Putting On The Pressure

Putting on the Pressure

Attorney General Eric Holder has offered to work with Congress to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana. He should be commended for his willingness to advance the issue of marijuana prohibition. Even though he has been somewhat rebuffed, we should write and encourage him to act in accordance with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act and just do it as he is allowed by his position. In that light I am starting a letter writing campaign to bury Holder in letters that will pressure him to act.

The Attorney General can be emailed at–     AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

A hard copy address is–US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20530-0001

The following letter is a sample letter that can be used as a template to write Mr. Holder and encourage him to go ahead and act.

Sir,

I am writing you today to commend you on your offer to work with Congress to de-schedule or at least reschedule marijuana. You join a majority of Americans who favor ending the unjust, unscientific and racist policy of marijuana prohibition that has been a plague on minorities and the poor for the last 77 years.

Please do not shirk from your goal. Even if Congress fails to act you have, in accordance with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act the power to de-schedule or reschedule any drug as you see fit. There is no doubt the current schedule of marijuana, schedule1, has absolutely no bearing on either its danger or medical uses. Marijuana was made schedule1 so its prohibition could never be questioned.

As history records, the first Drug Czar, Harry J. Anslinger said marijuana should be illegal because, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men”.

You Sir have the power to end this travesty. You Sir have the power to end 77 years of racial injustice and outright lies used to suppress those who look or think different.

Please use your power and end this injustice. Use your power and finally set things right. Use your power and your place in history to end the injustice that is marijuana prohibition. Use the power in your pen and de-schedule marijuana now!

                                                                   Thank You,

 

If we act now and act together maybe we can convince him! Write as often as you can and spread the word!!!!

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Helping The Children

The members of the Kentucky Assembly were all smiles, cheering and backslapping over the passage the most restrictive medical marijuana bill, SB 124, proposed this year. This bill will provide access to marijuana oil in a research program to be conducted at Kentucky’s Universities. This is already being done in Colorado and other states. The children this legislation is tailored to help will not begin using it for at least six months or longer. It wouldn’t surprise me if the patients do not get to access this oil for at least a year.

It seems our legislators have been able to not do what the majority of citizens want, while doing something for a select few of the citizens that might not happen till after the elections.

Our Legislators are celebrating that they are helping epileptic children by passing SB124. However if they had passed SB43 or HB350, the citizens needing this medicine, including those epileptic children, would be able to access this medicine right away and not have to wait on duplicate ‘research’, or jump other bureaucratic hurdles before their children can find relief!

It’s the perfect example of doing things halfway and making them worse in the process.

Unless the assembly passes another bill this session, it seems the majority of Kentucky’s citizens who need this medicine must spend another year waiting, risking arrest and imprisonment and suffering unnecessarily, till the Assembly allows them to legally access a medicine they desperately need. At the same time the children the Assembly is so proud of helping will also be waiting for as much as a year.

It’s the perfect bill! It seems to be helping children. Makes the Assembly look good and actually stops or slows things down, as, it seems, is intended.

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Let Us End This Huge Mistake

Doctor Michael Privitera, in his op-ed piece in the Kentucky Enquirer titled, ‘Research medical marijuana for epilepsy’, dated 23 March 2014, repeats the myth of marijuana being linked to adverse mental health outcomes with his comment, “Research in recreational marijuana users indicates a risk for learning and behavior”.  It is the marijuana and psychosis myth that is loudly touted by the prohibitionists whenever medical or recreational legalization comes up! There is NO link proven between psychosis and marijuana use. This comes from a 2007 Lancet article which reviewed several improperly done studies. The Lancet article is here-

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)61162-3/abstract

They are debunked in this article—http://www.alternet.org/story/59500/smoking_pot_won’t_make_you_crazy,_but_dealing_with_the_lies_about_it_will
This particular Lancet article was used by Peter Gordon while running for Prime Minister of England. He called for increased penalties for marijuana users as a means to get votes.  It backfired on him and his top medical official quit over it. The myth of marijuana and mental illness started as ‘marijuana causes schizophrenia’ and is now down to, ‘marijuana causes learning and behavior problems in teens’, something that has never been proven. One thing one has to take note of is that all these supposed studies all say, could or might, could indicate, Etc. None say it does. It’s another prohibition myth that refuses to die!

The real question one must ask is what about all the other illnesses that children suffer from that can be helped by the medical use of marijuana?   What about their suffering and the suffering of thousands of our citizens that can be helped?  Do they not deserve the same consideration as epileptic children?

In reality much research has already been done on marijuana around the world and some of the discoveries are quite astounding.   Research at Complutense University in Spain has shown that when the cannabinoid THC is introduced to several different cancer cell lines in the test tube, in vitro, the cancer cells die.  This is one of the studies driving current research on marijuana’s effects on cancer.  An article about this can be accessed here-

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/02/18/molecular-biologist-explains-how-thc-completely-kills-cancer-cells/

Marijuana prohibition has been a huge mistake and I would estimate that thousands of Americans have suffered and died unnecessarily because of it.  Let us put this colossal mistake to bed.  Let us end marijuana prohibition in America.

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Doing All We Can

A recent article in the Kentucky Enquirer’s USA Today pages titled, ‘Military Efforts to Treat Mental Illness Fall Short’, dated 21 Feb 2014, details the findings of a committee of 13 experts appointed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.  The researchers concluded that, “There is no substantive indication of effectiveness (of suicide prevention programs) and more importantly, there’s no evidence of an enduring impact”.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs about a thousand Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder each week.

Sadly the treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not on the radar of those enforcing our drug laws.  Here again we see the beautiful odiousness of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act in preventing any actions that might show marijuana is either effective medicine or safe for use.  A Food and Drug Administration approved protocol for a study of marijuana for symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in US Veterans has been on hold for over 3 months waiting for the US Public Health Service to sell researchers the Government approved marijuana for the study.  In the 40 plus years since enactment of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act the US Public Health Service has never provided the marijuana for any research and so far not for this Study either.  No ‘approved’ research, thus allowing the Government to claim they can’t legalize or reschedule marijuana because there is no Government approved research showing marijuana is safe or has any medical value!  Actually there is plenty of evidence, some of it gold standard research, showing the safety and efficacy of marijuana, just none supporting the ridiculous claims of the Government.

Happily though, many Veterans aren’t waiting and are turning to medical marijuana for help.  Many are reporting that marijuana has helped them to live with and control their conditions giving them a more normal life; some saying it saved their lives.  Along with the tons of anecdotal evidence from Veterans themselves there is the unexplainable drop in suicide rates in states that have medical marijuana laws.  There is nothing that has changed in these states other than medical marijuana being available to the citizens to account for the drop in suicide rates.

We could easily change all this. According to the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the head of the Justice Department can, with a stroke of a pen reschedule marijuana.  Or we could just allow the Veterans access through the Veterans Administration.  Do a voucher program with a local marijuana pharmacy for Veterans in States with medical marijuana laws and for Veterans not in States with medical marijuana laws, we can treat them the same as the survivors of the old Compassionate Care Program who still receive a tin of medical marijuana from the Government marijuana farm in Mississippi every month to treat their conditions. 

We use statistics from the Veterans who use the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System all the time in studies and research.  Why not believe the Veterans this time.  Give them the medicine they swear is doing them good and see what happens.  It’s not like it’s a medicine no one has used before!  Veterans are using marijuana as medicine as I am writing this and have for 50 years that I can personally attest to and they pretty well know what the results of an honest study will show.

The citizens of 20 States and the District of Columbia have been allowed access to this medicine for over a decade.  Our Veterans deserve no less!  To have a treatment that has been shown to be effective and to forbid access to it for those who need it most is beyond the limits of decency and morality!  It is a black mark on the report card of how we treat those who have sacrificed most for this country and suffer for that sacrifice the rest of their lives.  It is long past time for the Veterans Administration to begin providing medical marijuana to Veterans with qualifying conditions.  To do any less is a breach of the promise to do all we can, as stated in the mission statement of the Veterans Administration, to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise, ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphan’.

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Nothing To Stop Kentucky Now!

The Justice and Treasury Departments in response to a speech by Attorney General Eric Holder, have listed guidelines for Banking institutions to handle the financial needs of State legal marijuana operations.  Currently these businesses have to deal in cash.  Because of banking and drug money laundering laws, banks have been unable to service these businesses.                                                                              

Guidelines for the operation of marijuana businesses were already published earlier this year. All a State has to do is make sure it’s marijuana laws meet 8 simple parameters:                                                         

Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;                                                                                

Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;

Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;                                                                                                                                                             

Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;                                                                                           

Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana; Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;                                                          

Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and                                         

Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.                                                                                    

Banks have to insure their business customers adhere to these requirements and are required to submit documentation stating so and reporting their dealings with marijuana businesses.   The directive can be accessed here:

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2014/0214/20140214_113553_Guidance-Marijuana-Related-Businesses.pdf

The first paragraph of the Guidelines from Treasury reads:

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is issuing guidance to clarify Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. FinCEN is issuing this guidance in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activity and related guidance by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) concerning marijuana-related enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance clarifies how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations, and aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses.

So there you have it!  Kentucky can jump into this market as soon as we want.  The Federal Authorities will not interfere as long as we follow the rules.  There is nothing to stop us but ourselves.  I would guess we could get our feet wet by allowing hemp production to go forward and passing the medical marijuana bill, that shouldn’t be too hard.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll puts medical marijuana law favorability at 78%.  The Bluegrass Poll puts it at 61%.  Split the difference and 69 ½% of Kentucky’s citizens, more than 2/3rds, favor passing a medical marijuana bill this session!  This should be a no-brainer for the Assembly!   The session is half over.  Think they will get it together and do the people’s will?  With the session half over, we will soon find out!

If you favor passing a medical marijuana bill this session call the legislative hotline at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message for all Legislators to support and pass a medical marijuana bill this session.  You can call as many times as you want. Together we can get it done for the welfare of our citizens and the welfare of our State.

 

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The People Are Convinced, Why Not Their Representatives?

 In an article in the Kentucky Enquirer dated Monday, 10 February 2014 titled, ‘Poll: Most Kentuckians Favor Medical Marijuana’, showing Kentuckians favor passing a medical marijuana bill by 61%, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers said he wanted to see research from a medical group like the Kentucky Medical Association or the Food and Drug Administration,  “That’s what I would like.  Give me something solid and substantial”.

Prior to 1937 when marijuana was made illegal there were many marijuana based medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective, of course none since then. 

The American Medical Association supports medical marijuana as do The American Academy of HIV Medicine, The American Nurses Association, The American Public Health Association, The Arthritis Research Campaign, The British Medical Association, HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, The Lymphoma Foundation of America, The National Association for Public Health Policy and The National Nurses Association on Addictions.

Other entities that support medical marijuana are the American Civil Liberties Union, The Episcopal Church, The Presbyterian Church of the USA, The United Church of Christ, The Methodist Church’s Board of Church and Society, The Union of Reform Judaism and he Unitarian Universalist Association,  just to name a few.

As far as research, you will find no results by a Government supported study showing marijuana is good as medicine.  The Government in the form of the Drug Enforcement Administration or any Government entity is precluded from supporting any study showing any good about marijuana by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The Act gives final approval for any research done on marijuana to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Since 1970 the DEA has never approved any research on marijuana. That’s the beautiful odiousness of the 1970 law.  The Government can stop any research from going forward while claiming there is no research showing marijuana is safe!  Even the Drug Czar is precluded from saying ANYTHING positive about marijuana.  That is why, in a recent House committee meeting, the Deputy Drug Czar almost bent over backwards trying not to answer the simple question, “Is marijuana less harmful than heroin?”  You should have seen it!  He would not answer!!!

It also explains their withdrawal of support for the Tashkin study.  Dr. Donald Tashkin’s study of smoking and marijuana was supposed to be a slam dunk for the Government, however the Government withdrew its support when the researchers concluded that marijuana smokers get head neck and lung cancers at the same rate as people who do not smoke at all!  The researchers concluded that marijuana contained some kind of cancer preventer.  This study has driven much of the cancer work being done on marijuana. 

 There are many reliable studies and research papers, just none supported by the Government unless they are designed to show harm.  

Most all research can be found here, 
http://norml.org/library    or here,  
http://www.mpp.org/issues/research/

 Sticking with cancer, this link, should certainly convince anyone that there is medical value in marijuana.

http://norml.org/library/item/gliomascancer

 For epilepsy or seizures here, 

 http://norml.org/library/item/epilepsy

 And for a host of other conditions and the most recent research on marijuana as medicine here,

http://norml.org/library/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana

As you can see there is more than enough research to show that marijuana is medicine and good medicine at that!

And if you won’t believe any of that there’s this.  I have many Veteran friends who report using it for PTSD and it works, every time and with no side effects other than a good night’s sleep.   They also use it for chronic neuropathic pain from bodily trauma and other conditions.  It is medicine whether or not the Federal Government says it is!  Please do not let politics get in the way of doing the right thing and allowing Kentuckians access to a medicine that works. 

Kentuckians who need this medicine do not deserve to have to wait another year.  Another year of risking freedom simply to obtain a medicine that is in some cases, keeping them alive.   Please end this insanity by supporting and passing a medical marijuana bill this session..  

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Doing Good For Our Economy And Our State

Has it come to this?  Kentucky State Representative Robert Benvenuti claimed, at the recent House Health and Welfare Committee hearing on SB43 the Cannabis Compassion Act, that he could, “fill this committee room with first responders, law enforcement officers and parents of dead children based on the effects of marijuana!”  Are the arguments for continuing the prohibition of marijuana, even for the sick and disabled, so bereft of science and logic that our legislators must embarrass themselves with such ridiculous and inflammatory statements?

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed and implemented medical marijuana laws.  Two states have legalized marijuana for recreational uses.  Some of these laws have been in place for more than a decade and a half.  Surely the claims of those who would keep prohibition going would have surfaced by now.  Clearly, ending marijuana prohibition whether for industrial, recreational or medical use has not caused the collapse of the Republic!

What legalization will do is bring into the open the huge black market that currently exists.  It is estimated that 24 million Americans are regular marijuana users, and that half of all Americans have used marijuana at some time in their lives.  That probably accounts for recent polling showing just over half, 54% of Americans favor ending marijuana prohibition completely.  Kentuckians, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll favor allowing for medical marijuana by 78%. 

Here in Kentucky ending marijuana prohibition just for medical uses would stir millions in economic activity.  With the decline of the coal industry and the fact that the soil and climate of Eastern Kentucky is perfect for marijuana cultivation, passage of SB43 would create hundreds of jobs and agricultural opportunities.  We also have a reputation for growing some of the best marijuana in the world and we should capitalize on that reputation.  Most importantly, you will be bringing relief and security to those whose conditions will not let them wait for passage of this bill.  It will allow for control and regulation of the medical marijuana industry here in Kentucky which does not now exist.

Some have called for decriminalization as sort of a half measure, instead of legalization.   This just leaves all the bad things about prohibition in place.  Police will still be stopping people and pulling them over to look for marijuana.  Still be raiding houses because some schmuck shared a ¼ pound with his friends, (dealing), and sometimes raiding the wrong house and killing someone, as has happened all too often.  The Cartels will still be collecting the profits, controlling the price, the distribution and worst of all, the age of the customers, and Kentucky will collect no revenue.  I could go on but I think you get the picture.

Let’s think of the Cannabis Compassion Act, SB43, as a test.  It’s not full legalization and enough people will have access to marijuana, that if its passage is a bad idea it will become obvious pretty quickly and you can change or reverse the law if you want to.  The prohibitionists, the ones who want to keep prohibition going, have had 77 years to prove that prohibition works and they haven’t proven it yet.  How about you give those of us who believe prohibition was a mistake a chance to prove our point, that ending prohibition is a good thing?  How about passing SB43 the Cannabis Compassion Act?  You will be helping thousands of our citizen deal with their conditions and doing good for our economy and for our State.   

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