Donít Treat NNJ Patients Like Recreational Users

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††Donít Treat MMJ Patients Like Recreational Users

Posted by CN Staff on November 19, 2013 at 16:55:06 PT
By Steph Sherer, Special to The Times†
Source: Seattle Times†

Washington -- Gov. Jay Inslee and the stateís legislators are poised to make history as they devise a plan to harmonize their medical cannabis program with one that allows anyone 21 or older to buy and possess marijuana. What Washington lawmakers decide will shape how patients are treated elsewhere in the nation. Inslee has shown courage implementing Initiative 502, pushing the federal government through letters and meetings to accept his stateís new adult-use marijuana law. As a congressman, he fought to protect the medical cannabis program in his state from federal interference. Now that same determination is needed to support the spirit of the 1998 medical-marijuana state initiative that created safe access.
Some in Washington have suggested that patients who enjoy the protections of the current program donít really need it ó that they can get their needs met within a recreational retail model. But that ignores the challenges facing those with the most serious medical conditions, denies what works in the stateís medical cannabis program and overlooks the strengths of previous legislation. We know policymakers are grappling with how to satisfy the new federal guidelines for states seeking to regulate marijuana distribution. The Department of Justice wants to see tight control, and the local U.S. attorney, Jenny Durkan, has said the current medical-marijuana system in Washington is ďuntenableĒ because it lacks sufficient regulation. Thatís because Insleeís predecessor, Gov. Chris Gregoire, bowed to threats from Durkan and line-item vetoed the sensible legislation on distribution the Legislature passed in 2011. Senate Bill 5073 contained the types of controls the Department of Justice now says it wants to see. It only remains for the Legislature to dust it off and send it back to the governorís desk, now that thereís a champion of patientsí rights sitting behind it. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is finalizing its recommendations for the Legislature. A sensible bill would establish a tightly regulated system of separate local distribution so patients can get the types of cannabis that work for their specific conditions and freely exchange information about therapeutic use. The state should protect personal cultivation that enables access for the most needy. A proposed bill should also establish rules for law enforcement that better shield qualified patients from arrest and prosecution, conserving tax dollars and law enforcement resources, while sparing patients undue hardship.To get there, Inslee and his fellow lawmakers will have to see past the misinformation that always circulates around this issue. That misinformation includes claims that 95 percent of patients donít really have treatable medical conditions, despite their doctorsí determination otherwise. Some even say that cannabis isnít really medicine, despite the leading-edge research on how it can treat chronic pain, which is being done at the University of Washington on a grant from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Ask the patients who have done better because they had cannabis to bolster their battles with cancer, AIDS or chronic pain. Theyíll tell you that the system Washington voters created 15 years ago has the flexibility to meet the needs of even the most seriously ill; the new recreational model does not. I met with those patients in Washington state during a series of stakeholder meetings Americans for Safe Access held late last month. They all share the hope that the changes that have been proposed are just a start, that their elected representatives will recognize their constituentsí needs and seize the opportunity to enact a fair and responsible system that respects the hard-won rights of patients. But even if the Liquor Board takes the easy way out, state lawmakers know better. They canít pretend those who depend on cannabis to treat their medical conditions are the same as those who enjoy passing a joint at a concert. Steph Sherer is executive director of Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical cannabis patients based in Washington, D.C.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Steph Sherer, Special to The Times Published: November 19, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #16 posted by FoM on November 20, 2013 at 16:27:15 PT
Everyone should be allowed to grow their own so they don't have to pay high prices. People can brew their own beer so why can't people grow their own cannabis? Colorado has it right I believe.
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Comment #15 posted by Sam Adams on November 20, 2013 at 15:49:10 PT
Also - to clarify - no medical patients or anyone else is standing in the way of legal marijuana implementation in Washington. I-502 did not remove the state's medical MJ law, or the rights it granted to patients.Steph is writing about the separate effort to eliminate the state's med MJ law in the wake of I-502's rollout. Patients that are now fighting to keep their rights are fighting a separate initiative from I-502. I-502 is going to be implemented regardless. These patients aren't holding anyone back from buying state-regulated cannabis (now that the awful law has passed).Last thought for the day - thousands of people are growing cannabis in Washington today. Do we expect them to stop now that cannabis is "legal"? Do we expect them to go from free cannabis to $400 per ounce? No, most likely none of them will stop.So if you think cannabis growing should be illegal, just imagine all the thousands of children in Washington that can now be taken from their parents at any time by the government.  You're advocating to maintain that situation. Instead of Colorado's law, which would make all the children safe in their homes with their families.
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Comment #14 posted by Sam Adams on November 20, 2013 at 15:42:35 PT
FOM medical use
I've worked with dozens of desperately ill medical cannabis patients. In this state, nearly all of them had access to cannabis on the black market before we even decriminalized.For most of them, the problem was getting large amounts of medicine at low cost. The goal of their work to legalize medical MJ was to enable a family member or close friend to grow them large amount of cannabis for free or nearly free.It's hard for me to understand how people can dismiss the right to grow this plant as non-essential. Cannabis should be medicine that is available to anyone who can grow a tomato plant on the back deck. Other forms of legal control are basically slavery. How can a person be considered free if they can even grow a plant? 100% of our food and most of our clothing comes from plants.What possible reason could be given to NOT allow people to grow cannabis? I challenge anyone to name one good reason - one reason that advances the cause of human health and prosperity - that cannabis growing should be forbidden.
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Comment #13 posted by Richard Zuckerman on November 20, 2013 at 11:16:46 PT:
We should have expected this!!
Washington State is doing their job to make sure the State's medical Marijuana program is not subsumed by the I-502, as I-502 proponents had promised this during the 2012 Seattle Hempfest.About three weeks ago, I gave my 3-5 minutes of public comment to the Arizona Department of Health in support of expanding Arizona's medical Marijuana program to include PTSD, depression, and Migraine headache, mentioned Dr. Grinspoon's book entitled MARIJUANA RECONSIDERED, mentioned one of the studies in same book concluded Marijuana "improved coping behavior". Afterwards, came out with an article supporting weed for PTSD. I re-visited the Arizona Dept. of Health, but the security guard would not allow me to enter, made a telephone call, told me this coming January of 2014 we will be able to mail in all of our supporting documentation. Within the past week, a video was posted in a more recent article on supporting weed for PTSD. I felt impatient and simply mailed the two articles into the Arizona Department of Health, with a "c/o Medical Marijuana section" on the envelope's address. I hope The FDA's recent special classification of the UK pharmaceutical company's Cannabinoid leads to rescheduling of Cannabis out of the federal CDS category. The United States Postal Service used simple pot possession conviction to deny me employment with them. The State of New Jersey denied me a permit to purchase a firearm, back around 1985. There is no federal law allowing for expungement of an adult federal conviction. The federal administrative regulation allowing the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to allow an ex-felon to purchase a firearm has been nullified by Congress from their stop-funding of it. The U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Hudson v. Palmer, circa 1984, did include a sentence which states "...the way a society treats those who have transgressed against it is the essential character of that society." The U.S. legislature appears to be more interested in retributive justice, rather than restorative justice; they don't believe in rehabilitation of offenders. They seem to prefer importing and outsourcing our workforce, in derogation of immigration laws, labor laws, national security policy, etc. Yet, the REAL criminals are those federal government gangsters whom are continuing the wars, including the "drug war". One article posted on Yahoo! today describes the appearance of Jeb Bush as a possible candidate for public office. His Great Grandfather, U.S. Senator Prescott Bush (Connecticut), along with Nelson Rockefeller, financed Adolph Hitler's war. George Herbert Walker Bush's CIA popularized the Crack Cocaine epidemic, though the investigation resulted in a whitewash by then-C.I.A. Inspector General Fred Hitz, the Federal Register entry having included the protest by Congresswoman Maxine Waters as to the refusal of the investigation Committee having refused to hear relevant witnesses whom would have tied George Herbert Walker Bush as the instigator of the Crack Cocaine epidemic. Another relevant article is from a retired U.S. military General complaining that U.S. President Barack Obama is forcing staff military to retire which is part of the ruination of this country by the Democrats. Let us not forget that Hillary Clinton is a Freemason, but women may want to vote for her merely because they want a female to be U.S. President. The problems she caused, including her role in Benghazi attack, and her membership in the Freemasons, gives me the impression she would be no more helpful towards American citizens than our present foreign-born U.S. President. I'd strongly consider voting for U.S. Senator Rand Paul for U.S. President. He supports an end to Cannabis Prohibition, too!!
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Comment #12 posted by HempWorld on November 20, 2013 at 08:39:44 PT
Hi All! Any body seen this:
from the Guardian: Uruguay's likely cannabis law could set tone for war on drugs in Latin America
State control of marijuana market should be seen as part of long and pragmatic tradition of market intervention and nationalisationJonathan Watts in Montevideo
Monday 18 November 2013
The Guardian
Inhaling deeply from a large joint of unadulterated cannabis, Marcelo Vasquez grins at the imminent prospect of his outlawed passion becoming Uruguay's newest state-sanctioned industry.
This week, the country's senate is expected to pass the world's most far-reaching drug legalisation, which should transform Vasquez from a petty criminal into a registered user, grower and ultimately, he hopes, a respected contributor to society.
Total Solutions
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on November 20, 2013 at 06:29:11 PT
Thank you! I am always looking down the road for the end results in life.
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Comment #10 posted by museman on November 19, 2013 at 21:02:53 PT
FoM #6
I can happily live with that. When it happens.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 19, 2013 at 19:28:59 PT
I decided to check and see if WAMM still was doing what it did and found their wonderful web site.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on November 19, 2013 at 19:15:42 PT
I agree and would like to know too. I always believed in how WAMM did it. I don't know if it is still active but I thought that was the best way back when it all started after Prop 215.
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on November 19, 2013 at 19:01:42 PT
FoM & Lucas,
As long as citizens who use cannabis for medical reasons still have access and availability to cannabis without losing any benefits that exist before legalizing cannabis for all usage, I also don't understand what the issue is.In fact, the way I understand it, medical users would then be able to access cannabis with out a note from a doctor, with out registering with the state for permission to use the plant (pay extortion to the state for protection from police...) etc.It may vary from state to state but some issues that may arise is being able to have insurance pay for cannabis used medically, not having to pay taxes for cannabis used medically.RE-legalizing cannabis for all citizens is one of the most important issues of Our time. -0-Lucas, What are some of the concerns You have, with medical users being harmed by fully RE-legalizing the plant, that We may not be familiar with?
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 19, 2013 at 18:32:48 PT
I understand what you are saying. I hope in not too long a time after Cannabis is legal everywhere that people will be able to grow their own like people can brew beer. You could share it with you friends then too. The price would drop to almost nothing. That would be wonderful.
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Comment #5 posted by museman on November 19, 2013 at 17:55:39 PT
I am a medical user. And when I can manage it, a grower. Haven't got much in return for my efforts except some of the best herb around. But I do understand the mentality and concerns of the cannabis grower. And this is what it's really all about. Its kind of like when the US Gov started giving farm loans, then subsidized the farms so they didn't grow crops that would compete with all the outsourcing that was being setup, and all the corporation farms, and then had the banks foreclose on all the farms because the government stopped the subsidies.Cannabis growers have invested lifetimes of experience and knowledge into not only growing the herb, but spreading the truth about what it is. Now the lawyers are telling us, the people -who struggled, and fought to get even the medical ability to grow 'legally' that the law that we -the people- voted for is not good enough and that there have to be 'controls' that quite frankly don't smell any better than any phase of prohibition. Please everyone remember one can be imprisoned, fined and their life damaged over unreasonable fines and punishments for ordinances as much as any contrived 'law' on the books. You must comply with the system! Achtung! Zig Heil!When the right to possess, grow, transport, and even sell cannabis is held out of the people's reach by unreasonable taxes, unreasonable licensing, and a total lack of respect for the people who have made this such an issue as to force the friggin' political patsies to even act like they give a damn, then there is no cannabis liberty, no matter whether one can stroll into a Colorado Cannabis Bar or not.We could declare the law unconstitutional and be done with it. And why can't we do that?Well, its because of the lawyers....and the power we give them.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #4 posted by museman on November 19, 2013 at 17:37:19 PT
when you find
a "Department of Justice." That is actually that, you may petition me for consideration of your findings, otherwise get off my planet please.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 19, 2013 at 17:33:32 PT
I just don't understand why legalization is a problem for medical users. I have never seen a dispensary because our state is one of many that haven't even allowed medical. I know legalization in all the states would make cannabis cheaper and no one will be getting arrested like they could be now in most states.
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Comment #2 posted by Lucas on November 19, 2013 at 17:26:32 PT:
you have been conned!
> I don't understand what the issue is. The issue is that the Medical Law is getting thrown out, and all the infrastructure and regulations that went into serving patients is at risk of being eliminated by an end run around Medical use, to eliminate the category completely.> A medical user can buy cannabis under the new law. It makes me feel like some medical users don't want to lose their income. You have bought into the propaganda hook line and sinker and are now parroting it. To the detriment of existing patients.> Making cannabis legal is really important for all people medical or recreational. Feel free to support recreational use if you like, but why must you support eliminating medical use infrastructure that is working!> Most medical users were recreational users before they got sick. and you know this fact how?Please don't be a parrot for prohibitionists, they are making you turn against your own.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 19, 2013 at 16:59:37 PT

Just a Comment
I don't understand what the issue is. A medical user can buy cannabis under the new law. It makes me feel like some medical users don't want to lose their income. Making cannabis legal is really important for all people medical or recreational. Most medical users were recreational users before they got sick. 
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