Medical Marijuana

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ONDCP Publicly Debates Drug Reform Leaders for the First (and Probably Last) Time Ever

Last night I attended the D.C. premiere of Jed Riffe’s film Waiting to Inhale, which was followed by a debate that pitted Special Assistant to the Drug Czar David Murray against MPP’s Rob Kampia, and DPA’s Ethan Nadelmann (Former ONDCP staffer Andrea Barthwell didn’t show).

The film takes a compelling look at the history of medical cannabis and gives us a glimpse into the lives of several patients who depend on it. For those of us who’ve been following the issue, the plight of the patients depicted is all too familiar. I’d bet that many people who’ve formed snap judgments about medical marijuana would be stunned to see the faces behind this controversy.

Knowing that David Murray was in the room gave it an extra bite. Would he really stick around to defend these atrocities? He looked villainous in the film, and for all the nonsense to which we’ve become accustomed from him, I was somehow still surprised that his head didn’t explode halfway through.

But Murray is a professional, and with no choice but to fight, he faced two of his most articulate critics with as much grace as you might expect from a man who gets paid to excuse the inexcusable.

  • When Murray read the FDA’s absurd statement on MMJ, Kampia waved a pair of handcuffs and asked why patients were being arrested for taking their doctors advice.
  • When Murray claimed that these guys just want to legalize drugs, Nadelmann acknowledged that he advocates a variety of reforms but considers the persecution of sick people to be the drug war’s greatest injustice.
  • When Murray claimed that medical groups don’t support MMJ, Kampia enumerated the rambling list of medical groups that do in fact support MMJ.
  • When Murray claimed that DEA doesn’t target doctors, Nadelmann pointed out that DPA had to win a significant court battle to prevent exactly that.
  • When Kampia claimed that youth marijuana use in California has dropped significantly since the passage of Proposition 215, Murray claimed that it would take too long to explain why that was misleading.
  • When Murray claimed that medicines must be approved through the rigorous FDA approval process, Nadelmann noted that the Federal Government routinely blocks MMJ research.

And so it went, each point disputed on its face with no concessions made by either side. At times, it sounded like they weren't talking about the same drug. Or the same laws, the same patients, the same research, or for that matter the same country.

But I applaud David Murray for being there. He told lies in front of people who know the truth, and that takes guts. He said the film “felt like a cartoon” to him, demonstrating the detachment such a man must summon when confronted with the consequences of his deceit.

That this event even took place is testament to the relentless and growing pressure our movement has brought to bear against those who persecute the sick and dying. David Murray might be able to view Waiting to Inhale in the comfort of arrogant indifference, but the film could prove a bitter pill for less-entrenched adherents to the drug war doctrine.

This is no cartoon, Mr. Murray. It’s real, it’s the truth, and it will never go away.

Sidenote: Tom Angell and I spotted David Murray drinking a beer before the film. I guess even shameless drug warriors gotta take the edge off.

Location: 
United States

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science September 13, 2006 - Washington, DC, USA Washington, DC: Recently published clinical and preclinical research on the therapeutic use of cannabis indicates that cannabinoids may curb the progression of various life-threatening diseases - in particular, autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease) - according to a comprehensive new report published today by the NORML Foundation. The NORML Foundation report summarizes over 120 recently published trials assessing the therapeutic utility of cannabinoids for the treatment of fifteen specific disease indications: Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, gliomas, hepatitis C, hypertension, incontinence, osteoporosis, pruritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and Tourette's syndrome. "Despite continued political debates regarding the recreational use of cannabis, clinical investigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at any time in history," states the report's author, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano. "In some of these cases, modern science is now affirming longtime anecdotal reports of medicinal cannabis users. In other cases, this research is highlighting entirely new potential clinical utilities for cannabinoids." Whereas initial clinical investigations into the therapeutic use of cannabis focused primarily on whether cannabinoids might provide symptomatic relief, investigators today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to inhibit the progression of several life-threatening diseases including cancer, Armentano says. "Arguably, this latter trend represents far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago," he concludes. "Unfortunately, because of the US government¹s strong public policy stance against any use of marijuana, the bulk of this modern research is taking place outside the United States and continues to go unrecognized in North America. Nevertheless, the emerging body of clinical and preclinical work published over the past six years makes it clear that the US government's stance against the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids is based on politics, not science." Full text of the report, "Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 - 2006," is available online in HTML and PDF formats at: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500 or via e-mail at: [email protected].
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Cannabinoid Chronicles, Volume #4, Issue #1

Location: 
Victoria, BC
Canada
URL: 
http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol4/VICSNews4_1.pdf

Premiere of Award-Winning Medical Marijuana Documentary & Debate in D.C. Sept. 13

Pulitzer Prize Winner Clarence Page to Moderate Debate Between White House Officials, Leading Reform Advocates CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 202-215-4205 or 415-668-6403 Jed Riffe, producer/director, "Waiting to Inhale," 510-593-6945 WASHINGTON D.C. -- Following the Washington, D.C. premiere of the award-winning medical marijuana documentary "Waiting to Inhale," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page will moderate a landmark debate in which present and former officials of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will square off against the leaders of two organizations leading the fight for legal access to medical marijuana. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Address and ticket information is below. "Waiting to Inhale" examines both sides of the heated debate over medical marijuana in the United States. The film takes viewers inside the lives of seriously ill patients who have benefited from medical marijuana and examines the views of those who oppose the medical use of marijuana. The film has won numerous awards, including the Cine Golden Eagle Award, the Gold Special Jury Award from Worldfest Houston, and Best Documentary awards from the New Jersey International Film Festival and Eureka! International Film Festival. Following the film, Dr. David Murray, special assistant to ONDCP Director John Walters, and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, former ONDCP deputy director, will debate Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in the first debate of its kind in Washington. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page will moderate. Filmmaker Riffe will also be in attendance. WHAT: Screening of "Waiting to Inhale," followed by debate on medical marijuana WHO: Clarence Page, David Murray, Andrea Barthwell, Rob Kampia, Ethan Nadlemann WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m. WHERE: E Street Theater, 555 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-452-7672 For complimentary press tickets, contact Nydia Swaby at [email protected] or 202-462-5747 x104; requests must be received before 6 p.m. Tuesday. To arrange advance interviews with participants, call MPP communications director Bruce Mirken at 202-215-4205 or Riffe at 510-593-6945. With more than 20,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.mpp.org.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

CWA Joins Fight to Legalize Cannabis (Australia)

Location: 
Australia
Publication/Source: 
The Age
URL: 
http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/CWA-joins-fight-to-legalise-cannabis/2006/09/11/1157826868003.html

Iowa Medical Marijuana Forum

Medical Marijuana Forum Saturday, September 23, 2006 1 PM to 4 PM Iowa State Historical Building 600 East Locust Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319 http://www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org
Date: 
Sat, 09/23/2006 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: 
600 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
United States

Event Launching the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access

Please Join Us What: Support Medical Rights: Event Launching the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access When: Thursday, September 21st, 7-9pm Where: Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 294-9281, directions at http://www.mercurycafe.com/map.html Exciting Guest Speakers to Include: Rebecca Saltzman, Americans for Safe Access Brian Vicente, Executive Director, Sensible Colorado Raffles, music, entertainment, education, hear from patients and other experts. Admission free, RSVP to (720) 890-4247 or [email protected].
Date: 
Thu, 09/21/2006 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: 
2199 California Street
Denver, CO 80202
United States

An Open Letter to the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee

September 6, 2006 Re: "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (S88 & A933) Restrictions Opposed New Jersey lawmakers will soon consider whether to pass into law the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (S88 and A933). This act would remove the statewide criminal penalties for the use, possession and cultivation of a small amount of marijuana for qualified patients under a program administered by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS). The Coalition for Medical Marijuana—New Jersey (CMM-NJ) urges lawmakers to support this bill as it is written. We oppose any attempt to restrict the diseases or conditions that would qualify a New Jersey patient for medical marijuana. This is a question that is properly left only to the treating physician. There are, moreover, a number of rare conditions that respond well to medical marijuana. The federal government, in its only existing Investigational New Drug (IND) trial of medical marijuana, recognizes Nail-Patella Syndrome as well as Multiple Congenital Cartilaginous Exostosis as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. These two conditions respond well to marijuana therapy, as do the more common conditions included in the IND study, Glaucoma and Multiple Sclerosis. The federal government has been treating patients in this study for up to 27 years by giving them marijuana. Each month the patients in this IND study receive from the federal government a cannister that holds about nine ounces of marijuana. The cannisters hold 300 pre-rolled cigarettes, that may be consumed at the rate of 10 or more per day, or about two ounces per week. All of the patients in this study are doing well—their conditions are controlled, side effects are minimal, and marijuana is the only medicine they are using for their conditions. Here in New Jersey, a mother contacted CMM-NJ to beg that her son be allowed medical marijuana for a condition called Friedreich's Ataxia. She said, "There are about 6,000 people in the country who have this disease. There is no cure and marijuana is the only thing that works for the pain. It's not easy watching your child suffer from pain when a simple solution like marijuana can ease the muscle spasms, bone and joint pain, muscle pain and involuntary eye movements that this disease (causes)." Nothing relieves her son's symptoms as safely and as effectively as marijuana. Who could face this mother and say, "We will only allow medical marijuana for cancer and multiple sclerosis, but not for your son's condition?" And what about Roberta—a kindly, New Jersey grandmother who suffers from a very painful condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy? Her condition is progressive (getting worse) and incurable. Roberta plans to commit suicide when the pains get too great and the medical intervention too oppressive. She wants to try medical marijuana as a last ditch measure before suicide. Who could say to Roberta, "No, it is better that you commit suicide than have a trial of medical marijuana?" No one can foresee all of the conditions that might respond to medical marijuana. Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana must only be decided by the patient's own physician, not by a politician, no matter how well intentioned. Restricting conditions for medical marijuana can only be described as arbitrary and capricious. CMM-NJ urges lawmakers to adopt the "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (S88 & A933) as written. Ken Wolski, RN, MPA Executive Director Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey 844 Spruce St. Trenton, NJ 08648 (609) 394-2137 www.cmmnj.org [email protected]
Location: 
NJ
United States

GW Pharma Files Cannabis-Based Pain Drug Sativex for Marketing Approval

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Financial Times
URL: 
http://www.lse.co.uk/FinanceNews.asp?shareprice=&ArticleRef=44675&ArticleHeadline=GW_Pharma_files_cannabisbased_pain_drug_Sativex_for_marketing_approval

Feds Take Aim at "Guru of Ganja"

Location: 
San Francisco, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Oakland Tribune
URL: 
http://www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_4265784

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