Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Drug Czar Lies of the Week

July 25th, 2008 10 Comments Kate Zawidzki

I promise, we will not do a new post every time an ONDCP official lies. We’d never get any work done. But the falsehoods uttered by deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns in this interview in the Arcata Eye, a small northern California paper, are so blatant that they deserve mention. To avoid having to write a War and Peace-length tome, I’ll focus on just two: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Human Cost of Marijuana Prohibition

July 25th, 2008 2 Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP just released a new documentary examining the effects of marijuana prohibition on people’s lives.  The piece looks at four stories (including our own Rob Kampia’s) as examples of how marijuana prohibition and its consequences impact the lives of a diverse group of Americans and their families.

We’ve split the video up into two parts, which are available on the MPP-TV video blog: Part 1 and Part 2. This is powerful stuff, and we hope you’ll watch and share it with friends.

Victims of Marijuana Prohibition

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Just How Scary Is Prohibitionists’ ‘Nightmare’ Scenario Really?

July 24th, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

We struggled a little bit with what to make of this very long, very comprehensive New Yorker feature by David Samuels on the murkier aspects of California’s medical marijuana business.

The piece is well reported and provocative, but it comes nowhere near presenting a full picture of the situation.

Samuels focuses on what to many represents the worst abuses of California’s medical marijuana laws, and demonstrates that the results aren’t that horrible: adults purchasing a drug that’s magnitudes safer than alcohol under at least a quasi-legal structure, paying taxes on the product and avoiding dangerous street dealers. Meanwhile, manufacturers and distributors operate under definable regulations, observe zoning restrictions and prohibitions on sales to minors.

Nobody dies. Nobody gets hurt. The main dangers anybody faces are from law enforcement. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Trial: Feds Try to Bar “Sick Looking” Witnesses

July 24th, 2008 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Jury selection has begun in the trial of medical marijuana dispensary operator Charles Lynch, reported here on Tuesday. In a lengthy cover story on the medical marijuana battles on California’s Central Coast, New Times San Luis Obispo mentions a small fact from the trial that sums up these federal medical marijuana prosecutions in a nutshell.

Not only have federal prosecutors successfully barred introduction of evidence showing that the marijuana Lynch provided was for medical purposes, they actually filed a motion to keep “sick looking” people from being allowed to testify. Fortunately, the judge turned down that request, but the jury will still never be told the basic facts of the situation. And that says more about the morality of this case than I ever could.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana in Israel

July 23rd, 2008 9 Comments Kate Zawidzki

While the U.S. government was busily denouncing medical marijuana as some sort of  “drug legalizer” conspiracy, one of America’s closest allies in the world quietly set up a medical marijuana program. Israel’s medical marijuana program has gotten virtually no press in the U.S., but this Jerusalem Post article from a few months ago has some of the basics.

Medical marijuana access is restricted to a handful of indications such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Crohn’s disease, and to patients for whom conventional medicines have failed. This week, Dr. Yehuda Baruch, who runs the program, told me that a total of 222 patients have gotten government approval to use medical marijuana, with 113 actively in the program at present.

Israel, of course, is one of America’s closest allies, with both President Bush and Democratic candidate Barack Obama regularly speaking of America’s “special relationship” with that small nation. But perhaps Drug Czar John Walters thinks that Israel, too, is part of the conspiracy to “fool” the public into thinking marijuana is medicine.

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Medical Marijuana

Help a Cancer Patient, Go to Prison For 100 Years

July 22nd, 2008 4 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The trial of Charles Lynch, originally scheduled to start Tuesday, now is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, July 23. Lynch operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Morro Bay, Calif. — legal under state law and with permission from the city. But the county sheriff, vehemently opposed to medical marijuana dispensaries, called in the Drug Enforcement Administration, which raided the dispensary and filed drug charges against Lynch.

Check out this Reason TV video for details about the case, including a 17-year-old cancer patient Lynch helped, with his parents’ full support. Partly because a few of the dispensary’s patients were under 21, Lynch faces a potential 100 years in federal prison. And because this is a federal trial, the jury won’t be allowed to hear evidence that the marijuana Lynch provided was for medical purposes.

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Profiles in Marijuana Reform: John Newmeyer, Ph.D.

July 21st, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Dr. John Newmeyer is an epidemiologist and author of “Mother of All Gateway Drugs: Parables for Our Time.” He sits down with us to discuss his views on marijuana and the drug war in general.

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Reefer Madness at the NY Times

July 18th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

An editorial in the July 18 New York Times worries about rising drug overdose deaths among young people, but misleadingly brings marijuana into the picture, for no good reason. 

While the Times is right to raise alarm over rising drug overdose deaths among youth, references to marijuana in that context are both puzzling and misleading. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Marijuana, Chemotherapy, and Nausea

July 17th, 2008 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

A new article in the European Journal of Cancer Care answers medical marijuana opponents who claim that cancer patients don’t need marijuana to relieve the nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. Opponents claim that while studies in the past showed THC to be roughly comparable to other anti-nausea drugs, it wasn’t substantially better. Since those studies, they argue, better anti-nausea drugs have come into use, making medical marijuana irrelevant. In any case, they add, THC is available in pill form as Marinol. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Human Cost of Marijuana Prohibition, Part 2

July 16th, 2008 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

In the second part of this video documenting the real world impact of marijuana prohibition, we hear from medical marijuana patient Bernie Ellis about the potential loss of his home. Then, we speak with Ronnie and Anisha Naulls, California medical marijuana patients and dispensary owners whose family has been dramatically affected by the government’s war on marijuana.

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