Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

McCain’s VP Pick Acknowledged Marijuana Use

August 29th, 2008 8 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Noting that his just-announced vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has acknowledged having smoked marijuana, MPP is urging Sen. John McCain to respect states’ rights to set their own marijuana policies if he is elected president.

On Aug. 6, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News reported:

Palin said she has smoked marijuana — remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law — but says she didn’t like it and doesn’t smoke it now.

 ‘I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled.’

The paper quoted Palin as saying she opposed legalization of marijuana because of the “message” that would be sent to her children. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Nancy Pelosi Tells Users at to Push for Medical Marijuana

August 28th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered questions yesterday submitted via the popular social news Web site,  Digg user adroit asked Pelosi, “[a]s a taxable resource, what stops marijuana from being legalized, for medicinal or recreational purposes, throughout the country?”

“I myself have supported medicinal use of marijuana over and over again … there just isn’t enough support for it,” said Speaker Pelosi.  She then called on the public to help raise awareness about the issue, saying, “We need people’s help to be in touch with their members of Congress to say why [medical marijuana] should be the case.”

Why not take the speaker’s words to heart and send a letter to your member of Congress right now?  You can take action in less than a minute at MPP’s online action center.

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Medical Marijuana

Another Medical Marijuana Endorsement

August 28th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

At its August meeting, the 57-year-old Society for the Study of Social Problems passed a strong resolution in support of medical marijuana. SSSP’s resolution goes further than some other groups have gone by specifically endorsing key legislative proposals in Congress.

As the new resolutions haven’t yet been posted on the SSSP Web site, here is the text in full: 




Resolution: Medical Marijuana

From: Health, Health Policy, and Health Services Division

WHEREAS the Society for the Study of Social Problems find the following:

1.  Federal drug policy on marijuana threatens the health and well being of thousands of Americans by prohibiting even the medicinal use of cannabis under physician supervision in states with medical marijuana laws.  The federal government has actively impeded research on the medical use of marijuana despite patient and physician reports that it may help to relieve such debilitating symptoms as nausea, pain, and loss of appetite associated with serious illnesses. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Putting the Blame Where It Rightly Belongs

August 27th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The sometimes-chaotic medical marijuana situation in California has spurred a fair amount of sensationalized and unbalanced press coverage, even in the esteemed New Yorker. Yes, there have been some problems and some misuse of the law, but an editorial in today’s L.A. Times hits the nail on the head as to the real source of the problems:

Most of the negative consequences [of Proposition 215] can be attributed to the gap between state and federal marijuana laws. The fact that even sellers considered legitimate by the state can be prosecuted and ruined by federal agents encourages black-market dealers, who endanger their communities by ignoring fire codes, selling to healthy minors and fighting turf wars with other dealers. … [T]he only long-term solution is for the feds to stop the medical marijuana raids and leave California law enforcement to California officers.


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Medical Marijuana

Remedial Civics Lesson for San Bernardino, San Diego Supes

August 27th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

It looks like the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will make taxpayers foot the bill for their lesson in constitutionality yet again, voting yesterday to continue their futile lawsuit against state medical marijuana laws. Although it hasn’t been a problem for 40 other California counties, the board maintains that federal law prevents them from obeying a state law requiring a county identification card system for medical marijuana patients.

The board – along with their counterparts in San Diego County – have already lost this argument twice in court, first in 2006 by a Superior Court judge and then again earlier this month in a unanimous decision by the 4th District Court of Appeals.

This time it will be the state Supreme Court’s job to explain to county officials that they must obey all laws, even the ones they don’t like.

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War of the Words

August 25th, 2008 8 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A common source of frustration for MPP – and for most folks in the marijuana policy reform movement – is being mischaracterized as “pro-pot” or “pro-drug” by the press. Not only are these labels misleading and politically charged, they’re completely inaccurate.

Most of us who wish to end marijuana prohibition do so because we see the policy’s utter futility and its legacy of failure and waste. Our argument isn’t that marijuana is fun; it’s that marijuana prohibition is a disaster, and that perpetuating it is inhumane and irresponsible. That’s true whether you use marijuana or not, and whether you approve of marijuana use or not.

I don’t think reporters mischaracterize us on purpose. Reporters pride themselves on their ability to approach topics with a healthy dose of skepticism. But most of them haven’t given marijuana policy as much thought as, say, the pro-choice movement, which you’ll rarely – if ever – see referred to as “pro-abortion.” Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s Marijuana “Eradication” Season — Do Your Part!

August 25th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Never fear, we’re not asking readers to support the annual exercise in futility known as marijuana “eradication,” which is now in full swing as summer nears an end and harvest season approaches. Not only has there never been the slightest indication that these campaigns reduce the marijuana supply — the supposed objective — but the U.S. Department of Justice’s own National Drug Threat Assessment 2008 indicates that “eradication” campaigns directed at outdoor farms are actually driving a shift to indoor growing in converted homes, resulting in year-round production of high-potency marijuana (often with jerry-rigged wiring and other dangerous conditions) and an “exponential increase in profits” for the criminal gangs that control most large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution.

But there is something you can do: Help keep the news media honest.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Research

Case Closed: Marijuana and Neuropathic Pain

August 20th, 2008 3 Comments Kate Zawidzki

While some medical uses of marijuana remain controversial, a new study of marijuana and HIV-related neuropathy published online in early August by the journal Neuropsychopharmacology closes the case regarding one important indication: neuropathic pain. 

Neuropathic pain — pain from damage to the nerves — can be caused by any number of conditions, including HIV (as in this study), diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. And it is notoriously resistant to conventional pain drugs, as the article notes. The patients in this study, conducted at UC San Diego, still suffered significant pain despite being on a variety of pain drugs. Two-thirds were taking opioid narcotics and still suffering. Read the rest of this entry »

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Booze Kills, Marijuana Doesn’t — But Maybe the War on Marijuana Does

August 19th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Today’s Associated Press story on a group of college presidents proposing reconsideration of the legal drinking age is accompanied in some outlets by a fascinating graph, reproduced here. Two things are striking:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

L.A. Times Gets It Right on Medical Marijuana

August 18th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

For a press guy, there’s nothing like returning from vacation to find yourself quoted in a major newspaper. It’s even better when the story — in this case actually a set of articles examining medical marijuana in today’s Los Angeles Times — does a clear, thorough, and informative job.

Reporter Jill Adams looks at the latest scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s medical benefits and its risks, citing several of the world’s top researchers in the field. Unlike the once-over-lightly jobs that happen so often in the mass media, Adams seems to have taken the time to get the details right about everything from neuropathic pain to recent controversies regarding marijuana and mental illness.

Money quote:

“The truth, these researchers say, is that marijuana has medical benefits — for chronic-pain syndromes, cancer pain, multiple sclerosis, AIDS wasting syndrome and the nausea that accompanies chemotherapy — and attempts to understand and harness these are being hampered. Also, they add, science reveals that the risks of marijuana use, which have been thoroughly researched, are real but generally small.”

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