Medical Marijuana

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Let's Not Forget Massachusetts

In our list of drug policy-related ballot issues last Friday, we neglected to mention Massachusetts. Voters in one district there will be voting on whether to instruct their representative to favor marijuana decriminalization, while voters in two other districts will be voting on whether to instruct their representatives to support medical marijuana. These local questions continue a process that began with the 2000 elections and have so far resulted in more than 420,000 Bay State residents voting to support marijuana law reform. Here is the info on the Massachusetts races: Plymouth, Massachusetts: In the 1st and 12th Plymouth Representative Districts, voters will be voting to tell their representatives to support decriminalization: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would make the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a fine of no more than $100.00 and not subject to any criminal penalties?” Middlesex and Norfolk, Massachusetts: Voters in the 7th Norfolk Representative District and the 3rd Middlesex Senate District will be voting on whether to tell their representatives to support medical marijuana: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”
Location: 
MA
United States

Cloudy Future For Marijuana As Medicine

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/regstate/articles/4573036.html

Kelo TV Poll: Medical Marijuana [South Dakota, Losing 35% to 60%]

Location: 
SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
KELO TV Sioux Falls
URL: 
http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6375.cfm?Id=0,52188

Calif. 'pot docs' put selves at risk (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/health/1500ap_pot_docs.html

Gathering Will Mark 10 Years of Medical Marijuana Use

Location: 
San Francisco, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-me-pot4nov04,1,93472.story?coll=la-health-medicine&ctrack=1&cset=true

Federal Official Criticizes Medical Marijuana Issue

Location: 
SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.yankton.net/stories/110406/news_1580110406.shtml

Medical Marijuana: Students lose shirts off their backs for Initiated Measure 4 (The Rapid City Journal)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2006/11/03/news/top/news03.txt

Medical Marijuana Patients Arrested at DEA Convention in San Diego 7 Arrested, 1 Cited for Demanding to Speak with Federal Agency Chief

SAN DIEGO-Medical marijuana patients demanding to speak with the head of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency were arrested in San Diego shortly after noon today for refusing to leave the site of an agency convention. The seven patients arrested and one cited were among the sixty patients and activists protesting at the Marriott San Diego Mission Valley, where the DEA is holding a meeting to discuss medical marijuana. The protestors dumped 1,500 empty pill bottles in front of the hotel, asking that DEA chief Karen Tandy tell them where they should get their medicine, now that the agency has shut down all medical cannabis dispensaries in the area. The patients refused to leave until Tandy spoke with them. When she declined, San Diego police arrested the seven for trespassing and cited one. "Doctors recommend cannabis and patients use it because it works," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, the medical cannabis advocacy group that organized the protest. "The DEA is inflicting unnecessary suffering on tens of thousands of Americans by denying them a safe, effective medicine. It has to stop." Earlier in the day, two other patients were cited for dropping a banner near the hotel that read "The DEA is Not My Doctor." The seven arrested are: Ira Altshuler, Wendy Christakes, Alex Franco, Chris Fusco, Kris Hermes, Dale Tripp, and Kristen White. The one person cited was spinal-injury patient Craig McCain. Patients in San Diego report that they are having difficulty getting safe access to the medical cannabis their doctors recommend since the DEA raided or threatened all the medical cannabis dispensaries in the area. Similar raids in the past month have shut dispensaries in Modesto, as well as in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and San Francisco. For clips of the arrests: Among the media present and filming were Fox News (XETV) and ABC (KGTV). The San Diego Union Tribune's Laura Embry was also taking photos. # # # With more than 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states, Americans for Safe Access is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research.
Location: 
United States

Video Offer: Waiting to Inhale

Dear Drug War Chronicle reader:

Many drug reform enthusiasts read on our blog this fall about a new video documentary, Waiting to Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law, and an exciting debate here in Washington between two of my colleagues and a representative of the US drug czar's office that followed the movie's screening. I am pleased to announce that DRCNet is making this film available to you as our latest membership premium -- donate $30 or more to DRCNet and you can receive a copy of Waiting to Inhale as our thanks for your support.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/waitingtoinhale-small.jpg
I've known about Waiting to Inhale for a few years, and I am pretty psyched to see it out now and making waves. People featured in the movie -- medical marijuana providers Mike & Valerie Corral and Jeff Jones, patient spokesperson Yvonne Westbrook, scientist Don Abrams -- are heroes whose stories deserved to be told and whose interviews in this movie should be shown far and wide. You can help by ordering a copy and hosting a private screening in your home! Or you and your activist friends can simply watch it at home for inspiration. (Click here for more information including an online trailer.)

Your donation will help DRCNet as we pull together what we think will be an incredible two-year plan to substantially advance drug policy reform and the cause of ending prohibition globally and in the US. Please make a generous donation today to help the cause! I know you will feel the money was well spent after you see what DRCNet has in store. Our online donation form lets you donate by credit card, by PayPal, or to print out a form to send with your check or money order by mail. Please note that contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, our lobbying entity, are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations can be made to DRCNet Foundation, our educational wing. (Choosing a gift like Waiting to Inhale will reduce the portion of your donation that you can deduct by the retail cost of the item.) Both groups receive member mail at: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.

Thank you for your support. If you haven't already checked out our new web site, I hope you'll take a moment to do so -- it really is looking pretty good, if I may say so myself. :) Take care, and hope to hear from you.

Sincerely,


David Borden
Executive Director

Manufacturer Advertises Marinol as "Legal Marijuana"

Drug warriors such as Andrea Barthwell and David Murray have argued strenuously that cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals such as Marinol and Sativex are completely different from marijuana. They’ve bristled at Rob Kampia’s claims that Sativex is "liquid marijuana" and they’ve long used the availability of Marinol as an excuse to arrest patients who prefer cultivated marijuana instead.

Whether extracted or synthesized, THC-based medicines don’t include anything not present in the plant itself, so it’s ludicrous to argue that one can be medicinal and the other can’t. Yet they’ve done exactly that. Afterall, if this stuff is medicine, it sure as hell isn’t marijuana.

Thus I was rather surprised to come across this Google ad:

The link goes directly to the official Marinol website, sponsored by Solvay Pharmaceuticals. So while Barthwell is saying the stuff ain’t pot, Solvay is marketing their product as "legal marijuana."

Moreover, since Google ads are designed to offer products relevant to the web page on which they appear, Solvay’s ads target anyone interested in marijuana. Structured as such, this ad campaign will reach many recreational users and encourage them to become patients. I’m not saying that’s what they’re trying to do, but it's unusual to see a pharmaceutical company boasting that its product is legal.

Let’s assume Solvay is merely trying to inform the public that one needn’t break the law in order to enjoy the widely recognized medical benefits of marijuana. It’s perfectly understandable, and very smart from a marketing perspective. Afterall, if I had to choose between nausea medications, I’d pick the one that lists "exaggerated happiness" as a possible side effect.

The fun part is that by calling Marinol "legal marijuana", Solvay is basically mocking the very people who helped them get Schedule III approval in the first place. And they’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. Aggressively marketing Marinol at this time makes sense with Sativex on the horizon.

Ultimately, the drug warriors’ goal of distinguishing cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals from the plant itself could prove a lost cause. Marijuana is popular among patients and a large segment of the general population. Claiming that these pharmaceuticals are totally different from marijuana may suit hardcore drug warriors trying to save face, but it’s not smart if you’re trying to win over patients who like marijuana or prospective patients who’ve heard good things about it. You’re better off saying your product is similar but legal and more potent.

So if Solvay Pharmaceuticals refers to its medicine as marijuana, and patients refer to their marijuana as medicine, it seems everyone’s on the same page except Barthwell and Murray.

Location: 
United States

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