Talking Medical Marijuana

Talking Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on February 05, 2006 at 08:04:03 PT
By Sara Watson Arthurs, The Times-Standard
Source: Times-Standard 
California -- More research is needed on medical marijuana, and Humboldt State University might be just the place to do it, said Dr. Rebecca Stauffer, director of student health and counseling, Saturday afternoon. Stauffer was part of a panel discussion on medical marijuana held as part of the higher education track of workshops at the North Coast Education Summit at HSU. About 45 people attended.
Moderator Sally Botzler, education professor at HSU, said the purpose was to have a dialogue rather than a debate -- that is, participants should listen to each another's perspectives rather than try to convince each other that their view is the only right one. The event, which also included time for audience comments, continued in a civil manner. Jesse Goplen, a student at HSU, shared his own experience as a medical marijuana user. Goplen said he'd tried prescription medications for his panic attacks but found that they didn't help and had side effects that left him feeling “zombified.” Marijuana, by contrast, helped relieve the panic attacks, he said. Goplen said he uses a vaporizer rather than smoking his marijuana. ”I've seen a lot of people who've really been helped by cannabis,” he said. HSU President Rollin Richmond said he believes medical marijuana law “provides an excuse” for people who want to use the drug recreationally. Richmond, a geneticist by training, said different people's bodies respond differently to the same substance. ”You need to be very careful about what drugs you put in your body, because you don't know how you're going to react to them,” he said. Richmond said he believes marijuana should be legalized and taxed, like alcohol is. Arcata City Councilman Dave Meserve also said marijuana should be legal. He said marijuana-related crime, like thefts, have to do with the high black market value of the drug. ”It really is a victimless crime to use marijuana,” he said. Dr. Denver Nelson said doctors can prescribe marinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, as a medication but the medical marijuana recommendations aren't really prescriptions. Nelson said marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol -- OK for adults to use in their own homes. ”But don't drive, don't give it to your kids and don't call it a medicine, because it's really not,” he said. Mike Goldsby, who teaches addiction studies at College of the Redwoods, said marijuana can cause problems for some people. ”While many people experience marijuana as a benign substance, many other people do not,” Goldsby said. He said he sees legitimate medical uses of marijuana, but that some of the “long list of ailments” for which it can be recommended seem inappropriate. Stauffer said HSU has higher rates of students reporting daily marijuana use than other campuses, and that students themselves report that high numbers of days using marijuana correspond to lower grades or dropping out of school. Stauffer said she's particularly concerned about those who use the drug daily, as many students have reported, since a person's brain is still developing until they're 25 years old. She said she some students might be “taking marijuana as a coping mechanism” for minor problems. Attorney Greg Allen spoke on the legal aspects of medical marijuana law. He said that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed “a pretty decent ordinance” specifying how much marijuana can be grown or possessed by any individual, but it only applies to unincorporated areas of the county, with local cities under different guidelines. In response to audience questions, the panel briefly discussed HSU's marijuana policy. Richmond said a student found in possession of marijuana would have the marijuana confiscated. Allen said this gives patients who use medical marijuana fewer rights than patients using other types of medicine. Source: Times-Standard (CA)Author: Sara Watson Arthurs, The Times-Standard Published: Sunday, February 05, 2006 Copyright: 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc.Contact: editor times-standard.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #60 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 22:07:19 PT
Meant to tell you this morning that was a good letter you wrote. I believe those letters...whether they get ink or not, are soooo important. 
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Comment #59 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 21:56:54 PT:
museman something you said
I noticed that you mentioned"They got a lot of re-sellable bud from that bust"who are they selling too their friends, isn't the bud destroyed under close watch and records. this needs to be looked into. we need to have some sort of watch group that makes sure all evidence is destroyed. however I do deeply feel that the cops do smoke it and give or sell it to their friends. divinetribe in ChinaI think someone should print this forum out and send it to runruff. I know when I was in jail and complete strangers to me were talking about me it would make my day. One day at a time some days are good some are bad..
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Comment #58 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 18:07:01 PT
I'm trying to believe, and I do, 
though it's hard sometimes, that "All things work to the good of them that love God."
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Comment #57 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 18:01:05 PT
Runruff's Sister
Children of the Hour, Inc. was founded by Darla Sisson-Long of Galt, California. Having a great burden for the children of India, Darla has been faithfully involved in mission work since 1989. Darla and her husband, Gary Long, are the sole administrators of Children of the Hour, Inc. Their dedication to Children of the Hour is complete. Even their plane tickets to India are purchased of their own, personal money. One hundred percent of the donations given to Children of the Hour directly benefit the children in their care.Children of the Hour, Inc. had very humble beginnings when Darla launched a small home in India, for the young children of lepers. In an oppressive caste system, these children would have otherwise had no hope of advancing in life. Those children, girls, have grown in beautiful, educated young women. Children of the Hour has grown, too.Today, Children of the Hour operates a home in Chennai, a ministry in Hyerabad, Andra Pradesh and a daycare school in the Philippines.
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Comment #56 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 17:51:20 PT:
Great timing!
We are meeting now. I think the timing is perfect.Hope, the middle brown dog is Deva. She is 80 lbs. of wiggling muscle. She's awesome and her sweet spirit shines through those bright eyes.Runruff will stay free on the inside. Good will come of this. Runruff often tells me that to whom much is given, much is expected. 
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Comment #55 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 17:50:03 PT
"collateral damage"
and using him to boost their numbers to get more Federal funding which is wrung from all of they can do it some more."Good guys"? I have a lot of trouble with them calling themselves, "The Good Guys".That's just not true when they are arresting people like Jerry.
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Comment #54 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 17:45:23 PT:
He's "collateral damage" in their metaphoric war, and they know it, and they don't care.It makes me sick too. 
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Comment #53 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 17:27:36 PT
Thanks, Runruffswife
Wish we could have met you under better circumstances. 
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Comment #52 posted by whig on February 06, 2006 at 16:34:27 PT
"The two meetings I wasn't allowed to sit in on were the ones where they wanted "information". Which, I am proud to say, Jerry refused. He won't turn the savages on our peaceful farmers."It seems to me this is why they are doing this to him. He's "collateral damage" in their metaphoric war, and they know it, and they don't care.I feel sick.
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Comment #51 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 15:04:16 PT
You're welcome. These details help us understand and I appreciate you and museman sharing them with us.
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Comment #50 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 14:53:10 PT:
Thank you so very much. It is great to have this connection with you all.
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Comment #49 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 14:50:11 PT:
museman - runruffs facts
"The fact that Jerry was PHYSICALLY UNABLE to do the things he is charged with doing was swept under the rug in their private court sessions."
Without a doubt. I sat in on every court session except two. Jerry's court appointed attorney never once mentioned that Jerry was physically unable to perform the tasks involved in a grow. When the DEA showed up the morning of the bust two Februarys ago, they raided our house and the home of the man responsible for the grow; he lived on this property 200 feet away. The man responsible said, no man, it wasn't me, who you want is next door. So he got to stay home that night and watch the boob tube while Jerry went with the sheriff. Man responsible moved out of state the following week, he left his dog, Sisco (thank God), told Jerry he was going to lose his house and property and do twenty years in prison. Wow. The two meetings I wasn't allowed to sit in on were the ones where they wanted "information". Which, I am proud to say, Jerry refused. He won't turn the savages on our peaceful farmers.There was no physical way Jerry could have done the work on the grow. I was with him 24/7 to help nurse him back. He was just a few months into recovery from the 6-way by-pass and having died on the way to the hospital, and less than two months into recovery from major eye surgery. Jerry didn't have depth perception then. He was very weak and medicated. This was never talked about to the FED people who could change Jerrys future. Jerry's ghost attorney didn't submit records. The judge apparently didn't know how sick Jerry was/is. So she sentenced him based on old medical records. She even said in court the day she sentenced him that according to the medical records submited she didn't see any significant change in his health. Her mind was already made up. Judge Ann Aiken and DA Doug Fong both wanted Jerry to do some time, to make an example out of him because he is such a generous activist. At least that's how it appears to me.
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Comment #48 posted by museman on February 06, 2006 at 13:13:46 PT
divinetribe- runruffs case
Runruffswife stated the basics. What I think should be mentioned is the fact that at the time of the bust, and sometime before, Jerry was too physically incapacitated to actually do anything like the kind of labor it takes to grow a decent crop. There was another person involved. The courts know this, or I wouldn't reveal it. That person was the 'mover and shaker' of the grow. That person made the intitial decisions concerning the grow, Jerry was just there and aware of it. On the day of the bust, that person got clean away, leaving Jerry literally 'holding the bag.' It was obvious to the arresting officers that Jerry couldn't have been the actual 'grower' because of his condition.What should be noted, is that the pertinent court events concerning Jerry's trial were held in private non-public sessions with no outside witnesses. Court records are no doubt compromised.I did post before about how corrupt this county is, most specially it's law enforcement. It's all about money. They got a lot of re-sellable bud from that bust, and they got federal funding amounts directly related to the amount of actual busts they manage to get. The fact that Jerry was PHYSICALLY UNABLE to do the things he is charged with doing was swept under the rug in their private court sessions.That judge, and her entire G.O.B. circle should be jailed for incompetence and impersonating justice for personal gain.The anger that comes out of things like this makes me understand why those young foolish islamic 'freedom fighters' (suicide bombers) could destroy their lives for such a cause. I don't agree (I think it's foolish and wrong) but I understand.My guru shows me where the real power is, with Love Faith, and Belief. The Truth is a sword, and the only weapon in this 'war' that will work.P.S. Jerry's contact info is also listed on his page.
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Comment #47 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:55:11 PT
And I intend to stay "obsessed" with those stupid, cruel, inhumane, unreasonalbe laws until they are changed.It's a calling...and I have to do it.
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Comment #46 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 12:51:55 PT
Obsessed with Cannabis
I am not obsessed with cannabis either. It's about the laws that have hurt so many people.
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Comment #45 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:51:53 PT
Comment 43
FoM's right. I'm alone a lot too because of my husband's work. 
Sharing an alarming moment or really down time can help diffuse it's power to hurt us.
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Comment #44 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:48:40 PT
Off Topic stuff.
I think it's good that we talk off topic on occasion...especially if it's connected somehow...because the enemy lurkers that lurk here have to aknowledge that we do know something about other subjects as well and aren't "obsessed with cannabis" as some of the enemy like to add to their cadre of insults towards us. I, personally, am not obsessed at all with cannabis...but I might could be considered obsessed with what the cannabis laws are wrongfully doing to this country, the world, and it's peoples.I loved that middle dog. She looks so deep and understanding and connective. Her eyes are where I see it. I'm so sorry she's so down. I imagine your shepherd knows he has to kick up the guarding now. They sense your grief. Talk to the middle dog. Tell her Jerry will come back. Make her understand somehow. Give her extra petting.
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Comment #43 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 12:45:09 PT
One more important thing. If at any time you feel afraid for any reason and just talking might make you feel better please considering talking to someone here on CNews. I am alone sometimes because of my husband being a truck driver and I know that everything is ok but having a place to share with another person takes any fear away I might have.
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Comment #42 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 12:40:15 PT
Of course it is fine. People want to know about runruff and how you are doing. I could e-mail you but sharing it with everyone is way more important to me. Jerry is a real person. He and you are hurting and if we can't talk about stuff like that then why do I even bother to do CNews? See!
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Comment #41 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 12:31:50 PT:
No, I haven't heard from him yet. He said he would call as soon as a phone was made available to him. I will let you know when that is. 
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Comment #40 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 12:30:41 PT:
dogs and contacts
Dear Friends,
Please write to Jerry while he's at the "facility" (I like to say it with a lisp)! The contact information is:
Jerry Sisson - #66424-065, FMS Devens, P.O. Box 879, Devens MA 01434. As for our dogs, they are sad I can tell. Deva, the middle one in the picture (rottweiler, pittbull, mastiff mix) wouldn't even get up out of her bed this morning; she was curled up in a tight little ball with her head tucked in. Sisco, he's the wolf hybred on the left, he's so sweet and sensitive. He's been pawing at me a lot. His eyes are big and they look a little panicked. Zelda May, sheep dog, has kicked it up a notch with the guarding of the property today. I noticed with every client that came to workout she was right out there to see who it was and stayed with them until she saw me acknowledge that they were okay. That's good. I feel safer.You are welcome to email me personally at blossomasana I enjoy talking with you all so much here and also want to be sensitive to the cnews protocol of keeping to the topic. I notice a lot of folks share personal info. Is all my sharing alright FOM?Love and Blessings to you All. From runruff also. I know he's thinking about home and cnews.
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Comment #39 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 12:21:33 PT
Have you heard from him yet?
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Comment #38 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:13:50 PT
And he's right, Runruffswife.
And his persecutors are so wrong."This is a man who counts the fish in his pond, talks with his dogs, seeks ways to help people in all walks of life, and someone who loves every moment of life and believes that God's gift of cannabis should be free."
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Comment #37 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 12:09:09 PT:
Of course runruff was kidding when he wanted us to ponder our increased safety as a nation now that he's locked up. It's absolutely ridiculous. This is a man who counts the fish in his pond, talks with his dogs, seeks ways to help people in all walks of life, and someone who loves every moment of life and believes that God's gift of cannabis should be free. 
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Comment #36 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 12:09:00 PT
About Runruff's Dogs
That was what made me cry. People know how things are. They are all to aware of injustice and become resigned to what many good people must endure. We are logical and yet without much power to change the laws that hurt us so. His dogs love him. His dogs need him. His dogs will not know why about anything but will keep looking and waiting for him to come home. This picture I see in my mind hurts.
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Comment #35 posted by runruffswife on February 06, 2006 at 12:04:38 PT:
divinetribe - charges and sentencing
Runruff was charged with cultivation only. The original threat was 40 years and 2 million dollars fine. The judge sentenced him to 2 years in a federal medical facility. He should be home with the doctors that know him, not at the other end of the US. It's not right. The judge had a choice and she chose this. 
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Comment #34 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:01:33 PT
Just click on it
It goes to a larger portrait where you can see the girl's face more clearly.
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 12:00:24 PT
Look at the little girls face
in the first picture at
and enlarge it and you can see a face much like my own right now with this situation.
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Comment #32 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 11:54:36 PT
I don't feel safer either. In fact...I feel quite a bit less safe and secure what with the cruelty manifest by our government and some of our fellow citizens.And I'm sad. Very sad.Some Great Pyrenees pictures.It's easy to believe they were bred as war dogs used in battle at one time. They got the size...but their sweet disposition has won out over any tendencies to make war. original painting I was thinking of, by Charles Burton Barber had a collie dog in the painting. I saw this rendition and liked it so much, because of our visitor and her love of children...I tend to think of it as the original...which it's not. Here's the one I was thinking of.
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 11:28:07 PT
I did think of Runruff like he asked. The world isn't any safer.
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Comment #30 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 10:20:44 PT:
wrote this letter to the philly news today
I had a dog who waited everyday for me after school. it was my neighbor' accross the streets dog. he would hop a 7 ft fence and sit at my porch till i got home. his name was toby . I love him so much that I named one of my dogs i have now is the link to the article I responded to
inquirer.letters Please your article makes me laugh about winning the drug war.
first of all lets talk about the prison industry, its filled with people who have never victimized anyone but themselves by doing something to their own bodies. who have they hurt? why are they being put away longer than rapists, molesters, and violent criminals?
the drug war creates millions of jobs off of victimless crimes. (the jobs are leech jobs)
prison guards, lawyers, judges, narcs, all of them need this war to stay in business. marijuana went illegal before black people could ride in the front of a bus. How retarded of a society were we then. It's illegal because of HEMP 
wake up people there is no other reason other than that for at least the marijuana part of it.I got a good one why don't we legalize all drugs and wait till someone hurts someone else or damages property then arrest them for that. Hmm wait that would make a lot of people lose their jobs. what would happen to all the companies that supply the prisons their clothes, food, bricks and bars, they would all suffer. Maybe the TRUTH is that if one drug like marijuana went legal it would destroy the the number 3 economy in the grand USA.1. military
2. insurance
3. prisons
Do your homework or just think a little(with a open mind) and learn the truth . It's just waiting to reach you let it in..
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 09:55:15 PT
Dogs are bound to understand more than we know.
There is a Great Pyranees that lives and works nearby. She's a classic beauty, just like the dog in the famous painting with the little girl standing in the corner. But it's obvious to me that she would rather herd children than goats.When my granddaughter is here...that dog visits all the time. The other day...thirty minutes before my granddaughter was to arrive...the Great Pyranees was waiting for her on my back porch. How does she do that? It's amazing. She's not interested in visiting when a child isn't here...and she knows thirty minutes before one is to arrive that hasn't been here in a couple of weeks? That dog has some sort of understanding going on that human's don't have.
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 09:27:39 PT
Here's an article I found.
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Comment #27 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 09:27:39 PT:
he has the cuttest dogs
I noticed his pups. they are pretty cute, I also have a husky and a pit mix the same colors. I think that is what made me cry the most when I went (got put)away you can't explain what happened to your animals. hopefully something inside their souls they will understand 
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 09:22:04 PT
Two years. He lives in Oregon but he has serious health issues so he has been sent to Mass to a Federal Hospital to serve his time. If I am wrong on any of this I hope someone corrects me.
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Comment #25 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 09:20:58 PT:
website soon still in beijing 
I am in beijing at a internet cafe you would be amazed at all the sites the gov blocks hear. my comfy tagless hemp tshirts will be in around the first week of march then I will take pics and make a site then. saw the great wall this week the forbidden city, the summer palace, and tienemen square. It snowed today here.
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Comment #24 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 09:15:17 PT:
how much time did he get sentenced to?
also what was his final charge ? 
sorry for the ?'s but I am reading and I can't find those answers.
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Comment #23 posted by Had Enough on February 06, 2006 at 09:08:53 PT
divinetribe Apparel
Do you have a web spot for your clothes that you make? I thought that I saw one, maybe not.
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 09:01:23 PT
Here you go!
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Comment #21 posted by divinetribe on February 06, 2006 at 08:56:58 PT:
can someone tell me more about the runruff case
or just give me a good link to read
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 08:54:13 PT
Thanks Jose
for all that information. You are a genius...and the way you find all this information is just dazzling.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on February 06, 2006 at 08:32:29 PT
Mrs. Runruff
I'm glad you didn't fly to Mass. with Runruff and have to fly back alone. I couldn't sleep last night for worrying if you had done that and would have to cry all the way back, alone. Staying busy will help. You have to be the "boss of everything" now. It will make you stronger. And I know you are thankful for those dogs to cuddle and cry on to. They do love so much. They are wonderful for comfort.Hang in there. A lot of people do care...passionately...about what is being done to you and your Runruff.As a master of Yoga, I know you know how to practice self-control. You will thrive in spite of all this.Why don't you send that idiotic judge, pictures of you and Runruff every week until he's home...then send her a poster size portrait of your sweet reunion?I can't think of anything good to say about that I guess I need to say nothing more.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on February 06, 2006 at 07:43:23 PT
I don't know why I am so upset about Runruff but I am. Maybe it is because I see all of us and all the good that we try to do in Runruff. I have faith that he will be ok and make the most of a bad situation. I have faith that herbdoc215 will use his influence to help him. All you have to do is watch the video and see his heart. We have so much violence in this world and so much hate. Then we have the few and good Runruffs. It seems all upside down to me.
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Comment #17 posted by Had Enough on February 06, 2006 at 05:38:58 PT
runruff's ordeal
I think of runruff and others in his situation, I reach a place of discontent Then I think of Rainbow Farms, and that woman and infant baby that was shot down and killed by a fighter jet in South America, and heart attacks from wrong address no knock raids. And the many others.Then I think of Noelle Bush, Rush Limbaugh, and others.I try to purge darkness and anger from my character on a regular basis, seems as soon as is emptied, something can’t wait to fill it back up, and drag me back off to angerville.Mrs. Runruff, I will be looking at the clock today.
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Comment #16 posted by jose melendez on February 06, 2006 at 03:43:04 PT
High Times changed the link and 'lost' the article, see here: archived here: also:
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Comment #15 posted by jose melendez on February 06, 2006 at 03:31:05 PT
footnotes from comment #14
6 Meyer, Eugene. "Uncle Sam's Farm." Los Angeles Times. 11 December 1995: E17 Scott, Elsa. "Marinol: The Little Synthetic That Couldn't." passim.8 Ibid.9 International Narcotics Control and United States Foreign Policy: A Compilation of Laws, Treaties, Executive Documents, and Related Materials. Prepared for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives. Washington, D.C." U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994. p. 119.10 Scott, Elsa. passim.FDA Consumer. September 1985. p. 35.Grabowski, Henry and John Vernon. The Regulation of Pharmaceuticals: Balancing the Risks and Benefits. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983. p. 23.11 Unimed Investor Portfolio, 1997.12 Ibid.Doblin, Rick. "MDMA Patentability and Orphan Drug Designation." Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. 1995.13 John G. Kinnard & Co. Research Report. 08/27/96. Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. p. 2.14 Unimed Investor Portfolio, 1997.15 Interview with informant at Norac Industries. 03/03/97.Scott, Elsa. passim.16 Interview with informant at Norac Industries. 03/03/97.Scott, Elsa. passim.17 Interview with UCLA Department of Chemistry pharmaceutical expert. 03/03/97.Unimed Investor Portfolio, 1997.18 Interview with informant at Norac Industries. 03/03/97.19 Marinol product insert. Published by Roxanne Laboratories. 1995.20 Scott, Elsa. passim.21 Ibid.22 Ibid.23 Marinol product insert. Published by Roxanne Laboratories. 1995.Unimed Investor Portfolio, 1997.24 Interview with a legal expert at the Food and Drug Administration. 02/24/97.25 Knox, Richard. "Study may undercut marijuana opponents - Report says THC did not cause cancer" Boston Globe. 30 January 1997: A1.Scott, Elsa. passim.
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Comment #14 posted by jose melendez on February 06, 2006 at 03:28:01 PT
liars exposed
(Note: Someone please post the portios of transcripts from Runruff's trial where the judge makes her snide comments, so we can expose such personalized corruption in the court of public opinion.)from the above article: [false claim type=blatant]"... and don't call it a medicine, because it's really not,”[/false claim] - - -Read on, from: authorities have perpetuated the vilification of marijuana since its prohibition in 1937, they nonetheless responded partially to growing demands for medical marijuana in 1969 by supplying researchers with government-grown marijuana for scientific experimentation. The "pot farm" at the University of Mississippi in Oxford raised thousands of cannabis plants (and still grows them today) behind a 12 foot tall barbed wire fence for the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the federal agency which retains sole rights to supply marijuana to researchers.6 Barrels of the low-grade marijuana get shipped to the Research Triangle Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina where the dried leaves are rolled at a cost of $2 per joint for patients participating in experimental programs. This system of farming has resulted in a "highly standardized ...reliable and reproducible method of administering the drug." according to Dr. Monroe Wall of the Research Triangle Institute. Thanks to research conducted with government pot acknowledging marijuana's medical benefits, New Mexico boldly strayed from federal drug policy in 1978 and passed the first state law recognizing the medical value of marijuana. Comparable medical needs around the country prompted over 30 states to enact similar legislation within the next few years. Glaucoma patient and medical marijuana user, Robert Randall, remembers, "By the summer of 1980, there was building pressure on the federal government to provide marijuana through an experimental program." The most remarkable example of this growing trend for medical marijuana consumption involved California's request for one million joints from NIDA. Rather than accept the obvious solution to increase production at the "pot farm" in order to meet the growing demand (a remedy deemed "imponderable" by anti-marijuana government officials), bureaucrats decided to pursue a pharmaceutical alternative. They hoped to encourage the giant pharmaceutical industry to create a synthetic drug with properties similar to cannabis.7The first attempt to synthetically reproduce the medical effects of marijuana failed miserably. The Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company had responded quickly to the federal challenge by manufacturing nabilone, otherwise known as Cesamet, which soon became hailed as the "great white drug" that would replace marijuana. In 1978, they began double-track testing on cancer patients as well as animals in order to gain FDA approval quicker; however, their lofty aspirations came crashing down tragically, when dogs on nabilone suffered convulsions and dropped dead. The door remained open, anticipating another pharmaceutical product to fill the marijuana demand.8MARINOLIn pertinence to the history of medical marijuana, Congress' passing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 added a new dimension to the cannabis as medicine controversy. Upon ranking the various drugs according to levels of danger, the Act placed marijuana in Schedule I, the most dangerous category. In order to attain Schedule I classification, a drug must meet three requirements: 1) high potential for abuse; 2) no accepted safety even under supervision; and most significantly, 3) no medical use.9 In placing marijuana in Schedule I, the government not only ignored cannabis' previous medical use in this country, but also overlooked the numerous experiments proving the drug's therapeutic efficacy. Still, bureaucrats needed to help severely ill patients without acknowledging marijuana as a potential therapeutic agent. The government prayed for a pharmaceutical alternative to marijuana, and with Marinol's entrance into the medical arena, their prayers were adequately answered.In 1980, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) began experimental distribution of a new drug called Marinol, an oral form of THC (the primary active ingredient in marijuana), to cancer patients in San Francisco. Simultaneously, six states conducted studies comparing smoked marijuana to oral THC in cancer patients who had not responded to traditional antivomiting medication. These state-sponsored studies revealed that thousands of patients found marijuana safer and more effective than synthetic THC. Meanwhile, the NCI experiments showed that some patients responded well to Marinol, although one patient reportedly stormed into her doctor's office and accused him of trying to poison her with the drug (the doctor later dropped out of NCI's experimental program). Confronted with two different medical recommendations, the government chose to dismiss the state studies and give Marinol the green light. In 1981, the government sold the Marinol patent to a small pharmaceutical company named Unimed based in Somerville, New Jersey. By 1985, after one unsuccessful attempt at FDA approval, Marinol was finally approved as a Schedule II drug (a relatively quick approval by FDA standards). Thus, Unimed, with government backing, began targeting terminal cancer patients in order to accumulate profit.10With Marinol's acceptance behind them, executives at Unimed launched a massive sales enterprise in conjunction with their distributor Roxanne Laboratories, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Boehringer-Ingelheim. A combined sales force of about 60 people roamed the country promoting Marinol to oncologists and AIDS doctors. Building from early profits, Unimed invested money into testing new uses for Marinol. In 1992, the drug received approval as an appetite stimulant for patients with AIDS cachexia, otherwise known as wasting away syndrome.This new use coupled with Marinol's recent approvals in various international markets, like South Africa (where it is marketed under the trade name Elevat) with its incredibly high AIDS rate, along with Canada, Puerto Rico, Israel, and Australia, significantly boosted Unimed's profits and prestige.11 Furthermore, the FDA granted Marinol the highly prized Orphan Drug Status, a privilege that allowed Unimed exclusive manufacturing rights to Marinol, as well as protocol assistance, and tax breaks for its investors.12 As a business, Unimed still specializes primarily in niche pharmaceutical markets, namely AIDS drugs. However, among the few drugs manufactured by Unimed, Marinol easily garners the highest profits, drawing in over 90% of total revenues.13 Unimed has reported greater sales nearly every year since 1985, reaching a high of $9.7 million in 1995. President and CEO Stephen Simes predicted that sales will reach between $50-100 million by the year 2000.14 Based on their growth rate, this figure seems unlikely; however, the company clearly has high hopes.Despite enormous financial backing and rapid FDA approval, few proponents of Marinol are aware of the intricate, physical processes involved in manufacturing synthetic THC. Unlike marijuana which requires only light, water, and some nutrients to grow, Marinol manufacture involves numerous time-consuming steps, the efforts of several companies, and multiple complex chemical processes. Unimed contracts Norac Industries in Azusa, California to manufacture the synthetic THC which is then shipped to Roxanne Laboratories in Columbus, Ohio where it is encapsulated and sent to pharmacies around the country. Intrigued by the process of synthetically reproducing a natural psychoactive product, I interviewed an informant at Norac extensively. Apparently, the basic elements of delta 9 tetra-hydra-cannibidol, marijuana's primary-though by no means only-active ingredient, are derived from the compounds tempere olivitol and paramenthide (PMD). Norac used to purchase olivitol from Aldrich Labs, but opted to manufacture it themselves in order to save money. Norac also used to acquire its other raw material, PMD, from the German lab Ferminic until frequent explosions caused the company to halt its PMD production.As of 1993, Norac was forced to produce its own PMD as well. My informant at Norac explained that they too have experienced explosions due to the highly unstable characteristics of PMD, but that the volatile compound currently remains largely in check. The final synthetic THC solution is approximately 98% pure-a very high concentration compared to that of the cannabis plant, where THC amounts normally range between 2% and 10%.15 Since the Orphan Drug Status for chemotherapy related nausea expired in 1992, I assumed that other pharmaceutical companies would attempt to infiltrate Marinol's markets by producing their own versions of synthetic THC. However, my source at Norac explained that manufacturing THC is a very expensive, and thus cost-prohibitive, process.16 The encapsulation procedure also requires elaborate and expensive chemical processes that use fairly common preservatives like methylparaben and propylparaben, as well the whitening agent titanium dioxide, in a sesame oil capsule.17 The once unstable synthetic THC compound now has a long shelf-life in the sesame oil capsules, although all Marinol products are marked with 6 month expiration dates for added safety.18 Obviously, reproducing marijuana's therapeutic effects is no easy task, even with today's most cutting-edge technologies.Since marijuana and Marinol derived from two entirely different processes (arguably polar opposites), it seems ironic that Marinol functions as the only legal alternative to marijuana. Considering their vastly disparate backgrounds, one can logically conclude that the therapeutic effects must also differ, but according to many researchers, the results are essentially the same. In fact, the two drugs' reported side effects are quite similar, although advocates of medical marijuana claim that Marinol produces more damaging side effects. Marinol proponents argue, in turn, that marijuana possesses more undocumented side effects. Upon analyzing a 1995 product brochure explaining the benefits and possible effects of using Marinol, I discovered new information that completely undermined my original assumptions about Marinol.Considering that Marinol is legal while marijuana is not, I assumed that Marinol would have far fewer side effects than those attributed to marijuana; however, this assumption and numerous others proved quite inaccurate. According to the 1995 product insert, Marinol may be habit forming, a condition commonly linked with cannabis. In addition, Marinol may cause the following side effects: feeling "high" (i.e. easy laughing, elation, and heightened awareness), abdominal pain, dizziness, confusion, depression, nightmares, speech difficulties, chills, sweating, and even psychological and physiological dependence.19 Some of these potential side effects seem quite serious for any legal pharmaceutical. Even less comforting, the 1992 product insert explains what to do in case of accidental overdose:  A potentially serious oral ingestion, if recent, should be managed with gut decontamination. In unconscious patients with a secure airway, instill activated charcoal via a nosagastric tube. A saline cathartic or sorbitol may be added to the first dose of activated charcoal. Patients experiencing depressive, hallucinatory or psychotic reactions should be placed in a quiet area and offered reassurance.20Considering the enormous sales of Marinol, patients must desperately need medication to risk such potentially severe reactions. While marijuana may produce such side effects as: euphoria, laughter, anxiety, dry mouth, red eyes, sleepiness, clumsiness, increased appetite; these conditions pale in comparison to those attributed to Marinol. A 1985 edition of The Medical Letter listed the side effects of Marinol as "disorientation, depression, paranoia, hallucinations, and manic psychosis." A 1986 Marinol product insert explains that even patients on low doses of the drug may experience "a full-blown picture of psychosis;" this reference was conspicuously dropped from their later product inserts.21 Given the intensity of Marinol's side effects, marijuana appears less dangerous than its synthetic Schedule II counterpart.Many patients believe that the much higher THC content in Marinol produces these more extreme side effects. Robert Randall, a glaucoma patient who currently receives a legal supply of marijuana from the government, describes his experiences with Marinol, "It was way too psychoactive. When I took Marinol, I found it anxiety-provoking and intense, like I had wandered into a short story by Flannery O'Connor." He further explains, "I talked to hundreds of AIDS patients, and only one preferred Marinol to marijuana. It's not just that marijuana helps them gain weight-it's that Marinol is so scary." Dr. Robert Gorter, a San Francisco AIDS expert, corroborated Randall's anecdotal conclusions in the Journal of the Physicians Association for AIDS where he stated, "Again and again patients have testified that they preferred marijuana above dronabinol [the scientific term for Marinol]..."22 Further evidence citing the potential dangers of Marinol exists in the 1995 Marinol product insert itself, which warns against giving dronabinol to children and to the elderly (although Unimed is currently in Phase III testing for approval of Marinol in the treatment of Alzheimer's patients) because of the drug's "psychoactive effects."23 It seems odd that Marinol supposedly functions better as a medicine than marijuana, a substance casually consumed by millions of Americans without such debilitating side effects.Hoping to discover specific patient complaints against Marinol, and not just potential side effects or anecdotal information, I contacted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more information on adverse effects caused by Marinol. I was told that this information was confidential, and that only by using the Freedom of Information Act (and enclosing a check for $70) could I attain limited access to this knowledge, and even then, certain details would remain censored.24 By contrast, if I needed information on marijuana's adverse effects, I could contact hundreds of sources (including elected officials, rehabilitation centers, law enforcement, internet sites, parent groups, local libraries, pharmacies, etc.) from whom I could receive a deluge of free information. Another medical paradox exposing the sharp contrast between the popular conception of marijuana and Marinol involves carcinogenic studies. Anti-marijuana government studies had very tentatively linked marijuana smoke (and not ingested marijuana) with lung cancer in an unpublished report (although a recent panel of scientists re-examined that report and found that marijuana was actually found to prevent malignancies not cause them).25 Despite the presence of THC, common to both marijuana and Marinol, no carcinogenic studies have been performed on Marinol.26 Culturally, marijuana continues to face vilification while Marinol enjoys legitimacy and government backing. Sick people face harsh criminal penalties for self-medicating with natural THC, while patients using synthetic THC get insurance coverage and freedom from persecution and prosecution. 
(Full Article: Investigative Report on Marinol)
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on February 06, 2006 at 01:46:25 PT
I'm so sorry. I really don't know what else to say.I know that runruffs "virtual family" on is torn up about this.We will NOT stop fighting this battle, and we will NOT abandon you and Jerry.I'm crying so hard right now.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on February 05, 2006 at 20:47:58 PT
You're very welcome. I do care. Caring is the most important thing we can do for others. If we don't care about others then how can we really care about ourselves?
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Comment #11 posted by runruffswife on February 05, 2006 at 20:38:55 PT:
thank you
Thank you FOM. You are a very sweet lady. It touches me to know you care so much.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on February 05, 2006 at 20:32:53 PT
Thank you and now I'm crying too. We will be here for you and will look at the clock tomorrow. Stay busy and it will help time pass. Hopefully he will be home with you soon. 
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Comment #9 posted by runruffswife on February 05, 2006 at 20:25:59 PT:
Hi Everyone,I just returned home from taking my dear, sweet husband to the airport. I know at some point I will stop crying. It was a heartbreaking scene at the airport. I think we had the whole place looking at our red and crying faces.He wanted me to ask you all to take a moment and look at your clocks tomorrow, Monday February 6 at 2pm EST and notice how America is a safer place now that runruff is in lockdown. At that time here in Oregon I will just be finishing up my 8th and last personal training client of that day. It will be a busy morning. Jerry said keeping busy will help me. I know he is right. After work, the dogs will get their run. Jerry had a talk with all of our animals today and explained that he will be gone for awhile. It was touching to see them looking at him, listening. Zelda May, the sheep dog on the right in our picture, whom has been around the longest, gave Jerry the longest, deep eye looks. It was an awesome connection.I asked Jerry how he was feeling about having to go away and he said "God has always been good to me, I don't expect that to change now".Thank you for your sweet intentions that he will be well and will return home soon. May it be so. And may God bless Jerry's journey there and back.
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Comment #8 posted by Max Flowers on February 05, 2006 at 14:16:29 PT
Runruff, we'll be thinking of you
Be strong. Keep thinking about the world you'll see when you get out, which I really believe should be improved by then.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on February 05, 2006 at 10:36:03 PT
Runruff & Mrs. Runruff
We love you. Godspeed.
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on February 05, 2006 at 10:23:44 PT
We are with you. 
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Comment #5 posted by museman on February 05, 2006 at 10:05:07 PT
May the Angels guard your perimeter, and uphold your flight with safe passage. Go forth armed with our good will, and carry our shared time, feelings, and beliefs a a shield against the evil you must confront.
Peace bro. I look forward to your communications
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on February 05, 2006 at 09:54:48 PT
God be with you and protect you ...and make everything move at Godspeed for you until you are out of there again. We love you.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 05, 2006 at 09:52:10 PT
Godd Bless You! Farewell for a while my friend.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on February 05, 2006 at 09:50:28 PT:
Hello from Hunky Dorey Ville.
Hi gang at C/News. It is time to say farewell for now. Namaste means: the divinity within me recognizes the divinity within you.Happy trails to you until we meet again.Happy trails to you keep on smilin' until then.Adios
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 05, 2006 at 09:23:14 PT
Off Topic
On IFC on Direct TV Channel 550 they are playing The Last Waltz.
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