Medical Marijuana Patients are Voters Too
Steph Shearer is the Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access and she recently wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post about her disappointment with President Obama and his medical marijuana policy. She describes the high hopes she, and many others, started with when it came to Barack Obama.
“As Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA),” she writes, “I was ecstatic to be shedding the dark days of the Bush Administration's war on medical cannabis patients. As a patient myself, I felt counted and part of the Change that would be coming to Washington, and I was proud to support and volunteer for Barack Obama's victorious campaign.
“For his 2008 campaign, I donated money, I went to rallies to show support, I knocked on doors in VA, and on election night I joined thousands in D.C. who descended on the White House to celebrate and sing ‘Na, Na, Na, Na, Good bye’ to President Bush. I went to sleep that night excited about a new direction for this country that would include me as a recognized medical cannabis patient.”
Things even looked promising as Obama’s Administration began. Then things turned in a bad direction.
“In fewer than four years of President Obama,” she says, “we have seen more raids on dispensaries than during the Bush Administration's entire eight-year tenure. The Obama Administration has taken property from landlords, threatened local officials, forced the release of patient records, used the Internal Revenue Service to bankrupt legitimate dispensaries, told banks to purge medical cannabis clients, evicted patients from low-income housing and denied a petition to recognize the well-established medical value of cannabis.”
So where does that leave medical marijuana patients? Does a second Obama term hold any hope for them? Will Obama come back to the progressive stance he started with?
Marijuana helps seniors in South Florida see pain go up in smoke
Treating Emphysema/COPD with Medical Cannabis
Everyday millions of people in the U.S. alone make the choice to avoid dangerous and addictive prescription drugs as much as possible and instead treat their ailments with a non-toxic herb; the cannabis plant.
Whether legal or not in the state they are in, they choose medical marijuana over what the pharmaceutical companies and most doctors will try to force on them. One such patient is interviewed in-depth in the video below. Vey Linville, a medical marijuana patient and double lung transplant candidate, discusses using marijuana to treat his severe emphysema and tells the truth about dispensaries in San Diego, the recent federal crackdown in California, and his efforts in Imperial Beach.
He talks about the myriad of medications doctors had him on, at one point totaling 16 different prescriptions.
Why can’t people be allowed the choice of cannabis? Are the people running the pharmaceutical companies that heartless and greedy for money? Or do they actually believe the deadly garbage they churn out is better and healthier than marijuana?
When medical marijuana is available to everyone, we will look back on these days and marvel at the ignorance of marijuana prohibition and the damage it did to so many.
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.
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