Former Talk Show Host and Baltimore Native Montel Williams to Discuss His Support for Medical Marijuana in Maryland
Williams Became Medical Marijuana Advocate After Finding It Provided Relief from Pain Associated with his Multiple Sclerosis
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Dan Riffle, MPP Legislative Analyst…………. 202-905-2026 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – Multiple sclerosis patient and popular former talk show host Montel Williams will speak at a press conference Monday in Annapolis in support of legislation that would make Maryland the nation’s 16th state allowing physician-approved use of medical marijuana.
Williams grew up in Baltimore where his father was the city’s first African-American fire chief. Williams is a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis and retired from the U.S. Navy as a decorated naval intelligence officer after more than two decades of service before embarking on his second career as a national television talk show host. In 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and has sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Following his diagnosis, he created the Montel Williams MS Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness of the disease and providing inspiration to those who live with MS. Williams has served as an advocate for the compassionate use of medical marijuana in a variety of states that have approved new laws.
Montel will be joined at the Maryland press conference by the chief sponsors of the state’s medical marijuana legislation: physician and Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Senators Jamie Raskin and David Brinkley, both cancer survivors.
Who: Montel Williams, Del. Dan Morhaim, Sen. David Brinkley, Sen. Jamie Raskin, and medical marijuana patients and advocates.
What: Press conference to announce the introduction of medical marijuana legislation in the Maryland General Assembly.
Where: Room 302, House Office Bldg., 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
When: Monday, January 24th, 4 p.m.
With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit mpp.org.
Can a psychedelic plant release your demons?
I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE
An underground adventure into shamanic ritual
Opens at New York’s IFC Film Center on Wednesday January 12, 2011
"Bursts on the screen like a circus fire. A movie you'll never forget."
- D A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus
I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE is about addiction and rehabilitation, activism and shamanism. It features Dimitri Mugianis, once the heavily addicted front man for the band Leisure Class, who finally ended his long drug and alcohol addiction with an experimental treatment that uses the hallucinogen Ibogaine, and now devotes his life to helping others overcome addiction through the treatment.
African shamans have used Ibogaine in their rituals for centuries, but in the US it is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and illegal, so Dimitri must work in underground networks to guide addicts through the same detox that he says saved his life.
I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE traces Dimitri's risky journey as he treats desperate drug users. It follows this man of edgy energy as he goes from one addict to the next without stopping to catch his breath. It also follows him on his own search for recovery when one session goes bad in a remote snowed-in Canadian home, and a quiet young man almost dies. Dimitri must decide whether or not to continue his mission. Is he serving the addicts or simply releasing his own demons? To find answers, Dimitri travels to Gabon, West Africa, to consult with Bwiti shamans, and puts himself through a punishing Iboga initiation. Filmmaker Michel Negroponte follows him on this journey to find his own answers.
"A haunting, visceral exploration of addiction and one contemporary man's fearless and determined quest for healing and redemption through the ancient wisdom of the Bwiti and their 'magical' plant, Iboga. For those seeking a path out of darkness, this film is not to be missed." Charles Shaw, AlterNet
“A powerhouse: brutally honest, hilarious, incisive, heroic. It capture’s a character who lives against the odds. Negroponte doesn’t just go the extra mile to capture story and character – he goes an extra light year and takes the audience with him. Its one of those docs that’s going to walk all over the festival circuit like it fucking owns the place.” -Sheffield Doc/Fest
"Laced with decidedly dark humor, I'm Dangerous with Love is both a compelling character study and an exciting excursion into an underground subculture." John Berra, Electric Sheep
"Negroponte turns a compassionate eye on the world of drug addiction, and one man's personal passionate crusade to rescue the addicted, one addict at a time. An absorbing and at times exhilarating film that boomerangs from the underbelly of Manhattan to the jungles of Gabon and back again." Ross McElwee
I'M DANGEROUS WITH LOVE
2009 85 minutes, USA, digital video, English, Color
Directed by Michel Negroponte • Written by Nick Pappas and Joni Wehrli • Animation by Lisa Crafts • Music and Sound Design by Brooks Williams and Beo Morales • Photographed and Edited by Michel Negroponte • Executive Producers Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis, Caroline Stevens • Produced by Blackbridge Productions in association with Cactus Three
An art auction and cocktail party is being held in Los Angeles to benefit the Drug Policy Alliance. For more information and to register, see: http://www.reformartauction.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
Cheryl Grills, PhD, Loyola Marymount University, President of the Association of Black Psychologists
Ethan Nadelmann, JD, MA, PhD, Executive Director and Founder of Drug Policy Alliance
Race, class and culture are integral aspects of any clinical treatment; they particularly impact the treatment of addictive disorders. Just recently we have seen the repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws, the implementation of Mental Health Parity and National Health Reform. The country is in economic crisis, and we are in the midst of political sea change.
We will examine how these issues impact drug users and problematic drug use, and how they enter into the clinical situation, especially as expressed in transference and counter-transference experience. The conference is designed to help clinicians better address issues of race, culture and politics in their work with substance users.
For more information, and to register, please visit http://www.nyspa.org/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=257&extmode=vie....
In case Montel Williams wasn't already sufficiently pissed off about the government's war on his medicine, yesterday's incident is sure to push him over the edge.
TV celebrity Montel Williams was cited at Mitchell International Airport on Tuesday for carrying a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana, the Milwaukee County sheriff's office reported.
Williams, 54, was issued the citation for possession of drug paraphernalia after being caught with the pipe by Transportation Security Administration agents while going through a security checkpoint, a news release from the sheriff's office says.
Williams, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, has advocated for the legalization of marijuana for medical use and has said he uses the drug to ease the effects of his condition. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Having twice had the opportunity to see Montel discuss his personal experience with medical cannabis and vehement disgust with the drug war's continued assault on seriously ill patients like himself, I would strongly urge drug warriors everywhere to leave him the hell alone. He is honestly one of the loudest and most passionate speakers I've ever seen on this topic. This guy built a career on manufacturing melodrama, so you can imagine how intense he gets when he's in pain and the government continues to prohibit the medicine he needs.
The story isn't likely to make major headlines, given that his medical marijuana use was already widely known, but there's a lesson here that I hope won't be entirely ignored. Montel Williams, despite his celebrity status, wasn't immune to the routine and government-approved harassment that medical marijuana patients continue to endure all around the country. What happened to Montel yesterday happens everyday to sick people in America, and very few of them possess the name-recognition to ensure fair treatment or the resources to rebound from the potentially severe legal consequences of a drug conviction.
While much progress has been made, the war on medical marijuana is far from over, and its worst victims are inevitably those whose medical needs are the greatest. If laws protecting medical patients sometimes become a loophole for recreational users, that concerns me far less than the very real and repeatedly-demonstrated reality that aggressive marijuana enforcement continuously results in the vicious persecution of those who are truly sick. These people deserve compassion and respect instead of handcuffs and a criminal record.
The first step is for President Obama to move beyond saying that the war on medical marijuana is a "poor use of resources" and instead admit that harassing seriously ill patients and their providers is just plain wrong.