More Californians Are Using Medical Marijuana

More Californians Are Using Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2005 at 09:00:02 PT
By Sophia Fischer
Source: Simi Valley Acorn 
In the nearly 10 years since California legalized medical marijuana, the stigma associated with the use of the drug has decreased. A greater number of patients are using it, more facilities are providing it, and, after a new state bill was passed last year offering guidelines for law enforcement, patient use and physician protection, more doctors are writing prescriptions for it.
"It’s a lot easier to get now. There are radio and newspaper ads and billboards that advertise it and give a phone number to call, and the Medical Board of California lists it on its website," said a spokesperson for Medical Cannabis Buyers Identification Program (MCBIP) in Hollywood, who preferred that his name not appear in this story. "There’s a drive to get this familiar to people who are not."About 18 doctors are currently providing prescriptions to patients who are identified as candidates for medical marijuana use. Area patients have access to one doctor in Ventura, according to a spokesperson for Green Mountain Medicine, a privately funded free referral service based in Los Angeles. The group provides referrals to participating doctors as well as information on dispensaries that sell medical marijuana. To help meet the growing demand, the group is planning to open a second office in San Francisco in the next few weeks."We get thousands of calls each week from people looking for a doctor," said the Green Mountain Medicine spokesperson, who also requested that her name not appear in this article.In 1996 state lawmakers passed Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act, making California the first state to legalize the drug "to ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes." Ten other states--Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington--have passed similar laws. There have been many studies showing the medical benefits of cannabis. In 1999 a Gallup poll indicated that 73 percent of Americans were in favor of allowing doctors to use marijuana for those patients identified as needing it. That same year, the Institute of Medicine published a study that concluded that marijuana can help relieve certain symptoms in some illnesses. In spite of these findings, federal law conflicts with individual state laws. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, Congress has refused to pass laws permitting the use of medical marijuana. A number of cases have been prosecuted, some in favor of medical marijuana users and others not. "A lot of people believe the needs are false, that legalizing marijuana is just a way for people to get high," the MCBIP spokesperson said. "But we have over 2,000 patients in our database, people with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, muscle problems and this is the only thing that helps relieve the pain for them." A strict process must be followed before a patient can receive the drug. Patients must meet with a participating doctor to first determine if their ailments call for medical marijuana. If the physician feels the drug is appropriate, he or she provides a prescription that must be typed onto the doctor’s letterhead, and include the ailment, date the prescription expires, the doctor’s state license number and signature. The patient then takes the prescription to a dispensary or a cannabis buyers’ club. There are several statewide, including one in Hollywood that services Ventura and Los Angeles county patients. For those who want to grow the plant at home, individual counties have their own guidelines. In Ventura and L.A. counties, according to the MCBIP representative, six mature plants or 12 immature plants may be grown. The MCBIP issues I.D. cards to users or their caregivers upon verification of doctor recommendation. The cards not only help prevent abuse of medical marijuana use, but also provide protection in case of a law enforcement emergency. "There is a lot of abuse, but it doesn’t outweigh the health benefits for the patient," said the spokesperson, who asked that his name not appear in this story. For more information, visit the Websites: or or call Green Medicine Group at (310) 360-5911, or Medical Cannabis Buyers Identification Program at (323) 761-6444. Source: Simi Valley Acorn (CA)Author: Sophia FischerPublished: March 4, 2005 Copyright: 2005 J.Bee PublicationsContact: moreinfo theacorn.comWebsite: Cannabis Research Links Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 04, 2005 at 09:10:56 PT
News Article from Snipped Source
Marijuana Bogeyman a Convenient Target for The Council March 4, 2005Omigod, hide the women and the children! Lock the doors, draw the shades and head for the storm cellar.Wait … we don't have storm cellars. Anyway, it's an emergency.Earthquake? Terrorist attack? Flood? A Gray Davis comeback?Worse: They're selling medical marijuana on McHenry Avenue.The Modesto City Council has, for more than a year, been casting about for a moment of self-definition in this post-Sabatino era of red ink, mysterious firings and declining public interest in their wonderful selves.Suddenly, here it is — the answer to a politician's prayer, a white horse to mount and a straw bogeyman to thrash. Don Quixote's valiant steed, Rocinante, and windmills weep with envy.Never mind that the sale of medicinal marijuana is, by the expressed will of the voters of California, legal. Never mind that the store involved has been conducting its lawful business for several months without fanfare and without incident. Never mind that three council members (Denny Jackman, Janice Keating and Will O'Bryant) will be up for re-election this fall.Snipped:Complete Article:
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