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?
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
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/
Battle lines redrawn in Arizona's medical marijuana fight
PHOENIX -- Medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered at the Arizona State Capitol Building on Thursday morning to ask Rep. John Kavanagh, a Republican, to back down from his effort to repeal the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 2010.
Kavanagh said the program is loaded with abuse and that 10 percent of children are getting their marijuana from cardholders in the program.
"Ninety percent of the cardholders have chronic pain complaints," he said. "Hard to disprove, but easy to fake."
Kavanagh also said medical marijuana is dangerous and, until new studies prove otherwise, it should not be dispensed.
Greg Plunkett, who served in the Navy, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and seizure disorders. He couldn't disagree more with Kavanagh.
"I get this because I need the help," he said. "I'm standing here today because of medical marijuana."
Rebecca Perry, who has Multiple Sclerosis, said medical marijuana helps her and the dispensaries keep her from being forced to look for marijuana illegally.
"It keeps me from calling someone down on the corner that has some marijuana," he said. "Medical marijuana helps with the spasms I get. It helps a lot."
Perry and others believe Kavanagh wants to repeal the law in part because he doesn't know the difference between unregulated marijuana clubs and license dispensaries.
Lawmakers renew efforts to bring medical marijuana to Texas
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 23rd 2013 by THCFinder
AUSTIN -- There are renewed efforts from lawmakers to bring medical marijuana to Texas.
State Representative Elliott Naishtat has introduced a bill to give patients using medical marijuana an affirmative defense in court.
House Bill 594 would protect patients if they are arrested on charges of marijuana possession.
Lawmakers have introduced similar measures in previous legislative sessions, but patients and advocates are still waiting for a hearing on the bill.
Lets hope Texas steps up and starts moving in the right direction for the patients in need.
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