Cannabis News
  Florida MMJ Smoker Seeks To Influence Court
Posted by CN Staff on November 29, 2004 at 19:14:25 PT
By Sean Salai 
Source: Boca Raton News 

medical A sickly South Florida man who has smoked over 3,000 ounces of marijuana on the federal payroll for 22 years said Monday he hoped his experiences with the drug would influence the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize it.

Irvin Rosenfeld, a Fort Lauderdale stockbroker with accounts in Boca Raton and a rare bone disorder, said he hoped his amicus brief in Ashcroft v. Raich would influence the Supreme Court to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

“Eighty percent of the American people favor medical cannabis,” Rosenfeld told the Boca Raton News. “It is time the politicians realized this is a medical issue, not a legal issue. Stop fighting the war on drugs against sick people. It’s that simple.”

The court on Monday heard oral arguments in the Raich case and will decide whether sick people in 11 states with medical marijuana laws can get past a federal ban on pot. That decision is expected by March at the earliest and July at the latest.

The states with laws permitting medicinal marijuana are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

In the case before the high court, lawyers for Angel Raich and Diane Monson of California argued Monday that pot has relieved their clients from the symptoms of their life-threatening illnesses.

Raich, 39, is a mother of two from Oakland suffering from several diseases including a brain tumor and scoliosis. The California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 has permitted her to receive free doses of marijuana, without which, her doctor told the court in a brief, she would stop eating healthy because of the chronic pain and possibly die.

Diane Monson, 47, is an accountant from Oroville. She has a degenerative spine disease and grows marijuana plants in her backyard. However, the federal government said Monday there is no medical benefit to marijuana.

The Bush administration also has argued that the inter-state commerce clause gives the federal government precedence over the state laws. This has provoked scorn from the medical marijuana lobby.

“No money changed hands for Raich,” said Rosenfeld, who had once opposed marijuana before using it medicinally. “Where’s the inter-state commerce?”

“First, this is not inter-state commerce because there’s no money changing hands,” said Al Byrne, co-founder of the Virginia-based medical marijuana advocacy group Patients Out of Time. “It’s a state issue.

“Secondly, don’t we have private rights? Angel found out that cannabis worked for her and she took responsibility for it. She uses it through a vaporizer. That doesn’t even produce smoke.”

A leading pro-marijuana neurologist, who didn’t want to be identified, said his clinical work has shown pot to be effective in treating symptoms of nausea, migraine headaches, tremors, chorea and nerve-related pain.

“Cigarettes and alcohol kill thousands every year, as do heroin and cocaine, while cannabis kills no one and even relieves people with serious diseases,” the neurologist said. “They say they feel better, and we really can’t quantify its benefit beyond that, but the point of any medicine is to feel better. The proof is there that it works and is safe.”

Meanwhile, Rosenfeld said he joined Byrne’s Patients Out of Time group after they put him through a 72-hour study to verify that his pulmonary system was healthy.

The stockbroker first began receiving 22 marijuana cigarettes a day under a federal medical cannabis program on November 20, 1982. Although Congress terminated the program in 1992, he and seven other patients continued to receive the pot because they were “grand-fathered in” for funding.

“I have bone tumors throughout my body,” Rosenfeld said. “The marijuana serves as an anti-inflammatory muscle relaxant, it keeps the tumors from growing and it has kept new tumors from developing. It has kept me healthy. Without this medicine, I would not be able to work. I would be a wheelchair-driven, homebound drain on society instead of a contributing member.”

Dr. Sanchez Ramos, the neurologist who monitored Rosenfeld’s progress every six months from 1991 to 1996, said Monday he would not take sides in the issue.

However, he confirmed that marijuana successfully treated Rosenfeld’s symptoms and enabled him to stop using other medicinal painkillers.

“It was beneficial for the pain and muscle spasms in his limbs,” Ramos said. “Because tolerance developed quickly, Irv did not get ‘high’ or suffer any deleterious effects in performing as a stockbroker. But the data out there, although well-documented, is mostly anecdotal – it’s not hard data and doesn’t pass scientific muster.”

Complete Title: Florida Marijuana Smoker Seeks To Influence Ashcroft v. Raich

Source: Boca Raton News (FL)
Author: Sean Salai
Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Boca Raton News

Related Articles & Web Sites:

Raich vs. Ashcroft

Patients Out of Time

Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News

Must The Ill Be Made To Suffer for Meager Gain?

MMJ Spokespatient Watches Court Debate

Rosenfeld Has Received MMJ from Government

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Comment #1 posted by john wayne on November 30, 2004 at 01:11:38 PT
What? Mere evidence?
I'm afraid the emperors courtiers will need much more than that to change their infallible minds.

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