[Courtesy of Ohio Patient Network]
SPONSOR AND PROPONENT TESTIMONY HEARING SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 19
A Sponsor and Proponent Testimony Hearing for SB 343 has been scheduled by the Ohio Senate Criminal Justice Committee for 10:00 am on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 in the North Hearing Room at the Ohio Statehouse. Known as the Ohio Medical Compassion Act, SB 343 would allow patients and their caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana to treat the patients' serious illness. The Proponent component of this hearing will be grounded in testimony from seasoned medical professionals. If you would like to encourage your state Senator to vote for this important legislation, please visit https://ssl.capwiz.com/mpp/issues/alert/?alertid=11445816
. It is hoped that this bill will be accorded swift passage in consideration of the highly successful Michigan Initiative.
MICHIGAN LEGALIZES MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Before the statewide initiative was started in five citywide medical marijuana votes, medical marijuana won in a landslide (with 62% in Flint in February 2007; with 63% in Traverse City and 61% in Ferndale in November 2005; with 74% in Ann Arbor in November 2004; and with 60% in Detroit in August 2004). All these efforts were spearheaded by Michigan NORML http://www.minorml.org/
and it's affiliated chapters. Based on these efforts Tim Beck wrote 'Taking the Initiative; A Reformer's Guide to Direct Democracy' online at http://www.drugsense.org/caip#take
When the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care http://stoparrestingpatients.org/
launched it's statewide signature drive they sought the help of Michigan NORML. The NORML members gathered a substantial share of the signatures, and then went on to support the initiative in every way possible. They wrote letters to the editor and OPEDs, which were published. They placed thousands of Yes on 1 yard signs.
What they did not do was connect their effort in any way at with NORML to preclude any perception that they were really working to legalize marijuana. Thus they set a standard of professionalism for other NORML chapters to emulate.
On Election Day, the initiative, on the ballot as Proposal 1, passed by 63% with 3,005,678 Yes votes. It passed in every county in the state. The new Michigan law, now known as The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, will be certified and go into effect later this year. However, implementing regulations to include the patient and caregiver I.D. Card system may take until May of next year to go into effect. Unique among the 13 states with medicinal marijuana laws, covering a quarter of the U.S. population, Michigan's law recognizes the patient identifying documents of the 12 other states.
The Ohio Patient Network salutes Michigan activists for their success with the hope that it will catch not only the attention of Congress but also the Ohio State Legislature.
MEETING WITH OHIO SENATOR TOM ROBERTS
The meeting of Ohio medical marijuana activists, called by Ohio Senator Tom Roberts (D-5), was held on November 6, 2008, in the Senate Minority Conference Room on the Southeast corner of the Ohio Statehouse. Excluding the Senator and his staff, around fifteen people participated in this meeting, including Ohio Patient Network officers Jeff Horvath, Nikki Plassenthal, and Mary Jane Borden, each of whom introduced themselves by their respective titles (Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and were recognized by the Senator as such.
Others in attendance included Eleanor Ahrens, Christy Becker, Jim Cowen, Tonya Davis, Dennis Day and Dawn Dunlap (Ohio Patient Action Network); Damien Hardy (Senator Roberts' aide), Brian McCann, Cher Neufer, Ed Orlett (Drug Policy Alliance), and Penny Tipps (State street Consultants).
Topics covered included LTEs; meetings with editorial boards; consumption (the Senator wanted to know how much patients typically consumed); Marinol and Sativex; possible pharmaceutical industry resistance; and opposition to the bill from government agencies. Medical marijuana advocates should be inspired by the harmony and unified purpose displayed at this meeting.
OPN ANNUAL MEETING HELD ON MAY 31, 2008
The Ohio Patient Network held its Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 31, 2008, at the offices of the Columbus Free Press at 1000 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH. Forty-three people participated in this meeting to elect the organization's officers for the coming year.
After the meeting, OPN Past President, Mary Jane Borden commented, "This is a very special board. Well over half of the original co-founders came together to seat this board, which includes three of them in the positions of President, Vice President, and Treasurer." Board President Brandy Zink said that she looks forward to setting the organization on a course to better achieve its goals and be of service to patients. "With the introduction of the Ohio Medical Compassion Act, there is a greater need for educational resources from a credible, professional organization such as the Ohio Patient Network.
The OPN Board Members are listed at http://www.ohiopatient.net/v2/content/view/16/34/
RIGHT, MORAL AND GOOD
It has been said that we are living in a time of great change. There are new voices in Washington, the legislature, and even in the world of activism. If we could offer leadership advice at this pivotal moment, we wish that change, which has been given so much lip service, would be based on the principle of right, moral, and good. We encourage leadership to weigh decision making and subsequent action using this three-legged principle. Right, moral, and good means:
Right: Right refers to the information on which decisions are made and asks if that fact base is correct. What are the holes in it and where might it be potentially wrong? Is the information on which actions are planned logical? Does it pass the smell or common sense test? Can it be substantiated by independent, third party sources? Right is not a feeling; it is the truth and cold hard facts that withstand repeated tests to discredit them.
Moral: Morality concerns principles of conduct. For moral teachings, we often look to the Golden Rule or the 10 Commandments. The Golden Rule quite simply states, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." As most people don't seek harm, we should behave toward others as we would want them behave toward us. The 10 Commandments also provide a moral compass. "Do not bear false witness against your neighbor" - don't lie. "Do not steal" - don't take things that aren't yours. "Do not covet." - don't desire or scheme to obtain that which belongs to another. Morality doesn't equate to any specific religion or doctrine; all religions have their tests of moral conduct. Still, moral conduct pivots on the query: does action find its roots in lies, harm, theft, or greed? Would I want to be treated this way?
Good: Good is actually a two-part test. There is the definition of good as beneficial and also good as of high quality. The beneficial test of good deals with well being. Good draws a direct line to positivity, prosperity, health, and vitality. It easily bridges to its benefits to others through the greater good. Good being of high quality equates to functional excellence. When something is good, all parts work, all pieces fit together, beauty radiates, and intended results are achieved. In both definitions, good refers to a plural or to the larger whole. As a two-part test, good asks, is action both beneficial to and functional for the larger whole and for the greater good?
The right, moral, and good paradigm of decision making is a three legged stool that will topple when one leg becomes compromised. Actions cannot be moral or good if their fact base is lacking. They are neither right nor good if based in lies, theft, or greed. They can't be right or moral, if they function improperly or harm overall well being.
We encourage leadership both nationally and locally to weigh these three tenets in the decision making process and as it considers actions based on this process. If we are to engender change at this pivotal time, then change should mend the rips and tears in our culture. Engaging in thinking that is right, moral, and good - holistically - gives all of us the best chance of achieving the results that we all want and for which we chanted change in the first place.
You may wish to read another essay on this topic, "On Harmony," http://www.ohiopatient.net/v2/content/view/817/2/
You can also participate in an online discussion about it on our forum at http://www.ohiopatientnetwork.org/zot/viewtopic.php?t=535
THE OPN WEBSITE AND EMAIL LISTS
A Thank You goes out to Jo-D Harrison, our OPN www.ohiopatient.net
webmaster. While she has made minor changes to the current OPN website she has plans to move the entire website into a more modern webmastering software in the future. Please note that a number pages on the website have yet to be updated.
And also Thank You to our listmaster, Richard Lake. We plan to reactivate our discussion list in the near future. If you have questions about our email lists please contact Richard at email@example.com
We are undecided about which direction to take our OPNews email list. Doing a monthly message as we did in the past was very labor intensive. Perhaps it would be better to create and send OPNews as needed. For example, when an actual hearing in the legislature is scheduled. This could result in two or three messages in a month or, rarely, a month with no messages. If you have an opinion or suggestions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
HELP THE OPN SUPPORT PATIENTS
The Ohio Patient Network's goal is to provide a voice for Ohio's medicinal cannabis patients and create an environment where this vital medicine becomes an accepted and legitimate therapy. To do this, we need your help.
We'd like you to personally become involved in OPN by donating your time. Please check out our various committees on our website.
If you'd prefer, you can also support medicinal cannabis and what we are doing by contributing monetarily to OPN. Please note that the Ohio Patient Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in the State of Ohio.
Donations to OPN are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Please visit our website (http://ohiopatient.net
) and click on the Donate button on any page to make a contribution using your credit card. Please note that these donations will be processed through Paypal.
If you would prefer to donate by check or money order, please make them payable to the "Ohio Patient Network" and mail to P.O. Box 26353, Columbus, OH 43216.
Thank you for supporting the Ohio Patient Network
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATOR
Find your Representative in the Ohio House at http://www.house.state.oh.us/
Find your Ohio Senator at http://www.senate.state.oh.us/senators/
Write to your officials care of their district office, or send your letter to their Columbus office at:
The Honorable (name)
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43266-0603
The Honorable (name)
Ohio Senate Building
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone calls and emails are also persuasive, especially when the constituent contacts the district office.