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.
Oregon Ends Medical Marijuana Deductions for Food Stamp Eligibility
Last week we told you (http://www.thcfinder.com)about the state of Oregon allowing medical marijuana expenses to be deducted when calculating whether or not someone is eligible for food stamp benefits. It seemed like a rather enlightened view for a state government to take. So you can guess what happened next.
The federal government has stepped and and told Oregon – as well as Maine and New Mexico – that they can no longer do this, or they will face sanctions.
In Oregon deducting medical marijuana expenses from your income for food stamps has been the practice since voters legalized medical cannabis in 1998. But the recent media coverage alerted the feds, who decided this was unacceptable.
"It's a sad day when we have to see this kind of retreat based on what appears to be federal pressure and federal intimidation," said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "It makes one wonder when the federal government is going to come around and realize this is indeed a public health issue and address the problem accordingly. It's a problem only in the sense that the federal government is creating the problem."
Obama and his underlings talk about public health and not wanting to hurt patients all the time, but who else could this hurt but patients in these three states? Where is their healthcare? Where is their hope and change?
"States that currently allow for the deduction of medical marijuana must cease this practice immediately and make any necessary corrections to their state policy manuals and instructions," wrote Lizbeth Silbermann, director of the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service's program development division.
"States that are not in compliance may face penalties for any overissuance of SNAP benefits," she wrote.
Cost of Medical Marijuana can be Deducted from Income for Food Stamp Eligibility in Oregon
While some states want to test food stamp recipients for marijuana and kick them off the rolls if they test positive, the state of Oregon actually lets medical marijuana patients deduct their medicine from their income when determining eligibility for food stamps.
In Oregon, seniors and those who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance to deduct medical costs such as prescription drugs when submitting income information to see if they are eligible for food stamps.
"Medical marijuana gets treated just like any other prescription drug," said Gene Evans, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Included in “medical marijuana costs” are the fees for obtaining a state-issued medical marijuana card, expenses incurred while growing marijuana and the costs of purchasing it from another grower.
But of course the federal government does not condone such practices.
"No state may deduct the cost of any substance considered illegal under federal law, including medical marijuana," the U.S. Department of Agriculture wrote in response to the Oregonian. "Although there may be state or local laws that permit the cultivation, prescription, and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes, such activity is not permitted under federal law."
Medical marijuana growers in Oregon can also get reduced fees if they can prove they are on foodstamps.
It seems Maine and New Mexico both have similar language in their medical cannabis laws when it comes to the deduction of medical marijuana expenses.
This is still a very new concept of course, but someday marijuana will be treated like any other medication across the country. After all, why should you get to deduct Percocet or Valium expenses and not marijuana if you are a legal patient in your state?
It’s time to stop discrimination of medical marijuana patients.
Wasting Time on the Oregon-Idaho Border
In 1998 voters in Oregon legalized medical marijuana, and one of the provisions of the law is that you don’t have to live in Oregon to get a medical marijuana card in that state, as long as you have the recommendation of an Oregon doctor.
As you can imagine, this draws patients from the only state that borders Oregon and doesn’t have medicinal cannabis – Idaho. But when those who get medical marijuana from Oregon come back into Idaho, they become a criminal as Idaho doesn’t recognize medical marijuana cards from other states.
To many of us, this doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal to Idaho law enforcement, just some people with baggies of plant matter.
Idaho State Trooper David Kosmecki is known in the state for making more DUI arrests than any other trooper. And he would rather be pulling over drunk drivers than people who got cannabis in Oregon because, as he says, drunks kill people.
“I’d take a drunk over a pound of dope any day of the week,” Klitch said.
According to records, only 196 people in Idaho have medical marijuana cards from Oregon, and most of those people got their card from the 45th Parallel marijuana cooperative in Ontario, Oregon, about 5 miles from the Idaho border. Bill Esbensen is one of the founders of the cooperative.
“We have oncologists all over the state of Idaho and other states sending patients to our clinic,” Esbensen said. “They’re afraid to speak out in their state, but they’re willing to send them over here.”
Doctors “afraid” to speak out on matters of medicine? Matters they are legally considered experts in? Is that what passes for health care in the majority of the U.S.?
And all because of the lies and propaganda spread about an amazing plant.
Mieko Hester Perez Receives Evelyn DuPont Award for her Work with Autism
If you are familiar with the name Mieko Hester Perez, it’s likely because of a series of news stories done on her and her autistic son, Joey. Mieko says her son was hostile and literally wasting away before her eyes – until she began feeding him cannabis brownies with a doctor’s recommendation.
Within weeks Joey was alert and gaining weight. Mieko believes cannabis saved her son’s life.
There are some that call it controversial, but what’s controversial about saving a child’s life?
Recently Mieko received the 2012 Evelyn DuPont Community Service Award for her ongoing support for special needs families through her foundation, The Unconventional Foundation for Autism. The award was presented at a dinner at the California Aquatic Therapy & Wellness Center in Long Beach, CA.
Mieko is a mom who stepped up for her son when all his options had run out. That is the essence of being a strong parent. She was willing to do anything to save her son’s life, including fighting through the propaganda about cannabis to find relief for her child. She found more than relief; she gave him his life for a second time.
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