cannabisnews.com: Medical Marijuana: Should It Be Legal?





Medical Marijuana: Should It Be Legal?
Posted by CN Staff on June 09, 2005 at 16:53:32 PT
By Gary Storck & Karen P. Tandy
Source: Wisconsin State Journal
Yes: Sick People Shouldn't Have To SufferContrary to what some will be saying about the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling on medical marijuana, this narrow technical ruling does not invalidate medical marijuana laws now in effect in 10 states.Neither does it invalidate local ordinances allowing medical marijuana, including Madison's ordinance, or those passed in 2004 by Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich., and Columbia, Mo.
States without current medical marijuana laws are still free to enact them. While federal authorities retain the power to target patients and providers, 99 of 100 marijuana arrests are made at the local and state level. Rather than using this court ruling as an excuse not to move forward with legislation that would protect patients from arrest and jail, state lawmakers should redouble their efforts.In the majority ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens, pointed to Congress as a means of settling this dispute. Since it passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, wrongly classing marijuana as a drug with no medical use, Congress has had numerous opportunities to rectify its error, including the States' Right to Medical Marijuana Act reintroduced in May 2005.That bill (HR 2087) has 36 cosponsors, including Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison. In each previous session this bill has been introduced it has died in committee without a hearing or a single vote. Lately, George Bush has been saying his nominations "deserve a simple straight up and down vote" in Congress. Medical marijuana legislation deserves the same, both in Congress and at the state level.This ruling is certainly not the end of the discussion. For those of us who need medical marijuana, it is never over. Sadly, this decision will prevent patients from using medical cannabis. Caregivers and survivors will suffer the most after a loved one has died, wondering if marijuana might have helped had they had legal access.For myself, a lifelong glaucoma sufferer with other health problems, this ruling means justice denied. Thirty- three years ago, a medical exam confirmed marijuana was beneficial in treating my glaucoma. Twenty-six years ago June 4, another doctor wrote a note stating he would prescribe it for me if he were legally able to do so. Today, big government is still standing in the way.A petition to reschedule marijuana for medical use is now before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior versions of this petition have been unfairly rejected and federal bureaucrats continue to impede the petition's progress. Approval of this petition would allow physicians to prescribe cannabis like any other medicine.Meanwhile, since the Supreme Court justices have apparently punted the ball to Congress, citizens must now make their support known and continue to do so until Congress does the right thing. Rather than waiting for accident or illness to strike them or a loved one - and finding out the only medicine that can help is illegal - please let Congress know this issue needs to be resolved.Storck, of Madison, is a longtime advocate for the medicinal use of marijuana.No: Myths About Pot are Killing PeopleBy Karen P. TandyOur society has come to believe that marijuana use is good medicine, a cure-all for a variety of ills: A recent poll showed that nearly three-fourths of Americans over age 45 support legalizing marijuana for medical use.It's a belief that has filtered down to many of our teens, if what I'm hearing during my visits with middle school and high school students across the country is true. I'm amazed at how well versed in drug legalization these teens are. It is as if legalization advocates stood outside their schools handing out their leaflets of lies. Here is what students have told me about marijuana: "It's natural because it grows in the ground, so it must be good for you." "It must be medicine, because it makes me feel better." "Since everybody says it's medicine, it is."Legalization advocates themselves have alluded to the fact that so-called medical marijuana is a way of achieving wholesale drug legalization. The natural extension of this myth is that, if marijuana is medicine, it must also be safe for recreational use.What is the antidote? Spreading the truth.Smoked marijuana is not medicine. The scientific and medical communities have determined that smoked marijuana is a health danger, not a cure. There is no medical evidence that smoking marijuana helps patients. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has approved no medications that are smoked, primarily because smoking is a poor way to deliver medicine.Morphine, for example, has proven to be a medically valuable drug, but the FDA does not endorse smoking opium or heroin.The American Medical Association has rejected pleas to endorse marijuana as medicine and instead urged that marijuana remain prohibited at least until the results of controlled studies are in. To quote U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's remarks during arguments in the case decided Monday, "Medicine by regulation is better than medicine by referendum."Liberalization of drug laws in other countries has often resulted in higher use of dangerous drugs. Consider the experience of the Netherlands. After marijuana use became legal, consumption nearly tripled among 18- to 20-year-olds. Marijuana use by Canadian teenagers is at a 25-year peak in the wake of an aggressive decriminalization movement.Marijuana is dangerous to the user. Marijuana use can lead to dependence and abuse. Marijuana was the second most common illicit drug responsible for drug treatment admissions in 2002 ? outdistancing crack cocaine, the next most prevalent cause. Smoking marijuana can cause significant health problems. Studies show that smoking three to four joints per day causes at least as much harm to the respiratory system as smoking a full pack of cigarettes every day.Debunking the myths and arming our young people and their parents with the facts do work. Clear the smokescreen by educating the children, parents, teachers, physicians, and legislators in your community before the myths kill any more people.Tandy is administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington, D.C.Editor's note: The Supreme Court ruled Monday that doctors can be blocked from prescribing marijuana for patients in perpetual pain.Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)Author: Gary Storck & Karen P. TandyPublished: June 9, 2005Copyright: 2005 Madison Newspapers, Inc.Contact: wsjopine madison.comWebsite: http://www.wisconsinstatejournal.com/Related Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft Newshttp://freedomtoexhale.com/raich.htmPot Fight Far From Overhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20821.shtmlWill Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ?http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20815.shtmlCourt: Let Congress Legalize Ithttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20788.shtml 
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Comment #21 posted by jose melendez on June 11, 2005 at 04:19:11 PT
Prohibition Kills: Drug War is TREASON
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05/n929/a06.html?397The FBI failed to seize at least five opportunities to intercept two 9/11 hijackers before the attacks, including two instances in San Diego County when the terrorists lived with an FBI informant* and were befriended by a subject of a previous FBI investigation.According to a report released yesterday by the Justice Department's Inspector General, the FBI office in San Diego erred by focusing too much on drug investigations before Sept.† 11, 2001. "Despite the fact that FBI headquarters had established counterterrorism as a top priority of the FBI in 1998, the San Diego field office was continuing to pursue drug trafficking as its top priority in 2001" the report stated.The San Diego FBI office emphasized pursuit of drug traffickers, white collar criminals and violent criminals at the expense of pursuing counterterrorism leads as requested by FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., the report said. Dan Dzwilewski, chief of the San Diego FBI office, was traveling yesterday and could not be reached for comment.(snip) . . . the "asset" was recruited by an unnamed FBI agent in 1994 and provided information acquired in his normal daily routine. The report said he had not been paid until July 2003, when he was given $100,000. (snip)The asset began renting out rooms in his home in 1996, the report said, noting that *before Sept. 11, 2001, he had had 14 boarders in his house, including Alhazmi and al-Midhar. - - -OUTRAGED YET?Contact:San Diego Press Office 9797 Aero DriveSan Diego, California 92123Tel: 858-499-7915 Fax: 858-499-7991FBI San DiegoFederal Office Building9797 Aero DriveSan Diego, California 92123-1800on the web: sandiego.fbi.govdirect line: (858) 565-1255 other FBI field offices and contact info:http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm - - -http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/stories/20040414_reno.html . . . when I came into office, I was told that the FBI had come out of the Cold War. RENO: They now had agents who needed something to do, and that they had been assigned to and were involved in fighting street crime. Well, America has a lot of resources committed to fighting street crime now. Community police officers were hired, other steps were taken, crime is down, and state and local law enforcement can do that or at least do a very good job of it. If we needed to reprogram, I told Director Freeh, let's do it and get these people into counterterrorism. We have a drug enforcement agency. If we need to do it, let's get these people into counterterrorism. Yes, it's sometimes difficult to get reprogramming approval from Congress. But if we have people who work with the Department of Justice, do it the right way, come forward in clear statements, I think we can do a lot more in terms of reprogramming. - - -http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/stories/20040414_freeh.htmlGORTON: One final question like the first question; another paragraph in the staff report. The Department of Justice inspector general found that when the FBI designated national and economic security as its top priority in 1998, it did not shift its human resources accordingly. According to another external review of the FBI, by 2000 there were twice as many agents devoted to drug enforcement matters as to counterterrorism. On September 11th, 2001, only about 1,300 agents, or 6 percent of the FBI's total personnel, worked on counterterrorism. Are those accurate statements of fact? FREEH: No, they're accurate but, again, I think they have to be balanced with the discussion we've had here today about resources. And with all due respect to the congressional appropriation process, in 2000, which was the last counterterrorism budget year that I testified for, you know, I asked for $860 million -- I'm sorry, $360 million, 890 positions. I got five positions and $6 million.* You can't fight a war with those kinds of resources.  - - -http://www.nj.com/war/ledger/index.ssf?/news/ledger/stories/20040414_ashcroft.html THOMPSON: What provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire next year, or sunset next year, do you deem to be of greatest importance for re-enactment. And are there additions or subsequent amendments to the Patriot Act that you think should be considered by the Congress next year? ASHCROFT: Well, the Patriot Act -- one of its most important contributions was to help us to tear down the wall. The multipoint wiretap is very important. It extended... THOMPSON: That's the roving wiretap. ASHCROFT: The roving wiretap. This is something that had been available in the criminal law since 1986 regarding what was drug dealers and organized criminals. Our ability to use a roving wiretap is important. The presumption against bail for terrorists -- for serious drug offenders and violent criminals, we have a presumption against bail in the law, and for a number of offenses. But there's no presumption against bail. Not meaning there couldn't be bail grant, but meaning that there ought to be a presumption that a person involved with serious charges of terrorism be restrained ... (snip) . . . let me just cut to the chase here to see where we were. Let our money do the talking. In the budgets proposed prior to September 11th, the total CT increases were 72 percent greater than the total increases for drugs and gun prosecutions combined. Now, those were the other issues that were listed as priorities of the department. What we had was a combined total of increases of $683.1 million for drugs and gun prosecutions. (snip)We had a combined counterterrorism-related budget increase of $1,175.2 million dollars, 72 percent higher for counterterrorism-related items than for items related to the other priorities which we had stated, drug interdiction and the prosecution of gun criminals. - - -* Hypocrisy News Today:8 June, 2005 - The Justice Department decided to seek a $10 billion, 5-year quit-smoking program, instead of the $130 billion, 25-year program proposed last month by a government witness. COMPARE TO: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/budgetsum04/ "In total, funding recommended for FY 2005 is an estimated $12.6 BILLION, an increase of $566.3 million (+4.7 percent) over the FY 2004 enacted amount of $12.1 BILLION (emphasis added - jm) 
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Comment #20 posted by runderwo on June 11, 2005 at 02:54:59 PT
schmeff
Thanks. That's what I was looking for and it was evading me.
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Comment #19 posted by jose melendez on June 10, 2005 at 10:15:00 PT
schmeff, runderwo
Prohibition Kills
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Comment #18 posted by schmeff on June 10, 2005 at 09:15:10 PT
"cannabis never killed anyone"
"Can we boil this statement down to something more appealing while retaining its accuracy?"Cannabis is non-toxic.
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Comment #17 posted by runderwo on June 09, 2005 at 22:53:30 PT
jose
"Cannabis deaths Those in favour of cannabis legalisation often claim that there no reported cannabis induced deaths. It is important to understand what this meaIt means only that there are no reported deaths directly attributable solely and immediately to a toxic overdose of cannabis."Thank you. This "cannabis never killed anyone" is spin that often gives the opposition an easy rebuttal. More accurately stated would be that nobody ever suffered any permanent harm from the active ingredients of cannabis. That doesn't make nearly as good a sound bite though. Can we boil this statement down to something more appealing while retaining its accuracy?Unfortunately, the statistics from Australia aren't necessarily meaningful. Was cannabis a causal factor in each incident (meaning that its removal would have precluded the outcome), or was it simply detected in the blood at the time of death? Assuming the truth of the former based on the latter would be an error, but it is tempting for many people who are ignorant regarding cannabis to do.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on June 09, 2005 at 21:26:00 PT
Gary...
VERY good work. Thanks.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 21:17:33 PT
ACLU Press Release
ACLU of Oregon Urges State Officials to Immediately Resume Medical Marijuana Card Program  
June 9, 2005
 Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients Still Protected, ACLU Says PORTLAND, OR -- The American Civil Liberties of Oregon issued a letter today to the State Attorney Generalís office and the Department of Human Services urging the immediate resumption of the stateís medical marijuana card program in compliance with state law. "Oregonís medical marijuana law remains fully valid, whether or not the state is currently issuing ID cards," said David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon. "This weekís Supreme Court decision has nothing to do with the stateís program. Based on our analysis, we expect the Attorney General will clarify this point very soon and direct the medical marijuana card program to return to business as usual." Oregonís Department of Human Services issued a statement the day of the U.S. Supreme Courtís ruling in Gonzales v. Raich saying that it would halt the issuance of medical marijuana registration cards until the state Attorney Generalís office issued a legal opinion clarifying the status of Oregonís state law and program. There are currently more than 10,000 medical marijuana cardholders in Oregon. The Attorney Generalís office assured the ACLU in a phone conversation yesterday that it plans to issue a statement clarifying the status of the program, and the ACLU submitted a letter today urging the Attorney General and the Director of DHS to immediately resume the issuance of medical marijuana cards. In a letter sent to the Attorney General today, the ACLU pointed out that the Supreme Courtís ruling in Raich addressed only the narrow question of whether the federal government retains power under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution to enforce federal marijuana laws. The decision did not address any issues related to the continued validity of state laws allowing or facilitating the use of medical marijuana or doctorsí rights to recommend marijuana. "State medical marijuana laws, including Oregonís, remain valid despite the Supreme Courtís ruling. Thatís a fact," said Allen Hopper, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "Patients and doctors in Oregon should not be distracted by the recent media coverage. State law provides the same protections today that the voters established by initiative in 1998." Confusion arose after several Oregon newspapers reported inaccurate public statements that medical marijuana patients were no longer protected under state law because the Department of Human Services suspended issuance of registration cards. "We want to make sure that medical marijuana patients in Oregon understand they are still protected under state law even with the current moratorium on issuing registration cards," said Fidanque. "As long as a patient has submitted an application for a medical marijuana card with the Department of Human Services, they have the same level of legal protection as if they were holding the card in their hands, unless and until that application is denied." Oregon is one of at least three states in which the ACLU is clarifying that state medical marijuana laws remain valid despite the Supreme Courtís decision in Raich. The ACLU of Hawaii has threatened legal action against a U.S. Attorney in Honolulu who said he was considering prosecuting doctors who recommend medical marijuana in compliance with state law. The Alaska ACLU is also reviewing state officialsí announcements that they are considering suspending Alaskaís medical marijuana program. For additional information on Gonzales v. Raich, see: http://www.aclu.org/court/court.cfm?ID=18409&c=286 For additional information on post-Raich medical marijuana activity in Hawaii, see: http://www.aclu.org/DrugPolicy/DrugPolicy.cfm?ID=18429&c=81To read the letter sent by the ACLU, see: http://www.aclu.org/DrugPolicy/DrugPolicy.cfm?ID=18437&c=81http://www.aclu.org/DrugPolicy/DrugPolicy.cfm?ID=18435&c=81
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Comment #14 posted by jose melendez on June 09, 2005 at 20:35:44 PT
Could it Happen Here Again?
OT: Today's Truncated Headline ;)
CNN . . . Congress accepts president's resignation . . .
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 20:22:56 PT
Just a Comment
I don't even like to read anything about tobacco. I'll tell you why. Anti smoking commercials have just been a way to make the price go up for the smoker. They need money so someone sues someone and the person who smokes pays the price. It's all a big game to make more money. As far as commercials go I wish we would never have to see any drug commercials or alcohol commercials or cigarette commercials. PS: Everything we do can be hazardous to our health including just breathing the air in most major cities!Thanks for reading my rant!
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Comment #12 posted by jose melendez on June 09, 2005 at 20:18:09 PT
Re Comment #11
Here is the link to the Australian Cannabis claims:http://www.katinkahesselink.net/health/canabis.htmlAlso, for the New York Times Site:User ID: cannabisnews
password: password
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Comment #11 posted by jose melendez on June 09, 2005 at 20:11:46 PT
unlimited federal government killing US off
COMPARE:Studies show that smoking three to four joints per day causes at least as much harm to the respiratory system as smoking a full pack of cigarettes every day.Debunking the myths and arming our young people and their parents with the facts do work. Clear the smokescreen by educating the children, parents, teachers, physicians, and legislators in your community before the myths kill any more people.COMPARE:http://www.presstrust.com/article436282.html Tobacco usage might cause 450 million deaths in next 50 years http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/08/AR2005060802472.html Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the Justice Department's lead trial lawyer called him May 9 to say her superiors wanted him to scale back the recommendations he had made in written testimony. They sought to remove his suggestions for a ban on tobacco company methods of marketing to young people before Myers took the stand. Myers said he refused to do so.Cannabis deaths
Those in favour of cannabis legalisation often claim that there are no reported cannabis induced deaths. It is important to understand what this means. It means only that there are no reported deaths directly attributable solely and immediately to a toxic overdose of cannabis.There are, however, cannabis related deaths. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports a total of 184 cannabis related deaths for the five years 1997-2001. ABS breaks these figures down into: 68 Mental (i.e., mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use); 98 Accidental (i.e., accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances); 11 Suicide (i.e., intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to drugs); 7 Undetermined (i.e., drug-related deaths with undetermined intent).Australian figures separating cannabis-related deaths where cannabis was the only drug involved are not readily available. Cannabis is often one factor in a poly-drug cocktail that causes death, including cannabis in combination with alcohol.United States data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, based on those counties in which medical examiners test for cannabis, indicates that out of 664 reported cannabis related deaths in 1999 some 28% or 187 involved cannabis only. (This would suggest an average of 10 deaths per year in Australia that were cannabis related only.)United Kingdom data report some cannabis related deaths that were caused by inhalation of vomit while intoxicated only on cannabis. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/09/politics/09tobacco.html?oref=login Justice Department officials with ties to the tobacco industry might have grown uncomfortable with a large financial demand as part of the government's case against the companies.The payments are intended to finance a stop-smoking program that a government witness said would cost $130 billion over 25 years. In court on Tuesday, a government lawyer, Stephen D. Brody, said the government would ask for a program costing only $10 billion to be paid out over five years.In a statement issued Wednesday evening, the Justice Department said, "The government's suggested smoking cessation program is only an initial requirement, based on the compelling evidence that the defendants will continue to commit fraudulent acts in the future."AHEM!http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/policy/budgetsum04/"In total, funding recommended for FY 2005 is an estimated $12.6 BILLION, an increase of $566.3 million (+4.7 percent) over the FY 2004 enacted amount of $12.1 BILLION (emphasis added - jm) 
http://www.CCCCP.org 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 19:58:37 PT
The GCW
Heavy duty article about Bush!
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on June 09, 2005 at 19:54:59 PT
Speaking of BOMBS...
 "Who would Jesus bomb?" Bush's evangelical surprisehttp://www.boulderweekly.com/newsspin3.htmlTHCU& 
I invision Christ God Our Father saying, George who?
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 09, 2005 at 19:50:39 PT
Alcohol as Medicine or Alcohol for Recreation
A person can have a glass of wine as medicine. Alcohol is in many medicines too. The same person can decide to relax and drink wine for a totally different purpose then medicine. Why is cannabis any different? How Much Wine Is Good For You?http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/26/health/webmd/main669573.shtml
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on June 09, 2005 at 19:41:20 PT
Bombs are falling.
 
 
California's top cop decries Raich ruling by Teresa Schilling (06 Jun, 2005) Attorney General Lockyer issues statement on US Supreme Court's medical marijuana rulinghttp://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/4378.html"There is something very wrong with a federal law that treats medical marijuana the same as heroin. 
 
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on June 09, 2005 at 19:38:50 PT
Our message is getting through
Karen is spouting her usual misleading line of propaganda, but she did acknowledge that ďA recent poll showed that nearly three-fourths of Americans over age 45 support legalizing marijuana for medical use, ...and that she was amazed at how well versed in drug legalization these teens are.Ē It seem that she is giving grudging respect to the fact that the truth about the Drug War is overcoming the government misinformation.
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Comment #5 posted by goneposthole on June 09, 2005 at 19:17:32 PT
IDF to begin use of cannabis for shell shock 
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1091589016749
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Comment #4 posted by cloud7 on June 09, 2005 at 19:11:56 PT
Killing off limited federal government
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2005/06/10/200506100011.asp
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Comment #3 posted by Gary Storck on June 09, 2005 at 19:07:57 PT
IMMLY reacts to the SCOTUS decision
Besides the column above, commentary and reaction from IMMLY appeared in quite a few media in Wisconsin and beyond. The link below connects you to a page with links to articles and some selected quotes from myself and Jacki.
IMMLY's reactions and quotes
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on June 09, 2005 at 18:22:55 PT
Carry On!
Sorry if these have been posted...Pot dispensary on tap despite court ruling:
http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/articles/2005/06/09/news/news02.txtBusiness As Usual at the Local Cannabis Club:
http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=6f6558a21e049c74a854ac9da9fa2162THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...9/11 Whitewasher Grilled By Informed C-Span Callers:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2005/090605whitewashergrilled.htmOutrageous Conspiracy Theories:
http://911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=556&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0Why Did the Trade Center Skyscrapers Collapse?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/reynolds/reynolds12.html9/11 Radio Transmissions of WTC 2 Firefighters:
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc2_firefighters.htmlHustler asks "What if Everything You Know about 9/11 is Wrong?"
http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20050604140153943
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on June 09, 2005 at 17:49:24 PT
The only alternative left, after all this...
Legalize marijuana/cannabis... and right away.
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