cannabisnews.com: Case Highlights Medical-Pot Dilemma





Case Highlights Medical-Pot Dilemma
Posted by CN Staff on January 24, 2007 at 06:19:12 PT
By Diane Brooks, Times Snohomish County Bureau
Source: Seattle Times
Seattle, WA -- The lush, green replacements began arriving the day after an Olympic Peninsula-based drug task force raided Steve Sarich's North Everett home, carting away an estimated 1,500 marijuana plants.By Sunday, nine days after the Jan. 13 raid, Sarich's new nursery numbered 50 plants  eight big enough for their own pots, 15 starter-sized plants with roots and 27 freshly cut clones, each stuck into its own egg-sized pod of sod.
"If they didn't arrest me with 1,500, it's not likely they're going to come back and arrest me for 50," said Sarich, whose advocacy group, CannaCare, says it has provided marijuana plants for 1,200 patients all over the state. Some of his new plants, delivered by patients in Longview, Federal Way and Vancouver, Wash., are descendants of the plants he lost.Now he's waiting to see what comes next.The U.S. Attorney's Office will decide whether to prosecute Sarich in U.S. District Court, said Jeff Eig, a spokesman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).In that instance, Sarich could be in serious trouble, because federal courts don't recognize the state's Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 1998. Washington is among 11 states with some form of legalized marijuana use for certain medical patients, including those under treatment for cancer, intractable pain, glaucoma and seizures."There's no such thing as medical marijuana," Eig said, flatly discounting such laws.If federal prosecutors decline to take the case, investigators could offer it to Snohomish County prosecutors, who would look at Sarich's case in light of the state law. But that's tricky, too, because state law doesn't address the question of how medical-marijuana users may legally obtain their pot, or define how many plants each person may possess.Instead, it states that each person  or that person's caretaker  may possess a 60-day supply, which isn't defined. The law doesn't touch the subject of who may legally provide plants to patients or their caretakers."They have to get them from somewhere. They don't just spring out of the air," said Sarich, who has medical authorization to use marijuana to alleviate spinal pain, but says he only produced plants to give to other patients.Snohomish County Prosecutor Janice Ellis called the conflicting state and federal laws "troubling."Ellis, who chairs the governor's Council on Substance Abuse, said Sarich came into her office in December to discuss CannaCare's legal goals. She remembers he talked about the starter plants he grows for other patients, but she doesn't recall whether he discussed the size of his nursery."The image he is presenting, and I think very effectively, is that he is someone who is trying hard to bring integrity to the debate of medical marijuana," Ellis said. "The law doesn't provide a mechanism through which people can legally obtain plants and grow their own for medical needs."The Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force also was aware that Sarich was growing medicinal marijuana, said team commander Pat Slack. The team prioritizes a very busy caseload, he said, and Sarich didn't seem to merit scrutiny.State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, who helped create the state medical-marijuana initiative, said she plans to introduce a bill this session to clarify patients' rights to obtain and grow marijuana and to better define "caretaker." Today, she was scheduled to meet with state prosecutors, police and sheriffs associations to seek support and consensus for her proposal.Marijuana leaves contain usable amounts of THC, the drug's active ingredient, only when the plants are in their flower or bud stages, Sarich said, adding that none of his seized plants were in bud.The West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET), serving Kitsap and Mason counties on the Olympic Peninsula, says Sarich drew attention when he and an associate, John Worthington of Renton, filed declarations in a federal case against another alleged marijuana grower.A team detective  Roy Alloway, a Kitsap County Sheriff's deputy  persuaded a Kitsap County judge to grant a search warrant for Sarich's home by portraying that unnamed alleged grower, a Vashon Island man, as a major drug distributor who operated across state lines.Alloway wrote, in the court document, that Worthington had threatened legal action against WestNET for allegedly using state funds to enforce federal marijuana laws.That combination of factors led Alloway to investigate the pair, he wrote. That investigation turned up Sarich's high power bill, which was consistent with marijuana production. Alloway also said he went to Sarich's home and smelled marijuana from a nearby alley.Sarich and Worthington, whose home was raided Jan. 12, say Alloway lied to the judge to retaliate against them for their yearlong investigation into WestNET's raids on medical-marijuana patients.Sarich calls the problem "entrapment by initiative." Drug teams raid the homes of medicinal-marijuana patients, then turn their cases over to federal prosecutors to circumvent the state law, he said."The state tells you you're legal, then the state sends in a state-funded drug task force, manned by state employees, who then turn you over to the feds," Sarich said.Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez, leader of WestNET, said he didn't know about Sarich's advocacy work for medical marijuana, and he laughed at the men's claim that Alloway carried a personal vendetta against them.We wouldn't be in business if we took retaliatory-type actions," he said.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Diane Brooks, Times Snohomish County BureauPublished: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 Copyright: 2007 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: http://www.seattletimes.com/Related Articles & Web Site:CannaCarehttp://www.cannacare.org/2 Activists See Drug Raids as Revengehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22541.shtmlMedical Marijuana Advocacy Group Raided http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22539.shtmlMedical Marijuana Advocate Fuming Over Raid http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread22537.shtml
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Comment #36 posted by Hope on January 26, 2007 at 10:08:24 PT
ate a whole plate of these cookies
Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!
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Comment #35 posted by Hope on January 26, 2007 at 10:06:22 PT
They used my power bill money to buy pizza ....
I don't doubt that at all. It's a wonder they didn't use his TV to order up pay per view pornography.It's happened."Ain't that America? Home of the free?"
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Comment #34 posted by John Markes on January 26, 2007 at 09:54:45 PT
Sound Off
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/soundoff/comment.asp?articleID=300994Posted by Steve Sarich at 1/24/07 10:57 p.m.It was my home, and organization, that was raided. These brave drug warriors seized less than 2 ounces of my personal medication. The seized $1020 that was sitting near my power bill for $1100. Unfortunately the Snohomish PUD doesn't take debit cards. They used my power bill money to buy pizza and cokes. They found no evidence of us selling any marijuana to anyone. They also found two plates of medical marijuana cookies. I told them that this is how I consume my medication. After they were done with the pizza, these drug warriors ate a whole plate of these cookies in front of three witnesses...and they now need to be drug tested.Tonight the DEA agent, Bill Sundquist, that is assigned to WestNET traveled to King County to harass the elderly parents of one of the doctors who signed recommendations for some of our patients whose records were illegally seized in violation of state and federal laws. They had no legal right, and no warrant, to seize these records.Now they are attempting to intimidate one of the few doctors in Washington State that is still willing to help seriously disabled patients.They did this one day after we filed a complaint with Maria Cantwell's office (yet again) against this same task force. If the state funded drug task forces cannot respect the will of the voters, and the state law, and insist on attacking the sick and disabled in Washington, the state legislature MUST withdraw funding of these organizations. This would be a shame. Meth labs are proliferating and the violence, and crime, they are creating is wreaking havoc in every county in the state. But, if these state funded drug task forces cannot respect the laws of the state of Washington and quit terrorizing sick patients, the funding MUST be cut off. If these joint federal/state task forces are obligated to enforce archaic federal marijuana laws over our own state medical marijuana law, in order to receive federal funding, we are obligated to quit accepting federal funding for these task forces. This violates the Constitution of the State of Washington.I would love to hear from anyone on this issue.Steve Sarich
Executive Director
CannaCare
steve cannacare.org
Commentary
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on January 24, 2007 at 20:33:55 PT
Aye. Publicbulldog. Comment 30
More power to you and may God be with you and help you!
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 18:24:27 PT
Editorial: Medical Marijuana: Justice Goes Awry
Thursday, January 25, 2007The benefits of medicinal marijuana have long been clear to those who suffer from chronic illness, and with a physician's consent, patients have had legal access to the drug for therapeutic purposes in Washington state since 1998. Too bad the feds don't recognize that.The blind callousness of the absurd war on drugs became once again apparent when West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team detectives last week raided the Everett office of CannaCare, a medicinal marijuana advocacy group, confiscating 1,143 cut-away plants, 195.8 grams of processed pot and private records of nearly 1,200 patients. Agents also raided the Renton home of another CannaCare associate. WestNET is a multi-jurisdictional task force with a mission to "disrupt and reduce mid- to upper-level" dealers. According to federal law, there's no such thing as medicinal marijuana. By state law, patients are allowed to have a 60-day stash -- whatever that is -- but those are the only limits outlined. Besides, if WestNET detectives are interested in busting drug dealers, there are a few crack dens around.Snipped:Complete Article: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/300994_medicinaled.html
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Comment #31 posted by mayan on January 24, 2007 at 16:43:16 PT
Narcs
If they aren't charging people after stealing their weed then what's to keep them from smoking it or selling it themselves? Do they even have to file a report or store the weed as evidence? I mean, everyone knows that narcotics agents get the best weed.
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Comment #30 posted by publicbulldog on January 24, 2007 at 15:31:59 PT:
It takes a special breed
To enjoy a job where lives are ruined,and kids are crying scared of what may happen to them and their dad.
Take a bow u bunch a sombitches.
You are on borrowed time.
until my last breath I shall battle thee
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Comment #29 posted by laduncon on January 24, 2007 at 11:31:10 PT
Charge the DEA with armed burglary under State law
It may or may not be legally feasible to do so, but the DEA agents should be charged with armed burglary under state law for raiding these dispensaries and not even charging anyone with a crime, federal or not. Since medical cannabis is recognized and protected under both California and Washington state law, these DEA agents are literally robbing people at gunpoint without being charged with any crime! It may or may not be that such cases would eventually be dismissed, but the media coverage and public outrage against the DEA abusing their authority and robbing citizens would surely make it more than worth the effort.The DEA is not above the law, and should be held accountable for their illegal robberies/actions against medical cannabis dispensaries and patients under the respective state laws of California and Washington. It is time that the DEA get the message that their ways will no longer be tolerated by an idle populace.
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Comment #28 posted by Hope on January 24, 2007 at 11:24:29 PT
Charmed Quark Comment 9
"Plus, many ulcers have an underlying H. pylori infection as their cause, which is easily treated."Unless, like me, you are sensitive to the antibiotics used...and it's like a triple whammy of high strength antibiotics. One day of that treatment, I realized that I wasn't in pain anymore...I had literally become pain. I was in pain all over and throughout and couldn't even tell where the pain was coming from. My whole being and body was nothing but pain that day. It was something I'd never experienced before. If they ever came back...I don't know if I could submit myself to that treatment again.And I know where the h. pylori got me...at the hospital.... where I was looking after my grandmother when she broke her leg. They brought in a potty chair for her that I saw actually had dried feces on it. I took it into the shower to clean it up. When the sprayer hit the feces...I'm so clumsy...it shot right back into my face. H. Pylori is a nasty thing but it's pretty easy to get as I understand it. You could pick it up off nearly anything that could have come into contact with someone carrying the infection. And your chances of having and carrying it...and spreading it increase incrementally with your age. If you are thirty...you have a thirty percent chance of getting h. pylori in your system.I'm a germ and bacteria fanatic. I've carried germ-x with me everywhere since it came out. I'm a big time hand washer from way back, but it got me anyway.Another alarming thing that happened at the hospital was one morning I ran hot water over a newly laundered wash cloth to wash my face. I put the cloth to my face, with both hands, across my nose and eyes, and was overwhelmed with the steam induced stench that rolled into my nose and face out of it. I was horrified! I had to pre-sniff all the supposedly clean laundry after that. I have little doubt that my grandmother would be dead if one of us hadn't been with her every day of her confinement there. At one point, I stopped them from treating her for diabetes...which she didn't have! I just happened to ask the nurse what she was doing to her...and I when I found out, I said, "She doesn't have diabetes!" She looked at her chart and said well it says here she does. Must be a mistake.Yeah!One of my sons was almost killed by a hospital and testing. If I hadn't been there...he wouldn't have got the attention he needed to survive his reaction to the stuff they were givng him. Even as I kept telling them that something was horribly wrong with him and that he wasn't himself...they didn't believe me until he started puking and crapping all over the place. I told them he was not himself...but they didn't believe me until even they couldn't ignore it.Sorry, but I could write a book about why I'm reluctant to see doctors. I've had three or four really good ones during my lifetime and one really good pediatrician for my children. I sure miss them. 
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 10:58:23 PT
charmed quark
The problem with living in a very rural area you have to drive quite a distance to find a doctor. Often a doctor won't take you as a new patient if you don't have any insurance. I think it is because if you need more tests they need to tell you but you can't afford them so it is hard to find a doctor now. It puts doctors in a bind. Hope also mentioned to me about Prilosec. I will get some and try it.
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Comment #26 posted by charmed quark on January 24, 2007 at 10:49:41 PT
FoM - Good doctors
I can see why you wouldn't use that doctor. I wish you had access to decent doctors. Can you go outside your immediate area?Even though my doctors had a very hard time with my illness, they never made a mistake in terms of trying to diagnose and treat my illness. Most were very sympathetic and tried hard. And some gave me very good advice that did eventually lead me to helping myself.I believe that with any doctor you also have to understand and decide if you agree with the diagnosis and treatment. Luckily, the internet makes this a lot easier than it use to be.Would you at least consider trying an over-the counter acid blocker to see if theat made a real difference?
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 10:38:39 PT
goneposthole
This is why I don't use bottled water. Back in the late 70s when we wanted to buy a little patch of ground we made sure we looked in areas where there couldn't possibly be any contamination. We are on top of a big hill or small mountain. We have a deep water well which is 130 feet thru sandstone. If I lived close to anyone or was lower then another house nearby I would buy bottled water.
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Comment #24 posted by goneposthole on January 24, 2007 at 10:19:53 PT
FoM
I recommend concentrated grape juice because you add your own good, clean drinking water, not tap water. Drink bottled water only. These days, it is the only water to drink.Welch's is fine if you can't find organic. Be sure it is frozen concentrate.
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 10:16:06 PT
Hope
I agree with you. We can't change the world but we can help each other get thru it without as much trauma.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on January 24, 2007 at 10:11:32 PT
we need each other (comment 6)
We do. And I'm so thankful for each and every one of you.I just hate that so many of you have had to suffer such terrible injustice.But at least we are together and aren't just sitting back and letting it all happen without saying a word.I feel a powerful love and connection with you all. If nothing else...we are a bit of comfort to each other in this sea of injustice.
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on January 24, 2007 at 10:02:43 PT
Charmed Quark comment 2
That's horrible. I'm so sorry. That's such an injustice. It's so wrong.It makes me sick, too. How are so many people falling for it? How weak are they? Why do they believe such ridiculous things about the plant and thc? It's unbelievable that in this day and age, people can still be that stupid and downright superstitious and fearful of something so not harmful? And their outright cruelty towards those who benefit from the plant and even synthetic copies of it's components? It's as mysterious to me as the witch burnings were. More so actually. They are terrified of a plant. They ought to be terrified about our scientific community recultivating the 1918 flu virus...which they have. They brought it back to life. We've created monstrous capabability to destroy each other...and they (the severely deluded) home in on cannabis and it's users to persecute and demonize? It's insane.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 09:52:29 PT
One More Comment
There is something I believe that is important to good health and it's what we surround ourselves with. I muted the TV and am listening to the Moody Blues. I use aromatherapy every day. I burn scented candles and tune out. It helped me thru this hard health problem I had. The mind is very important and what we put in it we become. If we feed our minds we hate that's what we become. If we feed our minds with love and hope that's what we become no matter what goes on in the world. That's just my opinion.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 09:37:08 PT
Hope
Thank you. I think when someone has something like what happened to my parents happen to them they would understand why it's almost impossible to trust doctors.I have been reminded by family that a doctor is a practicing physician. I don't want them practicing on me. I might die from something preventable by my attitude and I accept that personal responsibility.
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on January 24, 2007 at 09:31:15 PT
Good grief, FoM!
I think I'd look for another doctor or clinic under those circumstances!My great uncle was a doctor. He convinced my grandmother...and thus me, that a person should avoid doctors as much as they can...for that very reason. They make too many mistakes that can actually leave you worse off than you were in the first place.It's really disturbing that they make so many mistakes in an area that can mean life and death for people.I'm so sorry, and frightened, by what happened to your parents. 
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 09:18:45 PT
goneposthole
I bookmarked the page. I will see if I can find it somewhere. We don't have big health food stores around here unfortunately. http://www.cascadianfarm.com/
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Comment #16 posted by goneposthole on January 24, 2007 at 09:11:02 PT
don't panic, go organic
Find a good organic frozen grape juice concentrate. One brand is Cascadian Farms.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 09:06:06 PT
goneposthole
Thank you. That was very interesting. What kind should I buy?
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Comment #14 posted by goneposthole on January 24, 2007 at 08:53:31 PT
FoM
http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/750605Grape juice and ulcers.It only takes ninety seconds to hear what is said about grape juice and ulcers on the podcast.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 08:47:53 PT
charmed quark 
The reason why I don't want to trust a doctor is because mistakes by doctors caused the death of my mother and my father. The same doctor that made a critical mistake with my mother is the doctor I would need to see. He doesn't even have local hospital privileges  anymore from so many mistakes.
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Comment #12 posted by mai_bong_city on January 24, 2007 at 08:41:22 PT
and also to you, c q.
we all need some serious healing around here, eh? i hope that you are feeling better soon charmed quark. stay around forever too, ok? 
:) mbc~*
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 08:40:26 PT
MBC
Thank you. If I eat sugar my heart rate goes up so that's why I use diet gingerale. I have wonderful deep well water but never drank it. I am eating Activia and drinking water. I have a big glass of water ready to drink next to me right now. Instead of a pot of coffee I only have 3 cups in the morning now too. Good luck with your tests and let us know how you are doing. We need you well too.
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Comment #10 posted by mai_bong_city on January 24, 2007 at 08:33:26 PT
sending healing thoughts your way FoM
FoM i am so sorry to hear that you have been feeling poorly. i know what these stomach things are like - i'm going in for an endoscopy and colonoscopy over similar issues. believe me, i feel your pain :( 
i'm where charmed quark is with things and my health, and yes those changes are instrumental - i just want to tell you about looking at the aspartame issue when it comes to diet soda...it made me very sick for ten years and i never really knew or realized that it was causing me these symptoms.....it's not my place to say, i only want you to be aware that it can contribute a lot to stomach problems and ulcers and such, not to mention neurological troubles. 
i found that using natural sugar cost me no weight gain and i feel better - i was using gingerale as well and found that reed's, a natural gingerale, has up to 28 grams of ginger in it that helps to settle things in the digestion.....however, too much ginger can cause stomach acids to be a little worse, with the burning. 
i like a little half-can of regular coca-cola now and again to keep my tummy happy, they used to use coke syrup for upset way back, but the carbonation and stuff just seems to help. 
i'd get thee some prilosec or something, too, indeed.
best to you, dear FoM. we want to keep you around forever, you know :)mbc~*
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Comment #9 posted by charmed quark on January 24, 2007 at 08:07:18 PT
Doctors have their value
I wonder if you should get checked out. If the ulcer is bad enough to cause back pain, it's pretty serious. Some of the newer drugs really are effective for ulcers. Plus, many ulcers have an underlying H. pylori infection as their cause, which is easily treated.Have you tried the over-the-counter acid reducers to see if they help? They are quite safe for short term use. Long term, because they reduce stomach activity, they can increase the risk of food-born infection. And they appear to reduce calcium absorption. Still, these side effects are a lot better than a serious ulcer.I really understand your skepticism of doctors. I submitted fully to their tender mercies for 15 years for my illness, with only minor improvement and a lot of side effects.It was only when I took charge of my illness - working on lifestyle, diet and other changes and looking for alternative medications that I really got an improvement.I got my symptoms down at least 50% this way without any medications. But I still need the darn doctors for the other 50%.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 07:55:55 PT
goneposthole
No not yet. I think I have a stomach ulcer or serious acid problems so I am avoiding anything that has high acid. The night before I got sick I drank a couple of glasses of tomato juice because I just love it but I think it contributed to my problem. I put myself on a low calorie, low sodium and lowfat diet. Basically the bland food they feed you after surgery. Plain and easy to eat. I gave up diet coke and I drank about 12 or more a day for years and now drink diet ginger ale. I got junior mints because of the peppermint and they seem to help too. Thanks for caring.
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Comment #7 posted by goneposthole on January 24, 2007 at 07:42:00 PT
FoM
Did you drink any grape juice?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 07:38:08 PT
charmed quark
Thanks for asking and you're welcome and I really believe what I say about we need each other. Yesterday was the first day I felt ok and the symptoms are subsiding. I actually ate a salad and was able to eat another salad and not feel sick. When we look at food and it turns our stomach that's such a bummer. I have modified my eating habits 100% and I think I will be ok. 
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on January 24, 2007 at 07:33:10 PT
I meant to ask - how are you?
Have you had anymore backache? Have your other symtoms gone away?
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Comment #4 posted by charmed quark on January 24, 2007 at 07:31:51 PT
Thanks FoM
That made me feel betterCQ ( Pete)
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 24, 2007 at 07:20:49 PT
charmed quark 
I'm really sorry you got sick. I know that this whole thing has made me sick too. All I can say is that I am grateful to know that we aren't alone and we can lean on each other as we go thru these terrible times we are living in. 
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Comment #2 posted by charmed quark on January 24, 2007 at 07:11:41 PT
Propaganda gets me down
""There's no such thing as medical marijuana," Eig said, flatly discounting such laws."Stuff like this soaks into my consciousness and really gets me down. Amotivational syndrom, memory loss, etc. All that nonsense. When people find out I'm using the inferior "approved" form - Marinol - and that it is THC, all this propaganda makes them think I'm a druggie, a slacker who just wants to get high. What a joke - I don't even like alcohol. The only drug I like is caffeine in the form of a daily cup of coffee. And any "highs" from Marinol are, to me, quite unpleasant, something I try to avoid.It really gets me down. I recently stopped taking Marinol because I just couldn't stand the image people associate with marijuana and THC use. I guess I'm a weak person who doesn't have a strong enough self-image to ignore this stuff.And, of course, I got a relapse and have been really sick since Saturday. I had to miss a day of work. So I finally broke down and took a dose of Marinol and am starting to finally feel better.What a sick society we live in. It's only for the strong.
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Comment #1 posted by goneposthole on January 24, 2007 at 06:59:35 PT
a possible solution
"Snohomish County Prosecutor Janice Ellis called the conflicting state and federal laws "troubling.""Dissolve the US government and return to the Articles of Confederation.The US government is one for the books. Eventually, that is all there will be of it, a history of it written in the books. It will not be a very flattering story of what it was.It is headed for the trash heap of history at the rate it is going.
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