cannabisnews.com: Medical Marijuana










††Medical Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on January 21, 2009 at 05:37:55 PT
By Mary Pat Angelini†
Source: Times†

New Jersey -- Marijuana use has been shown to affect short-term memory, disrupt cognitive functions and lead to depression and anxiety. Studies have also demonstrated links between massive marijuana usage to occurrences of heart attack, stroke and abnormalities in the brain. Despite these dangerous consequences, a national survey by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that nearly 95 million Americans over the age of 21 have tried marijuana at least once. Roughly 7.1 million Americans abuse illegal drugs, and more than 60 percent abuse marijuana.
In fact, our country is currently struggling to control this substance and make it very clear that policies must be initiated that will further restrict access to the drug versus granting permission to obtain the substance.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which opposes the use of smoked marijuana, is the federal agency that certifies what drugs are safe and those that have a medicinal benefit. It is critical that scientific research be conducted to determine the ramifications of smoking a potentially dangerous substance. In 2006, the FDA declared that marijuana has a high potential for abuse and that there is a lack of accepted safety for its use, even under medical supervision. The very idea of ingesting a "medicine" by smoking it is counter-intuitive. On Dec. 15, the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act by a 6-1 vote, with two abstentions. The proposed bill would permit patients, who are diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition, to smoke marijuana either by cultivating up to six plants themselves or having it provided by a state-authorized personal caregiver. The legislation would also empower the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish alternative treatment centers to produce and dispense marijuana for medical purposes to those possessing a registry identification card. This legislation is reckless public policy. I empathize with the stories described by the bill's supporters of the relief that smoking marijuana gives those with debilitating diseases, but I fear that New Jersey would be making a mistake bearing unforeseen and unintended consequences if we think we can systematically control who will have lawful access to a controlled and dangerous substance. The pitfalls associated with this policy are many and the opportunity for misuse and abuse are plentiful. The Senate committee stated that medical research suggested that smoking marijuana may alleviate pain or other symptoms associated with certain medical conditions. Yet, there have been no studies conducted by the FDA to substantiate this claim. In fact, the Greater North Jersey chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society weighed in on the issue in 2003, when, in its newsletter, it stated that "it is important for everyone to realize that we still do not have the necessary scientific information to determine the safety and efficacy of marijuana for medical use in MS." Further, the Multiple Sclerosis Society's Information Sourcebook, which was last updated in 2005, advised that "based on studies to date, it is the opinion of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Medical Advisory Board that there are currently insufficient data to recommend marijuana or its derivatives as a treatment for MS. Long-term use of marijuana may be associated with significant serious side effects." New Jersey, like the other 13 states, is in the process of sidestepping the protocol for approving medications. Questions regarding the use and effectiveness of medicine are for the FDA to answer, not special-interest groups, not individuals and not the state Legislature. I am sensitive to the pain that individuals endure from disease, but that does not make it appropriate to sanction the medical use of marijuana. The ends do not justify the means. The implications of this legislation are far-reaching, with an increased opportunity for abuse. In addition, I am not convinced that a secure system can be put into place that ensures the responsible production, delivery and monitoring of medical marijuana. Allowing either the patient or their caregiver to possess six marijuana plants for harvesting, or creating alternative treatment centers to dispense this product should raise a red flag to those concerned with executing sound public policy. The average marijuana plant can produce anywhere from one to five pounds of smokeable materials per year, resulting in a total harvest of anywhere between six to 30 pounds of marijuana. Who will oversee its output and ensure that patients do not over-medicate, or that the excess production is not diverted to those who use marijuana for recreational purposes? I would argue that New Jersey is opening a Pandora's box by traveling down this road. The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug as classified by the Controlled Substances Act, which defines drugs in this category as being the most restrictive for use due to their high potential for abuse and addictiveness. Products in this category are also found to have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. It is not surprising that the DEA does not endorse the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes. What is troubling about this legislation is the message that it sends to our youth. I have seen firsthand the devastation that drugs and alcohol bring not only to the individual who uses these products, but to their families and friends, as well. We should not be in the position of trying to justify to young people that smoking marijuana under certain circumstances is permissible, but unlawful and harmful under others. While we strive to be a compassionate society, there must be a balance between alleviating or managing pain and creating a system that potentially does more harm than good. The road that medical marijuana legislation is traveling is laden with potholes. There are too many unanswered questions regarding this serious public policy issue to justify its becoming law. And once the box is opened, it will be difficult to return its contents and close the lid if things do not work out. Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, represents the 11th Legislative District. She is also executive director of Prevention First. Newshawk: The GCWSource: Times, The (Trenton, NJ)Author: Mary Pat AngeliniPublished: January 20, 2009Copyright: 2009 The TimesContact: letters njtimes.comWebsite: http://www.nj.com/times/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/8RLHoj5rCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml

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Comment #23 posted by FoM on January 22, 2009 at 09:24:07 PT
DEA Vetoes Research
URL: http://www.newsreview.com/reno/Content?oid=898034
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on January 22, 2009 at 09:13:40 PT

No Pot for Prof
He canít grow weed for medical research, DEA says.
 
 
January 22, 2009 
Despite strong support from Capitol Hill big shots, professor Lyle Craker got a big thumbs down from the Drug Enforcement Administration last week in his bid to grow marijuana for medical research. A horticulturalist and head of the medicinal plant program at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Craker challenged the governmentís monopoly on the production and distribution of the plant at its growing facility at the University of Mississippi, reported The Associated Press. He claimed that the governmentís marijuana isnít strong enough for researchers to adequately make scientific breakthroughs, nor is there enough for a wide breadth of study. U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry supported those claims, and in 2007 a federal judge sided with Craker, recommending that the DEA grant him an application to grow the plants for Food and Drug Administration-approved research. Copyright: 2009 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.URL: http://www.newsreview.com/chico/Content?oid=898109
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on January 22, 2009 at 05:34:34 PT

Just a Note
I wanted to clarify what I meant when I said when we become a majority. I didn't mean a political party but when the people of our country say that marijuana laws need changing then we should be able to have the laws changed. Only people can do that not organizations or political parties. Just we the people. That's a democracy to me. Some people call us a republic but I never have. Maybe it's because I wasn't educated in a public school. 
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Comment #20 posted by BGreen on January 22, 2009 at 04:42:22 PT

unkat27
The only depression and anxiety I've suffered from cannabis has been from trying to obtain it through the black market instead of at the supermarket.The older I get the more difficult it is to be safe yet satisfied.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #19 posted by unkat27 on January 22, 2009 at 03:53:27 PT

This part hit me hard
"Marijuana use has been shown to affect short-term memory, disrupt cognitive functions and lead to depression and anxiety."This really got me from the start of the article. I suffer from severe depression and an anxiety disorder, and I know for a fact that cannabis alleviates these problems, it does not cause them. The only time it causes anxiety is when people use too much and don't know when to put it down. If it were legal, it could include warnings on the package about the side-effects of doing too much. It's the same with all medicines. Anytime a person consumes too much of a medicine all at once, it has adverse side-effects. That's why the labels on most medicines include warnings about overdose. 
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Comment #18 posted by Vincent on January 21, 2009 at 21:44:56 PT:

Mary Pat Angelini's big mouth
I see that New Jersey Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who is against Medical Marijuana, is a Republican just like that anti-Marijuana fool from Montana. Again I am not surprised. This is why I cannot stomach Republicans.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 18:48:27 PT

afterburner
I want change in who is running our government. What I mean is the government is for governing We The People. They are to serve our needs as a society. We pay taxes, we vote them in and they should do what we ask when we become a majority. The flow of money used to buy politicians in Washington should not be allowed anymore. Barr is an example of a person who changed his tune but I've never heard him say anything honestly good about the rights of citizens or the benefits of marijuana. 
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Comment #16 posted by afterburner on January 21, 2009 at 18:40:59 PT

FoM #15
It's not just the Lobbyists outside government that influence the politicians, it's the Lobbyists inside government too. Nancy Pelosi was just on Larry King on CNN talking about the "revolving door," meaning the business representatives who become government regulators, only to return to business. Their vested interest is in profits for business, Not safety of the public!Nancy Pelosi said that they have tried to regulate the regulators, which shows her resolve to do more in this important area, now that the government is firmly in Democratic hands.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 17:10:55 PT

afterburner
The lobbying rules are what I'm happy about. I want money to stop influencing our politics. Lobbyists don't represent the people just their own interests and that has always bothered me alot. I hope Craker gets a fair review since Senator Kennedy was on his side. Like Neil Young sang about in Greendale.There's corruption on the highest floor.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on January 21, 2009 at 16:59:46 PT

I agree, Paul
"Within hours of Obama' taking the oath of office on Tuesday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel ordered all federal agencies to put the brakes on any pending regulations that the Bush administration sought to push through in its final days."
Obama's first day includes church, the economy.
President attends National Cathedral service, meets with advisers.
DEVELOPING STORY.
NBC News and news services.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28767687/?GT1=43001I just found this link earlier today. My previous comment was tentative based on incomplete information at that time. However, I do believe that many of the federal agencies do need major reforms.

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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 16:44:32 PT

Paul
I was hoping that the ruling by the DEA in Crakers case would be held for review. I do hope that happens.
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Comment #12 posted by paul armentano on January 21, 2009 at 16:09:01 PT

Obama to review regulations, not agencies
RE: Comments #5 and #6:"In one of his first presidential acts, President Barack Obama has ordered federal agencies to halt all pending regulations until his administration can review them."See: http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2009/2009-01-21-03.asp
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Comment #11 posted by NikoKun on January 21, 2009 at 14:39:21 PT

When authors don't check legitimacy of "studies&qu
"Studies have also demonstrated links between massive marijuana usage to occurrences of heart attack, stroke and abnormalities in the brain."
Jeeze, why even include this? The studies that found such results, were frankly invalid because of technique, came up with either twisted or false results, and just more BS which prohibitionists are trying to cling onto... Normal use does not cause such things, even heavy use, wont often cause such results.
In the studies that found such horrible and serious results, they had to find users who've used for over 20 years, and smoke like 20 joints a day! That's way more than the vast majority would ever use... That's actually more than anyone should ever need to use, as the effects of weed last 2 hours, and a single joint gets you really high.
And after years and years of this, ANYONE using ANYTHING that much, will have some bad effects.They waste so much time and money finding these trivial negative side effects... While absolutely refusing to conduct any studies on the positive medical uses... -_-
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Comment #10 posted by unkat27 on January 21, 2009 at 12:32:28 PT

The writer of this article is a moron
The writer of this article is a moron.I just had to say it, since no one else seems inclined.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 08:13:35 PT

Could President Obama Say No To Senator Kennedy?
January 12, 2009Excerpt: Craker challenged the government's monopoly on research marijuana. A lab at the University of Mississippi is the government's only marijuana-growing facility.Craker's suit claimed government-grown marijuana lacks the potency medical researchers need to make important breakthroughs. He also alleged there wasn't enough of the drug freely available for scientists across the country to work with.The professor has won support from Massachusetts Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry as well as several other members of Congress.http://cannabisnews.com/news/24/thread24421.shtml#1
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Comment #8 posted by Treeanna on January 21, 2009 at 08:06:21 PT

Irony
"Questions regarding the use and effectiveness of medicine are for the FDA to answer, not special-interest groups, not individuals and not the state Legislature." 
"Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, R-Monmouth, represents the 11th Legislative District. She is also executive director of Prevention First.":/ 
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on January 21, 2009 at 07:36:04 PT

Obama Will Review DEA, FDA, USDA 
runruff #5 I hope that report is true."The FDA frequently works in conjunction with other Federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and Consumer Product Safety Commission." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_Drug_AdministrationThe DEA, like the FDA & USDA, is rife with corruption, political patronage and misguided policies. Thank you, President Obama, for your determination to reform these agencies.  
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 07:14:35 PT

runruff
I read that too but I didn't find anything on the DEA's ruling in the article but it should be included I would think.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on January 21, 2009 at 07:11:09 PT

What's this?
I read on the MSNBC scroll that President Obama has frozen operations among all federal agencies until he can give each one a review? Does this include the DEA? I guess it does?Anyone know any more about this?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 07:02:51 PT

Friendly Reminder Marijuana Inc. on CNBC
Documentary Airing: Thursday, January 22nd, 2009http://www.cnbc.com/id/28621704
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 06:56:40 PT

Storm Crow 
I'm sorry but I need to remove your comment because the URLs caused the page to get out of whack. If you used the tiny url it would help prevent the problem that long urls can cause.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 21, 2009 at 05:41:22 PT

NJ: Marijuana's Potential as a Medicine Needs Work
January 21, 2009http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20090121/OPINION02/901210302/-1/newsfront
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