Medical Marijuana

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MMJ Week, Tuesday: Do Your Homework – Know the Issues

Do Your Homework – Know the Issues
Medical Marijuana Week - Tuesday, February 17th

Dear ASA Supporter,

There is a lot of important information out there about cannabis as medicine. Did you know there are over 17,000 published scientific articles on cannabis and “cannabinoids” since 1996? Did you know that DEA Judges have now twice ruled in favor of medical cannabis, and DEA Administrators have twice ignored the rulings? Can you recite ASA’s Federal Policy Recommendations? Spend a day reading and learning about why this issue is so profound.

According to the widely respected magazine, The Economist, “If cannabis were unknown, and bioprospectors were suddenly to find it in some remote mountain crevice, its discovery would no doubt be hailed as a medical breakthrough.” (Economist, May 5, 2006).

There’s a reason for all this excitement. Cannabis may soon be considered one of the defining medical discoveries of our generation. For 40 years, efforts to recognize the plant's medical properties have been denied, ignored, and suppressed - all because of a negative stigma. To fully understand this issue, you should know the science, the law, and the politics.

Learn about the science. Read about Dr. Mechoulam’s discovery of the human endocannabinoid system in the 1990’s and why major pharmaceutical companies are developing their own “cannabinoid” research departments. Read about some of the most important studies of today which show promise in the use of cannabis to treat an extraordinarily wide array of conditions.

www.safeaccessnow.org/researchdatabase
www.medicalcannabis.com/reference.htm
www.safeaccessnow.org/additionalresources

Learn about the law. Understand what court cases over the years have ruled for or against medical cannabis. Know why states have the right to enact medical cananbis laws, but the federal government also has the right to interfere with them. Read about the DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young, who ruled, “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.” And read about the most recent DEA ruling, released by another DEA Judge in 2007, which demanded that DEA lift barriers to cannabis research. Understand how DEA Administrators ignored the rulings and acted directly contrary, putting cannabis research back over 20 years.

DEA Judge Francis Young Ruling
DEA Judge Bittner Ruling
Landmark Decisions in Medical Cannabis Law

Learn about the politics. Did you know that even before 1996, 35 states had some form of medical cannabis law on the books, but that they were all unworkable due to legal loopholes? Learn the "in’s and out’s" of medical cannabis laws in 13 states – and which ones are tentatively considered “the 14th and 15th medical cannabis states”. Learn all this and more here:

Medical Cannabis Laws in 14 States
ASA’s Federal Policy Recommendations

And when you're done, you'll be even better prepared to become an ASA Ambassador!

Sincerely,


George Pappas
Field Coordinator
Americans for Safe Access


Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. February 2009 Minutes

Monthly Public Meeting Minutes

Lawrence Township Library

Tuesday, February 10, 2009; 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

7:20 PM:  Meeting called to order.  January 2009 minutes approved.  Discussion: 

Ø  “Come to Trenton to support medical marijuana, Monday, 2/23/09.”  The vote by the entire NJ Senate on The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” (S119), as amended, is expected to take place on 2/23/09.  CMMNJ will send Press Releases before the vote to rally support, and after the vote to discuss the outcome.  Contact your senator today.  Members of the national organization, Patients Out of Time, plan to assist in passing this important legislation.  If the bill passes in the senate, it will then go to the NJ Assembly.

 

Ø  Upcoming events:  Chris Goldstein, CMMNJ & Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) will host a free, educational seminar on medical marijuana on Wed., 2/18/09 from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM at the Rutgers/Camden Law School, Room 207.  Ken & Jim Miller will be on WIFI 1460 AM Radio on 2/12/09 at 4:30 PM.  NORML NJ is meeting on 2/21/09 at 7:00 PM in Toms River, NJ to rally support for medical marijuana.  (For NORML NJ meeting info, contact annedavis1@comcast.net ).  CMMNJ plans to join SSDP Rutgers on May 2, 2009 in a march for medical marijuana in New Brunswick, NJ.

 

Ø  Recent publications: The Times of Trenton published CMMNJ’s OP-ED, "Drug laws vs. medical science" 1/15/09.  The Nursing Spectrum published the article, “The Great Debate: Medical Marijuana or Not?  Will New Jersey legislators pass a law in 2009?”  on 1/26/09.  The Asbury Park Press published Jim Miller’s LTE, “Support warranted for medical marijuana” on 2/9/09.

 

Ø  Recent appearances:  CMMNJ appeared on WIBG 1020 AM Talk Radio on 1/20/09.   A podcast of the live radio show is expected to be available soon.  CMMNJ and Chris Goldstein hosted a free, educational seminar on medical marijuana on 2/3/09 at the Willingboro Public Library.

Ø  Update on Jackson, NJ Crohn’s patient Mike Miceli who was arrested for medical marijuana on 9/4/08.

Ø  CMMNJ has new photos, etc. on Facebook and Facebook Friends of CMMNJ.

 

Ø  CMMNJ attended the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) national conference call 1/28/09.  Federal policy towards medical marijuana is changing!  

Ø  Treasury report: Checking account: $1864.45.  PayPal account: $577.59.  Please consider a tax-deductible donation to CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) organization, to support public education about medical marijuana.  Donations may be made securely through Paypal or checks made out to “CMMNJ” and sent to corporate headquarters at the address below.  Thank you for your interest and support.

  9:00 PM Adjourn meeting.

Next Meeting: March 10, 2009 from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM at the Lawrence Twp. Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike (at Darrah Lane), Lawrence Twp., NJ (Tel. #609.882.9246).  All are welcome.  Snacks are served.  Meeting at the library does not imply their endorsement of our issue.  For more info, contact:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org, 844 Spruce St., Trenton, NJ 08648, (609) 394-2137

ohamkrw@aol.com
Location: 
NJ
United States

MPP launches medical marijuana initiative in Arizona

Dear friends:

Fresh off our winning ballot initiative campaigns in Michigan and Massachusetts, the Marijuana Policy Project has just launched a campaign to pass a statewide medical marijuana ballot initiative campaign in Arizona.

If passed in November 2010, the initiative would protect Arizona patients from arrest and jail for using marijuana with their doctors' recommendation. This would make Arizona the 14th medical marijuana state (or possibly the 15th, 16th, or even 17th, depending on what successes we have between now and then).

We're feeling good about this campaign because in November we passed a similar initiative in Michigan with a whopping 63% of the vote — and we know we can do it again in Arizona.

But the first thing we need to do is get the initiative placed on the ballot. To do that, we must collect 153,365 valid signatures from Arizona voters, which means we need to collect about 250,000 gross signatures. We know from our past successful signature drives, like in Michigan, that it costs about $2 to collect every signature (because of the costs of paying canvassers, checking validity, and so forth), which means it will take $500,000 to fund this stage of the campaign.

Want to be part of this exciting campaign and help protect another state's medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail?  Please donate what you can here.

As you can see at the bottom of this message, a major philanthropist is willing to match your donation dollar-for-dollar, so we only need you and other MPP members to donate a total of $250,000. Arizona patients and I are grateful for anything you can do to help.

Sincerely,
Kampia signature (e-mail sized)

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

Location: 
AZ
United States

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Passes Senate Committee

A bill that would allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana passed the Minnesota Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee on a bipartisan 8-3 vote Wednesday. The bill, SF 97, would allow patients or designated caregivers to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 12 plants.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/minnesotacapitol.jpg
Minnesota State Capitol
Eligible patients would be those whose illnesses cause cachexia or wasting syndrome, intractable pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, or agitation of Alzheimer's disease. Also eligible are HIV-positive patients and patients suffering "any other medical condition or treatment approved by" the state of Minnesota.

"I believe this will be the year medical marijuana becomes law in Minnesota," said Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), a sponsor of the bill. "We've seen now from the experiences of 13 states -- one-quarter of the country -- that these laws work well, and that the dire warnings of opponents simply don't come true. The voters understand that there is no reason to subject suffering patients to arrest and jail for using a doctor-recommended medicine."

The vote came after testimony from patients and family members, including Joni Whiting of Jordan, Minnesota. A Vietnam War veteran, Whiting told the committee she had strongly disapproved of marijuana until her daughter came down with melanoma and began to suffer nausea and pain from chemotherapy.

"I was opposed to marijuana," Whiting said, "but the nausea my daughter suffered from the chemotherapy was so bad she lost a lot of weight, and the pills the doctor prescribed didn't help -- including Marinol, the THC pill. Marijuana allowed her to eat and also helped ease her pain, and she looked better than I'd seen her in months. I would have rather spent the rest of my life in prison than have denied her the medicine that kept her pain at bay and allowed her to live 89 more days."

"I'm pleased to coauthor this important legislation that will empower doctors and patients while protecting sick and dying Minnesotans from the threat of criminal prosecution," said Sen. Debbie Johnson (R-Ham Lake). "Most FDA-approved drugs assist in managing short-term pain. Chronically ill and terminal patients need alternatives. Medical marijuana is one of those alternatives."

Not everyone testified in favor of the bill, and some opponents went to extremes in their testimony. "This bill would allow 18-year-old boys to grow marijuana in their homes without any outside supervision," said Tom Pritchard of the Minnesota Family Council. "My reading of the bill says it would prevent landlords from regulating the growing and use of marijuana on their premises. This bill would allow marijuana dispensaries to set up shop across the state, in homes and storefronts on main streets and neighborhoods and apartment buildings. Why? The only reason I can see is that it is to legitimize, frankly, the broader acceptance of marijuana in the community's eyes."

Not exactly. Under the bill, if an 18-year-old bill is suffering from one of the designated conditions, he, like any other adult, may grow his own medicine. But while juveniles may also use medical marijuana, only their parents can grow it. The bill does not require landlords to allow medical marijuana grows; it prohibits discrimination against people who use medical marijuana. The bill does provide for tightly-controlled, nonprofit "registered organizations" to grow marijuana for multiple patients.

Pritchard wasn't the only critic, nor even the most unreasonable. James Stinziani, who described himself as a member of the "Lyndon LaRouche operation," told the committee medical marijuana was simply a stalking horse for drug legalization pushed by front groups paid for by billionaire George Soros. "What is happening here -- if anybody is familiar with George Soros -- he is pretty much supporting and funding the major drug operations in the United States."

But the legislators weren't buying the fulminations and conspiracy theories. Now, it's on to the next hurdle, and the hurdle after that. Even if a bill passes the legislature, it faces the opposition of Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), whose veto threats last year stalled a bill then.

Alert: Keep the Promise, President Obama -- Stop the Medical Marijuana Raids!

One of President Obama's campaign promises last year was that he would stop the DEA's cruel and senseless raids on medical marijuana clinics. But less than two weeks since he took office, such raids have already been conducted on two occasions, hitting several clinics in the Los Angeles area last Tuesday.

We are hoping this is just Bush administration holdovers at work, and an administration spokesperson yesterday had encouraging words to this effect in the media -- change is coming on this issue, the Obama administration says. Follow the link below to our feature report to read more.

In the meanwhile, patients and the people who serve them are being subjected to continued injustice. Please click here to e-mail President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to ask them to take action now to stop the raids sooner rather than later. Don't just click, though, use the phone too -- the White House Comment Line is at (202) 456-1111 (be persistent, it's pretty busy right now), and the Attorney General's office is at (202) 353-1555.

If you are on Facebook or might want to be, please click here to sign our petition to President Obama on this issue. Please forward both of these links to your friends too.

Click here to read our feature story on this week's raids and the administration's encouraging response.

Thank you for taking action to bring positive change to US drug policy now!

Press Release: Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate Committee in Bipartisan Vote, 8-3

Minnesota Cares logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 11, 2009

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate Committee in Bipartisan Vote, 8-3

CONTACT: Former Rep. Chris DeLaForest (R-Andover)......................................................(763) 439-1178

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Minnesota's medical marijuana bill, S.F. 97, cleared its first major hurdle this afternoon, passing the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee in a bipartisan vote of 8 to 3. The committee received spoken and written testimony from a number of patients and family members describing the relief provided by medical marijuana when conventional treatments had failed.

    "I believe this will be the year medical marijuana becomes law in Minnesota," said Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), a sponsor of the bill. "We've seen now from the experiences of 13 states -- one-quarter of the country -- that these laws work well, and that the dire warnings of opponents simply don't come true. The voters understand that there is no reason to subject suffering patients to arrest and jail for using a doctor-recommended medicine."

    One of those testifying was Joni Whiting of Jordan, a disabled Vietnam veteran who had strongly disapproved of marijuana use until her daughter was diagnosed with melanoma and began suffering unbearable nausea and pain from the treatments. "I was opposed to marijuana," Whiting said, "but the nausea my daughter suffered from the chemotherapy was so bad she lost a lot of weight, and the pills the doctor prescribed didn't help -- including Marinol, the THC pill. Marijuana allowed her to eat and also helped ease her pain, and she looked better than I'd seen her in months. I would have rather spent the rest of my life in prison than have denied her the medicine that kept her pain at bay and allowed her to live 89 more days."

    "I'm pleased to co-author this important legislation that will empower doctors and patients while protecting sick and dying Minnesotans from the threat of criminal prosecution," said Sen. Debbie Johnson (R-Ham Lake). "Most FDA-approved drugs assist in managing short-term pain.  Chronically ill and terminal patients need alternatives. Medical marijuana is one of those alternatives."

    Written testimony from patients and others is available at http://www.minnesotacares.org/Health_Housing_and_Family_Security_Committee_Testimony.htm.

    Thirteen states, including one-quarter of the U.S. population, now permit medical use of marijuana under state law. The newest such law was enacted by Michigan voters last November, passing with a record-setting 63 percent "yes" vote. Medical organizations which have recognized marijuana's medical uses include the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, and American College of Physicians, which noted "marijuana's proven efficacy at treating certain symptoms and its relatively low toxicity," in a statement issued last year.

####

Location: 
MN
United States

Medical Cannabis Candle Light Vigil at the Capitol

Consider coming out to hold a candle, reflect on the friends and family of ours with pain and suffering and potentially meet some of your Maryland State Delegates and Senators. We will have great posters for you to hold or feel free to bring some of your own. This is just one of our four events for Medical Marijuana Week! Please do not let transportation be an issue. Contact us (Earthchar@hotmail.com, md4safeaccess@gmail.com) for carpool details, or let us know if you would like to volunteer as a carpool driver. Did you hear the good news? In response to recent DEA raids in California, the Obama White House said “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind." Now it's more important than ever to show your support for President Obama in his promise to end medical marijuana raids, and to help bring changes to Marylands medical marijuana law that provide safe and legal access for patients in need. For the 7th year in a row activists across the nation will be organizing Medical Marijuana Week. (MMJ Week) Held every year during the week of Feb. 15, it's an empowering week of events and activities to raise awareness about the growing support for safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research throughout the nation.
Date: 
Mon, 02/16/2009 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
United States

Medical Marijuana Press Conference at Minnesota Statehouse

Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote. Presenters include bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote. Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.
Date: 
Wed, 02/11/2009 - 11:00am
Location: 
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
United States

Press Advisory: Press Conference Wednesday to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

Minnesota Cares logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 10, 2009

Press Conference Weds. to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
Hearing in Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee to Follow

CONTACT: Former Rep. Chris DeLaForest..................................................................(763) 439-1178

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote.

    WHAT: Press conference to launch drive for final passage of medical marijuana legislation, S.F. 97 and H.F. 292, followed by Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee hearing.

    WHO: Bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote.
    Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.

    WHERE: Rm. 125, State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul.

    WHEN: Press conference at 11 a.m. Hearing at 12:30 p.m.
   

####

Location: 
St. Paul, MN
United States

Canada: BC Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Restrictions Unconstitutional

A British Columbia judge ruled Tuesday that portions of Canada's federal medical marijuana law unconstitutionally restrict the supply of marijuana to patients authorized to use it. As part of her decision, BC Supreme Court Madam Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg found a worker for the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) guilty of growing marijuana and possessing it with the intent to distribute, but gave him an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no criminal liability.

The judge held that parts of Health Canada's Medical Marihuana Access Regulations, such as the requirement that patients get a doctor's approval, were constitutional, but that a provision limiting designated growers to growing for only one patient was "arbitrary" and "constitutionally invalid." The judge also struck down a provision limiting the number of licensed growers at any site to three, which effectively barred growers' collectives.

Judge Koenigsberg gave Ottawa one year to draft regulations that will allow for growers to grow for multiple patients and for multiple growers to form collectives.

The case the court heard began in May 2004, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided a VICS research facility, seized some 900 marijuana plants destined for VICS patients, and arrested VICS employee Mathew Beren. Lawyers for Beren used the bust to challenge the way Health Canada regulated medical marijuana production.

The ruling comes only a day after a federal appeals court rejected an Ottawa appeal of a January lower court decision that restricting growers to only one patient was unconstitutional. That lower court ruling had been stayed pending the appeal.

In Vancouver, Judge Koenigsberg noted that although Beren may have sold marijuana to people without medical approval, he was of "good character," lacked a criminal record, and was growing, in the main, for patients. "If ever there was a case in which an absolute discharge was appropriate, it was this one," she concluded.

"I was facing 14 years or more in jail, of course, I'm relieved," Beren said immediately after the ruling. He knew the risks, he said, but sick people needed their medicine.

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