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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Is on Your Ballot

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, October, 25th 2012 by THCFinder
In a little over a week, we the voters will elect representatives who will make momentous, sometimes life-or-death decisions on our behalf. As a patient and advocate of medical marijuana, I am motivated this election by strong, bipartisan support for this medicine -- up to 80 percent in recent polls. If you are part of the majority of Americans who support cannabis access for medical purposes, you don't need to be in the three states with an initiative on the ballot to weigh in. My organization, Americans for Safe Access, has created a tool that allows you to make your vote for Congress a vote for medical marijuana, by grading members of Congress on their record on this issue: VoteMedicalMarijuana.org.
 
Based on their record since 1997, VoteMedicalMarijuana.org grades Members of Congress up for reelection on a pass/fail basis. Those who have generally voted for access to medical cannabis pass, and those who generally vote against it fail. For example, the 72 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans who voted this May in favor of de-funding Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids in medical cannabis states pass, and those who voted against it, fail. VoteMedicalMarijuana.org also identifies key champions of medical marijuana with the "honor roll" distinction, reserved for co-sponsors of important legislation that protects state medical marijuana laws.
 
Our Congressional Representatives are our voice in Washington. By voting for representatives who favor access, you are shaping public policy. In just the last two years, medical marijuana supporters have been key to statewide races, defeating Steve Cooley in his race for Attorney General in California, and electing Ellen Rosenblum as Attorney General of Oregon. Since Congress holds the key to granting medical cannabis access nationwide, supporters need to know whether or not their representative is on their side.
 
You may have read about the federal lawsuit ASA v DEA that was recently heard by the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. We are excited and optimistic that the courts will recognize the medical value of marijuana and force the government to properly reclassify it. Once this is achieved, Congress can get to work on developing the comprehensive public health policy that every patient deserves. It is Congress that funds the aggressive federal enforcement campaigns against state law-abiding medical cannabis facilities. And it is Congress that has the power to let patients use a currently prohibited "medical marijuana" defense in federal criminal trials. Your vote for your Congressperson -- and every American outside of my hometown of D.C. has one -- can be a vote for a sensible medical marijuana policy.
 
If you care about medical cannabis access, please visit VoteMedicaMarijuana.org before you cast your vote. This information is based on the Congressional record, but it is not comprehensive. If you don't see your Congressional, State Legislature or City Council race on this list, we invite you to ask the candidates yourself, and share their responses with us.
 
Voters in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Montana have the opportunity to vote for state medical marijuana laws, but voters in every state can and should weigh in on medical marijuana policy. Don't let your vote be ignored, and Vote Medical Marijuana on November 6th!
 
 

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Doctors Oppose Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, October, 24th 2012 by THCFinder
"The pill form of cannabis is already available, but it is infrequently prescribed by palliative medicine physicians because it is an inferior medicine compared to other choices."    
 
When will these doctors learn that you can't beat nature! Trying to compare synthesized cannabis to natural cannabis is just stupid.
 
A group of Little Rock doctors have announced their opposition to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act.   
 
Dr. David E. Smith, a Palliative Care physician at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock says, " State of the art Palliative Care does not 
 
support the use of smoked marijuana as desirable treatment for relief of pain or suffering.  I help patients deal with pain, suffering, and death every day.  I want everyone in Arkansas to know that  so called ‘medical' marijuana is not a  scientifically validated way to relieve suffering." .  
 
Dr. Smith went on to say that he and his group are urging Arkansans to vote against Issue 5, the Arkansas  Medical Marijuana Act.  "I can think of no reason for using smoked marijuana as medicine," Smith said.  "The pill form of cannabis is already available, but it is infrequently prescribed by palliative medicine physicians because it is an inferior medicine compared to other choices."    
 
Several Arkansas organizations have recently gone on record against medical marijuana.  These include the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Sheriffs' Association, the Arkansas Association  of Chiefs of Police, and State Drug Director Fran Flener. 
 
 

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Montana Supreme Court won't revisit marijuana ruling

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, October, 24th 2012 by THCFinder
HELENA — The Montana Supreme Court has denied a request by medical marijuana advocates to revisit its ruling last month that there is no constitutional right to access the drug.
 
The decision lifted a lower court judge’s block of portions of a 2011 law that prohibited marijuana providers from receiving compensation or anything of value for their services and limited them to three registered users each.
 
The Montana Cannabis Industry Association filed a petition for rehearing, which the state’s high court denied Tuesday.
 
Association president Chris Lindsey says the group will seek another injunction blocking portions of the law.
 
Voters also are being asked in the Nov. 6 election to either uphold the 2011 changes or to return to the original medical marijuana law approved by initiative in 2004.
 
 

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Federal Medical Marijuana Policy Harmful to Patients

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
Appeals court issued rare order last week for supplemental briefing on "standing" in landmark federal case
 
Washington, D.C. -- Less than a week after oral arguments in the landmark federal case to reclassify marijuana for medical use, the plaintiffs filed an additional brief late yesterday at the request of the court. In the case Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, the D.C. Circuit issued an order last week seeking details on the harm sustained by plaintiff and disabled U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Krawitz as a result of the federal government's policy on medical marijuana.
 
The federal appeals court will use this additional briefing to decide whether the plaintiffs have legal "standing" to bring such a lawsuit against the government. The lawsuit argues that the government has acted arbitrarily and capriciously by keeping marijuana classified as a Schedule I substance, a dangerous drug with no medical value. By ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence, ASA argues that the federal government has kept marijuana out of reach for millions of Americans who would otherwise benefit from its therapeutic value.
 
"The court's request for clarification is a sign that this case is being taken very seriously," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the attorney who is arguing before the D.C. Circuit. "The experience of plaintiff Michael Krawitz being denied treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs is real and emblematic of many other patients caught up in the federal government's harmful policy on medical marijuana." According to Krawitz, his denial of Veterans Affairs (VA) treatment has forced him to "expend significant economic and other resources to be treated by an Oregon physician outside the VA system, which I pay for on my own."
 
The brief filed yesterday by ASA argues that, "The injuries suffered by Krawitz are caused by marijuana's placement in Schedule I and would be redressed by a favorable decision in this case." Specifically, the brief states that Krawitz was "denied prescription pain medication for a time and compelled to this day to seek pain treatment outside the VA system because he refused to sign a VA pain contract that would require him to abstain from the use of medical marijuana."
 
Legal "standing" is where the courts consider the harm endured by the plaintiffs. If standing is satisfied, the court can then rule on the merits of a case. The previous legal challenge to the classification of marijuana was rejected by the D.C. Circuit in 2002 because of inadequate standing, however no actual medical marijuana patients were part of that case. Not only are there several patient plaintiffs in the current legal challenge, but ASA is also alleging harm by having to counter political rhetoric with scientific information.
 
 

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Medical Marijuana Act on Nov. ballot for Arkansas

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
The act makes marijuana legal for medical use under state law while still acknowledging that marijuana use, possession and distribution for any purpose is illegal under federal law.
 
To do so, the act establishes a cultivation, acquisition and distribution system for qualifying patients through nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, which have limited immunity. There would be registration and operation requirements for the dispensaries, with limits set on the amount of marijuana each dispensary cultivated and dispensed.
 
According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Public Policy Center, no more than one dispensary registration certificate can be issued for every 25 pharmacies with a pharmacy permit from the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy. There are 761 retail pharmacies licensed in the state, according to the Arkansas Pharmacies Association.
 
Patients and caregivers who qualify could receive limited authorization to cultivate marijuana if the patient lives more than five miles from the closest dispensary.
 
The act also establishes an initial list of qualifying medical conditions, and qualified patients who have a doctor’s written certification, designated caregivers and the nonprofit dispensary agents would not be subject to criminal or civil penalties for this use. It does not protect these citizens from federal law.
 
According to the Public Policy Center, medical marijuana would not be allowed for use in public places, schools, community centers, on public transportation or in correctional facilities. It would also prohibit driving a motor vehicle, aircraft or watercraft under the influence.
The act defines three categories of qualifying medical conditions. The first includes cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette’s disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease or the treatment of these conditions.
 
“The second category is defined as ‘a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or Wasting Syndrome; peripheral neuropathy; intractable pain, which is pain that has not responded to ordinary medications, treatment or surgical measures for more than six months; severe nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of Epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis,” the fact sheet said.
The Arkansas Department of Health is authorized to add additional qualifying medical conditions, which is the third category. It would also establish applications rules for Registry Identification Cards, of operating nonprofit dispensaries and the addition of qualifying medical conditions if necessary.
 
The department would also set standards to ensure confidentiality and to provide Legislature annual quantitative reports about the program.
 
California was the first state to pass a medical marijuana law. It passed in 1996 and, since then, 16 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws. Massachusetts is the only other state with the medical marijuana law on this year’s ballot.
 

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Marijuana Initiative 502 a tough sell in Eastern Washington

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, October, 22nd 2012 by THCFinder
On a rainy Sunday in downtown Spokane, Rick Steves jumped on stage to evangelize for marijuana legalization.
 
The audience, at the Bing Crosby Theater, was not filled with the usual suspects for a pot rally. White-shoe attorneys sat near ministers. A grandmother, wearing a button opposing gay marriage, quietly feared for the grandson she says might be lost to the stuff.
 
Steves, the travel author and TV host with folksy charm, said he once was afraid to advocate for marijuana legalization in public, and so appeared as "Jerry" on a Seattle radio show about pot. Not anymore. "I feel like we are on the side of truth here," Steves told the crowd.
 
Steves' appearance was part of a traveling roadshow through red-state Washington on behalf of Initiative 502, which seeks to legalize marijuana. Conceived with Seattle sensibilities, the campaign must also appeal to values on the other side of the Cascade curtain to win on Nov. 6.
 
The campaign message in the 509 area code weaves conservative and libertarian themes into a liberal idea: Spend less to enforce low-level drug crimes and respect private adult conduct.
 
"Remember, it's not pro-pot; it's anti-pot-prohibition," Steves told the audience.
 
It's a tough sell, in part because as some voters said last week, they assume use would rise, and are uncomfortable with the idea of a state awash in legal pot.
 
A new poll of registered voters by the University of Washington finds I-502 winning statewide, 51 percent to 41 percent, thanks largely to strong support around Puget Sound. But in Eastern Washington, the measure trails with just 41 percent favoring it and 53 percent saying no.
 
Business leaders in the region have been mostly silent, but police have not.
 
In Yakima County, a hub for marijuana trafficking from Mexico as well as outdoor growing, Sheriff Ken Irwin is offended by what he sees as "hollow" arguments for I-502, which he believes would encourage drug use, especially among kids.
 
Mostly, he scoffs at I-502's argument that a legalized market would kneecap gangs controlling the marijuana black market.
 
"To think that by legalizing marijuana, the cartels would be out of business is just naive and absurd," Irwin said. "Criminals are criminals. They would find a way to undercut the price."
 
 

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