Dedication: Seattle Musician Timothy Garon, Victim of the Drug War

Earlier this week, Scott Morgan discussed on our blog the case of musician Timothy Garon, denied a transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center due to his medical use of marijuana to control nausea (Denying Organ Transplants to Medical Marijuana Patients Is Evil). Medical use of marijuana is legal in Washington state, and marijuana is not known to damage the body, the stated rationale for denying transplants to patients.

We are saddened to report that Garon passed away late last night. This issue of Drug War Chronicle is dedicated to him. We will report more fully on this injustice next week.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Marijuana/carcinogen connection?

I heard a presentation by a vice cop last night who mentioned that marijuana has more carcinogens than cigarettes -- I've also heard the same thing from a Scientologist promoting their Narcanon program ...

Is this true?

Where are they getting their information?

It sounds like disinfo/propaganda to me.

I mean, hello? Can I really trust information from people who aren't even aware that the CIA ships the stuff in?

Its basically propaganda.

Its basically propaganda. Numerous studies have showed that smoking marijuana is not correlated with incidence of lung cancer. However, smoking tobacco is, and smoking both is worse than either alone. The theory goes that there may be carcinogens in marijuana smoke but the cannabinoids offer some protective effect.

Oops, that should be a reply

Oops, that should be a reply to the previous Anon post.

Garon's Tragedy

I am so angry about what was done to Timothy Garon that I can barely stand it. And I don't rile easily. I am using medical marijuana legally for advanced cancer. Nothing stops some of the specific pain as effectively. And the fact that it doesn't harm my liver is really important. When do we get past the propaganda of the 30s rooted in greed and distorting the facts? If smoking pot damaged the liver it would make sense. But it doesn't. How much boogaboo do we have to keep putting up with on this planet? And it's not just this, but that, and that, and that. Reality seems to be something folks think can be relative, but in issues like this, it's not. The rampant stupidity that accepts such mistruth to such a degree that they will rob someone of a chance to live for a lie just underlines the entire planet of distortion on which we live. So it makes me really upset in general.

The only choice I have is to live my own life the best I can in terms of the values I believe in, to stand up for truth whenever I get the chance, and to not let the bastards get me down. The stupid we will always have with us - and it's not about intelligence levels that I am talking.

And as an addendum to the discussion on quantity of carcinogens in marijuana smoke - like with most things on the planet, answers are not so simple - that protective effect re cancer (and yes, that's researched) from non-carcinogens in marijuana makes the total come out differently than if you look only at parts. We need the whole picture on all this stuff. The research coming in on the helpfulness of marijuana is actually quite profound. NORML's site has a collection of research on medicinal uses. Partial pictures rarely give us all that we need. And the whole story about the history of the criminalization of marijuana, a vastly safer drug than alcohol, needs to be told.

Fromage Bleu

death for following dr's orders

I would like to send my condolences to tim garon's family and friends. He actually died from imposed morality. The Protestant ethic dosen't allow for pleasure that hasen't been earned. You can jump off a cliff with a chute to get high , endanger your life and those who might have to save you when something goes wrong and they have to rescue you, but that high is ok because you earned it. Sit on your ass and get high, thats a sin and your lazy butt will go to hell and as a matter of fact , we will help you get there sooner by destroying your life here on earth.
There will be no change in America untill the war on drugs is ended. Will you be safer at a atm late at night if the Gangs all have healthcare? Will you be able to sit on your front porch and not catch a stray bullet? Will you still worry that your kid might be in a bad place trying to score some weed?
There will be no real change in America until the Gestapo like pall of the War on Drugs , which hangs over the country like smog over LA, is dissipated by the fresh wind and bright light of personal freedom.
The huge black market in drugs is the financial machine which pays for the gangs and guns and violence that plagues us all from large city to little burg. If these politicians really want change they will get serious about ending the long nightmare called the War on Drugs. Tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and allow doctors to write scripts for addicts with the provision that the doctor have the person in rehab within a year. Don’t show for rehab, the cops pick you up. Loaded in public - rehab. Loaded and do a crime -rehab then pay for your crime. End of the war!
If it sounds simple, it is. Maybe that’s why they don’t get it?

Just Damn....

I happened to read a little blurb in the Atlanta newspaper, mentioning a liver transplant being denied to someone using medically authorized pot, then dying. When I read the victim's name, I freaked, cause I used to play music & hang out with Tim years ago in Hawaii. I had just reconnected with him about six months ago, after a almost a twenty-year gap, so I'm devastated by this news.

And of course, I am pissed as hell! This is a travesty, and on so many levels, many already mentioned by other posters. If someone would have told me, sitting around getting high at UCLA in '69, that marijuana would in 2008, not only still be legal, but would ever be considered grounds for the death sentence handed Tim, I would've, A) thought they were certifiably crazy, and B) Immediately made plans to move to Figi, or somewhere saner....

When the level of ignorance reaches heights like this, it's just too much! If only all the former stoners from back then, as the lawyers, doctors, rich executives, politicians, & generals they are today, were courageous enough to stand up and once and for all, declare this madness must truly end! Until then, many more thousands will suffer the unwarranted consequences of smoking this plant, fines, loss of property, incarceration, un-needed pain, & yes, even death....

The sick, the suffering, the dying

The news about Timothy Garon's death angers me as well. First, I would like to express condolences to Mr. Garon's family and friends. It absolutely astounds me that in this day and age, circumstances like this even need to still exist. Marijuana was criminalized based on false medical information, hiding behind the true reasons for its prohibition, which have been historically documented to actually have been racial and political motivations. Add to that the mountains of available information and studies performed that have all consistently proven that the "dangers" of marijuana use equate to be no worse than that of alcohol or tobacco use, and in many cases, less. Simply, as the initial ban on marijuana was based on other than truth, not on legitimate medical concerns, and regardless, its relative safety of use has been well scientifically and medically proven, the medical issue should not even be an issue, but I guess that's about all the federal government has left to hang on to regarding marijuana. Marijuana has not been shown to damage the liver, nor has it been shown to be highly addictive, even when compared with cigarettes. Quit smoking tobacco. Then quit smoking marijuana. See which one is more difficult to accomplish. So, the comment made by one of the hospital officials regarding their "concern" that the patient might not be able to stop using medical cannabis, is in my opinion, pure propaganda, especially when the liver transplant would have ended the symptoms for which Mr. Garon was using medical marijuana. This is just another example of the colossal failure of the war on drugs (marijuana, citizens)--pick one. Another case of the sick, the suffering, and the dying being discriminated against. It's unbelievable that society would actually allow any citizen to die just to support the most illogical war the U.S. has ever fought. The policymakers that allow the confusion between federal and state law over medical marijuana to continue by doing nothing toward law reform and harm reduction, and all those who help promote the federal government's official stance against medical marijuana by allowing unproportionately harsh consequences to apply where use of marijuana has been discovered, as in this sad case, now have another notch in their victim belt. This madness has to stop. The next victim could easily be you or I. We all need to speak up and be counted, not only "former stoners". Users, non-users, advocates, and non-advocates. As the current drug policies ultimately affect all of us, and we know which ones of us these policies affect positively (hence one of the big reasons for resistance to change or reform), every citizen should try to help ensure that Mr. Garon's passing does not go unnoticed by the proper officials; his use of marijuana was recommended and approved by his physician, and was legal under WA state law. It really is time that our government officials were once again made to be responsible to the citizens of this country, and to follow the will of the huge majority of citizens, over 80% I believe, when polled, that support allowing the medical use of cannabis. For those that desire to do so, there is currently a bill in front of federal legislators called the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act (H.R. 5842) that would end the conflict between the federal government and any states that have implemented medical marijuana programs. This would be a great time to let your elected representatives know of your desire to support passage of this bill. It would be a start.

i am no longer an organ donor...

i gave up my status as an organ donor several years ago when i learned that to be considered a candidate a dying human being must have $150,000.00 LIQUID assets...this latest tragedy only confirms my decision and gives me another reason to keep my organs and tissues after death...at least until this disgusting set of circumstances is changed...

since i learned of mr. garon, one question keeps bothering me: if marijuana users (even with a doctor's recommendation) can't get organ replacements then why is it that david crosby got a new liver? he undoubtedly is a marijuana user from way back...

my condolences to tim garon's family and friends - what happened is a shameful tragedy.

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