Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Veterans Say Marijuana Works Best for PTSD

December 30th, 2009 65 Comments Kate Zawidzki

It is unfortunately quite common for members of our military to return from the battlefield suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Charlie,” who asked the news service AlterNet not to use his real name in a recent interview, is one of them. On top of a 100 percent disability rating with PTSD, Charlie returned home from Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury, a back injury, and gastrointestinal problems. Veterans Affairs did everything it could to treat him and to ease his pain, but nothing worked.

What did work was using marijuana, which Charlie says has been the best pain management he’s found. “Me and the rest of my veterans’ group talk about it all the time,” he says. “Most of them also medicate with marijuana. If you asked any of us what, out of everything, was most effective in PTSD treatment, we would tell you marijuana.” But since VA is a federal agency, it is prohibited from recommending or dispensing marijuana, even in the 13 states where medical marijuana is legal.

Supporting our troops, especially when they return home from battle is an issue I think everyone can get behind. So, why is the federal government not allowing our troops to use the medicine that works best for them?

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Movie Given R Rating for Marijuana Use

December 29th, 2009 33 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The romantic comedy “It’s Complicated,” which stars Steve Martin, Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, was recently given an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).  The rating was not due to explicit language, graphic violence, sex or nudity (many acts often seen in PG-13 movies), but because of a scene in which Martin’s and Streep’s characters smoke marijuana, something over 100 million Americans have done, and nearly 15 million do at least monthly.

The most alarming aspect of this story is that the R rating was apparently not given for the actual use of marijuana, but for MPAA’s concern that the movie did not show the negative consequence of the behavior.  No drug is harmless, including marijuana, but independent scientific and government studies have concluded that the health risks of marijuana are significantly lower than those of alcohol or tobacco.

Will the MPAA now start giving movies R ratings for alcohol or cigarette use portrayed in a positive light?  I don’t think that’s necessary. But neither is giving a silly romantic comedy an R rating for a brief scene in which two responsible adults use a substance far less harmful and addictive than alcohol.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Incoming Seattle Mayor Wants to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol

December 21st, 2009 40 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Seattle Mayor-elect Mike McGinn says he supports efforts to end marijuana prohibition in Washington state.

In an interview Friday Mayor-Elect McGinn said that marijuana should be regulated “like alcohol…not treated as a criminal activity.”  In 2003, city voters approved a measure making enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for Seattle police and it now seems Seattle citizens want to go a step further.  On Mr. McGinn’s website, which asks for ideas on how to improve Seattle, “Legalize marijuana and tax it” is in second place behind expanding the city’s light rail and subway system.  If you recall, “legalizing marijuana,” was the top idea on President Obama’s change.gov website earlier this year.

Last week two Washington state Legislators submitted a bill calling for the end of the state’s prohibition on marijuana, a bill McGinn says he will support.

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Prohibition

MPP Gets “Chase-d” Out Of Fundraising Contest

December 21st, 2009 64 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A few weeks ago, we asked our supporters to vote for MPP via Facebook in a holiday fundraising challenge sponsored by Chase Bank. Days before the first round of voting closed, it seemed like MPP had garnered enough votes to place in the top 100 and win $25,000, with the chance of winning $1 million.

But as you can read in this New York Times article, it appears that Chase intentionally excluded MPP and several other groups (including Students for Sensible Drug Policy) from its list of winners, presumably because they did not want to be associated with our cause.

Chase’s PR people have not admitted to any vote tinkering, even though the vote tallies were mysteriously removed several days before the contest deadline. But it is clear that Chase was being dishonest (at best) when it told voters on Facebook, “You Decide What Matters.”

Maybe someone should remind officials at Chase that ending marijuana prohibition is now—without a doubt—a mainstream issue. So why is Chase helping to censor a much-needed national debate?

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Medical Marijuana

MS Patient Who Grew Marijuana Found Guilty, Faces 5 to 10 Years

December 18th, 2009 62 Comments Kate Zawidzki

John Wilson, the New Jersey man who had been charged with operating a drug manufacturing facility for the marijuana he grew to treat his multiple sclerosis, was found guilty yesterday of two lesser charges, and now faces five to 10 years in prison. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

38% of Californians Consider Marijuana Policy Reform a Very Important Issue

December 17th, 2009 18 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The prestigious Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) published a statewide survey this month showing that 38% of likely 2010 voters in California consider legalizing marijuana a “very important” issue. Another 24% consider the issue “somewhat important.” This includes voters who are passionate about ending prohibition and voters who strongly support continuing the war on marijuana.

While the 38% figure is lower than other issues expected to be on next year’s California ballots, it’s worth noting that just a year ago this question would not have been asked by PPIC and wasn’t even on the radar for the mast majority of voters. This is a testament to the success of advocates in putting the problem of marijuana prohibition onto center stage.

How far will we push it next year?

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Tax and Regulate

Wash. Lawmakers Submit Bill to End State’s Prohibition on Marijuana

December 17th, 2009 18 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A pair of Washington State legislators has submitted a bill to end the state’s prohibition on marijuana, similar to the one introduced by California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) back in February.  The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle) says she’s happy to start the conversation about ending marijuana prohibition to get the attention of Congress.

A bill more likely to pass is the decriminalization bill introduced earlier this year, which was recently endorsed by the Washington State Bar Association.  The bill stalled last year without reaching a vote, but remains active in the upcoming 2010 session.  Lets remain hopeful that Washington lawmakers do the right thing and stop throwing citizens in jail for using a substance less harmful than alcohol.

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Medical Marijuana

Obama Signs D.C. Medical Marijuana Fix Into Law

December 17th, 2009 32 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The president signed the omnibus spending bill into law yesterday, lifting the ban on medical marijuana in Washington, D.C. It is now 100% official, and the nation’s capital can begin to implement the original medical marijuana initiative from 1998.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Breakthrough in Trial of New Jersey MS Patient?

December 17th, 2009 15 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Last week, we brought you the story of John Wilson, a 37-year-old New Jersey man who stands accused of operating a drug manufacturing facility, even though he says the marijuana he grew on his property was for personal use only to treat his multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, Wilson is facing 20 years in prison and—most outrageously—had been prevented from mentioning his disease or anything about the effectiveness of medical marijuana to the jury, even though New Jersey might soon become the 14th state to pass medical marijuana.

Luckily, that is no longer the case. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

The White House Lies About AMA Position

December 16th, 2009 66 Comments Kate Zawidzki

We told readers a few weeks ago that MPP would update them on how the government was responding to the American Medical Association’s new policy on marijuana. To refresh everyone’s memory, the AMA’s new policy is:

Our AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product. (source)

So they don’t go as far as we do, but they are calling for a review of marijuana’s Schedule I status (Schedule I drugs being defined as having no medical value). Now, lets look at how the drug czar is characterizing it. Read the rest of this entry »

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