New Medical Marijuana Laws Are But Smoke & Mirrors

  New Medical Marijuana Laws Are But Smoke & Mirrors

Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2005 at 07:33:40 PT
By Claudia Sternbach 
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel 

Santa Cruz -- Let me confess, I have smoked pot. It was the ’60s, and I was a teenager. I do not offer that up as an excuse, just background information. The herb and I did not get along all that well. It made me very tired, a little depressed and very hungry. It was a race to see how many graham crackers slathered with chunky peanut butter I could scarf down before heading off to bed.
It was my cousin Ron who first introduced me to marijuana. We were sitting on the covered swing out by his family’s swimming pool. We were 16 or 17 at the time. He was more like a best friend than a cousin. We were born one day apart and our mothers, sisters, shared a hospital room. I would have followed Ron just about anywhere, so taking a hit or two seemed like no big deal. But back inside the house paranoia hit, and I was sure we would be busted by my aunt and uncle. Ron didn’t give a whit. I chose to avoid using after a few attempts, not because I disapproved, but because the chunky peanut butter just leads to chunky thighs, and I hated all the cracker crumbs in my bed. Plus it never made me laugh.Ron continued. He moved on to other drugs. And was found dead at the age of 23 after years of heroin use. I then developed a negative attitude when it came to the use of drugs. If Ron had died an alcoholic, I most likely would have become depressed when around people drinking. I knew my feelings about drugs were based on emotions. I knew there was a world of difference between smoking a joint now and then and shooting heroin between your toes. And I knew that using one didn’t mean it would lead to the other. When friends would light up around me, I didn’t show my feeling of discomfort. I simply excused myself. For me there was too much sadness attached, even to the smell.Almost a dozen years ago, my stepsister, Shorty, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was late stage. Treatment would have to be aggressive. And it was. She was living here in Santa Cruz. We would get together and go to a movie or dinner. I remember one evening sitting at the bar in a restaurant downtown. We were looking at our reflections in the mirror, amazed at how similar our faces were, even though we weren’t blood relatives. We were the same size. The difference between us was she had no hair. Her head was wrapped in a scarf. And she had no appetite for dinner. She was queasy most of the time, often to the point of hugging the toilet. We went outside and walked to my car. Getting in, she asked if I cared if she smoked. She lit up a joint and inhaled deeply. Her facial muscles relaxed. A few more hits and she put it out. She’d save the rest for later, she said, when the nausea made its comeback. I remember being afraid we’d get busted while sitting there. But at the same time almost wished for the police to knock on my window so I would be able to come to Shorty’s defense. I felt protective of her. And I felt it would be such a worthy battle. My stepsister was fighting, not just for her life, but for the right to be able to calm her stomach. So she could eat. Just eat a friggin meal. I was almost disappointed when no uniformed officer showed up. We left my car and walked for a bit. Then, her appetite stronger, we went back and had dinner. A few months later she died. I’ve been lying around reading this week. I’ve got a terrible cold and can’t seem to snap out of it. But the newspapers have been filled with interesting stories, like the latest blow dealt to the medical marijuana advocates. I’ve been listening to the news, hearing bits and pieces from both sides. I seem to recall hearing one person say that since marijuana doesn’t cure anything there is no point in giving it out to sick people. I wish I could remember who said it, but I have been pounding down cold medications and was feeling a bit fuzzy at the time. But fuzzy or not, it has given me lots to contemplate. I have had my own issues with drugs. I have seen both sides to the very extreme. Watched two people I loved die and know exactly the role that drugs played in their lives. But for me this is a no-brainer. Just as I can down various cold medications which do not cure me but may relieve some of the symptoms, those, like my stepsister who can be helped by a toke on a joint should be allowed.California Attorney General Bill Lockyer says that, "People shouldn’t panic. There aren’t going to be many changes." He is wrong. It is bad enough to be sick, to be suffering. But now to be made to feel like a criminal is just plain insulting.Claudia Sternbach teaches a writing class at Bookworks in Aptos. Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Claudia SternbachPublished: June 11, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links as Medicine Marijuana as a Schedule II Drug Will Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ?

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Comment #21 posted by FoM on June 13, 2005 at 12:52:03 PT
Mayan - About Pink Floyd!
Pink Floyd and Rogers Waters are coming together for Live 8!!I can't copy the comment but read what David Gilmour said on this link! I love the Arts!
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 17:33:51 PT
goneposthole and mayan
I didn't know if you knew the song was on line so here it is. I can relate to that song a lot these days! LOL!mayan, thank you I added it to my wish list I have on Amazon.PS: We are watching The Year of The Horse and they showed them smoking a joint. When Neil was smoking it he said I wish it was Kona and then passed it. I never thought I'd seem him smoking ever! LOL!
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Comment #19 posted by MikeEEEEE on June 11, 2005 at 17:30:14 PT
The bottom line
The big drug companie$ do not want their cu$tomer$ growing their medicine for pennie$. They're not intere$ted compassion, only profit$ from pill$ that co$t big dollar$.
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Comment #18 posted by goneposthole on June 11, 2005 at 16:54:20 PT
sterile society
just lettuce on your plate. next day, just cottage cheese. next day, just some canned peaches. A cottage cheese plate is too sophisticated.Only earth-tone houses in gated communities. No blues, no pinks, no reds, no greens. Just terratones and taupes. Like the sky is gray all of the time and the sunsets don't have pinks or oranges or varied blues. The sky isn't a part of the earth. tv is dead the way it is now. especially mtv. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to
leave because I'd go berserk?? Well...
You left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see
I've gone completely out of my mind.. And..
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be
happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!You thought it was a joke and so you laughed, you laughed when I had said
that loosing you would make me flip my lid.. RIGHT???
I know you laughed, I heard you laugh, you laughed you laughed and
laughed and then you left, but now you know I'm utterly mad... And..They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa,
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the happy home. With trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!I cooked your food, I cleaned your house, and this is how you pay me back
for all my kind unselfish loving deeds.. Huh??
Well you just wait, they'll find you yet and when they do they'll put you
in the ASPCA, you mangy mutt!!! And...They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy
to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming
to take me away, ha-haaa!!!
To the happy home, with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket
weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haa!!!
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time... (fade out)Hey, buddy!
Yes officer..
You a head?
No, but I'm catching up, ha ha ha....original recording by Napoleon XIV 
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on June 11, 2005 at 16:45:48 PT
If you like Floyd and solo Roger you'll love what,imho, is his best solo work. It's a brilliant concept album about the mindless excesses of modern society...Amused to Death
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Comment #16 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 11, 2005 at 15:37:41 PT
I think nobody has to worry about Sensenbrenner's nonsense because I was looking at the bill's current standing, and nobody has cosponsered it. I hope that means that every congress person thinks he's a complete idiot and shouldn't even be in congress.The MMJ bill however has 37 cosponsers. It's not many and looks like it won't pass either.
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Comment #15 posted by E_Johnson on June 11, 2005 at 14:47:27 PT
Have you heard Richard Cowan say the atrocities get worse towards the end of the war?Maybe that's what Sensenbrenner's bill is about. The war has failed, they think they can rescue it by some extreme last minute action.Let's see the Republicans go to the 2008 election advocating three years in federal prison for babysitters.Congress' approval rating right now is even lower than Bush's. Only about 31% of Americans polled say they think Congress is doing a good job.We have to endure the insanity to come, because on the other side of it is peace.Remember how bitter some people were about Vietnam.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 14:32:56 PT
Creativity can't be lost or a people won't be able to stand. People aren't just numbers but individuals. Each individual has a talent unique to them. When we stifle a persons creativity they become drones for lack of a better word. A society full of drones won't have much of a purpose. The spirit dies and we are left with a world or country full of blank eyed people. It's very sad to see this happening to our country and particularly to those who didn't have the benefit of the times when Hippies ruled.
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Comment #13 posted by AlvinCool on June 11, 2005 at 14:22:05 PT
Yes FoM that's the way its going. I work in a manufacturing plans and we are implimenting "lean". Which in some cases means you pick this up, move it there, hit it here and move it to a finished location then start over. If you don't do it in a timely fashion you lose your job. They will just make up a reason as you can't be terminated for moving too slow, but termination in todays economy is almost a death sentence for some of the people making lower wages.I believe the same thing happend in Shindlers list except they took the guy out and attempted to shoot him in the head. When the gun jammed they just lost interest and walked off. Creativity is dying in America
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 11:43:21 PT
And Shoots Away The Colors
That is so good. 
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on June 11, 2005 at 11:07:56 PT
RE A Sterile Society
An animated film illustrating your point and redemption:AtomFilms - Chromophobia
click "watch film" 
Belgium | 11:00  "An invading army marches into a peaceful town, imprisons the citizens (even Santa!) and shoots away the colors. But fear and oppression cannot defeat a spirit that longs to be free."CreditsCreator: Raoul Servais
HonorsLion de Saint Marc (San Marco Lion) animation prize, Venice International Film Festival - 1966 
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Comment #10 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 11, 2005 at 10:33:16 PT

Off Subject: Sensenbrenner's bill
I am not a legal buff, but what I am reading is that, if a baby sitter or parent learns of a possible drug violation and doesn't report it, he or she will get a minimum of 3 YEARS in prison. THIS GUY IS CRAZY !!!Snipped from the bill:FAILURE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DRUG TRAFFICKING ACTIVITIES`SEC. 425. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who witnesses or learns of a violation of sections 416(b)(2), 417, 418, 419, 420, 424, or 426 to fail to report the offense to law enforcement officials within 24 hours of witnessing or learning of the violation and thereafter provide full assistance in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the person violating paragraph (a).`(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to not less than two years or more than 10 years. If the person who witnesses or learns of the violation is the parent or guardian, or otherwise responsible for the care or supervision of the person under the age of 18 or the incompetent person, such person shall be sentenced to not less than three years or more than 20 years.'.

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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 09:31:24 PT

A Sterile Society
The way things seem to be now people are sterile, stiff, carrying a nest egg around in a few commercials. Seeing butterflys in an addicting drug commercial is so out of balance with what people really are. People also have a spirit. The spirit of a person longs for music that inspires and visual art then brings wonder to us. With the spirit side not being fed too we are only just living and breathing and creativity is lost. When we lose creativity we become a country that is sterile, unfeeling and won't be able to stand in a world that can turn so very quickly into something that is hard to handle.
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Comment #8 posted by SoberStoner on June 11, 2005 at 09:15:39 PT

Cannabis is a creativity enhancer
Thats why you see a large percentage of techies and musicians and writers etc that smoke. This article was pretty good. It started like typical anti propaganda does, but actually made a brilliant point of showing how idiotic these laws are. Anyone that would deny the rights of the sick and dying is sicker than the real patients they are hurting with their greed. 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 09:12:49 PT

You are exactly right. When you take Cannabis out of the picture where does the inspiration and creativity come from? I really don't know.
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Comment #6 posted by AlvinCool on June 11, 2005 at 09:08:42 PT

Point Taken FOM
Yes where would we be without the music? One point of view and I understand it. On the same "note" where would we be without the "technology" that delivers the music? That didn't fall from the sky. Our technology, and not just for music, is almost all related to people who use those "wild" ideas talked about in reefer madness to form a core that a technology can be built on. There is no doubt that technology advances came fast and furious at the same time that cannabis spread amongst our colleges in the early 60's.It's interesting that since tech development firms have been doing massive drug screening for several years other countries are passing us by with technology advances. Countries that have recently started talking about their "new" problems with people using cannabis.
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Comment #5 posted by jose melendez on June 11, 2005 at 09:03:16 PT

well duh, I feel stupid now, after rereading her letter.Apologies to the author.
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Comment #4 posted by jose melendez on June 11, 2005 at 08:58:15 PT

got harm?
Far fewer than two tenths of one percent of cannabis users move on to heroin. In fact, the crackdown on pot use has been indisputably associated with the highest ever heroin use rates in history - among eighth graders!Ironically, Ms. Sternbach's repeated use of peanut butter as an icon for the munchies avoids the true fact that people actually die from eating peanut products. Never mind that the one million or more premature U.S. deaths every year from tobacco, pharmaceuticals and processed, fatty and high sugar content foods.It makes me wonder if the author can spell "stupid."
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 08:51:19 PT

It is a magnificent DVD. The money, the concept, and those who participated in this event were wonderful. When they bring down the Wall words cannot say the impact I feel.I really like this article because it shows that even those who don't know much about Cannabis get it. They know it's wrong and they are speaking out. I understand the paranoia she felt because back then we feared our parents and we also were respectful of our parents more then the way things are now. We have a friend that said when he smoked his first joint he got so scared he prayed to God if he didn't die he would never smoke again. The next day he woke up and said that was really fun and went out and found more to smoke and so it's been for him since the 70s. Paranoia comes from fear of our government now not from Cannabis.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on June 11, 2005 at 08:38:25 PT

Great one
FOM - must be a great movie -I really like the 1st album he did after PF - I think it was "Radio Kaos" or something, he's awesome.I guess this article is OK but it does force you to put your mental boots on to wade through the usual BS cartoons & snacks crap.My reaction to this is merely to think about my own first experiences with smoking cannabis, which involved passing a bowl around with friends & then dropping into 50-degree couloirs, bowls & chutes from the top of a spectacular mountain ridge out West some place.  Or hiking all morning to the top of a summit & blazing up to celebrate the accomplishment.  Many of the best outdoor athletes I've known (in terms of stamina & ability) are powered by cannabis like Popeye is by spinach.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 08:28:20 PT

Hi Everyone
I'm very angry at this moment and wanted to say why. We turned off the tv news and put on the DVD Roger Waters The Wall Live in Berlin. The is one of the best live concerts ever made and it is totally out of this world. I'm sick and tired of people calling us and people that have brought us so much good "stoned slackers". Where would we be without this magnificent music and the "stoned slackers" that made and gave it to us. What is so darn wrong with wanting to be " Comfortably Numb"There I feel better.
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