Man in Medical Pot Case Dies 

Man in Medical Pot Case Dies 
Posted by FoM on June 05, 2001 at 07:02:22 PT
By Hildegard Scheibner
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Robert Randall of Sarasota, 53, the first person in the United States to receive legal, medical access to federal supplies of marijuana, died June 2 at his home of AIDS-related complications. Randall made legal and medical history in 1976 when a federal court ruled that his use of marijuana for treatment of his glaucoma was a medical necessity. "This was the first time that the common law concept of necessity was applied to a medical condition," said Randall's wife, Alice. 
"But two years later the government terminated his access to marijuana despite evidence that he would go blind." He sued for reinstatement of the drug and won. He kept using marijuana with federal permission until his death. Randall was born Jan. 23, 1948, in Sarasota and received bachelor's and master's degrees in speech and rhetoric from the University of South Florida. He developed glaucoma in his teens and an ophthalmologist told him in the early 1970s that he would be blind within a few years. He never went blind, however. In a February 1999 Herald-Tribune interview, he recalled the night he realized the benefits of marijuana: He was relaxing in his apartment, smoking a marijuana cigarette a friend had given him. Looking out the apartment windows, he realized that the telltale halo around a nearby street light had disappeared. He grew his own plants until he was arrested and prosecuted. He then underwent exhaustive tests that proved no other glaucoma drug available lowered his intraocular pressure and halted the deterioration of his eyesight. Randall used that argument in appealing to the federal government to gain legal access to marijuana. In 1981, Randall and his wife founded ACT, Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, the first nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming laws prohibiting medical marijuana use. Randall drafted legislation calling for a federal program of controlled access to the drug. The legislation was introduced in Congress, but failed. In the early 1990s, Randall concentrated on the medical use of marijuana by those afflicted with AIDS and established the Marijuana AIDS Research Service, or MARS, which helped AIDS patients apply for access to marijuana. The efforts provided the basis for AIDS patients to access promising but unapproved drugs such as AZT. After initially approving dozens of marijuana requests, the federal government closed the program and cut off the only means of legal, medical access to marijuana in the country. However, Randall and seven others who had brought their cases to the courts continued to receive federal supplies of marijuana. Public outrage at the closure of the MARS program led to state ballot initiatives such as California's referendum in 1996 that allowed cooperatives to distribute marijuana to patients with chronic illnesses such as AIDS, multiple sclerosis and cancer. But on May 14, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal law controlling narcotics makes no exception for therapeutic use of the drug. Randall's wife said he and the seven others who had been granted use of marijuana were not affected by the ruling, though other users were. "Robert was quite upset but not surprised by the decision," his wife said, "because the concept of medical necessity, which is how he won his case in 1976, is a very strict legal determination and the people in California were essentially a marijuana supermarket. We would have have preferred having marijuana being made available through a doctor's prescription." In 1999 Randall and his wife chronicled their battle to legalize marijuana for medicinal use in an autobiographical book, "Marijuana Rx: The Patient's Fight for Medicinal Pot." Lyn Nofziger, a prominent Republican and former director of communication and speech writer in the Reagan administration, wrote the forward for their book. Nofziger's family had turned to marijuana when his daughter was fighting the effects of chemotherapy for lymph cancer. After growing up in Sarasota, Randall moved to Washington, D.C., in 1971. He returned to Sarasota in 1995. Survivors also include a sister, Susan, and a brother, Dick, both of Sarasota. A celebration of life will be from 5 to 7 p.m. June 23 at Baywood Colony Community Center, 5895 Tidewood Ave., Sarasota. Wiegand Brothers Funeral Home is in charge. Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Southwest Florida, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238. Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)Author: Hildegard ScheibnerPublished: June 4, 2001Copyright: 2001 Sarasota Herald-TribuneContact: editor.letters herald-trib.comWebsite: for Cannabis Therapeutics Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #9 posted by Stacer on July 22, 2001 at 18:03:51 PT:
Go Bob
I hope u still smokin in heaven playa...
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 05, 2001 at 15:39:49 PT
We'll Keep On Keeping On!
I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Randall and I'm sure he was a wonderful person. I'm sorry for those who knew him. That makes it all the harder to handle. I hope his wife will be alright. I'm sure she knew it was just a matter of time. We must keep going and know that we can't stop until the laws are changed. People need Cannabis now. Not tomorrow but now. 
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Comment #7 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on June 05, 2001 at 14:22:21 PT:
How to Help
Steven, you ask a good question. The way to help here is to continue the good fight that Bob started. Tell everyone about clinical cannabis, and fight to make it a reality. Never give up. Make it an important mission in your life. Make Bob proud of us.
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Comment #6 posted by Steven Tuck on June 05, 2001 at 14:19:59 PT:
Bob Randell
We lost another great man today. I was privileged to hear Mr. Randell when I was young enough to become a true believer after my accident when I was going through my peroid of disbelief that this drug helped me so much yet was the one drug denied me. Bob Randell could have been like most other people and dropped from the movement after he was approved which would have been the safe route for him. It sure is a sad day to lose one of my hero's and my heart goes out to his family in this time of saddness, it is men like him who gave so much that I will never quit this fight until this medicine is available to all who need it. I wish there was something I could do to help? If so please call.
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Comment #5 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on June 05, 2001 at 09:25:52 PT:
A Sad Milestone
I am too sad to say very much. Bob was a courageous pioneer who paved the way for many who followed. Of some 35 people that once got cannabis through the program, only 7 survive.We will be dedicating our research study on the legal patients to his memory.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on June 05, 2001 at 09:00:26 PT:
Another good one gone.
"Here's to the first ones,Here's to the last ones,Here's to the ones we've yet to find""Here's to the old ones,Here's to the new ones,Here's to the ones who fell behind.""Here's to friends."CAPFF toast, ca. 1977I never knew Mr. Randall. Like so many here, we may never actually meet each other. But united in cause, whatever our differences, we are as comrades in arms:From the Saint Crispin's day speech, HENRY V"This story shall the good man teach his son;And Crispin's Day shall ne'er go by,From this day to the ending of the world,But we in it shall be remember'd;We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with meShall be my brother;And sadly, some have. Murdered by antis. Like Peter McWilliams.Bob Randall will be remembered for having tried to help so many others reach "the lifeboat". Let us also remmeber the sharks at every level of government that engaged in a smugly moralistic feeding frenzy on those he tried to help.What comes around, goes around, antis.
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Comment #3 posted by John Entwistle on June 05, 2001 at 08:50:12 PT:
We'll miss you Rob!
So Sad, he was a great man and a national leader who inspired a generation including myself. Goodby Bob, We'll have to carry on without you but you'll allways be in our hearts!John EntwistleSan Francisco, CA
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Comment #2 posted by Gary Storck on June 05, 2001 at 08:17:14 PT
An American Hero
Bob Randall and I shared a disease, glaucoma, and we both stumbled on its therapeutic potential accidentally, around the same time.In his excellent book, "Marijuana Rx: The Patient's Fight for Medicinal Pot", there is a chapter, "Alone in the Lifeboat". Bob tried to help a lot of people get in that lifeboat, including me. Bob and his wife, Alice O'Leary worked with me in the late 70's trying to help me get into the IND program, but I was unable to find a doctor willing to wade through the federal red tape and DEA scrutiny.Bob came here to Wisconsin and testified in support of mmj legislation here in 1979, eventually leading to the passage of a bill in 1982, which unfortunately remains symbolic due to the federal failure to reschedule cannabis for medical use.Bob gave me and a lot of patients hope, and his efforts will never be forgotten. Today, I'm still asking, Is My Medicine Legal YET?, but Bob tried his best to help people like me get in his lifeboat, and his contributions spawned a movement that today is inching its way toward the day where there will be legal access for all who can benefit. Thank you so much, Bob!
Is My Medicine Legal Yet?
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Comment #1 posted by Eric Beal on June 05, 2001 at 07:53:42 PT:
Goodbye Robert
Thank you for your life of contribution. Much respect --
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