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January and February: The Year began with the Cops Killing a Mother and Dog Police are using these paramilitary raids more than 100 times a day, often on simple possession of non-violent people; dogs are ruthlessly killed because of the war on this plant.

(note that the only marijuana found in this family home had to be scraped from a pipe, and the father was charged with child endangerment…What about the cops shooting weapons in a child’s room, and what about the permanent emotional scars to this child from these cops!)

…and then there was this next story that  led to a lot of accusations from drug policy reformers that police shoot way too many innocent people in overly-aggressive drug raids. You may recall that this case in which the officer claimed that he opened fire on Tarika because he was startled by gunshots downstairs. Those shots were fired by his own fellow officers as they killed the family’s dogs. Tarika Wilson literally lost her life because a cop was freaked out by gunfire from another cop. Oh, and her baby daughter also got shot.

but February also had more SCIENCE coming out to support the anti-cancer properties that new findings are revealing…

February 2010: Medical marijuana news. Cannabidiol stops the spread of breast cancer

February also brought another major study that shows the medical uses for cannabis. This study lasted ten years and costs 9 million dollars. http://blog.mpp.org/medical-marijuana/more-proof-that-marijuana-is-medicine/02172010/The studies, funded by CMCR under the mandate of a 1999 legislative action, found that marijuana is particularly helpful in relieving pain associated with nerve damage and in treating the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.

March found the ever fearful DEA sensing that cannabis is about to be used religiously arrested a minister in Hawaii, Roger Christie, who is becoming well known for using spiritual sacrament  with his congregation. (note of interest Roger is still awaiting bail 9 months later)…here Roger gives instruction on how to make Holy Anointing Oil .

Speaking of the ridiculous Drug War Prisoners, other notable new prisoners for 2010 include…

Eddie Lepp

Marc Emery

John Wilson

Charles Lynch

April 2010: Federal Judge Suggests U.S. Change Anti-Marijuana Law

In sentencing a California pot shop owner to a year behind bars on federal charges of cultivating and selling marijuana, a U.S. district court judge based in Los Angeles suggested that the federal government change marijuana’s outlaw status.

Judge George H. Wu was very sympathetic to the plight of 47-year-old Charles Lynch, who was convicted in 2008 after federal authorities moved against his Morro Bay dispensary despite his bending over backwards to abide by California’s medical marijuana law. “Individuals such as Lynch are caught in the middle of the shifting positions of governmental authorities” vis-a-vis pot, the judge wrote.

Lynch was also caught in between presidential administrations: After Barack Obama took office he ordered the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to stand down on enforcing federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Wu wrote that (PDF) “ … much of the problems [in the Lynch case] could be ameliorated…by the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I,” which is the government’s highest, outlaw-drug category.

Also In April… The Hemperer,  Jack Herer passed on. Jack was considered the father of the modern Hemp movement, and he was a writer and researcher who wrote The Emperor Wears No Clothes.  He was an activist for the wonders of Hemp plant until the last moments of his life, collapsing on stage having just given a Pro Hemp speech at the Seattle Hemp Fest.  Jack will be missed by the many of us who admired him, RIP.

and another milestone… April 2010: 5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decrim

May brought a 30 year scientific finding about Cannabis… May 2010: Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection

June: Study of Cannabis being medically helpful for babies!  Cannabis Reduces Infant Mortality

but the Prohibition War goes on… June 2010: A Record 85 killed yesterday

July 2010: The Veterans Administration will formally allow vets to use medical marijuana if they live in the (now 15 States and the District Of Columbia) that allow it.

In August Prescription drug deaths were skyrocketing…

http://wvgazette.com/News/TheKillerCure/200608130006

http://www.lightparty.com/Health/HealingRegeneration/html/AccidentalDeathPrescriptio.html

September 2010:  I liked it when this country singer Colt Jackson was came out for weed:

October and November…then came Proposition 19 to Legalize, Tax and Regulate Cannabis in California for adults over 21 years old…

Pot Was Smoked On National TV



Past Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders says to Legalize Marijuana

Retired Judge and many retired police came out in favor (note that the video turns to Prop 19 at about 5:oo)…

Conservatives come out…

Pretty Girls came out for Prop 19 too ( note that some really good info starts coming out at about 3:50 into the video)…

3,500,000 Californians said YES!, making 46% of the vote, this was so much more than in 1969 only 12% said yes to legalizing.

November: Arizona Becomes the 15th Medical Marijuana state…and… Washington DC becomes a Medical marijuana District in the November election!

November 2010: 30 Facts About Arizona’s New Medical Marijuana Law

Also in November The Border Patrol Arrested Willie Nelson keeping us all a little safer…Here is what Snoop Dogg thinks about that…

December 2010: New Mexico Approves Addition Plants For Growers

And to wind up the year Pat Robinson gives decriminalization his blessing…December 2010: Pat Robinson Favors Marijuana decriminalization

It’s been quite a year for the Cannabis and Marijuana Law Reform Movement…wishing us all a great New Year, keep on pressing on…blessings to you.

Ray Pague


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sativaA 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.

NJHeadline: 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.

nhempshireHeadline: 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). ctc1Although 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.

DEHeadline: June 1, 2009 – DE: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Is a Necessary CompassionSenate 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

ncHeadline: 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

 GAHeadline: 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!

FredDglssThose 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.

scalesLast night, Feb 25, 2009, in an auspicious moment twenty-five minutes into a press conference mainly about the Mexico drug wars crisis, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was asked:

Reporter: “Shortly after the inauguration there were raids on California medical marijuana dispensaries…do you expect these to continue?”, noting that the President had promised to end the raids in the campaign.

A.G.Holder: “No…What the President said during the campaign…is consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement.  He was my boss in the campaign….He is my boss now.  What he said in the campaign is now American policy.”

nmlThe first to break this story was “Radical Russ”, producer of the National Organization for the  Reform of Marijuana Law’s Daily Audio Stash. Here is his post that includes an audio excerpt of the press conference. http://stash.norml.org/attorney-general-eric-holder-ending-medical-marijuana-raids-now-american-policy/

US Attorney General Eric Holder: Ending Medical Marijuana Raids now US Policy

A previous Cannabis TV post examines the campaign statements that President Barak Obama made about not using federal resources for law enforcement actions against medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in states that have legalized medical Cannabis.

Hopefully, this will also end other tactics that the DEA and federal government have employed to harass and intimidate business owners and landlords that lease to medical marijuana dispensaries and producers (see Previous post: Medical Marijuana – California, 2008 – Summer of Discontent Timeline).

I will be following this developing story and will update this post when video becomes available. Meanwhile, bask in the New Federalism of President Barack Obama – a Taoist President just when we needed one!

hdt“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Celebrity Cannabis use is in the news again, the visible tip of an iceberg with incredible masses of people hidden below – people whose lives and civil rights have been set adrift in the prohibition ocean. On Feb. 2nd, President Obama’s half-brother George was hauled out of his Kenyan home for one joint.

And the phenomenal Olympian Michael Phelps, who awed the world and garnered a record setting eight gold medals for swimming like a porpoise at last summer’s Olympic Games, was photographed smoking a “bong” – admittedly filled with marijuana (Cannabis).

The Associated Press’ You Tube channel has posted a video of the photo and news story, complete with Phelps’ sad apology for his “regrettable behavior” in using a God-given plant:Photo Shows Michael Phelps Smoking Bong

nmlA good post from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws looks deeper into the murky waters of this breaking story, speculating on rumors that Mr. Phelps was already a regular user of marijuana.

Speaking of super athletes who like Cannabis, check out Arnold Schwarzenegger, current Governor of California, smoking “weed” on his famous documentary “Pumping IronGov. Schwarzenenegger Smokes Marijuana

Interestingly, there is a scientific basis for the use of Cannabis in working out and historical basis for efficacy of Cannabis in hard labor in general, as in the case of the plantation owners in Jamaica who saw to it that their slave workers in the sugarcane fields had enough good Ganja (Cannabis) to dilate their blood vessels – bringing the blood near the surface of the skin, cooling the body and enabling more working hours in the hot sun.

ctc1Also, the bronchial dilation action of Cannabis would be a boon to a swimmer, allowing more efficient oxygen-to-blood transfer and greater capacity for the lungs.

Medical Cannabis expert, neurologist and author Ethan Russo, MD explains this history, along with other studies of Cannabis use in this video from the 2004 Clinical Conference for Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time.Marijuana Use Studies – A History, with Ethan Russo, MD

Surely, Michael Phelps doesn’t really believe that he did anything wrong (other than jeopardize his advertising contracts). Perhaps soon America will acknowledge the relative benignness and benefits of Cannabis.

loui “It really puzzles me to see Marijuana connected with  narcotics – dope and all that crap…it’s a thousand times better than whiskey – it’s an assistant – a friend.”    – Louis Armstrong

abe1Seventy-five years ago – December 5th, 1933, Congress repealed the Volstead Act (a.k.a. the “Noble Experiment“), which had prohibited the sale and manufacture (with “decrim” for users) of alcohol since 1920.  Among the reasons was the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and brought America to it’s knees. Continued funding of alcohol prohibition was impossible, while a new source of tax revenue was badly needed.  Other reasons were corruption of law enforcement and government, gang wars, drive-by shootings and contaminated “hooch” – just like today’s drug war. And once again, America is in need of additional revenue. 

Dec. 5, 2008 – Today’s Headlines on our Modern Prohibition:

* MA: OPED: A Day to Remember: Prohibition Isn’t Forever *

*Wall Street Journal OPED: Let’s End Drug Prohibition*

* Drug Czar’s Reply: Our Drug Policy Is a Success *

 Last spring, I wrote about the complexity of reforming the drug war compared to the simplicity of repealing alcohol prohibition and the defunding of the drug war that has already begun. Most experts agree that legalizing or decriminalizing Cannabis (marijuana) is a good first step. Treating it the same as alcohol and tobacco, as several countries in Europe have done, is likely the only reform that mainstream America will immediately accept. Restriction and regulation of narcotic drugs like cocaine and heroin will still be necessary – hopefully using  “harm reduction” methods, again following Europe‘s lead.

Prohibition Too Big to Fail ? – (Previous Post)

Note that users of alcohol were “decriminalized” during the first prohibition and the “experiment” still had to end. The same is true today – ultimately, legalization is the only answer for long term stability of society, respect for the law & government institutions and adherence to the Constitution.

I filmed Rep. Barney Frank (D) MA at a National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws conference back in 2001. Rep. Frank believes that the states could be a “laboratory” of drug law reform, much like after alcohol prohibition ended, when states enacted their own laws.Rep. Barney Frank (MA): Marijuana, Politics & State’s Rights

Rep. Frank’s observations still hold true today, including the contradiction of “conservatives” in Congress ignoring the results of elections in legal medical marijuana states and the logic of putting marijuana in the same category as alcohol and tobacco.

The following are several recent newspaper articles that address the issue of the modern prohibition, with more videos from You Tube to further illustrate the controversy.

Headline: Dec 2, 2008 – MD: Column: Legalizing Drugs: The Money Argument – A report funded by the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, in association with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, features Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron (see previous post) and his conclusions:

Legalizing drugs would save roughly $44.1 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of drug laws, with about $30.3 billion of this savings going to state and local governments and the rest staying in the U.S. Treasury.

Drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $32.7 billion annually.  That’s assuming legal drugs are taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco.  About $6.7 billion would come from sales of legal marijuana, $22.5 billion from sales of cocaine and heroin and the remainder from the sales of other drugs now prohibited.

The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation was founded by Eric Sterling,  Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. Mr. Sterling actually help draft much of the draconian drug legislation passed during the Reagan administration. Since then he has worked to undo the injustices wrought by these same laws. Eric was the first “activist” I met in the drug law reform movement and I have deep respect for him. If only other civil servants were so conscious of their actions and duty to their country.  Here is a video from a German documentary on the American war on drugs featuring Eric Sterling.The War on Drugs – An Insider’s View

Headline: Nov 20, 2008 – CA: OPED: It’s Time To Revisit War On Drugs – Quoting Albert Einstein and citing problems oversees with 37 years of Richard Nixon’s drug war, this article looks at the “Drug War Clock” at DrugSense.org for the following figures:

 The U.S. federal government spent more than $19 billion dollars in 2003 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $600 per second .  State and local governments spent at least another $30 billion.  
Police arrested an estimated 829,625 persons for cannabis violations in 2006, the highest annual total ever recorded in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Of those charged with cannabis violations, approximately 89 percent, 738,915 Americans were charged with possession only.  An American is now arrested for violating cannabis laws every 38 seconds.

The Drug Truth Network has produced a video exposing the “eternal horror, the empowering of our enemies, the death disease and destruction of drug war”.Eternal War = Drugs &  Terror

Headline: Nov 29, 2008 – IL: OPED: Obama Should End War On Drugs – A member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition from Barack Obama’s home state sends a message:

leap“President-elect Obama – we need an end to drug prohibition and a drug czar committed to treating drugs like a health problem, not a law-enforcement problem. We need harm-reduction. We need drug policy reform.”

LEAP has an on-line petetion calling on Congress to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission” to bring an end to the modern prohibition. Make your voice heard today!

In this video, another LEAP member reiterates the reasons that law officers and anyone concerned about the stability of our society should favor reform of the drug laws.Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Ending the Drug War

Headline: Dec 4, 2008 – CA: Should We Tax Pot?– A columnist from Los Angeles concludes that legalization and taxation of marijuana is a bad idea, citing a study from the Rand Corporation’s drug policy research center.

I think these prohibitionists should watch this video from the Marijuana Policy Project, with an inescapably logical appeal to our new president:Open Letter to Barack Obama from MPP

Headline: Dec 5, 2008 – Web: Prohibition Ended 75 Years Ago, But What Have We Learned? –  Rob Kampia, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, gives his observations on the old and new prohibitions in this article posted on Alternet.

albertThe prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law.  For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this
country is closely connected with this.
Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A., 1921

Just over ten years ago, the United Nations Office of Drug Policy set a goal – the eradication of Cannabis (marijuana) and several other psychoactive plants from the face of the earth by 2008. Most viewed this as unattainable, even laughable, but the ensuing decade saw a sad timeline of prohibition running roughshod over the lives of people around the world: Villagers in the Putomayo region of Columbia were inundated with pesticides, ruining their farms, gardens and water supplies; innocent missionaries shot down by U.S. drug warriors over Peru; the death penalty became the norm for Cannabis trafficking in Southeast Asia; arrests for Cannabis possession in America now approach 800,000 per year – often ruining the hopes and dreams of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

So, as a British “think tank” prepared a report for next year’s U.N. Drug Policy meetings recommending “decriminalization” of Cannabis (see story below), the writing on the wall grows clear. This July, representatives from many countries and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) met in Vienna for “Beyond 2008” – preliminary hearings on reforming U.N. drug policy and the concensus for change was inescapable. Here is a video, produced by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, with several reformers looking to the future:Three Days in Ten Minutes – Beyond 2008 Series #2

A Previous Post from last February examines U.N. Drug Policy in detail, featuring a hearing in British Columbia that the U.N. held to get input on possible reforms.

The following news stories from this month reflect the coming tide of changes for our modern prohibition.

Headline: Oct 3, 2008 – UK: Is It Time the World Forgot About Cannabis in Its War? – The United Kingdom has been on a roller coaster of Cannabis policy changes for six years now. This spring saw Britain reclassify Cannabis as “Class B“, reversing  the 2004 move to “Class C“. which decriminalized possession of small amounts. The reasons included fear of “Skunk” – a catch-all term for the more potent “sinsimellia” Cannabis becoming popular in England (see previous post). The Global Cannabis Commission report states that much of the harms associated with Cannabis use is “the result of prohibition itself”.

Headline: Oct 4, 2008 – New Zealand: Cannabis Spray Use May Be Made Legal– Another country wants to join Britain and Canada in legalizing a concentrated plant extract of Cannabis as a prescribable pharmaceutical. “Sativex”, a sub-lingual spray, is made by GW Pharmaceuticals in England, in a government-assisted venture with genetics experts from The Netherlands. With a remarkable safety/therapeutic profile, trials of Sativex shown efficacy in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis and illuminated the neuroprotective action of Cannabinoids. Indeed, new science and anecdotal evidence raise the possibility that Cannabinoids can actually halt the progression of neurodegenerative diseases!

The success of a whole plant extract of Cannabis (the form our ancestors used) and the failure of synthetic THC (Marinol) as an effective medicine demonstrates that Mother Nature is, indeed, the best pharmacist and that patient’s reports of amazing relief of symptoms makes perfect sense. Modern compounds made from Cannabis will be needed and welcomed, but access to the natural plant should be considered a basic human right, as it should be with any healing or sacramental plant.

Headline: Oct 19, 2008 – Caribbean: Prehistoric Drug Kit Is Evidence of Stoned Age– Archaeologists excavating a prehistoric site on the Caribbean island of Carriacou have found ancient “drug paraphernalia”, dating to around 400 BC. These ceramic bowls and tubes were used to inhale hallucinogenic powders, as Shamans have done for eons in South and Central America. In other parts of the world, there is ample evidence that Cannabis Hemp was an integral part of many prehistoric and even paleolithic cultures.

In this video, Ethnogen expert Terence McKennatalks about the ancient connection between Cannabis and humankind.McKenna on Cannabis

Headline: Oct 24, 2008 – US HI: Public Access TV To Air Drug Policy Forum Video – On the eve of election day, when the citizens of Hawaii will decide on Ballot Question No. 1 (which would make cannabis the lowest law-enforcement priority for police), a forum on drug policy was held at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Speaking was Clifford Thornton, founder of Efficacy – a non-profit organization that advocates a move away from criminalization and towards treating drug use as a health issue, lamenting the “turning of the average citizen user into a criminal, even when no violence or criminal behavior is involved.”

The Pinky Show on You Tube has an interview with Clifford Thornton, conducted on October 7th, during his visit to Hawaii.The War on Drugs : FAIL : an interview with Clifford Thornton Jr.

Headline: Oct 28, 2008 – Canada: Medical Marijuana Users Claim Victory– It’s been eight years since the Constitutionality of access to medical Cannabis was established in Canada, but the road has not been easy for patients seeking consistent supplies of quality herbal medicine. Patients were able to grow their own, designate a “caregiver” grower or obtain Cannabis from a government contracted grow operation in an abandoned mineshaft in Flin Flon, Manitoba – reportedly unsatisfactory as medicine.  In 2003, the Ontario Appeal Court struck down restrictions that limited caregiver growers to one patient each, but the government re-instituted the program – leading to this case.

Last year the federal government appealed a lower court ruling that granted licenses to growers for multiple patients, but this month the courts dismissed the appeal, finally enabling sufferers of chronic and terminal illness access to truly medicinal grade Cannabis – many strains of which were bred during the prohibition by ordinary people forced to become experts in horticulture and genetics.

In this next video, a licenced Cannabis grower/patient Canada discusses the future of medical Cannabis in his country and obstacles to patients needing a sustained supply of quality medicine.Legal Medical Cultivator speaks out Jan court ruling Part 1

Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

~ Socrates

Fifth Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, April 3, 2008  – This bi-annual medical conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, is a gathering of medical doctors and researchers specializing in medicinal Cannabis (marijuana) and the workings of the Endo-Cannabinoid system – the regulator of many organ systems and processes of the human body.  This year the conference was held in Pacific Grove, California, by the ocean on the Monterrey Peninsula. The enduring sea seemed to underscore the emergence of new science from an old medicine.

The entire conference is currently being edited for posting on the net. In the meantime, I’ve been editing interviews that I conducted with some of the presenters. These can be seen on the Patients Out of Time You Tube Channel.

Today, the sad news of Senator Edward Kennedy’s diagnosis of Glioma, a cancer of the brain that is very hard to treat, compelled me to edit one interview in particular. It was with Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). Paul has done a lot of research on medical Cannabis, having compiled a booklet, “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Evidence:2000 – 2008” (available as a PDF) on several diseases that are successfully treated with Cannabis, including promising research on Glioma cancer cell lines (See Below) . This job has made Paul one of the few Americans with direct knowledge of some of the cutting edge science emerging out of Europe, Israel and other countries, so people with sick loved ones often call him, after hearing of possible help from Cannabis research. He has to tell these desperate families that few human trials of medical Cannabis therapies have been allowed in this country, with none on the horizon for the likes of exciting research from Spain, where Dr. Manuel Guzman has slowed the growth of brain cancer tumors using THC – a principle Cannabinoid in marijuana. In this video, Paul observes that many of the callers are asking about alternative treatments for Glioma, often incredulous that our government would block research into such an important area. Also, Dr. David Bearman offers observations on fears of patients facing devastating illness:THC Kills Glioma Cancer Cells – Medical Miracles from Europe

Anti-Cancer Properties of THC – Research in Print:
[1] Guzman et al. 1998. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in C6 glioma cells. FEBS Letters 436: 6-10.
[2] Guzman et al. 2000. Anti-tumoral action of cannabinoids: involvement of sustained ceramide accumulation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Nature Medicine 6: 313-319.

[3] Guzman et al. 2003. Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis by cannabinoids. The FASEB Journal 17: 529-531.

 [4] Massi et al. 2004. Antitumor effects of cannabidiol on human glioma cell lines. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Fast Forward 308: 838-845.

[5] Guzman et al. 2004. Cannabinoids inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor pathways in gliomas. Cancer Research 64: 5617-5623.

 [6] Allister et al. 2005. Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation and induce death of cultured human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Journal of Neurooncology 74: 31-40.

[7] Guzman et al. 2006. A pilot clinical study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. British Journal of Cancer.

[8] Parolaro and Massi. 2008. Cannabinoids as a potential new drug therapy for the treatment of gliomas. Expert Reviews of Neurotherapeutics 8: 37-49
[9] Galanti et al. 2007. Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits cell cycle progression in human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Acta Oncologica 12: 1-9.

[10] Calatozzolo et al. 2007. Expression of cannabinoid receptors and neurotrophins in human gliomas. Neurological Sciences 28: 304-310.
 References courtesy of Paul Armentano. You can read more on this subject in his booklet, which also covers MS; Hypertension; GI Disorders; Arthritis; Alzheimer’s; Fibromyalgia; Hepatitus C; ALS; Diabetes; Osteoporosis; and more: 

“Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis: A Review of the Scientific Evidence” (2008, NORML Foundation).

Dr. Guzman was scheduled to present his research at the Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, but a family medical emergency prevented his attendance. *** A PDF of Dr. Guzman’s Research *** However, one of the Cannabis Therapeutics’ faculty members, Robert Melamede, PhD eloquently explained the principles involved in the “Global Homeostatic Regulation”of many bodily functions by the Endo-Cannabinoid system, including re-balancing of conditions like auto-immune disorders and cancers, in an interview in his office at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs:Cancer Cure – Cannabis & Cannabinoids,by Robert Melamede,PhD

In the documentary to which I referred during Paul’s interview – “Surviving ALS“, Cathy Jordan experiences the neuroprotective effects of cannabis first hand, as it helps her over-taxed Endo-Cannabinoid system bring her auto-immune disorder (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) under control – moderating “excitotoxicity” and over production of glutamate. Dr. Melamede continues his interview in this chapter, explaining how neuropathic conditions are balanced by Cannabinoids.Surviving ALS with Cannabis, Chapter 3 – with Dr. Melamede

One fascinating aspect of Dr. Manuel Guzman’s work is that, as the tumors being treated are in brain (nerve) tissue, the neuroprotective properties of THC become extremely important. Whereas most cancer treatments cause damage to surrounding tissue (especially crucial in the brain), THC treatments actually protect adjacent non-cancerous nerve tissue. 

In this video from the 3rd Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, Charlottesville, VA, in May of 2004, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, looks closely at the science of Cannabinoids in Neuroprotection. Professor Mechoulam was on the team that first isolated THC in 1964.Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection, Raphael Mechoulam,PhD

 It turns out that the first research into THC’s actions on cancer tumors was done in the U.S., back in 1974 during a government sponsored study seeking to prove the dangers of marijuana. When the results instead showed the promise of THC as a medicinal agent, our government suppressed the results and quietly gave a pharmaceutical company permission to develop a THC pill – now known as Marinol. And the crusade against marijuana continued…

In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

 

 

***Update*** – Nov 5, 2008 – Massachusetts is now the 13th state to decriminalize Cannabis (marijuana) and Michigan is the 13th state to legalize Cannabis as medicine! Read more on a post from NORML.

Headline: March 18.2008 MA: Lawmakers Consider Marijuana Legalization (Actually, the headline should read “Decriminalization” – more on the difference later)

maflag.gifMembers of the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary are considering change in their state’s law on Cannabis possession, constitutionally bound to address an initiative brought by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy(CSMP). The legislature has until May 6 to pass the initiative and send it to the governor, draft its own version to place on the ballot, or take no action and allow CSMP to continue the initiative process.

The initiative, House bill No.  4468, is titled “An Act Establishing a Sensible Marijuana Policy for the Commonwealth.”

csmp.jpg“By creating a civil penalty system for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, the initiative will greatly reduce the human and financial costs of current laws.  Massachusetts’ taxpayers spend $29.5 million a year just to arrest and book these offenders.  Even more costly is the creation of a criminal record for the approximately 7,500 offenders arrested every year”, stated Whitney A.  Taylor, campaign manager for CSMP

Predictably, the wailing and gnashing of teeth has begun, as seen in this video of a MA state representative regurgitating the “gateway drug” myth and even suggesting that alcohol could be prohibited again. This video provided by The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MASS CANN):MA State Rep- Martin “Mental Institution” Walsh on Decrim

Ironically, the only way Cannabis (marijuana) can be considered a “gateway drug” is in the context of its’ prohibition. That is, to obtain marijuana, one must contact a dealer in the “black market” – exposing one to the whole gamut of illegal drugs. If it were legal, no such connection need be made. Indeed, in European countries where Cannabis is legal or decriminalized, its’ use among teenagers is lower than in the U.S. Every American teen knows that it’s easier to buy marijuana than beer.

mag.jpgScientifically, it has been shown that physically addictive drugs like tobacco and alcohol actually wire the brain for addiction, especially in the young, thereby setting the stage for more addictions.  Real world data shows that marijuana users tend to not use hard drugs. Unfortunately, drug testing is driving more and more people to narcotics like methamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol, as these drugs pass out of the system quickly – enabling one to keep ones’ job.

A legimate concern for the citizens of Massachusetts is law and order, as some think that prohibition keeps crime down – contrary to logic and experience. leap.jpgOrganized crime; drive-by shootings; corruption of law enforcement and other government institutions; impure, contaminated products; lack of respect for the law – all these societal horrors were experienced during alcohol prohibition and our “drug war” alike.

 Jack Cole, a former undercover narcotics officer and an original signer of the initiative, is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and will be testifying at the hearing for MA House bill 4468. Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network interviewed Jack Cole for this video:Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Interview

 If Massachusetts decriminalizes marijuana, it will join twelve states that have done so since 1973. Amazingly, civilization has endured and life goes on in these states.

Meanwhile, north of the boarder in New Hampshire…

 Headline:March 19.2008 – N.H. House OKs Marijuana Billnhempshire.jpgSparked by a backlash against tragic consequences resulting from the Higher Education Act (HEA), New Hampshire’s House of Representatives has voted to decriminalize possession of up to a quarter-ounce of marijuana (Cannabis). Currently, possession is a criminal misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in county jail and/or fines up to $2,000. If  HB 1623 makes it past the state Senate over the opposition of Governor Lynch, citizens of New Hampshire would  face a $200 fine for a 1/4 ounce or less.

“Our representatives in the House did the right thing for New Hampshire and especially for New Hampshire’s young people”, said Matt Simon of the NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.

The New Hampshire Coalition has been working for three years to change state marijuana laws, but an infamous “drug warrior”- Rep. Mark Souder (R)IN, author of overreaching and unfair provisions in the HEA, is getting some of the credit for drawing attention to inequities needing remedy. The fact that a college student can lose access to student loans for a minor drug violation, while perpetrators of much more serious crimes face no such penalty,  is an inequity in dire need of correction and has been opposed byssdp.gif Students For Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and many other education advocacy organizations.

 SSDP has a Students for Sensible Drug Policy “Channel” on You Tube that features videos educating the public about the HEA provisions, including this one from the viewpoint of Rep. Mark Souder:Mark Souder expresses his love for NORML and SSDP

The Ridley Report on You Tube has several videos folowing this issue in New Hamphire:NH: State House passes marijuana decrim, but…

It is important to remember that alcohol was decriminalized during all of the prohibition of the 1920’s, so decrim’ is certainly not a satisfactory conclusion to Cannabis law reform.  (Decriminalization means that only dealers and manufacturers of a substance face criminal prosecution, whereas users face “only” fines, somtimes quite substantial.)

Many drug warriors will assert that few people go to jail just for small amounts of pot. Although these arrests/prosecutions are wildly arbitrary throughout America,  there is a “de facto” acceptance of decriminalization, even in non-decrim states.  In fact, the large fines Americans shell out for pot “offences” fill county coffers and long probations ensure warm bodies for the prohibition/industrial complex to consume for years to come. 

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. albert.jpgFor nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.
Albert Einstein, My First Impression of the U.S.A., 1921