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Marijuana Policy Reformers Don't "Hide Behind AIDS and Cancer Patients"

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In an otherwise great piece putting ONDCP's pot potency panic in perspective, Clara Jeffery at Mother Jones throws a brick at drug policy reformers:
As in so many things these days, one wishes for something approximating independent analysis. I don't trust the government's research on drugs; its hyperbole and scare tactics on pot in particular seemed design to defend status quos (border and prison policies) that worsen, not solve, larger societal problems at hand. Nor do I trust NORML et al, even, and perhaps especially, when, having gotten nowhere on legalization per se, they reframe the issue as a balm for the sick and dying. Allowing medical marijuana is a no-brainer in my book, but I just think it's a little unseemly when perfectly healthy pot-positive types hide behind AIDS and cancer patients.

Jeffery questions the credibility of the federal drug war establishment, then borrows their favorite talking point and slaps us with it.

Yet, the idea that marijuana policy reformers have somehow exploited patients is incoherent on its face. We have defended patients because their persecution is one of the most tragic consequences of the great war we oppose. That our efforts on behalf of patients have been particularly successful is a product of political realities, not an indictment of our strategy. We don't get to choose which of our issues gain traction.

This fight was brought to our doorstep in the form of sick people and their caretakers getting arrested. Our disgust over the persecution of medical marijuana patients is very real and our willingness to fight and win major victories on their behalf has been amply demonstrated. These patients are our friends and family, literally.

Nor are we hiding in any sense of the word. Really, what could be more obviously wrong than the suggestion that marijuana reformers are somehow concealing our agenda? It is plastered atop our websites, it is spelled out in our press releases and on our t-shirts, and it is the first thing we'll explain to anyone willing to listen.

Clara Jeffery, why is it ok for you to call medical marijuana a "no-brainer," and not us? We spoke of compassion, and we then built compassionate policies out of thin air and against massive opposition. No, we don't hide behind AIDS and cancer patients. We march with them.

Update: Paul Armentano at NORML tells me that Mother Jones turned down a remarkably similar story he submitted a month ago, only to then publish this version. This illustrates two important things:

1. While Mother Jones purports not to trust NORML, they like Paul Armentano's story ideas and echo his analysis.

2. Having received multiple submissions from Paul, Mother Jones almost certainly knows that he does not "hide behind AIDS and cancer patients," because they've seen him writing about other topics, including this one.

Ultimately, the attack against NORML is just completely without merit or provocation. Clara Jeffery owes an explanation.

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Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Hiding Behind Sick People

Ya, fair comment frightens the 420 society because someone else sees something stoner society won't look at, and that is: massive fraud in all things medical marijuana.

No real suffering patient who uses cannabis for legitimate relief gets flack, however the over producers of permit pot sure get shook down on a regular basis ( thats the massive fraud part )

As long as cannabis induced selective amnesia prevails, the feds will ignore the fraud pot sickos ( apologies to Michael Moore for stealing his buzzword ) So get used to the reality that most med pot permits are handed out to keep long haul social agitators stoned, quiet and at home and away from the productive edge of the world , & lets them legitimise their sloth and have a reason to be special- they are med pot patients..they can have weed and the rest of us can't

We don't any of this medical tambourine stuff form the Aspirin people and thats all about safe, low cost simple pain relief.. the limitations of the cannabis miracle are at hand..healing of the nations may turn out to be medical insurance and not some smouldering blunt ..

medical marijuana fraud?

Are you daft? Aspirin safe? Do you know how many people die each year from taking aspirin? "Deaths directly related to aspirin usage are estimated to range from 7600 to 14000 annually in the United States." Do you know how many people die each year from smoking pot (no other causes, like AIDS, included)? ZERO!

Frankly, I think the medical marijuana issue sidetracks decriminalization efforts. Marijuana should be as non-criminal to grow, sell, or ingest as tomatoes or cucumbers.


Sick people getting arrested

Are you serious?!?
"No real suffering patient who uses cannabis for legitimate relief gets flack,. . "

You obviously don't have a clue about the medical marijuana movement, or any of the orgs associated with it. I've worked with Texans for Medical Marijuana, and just with this one (relatively small) medical marijuana org have personally met with dozens of real, sick, ill, incapacitated, individuals who have been arrested, had their doors kicked in, and even been put in serious medically dangerous situations, just because they possess and use marijuana. These victims of the drug war have real, serious, medical conditions for which marijuana is helpful. And the government is trying to force them to use legal, corporate, medications that potentially carry serious side-effects.
The fact is that, "real suffering patient(s) who use(s) cannabis for legitimate relief" are getting "flack", and much worse.
Get a grip on reality.


puregenius's picture

Cat calling the kettle black

The only one hiding behind anything is the government. They talk about international agreements like the Single Narcotics Convention as if it's sacred, meanwhile they are doing everything they can to subvert the Geneva Convention. When it is more important to follow international drug agreements than the rules or war, you know something is very wrong. If they want to continue touting Marinol as a viable alternative they need to make sure it is affordable. I am blessed to have great insurance, otherwise my Marinol would be 30% more than my rent. Nobody should have to pay $1,300 for a synthetic form of a natural substance

Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery:

Al I can say is do it yourself: you go change laws on your own. Keep voting for the Demorats, the Bill/Hillary Clintons, keep voting for the Al Gores and John Kerry, former smokers who now deny the same to others. Don't blame NORML or even the so-called conservative Republicans (who at least are up front about their ignorance): blame yourself when you do not succeed, either.

Mother Jones ignored numerous efforts by NORML to cover issues & conferences: where have you been?

worth repeating

Puregenius: are you saying you (your insurance company) pay $1300 a month for marinol???!!! Bastards got you coming or going. This adds power to 12:25 post's explanation of why weed is illegal, an eloquent enough rant to be worth repeating: "Want to know why it is still a crime to grow, sell or ingest marijuana for ANY reason? Because BIG PHARMA DOES NOT WANT YOU MEDICATING YOURSELF WITH A FREE, UNPATENTABLE, EASY-TO-GROW PLANT, AND THE ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, OIL AND PAPER PULP TRADES DON'T WANT THE COMPETITION THAT'S WHY!!!
Well said, though I thing 'religious' bigots have something to do with it too.

puregenius's picture

That is what my insurance records show

When I get my prescription records from the pharmacy. I don't know if any other deals are being worked out.

I am above the influence, the influence of drug war propaganda

She's wrong on whether legalization efforts are getting anywhere

Yes vote on 2006 propositions to legalize weed: 44% in Nevada and 41% in Colorado. What would we have gotten 10 or 20 years? No guarantee it will continue but this represents excellent progress in recent years.


As a medical cannabis patient, mother, grandmother of four, prior nurse and medicolegal transcriptionist for 30 some years I, finally, turned to MMJ (medical marijuana) as a last resort through my family physician. I found, through the years, that there are many willing to fight the fight for patients and for all of our civil rights. My life was a living hell before finding MMJ and now I can function, my physicians are impressed with my progress, and everything would be fine if the federal government and law enforcement would work within the law and have a little compassion.

I thank God for all of those who are willing to take on the responsibility of speaking for all of us who cannot, due to disability, physically get to legislative meetings, etc. They are on the front lines of this issue and get the lion's share of criticism and take on the negativity for us all. They are some of my most honored heroes and we need even more to help this cause. I don't want to feel like a criminal anymore...I've never been one and don't want to start now.


On the backs of patients...

Drug policy reformers are not hiding behind medical marijuana patients. They have been the best friends to a myriad of sick and suffering (don't have to be dying to use cannabis) people who lacked the strength and energy to fight the fight by themselves.
It's those who sell $40-$60 eighths to patients living on SSI/SSDI, laughing all the way to the bank that I have a problem with.

People against Pot

Have NO moral leg to stand on. ESPECIALLY if they call themselves a Christian. Because the bible says : King James Version - Gen 1:29 ¶ And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
God made ALL these plants for our use and they sin by keeping it from us all. They want war. That's it. Until we take our country and Democracy back, we will have to continue bowing down and kissing Satan's ring.
Have a great week. Zena

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