cannabisnews.com: Lies Cloud Medical Marijuana Debate 










††Lies Cloud Medical Marijuana Debate 

Posted by CN Staff on February 13, 2005 at 07:11:37 PT
By Larry McKeon†
Source: Chicago Sun-Times†

As a legislator, I am used to political disagreements, and I enjoy a healthy debate. But when a former White House official crisscrosses our state, deliberately spreading misinformation about a proposal to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens, that's where I draw the line.The proposal is House Bill 0407, my bill to permit seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest and jail under Illinois law. It is modeled after 10 existing state laws that are working well and have received broad support from the public and -- most important -- from the medical and public health community.
Organizations supporting such legislation include the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association, the Illinois Nurses Association, the state medical societies of New York, California and Rhode Island, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the American Academy of HIV Medicine -- doctors who specialize in treating HIV/AIDS -- among many others.As a person living with AIDS, those last two are particularly important to me. I know firsthand how tough this disease is to beat.But Andrea Barthwell, former deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is telling a different story. She is crisscrossing Illinois giving a series of lectures claiming that medical marijuana is "a cruel hoax," not supported by the medical community at all. To hear Barthwell tell it, I'm the pawn of a sinister cabal of "legalizers" who "use the pain and suffering of patients" to further their nefarious agenda.What utter nonsense. Unfortunately, Barthwell has turned down my offer to debate the issue.That's a shame, because she has a long history of saying things about medical marijuana that simply are not true. Interviewed on PBS' ''News Hour With Jim Lehrer'' in October 2003, she claimed that "no credible medical organizations" support medical marijuana. In a Feb. 17, 2004, Chicago Tribune column, she insisted that "marijuana is so complex, unstable and harmful that sensible physicians and researchers consider it unethical to expose individuals to the risks associated with smoking it."In fact, what the medical community actually says is precisely the opposite of what Barthwell claims. In its official policy statement on medical marijuana, the American Public Health Association stated, "Marijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision . . . greater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use."In a 1997 editorial, the New England Journal of Medicine -- widely regarded as the most prestigious medical journal in the world -- called the ban on medical use of marijuana "misguided, heavy-handed and inhumane."In a November 2003 letter to New York legislators, the American Academy of HIV Medicine put it this way: "When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients."And the Illinois Nurses Association, in a position paper issued last December, said, "Cannabis [marijuana] is considered by the scientists directly involved with cannabinoid research to be one of the least toxic substances known that delivers a therapeutic response. . . . There is almost a half-century of research that supports the safety and efficacy of cannabis for conditions such as reducing nausea and vomiting, stimulating appetite, controlling spasticity, decreasing the suffering from the experience of chronic pain, and controlling seizures."That's not my opinion. It's the opinion of some of this state's and this nation's leading health experts, the people who every day do the hard work of caring for people battling illnesses like cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.I welcome an honest debate about my medical marijuana bill, but let's base that debate on facts, not spin. Illinoisans deserve better than Andrea Barthwell's travelling con job.State Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago) represents the 13th District in the Illinois House of Representatives.Newshawk: Jose Melendez Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)Author: Larry McKeonPublished: February 13, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Sun-Times Co.Contact: letters suntimes.comWebsite: http://www.suntimes.com/ Related Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Linkshttp://freedomtoexhale.com/medical.htmDrug Experts Weed Out Myths of Marijuana http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20223.shtmlFormer Drug Policy Official Warns of Marijuanahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20221.shtmlExpert Rails Against Medical Marijuanahttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20220.shtml

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Comment #27 posted by Agog on February 15, 2005 at 14:28:37 PT
EMG-Barthwell..profiting from Drug War
Hi All,Looks like a connect the dots scenario to me, jumped right out and smacked me in the face. While I send my BS detector back to the factory to have it recalibrated I see major conflict of interest here....Encounter Medical Group, P.C. has provided services to the Cook County Juvenile Drug Court Program since its inception in 1997." HMMMM, she travels the state telling everyone how dangerous cannabis is... how sooo many teens are in treatment now... because her buddies on the bench send them to EMG. And rather than fight it in court the kids and their families grasp at the dangling carrot.Talk about stink.All the best to the entire CNEWS CommunityAgog
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Comment #26 posted by Pete Guither on February 15, 2005 at 06:43:31 PT:

Encounter Medical Group
Bud,
Thanks! That's got to be it. Don't quite understand it, cause she doesn't indicate anywhere that she's gone back to them, but it seems that it's a very loose group of people (including her ex) who contract out with the city and government agencies to provide consultation services. (In fact, the only ones I saw on Google listing membership in EMG was Andrea and her ex.)"Encounter Medical Group, P.C. is a multi-specialty physician group organized to provide competent medical services to private non-profit behavioral health care concerns which might not otherwise be able to attract and retain physicians with experience and qualifications in the areas of drug abuse treatment and mental health services. Encounter Medical Group, P.C. has provided services to the Cook County Juvenile Drug Court Program since its inception in 1997."Andrea may be just using the logo for the effect -- again, adding to the "expert" credentials.
Drug WarRant
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Comment #25 posted by BGreen on February 15, 2005 at 06:08:35 PT

EMG = Encounter Medical Group
This is my guess, Pete.The Reverend Bud Green******************************************************From a press release:Prior to joining ONDCP, Dr. Barthwell served as ... President of the Encounter Medical Group in Oak Park, Illinois.http://www.asam.org/pressrel/andrea_barthwell.htm
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on February 14, 2005 at 21:10:51 PT

Mr. Guither 
I can't answer your question but I want to say I appreciate your work. Thanks for all you do! 
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Comment #23 posted by Pete Guither on February 14, 2005 at 21:07:31 PT:

More on Andrea Barthwell
I think we're making some progress. We've talked to a number of media outlets today about Barthwell's false sponsorship (she's now taken it down from one place on her site and added an action page!) The media seems interested -- even if they don't do a story about this particular thing, I think they're going to view her more skeptically in the future. Small steps.I need some help from the sleuths on this board. On Andrea's sponsorship page, she has her name, with a logo under it -- a stylized combination of the letters EMG
http://www.illinoismarijuanalectures.org/sponsor.htmAnyone here know what that stands for? I know it's used as an abbreviation for Electromyography, but I don't know why she'd have that under her name. The style of the letters (G in particular) implies pharmaceuticals, but I don't see anything that matches.Anyone know?
Drug WarRant
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on February 14, 2005 at 19:16:10 PT

Potpal
Here's one. Montel Williams in the Chicago Tribune!!! Go Montel!http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/thread20239.shtml
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Comment #21 posted by potpal on February 14, 2005 at 19:11:35 PT

too bad, so sad
Only one paper picks up McKeon's rant and so many rush to blindly publish Barfwell's bull.
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Comment #20 posted by Sam S on February 14, 2005 at 11:12:00 PT:

lies
It is amazing how many lies are applied to cannabis use.1. it is addictive
2. it is a gateway drug
3. it makes people drop out and do nothing or become
  violent
4. it causes car accidents 
5. all the other "Reefer Madness" B.S.But what it really does best is support the "war on drugs" and until these lies are exposed by guttsey politicians and all the users, there are enough people (ignorant sheep) who will follow their government's propaganda. If enough people will talk about it in a civil way with everyone who will listen, maybe we will eventually stop making criminals out of ordinary good citizens.Sam S
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on February 14, 2005 at 09:42:24 PT

Pete Guither 
Thank you!!!I knew that woman was going down. She has such an aura of dishonesty.Knocking that leg out from under her little pedestal helped. Could a little custom made muzzle be being designed for the lying lady's tour wardrobe? I think there is!I love the Drug War Rant. Thank you.Thank you, again! Good work, Pete!
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on February 14, 2005 at 08:26:22 PT

Nicholas
I didn't see Steve Earle on the Grammys but I read that he won. It was a great night for all kinds of music. 
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Comment #17 posted by Nick Thimmesch on February 14, 2005 at 07:22:14 PT:

FoM...
...I'm sorry I missed the Grannies last night: but good for Steve Earle. I have not really had a chance to listen to his new CD although I have it: he's the best!
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Comment #16 posted by runruff on February 14, 2005 at 07:18:42 PT:

What's rwong with this picture? 
So Ms. Barthwell spent 15 years in college partying and smoking pot. She ends up with a doctorate and an over paid do nothing job working for the president. She is my roll model. Where do I sign up.
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Comment #15 posted by Pete Guither on February 13, 2005 at 22:34:29 PT:

Andrea Barthwell exposed
Turns out Andrea was falsely claiming Great Lakes ATTC as a sponsor of her Illinois Marijuana Lectures tour.Story at Drug War Rant.One more lie on a stack of lies.
Drug WarRant
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on February 13, 2005 at 21:36:49 PT

Hey Nicholas!
This is off topic but I wanted to mention that Steve Earle won a Grammy for the Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Revolution Starts Now. What would we do without music? I'd be lost. 

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Comment #13 posted by Nick Thimmesch on February 13, 2005 at 20:59:33 PT:

Actually Andrea Grubb...
.... Barthwell says "In July 2004 I left the Drug Czarís office and returned to Illinois. Soon after I heard from Judy who wanted to take me up on my offer to help with the situation in Illinois. A group of us got together (see picture of one of those meetings) and began meeting as concerned citizens for the health of our community. One of the first things we are addressing is the high rate of marijuana use among our teens and the environment that fosters, rather than prevents, use." but omits:"All's Well That Ends Well, But Not For Barthwell:
Alan Keyes took about 90 minutes to speak with cmte members 8/4, while ex-WH dep. drug czar Andrea Grubb Barthwell (R), "spoke for about 50 minutes. As the debate waged behind closed doors," the "conservative wing backed
Keyes and moderates supported Barthwell. The issue of abortion came to the fore," according to GOP sources."This loser of a woman could not even beat a carpetbagger from Maryland -- Alan Keyes -- in her own state of Illinois (that she speaks so lovingly of protecting from a weed) and was duped by the Bushies to quit a six figure job at ONDCP only to get stood up by them spineless rats when it came time for them to muster support for her GOP Senate bid. Too bad, Andrea: the Bushies let down, why don't you leave Illinois alone.Loser.
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Comment #12 posted by siege on February 13, 2005 at 19:26:43 PT

  Subpena
Mr. Larry McKeon being you are a 
legislator ""subpena Dr. Andrea G Barthwell"" to the House of Representatives, and see if she can get her sh** together there you can force her to stop telling misinformation Or get a Attorney to get a (cease and desist) order on her, to stop the misinformation about cannabis. 

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Comment #11 posted by runruff on February 13, 2005 at 19:00:24 PT

Lies
Lies die of their own volition. Eventually a lie will emplode for lack of oxygen. Don't worry. Be happy.Namaste
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Comment #10 posted by mayan on February 13, 2005 at 18:12:32 PT

Barthwell = Coward
I welcome an honest debate about my medical marijuana bill, but let's base that debate on facts, not spin. Illinoisans deserve better than Andrea Barthwell's travelling con job.State Rep. Larry McKeon (D-Chicago) represents the 13th District in the Illinois House of Representatives.Well, Andrea? Where ya' at doc? That's what I thought. You are a coward.
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Comment #9 posted by lombar on February 13, 2005 at 14:27:40 PT

 JR Bob Dobbs
I visited the website you posted and read some of the misinformation. I was about to refute their nonsense but there is no contact info. It would likely be pointless as Grub has a mind closed tighter than an oyster. Even IF (and i do not think so) cannabis were as 'harmful' as they claim, how does throwing people in jail help? That is like tossing a drowning person an anchor. Compassion is not kicking people when they are down. Prison is about punishing people, not helping them.There is a whole 'article' about preventing kids from smoking cannabis. Too bad they cannot consider the one thing that would limit youth access: regulation and legalization.
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Comment #8 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on February 13, 2005 at 13:41:40 PT

Street Theater
From the looks of this link, it's "Doctor" Barthwell doing the theater, on tour across Illinois.
http://www.illinoismarijuanalectures.org/where.htm
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Comment #7 posted by Had Enough on February 13, 2005 at 11:41:32 PT

Get Back
Oh Lord, I wonít ask you for a Mercedes Benz, Color TV, or even a night out on the town. What I will ask you is to help the troubled soul of this misguided girl, and help her to, GET BACK!!!, GET BACK!!! to where she once belonged.God's Speed to Mr. McKeon, my you be granted with the voracity of a German Shepherd and the strength of Samson. Good luck to you sir, and thank you for your service.I think our girl here has met her match. She has nothing but gasoline to put this fire out with.Czars donít belong in America, they belong Back in the USSR. Jo Jo has been on many minds
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on February 13, 2005 at 09:28:50 PT

It's time...
to shred that diploma of hers. For 10 bucks and her diploma, she can buy lunch.She has to stump for the prohibitionists and the government fed lies. You will notice that she isn't out there extolling the benefits of legal pharmaceutical drugs like Vioxx. There aren't any.The number one plant that has benefited mankind for 9 thousand years becomes the object of ridicule and demonization, thanks to Andrea et al. She should follow her heart and not her pocketbook.ben∑e∑fit   (bn-ft)
n.  1.
     a. Something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage: The field trip was of great benefit to the students.
     b. Help; aid.http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=benefitted
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Comment #5 posted by Dankhank on February 13, 2005 at 09:03:52 PT

Gauntlet
It seems that by now there must be some representation of our point of view in most states.What we need is an alert roster ... in military parlance ... we can use to marshall visits to locations where the whores show to spew their lies and half-truths ...I'll do it for the lower-left quarter of OK, I know the DPF can cover the upper right quarter.The upper left is a wasteland, and the lower right probably won't get much action ...Nevertheless, if any want to cover those areas it's OK, too, in OK ... :-)We just need quick info to react ... they have airplanes ... most of us have to drive ...
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Comment #4 posted by cannaman on February 13, 2005 at 08:57:34 PT

To Andrea
Dr. Barthwell is the only one who has her priorities in line you should all be ashamed of yourselves for smoking that green crap...oh hold on...what is that smell?...Hey what is that you guys are smoking over there? Curiously I go over to inspect the situation! As I walked over to the mysterious crowd one of the individuals turned to me and blew a cloud of smoke in my face, I turned to run but it was as if I was planted in the ground. The smoke enveloped me and I felt a strange new sensation, it was sensational, I was euphoric or uplifted or something...could I be high? I thought to myself, just then my partner smacked me on top of the head and said..."Dont bogart that joint my friend" you have been holding that jointer for awhile now! I realized it was nothing more than another stoney moment, blaze one for Andrea everybody!!!
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Comment #3 posted by Had Enough on February 13, 2005 at 08:55:55 PT

From 1999
This might be of interest from 1999http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archives/1999/documents/00521747.asp

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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on February 13, 2005 at 08:34:07 PT:

The gauntlet's been thrown down
Thatís the traditional gesture, which is much less rude that the slap in the face with that gauntlet. "Dr." Barthwell has been called out..by no less than an Illinois State legislator with more than a passing knowledge of this subject. According to her propaganda, he shouldn't be alive. (And according to the lights of her former employers and political associates, as an AIDS sufferer, he *should* be dead instead of 'defying God's Will' as they think they understand it.)Let's see if she is politically savvy enough to realize she's got her (tattered shreds of) credibility on the line. She described his offer to debate as 'street theater' . Well, "Doctor", you stepped onto that stage long ago. It's time to face the audience.
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Comment #1 posted by Universer on February 13, 2005 at 07:56:02 PT

Go, Larry!
Maybe the beginning of a trend? As medical cannabis becomes more ingrained within all demographics of society, particularly older, politically-minded persons -- including politicians themselves! -- that can only enhance our progress.Way to have a pair, Mr. McKeon! Call a shill a shill!
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