Federal Court Denies Lawsuit Claiming Marijuanas Medical Benefits
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 29th 2013 by THCFinder
Preserving the main legal barrier to medical marijuana, a federal appeals court on Jan. 22 rejected a lawsuit intended to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to move marijuana out of Schedule I, the federal law that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug with no valid medical use.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that the medical-marijuana advocates who filed the suit—Americans for Safe Access, a California-based patient-advocacy group; the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis, Patients Out of Time, and four individual medical users, including Air Force veteran Michael Krawitz—had not proved that the DEA’s decision to keep marijuana in Schedule I was “arbitrary and capricious.” The court held that marijuana had failed to meet the five standards the DEA sets for drugs to qualify as having a valid medical use.
The court “seemed to defer to the DEA,” by focusing on whether adequate scientific studies had been done to show marijuana’s medical efficacy, says ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Joe Elford of San Francisco, says the court didn’t close off the possibility that future studies will show its efficacy more conclusively. They plan to appeal the decision, first to the full 13 judges of the D.C. Circuit, and then to the Supreme Court if they lose.
The dissenting judge said the court should not consider the case because none of the plaintiffs had legal standing to file a suit. The majority held that Krawitz did, because he had been forced to pay for an outside doctor after the Veterans Health Administration refused to prescribe him painkillers unless he signed a contract agreeing not to use marijuana. Krawitz, who has had surgery 13 times since he was seriously injured in a car accident in 1984, says the best relief for his chronic pain is a combination of cannabis and opioid painkillers.
“What would be ‘arbitrary and capricious,’ if this isn’t?” he asks rhetorically. “You talk to the DEA about medical marijuana, and they go ‘la-la-la’ with their fingers in their ears.”
The DEA referred discussion of the ruling to the Department of Justice, which did not respond to an e-mailed list of questions by press time.
Read more: http://obrag.org
Kansas state senator introduces medical marijuana bill
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, January, 28th 2013 by THCFinder
A Kansas state senator has proposed a medical marijuana bill.
Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., has introduced the bill, which would allow Kansas to join 18 states and the District of Columbia in allowing people to use marijuana with a doctor's order.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the measure would allow patients to have up to six ounces of marijuana and grow up to a dozen plants at home.
Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, says the measure won't get a hearing during the current legislative session.
Currently in Kansas, illegally obtaining marijuana for a health condition can mean a year in jail, and growing your own pot can mean up to 17 years in prison
A plea for medical marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, January, 25th 2013 by THCFinder
Advocates have pushed for legalizing medical marijuana in New York state for more than a decade and lawmakers at one point agreed.
They are back once again, hoping that the new Senate leadership coalition may overcome what has traditionally been opposition by Republicans to such a move. Diane Savino, they note, is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, which has joined forces with Republicans to control the state Senate. Savino in past years has carried a bill to legalize medical marijuana. The Assembly has passed such a measure but it hasn’t gotten through the Senate, at least in recent years.
Additionally, members of the state Alliance for Medical Marijuana say they have heard from senate Republicans who sound more amenable to adding New York to the list of more than a dozen other states that allow cannabis to be used for health reasons.
“There is definitely more support in the Republican conference than there has ever been,” said Evan Nison of the Alliance.
Members brought some medical marijuana users with them to Albany to bolster their argument.
“They don’t know what to do with me,” said Burt Aldrich, of Stone Ridge, UIster County. Paralyzed when he broke his neck jumping into a pool years ago, Aldrich says marijuana is the best way he’s found to ease the pain, spasms and muscle tightness he experiences. Recently, though, police found his marijuana in his home after they showed up responding to a break-in report.
He was charged but the case still hasn’t been resolved, said Aldrich.
“I’m tired of feeling like a criminal,” agreed Richard Williams of Richmondville, Schoharie County, who uses medical marijuana to relieve symptoms caused by HIV/AIDS and the medications he takes for that.
The Alliance’s Adam Scavone added that they hope a medical marijuana bill this year includes provisions to have the substance covered under the new I-Stop law designed to cut down on prescription drug abuse.
That would help reassure critics that the substance would be used for legitimate medical reason, rather than simply to get high.
“We’re talking about medical use only, here,” said Lisa Roche-Schroeder a nurse from Little Falls who supports legalized medical marijuana.
Read more: http://blog.timesunion.com
Does a Catch-22 Keep Marijuana Labeled a Dangerous Drug?
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 24th 2013 by THCFinder
The federal government will continue to rank marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs after an appeals court on Tuesday rejected an effort to change the classification.
The ruling keeps marijuana in the same pool as drugs like heroin and LSD, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) say have a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."
The Los Angeles Times quoted one of the appeals court judge's about the decision:
Judge Harry Edwards, writing for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said the judges did not dispute that "marijuana could have some medical benefits." Instead, he said, they were not willing to overrule the DEA because they had not seen large "well-controlled studies" that proved the medical value of marijuana.
Marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug -- the most serious designation -- means that there are more restrictions for conducting research into its potential medical benefits.
Proponents of medical and recreational marijuana say that the restrictions make it hard for researchers to perform the types of studies that would convince the DEA to move the drug into a less serious category. Tamar Todd, senior staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance, spoke to The Daily Chronic, a pro-cannabis website, about the hurdles:
"We're stuck in a Catch-22 – the DEA is saying that marijuana needs FDA approval to be removed from Schedule I, but at the same time they are obstructing that very research," she said. "While there is a plethora of scientific evidence establishing marijuana's safety and efficacy, the specific clinical trials necessary to gain FDA approval have long been obstructed by the federal government itself."
Rusty Payne, a spokesperson for the DEA, says that there are "many" ongoing studies looking into the medical value of marijuana, but said he could not specify the exact number.
In any case, studies need to be approved by the agency, something that activists like Todd think is a conflict of interest. "The scheduling is made within the context of a law enforcement agency and that law enforcement agency has an interest in keeping drugs illegal and maintaining the status quo," she said.
The DEA isn't the only body with the power to reclassify marijuana. Congress could also amend the Controlled Substances Act, which designated pot as one of the most dangerous drugs in 1970.
Oregon family uses medical marijuana to manage son's autistic rage
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 24th 2013 by THCFinder
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
An Oregon family has turned to medical marijuana to manage their son's severe autistic rage.
"It was indescribable, it was horrifying," said Jeremy Echols, father of 11-year-old Alex. "When you've got no other options, are you honestly gonna say no?"
Eleven-year-old Alex Echols is severely autistic, and his doctor said Alex's self-destructive behavior is brought on by Tuberous Sclerosis, a rare, genetic disorder that affects about 50,000 people in the U.S. The disorder causes unregulated growth of non-malignant tissue in organs. In Alex's case, his neurologist said growths in Alex's brain have led to seizures and autism.
"Alex cannot communicate using words and that leads to behavior that is very frustrating for him and for those caring for him," said Dr. Colin Roberts, a pediatric neurologist at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.
Echols said by the time Alex was 5, he exhibited intense, self-directed rage. Echols showed us home videos of the rage. He said they videotaped the episodes to show doctors the injuries were self-inflicted.
Echols said Alex head butted anything he could. He said the boy bruised his forehead so badly, the blood would drain down until Alex's entire face was black and blue. His parents got him a helmet to protect his head, swaddled him like a newborn and tried mood-altering drugs to control the behavior, with little success.
Alex's daily, violent behavior became the Eugene family's new normal. When he was eight years old, the Echols made the heartbreaking decision to move Alex into a state-funded group home.
"It was like we were throwing him away, like we were giving him to somebody else and saying, 'Sorry buddy, you're not part of the family anymore,'" he said. "It was pretty rough."
But was there a way to help him? In late 2009, the Echols said they saw a television news story about a California woman who was using medical marijuana to treat her autistic son. The Echols researched Oregon's medical marijuana program, and in 2010, a doctor approved Alex for medical marijuana use.
"We tried the (marijuana) brownies, we tried butter for cookies," he said.
Alex is now one of 58 minors currently protected under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. While autism is not a qualifying medical condition like cancer or severe pain, in Alex's case, his seizures were.
And after a few months of treatment, the Echols said they saw a dramatic improvement.
"He went from being completely, yelling, screaming, bloodying his face, to within an hour, hour and a half, he would be playing with toys, using his hands," he said. "Something that at that time was almost unheard of."
Echols said Alex's group home will not administer the marijuana, so, about three times a week off-site, his parents give Alex a liquid form of the drug by mouth.
The dosage is up to the parent and Oregon law does not require a doctor to monitor a child's medical marijuana use. In fact, Alex's neurologist didn't know about the alternative treatment, until we told him.
While Dr. Roberts did not condone the treatment, he said he understood the family's desire to help their child.
"Alex's parents are wonderful people." he said. "I certainly am very much with them in my desire to help Alex. All of us want to help Alex."
Read more: http://www.kptv.com/
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