Patient Advocates File Appeal Brief In Federal Case To Reclassify Medical Marijuana with the DEA
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 26th 2012 by THCFinder
Washington, DC --(ENEWSPF)--January 26, 2012. The country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed an appeal brief today in the D.C. Circuit to compel the federal government to reclassify marijuana for medical use. In July 2011, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied a petition filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), which was denied only after the coalition sued the government for unreasonable delay. The ASA brief filed today is an appeal of the CRC rescheduling denial.
"By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that clearly shows the therapeutic value of marijuana, the Obama Administration is playing politics at the expense of sick and dying Americans," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed the appeal today. "For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government's flawed position on medical marijuana." Although two other rescheduling petitions have been filed since the establishment of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the merits of medical efficacy was reviewed only once by the courts in 1994.
The ASA appeal brief asserts that the federal government acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its efforts to deny marijuana to millions of patients throughout the United States. ASA argues in the brief that the DEA has no "license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case." ASA is urging the court to "require the DEA to analyze the scientific data evenhandedly," and order "a hearing and findings based on the scientific record."
Patient advocates argue that by failing to reclassify marijuana, the federal government has stifled meaningful research into a wide array of therapeutic uses, such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea suppression, and spasticity control among many other benefits. In 1988, the government ignored the ruling of its own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young who said that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
Kansans Call For Legalization Of Medical Marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 25th 2012 by THCFinder
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - "Support safe medicine," the signs said. "We would like safe access to medical marijuana," Esau Freeman shouted.
"Oh I'm very upset," Freeman said. "I feel like these legislators are being obstructionists, they're dragging their feet," he said.
Freeman, a member of MedCanKan.org, was just one of about 20 activists in a small, but passionate crowd gathered at 914 SW Harrison Street to support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.
The rally was organized by the Kannabis Project, a political action committee "to reform cannabis laws in Kansas" - just ahead of an hearing on the issue inside the Docking State Office Building.
The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act, or HB 2330 received an informational hearing Tuesday in the House Health and Human Services Committee - after it languished in the House for a year.
Time, organizers say, could mean life or death for a patient.
"My mother developed terrible psoriasis and arthritis, and I encouraged her to use it," he said, referring to cannabis . "And she felt like the law was the law, and she didn't use it and she was prescribed FDA-approved drugs - which actually killed her," he said.
HB 2330, introduced by Rep. Gayle Finney of Wichita, would legalize marijuana use for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions, served by designated care centers.
Advocates say cannabis reduces pain, moderates nausea and increases appetite among people suffering from cancer, aids, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis c and other maladies.
But the measure has made little headway since Finney introduced it last year.
Committee chairwoman Brenda Landwehr had walked out of a hearing on a similar bill two years ago.
"We'd like for [the committee] to actually have a real hearing, listen to this honest and fair debate about it, have a discussion about it. And then get this bill out of the committee and move it to the floor," she said.
Opponents of medical marijuana say that's the wrong place to decide on a medical issue.
"Marijuana is not a medicine," Dr. Eric Voth, an addiction specialist at Stormont-Vail Healthcare, said. "It's very impure, it's very unreliable. And to vote to make something a medicine, bypasses the FDA and it creates something by popular vote," he said.
"And that is a very serious thing we should not embrace." Voth also serves as chairman of the Institute on Global Drug Policy.
Freeman says that though medical marijuana doesn't cure, his mother would have avoided the drug that killed her.
"I think that if she hadn't taken that risk with an FDA-approved medicine, she'd still be here today to play with my daughter," he said.
California Supreme Court to rule on medical marijuana tiff
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, January, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
The issue of whether cities and counties in the state of California can ban medical marijuana stores - as some have done - will be reviewed by the California Supreme Court. But don't hold your breath as the ruling is as long as 2 years down the road.
The state's supreme court held closed door sessions last week and made the decision they would review rulings made by lower appeals California courts. This makes lower court decisions that have gone against medical marijuana stores are now put on hold until such time as the Supreme Court makes a ruling.
The chief counsel for a medical marijuana advocacy group called 'Americans for Safe Access', Joe Elford, told media after the Supreme Court decision that patients have been harmed by the lower court decisions and he applauded the higher courts decisions to review them.
"These cases were very problematic for patients and their ability to safely and legally access a medication that works for them," Elford said. "We're very pleased that local governments will now be unable to use appellate court decisions to deny patients access to medical marijuana in their own communities."
Supreme Court to look at two marijuana issues:
The court said there are two issues they will review. There have been rulings in California in which cities and counties have ruled against medical marijuana stores and sought to shut them down. For example, in L.A. due to lower court rulings the city was planning to bar all medical marijuana dispensaries.
The Supreme Court will also look at the state and Federal government remaining at loggerheads, with state law allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, and federal saying marijuana is not legal, period. The state legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the first state in the U.S. to do so.
There are now 16 states and DC in which the use of marijuana is permitted with the recommendation of a doctor, the latest state to join the list is Delaware last year. Medical marijuana is also legal in Canada and other countries.
No timeline for the review as yet been announced.
Medical Marijuana Reduces Traffic Deaths
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 19th 2012 by THCFinder
Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes can mean fewer drunk drivers on the road, and fewer traffic deaths, according to a new study.
Researchers from universities in Colorado, Oregon and Montana reviewed accident statistics from 1990 to 2009, including those states that had adopted medicinal marijuana laws and those that hadn't. To date, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.
States where marijuana can be purchased legally with a prescription experienced 9% fewer traffic fatalities, "most likely as a result of its impact on alcohol consumption by young adults," the researchers wrote in their report. They cite data from the Beer Institute that beer sales fall after medical marijuana laws take effect.
In other words, medical marijuana is allowing some young people easier opportunities to get high instead of drunk, thus lowering the risk of DUIs and accidents, supporters of legalization contend. The researchers posit several explanations for the reduced death rate. For one thing, driver simulation tests show that drivers under the influence of alcohol have less control than those under the influence of marijuana. Also, because marijuana is more likely to be smoked in private, whereas alcohol is consumed in bars and restaurants, marijuana users are more likely to choose a designated driver.
Medical Marijuana: the Best and Safest Pain Killer Compared to Oxycontin and more
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 18th 2012 by THCFinder
Dr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
I had 5,000 or so patients with 70% complaining of severe pain, who found relief with Mairjuana.
Marijuana treats pain and has never caused a death...
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - I presume that a few people will disagree with my thesis. I will admit to a few exceptions and I will address them later.
For my own review, I pulled up the standard doses of the opiates, (from opium) and the opioids, not from opium but totally synthetic. I’m going to dismiss Codeine, an opiate which is lightly used any more in doses from 15 to 120mg but which is severely constipating and has many other intolerable side effects.
I will base my discussion on Morphine which is the standard pain killer with a usual dose of 10mg sometimes lower. The big “daddies” are Hydrocodone dose of about 20mg but soon to be long acting at about 40mg per dose; Oxycodone dose is about 15mg but has a long acting dose from around 40mg; Heroin dose is around 4.0mg but Heroin addicts frequently take 10 times more; Hydromorphone is not common with a dose of about 2.0mg.
All of these cause severe constipation and addiction and many other adverse side effects but some are much worse than others.
The Opioids, those not from Opium but totally synthetic are Meperidine or Demerol with a dose of about 50mg which is presumed to be about equal to Morphine in the dose of 10mg; Methadone has a dose of about 3.0mg; Fentanyl in a dose of about 0.2mg compared to Morphine.
It is important to note that with long term use all of the above drugs cause tolerance or the requirement for increasing doses for the same relief. I have left out some of both classes, Opiate and Opioid because they seem to be rarely used.
We will soon be having more long acting, more addicting, more lethal drugs like Oxycontin. Drug overdoses and deaths mostly from this later type of drug approached 37,000 deaths in 2009.
I first was introduced to the Opioid painkiller, Demerol, when I started my medical practice, for migraines. I could tell from my patients apparent suffering that it was severe and I thought Morphine might be best. I was advised by my betters that Demerol with a brain blood vessel relaxing action would be better. It was!
On Nov. 18, 2010 I posted Marijuana: Miracle Pain Killer in salem-news.com lightly covering this subject. It received 10 comments. On March 2, 2009 I posted Marijuana vs. Morphine drugs on salem-news.com after I heard that Marijuana was extremely useful for severe pain. On Feb. 13, 2009 I posted Marijuana vs. Anti-depressants. I received 35 comments many advising me that Marijuana was excellent therapy for pain with minimal adverse effects.
One of my biggest surprises in preparing this posting was to see that Marijuana was/is used together with drugs like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone for severe pain and otherwise. This may be one of the exceptions for Marijuana being equal to or better than Opiates. Some extreme pain requires surgical severing of the pain nerve. Transcutaneoous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (T.E.N.S.) may be another option. I still say that with my 5000 or so patients with 70% complaining of severe pain having found relief with Mairjuana and most were able to stop the narcotics.
My experience and that of several thousands of physicians indicate that Marijuana works well for 150,000 Medical Marijuana patients for about 70% of those requesting permits for pain. It also works well for the 30% who have muscle spasms and the 20% of those who have nausea and vomiting for patients with Cancer or HIV or the medications for them.
CBS News had a recent story on the use of Marijuana in the various 17 legal states in 2009. Delaware had 11.86% of people using Marijuana and it went up to 16.29% for Alaska. The overall percentage for use in the U.S. was about 9%. In Australia and New Zealand it was up to about 20%.
Washington changing up marijuana laws
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
This could be a step forward for medical marijuana patients and community over the long haul.
THE Legislature is about to get another medical-marijuana bill. It is a necessary bill.
The medical-cannabis regime in Washington — "cannabis" is the official name now — was left in chaos last year by the Obama administration's threat to prosecute state employees who licensed any cannabis business.
The Obama people didn't say they would arrest state employees, and they haven't done it elsewhere. But their threat was enough for Gov. Chris Gregoire to veto much of the bill.
What survived was "collective gardens" — small grows by patients and their providers. But dispensaries — the shops — were in limbo.
Spokane, which on this issue is located somewhere in cultural Idaho, shut its dispensaries down with raids by police. We are told dispensaries remain open in Mukilteo, Shoreline, Seattle, Issaquah, Kent, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Lacey, Olympia and Castle Rock.
That is not enough. Cannabis has proven medical value, and some of the patients who want it live east of the mountains. They ought to be able to buy it. (We believe all people over 21 ought to be able to buy it, but that is another matter.)
The new bill, by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, allows nonprofit (but taxable) cannabis dispensaries by local option. For counties of more than 200,000 — Whatcom, Snohomish, Kitsap, King, Pierce, Thurston, Clark, Yakima and Spokane — the bill would allow dispensaries unless a local jurisdiction opted out. In the other 30 counties, jurisdictions would be out unless they opted in.
The bill also sets up a voluntary statewide registry to give patients protection from arrest, which was vetoed in last year's bill. It also says a conviction for driving under the influence requires actual impairment, not only a blood test, because traces of cannabis may stay in the blood for days.
Gregoire's office has seen the draft bill and a representative says that in its present form the governor probably could sign it. That would be a step forward on a long road.
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