Congressional Leaders Should Act To Protect

Congressional Leaders Should Act To Protect
Posted by CN Staff on June 11, 2005 at 19:25:43 PT
By John Webster
Source: North County Times 
California -- As documented by Atlantic Monthly correspondent Eric Schlosser, Randall Todd Cunningham was arrested in 1997 for helping transport 400 pounds of marijuana from coast to coast. A few months earlier, California passed Proposition 215 allowing medical use of marijuana.Although he admitted that he was part of a commercial smuggling operation that distributed more than 30,000 pounds of nonmedical pot, Cunningham was able to avoid a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Instead he was sentenced to only 2 1/2 years in prison. His sentence might have been shorter, but he tested positive for cocaine three times while out on bail.
His father, U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Escondido, tearfully pleaded for mercy at his son's trial. "My son has a good heart," he said.Don't people like Angel Raich and Diane Monson also have good hearts? They are the two medical marijuana patients at the center of this week's Supreme Court ruling affirming the powers of Congress to regulate the drug.Todd Cunningham is in good company. He is a child of privilege. Like the children of former Secretary of State James Baker and conservative Congressman Dan Burton, R-Ind. ---- both of whom were arrested for violating federal marijuana laws ---- they had an advocate in the federal government to shelter them from our nation's severe drug laws.Medical marijuana users don't have such advocates ---- at least not here in North County. Last year both Reps. Cunningham and Issa voted against the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment that would have ended funding for federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients.In 2004, the North County Times reported that among Congressman Issa's numerous taxpayer-funded trips was a jaunt to Ukraine to observe the upcoming elections. The article notes that Issa defended such trips as important learning opportunities.Issa was accompanied on that trip by other members of Congress, including Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. One can only hope that while he was expanding his knowledge of Ukrainian voting, Issa was also learning something about compassion from Rep. Hinchey.Hinchey is now co-sponsoring an amendment along with a true compassionate conservative, Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. Like Rohrabacher's previous attempts to amend the law, the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment would eliminate funding for federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients.It is likely that this amendment will be debated next week, and now that the Supreme Court has put the ball squarely in Congress' court, it is more critical than ever that our representatives act to protect their sick and dying constituents who have chosen to seek relief through a nontoxic, medicinal herb as sanctioned by state laws.While they obsessed wildly over Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, there seems to be little interest in this Congress to follow their hearts when it comes to helping medical marijuana users. Strange indeed, considering that polls indicate an overwhelming majority of Americans support allowing the use of medicinal marijuana.If Issa and Cunningham vote against their most vulnerable constituents again, we will all be left wondering exactly who are they protecting?John Webster is a Vista-based graphic artist who regularly contributes political cartoons to this newspaper.Complete Title: North County's Congressional Leaders Should Act To Protect, Not PunishSource: North County Times (CA)Author: John WebsterPublished: Saturday, June 11, 2005 Copyright: 2005 North County Times Contact: editor nctimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links as Medicine Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ? 
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Comment #10 posted by mayan on June 13, 2005 at 03:10:13 PT
He's vastly outnumbered. The empty can rattles most.
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Comment #9 posted by jose melendez on June 12, 2005 at 10:46:16 PT
please check, write!
from: "I would hope that Frederick B. Becker’s column, “Mixed messages going up in smoke” ( ) generated a few letters from readers brave enough to dispute the claims the author presents as fact.To assist others interested in exposing such . . . bunk, I have assembled a point by point refutation, with enough supporting evidence to thoroughly disprove the claims presented in that June 11 essay.While I would gladly accept an opportunity to rebut Mr. Becker in the pages of the North County Times, my guess is that the length of my answer to his objections would preclude acceptance for publication in a newspaper that understandably may prefer to run paid advertisements for alcohol, pharmaceutical or anti-drug advertising.Therefore I have posted a complete refutation here: feel free to point out any errors, or use the page as a launch pad from which to write your own letter to the editor*.-jm*
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Comment #8 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 12, 2005 at 09:11:38 PT
Real cool animation!! It says it just right too.
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Comment #7 posted by Sukoi on June 12, 2005 at 05:07:59 PT
Pain Man
Take a look:
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Comment #6 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 11, 2005 at 22:56:44 PT
Find Out How Your Senator Has Been Voting
Anyone can find out how any senator has been voting on any subject (drugs, MJ, hemp). The link below, from the library of congress (Thomas) will allow anyone to type in and see how their senator sponsored and/or co-sponsored a bill on any subject selected.Find Your Representative here: out if they sponsored or co-sponsored any subject here:
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on June 11, 2005 at 21:32:14 PT
talking points
Fred Becker in comment #1 tells an interesting story about the history of the FDA. But he conveniently leaves out some crucial pieces of history in order to twist his story into a prohibitionist screed. First off, cannabis is not a “snake oil” remedy. Nobody say it is a remedy. It can be effective in alleviating some medical conditions. Aspirin for example, doesn’t cure anything either yet we have lots of it around. Secondly, up until cannabis was made illegal in 1937 after a multi-year hysterical propaganda campaign cannabis was packaged and distributed by several well-known pharmaceutical companies, prescribed by doctors and sold in pharmacies.  
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on June 11, 2005 at 20:46:03 PT
yes kap the public is sick of the sour notes. 
Editorial Director, Grand Rapids (MI) Press
Subject: Point of Order
Cc: CONG. EHLERS, SEN. LEVIN, DEBBI STABENOWWhile I applaud the editorial endorsement of The Grand Rapids Press for the use of medical marijuana, at the same time your opinion that it can be a "gateway drug" is without any substantiation or justification whatsoever. This is nothing more than a Red Herrring promulgated by the White House Office of National Drug Policy.This absurdity would be asymptotic to claiming that wine is a gateway drug and consumption of it will cause alcoholism.Because marijuana is now illegal, and you of course know that this was not always the case, and because it can often only be obtained from street corner dealers, it is those dealers who pass out free samples of really hard and addictive drugs who have the expectation that it will bring them in more money. It is these dealers who find themselves competing with one another and who defend their turfs with weapons that they have no compunctions about firing off and which often end up costing the lives of innocent citizens.This contemporary "Prohibition" of certain substances is identical to the Prohibition of alcohol which went on for some 13 years before the Amendment was finally repealed. That ended the careers of the Al Capone's and other bootleggers as well as the corruption of politicians, judges and police officers which became an epidemic during this period. I suspect that none of you on the Grand Rapids Press editorial board were alive during this period, but I was.Though nothing can quite replace what can be learned from personal experience, you folks can expand your consciousness and benefit by reading "Drug Crazy" by Mike Gray, ISBN 0-679-43533-6, and I would strongly urge you to do so. Digesting what is contained in this book can only lead and any intelligent and realistic person to conclude that the current War On Drugs can never be won and that regulation of such substances, as is the case with alcohol, is the only logical alternative. Absent that, we shall continue to fill our prisons to overflowing, encourage more and more people to engage in criminal activity, and cause more and more innocent people to prematurely lose their lives.Finally, decriminalization and regulation of all substances would finally end the hypocrisy of the federal government, which on the one hand puts hundreds of thousands of people in the slammer every year for using marijuana, while at the same time has grown and hand rolled marijuana cigarettes for the last 20 years and distributed 300 of them FREE to each of seven (7) U.S. citizens every month, who cannot be arrested for smoking them at any time and in any place.By copy of this to my elected representatives, I would urge them to read this book also.Sincerely Yours,Lee T. cc: Senator Carl Levin
   Senator Debbi Stabenow
   Congressman Vern Ehlers
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on June 11, 2005 at 20:27:41 PT:
The voice of (hypocritical self-serving) reason
Good thing these guys give their vocations as well as their spiel; makes it a lot easier to gauge which end of the altruism meter his stance is pegged at. All the way into the CHA-CHING! zone. He gets his daily bread from forced cannabis treatment. Hardly a neutral observer. And predictably mouthing the Party Line. I'm yawning, but only partly from fatigue; don't these antis realize their talking points booklet is several years out of date? It's always the same tired old lines, and the public is starting to notice what we did years ago. It's exactly like the 'echo chamber' we hear about all the time. The same wretched, wheezing old propaganda machine, bellows patched and off tune. Give it a rest, Mr. Becker; the public is sick of the sour notes. 
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Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on June 11, 2005 at 20:24:43 PT
Corrupt? Even Condoleeza promotes Viagra
Re: #1"Let's leave this problem in the hands of the scientific and research community on which the FDA bases its decisions about the control of drugs."What a crock from yet another intellectually dishonest quack.The very same government regulations have repeatedly been manipulated to cover up harm from mad cow, Vioxx and ADHD "medications" (speed), and evidence increasingly indicates FDA actually and knowingly participated in such fraud with impunity.All for profit: The Food and Drug Administration has lately been accused of silencing one of its drug experts who raised safety concerns weeks before Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market, according to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Dr. David J. Graham of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, told Senate investigators he faced resistance to his findings within the FDA. He said, "Merck knew it had trouble on its hands and took action. At the same time, instead of acting as a public watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration was busy challenging its own expert and calling his work 'scientific rumor.'"Dr. Graham was involved with a research project that studied the records of 1.39 million Kaiser Permanente patients. The study found that high doses of Vioxx, known as rofecoxib, tripled risks of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. Dr. Graham was scheduled to present those findings in late August during an epidemiology conference in France, said he ran into resistance when the FDA reviewed his abstract and the conclusion Dr. Graham presented in France was revised. " . . . a memorandum dated Nov. 21, 1996, by a Merck official illustrated that the company wrestled with Vioxx's potential to induce a cardiac event, the report said. Another e-mail highlighted the possibility that patients could suffer blood clots unless they were also given aspirin.Those documents may be used in ongoing litigation against the company." Last week, six weeks after hearings in which parents recounted the suicides of their children and pleaded with the FDA to take action, the agency announced it was asking drugmakers to place warnings on the labels of leading antidepressants. The warnings would advise doctors to closely monitor patients for suicidal behavior after they begin antidepressant treatment or change their dosage. Vera Sharav, president of a patients' advocacy group, was not satisfied. "They issued the warning because they had to save face under pressure," said Sharav. "However, the warning equivocates, claiming there's no evidence proving the suicidal effect of these drugs when the FDA has embargoed a report that would show the opposite. The FDA has been a party to a coverup." A US former health inspector currently in Canada claims the US Department of Agriculture covered up cases of mad cow disease in American cattle herds in the late 1990s. Friedlander testified in Parliament on Tuesday that USDA veterinarians sent samples of brain tissue of cattle suspected of being stricken with mad cow disease to private laboratories. He claims the labs confirmed the illness, but that USDA officials ran their own tests on the same samples and said they came back negative. Friedlander said he was fired while employed as a chief inspector at a meat packing plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for criticizing what he describes as the USDA's "unsafe practices." - - No Donkeys Aloud: Secretary of State tickles ivory for Pulmonary Hypertension WASHINGTON (AP) - A musician long before she became an academic and then a world-famous diplomat, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took to the Kennedy Center concert stage Saturday to accompany a young soprano battling an often-fatal disease. Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago. The soprano is a granddaughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and his wife Annette, who Rice has known for years. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association, formed in 1990, presented the concert to draw attention to the disease from which more than 100,000 people are known to suffer. Largely unknown in the United States until about 10 years ago, it has no known cause or cure, but genetic studies and a search for treatment are under way. RELATED:Coincidence, or Corruption?Earlier this month: FDA Approves Off Label Use for Viagra: to Treat Pulmonary Hypertension! 06-07-05 at 9:10AM The government has approved the key ingredient in the impotence pill Viagra as a treatment for hundreds of people left gasping by a rare but often fatal type of high blood pressure. Maker Pfizer Inc. will sell the ingredient under a new name _ Revatio _ in the dose approved for pulmonary hypertension, the company announced Monday. Pulmonary hypertension causes dangerously high blood pressure in the arteries connecting the heart and lungs. If not alleviated, it can destroy the heart. Revatio is only the second oral treatment for pulmonary hypertension. A drug called Tracleer has been sold since 2001, after studies showed it could increase patients' survival. The Food and Drug Administration approved Revatio based on a study that showed it increased patients' ability to exercise, a marker of improvement. The study of 277 patients found that after about four weeks of therapy, Revatio users were able to walk roughly 60 to 80 feet further in six minutes. Revatio contains sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra that helps to relax blood vessels. The approved dose for pulmonary hypertension is 20 milligrams, three times a day. That is a different-sized pill than Viagra formulations for impotence; Revatio also is round and white to distinguish it from Viagra's blue diamond shape. Pfizer said side effects among pulmonary hypertension patients were similar to those reported by men who use Viagra for impotence, mostly headache and flushing, even though many Revatio users will get a higher daily dosage of sildenafil. Like with Viagra, anyone who uses nitrate-containing drugs, common for heart disease, should not use Revatio _ the interaction could cause deadly drops in blood pressure, its label warns. The announcement comes days after the FDA confirmed it is investigating whether Viagra and similar drugs might play a role in rare cases of optic nerve damage that can cause blindness. Also, no one yet knows if it is safe or useful to combine Revatio with the older pulmonary hypertension treatment Tracleer Pfizer said Revatio will be in pharmacies in mid-July but didn't announce a price.Meanwhile, they use excuse after disproven excuse, insisting Angel Raich and Diane Monson ought to be arrested along with the rest of us for self-medicating with something that does not make one blind: Causal Schizophrenia-Cannabis Link Debunked:
Got fraud? Out it!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 11, 2005 at 19:29:01 PT
Related Article from The North County Times
Mixed Messages Going Up in SmokeBy: Frederick B. BeckerSaturday, June 11, 2005 California -- When I was a teen, I remember reading the book "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair concerning the nauseating condition of the meatpacking industry in 1916. Why wasn't the government controlling the food products we eat? Well, they did and today we have a system that protects every American from unhealthy food and drug products. On Monday the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, supporting a drug-regulating and -rating system that has been in place in the United States for nearly 100 years.In the early 1900s, the federal government set up the Food and Drug Administration to develop a system to register, control quantities, secure quality production standards and require record-keeping and reporting of all drugs used in the United States. The federal government later established the Drug Enforcement Agency as an enforcement tool to regulate compliance. The "homegrown" state laws passed in recent years to legalize medicinal use of marijuana serve to undermine this federal system of protection and create a drug distribution system that does not address the issues of registration (who is giving and getting this drug), quality and quantity control (how much are they getting, how often, and what is the strength), and most important, record-keeping and reporting to ensure that the drug is not causing harm. It wasn't too long ago that the traveling medicine man came to town with his magic elixir that could cure anything from warts to whooping cough. It was a "feel good" drug that usually contained cocaine or heroin and made people feel good but did nothing for the ailment. There was no regulation and people died. 
As an educator with more than 30 years working in substance abuse prevention and intervention programs for youth, one of the most disturbing outcomes of this medical marijuana debate is the impact it has on young people. The misinformation and conflicting messages have led teens to believe that marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol ---- thinking that it is "natural" and "cures diseases." These beliefs are often supported by their parents, who don't understand the risks associated with teen marijuana use (including lowered school success, juvenile delinquency and future drug dependency). According to local school surveys, more high school juniors have used marijuana in the past 30 days than have smoked cigarettes, and more teens in San Diego County are receiving treatment for marijuana use than for alcohol use.Let's leave this problem in the hands of the scientific and research community on which the FDA bases its decisions about the control of drugs. If marijuana has true medicinal purposes, then let it be prescribed (not simply recommended) by a physician, controlled in quality and quantity by FDA standards, and recorded and reported to the medical community as a check and balance of its effectiveness or harm. Let' s use the system we have in place to protect the citizens of our country and our youth.Frederick B. Becker is a board member of both the North Coastal Prevention Coalition and the San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth ---- two prevention collaboratives serving the north coastal region of San Diego County.Copyright: 2005 North County Times
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