Investigators at Bar-Ilan University in Israel report that the administration of THC significantly affects the viability of GBM cells. Glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of glioma (brain cancer), strikes some 7,000 Americans annually, and generally results in death within one to two years following diagnosis.Or, in layman's terms, THC might stop tumors from killing people. Isn't that great? Now all we have to do is legalize it so people can cure their brains without fear of being raided by the DEA.
"THC [is] an essential mediator of cannabinoid antitumoral action," investigators concluded. [NORML]
As evidence of marijuana's potential value in treating various cancers continues to grow, it becomes increasingly vital that we silence marijuana opponents who seek to prevent such discoveries from being made. The more helpful the drug turns out to be, the more deadly and foolish becomes the conspiracy to destroy its reputation and punish its users.
Is it really so difficult to conceive of the possibility that this plant, like so many others, exists for a good reason?
John Lehman has suffered from AIDS for the last 10 years. The pain medicine he takes kept him unfocused and mainly in bed, keeping him from his work as a writer. "It was frustrating, to say the least, when vague thoughts of stories danced in my head and there was nothing I could do to put them onto a page," he says.
Luckily, John lives in Montana, where voters passed MPP's medical marijuana ballot initiative in November 2004. Since then, patients like John have been permitted to use and grow their own marijuana legally for medical purposes. However, with no income, John couldn't afford the $50 fee to register with the state's medical marijuana program and obtain the ID card that would protect him from arrest.
Fortunately, MPP was able to help. Through our medical marijuana scholarship program, we paid John's registration fee so that, now, he doesn't need to fear being arrested by state and local police.
Here are John's own words:
Fewer pain pills to pop plus using medical marijuana to alleviate my discomfort equals the opportunity to write again. Medical marijuana also stimulates my appetite when keeping my weight is threatened. In turn, this enables me to go out into the community and give back.
If anyone can help continue the phenomenal work of the Marijuana Policy Project by a kind donation, please do. Other patients like me need your help.
Won't you please help other low-income patients get the protection they need by paying a full or partial registration fee?
A donation of $50 will keep one patient out of jail in Montana or Vermont; a donation of $75 will do the same in Rhode Island; and a donation of $110 or $200 will do the same in Colorado or Nevada, respectively. If you can't afford those amounts, please give what you can.
After MPP's recent lobbying campaigns in Vermont and Rhode Island and our ballot initiative campaign in Montana, these three states now allow patients to possess and grow their own marijuana. But many seriously ill patients have little or no income and are unable to afford fees for the required state medical marijuana ID cards. In response, MPP created a financial assistance program to help pay the registry fees for patients who cannot afford it — and has since paid the registration fees for 90 financially needy patients.
Would you please sponsor a low-income medical marijuana patient today? Your donation can prevent medical marijuana patients from being arrested and jailed simply because they cannot afford to pay the registration fee.
Whether it's $10 or $1,000, cancer, AIDS, and other seriously ill patients are hoping you will give the most generous gift you can to help them. Please give now, while it's fresh in your mind. Thanks so much ...
Marijuana Policy Project
P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.
- ASA ACTION: Patients Ask California Governor for Protection
- ASA ACTION: Protests of DEA Raids Drawing Attention
- FEDERAL: Another Dispensary Raided in LA
- ELECTION: Presidential Candidates Confronted on Medical Marijuana
- COLORADO: Caregiver Case in the News Again
- OPED: Patient-Advocate Confronts Naysayers
- EDIBLES: Another Medical Edible Maker Charged
- CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Implementation
- ASA BLOG: Comments from ASA staff and guests
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed his support for California's medical marijuana program, but activists want him to do what he can to stop federal interference. More than 300 patients and advocates attended ASA's rally at the governor's office in LA to help educate him on the importance of this issue. Letters of support came from Republican elected officials as well as Los Angeles City Council Member Dennis Zine and Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby. Local media, which reaches more than 10 million people, covered the protest extensively.
Marijuana activists rally in downtown LA, want end to raids
About 200 people on Thursday protested federal raids on cannabis clinics and urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to compel the Bush administration to back off. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group, said Schwarzenegger should coordinate with the 12 other governors whose states have legalized medical marijuana to send a message to Washington.
Marijuana activists assemble downtown
Daily Breeze (CA)
About 200 demonstrated outside of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office in Los Angeles, demanding he do more to end federal raids on cannabis clinics.
CA Marijuana Protest
KSBY - NBC TV 6 (San Luis Obispo)
Marijuana activists rallied today in downtown Los Angeles, calling for an end to federal raids on cannabis clinics and urging Governor Schwarzenegger to compel the Bush administration to back off.
Last week’s protest in support of a maker of edible cannabis products for patients got more attention this week. ASA and other advocates are denouncing the rash of recent raids on medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in California.
Advocates decry medical marijuana raids
by Michael Manekin, Contra Costa Times (CA)
The raid of a large Oakland-based manufacturer of cannabis-laced candy last month was deemed by the federal government as a timely victory in the war on drugs. But medical marijuana advocates pointed to the raid as further evidence that the DEA has escalated its attack on California's marijuana laws by targeting the most vulnerable medical cannabis patients.
DEA agents staged another paramilitary-style raid on a California medical marijuana dispensary, seizing records, cash and marijuana, but making no arrests. Alerted to the raid by a network of emails and text messages, more than 75 ASA activists, patients and other advocates protested in front of the dispensary while it happened.
DEA Agents Raid L.A. Medical Marijuana Clinic
KABC TV Los Angeles
A loud protest broke out Thursday night when agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical marijuana clinic in downtown Los Angeles.
The Republican candidates for President have faced tough questioning from medical marijuana patients in town hall meetings throughout Vermont. Mitt Romney was the latest, confronted by a young man who asked if Romney would jail him for using the medicine five doctors had recommended. The published reactions in two student newspapers indicate more politicians may consider whether their stance on medical marijuana can reveal things about their character that matter in the voting booth. All the Democrats running for President have said they would end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients, if elected.
Romney turns back on patient who asks about medical marijuana
by David Edwards and Muriel Kane, The Raw Story
At a campaign stop in Dover, NH, Mitt Romney was asked about medical marijuana by Clayton Holton, who has muscular dystrophy. "I have the support of five of my doctors saying I am living proof that medical marijuana works," Holton told Romney.
Dear Mr. Romney, will you arrest me?
by Mike Overson, Editor, The Eagle (College of Eastern Utah)
Over the weekend I was watching Fox News Network when a story caught my eye. Various people were interviewing Mitt Romney, republican presidential hopeful, when one man’s question caught my attention. The man asked whether or not Romney would arrest him as well as his doctors because of medical marijuana usage.
by Amanda Lowry, Indiana Daily student
I personally believe that there should be a requirement that every politician who runs for public office must have smoked pot at some point. Even if that experience doesn’t make the politician want to legalize it, he or she will at least realize how dangerous it isn’t. My position on this issue was only strengthened this week after watching a CNN video of Mitt Romney, in typical 2008 Republican front-runner style, dismiss a multiple sclerosis sufferer advocating that medical marijuana arrests be stopped.
A Colorado couple who helped better define the state standards for qualifying as a medical marijuana caregiver was back in the news, this time because state officials have failed to return their property. The couple was defended in court by Brian Vicente, director of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a join project of Sensible Colorado and ASA.
Judge in medical marijuana case scolds state agency
by Sara Reed, The Coloradoan
A District Court judge in Fort Collins issued a strongly-worded rebuke today to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for not complying with a court order related to a medical marijuana case.
Many medical marijuana patients find themselves having to educate their friends, families and communities about their condition and why medical marijuana helps. Some become activists, like Lanny Swerdlow, and try to educate even those who are insisting that patients should be imprisoned.
Med marijuana opponent lacks facts
by Lanny Swerdlow, OpEd, Daily Bulletin (Inland Valley, CA)
Marijuana has been used as medicine for over 5,000 years by every civilization in human history. None has ever crumbled due to its use. Over the last 70 years, however, it has morphed into a plant so dangerous that America spends up to $20 billion a year arresting over 825,000 Americans.
The recent raid on a maker of edible medical marijuana in Oakland, following the recent federal conviction of another, has highlighted the issue of alternatives to smoking the drug. Many patients prefer the alternative of oral ingestion, either by way of baked goods or tinctures. California state law says its legal in all its forms.
Baker's pot bust bares legal clash
by Stan Oklobdzija, Sacramento Bee (CA)
Paula Brown used to be the Betty Crocker of medical marijuana in Sacramento. But about a month ago, Brown came home to find a cavalcade of police cars hauling away her marijuana plants and carting off her cooking supplies, down to the blenders and mixing bowls.
While many communities have discovered that a regulatory approach to medical marijuana dispensaries can meet both the needs of patients and the concerns of law enforcement, some officials continue to be opposed. ASA’s report on why regulations work, and how dispensaries provide a crucial service to the most seriously ill and injured, can be downloaded at AmericansForSafeAccess.org/DispensaryReport.
Sheriff calls for halt of revision to medical pot ordinance
by Karen Holzmeister, Alameda Times-Star (CA)
Sheriff Greg Ahern on Tuesday questioned the proposed update of Alameda County's medical marijuana dispensaries ordinance and what the regulation is trying to accomplish.
D.A. recommendation: Ban Medical Marijuana
Fox News 58 Bakersfield
Proponents of medical marijuana were dealt a major blow Tuesday when District Attorney Ed Jagels recommended banning it across the county.
Oxnard expected to ban medical marijuana center
by Charles Levin , Ventura County Star
The Oxnard City Council will likely vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries tonight, citing an unresolved legal conflict between state and federal laws.
New blog entries from ASA staff and invited guests are helping keep activists informed on the issues and events affecting medical marijuana patients and providers
California Weekly Round Up
by Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Hundreds Gather at the Governor’s Office Calling on Him to Stand Up for Patients’ Rights; DEA Raids Downtown Dispensary Following the Rally
Some Examples of Local Cooperation with the DEA in Arresting Medical Marijuana Patients
by Noah Mamber
So, think about this. Medical marijuana use and cultivation has been legal in California since 1996, but more than ten years later, there are still local law enforcement agents who refuse to follow state law.
ASA Files Amicus Brief in California Supreme Court
by Joe Elford
Since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act over a decade ago, California courts have struggled to determine what a person must do to establish himself as the primary caregiver for a qualified patient. In People v. Mentch, which is pending before the California Supreme Court, the Court will provide further guidance.
Obfuscation by Kern County Officials Means No Access for Hundreds of Area Medical Marijuana Patients
by Kris Hermes
In the latest saga of obfuscation by Kern County officials, District Attorney Ed Jagels has recommended the banning of dispensaries in the county.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Pres.) Ice Cold to wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient
by Noah Mamber
Wow, take a look at Gov. Romney’s cold dismissal of wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient and muscular dystrophy sufferer Clayton Holton.
New Documentary Illustrates the Need for and Benefit of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
by Kris Hermes
In a time of increased federal raids and DEA attacks on patients and providers across California, it is important to have educational tools like the new documentary, “Dispensing Cannabis: The California Story,” to illustrate the importance of understanding and protecting dispensaries as an integral part of safe access and the successful implementation of state law.
MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS
The Marijuana Policy Project’s campaign to pressure the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana just hit a new level.
Check out this CNN footage of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) avoiding Clayton Holton, a muscular dystrophy patient in New Hampshire who has used medical marijuana illegally.
And you can see a fuller video clip of the encounter here.
CNN ran its coverage of the encounter over and over again on Monday, in addition to putting it on the front of its Web site, which led to the video clip becoming one of the most watched news stories of the day on Digg.com.
Don’t you hate it when reality comes barging into your ideological Neverland and mucks everything up? That’s what happened to Mitt Romney last weekend. At a campaign stop in Dover, NH on Saturday, the Mittster found himself confronted by Clayton Holton, an 80-pound man stricken with muscular dystrophy who says he is “living proof medical marijuana works.” Romney wasn’t having any of it ...
Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is MPP's nine-month campaign to pressure the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to take strong, public, positive positions on medical marijuana in advance of the New Hampshire primary — the first in the nation — expected to be no later than January 8, 2008.
Would you please consider funding our pressure tactics in New Hampshire?
And the fallout from our confrontation with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) keeps getting worse for him. On September 30, he rudely dismissed Linda Macia, a New Hampshire resident with multiple sclerosis, by arguing that the government isn’t arresting “the dead” for medical marijuana.
We featured the video coverage of this encounter in an e-mail alert to you on October 4. But check out this column in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, which blasts McCain for his heartlessness.
We have awarded McCain, Romney, and four other Republican presidential candidates a grade of “F” for their inhumane stances on medical marijuana. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve awarded two Republican candidates — Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) — “A+” grades.
And, of course, our campaign has already succeeded in getting all eight Democratic presidential candidates to speak out in favor of ending the federal arrests of medical marijuana patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law.
Please visit www.GraniteStaters.com/candidates for our complete voting guide. You'll find statements from each of the candidates, as well as a grade for each.
MPP is the only drug policy reform organization that’s systematically influencing the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana — and punishing those who don’t. Would you please consider making a donation in support of our work today?
Marijuana Policy Project
P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.
First, it helps to clarify how narrow and simplistic their argument really is. The McCain/Giuliani/Romney consensus on medical marijuana is grounded in the claim that "other medications" are available and should be used instead. This one argument virtually encompasses the totality of their opposition to medical marijuana. It is their only talking point, which is why they move on quickly to the next topic after saying it.
Still, I don't believe this argument actually tells us very much about their true motivations. When Mitt Romney recommends "synthetic marijuana" to a wheelchair-bound patient, it becomes clear that he understands the medical efficacy of the drug. Indeed, these "other medications" are often derived from synthetic cannabinoids, so the debate is clearly not over whether marijuana has medical properties. We've moved beyond that, thankfully.
At this point, it becomes a question of how patients should be acquiring and administering their medicine. Giuliani and Romney both faltered when the patients they encountered explained that they were allergic to pharmaceutical alternatives to marijuana. If they take these patients at their word, they must then confront the insufficiency of these drugs and recognize the unique predicament in which certain patients find themselves. Perhaps this new information will sink in, but that is all beside the point.
Ultimately, McCain, Giuliani, and Romney have access to all the same facts about medical marijuana as everyone else. Their problem is not a misunderstanding of the issue. They've met and spoken with the patients. They know doctors are recommending it. Their real concerns have nothing whatsoever to do with the medical efficacy of marijuana. They are worried about something else entirely:
"But having legalized marijuana is in my view an effort by a very committed few to try to get marijuana out in the public and to ultimately legalize marijuana. It's the wrong way to go." – Mitt Romney
"I believe the effort to try and make marijuana available for medical uses is really a way to legalize it. There's no reason for it." – Rudy Giuliani
This tells us everything there is to know about opposition to medical marijuana from republican presidential candidates, and for that matter, the Drug Czar himself. The whole anti-medical marijuana machine is merely a conspiracy to prevent the outright legalization of marijuana. Its adherents are fearful that telling the truth about the drug's medical value will pave the way for a shift in public attitudes about marijuana in general. They dread the "marijuana lobby" and will concede nothing to it, even if doing so forces them to take unpopular and transparently flawed positions on medical use.
Cynically, they focus on the role of marijuana legalization advocates in promoting medical access, while ignoring the much larger constituency of medical marijuana supporters who don’t advocate recreational legalization. That is why support for medical marijuana from mainstream organizations such as the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association is ignored, while the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project's position is cited routinely.
Of course, when the truth about medical marijuana becomes a political hostage in the broader legalization debate, it is legitimate patients rather than marijuana activists who suffer the consequences. Fortunately, the rise of internet video has given voters a front row seat in this enduring and increasingly ugly debate. The next victims in the war on medical marijuana may be those candidates who would sacrifice the seriously ill to drug war politics.
(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)
- FEDERAL: Medical Marijuana Provider Turns Himself In
- ASA ACTION: Defending Democracy
- DISPENSARIES: Long Beach, Visalia, Claremont, Arcata, Santa Ana
- ASA IN THE NEWS: Speaking Up For Patients
- FEDERAL: FBI Raids Patient Garden in California
- FEDERAL: Locals Ask Court to Bar Feds From Interfering
- MONTANA: Employment Rights for Medical Marijuana Patients Tested
- ASA BLOG: Comments from ASA Staff and Guests
About 50 ASA activists and other supporters of medical marijuana provider Mickey Martin protested at the federal court house when he turned himself in to authorities. Last week, DEA agents raided food-preparation locations they allege are connected to Martin and arrested three others. Martin, who was on vacation with his wife and two young sons, surrendered Thursday and was released on bond. Martin has been a leader in developing alternatives to smokeable forms of medicinal cannabis.
Pot Candy Maker Out On $300,000 Bail
KTVU TV2 (San Francisco)
The founder of an Oakland food factory that laces everything from cookies to barbecue sauce with marijuana surrendered Thursday to face a federal drug charge.
Owner of pot-candy factory surrenders on federal drug charges
by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
The owner of an Oakland marijuana candy factory surrendered Thursday to face federal drug charges, but not before blasting the U.S. government for what he called an unfair attack by federal bullies on ailing patients who rely on medical marijuana.
Pot Candy Dealer Turns Himself In
by Katie Hammer, ABC7/KGO-TV
A man who makes edible marijuana products for medical patients turned himself in this morning to federal authorities after they raided his Oakland factory. He had a lot of supporters today at the federal courthouse in Oakland.
The victory in ASA’s legal challenge to the electronic voting machines used in a local California election got more attention this week not because the questionable recount was of a medical marijuana measure but because of widespread concerns about the integrity of votes cast without a “paper trail.” The ruling makes clear to election officials that voters have a right to verifiable recounts.
Judge orders Berkeley medical marijuana measure back on ballot
A judge ordered a failed 2004 city initiative on medical marijuana returned to the ballot next year because county election officials failed to hand over data from voting machines.
Judge Orders Sanctions, New Election in Measure R Case
by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, Berkeley Daily Planet
In what would appear to be the most stinging rebuke possible to the conduct of the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office in the November 2004 Berkeley Measure R Medical Marijuana initiative election, a California Superior Court judge has ordered that a new Measure R election be held in November of next year, and that Measure R proponents be reimbursed for litigation and recount costs.
Berkeley pot bill put on 2008 ballot after judge nullifies results
by Chris Metinko, Contra Costa Times (CA)
An Alameda County Superior Court judge has nullified the results of a hotly contested 2004 election because of mishandling of a recount by Alameda County election officials, and she ordered Berkeley's Measure R -- a citizen-sponsored medical marijuana initiative -- back on the ballot for a re-vote in 2008.
Election Results Tossed in E-Voting Case
by Catherine Pickavet, InternetNews
Electronic voting has promised security, accuracy, expediency and fairness since its advent. But amid continued controversy, a new ruling in California may add yet another mark in the tally against it.
The crucial service medical marijuana dispensaries provide to the most seriously ill and elderly patients is detailed in two articles this week. Action being considered by Long Beach has caused much debate, as has the closing of a popular dispensary in Visalia that had worked diligently with local officials. The benefits of dispensaries to patients and the advantages of a regulated local approach are outlined in ASA’s report on the experience of California local officials at http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/DispensaryReport.
A patient pleads for access
by Tom Hennessy, Columnist, Long Beach Press-Telegram
"My husband has terminal lung cancer," said the woman on the phone. That was her introduction to a complicated, sometimes harrowing story about trying to obtain the only medicine that gives her husband relief. The medicine is marijuana.
Patients make case for pot
by Gerald Carroll, Visalia Times-Delta (CA)
Visalia Compassionate Caregivers have suspended their long-standing practice of quietly dispensing marijuana to patients as a result of the city's nuisance-ticket ordinance.
Medical marijuana likely to be sold at a dispensary in Claremont in the near future.
by Paul Foreman, Student Life, Pomona State College
It seems likely that medical marijuana may be sold at a dispensary in Claremont in the near future.
Shannon denies pending action vs. pot clinics
by Tracy Manzer, Long Beach Press Telegram
In a memo issued to the mayor and City Council Tuesday, the city attorney denied his office is taking formal legal action against a group of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the city without business licenses.
City identifies medicinal marijuana dispensaries operating without licenses
by Tracy Manzer, Long Beach Press-Telegram
Proposed legal action by the Long Beach city attorney's office is expected to ignite a new battle in the ongoing war over medical marijuana. Police have identified 11 locations in Long Beach where medical marijuana is sold to patients by dispensaries, which, according to the city attorney's office, are operating illegally.
Arcata council takes on regulations for marijuana growing houses, clinics
by Cerena Johnson, Eureka Reporter (CA)
The regulation of marijuana grow houses and clinics was a hot topic of discussion at the Arcata City Council meeting Wednesday.
Santa Ana outlaws marijuana stores
by Doug Irving, Orange County Register
City council members voted unanimously late Monday to outlaw storefront medical-marijuana dispensaries, but they left the door open for hospitals and other state-licensed care centers to provide the drug.
OPINION ON DISPENSARIES
Medical pot law trumps Anaheim
EDITORIAL, Orange County Register (CA)
Superior Court Judge David Thompson last Friday essentially punted the issue of whether the city of Anaheim's law that essentially bans anything that remotely resembles a medical marijuana dispensary is in conflict with state law. Qualified Patients Association, an association of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, had challenged the law and sought an injunction against its enforcement.
It's time for L.B. to come to terms with pot dispensaries.
EDITORIAL, Long Beach Press-Telegram
The Long Beach City Council issued a six-month moratorium on business licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries in 2005. The pot dealers went ahead and opened or continued to operate 11 known dispensaries not far from homes, business and - in a couple cases, schools - in Belmont Shore, Belmont Heights, Naples and other neighborhoods where getting a liquor license can be tougher than uncorking a wine bottle with your incisors.
Publisher’s Notebook: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
by Michael Rosenthal, Santa Monica Mirror (CA)
60 Minutes did a hatchet job on medical marijuana the other night. They criticized how easy it is to get a prescription for medical marijuana, yet made no comparison to how simple it is to get one for Valium, a more widely prescribed drug. Any good doctor can see the benefit of a drug that allows for almost instant relaxation and in a method that allows the patient to regulate the usage. The story ended by having one of the subjects in the piece claim the current system is just “chaos.” It seems to me the only thing chaotic is the Federal government’s randomness in attacking dispensaries.
When confronted with another story of a patient whose terrible suffering or debilitating condition was relieved by medical marijuana, officials from the DEA and the Drug Czar’s office universally dismiss the experiences as “anecdotes” and insist there are legal alternatives. ASA spokespersons point out that the history of such anecdotes is well-documented and thousands of years long, and the government’s own research concludes that Marinol is not a substitute for medical marijuana in all cases.
Two report relief from medical marijuana, but government doctor unconvinced
by David Olson, Press-Enterprise (CA)
Carl Casey is convinced marijuana saved his sight. Kathy Jones says cannabis provides more relief for her muscle-related disease than the 27 pills she used to take for it. Caren Woodson, director of governmental affairs for Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, which supports the use of medical marijuana, said many people say that smoked or baked marijuana provides much more relief than Marinol and other prescription drugs.
Raids by federal agents are becoming nearly routine in California, but they continue to expand in scope, targeting smaller collectives and individual patients and using IRS agents as well as DEA. Now the FBI is even getting involved, seizing a small, fully documented, state-legal collective garden.
FBI makes medical marijuana seizures in Lakeport
by Elizabeth Larson, Lake County News
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local authorities last week seized nearly 100 marijuana plants from a home whose owner said he was growing it for medicinal purposes.
The outrage over the 2002 DEA raid on a medical marijuana collective in Santa Cruz has not dimmed with passing years. City and county officials are joining again with the patients’ group to sue the federal government, seeking to prevent them from interfering in efforts to distribute medical marijuana.
Santa Cruz Leaders, Group, Sue Government Over Medical Marijuana
The city and county of Santa Cruz, along with the Women's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, are suing the federal government over the use of pot to help ease chronic pain.
A court case in Montana may help decide the employment rights of medical marijuana patients there. Oregon has faced similar questions, and a landmark appellate case ASA is litigating in California, Ross v. Raging Wire, has had oral arguments scheduled for next month.
Testing Montana medical marijuana users and the law
by Paul Peters , Missoula News (MT)
A Kalispell man may be the first in the country to test an employer’s right to fire workers who use state-sanctioned medical marijuana.
New blog entries from ASA staff and invited guests are helping keep activists informed on the issues and events affecting medical marijuana patients and providers.
No Pattern or Rules to DEA Attacks
by James Anthony
Patients and advocates often ask if there’s any pattern to DEA raids. This a common and understandable question–as human beings we want a predictable and sensible universe.
MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS
I thought it couldn't get any worse than McCain and Giuliani, but I was so wrong. Republican front-runners are literally competing to see who cares the least about medical marijuana patients. And the winner is…Mitt Romney.
Romney may be toeing the party line, but I don't doubt his handlers have had a word or two with him about not insulting people in wheelchairs on CNN. I mean, really, could he have handled this any worse?
Let's set one thing straight here: if you oppose medical marijuana, you support arresting patients. It is just that simple. If you leave patients under the jurisdiction of the DEA, you know what's going to happen. Mitt Romney's unqualified, "I'm not in favor of medical marijuana," is an endorsement of every atrocity – past, present and future – that patients inevitably suffer at the hands of the heavily armed cavalry that so clumsily and callously insists on its right to police their private medical decisions.
Stay tuned, folks. Rumor has it Fred Thompson plans on drop-kicking a paraplegic down a flight of stairs.
Superior Court Rules in Favor of ASA Suit Challenging Ban on Patient Collectives
The legal team for Americans for Safe Access won the first round this month in their fight to protect the right of California patients to organize as collectives for cultivation.
A strongly worded ruling from Superior Court Judge Barbara Roberts on September 6 found that that seriously ill patients cultivating collectively "should not be required to risk criminal penalties and the stress and expense of a criminal trial in order to assert their rights."
The ruling came in response to an attempt by Butte County to stop the lawsuit ASA filed in May 2006 on behalf of a seven-person private patient collective.
"The court has sent a clear message to local law enforcement in California that they must respect the rights of patients to cultivate collectively." said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford.
At issue is a September 2005 warrantless search of a patient's home by the Butte County Sheriff's Department, during which David Williams, 54, was forced to uproot and destroy more than two dozen plants or face arrest and prosecution.
"We were told that it was not lawful to grow collectively for multiple patients," said Williams.
Judge Roberts' ruling also rejected Butte County's policy of requiring all members to physically participate in the cultivation, thereby allowing collective members to "contribute financially."
"The next step is to show that Williams was running a valid collective," said Elford. "At that point, the court is expected to make a final determination consistent with yesterday's ruling, which strongly vindicates the right of medical marijuana patients to associate together to grow the medicine they need."
ASA's intervention came after repeated reports of unlawful behavior by Butte County sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies.
45 Reps Sign Letter Urging Research Cultivation License
ASA lobbying was part of a successful, many-month effort by medical marijuana activists to get Congress to support research into cannabis therapeutics. On September 19, a letter signed by 45 members of the U.S. House of Representatives was delivered to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), urging the DEA to allow a UMass-Amherst professor to grow marijuana for approved research studies.
Over the past four months, ASA National Office staff, led by Governmental Affairs Director Caren Woodson, have been part of a campaign to get members of the House to sign the bi-partisan letter to DEA Adminstrator Karen Tandy. ASA members across the country contributed to a national grassroots campaign, contacting their representatives to ask them to sign on.
The letter, which was authored by U.S. Representatives John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), asks Tandy to accept DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner's February 2007 Opinion and Recommended Ruling in support of the UMass-Amherst Medical Marijuana Research Production Facility. The law judge's ruling is non-binding and DEA has no deadline to decide whether to accept or reject it. The ruling is the result of legal action sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and other drug policy reform groups.
The DEA's handling of the UMass application to cultivate marijuana for research studies has already elicited congressional questioning. A DEA deputy administrator faced criticism on the subject during hearings this summer.
"The DEA is ignoring the vast scientific evidence that clearly shows medicinal use of marijuana benefits patients who are extremely ill," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who sits on one of the committees charged with oversight. "When it comes to providing the best treatment options to sick Americans, we should trust doctors and medical researchers and not federal bureaucrats."
Lyle Craker, who is the director of the Medicinal Plant Program in the Department of Plant, Insect and Soil Sciences at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, submitted his initial application to DEA in June 2001. Craker plans to cultivate marijuana that would be used in clinical trials to determine whether marijuana meets FDA standards for medical safety and efficacy.
Since 1968, the federal National Institute on Drug Abuse has maintained a monopoly on the supply of research marijuana. Judge Bittner found that NIDA has repeatedly refused to supply marijuana for FDA-approved studies that could develop marijuana as a prescription medicine. Federal law requires adequate competition in the production of such Schedule I drugs as marijuana, to ensure a supply for approved research.
Members of the leading organization for seniors, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), had the opportunity to speak with ASA staff members during the group's convention in Boston from September 6-8. More than 25,000 people attended the AARP's annual event, with an average age of 62.
"Meeting so many older Americans who are interested in how medical cannabis can help them was a great experience," said Caren Woodson, ASA's Director of Governmental Affairs. "We know from the AARP's own polling in 2004 that the vast majority of their members believe in making access safe and legal. We had an overwhelmingly positive response, not just from baby-boomers, but from the "depression era" generation."
ASA sponsored a booth where AARP members could pick up information about medical marijuana, including condition-based booklets on aging, which can be seen at AmericansForSafeAccess.org/Aging_booklet. The booth also offered ASA gear and ways for seniors to plug in to medical marijuana activism. Last month's Retirement Living TV program on medical marijuana was featured, as well.
"There was a lot of interest about ways to ingest marijuana without smoking it, and people were generally surprised by how much progress we have made in 10 years," said Woodson. "We also heard some heartbreaking stories about loved ones with cancer and how much they would have liked another option for pain and wasting."
The broad-spectrum therapeutic nature of cannabis makes it a good choice for many people with a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, chronic pain, gastro-intestinal problems, and movement disorders such as Parkinson's.
With cancer more prevalent with aging, the well-established benefits of cannabis for coping with the devastating side-effects of chemotherapy are also of interest to older Americans.
ASA Coordinates Workshop for 200 Physicians
On September 19, a leading physician specializing in cannabis therapeutics gave a workshop for more than 200 doctors. The Continuing Medical Education (CME) workshop on medical marijuana was the first hosted by Kaiser Permanente in San Jose.
More than 200 physicians attended the workshop conducted by Dr. David Bearman and coordinated by Americans for Safe Access.
Dr. Bearman’s presentation covered the history of medical cannabis, an overview of its many benefits, and the legal rights of physicians.
Dr. Bearman is a well-respected physician with extensive experience in public health. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr Bearman was the Director of Medical Services for the Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority (SBRHA) since its inception in 1983 through June 1997, when he became Senior Health Care Advisor/Grants Development Director.
He has a long and illustrious background in the field of drug abuse treatment and prevention, including serving as Medical Director of Santa Barbara County Methadone Maintenance Clinic and Ventura County Opiate Detox Program; teaching courses on substance abuse at UCSF, UCSB, and SDSU; and authoring numerous articles on drug abuse treatment and prevention, as well as other medical topics. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, the Harvard Business Review, and other publications.
ASA plans to continue educating Kaiser physicians, as well as those across California and the rest of the country, in order to counter the misinformation spread by the federal government. Eventually, ASA hopes to have a CME available that can be downloaded by physicians online.
Contact Candidates: Demand Action on Safe Access!
As the presidential primaries get closer and closer, we need to know where all the candidates stand on important medical marijuana issues. Call, write, and ask the candidates in person on their campaign trail where they stand on medical marijuana. Ask them the following questions:
Will you pledge to end the gridlock and lift the federal government's monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research?
If elected, will you seek a comprehensive change in federal policy to resolve the differences between state and federal laws?
If elected, what specific actions will you take to ensure that the Department of Justice, the DEA, and other federal agencies are not working to undermine state medical marijuana laws on your watch?
If elected, will you consider granting Presidential pardons to medical marijuana patients and providers who have been sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms who were abiding by state law?
See AmericansforSafeAccess.org/08PresidentialCandidates for contact information on the candidates. For more help, contact Sonnet: Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org.