Coalition Demands Legalization of Cannabis

Coalition Demands Legalization of Cannabis
Posted by CN Staff on May 08, 2008 at 07:31:45 PT
By Kelly Janis
Source: Middlebury Campus
Vermont -- According to Vermont Grassroots Party leader Denny Lane, when alcohol prohibition came to an end in the 1930s, the individuals who had once enforced the measure were left with a woeful quantity of time on their hands."So they all got together to create this boogey-man marijuana, this evil demon weed that will make you go berserk and rape your grandmother," Lane said. "What they didn't realize is that it's the most versatile, premiere plant on the planet."
Driven by this sentiment, proponents of the legalization of marijuana convened in City Hall Park in downtown Burlington on May 3, for a cannabis prohibition protest. The event - part of the 239-city Worldwide Marijuana March - featured speeches by doctors, lawyers and legislators, the distribution of pro-hemp brochures, button and bumper sticker sales and a performance by the Johnson State College student band Oblio.Extolling the virtues of the drug, rally attendee Michael Kelley claimed that it can provide relief from ailments as diverse as attention deficit disorder, chronic pain, insomnia and anorexia."We need to open up medical marijuana a little bit more than it is right now," Kelley said.Many scientists are reluctant to concur with such assertions. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, while cannabis may have some degree of merit in treating nausea, glaucoma, pain and multiple sclerosis, it does so at the risk of the same side-effects associated with recreational use, including impairment of thinking, problem-solving skills and memory, reduced balance and coordination, heightened likelihood of heart attack, chronic cough and respiratory infections and the potential for hallucinations and withdrawal symptoms. The federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it is one of "the most dangerous drugs that have no recognized medical use."As a result, obtaining it is no easy task."In the state of Vermont, you have to be just about dead to get medical marijuana," Kelley said.This does not, however, prove a universal impediment."I know an 84-year-old former commissioner of one of the state's departments who uses medical marijuana," Kelley said. "He's too old to grow it himself, but he smokes it every night before he goes to sleep."Kelley recounted the experiences of friends who have navigated the final stages of terminal illnesses with a bottle of liquid morphine in one hand and a bag of marijuana in the other."My best friend in the world died from cancer, and at one point I said to him, 'Josh, what addresses the pain better?'" Kelley recalled. "And he said, believe it or not, that the marijuana did."Many of those who champion cannabis, of course, do so from a decidedly non-medical standpoint."I would address spiritual maladies as well as physical ones, because there is a spiritual aspect to using this herb," Kelley said. "This is something that, for a lot of people, creates mirth, happiness, calmness. It's something that's shared. It's passed. That's spiritual in my book. It's a sacred act. It's a communal act."Kelley also offered up the drug as a cure for writers' block."Every song on here was written under the influence of marijuana," Kelley said, producing a copy of a CD entitled Aliens in My Bathtub, whose jewel case features a blue-tinted photograph of a backwards-facing man in the process of stripping off a trench coat in an alley at night. "I would know, because I'm the one who wrote them.""Some of the songs are a little eccentric," he warned of the album, which contains musings on Cleveland, virgins, Ramadan and Huckleberry Finn. "But every now and then, I hit the right note."Moreover, Lane argues in favor of hemp's industrial applications, deeming it the world's leading source of biomass and suggesting that it could more fully utilized as a food, fuel and fiber."There's no need for oil anymore," he said. "[Government leaders] are all going, 'we need this oil.' More wars for oil, more blood for oil. We don't need oil. Let them keep it in the ground in the desert. We could save the family farm here in Vermont by growing cannabis for all of its different uses."Alongside existing as the "cash crop of the future," Lane regards the fiber as a veritable fashion statement."When I campaigned for governor in '94 and '96 against Howard Dean, I wore a three-piece hemp suit to show people that it's not just for smoking," he said.In a similarly political vein, Lane noted that a number of the nation's Founding Fathers would be incarcerated in the present day for the extent of their hemp cultivation. To emphasize this point, he distributed an illustration of a winking George Washington smoking a joint beside the caption, "everyone's grass will be greener when it's legal.""'Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth!'" Lane exclaimed, thrusting his arms skyward. "Genesis 1:29. Check the Bible.""It doesn't really do harm to anyone," said Willy Sheets, who helped sell "keep the CIA off marijuana" bumper stickers to garner community service hours for a participation-in-government class at Missisquoi Valley Union High School in Swanton, Vt. "If alcohol is legal, why not pot?"Expressing a similar position, rally attendee Aaron Rowe reflected on the stigma he perceives to accompany his marijuana use."Up here, you can't really get construction jobs if you smoke pot," he said. "What I do on my time is my business. I've been with the same company for three years now. They know what I do. They know I don't bring it to the site. It's something to do to relax at night. I don't know. It's marijuana. It's something to do."Rowe is inclined to disregard warnings about the drug's adverse effects."It's all about tolerance levels," Rowe said. "If you can drive on it, more power to you. If you can't, don't get behind the wheel. Everyone I've ever met can make that distinction."Contrary to this claim, a 2005 study conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand found that habitual cannabis users were nine and a half times more likely to be involved in an automobile collision than those who do not use the drug.Lane conceded that marijuana may not be for everyone."If somebody is mentally unbalanced or has some kind of psychosis to begin with, maybe it might not be that great of an idea for them to do it," Lane said. "Then again, maybe it would, because it would open their mind. But- ""I'll tell you, it's better to be lightly stoned than dealing with lithium," interrupted Wolcott, Vt. resident Gregg Laikin, referring to a drug sometimes used to treat manic episodes. "I was on lithium for a while. Not good. I find for myself that I don't get stoned out. Not like I used to in the teenage years. Just enough."Laikin took advantage of the gathering to distribute personalized business cards pointing to an "Internet wealth generation" Web site which promises users they can produce a six-figure salary within the span of a year by marketing "healthy chocolate." Laikin said he hoped to use his earnings from the site to get off Social Security's Supplemental Security Income and contribute financially to the "marijuana liberation" movement.It is a movement whose leaders are desperate for any form of support feasible."We've been making some headway for the past 20 years, but they're baby steps," Lane said. "I want giant strides taken."Source: Middlebury Campus, The (VT Edu)Author: Kelly JanisPublished: May 8, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Middlebury CampusContact: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 08, 2008 at 17:13:54 PT
I get your point.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 08, 2008 at 12:00:00 PT
I really liked the picture. 
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Comment #2 posted by observer on May 08, 2008 at 11:48:08 PT
How It Plays in 'Conservative' America
I think the reset of the coalition must be be dressing in suits and ties. Why?Notice the accompanying photo: as weird and counter-culture as they could select: does this mean?In US-Republican symbol-speak, this photo to the Faithful means: * Rock band. See Ethyl? those kind of bands take drugs* Jeans, beard, (almost) psychedelic hat: Look Edna! Them's like them "dirty dope-smoking hippies" (see: for more on 'dirty dope-smoking hippies')* Headline says "coalition", photo shows two counter-culture throw back guys. See Myrtle? Its just TWO of 'em! Haw haw haw.After the headline, they see that picture. They think to themselves, "Yup, Just like I thought. A few dope-smokin' hippie throwbacks just wanna legalize dope again. This just confirms my informed, seasoned, and mature judgment which has been honed from years of experience."So, I'd say article author Kelly Janis (and her editor probably) are headed for long and glorious careers in mainstream media! 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 08, 2008 at 10:47:02 PT
Hawaii: Medical Marijuana Expansion Fails
 May 7, 2008 HONOLULU (AP) - Proposals to increase the number of medical marijuana plants patients can grow and create a marijuana growing facility are not going to become law.Lawmakers instead approved a measure ordering a study of the state's marijuana laws.The study will examine allowing patients to grow more marijuana plants than the seven currently permitted.It also will look at secure growing facilities, interisland transport of the drug and obstacles patients face when applying to the medical marijuana program.Maui Rep. Joe Bertram says the study will lay the groundwork for revamping Hawaii's medical marijuana laws next year.The bill has been approved by the Legislature and it's pending Gov. Linda Lingle's decision, which she must make by July 8.On the Net:HB2675: 2008 The Associated Press
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