Medical Marijuana Requests Climb Sky High
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Medical Marijuana Requests Climb Sky High
Posted by CN Staff on April 15, 2009 at 07:09:51 PT
By Brian Alexander, Contributor
Source: MSNBC 
USA -- The number of ailing people turning to medical marijuana to ease their symptoms has spiked this year, say dispensary owners in some of the 13 states where it's legal. Requests have jumped anywhere from 50 to 300 percent, they say, since President Barack Obama took office and signaled that he won’t use federal marijuana laws to override state laws as the Bush administration did. Others say the economic downturn may also be responsible as more people without insurance are seeking alternatives to costly medications.
Another factor contributing to the spike may also be simply that baby boomers, many of whom came of age with pot, are more likely to seek it out for health reasons than the generation before them.Whatever the reason, in the past few months, marijuana co-ops, clubs, businesses and even lawyers who have advocated for looser dope regulations say they've been inundated with requests for information and certifications that permit people to use marijuana for medical purposes. “I have been flooded with calls,” reported Seattle attorney Douglas Hiatt, a long-time marijuana advocate. “It’s ‘Where can I find a doctor [to prescribe it]? How can I start a co-op?’ You wouldn’t believe it.” Under the George W. Bush administration, federal authorities maintained that federal marijuana laws took precedence over state law, even in states that had approved therapeutic cannabis. But Obama indicated during the presidential campaign that he supported the controlled use of marijuana for medical purposes, saying he saw no difference between medical marijuana and other pain-control drugs. “My attitude is if the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana, then that’s something I’m open to,” Obama said in November 2007 at a campaign stop in Audubon, Iowa. “There’s no difference between that and morphine when it comes to just giving people relief from pain.”  In February, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to limit Drug Enforcement Administration raids of prescription cannabis dispensaries to those businesses and organizations that break both state as well as federal laws. “Our focus will be on people, organizations that are growing, cultivating substantial amounts of marijuana and doing so in a way that’s inconsistent with federal and state law,” he said.  300 Percent Increase Hard numbers and state-to-state comparisons are difficult to come by because state laws vary and because some states are still creating their programs; New Mexico expects to license its first legal marijuana producer this month. But the state of Colorado has tracked registered medical marijuana users since implementing its law on June 1, 2001. As of the end of 2008, there were 4,720 applications received, almost all of which had been approved. But as of February 28 of this year, that number stood at 6,796, an increase of 2,076 in just two months. “I have had a 300 percent rise at my business,” reported the owner of Colorado’s Boulder County Caregivers, a marijuana dispensary. (She asked not to be named since she also works in local government.) Her numbers are rising despite obstacles that remain in the path of those seeking access. For example, many doctors are reluctant to authorize their patients to use marijuana either because its efficacy has not been proven in rigorous trials, shown to be superior to other drugs, or because they themselves fear risking their own federal license to prescribe medications like opiate pain killers if they are seen to be defying federal drug law. “I have legitimate cancer patients who cannot get a doctor to sign,” the Boulder dispensary owner said. “Their doctor will say ‘Talk to your oncologist,’ and the oncologist will say ‘Talk to your other doctor.’ So I see the same doctors’ names over and over. Patient records show the same two clinics because so many go there since their own doctors will not do it for fear of federal retribution.” Some organizations leap this hurdle by providing their own doctors. “I have 12 doctors working with us right now,” said Paul Stanford, director of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, based in Portland, Ore. THCF has started clinics in eight states, often by bringing along one of its own paid doctors who happens to be licensed in that state. Stanford claimed his clinics are booming, too, with about 50 percent more calls and patient certifications than before the new administration took office.  Drug of Youth Now Medicine for Older Age But the increase is not due solely to Obama's election. It may also be partly demographic. Many people born after World War II have at least some experience with marijuana. Few people under 65, “are truly naïve to cannabis,” suggested Dr. Frank Lucido, an Oakland, Calif., physician who has long been a leader in California’s medical marijuana community. So when maladies of older age like glaucoma, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, arthritis, AIDS, and the effects of cancer treatment descend, people are more willing to turn to the party drug of their youth for relief than their parents may have been. Lucido has seen an increase in patients, too, but a slight one, a much smaller bump than he would have expected. It’s possible, he speculated, that because so many dispensaries have opened in California, some offering quickie — and often dubious — medical exams to certify patient need, that the total number of medical marijuana consumers has boomed, but that many are avoiding more stringent practitioners like himself. One final possibility for the increase in numbers is economic. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that at least 45 million Americans under age 65 are now without health insurance.As the number of medical marijuana outlets expands, and fear of federal drug charges diminishes, some of those people, faced with paying out of pocket for pharmaceutical drugs or for cannabis, “will turn to medicine that is good for a whole bunch of ailments, that you can grow yourself and not spend a tremendous amount of money on,” Hiatt said. “That’s very appealing to lots of people.” Source: MSNBC (US Web)Author: Brian Alexander, ContributorPublished: April 15, 2009Copyright: 2009 MSNBC InteractiveContact: letters msnbc.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #13 posted by rchandar on April 16, 2009 at 20:54:09 PT:
From the Culture War Room 4/16/09:I don't know how many of you have taken a peek at CNN's week-long broadcast on Addiction, "Drug Nation," and Mexico. President Obama made a statement today which was discouraging: on top of pledging a fight against illegal gun smuggling and "reducing the demand for drugs," he vowed to "crack down" on drug use and the "scourge" of drugs.Obama's ambivalence is potentially dangerous. Now, the economy is showing some signs of recovery, that's good. But our main issue was getting the number of MJ arrests down, and that's what we should hold him to. My guess is that CNN's week-long broadcast--hours of coverage every day--is a sensationalization/generalization move to lump all drug users with the Mexico problem, re-tag drugs as that which produces crime, and potentially reverse the gains that we've made in the past few months.Medical MJ is an admirable cash cow. No coverage was given for the motion in the Mexican Congress to legalize drugs. One reporter: the cartels don't care as long as they have a safe territory to ship drugs into the US. Still, 60% of our market is domestic, so some amount of propaganda is growing on this one. Very few of us are going to mind President Obama going after cartel leaders and gun-toting smugglers. Some, maybe. Pressure, however, must continually be applied to ensure that the alarmingly high arrest rate and the large number of jail inmates decreases. If Obama is for reviving and prospering America, he must honor his commitment: to make sure that all Americans will have a chance.--rchandar
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Comment #12 posted by ChristenMitchell on April 15, 2009 at 21:35:53 PT:
Colorado Despensaries are Budding
The latest in print is the Medical Marijuana News. A dozen storefronts have opened their doors in the last two months. Get the news at
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on April 15, 2009 at 21:20:39 PT
FoM, for you
Marijuana For Mental Health
by Julie Chadwick, Cannabis Culture. Posted on Wednesday, April 15 2009 03:05:29 PM - Headline News Debbie Jeffries MEDICAL MARIJUANA WAMM Lester Grinspoon, Valerie Corral have some interesting things to say in this anecdotal report.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 15, 2009 at 12:23:17 PT
I have read about those grants but I don't know if they are only for big cities with violent crime or other places. I don't think we have anything like that around here but maybe we do. 
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Comment #9 posted by The GCW on April 15, 2009 at 11:02:25 PT
A Green Party friend sent this.
For the past decades the drug war has been receiving funding under something called the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant
(JAG) Program Award. Most people familiar with hi-intensity drug task forces, which is generally a collusion between local law enforcement and the DEA, would simply know the phrase "Byrne Grant".Many of my law enforcement friends have been telling me for the past few years that the federally financed drug war was winding down, because the Bryne grants were diminishing. They were actually designed to do that, because it was the intent of the fed to teach drug interdiction methods to locals with training and operations of the DEA paid for in part by these grants. Each grant cycle was to be of a lesser value in subsequent grants than the previous grant. 
Few communities can afford to pay for drug interdiction, and they will either do less of it or find other funding. As our state puts limitations on asset forfeiture, the drug war in Colorado has been curtailed by absence of funding.The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) (the “Recovery Act”) and by 42 U.S.C. 3751(a). Is now being used by the fed to re-invest in the Byrne Grants.My city (Longmont) has never taken part in the DEA Bryne funded task force(s). However, the police have just applied for and received a new Byrne grant for an Ending of Violence Initiative, a $30K cash value. Not much, but the devil is in the details. Buried in this local legislation are these words "multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces".In the same way that law enforcement has been creative in finding funding for drug interdiction, cities are being creative in getting Recovery and Reinvestment money. A close read of what has just happened here with new Byrne grants, has me believing that my city will either actually create a drug task force, or simply pretend to have one so they can spend Obama's newly printed script.Whatever the case, those of us aware that the drug was was suffering from lack of funding should now be aware that the Obama administration has just increased the funding for the war against all American citizens.
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Comment #8 posted by paul armentano on April 15, 2009 at 10:19:52 PT
Update/photos from NORML NYC Tax Protest
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on April 15, 2009 at 09:56:40 PT
phoenix rising
You can't keep a good medicine down! I love this article - med mj is now discussed as a national issue, not a California issue.It's been a long 80 years and Jah people have suffered enough! I saw a show on "freebirthing" last night, it was fascinating. Some women are so turned off by the arrogant, insensitive medical system that they choose to have babies at home. The first thing I noticed is that the 2 women on the show both delivered their babies from a totally different position than the on the back, feet in the stirrups position. Doctors put the women in stirrups like an animal, so she's in the most comfortable position for them to work. Typical, who cares about the patient in paternalistic western medicine.Of course the women were reported to "Social Services" and are investigated and many even face prosecution for delivering their babies in this way, and the doctors and medical industry are constantly clamoring for more prosecutions.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 15, 2009 at 09:37:29 PT
Thank you. She has such a beautiful Spirit about her. 
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Comment #5 posted by MikeC on April 15, 2009 at 09:12:58 PT
I saw that piece of video. I am still in awe of Susan Boyle. What a great, great story that is. I wish her nothing but the best for the rest of her days.I pulled this from the comments section of an article about her appearance on that show. It is summed up pretty nicely:"The 7 minute video is the hands down the most moving piece of film I think I’ve ever seen. Profound. So moving it made a grown man cry several times at the beauty of the music, but mostly because of Susan Boyle’s story – disabilities due to an oxygen deprived birth, ridiculed all her life .. even now by kids in her village because of how she LOOKS. Wearing her finest dress bought for a wedding months ago, she unassumingly showed the world the best feeling in the world is when our best humanity is touched and preconceived notions cast aside in a moment of beautiful clarity. Susan is what a beautiful soul looks like. Makeup, airbrushes, camera angles cannot make us feel what a 7 minute story of a woman who I'm a life long major league music industry person and musician who has always been MOVED by music that makes me FEEL. Visual senses are superficial. I hope the record industry will come to it’s senses and realize that giving the world TALENT that MOVES you in your soul is what we need, what we want to hear, what we’ll buy. God Bless you Susan Boyle. What a beautiful, humble, kind, person to have lived that song. "Life has killed the dream I dreamed"?? No. It was merely postponed, Susan. You've given us a far greater gift - a heartwarming moment of clarity for humanity and a reawakened sense of what music should be about. A song and a voice that still moves me to tears the 50th time I’ve watched that amazing performance and perhaps pivitol moment for our humanity just when we needed it most. God bless you, Susan. May all your dreams come true sweetie."
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 15, 2009 at 09:11:40 PT
You're welcome. It made me cry it was so beautiful.
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Comment #3 posted by museman on April 15, 2009 at 09:09:10 PT
FoM -#2 talent
Wonderful!Thanks, my day just got better.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 15, 2009 at 08:47:34 PT
Something Very Nice
Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009
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Comment #1 posted by TroutMask on April 15, 2009 at 07:35:14 PT:
cat = out of bag-TM
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