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lofter1
September 23rd, 2005, 08:10 PM
It seems that the laws against use of marijuana for medicinal purposes will not be lifted anytime soon based on the June 2005 Supreme Court decision wherein the Court ruled (as reported by CNN at http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/06/scotus.medical.marijuana/):

"doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients suffering from pain caused by cancer or other serious illnesses."

Read on to inform yourself of the lengths to which our public "servants" (i.e.: judges) will go to punish those who make the personal choice to use marijuana to alleviate pain:


She's Not the Only One Who's Retchin

September 23, 2005
http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/09/shes_not_the_on_1.shtml#011093 (http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/09/shes_not_the_on_1.shtml#011093)


This week the family of Jonathan Magbie, a 27-year-old quadriplegic who died of acute respiratory failure a year ago while serving time in the D.C. jail on a marijuana charge, sued (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/20/AR2005092001546.html) the city and Greater Southeast Community Hospital for inadequately treating the breathing problems he experienced while in custody. Magbie, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident at age 4, smoked marijuana to relieve the pain associated with his condition. Although he was convicted of possessing just one joint and was eligible for probation, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin sentenced him to 10 days, partly because he said he planned to continue smoking marijuana. Retchin, who was not named in the suit, said she tried to ensure that the jail was equipped to care for Magbie, who used a ventilator, which the jail did not have, to assist his breathing at night. An official investigation found that, due to "failures of communication," the assurances Retchin received concerned the ability of a federal prison to care for a paraplegic, rather than the ability of the local jail to care for a quadriplegic. The Marijuana Policy Project says (http://www.mpp.org/releases/nr20050920.html) Congress shares the blame for Magbie's death, since it overrode a D.C. ballot initiative that would have protected patients like him from prosecution for marijuana possession.


Posted by Jacob Sullum (http://www.reason.com/) at September 23, 2005 03:22 PM

lofter1
September 23rd, 2005, 08:17 PM
More on the Supreme Court decision and background on this case, Ashcroft v. Raich / Gonzalez v. Raich:

http://www.counterpunch.org/gardner11272004.html

http://www.mpp.org/raich/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/06/AR2005060600564.html

A Defeat For Users Of Medical Marijuana

State Laws No Defense, Supreme Court Rules

By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 7, 2005; Page A01

The Supreme Court dealt a blow to the medical marijuana movement yesterday, ruling that the federal government can still ban possession of the drug in states that have eliminated sanctions for its use in treating symptoms of illness.

By a vote of 6 to 3, the court ruled that Congress's constitutional authority to regulate the interstate market in drugs, licit or illicit, extends to small, homegrown quantities of doctor-recommended marijuana consumed under California's Compassionate Use Act, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority of voters in 1996.


************************************************** ******


There is also a prior thread at wirednewyork that discusses this case in the broader sense as it relates to "Commerce": http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=37656&postcount=1

ryan
September 23rd, 2005, 10:16 PM
Score.

What's your problem with the medical marijuana use? Pretty callous reply to a thread about a guy who pretty much died because of the pointless and bizarre prosecution of a consentual crime.

lofter1
September 24th, 2005, 12:04 AM
^ I guess the name "Law & Order" says it all. I think you've carried too far in this case.

Some laws are ridiculous. To obey those types of laws just because they are written doesn't necessarily serve society as a whole and certainly doesn't serve the individual, as this case so clearly shows.

Please tell me how this individual's personal use of a plant caused harm to anyone else.

And please: don't tell me that if he had obeyed the law he would still be alive. No one knows that. But it does seem that if he hadn't been found with one joint and declared his need to use it to minimize his on-going pain then he might still be alive. Yet nothing justifies the fact that he was consigned to a slow and agonizing death -- which was the fate delivered to him by the judge and other's in charge of his safe-keeping.

Edward
September 24th, 2005, 12:30 AM
Magbie was paralized from the neck down and they put him in jail? Could not they just chain his wheelchair to a table in his apartment? Or was he considered flight risk?

Heck, that will teach him a lesson. Not like he was benefiting society anyways.

Jasonik
February 8th, 2008, 10:28 PM
Pot vending machines take root in L.A.
Machines distribute the drug to people with cards authorizing use

http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/ap/9bfd0c7b-4355-4dc4-a464-d74120b78ee9.hmedium.jpg
Los Angeles medical-cannabis dispensary owner Vincent Mehdizadeh poses
with his new Marijuana vending machine installed at the Herbal Nutrition
Center in Los Angeles Tuesday.

The Associated Press
updated 7:01 a.m. ET, Wed., Jan. 30, 2008 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22910820/)

LOS ANGELES - The city that popularized the fast food drive-thru has a new innovation: 24-hour medical marijuana vending machines.

Patients suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments that marijuana is said to alleviate can get their pot with a dose of convenience at the Herbal Nutrition Center (http://www.herbalnutritioncenterla.com/), where a large machine will dole out the drug around the clock.

"Convenient access, lower prices, safety, anonymity," inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine.

But federal drug agents say the invention may need unplugging.

"Somebody owns (it), it's on a property and somebody fills it," said DEA Special Agent Jose Martinez. "Once we find out where it's at, we'll look into it and see if they're violating laws."

At least three dispensaries in the city, including two belonging to Mehdizadeh, have installed vending machines to distribute the drug to people who carry cards authorizing marijuana use.

Mehdizadeh said he spent seven months to develop and patent the black, armored box, which he calls the "PVM," or prescription vending machine.

Convenience and privacy
A sliding fence protects the tinted windows of his dispensary, barely distinguishing it from a busy thoroughfare of strip malls, automobile dealers and furniture shops. A box resembling a large refrigerator stands inside the nearly empty shop, near a few shelves stocked with vitamins and herbs.

A guard in a black T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Security" on the front stands at the door. A poster of Bob Marley decorates a back room.

The computerized machine requires fingerprint identification and a prepaid card with a magnetic stripe. Once the card and fingerprint are verified, a bright green envelope with the pot drops down a slot.

Mehdizadeh says any user approved for medical marijuana and registered in a computer database at his dispensaries can pre-purchase the drug and then use the machine to pick up.

The process provides convenience and privacy for users who may otherwise feel uncomfortable about buying marijuana, Mehdizadeh said.

At the Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary in the San Fernando Valley, the vending machine is accessible only during business hours. An employee there said the machine was introduced about five months ago, and provides speedy service.

"It helps a lot of patients who are in a lot of pain and don't want to wait around to get help," Robert Schwartz said. "It's been working out great."

Mehdizadeh said he sought the advice of doctors, and decided to limit the amount of marijuana per user to an ounce per week. Each purchase from the machine yields 1/8th or 2/8th of an ounce. By eliminating a vendor behind the counter, he said, the machine offers users lower drug prices. The 1/8th ounce packet would cost about $40 — $20 lower than the average price at other dispensaries.

'It's to medicate'
A spokesman for a marijuana advocacy group said the machine also benefits dispensary owners.

"It limits the number of workers in the store in the event of a raid, and it'll make it harder for theft," said Nathan Sands, of The Compassionate Coalition (http://www.compassionatecoalition.org/).

Marijuana use is illegal under federal law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states.

The Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies have been actively shutting down major medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state over the last two years and charging their operators with felony distribution charges.

Mehdizadeh said the Herbal Nutrition Center was the target of a federal raid in December. He said no arrests were made and no charges have been filed against him.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the machine might benefit those who already know how much and what strain of marijuana they're looking for. But he said others will want to see and smell the drug before they buy it.

A man who said he has been authorized to use medical marijuana as part of his anger management therapy said the vending machine's security measures would at least protect against illicit use of the drug.

"You have kids that want to get high and that's not what marijuana is for," Robert Miko said. "It's to medicate."

*****

BBC Video:
How the marijuana-dispensing vending machine works (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_7210000/newsid_7214900?redirect=7214964.stm&news=1&nbwm=1&nbram=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&asb=1)

Jasonik
February 8th, 2008, 10:33 PM
UN board says marijuana machines illegal

Fri Feb 8, 4:49 PM ET (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080208/ap_on_re_eu/un_marijuana_machines)
VIENNA, Austria - Marijuana vending machines in Los Angeles violate international treaties and should be shut down, the U.N.-affiliated drug control board said Friday.

"The International Narcotics Control Board is deeply concerned about reports that computerized vending machines to dispense cannabis (marijuana) have been put into operation in Los Angeles," Philip O. Emafo, president of the board, said in a statement.

At least three Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries have installed vending machines to distribute the drug to people who carry cards authorizing marijuana use. The drug is said to alleviate chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments.

Supporters say the machines, which dispense 1/8th or 2/8th of an ounce of marijuana at a time, offers users lower drug prices and increases security.

Marijuana use is illegal under U.S. law, which does not recognize the medical marijuana laws in California and 11 other states.

The Drug Enforcement Agency and other U.S. agencies have been shutting down major medical marijuana dispensaries throughout California in the last two years and charging their operators with felony distribution charges.

"We know that the use of cannabis is illegal under federal law of the United States and we trust the authorities will stop such activities, which contravene the international drug control treaties," Emafo said.

In its statement, the Vienna-based drug board also said scientific research about the therapeutic usefulness of cannabis or cannabis extracts was still in progress and had not produced much evidence.

The board is an independent monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions.

voodoochild
February 9th, 2008, 09:31 AM
I can't believe that the courts can't see that there are people that use this NATURAL drug to help them with the severe pain of illnesses that are slowly killing them. It's okay to prescrive Vicodin to people that have a tooth pulled but a person going through radiation can't ease their pain?????? I mean all these pain killers that are given out make you loopy too, so what's to say they won't ban those in the future also?

Encideyamind
February 9th, 2008, 09:43 AM
I mean all these pain killers that are given out make you loopy too, so what's to say they won't ban those in the future also?
Too much money in it.

voodoochild
February 9th, 2008, 09:47 AM
Too much money in it.
You're right, and that is exactly what I an saying. Our system would rather allow people to suffer because they are not making enough money and keep around othercontrolled substances that do. So mant kids today are ADDICTED to pain killers but doctors keep writing those scripts with out any problems.

Encideyamind
February 9th, 2008, 09:50 AM
Essentially they are doing the same thing with our food. Allowing or even time suggesting we injest things that are extremely harmful for our longterm health.

Keep people ill and you'll have customers for life...

voodoochild
February 9th, 2008, 10:06 AM
Essentially they are doing the same thing with our food. Allowing or even time suggesting we injest things that are extremely harmful for our longterm health.

Keep people ill and you'll have customers for life...
Amen brother! So disgusting people are.:mad:

Ninjahedge
February 11th, 2008, 09:34 AM
Whatever.


The thing that gets me is all the money that is being spent on fighting this "scourge" when all it does is boost the price of it up.

BTW, as for it being "natural", don't get on that schtick. Lots of things are "natural" and that does not make them any better for you than "artificial". A snakebite is still a snakebite, and Heroin, a natural derivitive/product of poppies, is a life sucker. MOST of our drugs start from natural sources, even the perscription meds, so just be careful when taking that angle in an argument/defense of MJ.

Bottom line is, is this a substance that causes enough problems in the US to spend as much time, money and effort as we do to "fix" it?

pianoman11686
February 11th, 2008, 10:54 PM
Oh please, Ninja. That natural/unnatural argument is nonsense.

To answer your question: positively NO.

Ninjahedge
February 12th, 2008, 08:37 AM
Oh please, Ninja. That natural/unnatural argument is nonsense.

To answer your question: positively NO.

Oh please, if you think that "natural" is healthy you are listening to nonsense.

It is the latest marketing fad. Most of the worlds drugs, medicines, and poisons all are or have had natural roots, so to start screaming "Science is evil" at anything on the basis of pulling it from the ground versus pulling it from a test tube is just plain paranoia.

Jasonik
February 12th, 2008, 11:29 AM
You guys should be using scientific studies and clinical data if you want to have a debate in keeping with the spirit of the thread. I'll start you off.

*****

FDA on Medical Marijuana: Science or Politics?

by Joanne Silberner

Listen Now (http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=5356029&m=5356048) [3 min 48 sec]

http://media.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2006/apr/marijuana/drug200.jpg
The FDA says there are no
scientific studies supporting the
safety or efficacy of marijuana for
general medical use. Rod
Rolle/Getty Images


All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · The Food and Drug Administration has issued a statement saying there are no scientific studies to support the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But critics say the FDA is bowing to powerful political pressure.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy have long held that marijuana should not be legalized for any reason. And last year the Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities could prosecute patients taking medical marijuana in the dozen states that have approved its use.

FDA spokesperson Susan Bro said the agency issued its statement in response to inquiries from the public and Congress.

"For the FDA, there has not been enough clinical data demonstrating that either the drug is effective or safe in treating chronic, painful conditions," Bro said.

Marc White works for a member of Congress who has requested more information from the FDA, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN). Souder opposes the medical use of marijuana.

"We've been asking them to look at the science of whether marijuana is really medicine for about three years, and asking them to weigh-in on it repeatedly," says White.

The Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, is already on record with its verdict. The IOM report was not exactly what White was looking for.

One of the authors of the IOM's 1999 study is John Benson, a professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska. "We thought there was sufficient evidence at that time to justify the statement that it had benefits in patients for pain, for the relief of nausea and vomiting from, for example, chemotherapy for cancer, or AIDS," Benson says. He adds that he's seen nothing since to contradict the panel's 1999 conclusion, though he is disappointed there haven't been more studies since then.

The IOM report was carefully worded. It focused on possibilities and noted that benefits had to be weighed against potential harm from inhaled smoke.

Opponents of medical marijuana, including Robert DuPont, drug czar in the Nixon and Ford administrations, point to the potential harm and say that without more solid proof of effectiveness, medical marijuana is a bad solution.

To Bruce Merkin of the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-medical marijuana group, the FDA's decision had everything to do with pressure from Capitol Hill.

"This is not a scientific statement, this is a political statement. Nakedly, baldly political," he says.

Dr. Jerome Kassirer, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, says it's motivated by a concern that smoking marijuana might lead to drug addiction.

"I think it's ridiculous. The fact is there are circumstances where smoked marijuana may be helpful to patients who are desperately ill," says Kassirer.

Whether it was politics or science that pushed the FDA, what happens next is not in the agency's hands, says FDA spokeswoman Susan Bro.

"That is the beginning and the end of what the FDA does," Bro said. "The enforcement of a product such as this is done by other agencies, such as the DEA."

Meanwhile, Souder will continue to ask the FDA to post more information on harmful effects of marijuana on its Web site. And U.S. Rep Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who supports the use of medical marijuana, will send a letter to the FDA next week to find out why the agency apparently disregarded the Institute of Medicine study.

voodoochild
February 12th, 2008, 11:50 AM
[quote=Jasonik;214790]You guys should be using scientific studies and clinical data if you want to have a debate in keeping with the spirit of the thread. I'll start you off.

*****

FDA on Medical Marijuana: Science or Politics?

quote]
Thanks. I think we should do this all the time. :D

pianoman11686
February 13th, 2008, 03:28 PM
Oh please, if you think that "natural" is healthy you are listening to nonsense.

It is the latest marketing fad. Most of the worlds drugs, medicines, and poisons all are or have had natural roots, so to start screaming "Science is evil" at anything on the basis of pulling it from the ground versus pulling it from a test tube is just plain paranoia.

Uh, please sir? Don't start generalizing my comments.

I called you out on a ridiculous analogy. First of all, heroin is manufactured with the aid of chemicals. It is NOT a naturally occurring substance.

I'm not saying all natural things are good, for God's sake. Nor are all unnatural things bad. HGH (the synthetic kind) has proven much safer than naturally harvested hormone.

What does all of this say about medicinal marijuana? NOTHING. Stick to the topic.

Encideyamind
February 13th, 2008, 03:55 PM
You guys should be using scientific studies and clinical data if you want to have a debate in keeping with the spirit of the thread. I'll start you off.

*****

FDA on Medical Marijuana: Science or Politics?

by Joanne Silberner

Listen Now (http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=5356029&m=5356048) [3 min 48 sec]

http://media.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2006/apr/marijuana/drug200.jpg
The FDA says there are no
scientific studies supporting the
safety or efficacy of marijuana for
general medical use. Rod
Rolle/Getty Images


All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · The Food and Drug Administration has issued a statement saying there are no scientific studies to support the use of marijuana for medical purposes. That's crap.

Ninjahedge
February 14th, 2008, 09:30 AM
Uh, please sir? Don't start generalizing my comments.

I called you out on a ridiculous analogy. First of all, heroin is manufactured with the aid of chemicals. It is NOT a naturally occurring substance.

OMG!!!!!

I am saying they come from natural roots. I am saying that most of the chemicals that we use have some sort of basis in natural origination. A lot of the poisons, drugs and medicines.


I'm not saying all natural things are good, for God's sake. Nor are all unnatural things bad. HGH (the synthetic kind) has proven much safer than naturally harvested hormone.

What does all of this say about medicinal marijuana? NOTHING. Stick to the topic.

the tangent you are going on has nothing to do with it. I was trying to steer the argument about MJ AWAY from the whole "It's Natural, therefore it is good" BS I keep hearing.

I hear that for almost any product. Until people realize that even dirt is "natural" they will keep professing that somehow something is better because it came from it.


Medicinal MJ is fine by me and we are wasting $$, federally, pursuing it. It is not a constructive or helpful drug in the sense that it does not inspire people to do much, but it is not as destructive as many of the drugs we have both legal and illegal (alcohol being one of them).

Having vending machines is more than a bit silly, but so is the persecution involving getting and using this stuff. And with 12 states saying "OK", how does the Fed have the right to start stomping all over them when it does not effect the country? Separation of MJ from the other hard core drugs may tighten the pipeline because of the removal of so many casual users from the supply chain of illicit.

It will no longer be a "gateway" if people stop associating a relatively harmless substance with the big guns. You say MJ is bad and a kid tries it and does not turn into a junkie it is hard to convince them that OTHER drugs that you put in the same category are as bad as you said. Not only that, the dealer would probably know where to get the others.

If you go to CVS for MJ, I doubt the cashier or pharmacist will be able to tell you where to get some smack.


So back fully to OT, I don't know which is sillier. The vending machines or the legal pursuit of those providing them.


Don't we have terrorists to catch or something? :cool:

NYatKNIGHT
February 15th, 2008, 09:26 AM
But critics say the FDA is bowing to powerful political pressure.Ya think?

Jasonik
May 24th, 2008, 09:42 AM
Medical marijuana and organ transplants don't mix
Patients who have used doctor-prescribed pot are being turned away from hospital transplant programs.

By Stuart Glascock, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 19, 2008 (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-transplant19-2008may19,0,5558109,full.story)

SEATTLE -- Should using doctor-prescribed marijuana be a deal-breaker for someone needing an organ transplant? It is not a theoretical question but a pressing and emotional one confronting hospitals and patients in states where medical use of marijuana is legal.

This month, Timothy Garon, 56, a Seattle musician, died after being turned down for a liver transplant. He was rejected partly because he had used medical marijuana.

Now, a second critically ill patient in Washington state says he has been denied a spot in two organ transplant programs because he uses doctor-prescribed marijuana.

Jonathon Simchen, 33, of Fife, a town south of Seattle, is a diabetic whose kidneys and pancreas have failed.

He said he was removed from the transplant program at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle because he admitted using medical marijuana. Later, he said, University of Washington Medical Center transplant officials refused to accept him because of the medical marijuana issue.

"I'm just so discouraged," said the community college student, who wants to be a teacher. "I've lost all remnants of hope. I look at my life right now as if it is a prison term. I just have to serve each day."

The lawyer who represented Garon has taken on Simchen's case.

Douglas Hiatt argues that his clients are the victims of a loosely defined transplant policy, one not based on science.

"They are really killing people over this," he said.

Hospital transplant programs, wanting to ensure the best possible outcome for each transplant and to make optimum use of the limited number of organs available, have strict standards about drug use and smoking in determining who is eligible for a transplant list.

Hiatt and advocates of medical marijuana are urging hospitals to adjust their policies after Garon's death May 1. Garon used marijuana with a doctor's approval to ease the symptoms of hepatitis C. He died without gaining admission to the University of Washington Medical Center's transplant program.

Hiatt wants to negotiate on behalf of Simchen to get him on a transplant list, but he expects he may have to file a lawsuit to get that accomplished. If nothing else, Hiatt intends to compel judicial review of the policy.

"No, it ain't over," Hiatt said. "Jonathon needs help. He's going to get on that list one way or another.

"You cannot treat people like this. There's no rational basis for it."

Although marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law, about a dozen states, including Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada, allow doctors to prescribe it for medical purposes. It is used for conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure and AIDS.

University of Washington officials, citing privacy laws, declined to discuss specifics of individual cases, but issued a statement acknowledging that they took marijuana use into consideration.

"Although medical marijuana may be an issue in rare cases, it is never the sole determinant in arriving at medical decisions about candidates for organ transplants," the statement said.

A spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Hospital said smoking of any kind could "lead to patient-safety and transplant-effectiveness issues" and was precluded. She said the hospital's transplant committee would also weigh a patient's use of medical marijuana in pill form.

At the University of Washington, the transplant committee said it reviewed "behavioral concerns such as a history of substance abuse or dependency. If such a history exists, then the committee looks at the period of abstinence the candidate has demonstrated to date," as well as the patient's efforts to maintain abstinence and potential to abuse again.

Asked why the committee considered marijuana use under a doctor's supervision "a history of substance abuse," a hospital spokesman cited the federal law categorizing marijuana as an illegal drug.

The United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the organ transplant system nationally, leaves it up to hospitals to determine how to allocate organs. The network's members include 254 U.S. transplant centers.

There are nearly 100,000 people on waiting lists for transplants, the network said. On average, there are about 6,000 donors a year.

Some medical ethicists say standardized written policies on marijuana use by transplant patients are needed.

"Medical marijuana is opening a can of worms," said Peggy Stewart, a clinical social worker with the liver transplant program at UCLA Medical Center.

Her studies of transplant centers found discrepancies in eligibility criteria.

She said bias existed in the medical community against marijuana because of the federal law.

Some transplant committee members see it as an illegal substance and as grounds for automatic rejection.

"If we are going to discriminate in this way, then we need to inform doctors that maybe they shouldn't be prescribing marijuana," Stewart said. "It's a problem right now. There's no distinction between a recreational drug user and somebody who used it only for medicinal purposes."

She said many other addictive prescriptions, particularly pain medications, did not automatically disqualify patients from transplant lists because they were not illegal substances under federal law.

She said UCLA excluded marijuana users until they could demonstrate that they had abstained for six months. She said the policy was being reexamined.

The policy debate has done little to soften the grief for family and friends of Garon, the late singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist.

His death triggered a flood of reaction.

The website Stop the Drug War (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2008/apr/29/denying_organ_transplants_to_med) called it evil to deny transplants to medical marijuana patients.

One Seattle-area alternative newspaper was so outraged that it listed the telephone numbers of University of Washington transplant center staff members.

In an editorial, the Ventura County Star wrote: (http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/apr/30/pot-costs-man-shot-at-a-liver/) "So, be warned, medical marijuana -- legal for the last 12 years in California with a doctor's authorization -- could cost you your job. And if you need an organ transplant, it could cost you your life."

stuart.glascock@latimes.com

*****

The editorial linked directly above:

Editorial: Pot costs man shot at a liver

Is death the price of inaction?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By the time state governments have resolved their differences over medical marijuana with the federal government, Timothy Garon will be dead, if he isn't already.

Mr. Garon, lead singer for Nearly Dan, a Steely Dan cover-band in Seattle, was reported Sunday by The Associated Press to be dying from Hepatitis C, which has destroyed his liver. He needs a new one.

He would be on an organ transplant list to have at least a crack at a new liver, if it weren't for one thing: He used medical marijuana, under the authorization of a Seattle physician, as allowed by Washington state law. Dr. Brad Roter recommended the marijuana for Mr. Garon's nausea, abdominal pain and to increase his appetite.

Little did they know that at several U.S. hospitals, people who use illegal substances — even medical marijuana where it is legal — are not eligible for a transplant. The University of Washington Medical Center has strict rules about transplant candidates' drug use, but reconsidered Mr. Garon's case when his attorney pressed the issue. Still, the university denied Mr. Garon a shot at a new liver. AP reported that UCLA Medical Center allows patients a chance to reapply for a transplant list if they stay off marijuana for six months.

The Star understands that with a shortage of organs for transplant, available organs should go to those most likely to take care of them. That is why patients who drink heavily or use illegal drugs are often excluded from transplant lists. However, it is inconceivable that a sick person a doctor has deemed a candidate for medical marijuana is lumped in the same category as a drug abuser.

It is inconceivable that in 2008, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is deemed to have no medical use in the U.S.

That is despite a 1999 yearlong study by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science, which concluded marijuana may be effective in easing chronic pain, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, poor appetite, wasting caused by AIDS or advanced cancer, and muscular spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

That is despite the fact that California and 11 other states have passed laws allowing medical marijuana to be recommended by doctors.

And that is despite the fact that, just this year, the American College of Physicians — 124,000 doctors of internal medicine — formally called on the federal government to ease its ban on medical marijuana.

The U.S. government has gone to such ridiculous lengths to prohibit medical marijuana that, from 1997 to 2003, it threatened to revoke doctors' federal licenses to prescribe medicine if they even discussed the benefit of medical marijuana with their patients.

Californians and residents of 11 other states that allow medical marijuana are victims of the clash of state and federal laws that has been unresolved for too long. The U.S. Supreme Court recommended in 2005 that Congress resolve the issue.

But, earlier this year, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers can fire workers who use marijuana recommended by a physician.

And, today, Mr. Garon, if he isn't dead already, doesn't have a prayer.

So, be warned, medical marijuana — legal for the last 12 years in California with a doctor's authorization — could cost you your job. And if you need an organ transplant, it could cost you your life.

© 2008 Ventura County Star

Ninjahedge
May 28th, 2008, 02:46 PM
The only thing that has any merit in this action is the request that the drug be taken orally, not smoked.

But even that is rather thin when it comes to deciding on who gets a transplant or not.

I think this has more to do with some admins opinion than any medical or legal issue.

JCMAN320
June 2nd, 2008, 11:56 PM
I just read recently that New Jersey is seriously considering medicinal marijuana. Good news.

Jasonik
July 18th, 2008, 12:20 PM
Pot raid angers medical-marijuana supporter

Seattle police Tuesday raided a University District office used by medical-marijuana patients, but the operator says he has been following state law and the authorities were overzealous.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2008/07/16/2008055808.jpg
Martin Martinez says his U District office was a mess after police searched it Tuesday afternoon, seizing marijuana and patient records.
[COURTNEY BLETHEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES]

By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times staff reporter (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008056143_medpot17m0.html)

Martin Martinez says the small, private collective and outreach group he runs from a University District storefront are legal, a place for medical-marijuana patients to get help growing the medicine they need to manage their pain.

One of the earliest advocates for what became a voter-approved state medical-marijuana law 10 years ago, Martinez says he hasn't handed out pot, nor grown any in his cramped office on Northeast 50th Street just off University Way Northeast.

But Tuesday afternoon, Seattle police, armed with a search warrant, carted away marijuana and hundreds of private patient files, and tore down a wall in search of a marijuana patch that didn't exist.

King County prosecutors say the raid was justified. Martinez's neighbors have been complaining about a pervasive smell of pot, they said, so authorities need to figure out whether Martinez has been breaking the law.

But the episode has Martinez frustrated and his attorney furious. They accuse the police and prosecutors of being overzealous and refusing to honor the law that is supposed to let sick people use pot in peace. At a minimum, Martinez says, the authorities should let the whole thing blow over — and return his stuff.

"We're trying desperately to be legal, to stay alive and not have these conflicts," Martinez said. "Science and law have to come to terms, because the doctors are recommending cannabis and the police have got to get on the same page."

Martinez, 48, suffered severe neurological damage in a motorcycle accident in 1986. He later became one of the first people in King County to use medical necessity as a defense against prosecution for using marijuana.

In 1998, he helped promote the medical-marijuana initiative that voters approved overwhelmingly. It allows people with certain serious ailments to use marijuana if authorized by a physician.

For the past four years or so, he has operated Lifevine — a private collective of patients who work together to grow their own medical marijuana — and Cascadia NORML, a public-outreach organization that provides ID cards to medical-marijuana patients so they can show police that they have a legal right. He said the groups used three different locations in the U District on Northeast 55th Street and never had any problems.

In June, Martinez moved into the storefront on Northeast 50th Street.

One nearby business owner, who asked that her name not be published because she's concerned someone might retaliate, said the building immediately filled with the smell of pot. She said she hoped "the problem would just go away," but it didn't. So she and other neighbors complained to police.

Tuesday afternoon, Seattle police bicycle officers entered Martinez's office after smelling pot in various parts of the building. They called for backup and called prosecutors to obtain a search warrant.

According to Martinez, the police seized 12 ounces of marijuana buds and a large container of the less-potent leaf called "shake," which belonged to him and four other patients who happened to be there. And the police took 500 confidential patient files containing people's medical records and medical-marijuana prescriptions, Martinez said.

Martinez said one officer became convinced that Martinez was growing a garden in a secret room, so he ripped down part of a wall.

No plants were found. Martinez wasn't arrested. No charges have been filed.

"I'm just hopping mad," said Douglas Hiatt, Martinez's attorney, who arrived at the office during the search and called a deputy prosecutor to try to talk her out of executing the warrant. "It's stupid and was totally preventable."

Hiatt said Martinez is "super responsible" and makes sure he follows the letter of the law.

"I'd like for them to give him his stuff back and compensate him for anything they broke," Hiatt said. "If they decide to go forward with this [and file charges], we're going to have a real fight."

But Mark Larson, the chief criminal deputy for the King County Prosecutor's Office, said an investigation is warranted to determine whether Martinez was operating within the bounds of the state law.

"We're certainly aware people have a right to use medical marijuana," Larson said. "But that doesn't include dispensing, and it doesn't include possessing unlimited quantities."

State laws don't specify legal amounts or ways medical marijuana can be dispensed to others, he said. The state Legislature last year ordered the Health Department to establish maximum amounts each patient may possess, but the department's proposals are still being debated.

"We'd love to have these issues clarified so that people who need it get it, and people who operate outside the rules risk prosecution," Larson said.

The business owner who complained about the smell said she didn't know until after Tuesday's bust that Martinez's office was being used by medical-marijuana patients.

The woman said she's highly allergic to marijuana and suffered headaches and dizziness. She said the smell was warding away some of her customers.

She said she suspected someone was growing pot in the three-story building, which houses a mix of businesses and apartments.

"It sucks they are sick and that they have to take medical marijuana — I wouldn't wish that on anyone," she said. "But it sucks that they're affecting an entire building."

Martinez said Wednesday that he had no idea the smell was so pervasive. "I'm really sorry. We didn't want to bother anyone. We're a very private group, which is why it doesn't say 'medical marijuana' on the door.

"We've tried to keep to ourselves."


Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

*****

Martin Martinez' website: http://www.cannabismd.org/

Jasonik
July 22nd, 2008, 03:37 PM
When It Comes To Medical Pot, Rats Are Smarter Than Our Politicians

by Paul Armentano (http://www.lewrockwell.com/armentano-p/armentano-p30.html)

You can learn a lot from a rat – especially if the subject is medical cannabis.

According to a just-published study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18618522) from the University of Milan – you didn't actually think medicinal marijuana research took place in this country, did you? – the administration of whole-plant cannabis extracts (http://www.gwpharm.com/faqs.asp#faqs2_2) provides superior pain relief compared to the administration of the plant's isolated components (such as THC) in an animal model of neuropathic pain.

"[T]he use of a standardized extract of Cannabis sativa ... evoked a total relief of thermal hyperalgesia, in an experimental model of neuropathic pain, ... ameliorating the effect of single cannabinoids," investigators reported. "Collectively, these findings strongly support the idea that the combination of cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid compounds, as present in [plant-derived] extracts, provide significant [therapeutic] advantages ... compared with pure cannabinoids alone."

Ironically, US lawmakers (http://souder.house.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=d8084e25-7e9c-9af9-7e5f-c7e8acc466c0) and bureaucrats have long argued just the opposite – maintaining that the therapeutic use of the plant should remain illegal, but that its "active ingredients ... could be isolated (http://www.justice.gov/dea/ongoing/marinol.html) and developed into a variety of pharmaceuticals, such as Marinol."

So if rats can deduce that whole cannabis works better as a medicine than a single synthesized molecule, what's stopping our politicians from reaching this same conclusion?

Paul Armentano [send him mail (paul@norml.org)] is the senior policy analyst for NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, DC. He is the author of "Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Literature (http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002)" (2007, NORML Foundation).

Copyright © 2008 Paul Armentano

Edward
July 24th, 2008, 03:04 PM
There is a great article in recent New Yorker about the medical marijuana
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/28/080728fa_fact_samuels

Jasonik
July 26th, 2008, 03:01 PM
Conflicting marijuana laws take stage in trial

San Luis Obispo County businessman is fighting prosecutors' contention that he is a drug trafficker

By Scott Glover, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 26, 2008 (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-weed26-2008jul26,0,6418930.story)

A highly anticipated trial involving conflicting marijuana laws got underway Friday in Los Angeles federal court with a prosecutor painting the owner of a Morro Bay medicinal marijuana store as a brazen drug trafficker who sold dope to teenagers and toted around a backpack stuffed with cash.

Defense attorneys struggled to provide context for their client's alleged crimes after being barred by the judge from mentioning the phrase "medical marijuana."

At the center of the case is Charlie Lynch, a 46-year-old businessman from San Luis Obispo County, who opened a facility called Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in the spring of 2006.

Prosecutors contend that Lynch violated federal law by selling $2.1 million worth of marijuana in less than a year, some of it to people "not yet old enough to legally drink."

Lynch's defense attorneys would like to present evidence that their client was dispensing doctor-prescribed medical marijuana to sick people in accordance with state law and with the blessing of elected officials in Morro Bay. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that federal drug laws trump those of the state and that the reasons why the drug is distributed are irrelevant.

But one of Lynch's lawyers hinted during opening statements that Lynch had sought -- and presumably received -- approval from an official with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration before he set up shop. If they are able to convince U.S. District Judge George Wu that there is a sufficient basis for mounting such a quasi-entrapment defense, they may be allowed to present evidence that Lynch believed he was operating within the law, which legal experts said would likely make him more sympathetic to jurors.

"It could have an enormous effect," said Rebecca Lonergan (http://law.usc.edu/contact/contactInfo.cfm?detailID=68021), a USC law professor and former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles. "Any time you have a hot political or public policy issue like this, there is the risk that members of the jury will decide based on their politics*, not the evidence in the case." *[Feared by gov't, but a right of the citizenry] (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/blog.php?b=121)

Though they were not explicitly told that the case involved medical marijuana, potential jurors revealed strong opinions on the topic and confusion about the law during the jury selection process. One man, an engineer, said he had trouble reconciling how it could be legal to sell marijuana under state law and prohibited by federal law.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," he said. The man was excused from the panel.

Other potential jurors were dismissed after revealing strong feelings on the issue.

"I don't think I'd be a fair juror because I tend to side with the state law," said a young woman from Torrance who told lawyers she had one friend with chronic back pain and another with stomach cancer who had used the drug medicinally.

"If a person is going to have a better quality of life, I'd prefer to give them that," she said.

Another potential juror said she was so troubled by the fact that someone would break any law -- state or federal -- that she had already concluded the defendant was guilty.

Opening statements began Friday morning with Assistant U.S. Atty. David P. Kowal telling jurors that Lynch had sold drugs to more than 2,000 people, 250 of them under the age of 21, which carries a special sentencing enhancement under federal law. Many of the young customers "came back time and again," Kowal said.

He told jurors that records seized from Lynch's store and home revealed that he distributed more than 100 kilos of marijuana worth about $2.1 million during the approximately 11 months he was in business. When police and federal agents raided Lynch's home in March 2007, they found a backpack containing $27,000, possible proceeds from recent sales at the store.

"It involved money. Lots of money," Kowal told jurors, "and he was at the center of everything."

If convicted, Lynch faces a minimum of five years in federal prison.

As the prosecutor spoke, Lynch, who looks as much like a bank manager as drug dealer, sat impassively between his two federal public defenders, Reuven Cohen and John Littrell.

Cohen told jurors that they "will hear directly from Charlie Lynch" when he takes the witness stand in his own defense. He also told jurors that there would be testimony from Lynch's patients, parents who took sick kids to his dispensary and elected officials from Morro Bay who supported Lynch's efforts.

How much of that testimony jurors will actually get to hear remains to be seen. The judge must still decide whether the entrapment defense is viable and opens the door to such testimony, a decision likely to be reached over the next several days.

If jurors were to hear Lynch's story, it would go something like this, according court files and interviews:

Far from the cynical entrepreneur portrayed by prosecutors, Lynch is a compassionate and responsible man who wanted to help sick people and make a reasonable profit. He obtained a business license before opening his doors and was welcomed by city leaders in Morro Bay, some of whom mugged for photos with him at a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

The facility itself was situated in the heart of the seaside community's downtown shopping district.

Among Lynch's patients was Owen Beck, a 17-year-old high school football and soccer player who developed bone cancer and had to have his leg amputated, Lynch's lawyers said. The teen's parents took him to Lynch's facility after traditional medicine took away his appetite and did little to ease his pain.

The pot lessened Owen's pain but not his appetite, he said in an interview on actor Drew Carey's website, www.reason.tv (http://www.reason.tv/).

Steve Beck, Owen's father, said Lynch often gave his son marijuana at no charge because he was "a compassionate kind of guy."


http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-07/41251699.jpg
LOCAL SUPPORT: When Charlie Lynch, center, holding scissors, opened his medical marijuana
store in Morro Bay in 2006, the Chamber of Commerce gave him a warm welcome.


scott.glover@latimes.com

Jasonik
August 6th, 2008, 11:58 AM
Medicinal marijuana effective for neuropathic pain in HIV

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of smoked medical cannabis, or marijuana, on the neuropathic pain associated with HIV, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that reported pain relief was greater with cannabis than with a placebo. The study, sponsored by the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research (http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/) (CMCR) based at UC San Diego, will be published on line, August 6 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology (http://www.nature.com/npp/index.html).

Led by Ronald J. Ellis, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurosciences at UCSD School of Medicine, the study looked at 28 HIV patients with neuropathic pain not adequately controlled by other pain-relievers, including opiates. They took part in the controlled study as outpatients at the UCSD Medical Center. The proportion of subjects achieving pain reduction of 30 percent or more was greater for those smoking cannabis than those smoking the placebo.

"Neuropathy is a chronic and significant problem in HIV patients as there are few existing treatments that offer adequate pain management to sufferers," Ellis said.

"We found that smoked cannabis was generally well-tolerated and effective when added to the patient's existing pain medication, resulting in increased pain relief."

Each trial participant participated in five study phases over seven weeks. During two five-day phases, randomly selected participants smoked either cannabis or placebo cigarettes made from whole plant material with cannabinoids (the psychoactive compound found in marijuana) removed, both provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Outcome was tested by standardized tests measuring analgesia (lessened pain sensation), improvement in function and relief of pain-associated emotional distress.

Using verbal descriptors of pain magnitude, cannabis was associated with an average reduction of pain intensity from 'strong' 'to mild-to-moderate' in cannabis smokers, according to Ellis. Also, cannabis was associated with a sizeable (46% versus 18% for placebo) proportion of patients reporting clinically meaningful pain relief.

The study's findings are consistent with and extend other recent research supporting the short-term efficacy of cannabis for neuropathic pain, also sponsored by the CMCR.

"This study adds to a growing body of evidence that indicates that cannabis is effective, in the short-term at least, in the management of neuropathic pain," commented Igor Grant, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the CMCR.

Source (http://www.physorg.com/news137233579.html): University of California - San Diego

Jasonik
August 10th, 2008, 02:08 PM
Feds Score Another Conviction Against a California Medical Marijuana Dispensary Operator

from Drug War Chronicle, Issue #546, 8/8/08 (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/546/charley_lynch_guilty_medical_marijuana)

In a trial that garnered national attention because of the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, a federal jury in Los Angeles Tuesday convicted the owner of a Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary on five counts of violating federal drug laws. As was the case in previous federal prosecutions, the defense was not allowed to mount a medical marijuana defense or even mention the words "medical marijuana" during the course of the trial.

Charles Lynch (http://www.friendsofccl.com/), 46, operator of Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in San Luis Obispo County, faces a minimum of five years in prison and as many as 85 years after being found guilty of distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, some of to people considered minors under federal law.

Federal prosecutors portrayed Lynch as a mercenary drug dealer, toting around backpacks full of cash and selling dope to minors. One minor, Owen Beck, actually took the stand in Lynch's defense. Beck suffers from bone cancer, and accompanied by his parents, he would visit the dispensary to purchase medical marijuana recommended to him by his Stanford University oncologist. But as soon as Beck mentioned that he was ill, Federal District Court Judge George Wu blocked his testimony.

In an interview (http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-me-pot6-2008aug06,0,4149356.story) with the Los Angeles Times after reaching a verdict, jury forewoman Kitty Meese said jurors understood Lynch was no run-of-the-mill drug dealer, but that federal law made no provision for dispensary operators. "We all felt Mr. Lynch intended well," Meese said. "But under the parameters we were given for the federal law, we didn't have a choice." She added, "it was a tough decision for all of us because the state law and the federal law are at odds."

Lynch had run the dispensary in compliance with state law and with the blessing of local officials in Morro Bay, but after a fruitless, year-long investigation by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges failed to find any violations of state law, the sheriff invited the DEA to come and raid the dispensary. The DEA did just that last year, and a few months later a federal grand jury indicted him.

Lynch is only the latest of at least six dispensary operators convicted under the federal drug laws, and his dispensary is but one of the dozens raided by the DEA in the last couple of years. With federal juries blocked from hearing about or considering the state's medical marijuana laws by federal judges in those cases, convictions are all but a foregone conclusion.

"This just goes to show the difficulty of getting a fair trial on this in federal court," said Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML (http://www.canorml.org/). "The feds are batting a thousand when it comes to getting convictions in these cases. You cannot get a fair hearing."

"Charley got steamrolled by the federal government," said San Luis Obispo attorney Lou Koory, who represented Lynch in his dealings with local officials. "It's just not a fair fight when you can't tell the whole story," he said.

"The jury selection process revealed that potential jurors in Los Angeles had major questions about why the feds would be prosecuting someone like Charley when there are several dispensaries operating within walking distance of the courthouse there," Koory pointed out. "Those jurors were dismissed for cause, so we were left with citizens who were apparently not concerned about the federal government's actions in this case and who felt compelled to follow the judge's instructions."

"When you have things like Owen Beck being prevented from testifying, that only escalates the tragedy of this case," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana defense group Americans for Safe Access (http://www.safeaccessnow.org/). "The jury was not allowed to hear the whole truth in the larger context of the state law," he said.

Hermes was quick to point out that Lynch was not the only victim of the DEA and its local law enforcement collaborators. "When Charles was raided, his was one of the only facilities in the whole region," said Hermes. "Now patients have to go much longer distances, sometimes hundreds of miles, to get their medicine. Not only has this destroyed Charlie's life, it has worsened the lives of hundreds of patients."

With the deck stacked against dispensary operators in these federal prosecutions, activists and advocates are looking for ways to change the status quo. Some involve fighting back against recalcitrant law enforcement officials like Sheriff Hedges, others looks to greater help from state officials, while still others are turning a jaundiced eye on the federal marijuana laws.

At least one of Lynch's patients has filed suit against Hedges, alleging that he violated patients' privacy protections by seizing patient records and violated both her state and federal constitutional rights by doing an end run around state law.

"The sheriff couldn't get a state search warrant, so he calls in the DEA and participates in the raid," said Koory. "In return for serving up Charley on a silver platter, the sheriff got access to all the evidence, including patient records," he explained. "The dispensary was a rock in the sheriff's shoe, so after a year's worth of failed investigation, Sheriff Hedges invited the DEA to come up to Morro Bay and raid the dispensary. That's the real story here."

While the idea of suing sheriffs sounds appealing, it's a long-shot, said Hermes. "They are certainly subject to litigation if someone wants to file a lawsuit against a local official for cooperating with the federal government, but it's a difficult legal challenge," he said. "There is no law that prohibits local law enforcement from cooperating with the feds. What officials like the sheriff are doing is wrongheaded, harmful, and unnecessary, but it will be difficult to win, I think."

In the meantime, said Hermes, there are other avenues to pursue in reining in renegade local officials. "One thing would be to get a pronouncement from Attorney General Jerry Brown directing law enforcement on appropriate conduct around these issues. We're expecting that to happen soon," he said. "Absence of direction from the attorney general has made it easier not only for federal law enforcement to come in and undermine the implementation of state law, but also to make it easier for local law enforcement to help in that effort."

Hermes said that recent state court decisions, including last week's slap-down of San Diego County's challenge to the law (see related story this issue (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/546/california_appeals_court_medical_marijuana_san_die go)) are also helping define the playing field. "We've had multiple appellate court rulings declaring the state's medical marijuana law is not preempted by federal law, that the two can coexist, and that local law enforcement should be upholding state law and not federal law," he said. "Between these rulings and the pending guidelines from the attorney general, there will be less and less wiggle room for local law enforcement to skirt the law."

There is also the ballot box. Sheriffs are elected officials, and they could be challenged at the voting booth over their medical marijuana misbehavior, but ASA's Hermes couldn't recall a case where someone was either defeated or elected over the issue. "It is certainly an issue to bring up in sheriffs' races," he said. "If there are renegade law enforcement officials trying to skirt state law, we can try to make them feel the political heat."

Still, Hermes predicted that given the state court rulings, the pending guidelines from the attorney general, and new set of faces in Washington next year, the renegade law enforcement problem will probably recede. "If it continues to happen," he said, "there will be a political battle I think public officials will be sorry they got into. I think we will see less and less cooperation between local law enforcement and the feds on this."

A new administration in Washington could make a huge difference, Hermes said. "If we elect Obama, and he follows through on his promise to end federal raids on dispensaries, then we will hopefully see less federal activity here in California."

But the ultimate solution is changing the federal law around marijuana. Legalization, decriminalization, rescheduling marijuana out of Schedule 1, or even passage of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would cut off funds for federal raids in medical marijuana states, are some of the steps that could be taken.

"We need to see either marijuana rescheduled as something other than Schedule 1, or the US Supreme Court's Raich decision (http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-1454.ZO.html) needs to be revisited and overruled. The logic behind that decision -- that medical marijuana grown, distributed, and consumed within California affects interstate commerce -- is a stretch at best," said Koory.

"What we need is a comprehensive federal policy in the US," said Hermes. "Rescheduling or passing Hinchey would be easier than passing either decriminalization or legalization, but we would welcome any of those. We'll be working for a sweeping federal policy that includes rescheduling, further research, and allows for safe access to medical marijuana for patients all across the country."

Until the federal marijuana laws are reformed or eliminated, medical marijuana patients are not safe. Instead, they will be subject to the whims and political proclivities of whoever has hold of the levers of power in Washington.

*****

Jury Nullification (http://www.fija.org/)

Ninjahedge
August 11th, 2008, 09:46 AM
but after a fruitless, year-long investigation by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Pat Hedges failed to find any violations of state law, the sheriff invited the DEA to come and raid the dispensary.


That isn't justice, that's a power play by a disgruntled state worker.

What a petty SOB.

Jasonik
September 8th, 2008, 02:12 PM
Chemicals in Marijuana May Fight MRSA
Study Shows Cannabinoids May Be Useful Against Drug-Resistant Staph Infections

By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
(http://www.webmd.com/news/20080904/marijuana-chemicals-may-fight-mrsa)
Sept. 4, 2008 -- Chemicals in marijuana may be useful in fighting MRSA, a kind of staph bacterium that is resistant to certain antibiotics.

Researchers in Italy and the U.K. tested five major marijuana chemicals called cannabinoids on different strains of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). All five showed germ-killing activity against the MRSA strains in lab tests. Some synthetic cannabinoids also showed germ-killing capability. The scientists note the cannabinoids kill bacteria in a different way than traditional antibiotics, meaning they might be able to bypass bacterial resistance.

At least two of the cannabinoids don't have mood-altering effects, so there could be a way to use these substances without creating the high of marijuana.

MRSA, like other staph infections, can be spread through casual physical contact or through contaminated objects. It is commonly spread from the hands of someone who has it. This could be in a health care setting, though there have also been high-profile cases of community-acquired MRSA.

It is becoming more common for healthy people to get MRSA, which is often spread between people who have close contact with one another, such as members of a sports team. Symptoms often include skin infections, such as boils. MRSA can become serious, particularly for people who are weak or ill.

In the study, published in the Journal of Natural Products, researchers call for further study of the antibacterial uses of marijuana. There are "currently considerable challenges with the treatment of infections caused by strains of clinically relevant bacteria that show multi-drug resistance," the researchers write. New antibacterials are urgently needed, but only one new class of antibacterial has been introduced in the last 30 years. "Plants are still a substantially untapped source of antimicrobial agents," the researchers conclude.

KenNYC
September 11th, 2008, 10:50 PM
I'm not thrilled about advertisement for jury nullification to be honest, I certainly sympathize with its use here, but history has proven that this is a power not to be taken lightly... either way, it's unfortunate turn of things, quite frankly I wish it would just get legalized all together. But still, Amsterdam is just a short trip away :)

Jasonik
September 12th, 2008, 09:15 AM
...but history has proven that this is a power not to be taken lightly...

History. (http://www.isil.org/resources/lit/history-jury-null.html)

Why should someone need to go to Amsterdam to get a doctor prescribed medicine? How would patients bring it home?

Jasonik
September 15th, 2008, 10:26 AM
Judge says Feds violated 10th Amendment by subverting state marijuana laws

As It Stands by Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
Article Launched: 09/14/2008 01:32:06 AM PDT (http://www.times-standard.com/ci_10461558?source=most_viewed)

A landmark decision for all Californian's quietly made history on August 20th in a Santa Cruz courtroom.

For the first time since 1996, when the Compassionate Use Act was passed, the federal authorities have been charged with violating the 10th Amendment for harassing medical marijuana patients and state authorities.

The case of Santa Cruz vs. Mukasey, was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, who said the Bush Administration's request to dismiss a lawsuit by Santa Cruz city and county officials, and the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), wasn't going to happen.

In a recent telephone interview with Alan Hopper, an ACLU counsel familiar with the case, I asked him what came next?

”The plaintiff will get a get a court-ordered discovery document that will allow them to get documents, and even depositions, from the federal authorities to support their claims,” he explained.

So now it's the city, county, and WAMM's turn to prove their case against the federal government. The court has recognized a concerted effort by the federal government to sabotage state medical marijuana laws, which violates the U.S. Constitution. The significance of this ruling, the first of its kind, cannot be overstated.

California voters may finally get what they asked for a dozen years ago. When the court said that the federal government had gone out of its way to arrest and prosecute some of the most legitimate doctors, patients, caregivers, and dispensary owners that had been working with state and local officials, it finally drew a line-in-the sand.

An example of the federal authorities violations was their pursuit of WAMM. This non-profit group has been around for many years, and has been fully supported by the city and county of Santa Cruz. They have been referred to, by officials, as the model medical marijuana patient's collective.

The group was functioning so smoothly that the city even allowed them to hold regular meetings to distribute marijuana to its patients on the steps of city hall! The federal agents still went after them, which brought about this court decision.

When the ACLU filed this lawsuit to stop them from targeting medical marijuana providers and patients, they opened a door that may finally lead to no federal interference in California's medical marijuana law.

We must not forget that medical marijuana brings in about $100 million each year in tax revenue. Conferring total legitimacy to the law will allow this cash flow to continue, and hopefully, increase over time.

When the judge ruled the feds were threatening physicians who recommended marijuana, he set the stage for regaining patient's rights. The ruling clearly pointed out that the feds were also threatening government officials who issue medical marijuana cards, and interfered with municipal zoning plans.

In the summation, the court found that, “There was a calculated pattern of selective arrests and prosecutions by the federal government with the intent to render California's medical marijuana laws impossible to implement and therefore forced Californian's and their political subdivisions to re-criminalize medical marijuana.”

In a recent column (http://www.times-standard.com/ci_10349660), I mentioned California's Attorney General Jerry Brown had passed out an 11-page directive (http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/Brown_Guidelines_Aug08.pdf) that all law agencies were to go by. I expressed concern that the federal authorities would ignore those guidelines, but upon finding out about this recent ruling I now have some cause for hope.

It sure sounded like Hopper was looking forward to the next phase, and he seemed confident that positive change lay ahead. Asked which presidential candidate would be more amenable to upholding medical marijuana laws, he cleverly replied that he thought they both would be willing to work for change. He could be right too. This is a year of change.

This on-going battle with the federal authorities ignoring California's laws has been well-documented in the past. Why hasn't there been more coverage for such an epic ruling? Its potential as breakthrough legislation is something all Californian's should know about in my opinion.

The war against medical marijuana hasn't been won yet, but this could be the breakthrough everybody's waited for. At the core of the war waged by the federal government against the voter's will, is the failed War on Drugs by the Bush Administration. It's about time someone told them to back off.

As It Stands, we can score this as a successful round for state's rights.

Jasonik
September 21st, 2008, 12:54 PM
Ex-suspects want police to pay for dead marijuana plants
After the case against the Colorado couple fell apart, they were given back their seized property -- which had gone unmaintained in a police evidence room.

By DeeDee Correll, Special to The Times
September 21, 2008 (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-pot21-2008sep21,0,3171125.story?track=rss)

DENVER -- When the Fort Collins police arrested James and Lisa Masters and carted away their 39 marijuana plants, they put the plants where they normally put confiscated property involved in alleged crimes: the evidence room.

And there they sat, without a grow lamp, water or pruning.

A year later, the case against the Masterses -- who claimed they used the drug for medical purposes -- fell apart, and a judge ordered the police to return their property.

"All the plants were dead," said Brian Vicente, one of the attorneys for the couple. "Some had turned to liquid -- this black, moldy liquid. There was mold over everything."

Incensed, the couple asked the Police Department to reimburse them $200,000 for the destroyed plants. City officials refused, and the Masterses are now considering a lawsuit to compel the northern Colorado city to compensate them.

Of the 12 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, Colorado stands out for its law specifying that police must not "harm, neglect or destroy" seized plants in such cases, said Noah Mamber, legal services coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group.

But in the eight years since voters approved the law, no law enforcement agency has had to grapple with that aspect of it, said attorneys familiar with medical marijuana cases.

"There's not a whole lot of case law on this, frankly," Vicente said.

Many situations are resolved without police seizing the plants because it becomes apparent to police that the suspect is authorized to have marijuana, said Rob Corry, another attorney for the Masterses.

In other states, police often destroy the plants during or after an arrest. But that may be changing, Mamber said. He cited a recent case in Burlingame, Calif., where police found a number of marijuana plants and confiscated them until they could find the owner and ascertain whether he was a medical marijuana user. He was.

Police in that case kept the plants less than a week. They didn't water or tend them during that time, Burlingame Police Capt. Mike Matteucci said, adding that the department is not equipped to serve as a nursery.

The outcome of the Colorado case, he said, could help define law enforcement's responsibilities in such matters. "It's uncharted waters here," Matteucci said.

In 2006, James Masters and his wife, Lisa, were arrested on suspicion of felony cultivation and intent to distribute. At the time, they were growing marijuana for themselves and for at least five other people with medical problems, their attorneys said. Lisa Masters, 33, has fibromyalgia and tendinitis; her husband, 31, suffers from chronic nausea and pain from knee and hip problems, Corry said.

Both had doctors' recommendations that they ingest marijuana for their medical issues, but they had not joined the state's registry, Vicente said, because they could not afford the $110 fee.

Those in the registry may possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and as many as six plants, and caregivers may keep up to six plants for each person in their care. Because the Masterses were also serving as caregivers, Vicente said, they were allowed to have the 39 plants.

Because the Masterses weren't listed in the registry, police treated the plants as they would evidence in any other drug case, said Fort Collins police spokeswoman Rita Davis.

"At the time they were confiscated, they didn't have documents to prove it was medical marijuana. They have to have some proof," Davis said.

The Masterses' attorneys maintain that the law doesn't require people to produce documentation when claiming the marijuana is medicinal.

The law says that property should not be neglected or destroyed in cases "where such property has been seized in connection with the claimed medical use of marijuana." It does not specify a criminal penalty when the law is not followed.

In any event, Corry said, the Masterses did provide paperwork showing their doctors' recommendations that they use marijuana.

A judge eventually dismissed the charges, ruling that the police search had been illegal. Until then, the Masterses, who have since joined the state registry, continued to use marijuana provided to them by others, Vicente said. He argued that police should care for the plants they take just as they would an animal or child removed from a home.

"If the police take your pit bull, do they put it in an evidence locker for two months or do they take care of it?" Vicente said. "We plan on holding the police accountable. We're talking about people's medicine here."

Jasonik
January 10th, 2009, 02:45 PM
Posted at: 01/09/2009 10:09:31 PM
Updated at: 01/10/2009 06:16:54 AM
By: Eyewitness News 4 (http://kob.com/article/stories/S737607.shtml?cat=500)
http://KOB.com/kobtvimages/marry_jane.jpg

State gives nod to medical marijuana dealers

New Mexico has become the first state in the country to license marijuana dealers. Officials say dealers are under stringent regulations.

It took about a year and half, but the New Mexico Health Department has ironed out a plan to deal with the complex and legally thorny issue of how to make and get medical marijuana to qualified patients.

"This has been the hardest piece of the program. We really needed to proceed carefully and thoughtfully because we're the only state to take this step," said Deborah Busemeyer of the Department of Health.

New Mexico is the first state to license non-profit organizations to do the growing and distribution. Any group that wants to do it will have to clear a lot of hurdles, Busemeyer said.

"They need to have security measures. We have monitoring requirements they have to have a non profit board overseeing it that includes a doctor," she said.

Any non-profit that gets a license will be able to grow up to 95 plants and keep a supply of useable marijuana. Individuals can also grow their own if they get a state license. They can grow four mature plants and 12 seedlings and posses up to six ounces.

There are 207 New Mexicans who have already been approved by the state to use medical marijuana.

"People should realize that these are patients who are very sick and they have chronic debilitating conditions and they can't get relief anyway else," Busemeyer said.

Right now, there are seven conditions that can qualify a patient to get medical marijuana, including suffering from cancer, AIDS and MS.

New Mexico and 12 other states have legalized medical marijuana usage. But laws in those states do not supersede federal law, which still doesn't recognize medical marijuana.

Jasonik
January 13th, 2009, 05:32 PM
DEA rejects UMass request to grow medical marijuana

Posted by Gideon Gil January 12, 2009 06:49 PM
By Bina Venkataraman, Globe Correspondent (http://www.boston.com/news/health/blog/2009/01/dea_rejects_uma.html)

The US Drug Enforcement Administration has rejected the bid of a UMass Amherst researcher who wants to create the second laboratory in the nation authorized to grow marijuana for medical research.

The ruling (http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/38298lgl20090112.html) released today came nearly two years after a federal administrative law judge recommended (http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/02/13/judge_backs_professors_bid_to_grow_marijuana/) that Lyle Craker, a horticultural professor who specializes in medicinal plants, be allowed to grow marijuana for medical research. The DEA decision, which is a final rule not subject to public comment, called the current supply of marijuana for research "adequate and uninterrupted,” and said that a second laboratory would not be in the public interest.

Since 1968, a federally approved laboratory at the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy has grown nearly a hundred varieties of marijuana plants. Access to the plants has been limited to researchers who gain federal permits, and plants from the lab’s farm have been used for clinical studies across the country to test marijuana for treating glaucoma, pain, nausea, and other illnesses.

But some researchers complain that access to the laboratory's supply is thwarted by a contract the lab holds with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which must approve permits issued by the Food and Drug Administration or the DEA in a process that can take months to complete. Other drugs listed by the DEA as "Schedule 1," such as heroin and ecstasy, do not require this additional approval for researchers to access them.
Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a Belmont-based drug research group that wants to fund Craker’s marijuana cultivation and sponsored the lawsuit that spurred the administrative law judge’s recommendation in 2007, calls the Mississippi lab a "monopoly."

Doblin said that his group will now either file another lawsuit or appeal to the incoming Obama administration to reverse the decision. "We’re not giving up," he said.

Craker, who first applied for the DEA permit in 2001, said he was disappointed that the agency appears to want to limit medicinal marijuana research. "We’ve seen a big upsurge in the use of medicinal plants to treat illnesses," he said.

DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney said the agency had no additional comment on the decision other than what was written in the ruling.

Ninjahedge
January 14th, 2009, 11:48 AM
Heheheh.

"Craker".

Jasonik
January 15th, 2009, 11:00 AM
Medical Marijuana ID Cards - Jan. 12, 2009 KXTV-10

This is news coverage of Sacramento County's start of a Medical Marijuana Identification Card program, a program which is required by the State of California. [Video 1:04 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=efTQdHkBOtk)]

History:

ACLU Members Speak in Favor of ID Cards - Dec. 16, 2008

At the December 16, 2008, meeting of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors two members of the board of the Sacramento County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Nikos Leverenz and Jim Updegraff speak in favor of issuing the cards. [Video 6:02 (http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=xyS_qhsiHgU)]


Sacramento County board backs ID cards for medical pot users

By Robert Lewis (rlewis@sacbee.com)
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 | Page 2B (http://www.sacbee.com/ourregion/story/1479411.html)

Jasonik
January 19th, 2009, 12:38 AM
Alzheimer's Disease and Marijuana

Keith Halderman
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 5:13 PM (http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/60040.html)

Studies finding that cannabis, or marijuana as it is more commonly known, has both a mitigating and prophylactic effect with regards to Alzheimer’s disease continue to accumulate. One of the latest articles (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=17828287) comes from researchers working at the Department of Physiology and Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin. They found that “certain cannabinoids can protect neurons from the deleterious effects of β-amyloid and are capable of reducing tau phosphorylation. The propensity of cannabinoids to reduce β-amyloid-evoked oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, whilst stimulating neurotrophin expression neurogenesis, are interesting properties that may be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease” and the Scientists concluded that “cannabinoids offer a multi-faceted approach for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease by providing neuroprotection and reducing neuroinflammation, whilst simultaneously supporting the brain's intrinsic repair mechanisms by augmenting neurotrophin expression and enhancing neurogenesis.”

Jasonik
February 26th, 2009, 12:04 PM
Justice Department will stop medical marijuana raids, Attorney General says

John Byrne
Published: Thursday February 26, 2009 (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Justice_Department_will_stop_medical_marijuana_022 6.html)

In a little-noticed remark Wednesday, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana dispensaries established under state laws but technically prohibited by the federal government.

The decision marks a shift from the Bush Administration, which was more draconian in its approach to hunting those who sought to dispense marijuana for medical purposes.

Numerous states have decriminalized marijuana in recent years, and new fiscal pressures are turning more states toward being more lenient toward first-time drug offenders as the cost of keeping drug users in jail becomes untenable for state budgets.

The remark was caught by The Huffington Post's Ryan Grimm (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/26/holder-vows-to-end-raids_n_170119.html).

The Drug Enforcement Administration continued to carry out such raids after Obama's inauguration, Grimm says, despite an Obama campaign promise to cease the practice. But asked at a press conference Wednesday, Holder said it wouldn't be the Administration's policy going forward.

"No" it won't be Obama policy, Holder said. "What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing in law enforcement. He was my boss during the campaign. He is formally and technically and by law my boss now. What he said during the campaign is now American policy."

Holder's response comes at about the 25:00 mark on a C-SPAN clip (http://www.c-span.org/Watch/watch.aspx?MediaId=HP-A-15821).

The following states have medical marijuana laws (click to enlarge -- South Dakota does not):

Jasonik
April 26th, 2009, 08:28 AM
Iowa Judge Asks Pharmacy Board to Look at Marijuana

Story Created: Apr 25, 2009 at 2:25 PM CDT (http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/43695722.html)

DES MOINES (AP) - A Polk County judge says a state pharmacy board must consider whether marijuana has accepted medical uses. Thursday's ruling Judge Joel Novak doesn't legalize medical marijuana in Iowa, but it requires the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to consider whether it's properly classified as a Schedule I substance.

To be classified as Schedule I, a drug must have a high potential for abuse and no safe medical use within the U.S. Last summer, a group, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, petitioned the pharmacy board to remove marijuana from the Schedule I classification. The board ruled against the petition last fall and the ACLU appealed.

The judge's ruling says the board must review the classification and decide whether marijuana has an accepted medical use.

lofter1
April 26th, 2009, 03:56 PM
In LA Pot Shops are the way to get what's needed.

Seems Santa Barbara (http://www.santabarbarasblog.com/?p=2845) has seen the light (up), too.

Jasonik
April 29th, 2009, 08:04 PM
State Senate approves medical marijuana

By MARK BRUNSWICK, Star Tribune
Last update: April 29, 2009 - 6:56 PM (http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/44005777.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O%20%3Cimg %20src=)

The Minnesota Senate today tentatively voted to approve the use of medical marijuana in the state. The 36-28 vote came despite questions about whether the measure fully defines who would be eligible and whether it provides proper safeguards against abuse.

Law enforcement has consistently opposed medical marijuana, but Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, chief author of the bill (S.F. 97), said during debate that the measure is a medical issue not one for "our brothers and sisters in blue."

It's estimated that about 900 people will enroll in the program the first year, a number that will grow to about 6,800 at full enrollment. The bill allows 2.5 ounces for a qualifying patient and up to 12 plants if the patient is authorized to cultivate the marijuana. A doctor would have to certify that the person qualifies and non-profit groups would be set-up to dispense the marijuana, The Minnesota Department of Health would administer the program to set up a registry of users, who would be provided photo ID cards. The bill would take effect in January 2010.

The Senate had previously approved the bill but it has always stalled in the House. Advocates believe they have enough votes to pass in the House this year, but it isn't clear if they have enough to override any possible veto from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has expressed reservations about the bill. The bill could be heard on the House floor next week.

"I'm here to tell you there is potential opportunity for abuse here and kids are watching to see what we in the Legislature are going to do," said Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, a former county sheriff.

Thirteen states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. The Senate's vote was preliminary but is a good barometer of the outcome of an official vote, which is likely to come Thursday.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

Merry
January 11th, 2010, 11:50 PM
A refreshing bit of common sense. It can be done.


New Jersey Lawmakers Pass Medical Marijuana Bill

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI

TRENTON — The New Jersey Legislature approved a measure on Monday that would make the state the 14th in the nation, but one of the few on the East Coast, to legalize the use of marijuana to help patients with chronic illnesses.

The measure — which would allow patients diagnosed with severe illnesses like cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to have access to marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries — was passed by the General Assembly and State Senate on the final day of the legislative session.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would sign it into law before leaving office next Tuesday. Supporters said that within nine months, patients with a prescription for marijuana from their doctors should be able to obtain it at one of six locations.

“It’s nice to finally see a day when democracy helps heal people,” said Charles Kwiatkowski, 38, one of dozens of patients who rallied at the State House before the vote and broke into applause when the lawmakers approved the measure.

Mr. Kwiatkowski, of Hazlet, N.J., who has multiple sclerosis, said his doctors have recommended marijuana to treat neuralgia, which causes him to lose the feeling and the use of his right arm and shoulders. “The M.S. Society has shown that this drug will help slow the progression of my disease. Why would I want to use anything else?”

The bill’s approval, which comes after years of lobbying by patients’ rights groups and advocates of less restrictive drug laws, was nearly derailed at the 11th hour as some Democratic lawmakers wavered and Governor-elect Christopher J. Christie, a Republican, went to the State House and expressed reservations about it.

In the end, however, it passed by comfortable margins in both houses: 48-14 in the General Assembly and 25-13 in the State Senate.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat from Princeton who sponsored the legislation, said New Jersey’s would be the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the nation because it would permit doctors to prescribe it for only a set list of serious, chronic illnesses. The law would also forbid patients from growing their own marijuana and from using it in public, and it would regulate the drug under the strict conditions used to track the distribution of medically prescribed opiates like Oxycontin and morphine.

Patients would be limited to two ounces of marijuana per month.

“I truly believe this will become a model for other states because it balances the compassionate use of medical marijuana while limiting the number of ailments that a physician can prescribe it for,” Mr. Gusciora said.
Under the bill, the state would help set the cost of the marijuana. The measure does not require insurance companies to pay for it.

Some educators and law enforcement advocates worked doggedly against the proposal, saying the law would make marijuana more readily available and more likely to be abused, and that it would lead to increased drug use by teenagers.

Opponents often pointed to California’s experience as a cautionary tale, saying that medical marijuana is so loosely regulated there that its use has essentially been decriminalized. Under California law, residents can obtain legal marijuana for a list of maladies as common, and as vaguely defined, as anxiety or chronic pain.

David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug-Free Schools Coalition, warned that the establishment of for-profit dispensaries would lead to abuses of the law. “There are going to be pot centers coming to neighborhoods where people live and are trying to raise their families,” Mr. Evans said.

Keiko Warner, a school counselor in Millville, N. J., cautioned that students already faced intense peer pressure to experiment with marijuana, and that the use of medical marijuana would only increase the likelihood that teenagers would experiment with the drug.

“There are children at age 15, 14 who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs,” she said. “And this is not going to help.”

Legislators attempted to ease those fears in the past year by working with the Department of Health and Senior Services to add restrictions to the bill.

But with Democrats in retreat after Mr. Corzine’s defeat by Mr. Christie, some supporters feared that the Democratic-controlled Legislature — which last week failed to muster the votes to pass a gay marriage bill — would balk at approving medical marijuana.

Mr. Christie added to the suspense Monday, just hours before lawmakers were scheduled to vote, when he was asked about the bill during a press conference within shouting distance of the legislative chambers. He said he was concerned that the bill contained loopholes that might encourage recreational drug use.

“I think we all see what’s happened in California,” Mr. Christie said. “It’s gotten completely out of control.”

But the loophole Mr. Christie cited — a list of ailments so unrestricted that it might have allowed patients to seek marijuana to treat minor or nonexistent ailments — had already been closed by legislators. In the end, the bill received Republican as well as Democratic support.

“This bill will help relieve people’s pain,” said Senator William Baroni, a Republican.

Supporters celebrated with hugs and tears.

Scott Ward, 26, who said he suffered from multiple sclerosis, said he had been prescribed marijuana to alleviate leg cramps so severe that they often felt “like my muscles are tearing apart.” “Now,” he said, “I can do normal things like take a walk and walk the dog.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12marijuana.html?ref=nyregion

Ninjahedge
October 31st, 2011, 10:36 AM
I am getting kind of a theme here....

Edit: Sorry zip. Did not know this was a move.

I am wondering if this is really a guy, or just his spider....

Merry
January 11th, 2013, 02:14 AM
Treatment Denied in NY? Cannabis Should Be Available to Patients Who Need It

by Dr. Julie Holland

Eighteen other state -- including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey -- now allow patients access to medical marijuana. It is time to allow New Yorkers to benefit from this ancient medicinal plant. I've spent my career researching and prescribing drugs, and after working with some of the country's leading experts for three years on a book about the benefits and risks of cannabis, I know that the scientific research supports the safety and therapeutic value of this medicine, especially when compared to other prescription medications.

We have long known that cannabis can help patients manage the side effects of chemotherapy by reducing nausea and stimulating appetite, making it tremendously useful in cancer and AIDS patients. Because it acts as a muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4), it can reduce the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, irritable bowel syndrome and Chron's disease.

A growing of body of research now suggests (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4) that cannabis can kill some cancer cells and slow the growth of blood supply to tumors. Most people are familiar with THC, the compound in pot that makes people feel high, but cannabis has many other components with medicinal benefits. In particular, CBD (cannabidiol) which can help to treat seizures (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/14/news/la-sn-cannabis-cbdv-epilepsy-20120914) and psychosis (http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/07/marijuana-compound-may-beat-antipsychotics-at-treating-schizophrenia/39803.html).

Cannabis is not only therapeutic, it is significantly safer (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/opinion/01iht-edgrinspoon.4764827.html) and less toxic than prescription pain medication. There is no known lethal dose, compared with opioid pain medicines, which now cause more overdose deaths than car accidents. Cannabis has lower rates of addiction (http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/19/is-marijuana-addictive-it-depends-how-you-define-addiction/) (9 percent) than pain medication (23 percent), alcohol (15 percent), or cigarettes (32 percent).

As with any medication, medical marijuana should not be used by all patients. People with compromised lungs shouldn't smoke due to lung inflammation, and people with a history of psychosis can have an adverse reaction to THC. But just as physicians evaluate the appropriateness and safety of other medications for each patient, they can perform a risk/benefit analysis for medicinal cannabis.

Last June, the New York State Assembly passed a bill (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-13/business/sns-rt-usa-newyorkmarijuanal1e8hdkok-20120613_1_medical-marijuana-medical-marijuana-inhaled-marijuana) that would establish a safe and tightly regulated system allowing healthcare providers to consider medical marijuana for their patients who have serious, debilitating, or life-threatening conditions. The entire program -- from the registration of patients to the production and dispensing of cannabis -- would be carefully regulated by the State Department of Health to insure that only those patients who need medical marijuana will have access. What this bill does is make sure that a healthcare professional, together with his or patient -- not the government -- decides the best treatment for serious medical conditions, including recommending medicinal cannabis.

Denying doctors the right to consider this treatment and denying patients' access to medicine that can alleviate their pain and suffering is unjust, unethical, and illogical. It should not be a crime for doctors to help their patients find relief through a medicine as safe and effective as cannabis.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-julie-holland/new-york-medical-marijuana_b_2451162.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york

ZippyTheChimp
January 11th, 2013, 08:29 AM
Car accident, herbal treatment, and the Lone Ranger.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KFabfnfhIaY

BBMW
January 11th, 2013, 10:22 AM
I've always considered the concept of medical marijuana to be a thinly disguised cover for recreational marijuana (especially as California did it, since IIRC they were the first) In point of fact, I wouldn't have a problem with legalizing MJ completely, but let's stop deluding ourselves that this is about a heath issue.

ZippyTheChimp
January 11th, 2013, 10:29 AM
^
Is your conclusion based on research into the matter (if so, clue us in), or is it a bias on a California thing?

eddhead
January 11th, 2013, 01:07 PM
This appeared as an opinion piece in the Times in May. I remember reading it than, and being moved by the plight of a man who has spent his life upholding justice and the law, only to be forced underground to illegal blackmarkets in order to get some relief from this horrible disease.

I was reminded of it again when I read BBMW's kind of dismissive comment about the value of medical marijuana (although I do agree with his statement that recreatonal use should be legalized as well).

I think sometimes we (and, I think we all do it from time-to-time) make off-the-cuff, blanket comments like this without considering the nuances of our collective life experiences. The world is just not the black and white.

The bottom line for me is that is outright immoral to not act on this legislation when it is clear that Marijuana can bring real relief to people living in abject torture.

I wonder how this gentleman is doing? This was a very brave article for him to write, and I admire him for doing so.




Nausea (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/nausea-and-vomiting/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) and pain are constant companions. One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. Eating, one of the great pleasures of life, has now become a daily battle, with each forkful a small victory. Every drug prescribed to treat one problem leads to one or two more drugs to offset its side effects. Pain medication leads to loss of appetite (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/appetite-decreased/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) and constipation (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/constipation/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier). Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised. Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep.


May 16, 2012

A Judge’s Plea for Pot

By GUSTIN L. REICHBACH

THREE and a half years ago, on my 62nd birthday, doctors discovered a mass on my pancreas. It turned out to be Stage 3 pancreatic cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/pancreatic-carcinoma/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier). I was told I would be dead in four to six months. Today I am in that rare coterie of people who have survived this long with the disease. But I did not foresee that after having dedicated myself for 40 years to a life of the law, including more than two decades as a New York State judge, my quest for ameliorative and palliative care would lead me to marijuana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/m/marijuana/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier).

My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/chemotherapy/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier), radiation hell and brutal surgery. For about a year, my cancer (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/cancer/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) disappeared, only to return. About a month ago, I started a new and even more debilitating course of treatment. Every other week, after receiving an IV booster of chemotherapy drugs that takes three hours, I wear a pump that slowly injects more of the drugs over the next 48 hours.

Nausea (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/nausea-and-vomiting/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) and pain are constant companions. One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. Eating, one of the great pleasures of life, has now become a daily battle, with each forkful a small victory. Every drug prescribed to treat one problem leads to one or two more drugs to offset its side effects. Pain medication leads to loss of appetite (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/appetite-decreased/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier) and constipation (http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/constipation/overview.html?inline=nyt-classifier). Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised. Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep.

This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy.

Sixteen states already permit the legitimate clinical use of marijuana, including our neighbor New Jersey, and Connecticut is on the cusp (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/connecticut-passes-marijuana-bill.html) of becoming No. 17. The New York State Legislature is now debating a bill to recognize marijuana as an effective and legitimate medicinal substance and establish a lawful framework for its use. The Assembly has passed such bills before, but they went nowhere in the State Senate. This year I hope that the outcome will be different. Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, so ubiquitous that it’s impossible to imagine that there are legislators whose families have not also been touched by this scourge. It is to help all who have been affected by cancer, and those who will come after, that I now speak.

Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.

Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/opinion/a-judges-plea-for-medical-marijuana.html?pagewanted=print

Ninjahedge
January 11th, 2013, 01:30 PM
The argue against its generic medicinal use is pointless.

Any time the argument comes up against it, it stinks of paranoia or Big Pharm.

ZippyTheChimp
January 11th, 2013, 04:09 PM
I don't even want to consider any connection to overall legalization.

Regardless of the merit, there are opinions and arguments against overall legalization. But it's an unfair rider to the issue.

Pain-reducing medication is a big part of medical care, and there are many analgesics that aren't legal unless administered by a physician. Their use is evaluated as a medical procedure. Medical marijuana should get the same evaluation.

Merry
January 11th, 2013, 09:55 PM
^ Ah, some reason.

The law is an ass. It's too inconsistent.

It's not as if human beings manufacture it, either; it's a plant (along with others) created by Mother Nature :).

Ninjahedge
January 11th, 2013, 11:21 PM
So is Arsenic....

The "natural" argument is never really a valid one in this Merry... :(

My main point (as I grammatically botched in the last post) is that there are many other chemicals that are more addictive, that have MANY more side effects, and have less actual USE (anti-depressant?) than pot, yet it is still, CLINICALLY, restricted.

Arguments can be raised against its legalization for casual use, such as its inherent ability to steal motivation, but those same arguments hold no water in things like post-op cancer treatment and the like.....

STUPID unilateral blind legislation.

BBMW
January 12th, 2013, 12:53 PM
Based on news stories I've seen (this was a few years ago, so I don't have links) the way Cali implemented "medical" marijuana was so lax in requiring medical oversight, that it was a mere formality for anyone who wanted to get it to get a medical referral (not even a real prescription), for any malady (real or concocted), that it made the medical label nothing but a pretense for recreational legalization.

Now both sides of this are really the problem. There's no reason MJ couldn't be treated like any other drug. You can get a real prescription for opioid narcotics, so why can't MJ be handled on the same basis.

As far as rec use, if they want to legalize that (as the done in WA), do that clearly and explicitly, and don't use "medical use" as a pretense for that.


^
Is your conclusion based on research into the matter (if so, clue us in), or is it a bias on a California thing?

Merry
January 12th, 2013, 09:13 PM
The "natural" argument is never really a valid one in this Merry... :(

It wasn't really an argument, more of an observation, but also a counterpoint to detrimental man-made drugs.


STUPID unilateral blind legislation.

That was the point I was making.

If it helps people, and doesn't kill or maim them in the process, it should be available for medicinal use (just like thalidomide - a man-made substance - was, for a time; the long-term effecs of marijuana are long-established and well documented).

As BBMW said, the law needs to be clearly defined to differentiate between uses.

But...this whole "war on drugs" thing would be a lot cheaper - not to mention winnable - if all illicit drugs were legalised and regulated, just like all other "legal" drugs which, as you pointed out, are often just as problematic.

Being illegal is clearly not an effective deterrent, anyway. It makes me sick that so much is spent in time, effort and money to fight something that's unwinnable, especially at the expense of more pressing concerns.

Ninjahedge
January 14th, 2013, 09:28 AM
There are others, like PCB, that have no real reason for distribution.

The thing that needs to be examined is rather clinically callous, but what should be done. One has to look at how many are hurt via enforcement verses legalization/regulation. How many are killed (good or bad) in the drug trade for MJ as opposed to how many "ruin their lives"...

And if I hear "gateway drug" one more time... :mad: It is awfully hard to be a gateway when you are removed from the wall to begin with.

GordonGecko
January 14th, 2013, 10:07 AM
I've always considered the concept of medical marijuana to be a thinly disguised cover for recreational marijuana (especially as California did it, since IIRC they were the first) In point of fact, I wouldn't have a problem with legalizing MJ completely, but let's stop deluding ourselves that this is about a heath issue.

There is truth to what you say, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the health issue. There are people with serious conditions where cannabis provides either the best or the cheapest option to relieve pain and suffering. On the other hand, I agree with you that many people who favor broad legalization are "using" the health angle to advance their cause and have little interest in using marijuana as a pain reliever. But can you blame them? America was partially founded on puritanism and there's no way drugs to get you high will be allowed into law through the front door, so they have to take the back door. There's no reason to ban marijuana other than imposing a moral code on others. Well, there is another reason, since we know the hazards of smoking. But nobody really talks about that and you can't fairly ban cannabis and not tobacco on that basis alone

BBMW
January 14th, 2013, 10:24 AM
^Then let someone do double blind studies to prove the medical efficacy of MJ, and get it approved by the FDA, like any other drug. Then let doctors write real prescriptions for it. Now I know the feds will need to get their collective head out their ass ont his for that to happen. But if we really want MJ for legitimate medical use, this is how it should happen.

eddhead
January 14th, 2013, 10:50 AM
But...this whole "war on drugs" thing would be a lot cheaper - not to mention winnable - if all illicit drugs were legalised and regulated, just like all other "legal" drugs which, as you pointed out, are often just as problematic.

Being illegal is clearly not an effective deterrent, anyway. It makes me sick that so much is spent in time, effort and money to fight something that's unwinnable, especially at the expense of more pressing concerns.

That is it in a nutshell. I am surprised that so many liberterian right wingers are in favor of allowing the Government to dictate what you can and cannot put in your body. William Buckley got this one right (but only this one :) )

BBMW
January 14th, 2013, 03:39 PM
^
I don't particularly like the concept of widely available narcotics. But I've come to the conclusion that the illegal drug trade is worse than the drugs themselves, and that there are non-judicial ways of having at least as much discouraging effect on drug use than the current judical approach is having (which does not appear to be very much.)

GordonGecko
January 14th, 2013, 04:28 PM
I make the clear distinction between drugs like marijuana / MDMH and "hard" drugs like heroin / cocaine / methamphetamine / oxycodone. The later are responsible for shattered lives, burlaries / robberies, homocides, etc.. and society has a legitimate interest in trying to take it completely off the streets. I can't say the same about the former

lofter1
January 14th, 2013, 11:51 PM
MDMH is basically fancy pants speed. Fun, but it does definitely have it's down side.

Merry
January 15th, 2013, 03:25 AM
^
I don't particularly like the concept of widely available narcotics. But I've come to the conclusion that the illegal drug trade is worse than the drugs themselves, and that there are non-judicial ways of having at least as much discouraging effect on drug use than the current judical approach is having (which does not appear to be very much.)

It's the futility and pointlessness of the current strategies that is so disheartening, not to mention insidious mainfestations such as corruption.

It would be interesting to see a balance sheet of what has been spent on the "war on drugs" and what taxpayers actually got for their money. Very little that is constructive or positive, no doubt.

Drugs are big business and big crime, which leads to more crime. The crime element is far more detrimental. Of course, if illicit drugs were legalised, there would be an initial (and probably ongoing) inundation of idiots who will kill or maim themselves because of the novelty of (comparatively) cheap, legal drugs. At least some of them would have done that anyway.

As uncaring as it may sound, just like in most other human endeavours, there will be casualties. The number of casualties (and victims of all adverse aspects of drug culture, e.g. "shattered lives...") in the long-term would be far fewer with legalisation and regulation.

Society can't continue to allow the "what if" paranoia to rule the day just to protect the relative minority of idiots. This applies to so many issues, it's just damn scary.

It's also impossible to protect all non-idiots, as we currently so amply demonstrate. We would, however, be able to do a much better job via legalisation and regulation.

Again, as human existence dictates, there would undoubtedly be other issues that would need to be addressed if the legalisation path were taken, but they couldn't possibly be any worse than those we face now, and we'll never know if we don't try.

Not really sayin' anything new but, as I've maintained for a long time, there is no solution, only the best, common sense way of dealing with it. Legalisation is, hands down, the best bet overall.

Back to the medicinal argument, other illicit drugs are legally used medicinally so there is no reason why marijuana can't be, too. It also makes me sick that people suffer unnecessarily because of the paranoia of politicians et al. This applies to so many issues, too.

Merry
January 15th, 2013, 05:17 AM
Yeah well, like I was saying..."idiots" and "other issues". I really hope this doesn't adversely affect genuine cases and the disadvantaged.


New York City Emergency Rooms To Restrict Painkiller Prescriptions

By Hunter Stuart

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is again pushing new regulations aimed at making New Yorkers healthier. This time, he's calling for restrictions on the amount of prescription painkillers emergency rooms can give patients (http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fht ml%2F2013a%2Fpr015-13.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1).

All New York City's public hospitals will adopt new guidelines that forbid emergency room doctors to give out more than three days' worth of opioid painkillers (http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c701c789a0/index.jsp?pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fht ml%2F2013a%2Fpr015-13.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1) to patients, or to refill lost or stolen prescriptions for such painkillers. The measure also forbids ER doctors to prescribe long-acting opioids like methadone or extended-release oxycodone.

The new voluntary guidelines were explained in a statement released by the Mayor's office on Thursday, and at a press conference (http://blue3.nyc.gov/archive-videos/mayor/2013/01_10_13-opioids.mp4) held by the Mayor that same day at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.

The new guidelines are designed to reduce the number of painkillers in circulation and to cut down on abuse, says the statement. In addition, Bloomberg cited a need to reduce crimes associated with opioid abuse, such as Medicare fraud (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/health/policy/04medicare.html) and holdups at pharmacies (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/mike_cracks_down_on_painkiller_pills_4hWeqDu0ZGMb1 dpqsDfyuN).

"Between 2004 and 2010 ... the number of painkiller-related emergency room visits in our city has increased by 143%," Bloomberg said at a press conference on Thursday.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley took the microphone and said that about two million prescriptions are written for opioids every year (http://blue3.nyc.gov/archive-videos/mayor/2013/01_10_13-opioids.mp4) in New York City, which amounts to one for every four people. Farley also said there were about 40,000 New Yorkers currently dependent on these drugs.

After marijuana, prescription drug abuse (which includes the non-medical use of pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives) was the most common kind of illicit drug use by Americans (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k11Results/NSDUHresults2011.htm#Ch8) between the ages of 12 and 25 in 2011, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which polls about 67,000 people every year. The survey also found pain relievers to be the most commonly misused prescription drug in America.

"In the heat of the moment in an ER, it shouldn't be the ER doctor's role to think through and anticipate the patient's ongoing needs for opioids," Pamela Brier, the CEO of Maimonides Medical Center told The Huffington Post over the phone. "That should be the responsibility of the patient's primary care doctor, or if the patient has a broken limb, the patient's surgeon."

Maimonides Medical Center is a 700-bed, non-profit teaching hospital in Brooklyn that voluntarily decided to adopt Bloomberg's guidelines regulating emergency room painkiller prescriptions.

However, the new restrictions may leave in the lurch some people who legitimately need painkillers (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/nyregion/new-york-city-to-restrict-powerful-prescription-drugs-in-public-hospitals-emergency-rooms.html?hp&_r=3&). While many have access to primary care physicians who can give longer-term prescriptions for pain relievers, the New York Times points out that many low-income and uninsured Americans use the ER as their primary source for health care. The Times also notes that it can often take longer than three days to schedule appointments with many health care specialists.

At public hospitals, the new guidelines will apply only to the emergency room, not to other departments. The guidelines will not apply to private hospitals and doctors.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/new-york-painkiller-restr_n_2456584.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york

Ninjahedge
January 15th, 2013, 09:08 AM
I am 50/50 on that.

The worst thing that can happen is if you are a "law abiding citizen" that, while in the hospital for something, end up getting hooked on opioids (sp) that were administered in Intensive care.

OTOH... pain is pain, so..... :confused:

BBMW
January 15th, 2013, 10:37 AM
I don't think they're so worried that the patients themselves will get hooked so much as the medication unused by the original patient will get into the market.

eddhead
January 15th, 2013, 10:42 AM
I make the clear distinction between drugs like marijuana / MDMH and "hard" drugs like heroin / cocaine / methamphetamine / oxycodone. The later are responsible for shattered lives, burlaries / robberies, homocides, etc.. and society has a legitimate interest in trying to take it completely off the streets. I can't say the same about the former

The question is not weather or not the use of 'hard' drugs' leads to ruined lives or crime, but rather can we effect the supply, availability and use of those drugs through legislation. Merry and BBMW make strong arguements that despite expending billions, such efforts have proven to be futile, and I agree.

But while we are on the subject, I maintain that the association of the ill-effects to recreational vs hard drugs is not as intuitive as how it appears. Alcohol for instance is an example of a recreational drug (assuming you agree it is) that has arguably caused more ruined lives than heroine. I don't hear too many people making the case that alcohol should be illegal.

Ninjahedge
January 15th, 2013, 11:21 AM
They did, they tried, and they failed.

But look at all the "opportunity" it provided our Italian American Immigrants!

GordonGecko
January 15th, 2013, 11:31 AM
The question is not weather or not the use of 'hard' drugs' leads to ruined lives or crime, but rather can we effect the supply, availability and use of those drugs through legislation. Merry and BBMW make strong arguements that despite expending billions, such efforts have proven to be futile, and I agree.
Yes, it has been futile in stamping it out. But I would argue that without the crimminalization, the problem would be much much worse. Would you want to make all such drugs cheap and legal? That would solve the crime aspect since junkies wouldn't be mugging little old ladies anymore to get their fix. But we would have a lot more messed up people roaming the streets and clogging the healthcare system


But while we are on the subject, I maintain that the association of the ill-effects to recreational vs hard drugs is not as intuitive as how it appears. Alcohol for instance is an example of a recreational drug (assuming you agree it is) that has arguably caused more ruined lives than heroine. I don't hear too many people making the case that alcohol should be illegal.
Yes agree on alcohol, but I think alcohol use is far greater by orders of magnitude and on a percentage of users basis it's nowhere near as destructive as say heroin or crack cocaine. I could be wrong about that, but regardless the problem with alcohol is that it's society's "accepted" recreational drug and completely mainstream. The government knows better than to try prohibition again because it clearly won't work

BBMW
January 15th, 2013, 12:05 PM
^
I think it's telling when people who get themselves hooked on prescription opiates find that it's too expensive to get the pills anymore, they can get their fix much more cheaply with street heroin. That tells me that the fact that it's illegal isn't doing much to suppress the supply. I also don't think too many people would say, "oh, heroin is legal now, maybe I'll try it."

Even it were legalized, I wouldn't want it to be a free for all. Many aspects would be heavily regulated. I would NOT use the alcolhol model that happened after the end of prohabition. First, I would allow absolutely no advertising, promotion, or marketing of any kind. Prices at the wholesale and retail level would be regulated, to allow those selling it to make enough money to be worth doing it, but not enough to have it be highly profitable, or to encourage an alternate black market supply.

I would also legally allow any employer to drug test any employee at any time, and allow dismissal for failure (comfirmation retests would be required.) Any goverment employment or benefit will be tied to drug testing, with failure resulting in loss of employment or benefit.

The idea would be that we're going to allow the sale and use, but we're not going to make your life easy if you chose to use.

eddhead
January 15th, 2013, 12:53 PM
I agree with BBMW on his main point (and I think I need a cold compress).

For whatever reason, the illegalization of narcotic drugs has not caused a shortage of supply or a reduction in price. Drugs like heroine, cocaine, even perscription opiates are widely available on the street at relatively low prices; so low in fact that use of these drugs among lower income groups is at least as pervasive as it is use amoung higher income groups.

The war on drugs is not working. It has not suppressed supply, impacted availability or affected price. And drugs have a high price elasticity.

I disagree with BBMW (I feel more normal now) on drug testing, and am kind of surprised that an avowed libertarian would undermind individual choice and freedom by allowing the Government to intrude on our persons. Shame!!

As to alcohol vs. other drugs, I am not sure it is more destructive by orders of magnitude. I am fairly certain that death and property destruction from driving while under the influence exceeds deaths that from driving while on cocaine or oxycodine for instance. The social costs of alcohol consumption are very high.

BBMW
January 15th, 2013, 01:22 PM
If it's a private employer doing the drug testing, it's not the government intruding. Also, if a drug user doesn't want a government job, or government benefit, then they wouldn't be tested either. But I don't have a problem with testing as a condition of getting government money.

In point of fact, while I think the judicial approach to drug has failed, and has had significant negative side effects, I am not pro-drug use. I fully understand it's negative effects on society. So I'd like to try something else. This is what I've come up with. I'd listen to any other ideas.


I agree with BBMW on his main point (and I think I need a cold compress).

For whatever reason, the illegalization of narcotic drugs has not caused a shortage of supply or a reduction in price. Drugs like heroine, cocaine, even perscription opiates are widely available on the street at relatively low prices; so low in fact that use of these drugs among lower income groups is at least as pervasive as it is use amoung higher income groups.

The war on drugs is not working. It has not suppressed supply, impacted availability or affected price. And drugs have a high price elasticity.

I disagree with BBMW (I feel more normal now) on drug testing, and am kind of surprised that an avowed libertarian would undermind individual choice and freedom by allowing the Government to intrude on our persons. Shame!!

As to alcohol vs. other drugs, I am not sure it is more destructive by orders of magnitude. I am fairly certain that death and property destruction from driving while under the influence exceeds deaths that from driving while on cocaine or oxycodine for instance. The social costs of alcohol consumption are very high.

eddhead
January 15th, 2013, 01:33 PM
I am not sure how you can justify legalizing controlled substances and at the same time penalize people who use them but not in the work place. Would you impose the same standards on alcohol?

Bottomline is if you are not impaired in the workplace, you should not be penalized. What individuals do on their own time to their own bodies is nobody's business but their own.

BBMW
January 15th, 2013, 02:22 PM
I am not sure how you can justify legalizing controlled substances and at the same time penalize people who use them but not in the work place. Would you impose the same standards on alcohol?



I think I'd try it with currently illegal drugs first. It it worked in surpressing use of those drugs in a legalized environment, I might be inclined to try it with alcohol.




Bottomline is if you are not impaired in the workplace, you should not be penalized. What individuals do on their own time to their own bodies is nobody's business but their own.

The relationship between and employer and employee is private, and, with certain exceptions, functions under the terms they both agree to. To the extent there is an exception for drug testing (and there are a number of situation now where private employers can test employees for drugs), I would remove that exception. It would be up the employer to decide if they want to.

If that employer takes government money (on contract, or whatever), then they would probably to.

eddhead
January 15th, 2013, 03:13 PM
So you've indicated what you would want to do, but not why you would want to do it. If I smoke a joint on Friday night after hours, a perfectly legal excercise under our proposed new guildlines, and report ready to work on Monday, should my employer really be concerned about weather or not there are trace amounts of THC in my blood or urine? If so, why? Are they imposing their own set of morals on me? And what standing do they have to do so?

At that point, aren't they imposing their own set of values on me for no reason other than they can? And what other values are they allowed to impose on me?

GordonGecko
January 15th, 2013, 03:15 PM
Drugs like heroine, cocaine, even perscription opiates are widely available on the street at relatively low prices; so low in fact that use of these drugs among lower income groups is at least as pervasive as it is use amoung higher income groups.
Apparently oxycotin goes for close to $100 a pill on the street. Those poppers haven't gone down at all and attract a whole lot of criminal enterprise

eddhead
January 15th, 2013, 03:43 PM
Apparently oxycotin goes for close to $100 a pill on the street. Those poppers haven't gone down at all and attract a whole lot of criminal enterprise


I cannot find anything other than antecdotal evidence on this but based on what I have read the price seems to be anywhere from $10-30 a pop

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081007145530AAUA0vC

Still, isn't heroin a lower cost alternative to oxycotin?

GordonGecko
January 15th, 2013, 04:10 PM
That's just a price I heard on the news recently, $95 to be specific. Seems to be hard to find and facts and figures but found one source from June 2011:

"Oxycontin: $50 to $80 on the street, vs. $6 when sold legally"
http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/01/news/economy/prescription_drug_abuse/index.htm

price keeps going up

BBMW
January 15th, 2013, 05:26 PM
Because by the legalization of drugs wouldn't be a form a validation that their use was acceptable, just a admission that locking people up for selling and using them was causing more problems than it solved. Their use would still be strongly discouraged. The means of that discouragement would just not be judicial. This would be a form of that, and not the only one.

In point of fact, Pot, which I don't consider particularly harmful, could be excluded from this type of rule. But "hard" drugs (Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, etc) would not.

Also, BTW, you do know that they can test for Pot use currently (where drug testing is allowed.)


So you've indicated what you would want to do, but not why you would want to do it. If I smoke a joint on Friday night after hours, a perfectly legal excercise under our proposed new guildlines, and report ready to work on Monday, should my employer really be concerned about weather or not there are trace amounts of THC in my blood or urine? If so, why? Are they imposing their own set of morals on me? And what standing do they have to do so?

At that point, aren't they imposing their own set of values on me for no reason other than they can? And what other values are they allowed to impose on me?

Merry
January 15th, 2013, 09:58 PM
^
I think it's telling when people who get themselves hooked on prescription opiates find that it's too expensive to get the pills anymore, they can get their fix much more cheaply with street heroin. That tells me that the fact that it's illegal isn't doing much to suppress the supply. I also don't think too many people would say, "oh, heroin is legal now, maybe I'll try it."

Even it were legalized, I wouldn't want it to be a free for all. Many aspects would be heavily regulated. I would NOT use the alcolhol model that happened after the end of prohabition. First, I would allow absolutely no advertising, promotion, or marketing of any kind. Prices at the wholesale and retail level would be regulated, to allow those selling it to make enough money to be worth doing it, but not enough to have it be highly profitable, or to encourage an alternate black market supply.

I would also legally allow any employer to drug test any employee at any time, and allow dismissal for failure (comfirmation retests would be required.) Any goverment employment or benefit will be tied to drug testing, with failure resulting in loss of employment or benefit.

The idea would be that we're going to allow the sale and use, but we're not going to make your life easy if you chose to use.

That's where the regulation part of the argument comes in, and I agree with what you've said, along with a MUCH stronger commitment to "duty of care" by ALL health workers, AND the government. Apart from a complete overhaul of the health system, there may not be an easy way to deal with people obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors without going all totalitarian, but in this age of technology and virtually no privacy, perhaps some kind of national register?

Because of the huge disparity between the haves and the have nots, there will always be opportunists, just as there will always be idiots.

Random drug testing of employees is standard practice in some industries in Oz now, e.g. oil & gas and mining where I work, for obvious reasons for those working on offshore facilities and on mine sites, but also for people working in an office, as part of attaining ISO 9001 accreditation, which is also becoming a requirement to stay in business.

Merry
January 15th, 2013, 10:00 PM
I am not sure how you can justify legalizing controlled substances and at the same time penalize people who use them but not in the work place. Would you impose the same standards on alcohol?

Bottomline is if you are not impaired in the workplace, you should not be penalized. What individuals do on their own time to their own bodies is nobody's business but their own.

Agreed.

GordonGecko
January 15th, 2013, 10:01 PM
Bloomberg is putting GPS trackers in oxy bottles now, other things can't be far behind :)

Merry
January 16th, 2013, 02:25 AM
^ Sort of.

Treating the symptoms (taking the easy but least productive and most expensive way out) and not the cause again, as usual, but on the face of it, not such a bad idea for the stated purpose. But it won't target any big fish, only people who are victims already. And who will probably end up worse criminals (and definitely worse off) when they get out of jail. What's the point of that?


GPS In Pill Bottles? NYPD Wants To Combat NYC Prescription Drug Theft With Devices

By TOM HAYS

NEW YORK — Police in New York City plan to combat the theft of painkillers and other highly addictive prescription medicines by asking pharmacies to hide fake pill bottles fitted with GPS devices amid the legitimate supplies on their shelves.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly outlined the plan Tuesday at a La Quinta, Calif., conference on health issues hosted by former President Bill Clinton's foundation.

While pharmacies elsewhere in the country have experimented with so-called bait bottles in the past couple of years, the New York Police Department would take a more comprehensive approach by encouraging thousands of pharmacists to stock the bottles.

In a more detailed statement provided before his appearance, Kelly says the initiative was prompted by a spate of high-profile crimes associated with the thriving black market for oxycodone and other prescription drugs, including the slaying of four people on Long Island during a pharmacy holdup in 2011. He also cites the case of a retired NYPD officer who, after retiring with an injury and getting hooked on painkillers, began robbing drug stores at gunpoint.

Prescription drug abuse "can serve as a gateway to criminal activities, especially among young people," the commissioner says. "When pills become too expensive, addicts are known to resort to cheaper drugs such as heroin and cocaine. They turn to crime to support their habit."

The NYPD has begun creating a database of the roughly 6,000 pharmacists and 1,800 pharmacies in the New York City area with plans to have officers visit them and recommend security measures like better alarm systems and lighting of storage areas. Kelly says it also will ask them to adopt use of the bottles with GPS devices.

"In the event of a robbery or theft, we'll be able to track the bottle, which may lead us to stash locations across the city," he says.

The devices will be provided by Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, and a private firm will initially monitor them, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

A bait bottle looks like a sealed prescription bottle and is designed to even sound like one when shaken, Browne said. But instead of tablets, it has a device that begins emitting a signal as soon as it's removed from its own special base.

A Purdue Pharma spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company was "working closely with New York City police on this project," but declined to comment further.

Bridget Brennan, special narcotics prosecutor for New York City, welcomed the NYPD initiative.

"It's an excellent use of available technology to address a real problem," Brennan said Tuesday.

Kelly's announcement also signals that fighting prescription drug abuse "has become a real priority for the NYPD," she added.

During a pharmacy robbery in 2010 in Maine, a worker planted a GPS bottle in a bag with other bottles containing oxycodone and other drugs and gave it to a robber who had used a note to threaten to shoot the employee. Police credited the device with helping them track the suspect's movements before making an arrest.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/gps-pill-bottles-nypd-new-york-prescription-drug-theft_n_2478696.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york

eddhead
January 16th, 2013, 10:22 AM
Because by the legalization of drugs wouldn't be a form a validation that their use was acceptable, just a admission that locking people up for selling and using them was causing more problems than it solved. Their use would still be strongly discouraged. The means of that discouragement would just not be judicial. This would be a form of that, and not the only one.

In point of fact, Pot, which I don't consider particularly harmful, could be excluded from this type of rule. But "hard" drugs (Cocaine, Heroin, Meth, etc) would not.

Also, BTW, you do know that they can test for Pot use currently (where drug testing is allowed.)

So the basis is morality. In other words, it is ok for employers to make employee termination decisions on the basis of their own value judgments without regard to weather or not employee performance is impacted, simply because they feel it is immoral to use drugs? And you think this is a legitiimate function of employment??

Talk about Big Brother...


And yes I do know that pot can be tested for today. Employers justify drug testing on the baisis of the illegality of the drug. But more and more employers are ceasing to do drug testing. I work in the financial sector, where bonding and background checks are still a prerequisite of employment. The last two banks I worked for did not drug test prior to hiring me.

Trace amounts of TCH can stay in your bloodstream for up to 30 days after use. Clearly, at that point, the employee is no longer affected by the drug.

Merry
February 22nd, 2014, 02:12 AM
New York Moves Closer To Legalizing Medical Marijuana

by Christopher Mathias

New York state is moving closer and closer to legalizing medical marijuana.

Two Republican state senators from Western New York -- George Maziarz and Mark Grisanti -- broke from their GOP colleagues this week to announce that they would vote for the Compassionate Care Act (http://www.compassionatecareny.org/medical-marijuana/), a bill that would legalize weed in the state for medical purposes.

State Sen. Diane Savino (D), sponsor of the measure, told HuffPost that she "easily" has enough votes to pass the bill now, even if not every one of those senators has publicly announced his or her support.

"To a great extent, my decision to support this legislation resulted from my conversations with the Conte family, who are constituents of mine," Grisanti said in a statement (http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/senator-grisanti-will-back-compassionate-care-act), referring to the family of 8-year-old Anna Conte, who has Dravet syndrome. The Conte family is considering moving to Colorado (http://www.wgrz.com/story/news/2014/02/17/family-may-leave-to-get-medical-marijuana-for-child/5562507/), where marijuana is legal, unless New York lifts the ban on medical cannabis.

"Anna's illness causes seizures of such regularity and severity that her illness is considered terminal," Grisanti said. "Marijuana could be the only drug to help her. It's time to put politics aside, and put people first."

(Read more about Anna's devastating story here (http://www.wgrz.com/story/news/2014/02/17/family-may-leave-to-get-medical-marijuana-for-child/5562507/).)

Grisanti and Maziarz may have also read the polls. A Quinnipiac survey (http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-and-centers/polling-institute/new-york-state/release-detail?ReleaseID=2008) released Monday found overwhelming support for legalizing medical marijuana in New York. Eighty-eight percent of New York voters said they'd support it, including a whopping 82 percent of Republicans.

Over the past few years, Savino and state Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D) have repeatedly introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana. The bills always passed in the Democratic-controlled Assembly but stalled in the state Senate. Now, Maziarz and Grisanti are the first Republican state senators to come out in support of the measure.

Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance said just one obstacle remains: whether the Senate leadership will bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

The co-leaders of the ruling Senate Majority Coalition have been divided on the legislation: Sen. Jeffrey Klein, an independent Democrat, has said he supports it, while Sen. Dean Skelos, a Republican, has opposed it.

"I would like to be able to say that I'm 100 percent confident," Sayegh told HuffPost of the chances of Klein and Skelos allowing a vote. "All I can say is that I'm hopeful."

Savino told HuffPost that she is confident the bill will be brought to the floor and that she has 40 votes to pass it. The bill would need only 32 yes votes.

Savino refused, however, to give any specific timeline for passing the measure and reiterated a statement she made last month that the "the bill will be ready when I let you know it’s ready (http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/203233/savino-medical-marijuana-bill-isnt-ready-for-senate/)."

The "boring nuts and bolts" of passing legislation, she said, includes getting the bill out of committee first.

Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has said he'd sign the bill if it passed the Assembly and Senate, he hasn't necessarily been supportive of the legislation. According to Savino, Cuomo wasn't confident that she and Gottfried could actually get the votes. "He told me, 'I don't think you can do it,' and I said, 'Watch me,'" Savino recalled.

Last month, Cuomo unveiled a limited medical marijuana program that did not require legislation. Under the governor's plan, medical pot is available at 20 hospitals (http://www.wlrh.org/NPR-News/new-yorks-medical-marijuana-experiment-begins-caution) for people suffering from specific illnesses. Savino has called the plan "unworkable (http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/01/8538863/savino-cuomo-medical-marijuana-idea-unworkable)" and expressed serious doubts that the federal government would allow it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/new-york-medical-marijuana_n_4818205.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New+York

Merry
February 22nd, 2014, 02:21 AM
The accompanying slide show, 16 Facts About Marijuana And The U.S. Economy, is certainly an eye-opener. There are no valid excuses not to just get on with it!


Legal Pot To Generate $190 Million For Washington: Report

by By RACHEL LA CORTE

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington's new legal recreational marijuana market is expected to bring nearly $190 million to state coffers over a four-year period starting in mid-2015, according to an economic forecast released Wednesday.

The forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council showed that $51 million in revenue is expected for the 2015-2017 biennium from marijuana production and sales. An additional $138.5 million is expected for the next two-year budget that ends mid-2019. A little under half of that revenue is expected from excise tax and license fees related to the marijuana market, and the rest is expected to come from retail sales tax and business taxes.

The passage of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of the marijuana to adults for recreational use at licensed stores, which are expected to open by this summer.

Steve Lerch, the council's executive director, said that because of concerns over local moratoriums and bans on pot sales and general uncertainty about how the system will work, the council has made assumptions that sales won't start until June of next year.

"Obviously, as we see any actual sales we'll be able to revise, if necessary, our forecast," he said. "But these seemed like reasonable estimates."

Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter, a member of the Revenue Forecast Council and the top budget writer in the House, said the money projected isn't enough to make spending expectations.

"More money is better," he said. "But there's not a whole lot more here."

Hunter said that he expects the forecasts to move around over the next couple of years as the market takes hold and lawmakers are able to see how much money there actually is.

"We just don't know," he said. "The expansion is slow, the stores aren't open. Something's going to happen, we don't know exactly what it is. We're using the best data we have."

Colorado is the only other state to legalize recreational pot sales, and its marijuana market is far exceeding tax expectations, according to a budget proposal released Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Retail sales began Jan. 1 in Colorado, and while sales have been strong, exact figures for January sales won't be made public until early next month.

However, Hickenlooper's proposal outlined plans to spend about $99 million next fiscal year on substance abuse prevention, youth marijuana use prevention and other priorities. The money would come from a statewide 10 percent sales tax on recreation pot, indicating Colorado's total sales next fiscal year will be near $1 billion.

The overall updated forecast for Washington state's current two-year $33 billion budget cycle shows that lawmakers may have $30 million more available to them through 2015, and that they'll have an additional $82 million than additionally projected for the 2015-2017 biennium, with more than half of that increase due to the recreational marijuana market. The projected overall state budget for 2015-17 is expected to be $35.7 billion and increase to $38.7 billion for the next two-year budget cycle that begins July 1, 2017.

The next revenue forecast is scheduled for June 18.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/legal-pot-washington-sales_n_4823173.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New+York

Merry
February 26th, 2014, 01:53 AM
Just say no to the whole "war on drugs". They're never gonna win. All that money...gone :eek:

Private prison operators would not, of course, be amused.

The accompanying 27 Reasons Why U.S. Shouldn't Lead War on Drugs slideshow is therefore irrelevant.



Just Say No To These 11 Outrageous Arguments Against Legalizing Marijuana

by Matt Ferner and Nick Wing

Nearly 80 years ago, the feature film "Reefer Madness" hit theaters, projecting demonstrably false anti-marijuana propaganda all over the big screen. In today's era of legal medical and recreational cannabis, the tone of this movie is often mocked. But drug warriors are still employing many of the same hysterical arguments to prop up their campaign against weed. When it comes to public opinion, it's becoming clear that anti-pot crusaders are losing the battle. Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado, it’s coming to Washington in just a few months and over a dozen more states (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/legal-weed-next_n_4557583.html) are considering legalization measures right now. In all, 20 states have passed laws allowing the medical or recreational use of marijuana, and with a majority of Americans now in favor of legal weed (http://www.gallup.com/poll/165539/first-time-americans-favor-legalizing-marijuana.aspx) for the first time in U.S. history, the momentum is on marijuana's side.

As more states move toward reforming pot laws, many anti-weed groups have clung to the same tired rhetoric, a decision that has only served to further marginalize them. Greater public acceptance and access to the drug mean that many of marijuana's stigmas, once accepted as fact, now appear increasingly out of touch with reality.

While there may be more reasonable arguments to make when considering the issue of legal marijuana, these overused statements are not among them:

1. "Marijuana is addictive."

Like pretty much any substance (or activity, for that matter), marijuana can be abused, and frequent use can lead to dependency. But if we're going to keep something illegal just because it has the potential to be addictive, we'll also have to reconsider our approaches to a number of other substances. Studies have found (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-truth-about-pot/) cannabis to be less addictive than nicotine, alcohol and even caffeine (http://www.ndsn.org/august94/nicotine.html), according to research by one scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

It's believed that somewhere between four and nine percent of regular marijuana users (http://www.alternet.org/story/151991/is_marijuana_addictive?page=0%2C0) are likely to develop dependency problems, and it's true that a good number of marijuana users later avail themselves of professional help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 957,000 people age 12 and over (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.htm#fig7.8) sought treatment for marijuana in 2012. But while drug warriors have touted this as evidence of a marijuana abuse epidemic, pot policy reformers have noted that the large majority of these patients have been referred by the criminal justice system, which has expanded options for treatment over jail time or other penalties. While it's a clear step up from imprisonment, many of the people who end up in treatment are still forced there for minor marijuana charges.

Furthermore, "not all abuse and dependency is created equal," as the authors of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (http://books.google.com/books?id=mO0CTJCZsiQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false) put it. The authors point out that while some heavy marijuana users do experience symptoms of clinical dependency and feel discomfort or withdrawal when trying to quit, kicking a pot addiction doesn't lead to the same type of intense, dangerous physical and psychological pain that often accompanies alcohol, nicotine or heroin dependency.

2. "It's as dangerous as heroin and LSD."

Not many people may be willing to make this argument directly -- even President Barack Obama knows (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/obama-marijuana-alcohol_n_4627740.html) there isn't any reliable evidence to support it -- but the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of pot (http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ds.shtml) is based entirely upon this contention. Schedule I drugs like marijuana, LSD and heroin "are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence," according to the DEA. They are also said to have "no currently accepted medical use."

Key anti-drug officials have been unwilling to budge on the supposed parallels between pot and these harder drugs. During congressional testimony in 2012, DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart refused to answer a question (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/michele-leonhart-dea-crack-heroin-marijuana_n_1615270.html) about whether crack was more harmful than pot. In January, Michael Botticelli, the drug czar’s chief deputy, ducked a question about whether meth or cocaine was more addictive than marijuana, leading Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) to explain (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/05/oregon-dem-destroys-top-drug-official-who-cant-say-if-weeds-less-addictive-than-meth/) why these repeated denials and other inconsistencies (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/13/dea-hiring-policy-marijuana_n_4784042.html) in federal anti-drug policy only serve to undermine broader anti-drug efforts.

"Being unable to answer something clearly and definitively when there is unquestioned evidence to the contrary is why young people don't believe the propaganda, why they think [marijuana is] benign," Blumenauer said. "If a professional like you can't answer clearly that meth is more dangerous than marijuana -- which every kid on the street knows, which every parent knows -- if you can't answer that, maybe that's why we're failing to educate people about the dangers. If the deputy director of the office of drug policy can't answer that question, how do you expect high school kids to take you seriously?"

3. "Pot is a gateway drug that will lead you to more dangerous substances."

The claim that marijuana use will tip people toward other, harder substances has long been pushed by drug warriors, despite a lack of factual basis. The argument goes that because people often try harder drugs some time after having tried pot, the user's experience with marijuana must have played a significant part in later experimentation.

But in reading drug use statistics -- or any statistics at all -- it's important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. Just because users of heroin, cocaine or other hard drugs are very likely to have used marijuana earlier in their lives doesn't mean that the pot itself was the catalyst for their later drug-related decisions.

As Maia Szalavitz writes at Time (http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/29/marijuna-as-a-gateway-drug-the-myth-that-will-not-die/), "Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members are probably 104 times more likely to have ridden a bicycle as a kid than those who don't become Hell's Angels, but that doesn't mean that riding a two-wheeler is a 'gateway' to joining a motorcycle gang. It simply means that most people ride bikes and the kind of people who don't are highly unlikely to ever ride a motorcycle."

It makes sense that statistics would show drug users frequently turning to pot first. Marijuana is relatively easy to lay hands on, meaning that anybody with a desire to alter their state of mind with a substance can likely access it (though if this is the actual standard-bearer of a gateway drug, as some would argue, then studies have also shown alcohol to be the true gateway substance (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/22/yale-study-alcohols-gateway-effect-much-larger-than-marijuanas/)).

Studies have pointed out this flaw in the "gateway theory" since as early back as the late 1990s (http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376&page=6as), though the failure to find a direct link hasn't stopped anti-drug crusaders from pushing the argument.

4. "You smoke marijuana like tobacco, so it must be just as bad for you!"

Cigarettes lead to nearly half a million American deaths each year (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/tobacco_related_mortality/), so it might seem natural to assume that marijuana smoke drawn into the lungs in the same fashion would also do some serious physiological harm. But science hasn't borne out this hypothesis. Studies have found (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1277837/) that cannabis and tobacco smoke contain some of the same carcinogens -- but cigarettes, which contain nicotine, cause significantly more harm than marijuana, which contains cannabinoids.

While many marijuana smokers may report respiratory discomfort like coughing or wheezing after excessive pot use, an extensive study released in 2012 (http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/10/study-smoking-marijuana-not-linked-with-lung-damage/) found that the drug itself does not impair lung function. Other studies have found that cannabis can even suppress a variety of aggressive cancer cells (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/marijuana-and-cancer_n_1898208.html). If medical science has reached any real conclusion about marijuana, it's simply that more research should be done to pin down the exact effects of cannabis smoke and cannabinoids.

And while smoking is the most common way to use marijuana, there are also other methods of delivery that allow users to minimize or avoid potential harm to the lungs: Ingesting high-potency cannabis-infused edibles or using a vaporizer, which eliminates much of the heated marijuana smoke, are a few of the most common alternatives.

5. "Pot can make you go insane."

In "Reefer Madness," (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reefer_Madness) teens are driven to murder, sexual assault and insanity after indulging in pot. TV host Nancy Grace (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/17/nancy-grace-people-on-pot-shoot-each-other-strangle-each-other-and-kill-whole-families/) still thinks marijuana users "shoot each other, stab each other, strangle each other" and "kill whole families," and that such behavior is all pot's fault.

While it's established that psychotic people are more likely to have used drugs -- and most commonly cannabis -- before the onset of the disease, research has shown (http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DACH_ARDI/Info/Methods.aspx) that smoking pot simply leads to an earlier onset of psychosis by an average of 2.7 years in people already prone to the condition. Other research suggests that marijuana emphatically does not cause psychosis (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2013.11.014), and past research has not been able to definitively rule out the possibility that people who are prone to developing mental illnesses like schizophrenia may simply be more likely to turn to drugs aggressive and violent behavior (http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/12/marijuana-does-not-cause-schizophrenia.php)."

Although there is little evidence that marijuana use increases the likelihood of criminal behavior, marijuana convictions are definitely likely to ruin lives and expose people to a life of crime behind bars. State laws differ, but in some places, possessing just one marijuana joint can be punishable by up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. Marijuana convictions also appear to be racially biased. A recent ACLU report (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/racial-disparity-in-marijuana-arrests_n_3381725.html), which tracked marijuana arrests by race and county in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, found that black people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people.

7. "It makes you lazy and unsuccessful."

Marijuana opponents often point to studies (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/23/us-work-pot-idUSTRE81M1Y020120223) suggesting that long-term use could result in a lack of motivation and a life of bumming around in your mom's basement.

A Marijuana Policy Project study (http://www.mpp.org/outreach/top-50-marijuana-users-list.html?page=1), listing 50 of some of the most successful people in the world who have admitted to using pot, completely shatters this mythology. President Obama, Jon Stewart and billionaire George Soros can hardly be characterized as lazy or unproductive.

Anti-drug groups have also argued (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/super-bowl-anti-marijuana-ad_n_4691841.html) that marijuana nullifies the traits required to be a successful athlete. That's probably news to a lot of football players. Despite a league policy that bans the substance, one former player has said that something like half of all NFL players smoke pot (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/18/nfl-could-indeed-change-its-mind-about-marijuana-in-time/) either for medical or recreational reasons. Professional football is one of the most demanding and competitive sports in the world. Players probably aren't high while competing, but the fact that some turn to pot during their free time underscores the point that it's possible to achieve a balance between one's professional life and one's recreational marijuana use.

8. "Legalization will cause mass zombification!"

While the threat of a zombie apocalypse is one of the Internet’s favorite fantasies, some anti-legalization opponents use it as a metaphor for their unsubstantiated fears of a lazy pothead nation (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/07/drug-free-america-foundation-marijuana_n_4745691.html) developing in the wake of legal weed.
Putting aside the fact that the link between marijuana use and habitual laziness is tenuous at best, multiple (http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jphp/journal/v10/n4/abs/jphp198955a.html) studies (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376) suggest that the decriminalization of marijuana has little to no effect on consumption rates. And prohibition has been woefully ineffective at deterring use. “Fear of arrest, fear of imprisonment, the cost of cannabis or its availability do not appear to exert much effect on the prevalence of cannabis use,” says one frequently cited study (http://www.cannabislegal.de/studien/nsw/b58.htm) on marijuana prohibition.

9. "I tried it once and didn't like it."

So you don't like marijuana (http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/pot-just-makes-you-dumb). Or you tried it once but didn’t inhale (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeXGnSpjgNM). Or maybe you smoked a lot of pot (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/opinion/brooks-weed-been-there-done-that.html?ref=opinion) a while ago, but now can't get off the couch while you're high, so you don't anymore. That's fine -- the drug affects people differently, and anybody with knowledge of marijuana is well aware that "highs" vary greatly. But should your personal opposition to pot really require us to uphold a status quo of prohibition that results in one marijuana arrest every 40 seconds (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/one-marijuana-arrest-occu_n_2041236.html) in the U.S., costs the nation between $10 billion (http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/) and $40 billion (http://www.drugscience.org/bcr/index.html) a year and deprives state and federal governments the tremendous revenue generated from taxes (http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/04/politics/2013-ballot-measures/) on legal weed?

10. "People don't even use it at weddings, so obviously it's more harmful than beer."

This is an odd one. Earlier this month, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) pulled out this wedding scenario while claiming that "it’s a big jump" between having a beer and smoking pot.

"If I'm at a wedding reception here and somebody has a drink or two, most people wouldn't say they're wasted," Walker said, according to The Capital Times (http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/jack_craver/scott-walker-big-difference-between-having-a-beer-and-smoking/article_317d7568-9436-11e3-964c-0019bb2963f4.html). “Most folks with marijuana wouldn’t be sitting around a wedding reception smoking marijuana.”

Walker appears to be employing some serious circular reasoning here, claiming that weed -- which is illegal, obviously -- is less socially acceptable than alcohol, which is (he seems to be saying) one reason it should remain illegal. Walker has said that there's "a huge difference (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/opinion/cupp-scott-walker-2016/)" between marijuana and alcohol, and the governor is right: Most studies show that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol.

In 2010, for example, there were approximately 189,000 emergency room visits (http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm) by people under 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol, including accidental poisoning. While there have been reports of people being treated at the hospital due to discomfort after using too much marijuana, these are far outweighed by the number of alcohol-poisoning incidents. To this day, aside from one recent, unprecedented and widely contested conclusion about a cannabis-related death in the United Kingdom (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/06/gemma-moss-marijuana-death_n_4738167.html), there have been no reported deaths due to marijuana overdose in at least 10,000 years (http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/history/first12000/1.htm) of human consumption.

On the other hand, just 10 times the recommended serving of alcohol can lead to death, a recreational drug study (http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/num2/the-toxicity-of-recreational-drugs/1) from American Scientist found. By contrast, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying, according to a 1988 ruling (http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php) from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

11. "Uhhh ... but don't you care about the children?"

Yes, which is why it's important to understand that when it comes to marijuana, drug warriors are lying to them and causing more harm than good. Lawmakers have recently argued that the anti-drug crowd is losing the faith of teens because they pummel them with blanket statements (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/05/oregon-dem-destroys-top-drug-official-who-cant-say-if-weeds-less-addictive-than-meth/) instead of offering factual explanations about marijuana use and how to approach the drug responsibly.

There are admittedly legitimate questions and concerns about adolescent marijuana use, including hotly debated claims about the effects of the drug on teens' mental health. And the fact that marijuana studies so often show conflicting (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0892036209001457) findings (http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/15/new-research-questions-marijuanas-impact-in-lowering-iq/) is a sign of how much more research is needed in this area and how important those answers are.

No one needs to encourage anybody, teenage or otherwise, to use marijuana. But if the drug warriors are to be taken seriously, they need to retire these shopworn arguments and update their playbook for a new century.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/25/marijuana-legalization-arguments_n_4789444.html?utm_hp_ref=new-york&ir=New+York

ZippyTheChimp
February 26th, 2014, 08:52 AM
16 Facts About Marijuana And The U.S. Economy, is certainly an eye-opener.

117 boxes in two hours.


Brilliant Girl Scout Sells Cookies Outside Marijuana Dispensary

Posted: 02/20/2014

In perhaps the greatest display of entrepreneurial spirit in modern history, a California Girl Scout has been selling cookies outside of a San Francisco marijuana dispensary.
Danielle Lei, 13, set up shop in front of The Green Cross on Monday, selling a whopping 117 boxes (http://mashable.com/2014/02/20/girl-scout-cookies-marijuana/) in just two hours, according to Mashable. That's about one box per minute.

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1635449/original.jpg


The Green Cross told The Huffington Post that Lei's mother contacted the dispensary beforehand to ask for permission to set up a table outside. The owners welcomed the girl with open arms and reportedly bought several boxes.

Though a similar story in Colorado turned out to be a hoax (complete with an awesomely awful Photoshop job (http://gawker.com/antiviral-heres-whats-bullshit-on-the-internet-this-1522461690)), both the dispensary owner and the girl's mother confirmed the San Francisco report to The Huffington Post.

The move may raise a few eyebrows: Medical marijuana is legal in California, but users must be over 18.

But a representative for the Girl Scouts of the USA told HuffPost that the decision of where to sell cookies is ultimately up to the parents.

"Our number one concern is the safety of girls," said the representative. "As long as they're following our safety guidelines, we trust our parents to make decisions for their daughters based on the communities that they live in."

This policy seems to differ from that of the Girl Scouts of Colorado, which issued the following tweet after the earlier rumor spread:
If you are wondering, we don't allow our Girl Scouts to sell cookies in front of marijuana shops or liquor stores/bars.
— Girl Scouts of Colo. (@GSColo) February 12, 2014 (https://twitter.com/GSColo/statuses/433636022375567360)

Despite the potentially controversial nature of the plan, fans on Twitter have called Lei "savvy (https://twitter.com/EdibleComplex/status/436608872879378432)," "genius (https://twitter.com/The1Tab/status/436534060672749568)" and the smartest Girl Scout in the country (https://twitter.com/LJBrownstein/status/436607878443839488).

According to the box of dulce de leche cookies currently circulating at the HuffPost office, the Girl Scouts sometimes award Cadette Marketing Badges to scouts who successfully create a business campaign. Well, ladies, I think we've found your nominee.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misstated the name of the national organization. It is Girl Scouts of the USA, not Girl Scouts of America.

Copyright © 2014 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

eddhead
February 27th, 2014, 12:16 PM
Awesome.

JCMAN320
March 24th, 2014, 01:46 PM
NJ senator to introduce marijuana legalization bill today, aims to treat pot 'like beer'

By Susan K. Livio/The Star-Ledger
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 24, 2014 at 1:20 PM

http://imgick.nj.com/home/njo-media/pgmain/img/star-ledger/photo/2013/12/-6e2be869993dbc9e.jpg
A handful of executives, local officials and medical marijuana supporters stand outside the Garden State Dispensary, New Jersey's third medical marijuana clinic, to celebrate its opening today on Rt. 1 in Woodbridge. 12/4/13 (Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger)

TRENTON — Saying smoking marijuana should be as accessible to adults as drinking a beer, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) today said he would introduce what is sure to be a controversial bill that would legalize the sale and possession of pot -- and even allow people to grow their own.

The agency that policies alcohol beverage sales and enforcement would be retooled as the Division of Alcoholic Beverage and Marijuana Control to police the law, if enacted, Scutari said.

Scutari, Linden's prosecutor who swears he has never tried marijuana, brushed aside concerns that Gov. Chris Christie has firmly stated he will never sign a pot legalization bill if it ever made it to his desk.

"He's not going to be the governor forever," he said. The governor is "a man of facts" and when he sees the revenue possibilities and the savings in halting the enforcement of failed marijuana laws, he may change his mind, Scutari said.

Scutari said he was following the lead of Colorado, which legalized the possession and sale on January 1, and netted $2 million in sales tax the first month. New Jersey could realize at least $100 million in revenue, which he would divide between the nearly-broke Transportation Trust Fund, drug enforcement and prevention efforts, and women's health programs, which Christie has cut since he took office in 2010.

Scutari said he was using alcohol regulation enforcement as a model for the marijuana industry. Although many specifics have yet to be determined, Scutari said he would not impose "a strict limit" on the number of cultivation licenses that would be made available.

"We want to make it available," he said. "How many liquor stores are in your town?"

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/03/nj_senator_introduces_marijuana_legalization_bill. html#incart_river_default

======

NJ already has legalized medical marijuana to me this is the next logical step.

scumonkey
June 19th, 2014, 08:06 PM
New York To Become the 23rd Medical Weed State, Kinda


By Bucky Turco (http://animalnewyork.com/author/buckyturco/) | June 19, 2014 - 05:12PM

The good news: New York will likely become the 23rd state in the U.S. to legalize weed for medicinal use. The bad news: Governor Cuomo has placed so many limitations on the Compassionate Care Act that it’s likely to reduce its effectiveness. The Drug Policy Alliance explains (http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2014/06/breaking-ny-become-23rd-medical-marijuana-state) the measure’s shortcomings:
[T]he bill would prohibit smoking, restrict any access to the raw plant form of marijuana. The number of producers and dispensaries is also reportedly extremely limited, raising questions about whether the system will be able to meet the needs of patients in New York.

Hopefully, the governor changes his mind, again (http://www.animalnewyork.com/2014/governor-cuomo-big-pussy-medical-weed-bill/), after he gets reelected and finally concedes that Hillary Clinton is running for president, not him. Then maybe, New York will get the medical weed it deservers and needs.

http://animalnewyork.com/2014/new-york-become-23rd-medical-weed-state-kinda/

Merry
March 30th, 2015, 04:32 AM
New York State’s Medical Marijuana Rules Shaping Up as Unusually Restrictive

By JESSE McKINLEY and CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS
MARCH 29, 2015

ALBANY — When New York State’s lawmakers were mulling legalizing the medical use of marijuana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/m/marijuana/index.html?8qa) last summer, some proponents feared that the proposed law was so restrictive that it would prevent many patients from receiving the drug.

Now, with the state’s Health Department close to issuing final regulations about the new program, the law’s supporters say their fears may soon be realized.

The law (http://open.nysenate.gov/legislation/api/1.0/pdf/bill/S7923-2013) itself is quite restrictive: Only 10 conditions qualify for medical use of marijuana; the drug may not be smoked; and New York will initially allow only 20 dispensaries across the state, run by five organizations.

The regulations go even further. Sales would be restricted to five so-called brands of medical marijuana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/m/marijuana/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier), which concerns some supporters who say patients and doctors need flexibility to find out which of the hundreds of strains of marijuana works best for a particular condition. (The regulations even stipulate that brand names cannot be “coined or fanciful, and may not include any ‘street,’ slang or other name.”)

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat who was one of the law’s sponsors, voiced deep frustration this month with “a long list of senseless burdensome restrictions on patients and organizations.”

“There are people from very, very young children to very elderly New Yorkers who are going to continue to suffer unnecessarily,” Mr. Gottfried said.

The regulations also impose constraints in unexpected ways. A plumber may not be able to unclog a sink in a dispensary without prior written approval. Drinking a Coke or even milk on the premises could be a violation.

All of which is surprising, advocates say, because of New York’s somewhat late entry into the medical marijuana (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/m/marijuana/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) market: Nearly half of states nationwide already allow medical use of the drug, and California, the first to do so, has allowed it for almost two decades.

“The administration continues to operate as though medical marijuana programs have never been operated before,” said Gabriel Sayegh, the managing director for policy and campaigns at the Drug Policy Alliance, which lobbies for more liberal drug laws. “If we were having this discussion in 1998, one would understand the extreme caution. But it’s not the late 1990s, it’s 2015.”

Such caution threatens patient access, advocates say. No one knows how many people will qualify to use the drug in New York; estimates run from thousands to hundreds of thousands.

Monica Mahaffey, the director of public affairs at the Health Department, defended the law and the regulations, asserting that they ensure “appropriate access through comprehensive regulations and safeguards.”

“The state developed the regulations through this very critical lens to ensure that the entire program would not be subject to enforcement action or legal challenges,” she added.

At some point this year, the state will select the five registered organizations that will operate the dispensaries. Under the 2014 law, the medical marijuana program is supposed to be up and running by 2016.

But so few dispensaries, some say, may limit access for the infirm if they or their caregivers have to travel hours to get the drug, particularly in upstate New York, where big cities are more spread out.

“You’re shoving it all through a narrow tube,” said State Senator Diane J. Savino, the Staten Island Democrat who sponsored the law in the Legislature’s upper chamber.

Advocates had hoped this stipulation would be remedied by allowing organizations to deliver the drug. But the regulations make that difficult, requiring written approval from the Health Department.

Margaret Hart, a retired minister in Central Square, N.Y., about 20 miles north of Syracuse, said that multiple sclerosis prevented her from driving and that she had hoped delivery would be an option. “A lot of the law has come down from a place of fear,” she said, “rather than compassion.”

Ms. Hart, who lives on a fixed income, also worries about cost. Under the draft regulations, which were issued in December and are expected to be finalized this spring, pricing of medical marijuana will be determined by Dr. Howard A. Zucker, the state’s health commissioner, rather than the market itself.

But the drug will not be covered by insurance or Medicaid, so many low-income patients could be shut out if it is priced too high. A high price could also send buyers back into the cheaper black market, while too low a price could lead to worker exploitation at dispensaries, which are to be unionized, per the law.

“It’s like the three bears’ porridge,” said Ed Draves, a lobbyist with Bolton-St. Johns, a firm that represents members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “It can’t be too hot, it can’t be too cold, it has to be just right.”

At first, only doctors will be allowed to recommend the drug, another issue for those who say that nurse practitioners (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/nursing_and_nurses/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) — often the sole providers in rural communities — should also be allowed.

They are also “frequently involved in palliative and hospice care (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/hospice_care/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier),” said Stephen Ferrara, the executive director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State. “We would want those patients to have access.”

And some doctors are wary of being the lone recommender of marijuana in an area, because once word gets out, some people who are not legitimate patients seek them out, looking for no-questions-asked access.

The draft regulations (https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/docs/regulations.pdf), which run more than 100 pages, are often painfully precise. One section forbids patients to drink or eat on the premises of a dispensary, unless “necessary for medical reasons.” Another says that other than patients and their caregivers, no person — not even a plumber or a swaddled infant, for instance — would be allowed into a dispensary without the written consent of the Health Department and an employee escort at all times.

The Health Department has since clarified that written consent may not be uniformly required, provided that the guest’s name and purpose for the visit is logged and an escort is provided. “The department recognizes that in some cases, prior authorization is not feasible,” Ms. Mahaffey said.

Ms. Savino, a more moderate Democrat than Mr. Gottfried, is more supportive of the regulations thus far, saying that she had been pleasantly surprised by some — including a stipulation that a pharmacist be on the premises — and that such measures would help New Yorkers get comfortable with medical marijuana.

“We want to make sure we don’t do anything to jeopardize the program,” Ms. Savino said. “Is it inconvenient? Yes. But what’s a bigger inconvenience is if we don’t have these tight controls and the federal government comes in and shuts down the whole program and disrupts the flow of product to patients.

Some regulations could easily be remedied, Mr. Gottfried said, but he has been stymied in trying to get the Health Department’s attention. “I have asked the health commissioner if he could talk to me,” he said. “And that was not happening.”

Mr. Sayegh, of the Drug Policy Alliance, credited the department and the governor for taking up the issue of medical marijuana, saying “there are people in the administration who care deeply about the issue.”

But he said he feared that the proposed regulations would not serve those for whom marijuana is medicine.

“We’re not holding our breath,” he said, “that they are going to be dramatically better.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/nyregion/new-york-states-medical-marijuana-rules-shaping-up-as-unusually-restrictive.html?ref=nyregion