Tag Archives | Medical Marijuana

The Anti-Science Streak in Federal Marijuana Policy

MarijuanaConnor Friedersdorf explains in The Atlantic:
The classification of cannabis as a schedule one narcotic is among the least defensible aspects of prohibition. Dr. Jody Corey-Bloom, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Diego, recently helped run a study that provided multiple sclerosis patients with either a marijuana joint or a placebo that looked, smelled, and tasted like marijuana. After smoking whichever substance they were given, patients were tested to see if it reduced their muscle spasticity — an affliction, common to MS patients, that causes painful, uncontrollable spasms of the extremities. Spasticity was unaffected among the placebo patients but dropped 30 percent on average among the patients given real marijuana. The side effects? "Smoking caused fatigue and dizziness in some users," says Reuters, "and slowed down people's mental skills soon after they used marijuana."
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Media Roots: DEA & IRS Raid on Oakland Pot Clinics

The IRS and DEA came to downtown Oakland this afternoon to aggressively raid multiple medical marijuana dispensaries as well as Oaksterdam, an educational facility that teaches plant cultivation to medical marijuana patients. Robbie Martin of Media Roots ran to catch the raid and captured an intense standoff between the people and the federal officials. He also confronts an ABC 7 news reporter after he hears them tell the police they are doing an 'amazing job.'
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Legalize It!

legalize itIs this the End (of cannabis prohibition as we know it)?

The NORML blog says eight states may legalize marijuana this year:

2012 has only just begun and it is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting and active years for marijuana law reform in some time. More than a dozen state legislatures are currently considering reform measures in some respect and 8 states are attempting to put legalization initiatives before voters this November.

Many of these efforts are still in the signature gathering stage. Check out the list below to see if you might be able to vote ‘Yes’ on marijuana legalization in your state this year and how you can get involved to make that a reality. In addition to the legalization initiatives below several states, such as Ohio and Massachusetts, are working to also put medical marijuana initiatives before voters this year. To stay up to date on all the efforts to reform marijuana laws you can follow our “Legalize It 2012″ hub on Facebook and Twitter.

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Obama’s Reefer Madness

International Drug Policy Reform Conference, Nov. 2-11

International Drug Policy Reform Conference, Nov. 2-11

Ethan Nadelman, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, suggests that President Obama needs to take charge of the medical marijuana legislative chaos around the United States, in the New York Times:

Marijuana is now legal under state law for medical purposes in 16 states and the District of Columbia, encompassing nearly one-third of the American population. More than 1,000 dispensaries provide medical marijuana; many are well regulated by state and local law and pay substantial taxes. But though more than 70 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, any use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

When he ran for president, Barack Obama defended the medical use of marijuana and said that he would not use Justice Department resources to override state laws on the issue. He appeared to make good on this commitment in October 2009, when the Justice Department directed federal prosecutors not to focus their efforts on “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

But over the past year, federal authorities appear to have done everything in their power to undermine state and local regulation of medical marijuana and to create uncertainty, fear and confusion among those in the industry.

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Obama Is The Worst President In U.S. History Regarding Medical Marijuana

…Or so the Medical Marijuana Project argues. What happened, Barry? You were supposed to be so cool.

During his run for the presidency, Barack Obama instilled hope in medical marijuana supporters by pledging to respect state laws on the matter. And for the first two years of his term, he was generally faithful to his promise. Yet suddenly, and with no logical explanation, over the past eight months he has become arguably the worst president in U.S. history regarding medical marijuana.

marijuana

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Media Roots: Occupy Wall Street, Divide & Conquer, Medical Marijuana Crackdown

Via Media Roots: Abby & Robbie Martin cover the Occupy Wall Street Movement: the divide and conquer tactics being used to discredit OWS, the different schools of thought and ideology within the movement and the original demands made by the U.S. Day of Rage; the Obama administration's shocking crackdown on medical marijuana and new federal law banning medical marijuana card holders from owning firearms; Blackwater and the privatization of the armed forces: is the corporatization of the U.S. military preventing an anti-war rebellion similar to that seen in the '60s?
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Obama’s Crackdown on Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Photo: O'Dea (CC)

Justin Elliott writes in Salon:

Back in July, I interviewed a drug policy expert about an apparent change in Justice Department policy that suggested a crackdown on medical marijuana — which is legal in many states but illegal under federal law — might be coming.

Now, with the announcement last week by California’s four U.S. attorneys that pot dispensaries will be targeted with harsh criminal sanctions, the shift feared by drug policy reform advocates appears to have come to pass. The rhetoric from candidate Barack Obama about not prioritizing medical marijuana cases now seems a distant memory.

To learn more about what’s happening in California, I spoke to Bob Egelko, a veteran reporter who covers courts for the San Francisco Chronicle and has been following the story.

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Scientists Crack Genome – Of Cannabis

MarijuanaEliza Barclay reveals a major breakthrough in marijuana research for NPR:

Stoners and scientists alike may be stoked to learn that a startup biotech company has completed the DNA sequence of Cannabis sativa, or marijuana. But here’s something that could ruin a high: The company hopes the data will help scientists breed pot plantswithout much THC, the mind-altering chemical in the plant. The goal is instead to maximize other compounds that may have therapeutic benefits.

Kevin McKernan, founder and chief executive officer of the startup, called Medicinal Genomics, says Cannabis sativa has 84 other compounds that could fight pain or possibly even shrink tumors. But anti-marijuana laws make it difficult for scientists to breed and study the plant in most countries. That’s one reason he decided to publish his data for free on Amazon’s EC2, a public data cloud.

McKernan, who has an office in Massachusetts and a lab in the Netherlands where he can legally gather DNA from marijuana plants, has spent most of his career studying tumors in humans.

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Weed Wars: Marijuana Dispensary Reality Show Coming To Discovery Channel

Harborside Health CenterA step towards acceptance? James Hibberd writes in Entertainment Weekly:

Discovery Channel is set to announce a potentially controversial new series: A docu-soap reality show set in the country’s largest medical marijuana distributorship and starring a pot reform activist. This fall, the network will unveil Weed Wars, where cameras follow the day-to-day dealings of a California ganja store.

The show follows Steve DeAngelo, the owner of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, which serves 80,000 clients. According to the network, DeAngelo strives to provide patients with the highest-quality product and uses his business to promote the national regulation and taxation of cannabis.

“Weed Wars fearlessly pulls back the curtain on a once illegal and still controversial world,” said Nancy Daniels, executive VP at Discovery Channel. “From the inner workings of the business to Steve’s distinctive leadership style, Weed Wars is a fascinating glimpse into this highly unique setting. Like Gold Rush or Deadliest Catch, these are guys pursuing their own version of the American Dream.”

California passed the Compassionate Use Act in 1996 that permitted legalized pot dispensaries where customers can select from a variety of toke-able or edible products if they have a doctor’s approval.

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Federal Government Rules Marijuana Has No Medical Purpose

Mvd1221939Our government will continue to structure policy on the basis that marijuana is the same as heroin — because it’s science. Via the Los Angeles Times:

In a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that [marijuana] has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin.

The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart sent a letter dated June 21 to the organizations that filed a petition for the change. Leonhart said she rejected the request because marijuana “has a high potential for abuse,” “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

This is the third time that petitions to reclassify marijuana have been spurned.

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