Federal Prosecutor Calls Michigan Medical Marijuana a Ruse for Grow Operation
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Courtade has some interesting things to say about two medical marijuana growers in Michigan.
Speaking about Lloyd Thomas Martin and Ronald Andrew Jach, two men alleging selective prosecution, and who are asking that charges of conspiracy to manufacture 100 marijuana plants be dismissed, Courtade saying in a court filing, “Defendants bought marijuana patient cards illicitly in a ruse to claim, when they were inevitably arrested, that they were growing marijuana in accordance with Michigan law.”
“This farce is one of the driving reasons behind the government’s filing Motions in Limine to preclude defendants from raising any (medical marijuana) defense,“ Courtade wrote.
The defendants’ attorney says the two men are just “ordinary people” with medical marijuana cards, but the feds say they sold marijuana to undercover agents.
“Securing the (medical marijuana) cards was done with laughable ease and in violation of the spirit and intent of the Michigan law,” Courtade said.
He said the men grew and possessed far more marijuana than would be allowed. Martin, Courtade wrote, told police that he sold marijuana to those with and without medical marijuana cards, but mostly sold to dispensaries, earning at least $250,000.
“Simply put, defendants were charged because the government believes that they are guilty of violating federal laws dealing with the manufacture and distribution of controlled substances and that they have no viable defense to the charges.”
There is probably more to this story, but assuming the men were illegally selling marijuana under state law 1) Why weren’t state authorities handling it? And 2) Why can’t medical marijuana be used in the defense of those with cards? If they are violating state law, it wouldn’t matter if they had a card or not, and it wouldn’t matter if the fact that they had a card was brought up in court.
New Research Backing up Medical Marijuana
While the federal government says marijuana has no medicinal value and does its best to stifle research, the state of California has spent nearly $9 million studying the effects of medical cannabis.
But after about a dozen years, things are coming to an end as the budget for these studies is drying up.
The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in California — established by the Legislature to find out if marijuana has therapeutic value — has now all but completed America’s most comprehensive studies into the efficacy of pot.
And what did they find?
A myriad of areas of study were researched, and marijuana was found to provide pain relief for those with HIV/AIDS and other painful ailments, plus the “Volcano” Vaporizer was found to deliver a healthier form of cannabis. Those are just some of the 300 subjects researched since the Center was established in 1999.
“Every one of the studies showed a benefit,” said Dr. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist who served as director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. “The convergence of evidence makes me convinced there is a medical benefit here and there may be a niche for cannabis.”
Dr. Grant says the federal government scheduling of marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD and claiming it has no medical value “is completely at odds with the existing science.”
“It is intellectually dishonest to say it has no value whatsoever, because it’s just not true,” he said.
Dr. Donald Abrams at UC San Francisco and Dr. Ronald Ellis at UC San Diego knew AIDS and HIV patients with nerve damage were treating themselves with cannabis to quell shooting pains, so they sought to find out.
In separate clinical trials between 2002 and 2006, Abrams and Ellis found that patients infected with HIV got marked pain relief from pot — even on top of prescription pain medications.
In May, a published study by Jody Corey-Bloom, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego, reported that 30 patients smoking marijuana got noticeable relief from painful spasticity.
Marijuana has obvious medical benefits, and it’s time the federal government reschedules cannabis and allows full-blown research nationwide.
Researchers in AZ Say Marijuana Not Effective for a Range of Issues; What are they Smoking?
As health department officials in Arizona consider adding more ailments to the list of those qualified for medical marijuana (http://www.thcfinder.com), a new study from researchers at the University of Arizona are saying that there is little or no evidence that marijuana helps with the new conditions to be added.
The researchers, working for the state Department of Health Services, which oversees the state's medical-marijuana program, reviewed dozens of scientific studies related to marijuana use for the four medical conditions - anxiety, migraines, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder - and determined that most of the research was of little value in deducing the medicinal risks and benefits.
"The key question for us is: Do the benefits outweigh the risks?" said Will Humble, state health director. "And there's just not that much research in this area to help form our policy decisions."
It’s true that research is important, but we must always remember that these decisions affect real people, and aren’t just a bunch of lab results. Will Humble will be making the decision on adding the four ailments, and it seems as though he is taking all things into account, including personal testimony and reviews of documents submitted by people who want to expand the medical-marijuana program.
It is very accurate to say that more research needs to be done on marijuana and its medical properties; there is likely so much more the cannabis plant can do. But while the federal government drags its feet and delays such research, real people are suffering from real ailments and they get real relief from marijuana.
Beyond that, you have to wonder what studies these researchers were looking at, because there are many studies that point to marijuana’s efficacy with these ailments that can be found with a simple Google search.
Medical Marijuanas 78-Year-Old Billionaire Supporter
The main financial backer of the ballot measure in Massachusetts to legalize medicinal marijuana is 78-year old billionaire and former chairman of Progressive Insurance, Peter Lewis.
Lewis has given $525,000 to the campaign behind the measure in MA, and has given an estimated $40 million to marijuana law reform measures nationwide.
Lewis says he was a recreational marijuana smoker earlier in his life, but after an infection took his lower left leg, he realized firsthand the value of marijuana as a pain killer. On his experience in the hospital dealing with the pain, Lewis writes, “I was very glad I had marijuana. It didn’t exactly eliminate the pain, but it made the pain tolerable — and it let me avoid those heavy-duty narcotic pain relievers that leave you incapacitated.”
In 2012 alone Lewis has donated to reform efforts in Washington, Colorado, and his home state of Ohio.
The reason the propaganda against marijuana has been so successful is the money behind it. From William Randolph Hearst’s smear campaign against marijuana in the 1930’s to the alcohol and pharmaceutical companies funding the drug-free America campaigns in modern times, there have always been rich people looking to profit off of marijuana prohibition.
But here is a rich man using his money to actually bring about political change that will help millions of people, millions of sick people.
Simply put, the medical marijuana movement needs more money behind it. Political campaigns cannot be effective without money, for signature gathering all the way to getting out the vote on Election Day.
Elected officials on all levels would be more amenable to look into the medical marijuana issue if they were getting campaign money from MMJ supporters like Peter Lewis. This is why medical marijuana support in places like the U.S. Congress lags so far behind public polls; money.
A Big Mistake In Obama's War on Medical Marijuana
SAN FRANCISCO -- An Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that has been billed as the largest pot shop on the planet has been targeted for closure by federal prosecutors in Northern California, suggesting that a crackdown on the state's medical marijuana industry remains well under way.
I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state's medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need. - U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag
Arizona Considers Adding more Ailments to MMJ Qualifying List
Voters in Arizona approved medical marijuana in the fall of 2010, and after the Governor’s stalling, medical marijuana dispensaries are finally starting to open across the state. Now advocates are looking to capitalize on their momentum by getting more ailments adding to the medical marijuana qualifying list, thereby adding more patients that can legally be helped.
Arizona health officials are considering adding post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and migraines to a list that currently includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig's disease, Crohn's disease or Alzheimer's disease.
Ingrid Joya runs Elements Caregivers Collective, a medical-marijuana caregiver collective in northeast Phoenix, and she is excited about the prospect of helping more people. “I absolutely think the program should be expanded,” she said. “We were one of the co-sponsors of the PTSD application. The state didn't touch on any mental-health issues. And I think with PTSD, there's enough data and research that suggests marijuana can work very effectively on it. When you think of how marijuana works as a blocker in the brain, it makes sense that it would work with PTSD because most people suffering from it are reliving those memories.”
But Carolyn Short, chairwoman of Keep Arizona Drug Free, is against every aspect of the MMJ law. “I think they should voluntarily get rid of it before the federal government comes into the state and shuts it down,” Carolyn opined. “It's illegal. It's an unconstitutional law that is going to get struck down, and I think we're wasting a whole lot of time. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal to use, grow or sell. There is no exception for marijuana sold for so-called medical marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.”
While Carolyn’s bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired, she has somewhat of a point when it comes to the feds. The Department of Justice is dead-set against medical marijuana and they have the muscle to back up their threats. It’s only a matter of time before Arizona becomes a target.
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