A perfect storm of relaxed federal intervention, intriguing new science and the failure of pharmaceutical narcotics for treating chronic illness has citizens clambering for legal access to medical Cannabis (marijuana) and several state legislatures scrambling for solutions to an issue many politicians don’t adequately understand.
While most states with legal medical marijuana are concentrated in the west, their programs established through voter referendum, eastern states generally don’t have ballot initiative processes, so changes must come through the legislature. So far, lawmakers in three states have passed medical marijuana access statutes – Hawaii, New Mexico and Rhode Island. But several more are poised to join the list and the thirteen states with legal medical marijuana access.
Headline: June 5, 2009 – New Jersey: Tighter Medical-Marijuana Bill Clears Panel- The Garden State’s journey for medical Cannabis has gone on for years, but now appears close to fruition. The House has passed it’s own version of the bill approved by the Senate last winter, but with substantial changes that merit concern. Removed were provisions for patients growing their own medicine – instead, the Cannabis must be procured through approved treatment centers. At a committee hearing on June 4th, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) patient struggles to express to lawmakers her preference for a natural medicine verses pharmaceutical narcotics for her terminal illness -shown here by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey on their You Tube channel:ALS Patient – NJ Medical Marijuana Assembly Committee 6-4-09
Hightened emotion is a side-effect of ALS – this is one brave lady. I know another brave soul with ALS who has found Cannabis to be a life saver for her, having survived for 23 years now and enjoying good quality of life. Visit her You Tube channel for this compelling story.
Headline: June 24, 2009 – New Hampshire: Panel’s Changes In Medical Marijuana Bill Face Concord- A state whose name traces to Cannabis Hemp had already passed a medical marijuana bill in both of its’ legislative bodies, but made a last minute change upon threat of veto by Governor Lynch – guess what, patients will not be allowed to grow, but must procure through three “Compassion Centers”, with no more than two ounces possessed at any time. Matt Simon of NH Common Sense for Marijuana Policy and an opposing Senator appear on this video: NH senator vs. Pot Activist
The outlawing of growing medical Cannabis by individuals may seem logical for several reasons – quality control; security; residential codes and risks associated with amateur “grow-ops”. Certainly, many patients can’t grow their own and dispensaries will be necessary for many reasons. . But experience in Canada highlight problems with the state system – low quality and high cost. It’s not surprising that government agencies are not famous for producing high quality Cannabis. Ending the prohibition would end most problems. Indeed, the Institute of Medicine Report in 1999 recommended universal and immediate patient access to medical cannabis in its’ natural form.
Case in point: The U.S. government already grows Cannabis for several legal patients grandfathered in from the Investigational New Drugs Program, closed to Cannabis in 1991. Grown at the University of Mississippi, the government pot is notorious for its’ seeds and stems content, extreme age (typically 12 years old, freeze-dried). Although shown to be effective in long-term studies, patients and researchers are demanding the end of the government monopoly on growing Cannabis. At a recent Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time, legal patient Irv Rosenfeld displays seeds and stems collected over a years time from his medicine shipments. Also in this video is Elvy Musikka, a legal patient receiving Cannabis for her Glaucoma, who doubts the concern of the federal government for her health and sight.Seeds & Stems Blues – Irv & Elvy’s Legal Marijuana
Ther are two eastern states that are considering medical marijuana programs with provisions for personal growing still in place - Delaware and North Carolina.
Headline: June 1, 2009 – DE: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Is a Necessary Compassion – Senate Bill 94 has been introduced in Delaware, allowing for growing by patients and six ounces in their possession. In this news video, a patient eloquently explains how Cannabis lets him decrease the amount of narcotics and their side-effects – a synergistic benefit now substantiated by science.Delaware Online News: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced
Headline: June 23, 2009 – NC: Editorial: House Ponders Legalizing Medical Use Of Marijuana – The Bible-Belt state of North Carolina is considering legislation that would allow individual growing, caregivers and dispensaries. Crafted from the best aspects of many state’s bills and consultation with court-certified experts like Chris Conrad, the NC Medical Marijuana Act is generating news and debate in the House health committee. The NC Cannabis Patient Network’s You Tube channel has a three part video series of a hearing on the bill, with public testimony, plus several patients who didn’t get to address the committee.NC Med Marijuana Act 1380 Health Comm Hearing, pt. 1
Headline: June 21, 2009 – Georgia Gets A Medical Marijuana Green Light- Georgia and South Carolina already have basic recognition of medical marijuana on their books, but no legal access. Can they be far behind? The medical Cannabis juggernaut rolls on!
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Frederick Douglass, August 4, 1857.