Galbraith On January 31st, legislation that would make cannabis a schedule II drug, thus legal for doctors to prescribe, was introduced in the Kentucky State Senate. Senate Bill 129, sponsored by Senator Perry B. Clark, D-Louisville, is being titled the “Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act”.

Gatewood Galbraith was a prominent lawyer from Kentucky and an avid supporter of cannabis legalization. He dedicated over forty years to the restoration of the cannabis plant. Galbraith passed away last month from complications of pneumonia.

“Marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS, to name a few,” Senator Clark said. “I want to allow this as another treatment option for those individuals.”

Senate Bill 129 would limit patients who are prescribed the drug from possessing more than five ounces per month. The patient could choose to fill their prescription at a board-certified pharmacy or to grow their own plants. Patients deciding to cultivate plants would be prohibited to no more than five at one time.

Molly Galbraith, Gatewood’s daughter has watched her father fight to legalize hemp and marijuana for many years. She recently posted online “He was talking about protecting our civil liberties, finding alternative fuel sources, boosting Kentucky’s economy, and helping ease the pain of the sick and dying and ease the massive burden of ever-increasing healthcare costs. In my opinion, this is an incredible way to honor my dad.”

“Gatewood served as a constant reminder that we, the people, are still here and that individual freedom is worth fighting for at all costs,” wrote 2011 gubernatorial running-mate Dea Riley. “His hope was that Kentucky would shine as a model of how democracy worked.”

“Gatewood possessed incredible insight. He could see the truth and he educated us about liberty and the multipurpose utility of hemp. He taught Willie Nelson, me and many others about hemp seed oil as a biodiesel fuel. History will show he was ahead of his time,” said longtime friend D. Paul Stanford.

In 2012, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio are presently considering legislation to allow cannabis for medicinal use, or decriminalization of small amounts. Sixteen states already have similar laws in place.

Many patients in the Commonwealth of Kentucky would be helped by this change to the classification of marijuana. Hemp News encourages patients to create a grass roots movement behind this bill. Please contact Senator Perry B. Clark (D), Senate District 37, and let him know you support his effort to honor Gatewood. Now’s the time!

The Proposed Law: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/12RS/SB129.htm

Mailing Address
Senator Perry B. Clark
5716 New Cut Rd
Louisville KY 40214

Frankfort Address
Senator Perry B. Clark
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 255
Frankfort KY 40601

Phone Number(s)
Home: (502) 366-1247
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 715

Website: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislator/S037.htm

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Act

Written by:  Sheree Krider, Louisville, Kentucky

131 Letters and Emails Sent So Far

CLICK HERE TO GO TO PETITION

3:52 PM 2/1/2010
BE IT KNOWN that it is the intent of this "petition" to collect signatures to be submitted to the Kentucky Legislative body to enact a "bill" to authorize the use of MEDICAL MARIJUANA in the state of KENTUCKY.
This "BILL" will include but is not limited to the following constraints:
1. The "BILL" will enact a statutory mechanism to regulate and authorize the
medical use of Marijuana by "qualifying patients" who have a valid "registry
identification card" (i.e., a "registered qualifying patient") and permits any
qualifying patient to apply to the Department of Health or other entity as set
forth in the provisions of the "bill", for a registry card to be used under the mechanism,
with the application including a health care practitioner’s written certification stating
that the qualifying patient is likely to receive therapeutic or
palliative benefit from the medical use of Marijuana/Cannabis.
2. Defines a "qualifying patient" as a person who has been diagnosed by
a health care practitioner as having a debilitating medical condition.
3. Specifies certain Cannabis-related activities,
4. Permits a "primary caregiver" who is at least 21 years of age
to be registered as above.
5. Sets a time limit for approval or denial of an application.
6. Provides for the revocation of a registry card in specified circumstances.
7. Requires the "patient" or "caregiver" to maintain Cannabis/Marijuana plants
in an enclosed area out of public view.
8. Provides certain protections to a registered, qualifying patients and caregivers
related to their cardholder status, i.e., parental rights, employer’s, etc.,
9. Specifies that the mechanism DOES NOT REQUIRE:
a. a government medical assistance program or private health insurer
to bear the cost for this "medication".
b. an employer to accomodate the use of Cannabis/Marijuana in the
workplace, nor any employee working while impaired.
10. Imposes functions and duties upon the Department of Health (or other entity),
that relate to the medical use of Cannabis/Marijuana.
11. Establishes an "advisory council" to accept and consider petitions from the
public or physicians to consider the addition of debilitating illnesses.
12. Prohibits any person or government entity from disclosing any information
contained in an application for a registry identification card.
13. "Visiting patients" who have been documented in another state who come to
Kentucky on a limited basis shall be recognized as having complied with the law of Kentucky.
14. Specifies that POSSESSION OF OR APPLICATION FOR A REGISTRY IDENTIFICATION
CARD DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROBABLE CAUSE OR REASONABLE SUSPICION TO SEARCH OR
SEIZE THE PERSON OR PROPERTY OF THE PERSON POSSESSING OR APPLYING FOR THE CARD.
NO PERSON MAY BE SUBJECT TO ARREST, PROSECUTION, OR PENALTY OR BE DENIED ANY RIGHT
OR PRIVILEGE SOLELY FOR BEING WITH OR NEAR A REGISTERED PRIMARY CAREGIVER OR PATIENT.

medical-marijuana[1]

Tell the DEA to Lift the Veterans Affairs’ Ban on Medical Marijuana | Criminal Justice | Change.org

 

Tell the DEA to Lift the Veterans Affairs’ Ban on Medical Marijuana | Criminal Justice | Change.org

 

REV MARY

 

 

Touring the grounds of the Department of Veterans Affairs last October, Michelle Obama spoke with an air of reverence, saying that the nation’s veterans’ deserve "our unwavering support." It seems "so simple," she continued. "They deserve the care that they were promised, and they deserve the benefits that they earned."

That may be the case, but inside her husband’s administration, politics evidently trump the desire to provide U.S. veterans with the full spectrum of available care. The Drug Enforcement Agency is currently preventing the VA’s doctors from recommending medical marijuana to their patients — even in the 14 states where medical marijuana is legal. Any doctor who feels duty-bound to communicate the drugs’ benefits to former soldiers risks civil and criminal penalties, as well as a lost license.

Among all of the uses for medical marijuana — relief from nausea for people with cancer and HIV/AIDS and severe pain — its benefits for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder are among the best-studied and documented out there. The need, too, is overwhelming: According to 2008 figures, some 20% of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer the disorder, yet less than 10% of veterans with PTSD ever receive full treatment. Meanwhile as Marjorie Childress writes, veteran suicides have "skyrocketed;" since 2001, more veterans have committed suicide than have died in the combined combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

For veterans like Charlie, who was deployed in Afghanistan before being discharged in 2006 — and suffers from PTSD, as well as traumatic brain and back injuries and gastrointestinal problems — nothing has helped his pain so much as marijuana. While the VA had tried giving him six different antidepressants, lorazepam for his anxiety, two sleeping aids, a trio of medicines for stomach problems and Topomax and amyltriptomine for his migraines, it was marijuana, he says, that ultimately brought him relief. Unlike other medications, it didn’t reduce him to a "zombie," it didn’t make him feel constantly jittery or drunk, and it didn’t cause him to throw up.

Not surprisingly, in New Mexico — where medical marijuana is legal — the largest group of patients enrolled in the program are veterans. But for the many veterans who rely exclusively on the VA for their healthcare, the program remains off-limits.

Tell President Obama and Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to stop allowing the DEA to discourage former soldiers from receiving full treatment for combat injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Last week, over 9,000 Change.org members helped change CBS’s mind on a marijuana legalization ad. Let’s see if we can rally the same force here for U.S. veterans.

As Martin H. Chilcutt, veteran and founder of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, puts it, "Why would any level of government want to deny veterans the same opportunities as everyone else?"

Contact Judiciary Committee on HB214 TODAY!

 


To: compassionate-care@yahoogroups.com
From: alabamacompcare@yahoo.com
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 18:48:24 +0000
Subject: [compassionate-care] Contact Judiciary Committee on HB214 TODAY!

 

Contact Judiciary Committee on HB214

I’ve just sent the following letter to the members of the House Judiciary Committee regarding HB214, a bill that would allow those convicted of drug felonies to be eligible for food stamps and TANF when they get out of prison. Please take a moment and send one of you own or copy and paste mine if you like. Email addresses are below the letter. This bill is coming up in the Judiciary Committee tomorrow so please write TODAY!

Dear Member of the House Judiciary Committee,

I am writing today to ask for your support of HB214, which would allow those convicted of felony drug charges, who have served their time in prison, to be eligible for food stamps and TANF. Currently, under federal law, those convicted of drug offenses are the only persons denied food assistance. Child molesters, murderers and rapists are eligible for food assistance upon release from prison but not someoe whose crime involved taking a substance and not harming anyone else in the process.

When the laws keep people starving it raises the chances that they will resort to crime to in order to simply survive. If that happens they will go back to prison where it will cost taxpayers far more to house them for one year than it would have if we had enabled them to eat to begin with. This law also adversely affects children. Children have no control over what their parents might do, but under current law, they too, are denied food if their parents can’t get state assistance while they struggle with reentry and readjustment to society after spending time in prison.

Please do the compassionate, humane, Christian thing and pass this bill.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Loretta Nall

camjulward@aol.com
cengland1@hotmail.com,
jamie.ison@alhouse.org,
howard.sanderford@alhouse.org,
yusuf.salaam@alhouse.org,
spencer.collier@alhouse.org,
marcel.black@alhouse.org,
laura.hall@alhouse.org,
paul.demarco@alhouse.org,
priscilla.dunn@alhouse.org,
Tammy.Irons@alhouse.org,
marc.keahey@alhouse.org,
steve.mcmillan@alhouse.org,
charles.newton@alhouse.org,
john.robinson@alhouse.org

__._,_.___
.

__,_._,___


Your E-mail and More On-the-Go. Get Windows Live Hotmail Free. Sign up now.

Finally, Congress does something right!

 

MySpace.com: Read Bulletin

 

MM1

Dec 10, 2009 11:27 AM

Subject:
Great News From Congress!

Body:
This puts us so much closer to realizing the dreams of cannabis freedom for us and the liberation of the sacred cannabis plant. God must be smiling…. 😀
—————– Bulletin Message —————–
From: Jack & Jeannie Herer (71554350)
To: (85061957)
Date: 12/10/2009 8:22:37 AM
Subject: Great News From Congress!
U.S. House and Senate negotiators agreed on Tuesday on the final details of the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which contains at least three BIG victories for reformers:
* Washington, DC will finally be allowed to implement the medical marijuana initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in 1998 but has been blocked by Congress each year since then.
* Funding for the White House "drug czar’s" ad budget has been slashed by more than a third of its size last year. Studies have repeatedly shown that these ads actually cause teens to use more — not fewer — drugs.
* Washington, DC will be able to use federal funds to implement syringe exchange programs.
Here’s how Congressional appropriators themselves describe the news:
Removing Special Restrictions on the District of Columbia:…..Also allows the District to implement a referendum on use of marijuana for medical purposes as has been done in other states, allows use of Federal funds for needle exchange programs except in locations considered inappropriate by District authorities…

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: $45 million, $25 million below 2009 and the budget request, for a national ad campaign providing anti-drug messages directed at youth. Reductions were made in this program because of evaluations questioning its effectiveness. Part of the savings was redirected to other ONDCP drug-..abuse-..reduction programs.
Finally, some great news from Congress!
http:../../..copssaylegalize…..blogspot…com/..2009/..12/..great-..news-..from-..congress.html

Opinion: US Government Holds Patent For Medical Marijuana, Shows Hipocrisy

DIGITAL JOURNAL ONLINE 

Opinion: US Government Holds Patent For Medical Marijuana, Shows Hypocrisy

Opinion: US Government Holds Patent For Medical Marijuana, Shows Hipocrisy

By Michael Billy.

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Published Jul 7, 2008 by Michael Billy63 votes, 7 comments

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On the one hand, United States federal government officials have consistently denied that marijuana has any medical benefits. On the other, the government actually holds patents for the medical use of the plant.

Just check out US Patent 6630507 titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The patent claims that "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia."

The patent was obtained in October of 2003.

Cannabinoids, for those who were wondering, are a group of chemical compounds found in marijuana that are also referred to as terpenophenolic compounds. One specific cannabinoid compound found in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. This substance gives marijuana its psychoactive effects.

Photo by Ryan Bushby

Cannabis Sativa is the flower of a plant that is dried and smoked, vaporized, or ingested in food through cooking with canna-butter. When used the active chemical in the plant, thc, works in the brain causing the user to feel "high." This can be described and experienced in many different ways depending how it agrees or disagrees with the user. Most commonly effects are a feeling of a calm easy escape from the everyday stress on the mind, laughing, "munchies", as well as many other feelings.

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The US government may hold this patent, but that will not stop their officials from consistently denying the benefits of medical marijuana. An FDA spokesperson, for instance, has claimed that "smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment."

I guess she didn’t get the memo.

It makes you wonder why the U.S. government is so unwilling to admit that marijuana has some valid medical properties. It seems unlikely that there is a popularity issue, especially when 60% of Americans believe that doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana. Maybe there are some lobbyists or bigwig campaign contributors that would get a little upset.

Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical marijuana, and another part of the government approved that patent, it seems logical to conclude that the federal government knows that marijuana has some valid medical properties.

Now the hard part. How do we get them to admit it?

This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com

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