Let Iowans Ease Their Pain with Medical Marijuana
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Let Iowans Ease Their Pain with Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on May 08, 2009 at 05:20:30 PT
By Andie Dominick
Source: Des Moines Register
Iowa -- George McMahon is afflicted with Nail Patella Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormalities of joints, kidneys and bones. It is sometimes detected when someone's kneecaps don't develop or fingernails are missing. Many with the syndrome are also afflicted with glaucoma.McMahon has small kneecaps and no thumbnails and suffers from severe pain, muscle spasms and nausea. In his 59 years, he's been hospitalized repeatedly, undergone nearly 20 major surgeries and has had five "near death" experiences.
"I'm pretty screwed up," he said.Few would consider this Iowan fortunate in matters of health.But he has been fortunate to get the medical treatment he needs: marijuana.McMahon is a participant in the Compassionate Care IND (Investigational New Drug) program. Created by the federal government in 1978, it has allowed people with certain medical conditions to use marijuana for treatment. In 1992, after many AIDS patients suffering from wasting disease and appetite loss sought use of the drug through the program, the George H.W. Bush administration closed it to new applicants.McMahon is now among only a few Americans allowed medically supervised marijuana therapy through the program. Each month, he receives 300 marijuana cigarettes, grown and sent to him by the federal government. Smoking it alleviates his painful, debilitating muscle spasms. It helps him sleep through the night.McMahon knows he's fortunate to be able to use a stigmatized drug for medical treatment."I'm in the best position," he said. Other sick people should be able to use the drug too, he said.That's why he signed on as a plaintiff in a recent lawsuit about the classification of marijuana in Iowa. This state considers marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance - putting it among the most tightly regulated drugs under state law. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed a lawsuit arguing the drug was incorrectly categorized because it did not meet the statutory requirement of having "no accepted medical use treatment in the United States."The ACLU noted that at least 13 other states allow people - including those with AIDS, cancer and glaucoma - to legally use the drug for medical purposes.On April 24, a Polk County judge ruled the Iowa Pharmacy Board must examine whether the drug is properly classified. According to Randall Wilson, the attorney who handled the case for the ACLU, after the board makes a determination, it must then recommend proper categorization to the Iowa Legislature.The ruling doesn't legalize marijuana for medical use in Iowa. Even the findings and recommendations of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy won't have any impact on the legality of its medical use.But the ruling opens the door for this state to have a serious conversation about allowing ill Iowans access to marijuana for medical treatment. The Legislature would have to pass a law - as other states have done - to decriminalize its use for medical treatment.Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, tried to do that earlier this year. He proposed legislation calling for creating "compassion centers," nonprofit organizations that would cultivate and distribute the drug to approved patients. The bill died due to lack of support.Next session it should be revived - and passed. Just as lawmakers and voters in other states have done, Iowa should allow sick people access to what may be the most effective drug to help them.Even state approval would not make the drug "legal" by federal standards, according to Wilson, but the Obama administration has said it will not go after sick Americans using pot for treatment.For McMahon, that treatment means smoking about half a joint an hour - a total of about 10 marijuana cigarettes a day. It helps more than any drug he has been prescribed, and it allowed him to work as a laborer in his younger years. He said he doesn't have to use it if he doesn't need it. But if he wants to garden or pain wakes him up in the middle of the night, he may smoke a little more."It depends on the night and the symptoms," he said.And when shipments have been late, he knows what it's like to go without the drug. The pain is bad, starting in his joints and spreading: "It overwhelms me," he said.What he finds equally difficult: hearing from people who suffer from "every kind of unimaginable pain" and don't have the option of using marijuana for treatment. He's met people with multiple sclerosis and neurological problems who are "scared to death" of breaking the law. Their doctors are scared to recommend pot, too.Iowans shouldn't have to be scared. They shouldn't have to choose between breaking the law and getting a treatment that may help them. Andie Dominick is a Register editorial writer.Source: Des Moines Register (IA)Author: Andie DominickPublished: May 8, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Des Moines RegisterContact: adominick dmreg.comWebsite: http://desmoinesregister.comWebsite: Article:Judge Asks Board If Marijuana Has Safe Use Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by observer on May 08, 2009 at 13:23:23 PT
buried facts
This needs to be said plainly, not buried in paragraph seven and only said in a sideways manner.The U.S. Federal Government mails ready-rolled reefers as medicine to medical patients! The government mails medical marijuana to some people, and has for years!The mainstream media is loathe to plainly mention this inconvenient little fact. Shout it from the rooftops, I say.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on May 08, 2009 at 07:41:54 PT
George and Barbara McMahon
To have met them has been a blessing. They are good and compassionate people.
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Comment #1 posted by George Servantes on May 08, 2009 at 07:30:36 PT
Our time has come
We are going to be free soon. No one can stop us now. We have a right to use medical cannabis to feel good and healthy.Queen - 'Breakthru'
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