This was mailed to all members of Congress and the President Christmas Eve 2012. I will post replies as I get them.
Thanks and Merry Christmas
The continued war against medical marijuana defies logic on so many levels it is very hard to understand why the United States Government has taken its position on this issue. In July of 2011 the DEA ruled again that marijuana is dangerous and has no known medical use, yet past investigations and mountains of evidence refute these claims.
In 1972 NORML petitioned the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to have marijuana rescheduled from a Schedule 1 drug. After 16 years of stonewalling by the United States Government a hearing was finally scheduled in September 1988. DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young after hearing extensive testimony from patients and doctors on the medical benefits of marijuana proclaimed “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume. For example eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.” It was determined that marijuana was effective in controlling nausea associated with chemotherapy and also pain and spasms associated with Multiple Sclerosis. She recommended that marijuana be rescheduled to a Schedule 2 drug and that still has not happened. (Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Docket No. 86-22)
When the Controlled Substances Act became law in 1970 part of the law authorized a special federal commission to complete a comprehensive study into all aspects of marijuana use to confirm that marijuana should remain a schedule 1 drug. After 2 years of study it was claimed to be the most comprehensive study of marijuana ever done in the United States. On March 22, 1972 Richard Nixon was presented the report from the study entitled “Marijuana; A Signal of Misunderstanding”. The study refuted the claims by politicians and law enforcement of the negative effects and crime associated with marijuana. It claimed in plain language that marijuana use was not associated with violent behavior and even went on to say that it tends to pacify its users. The report stated that there is little evidence of any physiological or psychological damage to individuals from casual use and emphasized the fact that the overwhelming majority of marijuana users do not progress to other drugs. It also recommended that marijuana be rescheduled and that private possession and use should not be criminalized. It even called for Congress to remove all criminal penalties for possession, use, and sale of the drug. These recommendations were ignored by Richard Nixon and Congress who over the next few months declared war on drugs and labeled marijuana “Public Enemy Number One”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_on_Marihuana_and_Drug_Abuse
Justice Gustin Reichbach of the New York state Supreme Court who just died July 14th, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and he claimed marijuana gave him relief from nausea associated with chemotherapy in a moving op-ed piece in the New York Times this last May. “Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/opinion/a-judges-plea-for-medical-marijuana.html
Dr. Donald Tashkin has done an extensive 30 year study of marijuana on pulmonary function at the University of California and reviewed several other similar studies and come to the conclusion that using marijuana does not increase the occurrence of COPD nor does it increase the risks of head, neck or lung cancer even in heavy use. Video testimony by Dr. Tashkin can be seen at http://mmar.ca/multimedia.html. Dr. Tashkin has also stated that he favors the legalization of marijuana. The DEA is still quoting Dr Tashkin’s original hypothesis about marijuana use from about 20 years ago when he stated that marijuana has many of the same carcinogens as tobacco and believed marijuana may cause cancer. Dr Tashkin no longer believes that is true. In fact marijuana has been shown to have a mild cancer fighting effect.
According to http://www.reuters.com/ an Israeli company named Tikun Olam has developed a strain of marijuana called Avidekel with very low THC content but high in CBD (Cannabidiol) that has anti-inflammatory benefits without the psychoactive effects. Ruth Galily who works for the company and has been studying CBD for more than 12 years said CBD has impressive anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for treating diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis, liver inflammation, heart disease and diabetes and has no side effects. Marijuana is used in Israel to treat Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder.http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/us-israel-marijuana-idUSBRE8620FU20120703
According to Time Healthland http://healthland.time.com/2012/06/14/10-reasons-to-revisit-marijuana-policy-now/ recent studies conclude marijuana is effective in treating opioid resistant pain associated with cancer, the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study concluded CBD another component of marijuana can treat schizophrenia as effective as prescription drugs without the side effects. Also THC and CBD have shown cancer fighting abilities against lung cancer.In the same article studies have found no link to crime associated with medical-marijuana dispensaries and real marijuana is probably far safer than the synthetic cannabinoids sold such as K2 or Spice.
A study titled Ganja in Jamaica- A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use by Vera Rubin and Lambros Comitas and sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Studies of Narcotic and Drug Abuse found no relation of marijuana use to crime except marijuana arrest, no impairment of motor skills, smokers and nonsmokers had identical work records and a battery of psychological test found no impairment of sensory and perceptual-motor performance, tests of concept formation, abstracting ability and cognitive style and tests of memory. Also the study found that the use of hard drugs is unknown among working class Jamaicans. These studies were confirmed by the 1980 Cannabis in Costa Rica- A study in Chronic Marijuana Use which found no discernible damage to the native population’s chronic marijuana users.
The American Medical Association House of Delegates as of October 16th 2011 is calling for the rescheduling of marijuana to allow for research into medical benefits of marijuana. Melvin Sterling, MD a California Medical Association delegate stated “Schedule 1 is very appropriate for heroin and other noxious substances that have no place in medicine, but cannabinoids are useful drugs. There is compelling research that cannabinoids are helpful in treating the spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and in persistent nausea associated with chemotherapy and they may have other uses yet undiscovered. Why are they undiscovered? Because it’s a schedule 1 drug.” The AMA House of Delegates stopped short of endorsing state-based medical marijuana programs and the legalization of marijuana or admitting marijuana meets standards for prescription drugs.
Amednews.com ran an article by Alicia Gallegos June 16 2012 about a handful of governors petitioning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to have marijuana reclassified. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire and Rhodde Island Governor Lincoln Chefee had signed the petition as of Dec 2011. Colorado Governor John Hinkenlooper’s administration has made a similar request. According to Gregoire, poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate with an ever-growing number of doctors telling thousands of patients that they might find relief in the use of marijuana. http://www.amaassn.org/amednews/2012/01/16/gvsc0116.htm#top
According to The Sacramento Bee http://www.sacbee.com/, over a dozen years, California’s historic experiment in medical marijuana research brought new science to the debate on marijuana’s place in medicine. State-funded studies costing $8.7 million found that marijuana may offer broad benefits for pain from nerve damage from injuries, HIV strokes and other conditions. Between 2002 and 2012, 7 completed trials, 5 published and 2 pending show that marijuana does have therapeutic value. According to Dr. Igor Grant a neuropsychiatrist who served as director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research “ Every one of the studies showed a benefit, The convergence of evidence makes me convinced there is a medical benefit here, and there may be a niche for cannabis.” Grant said the listing of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin and LSD is completely at odds with existing science.http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/12/4625608/california-pot-research-backs.html
In an article at http://newsfeed.time.com/ : According to a U.N. report on global drug use, cannabis was the world’s most widely produced, trafficked, and consumed drug in the world in 2010. Marijuana boasts somewhere between 119 million and 224 million users in the adult population of the world (18 or older). And there are no signs to indicate the popularity of marijuana will fall anytime soon. Cannabis is consumed in some fashion in all countries, the report says, and it is grown in most. Though the use of the drug is stabilizing in North America, and Oceania, smoking pot is on the rise in West and Central Africa, Southern Africa, South Asia and Central Asia. In 2010, marijuana use was most prevalent in Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. and Canada came in second, followed by Spain, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Nigeria, Zambia, and Madagascar were tied for fourth place. Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/29/marijuana-now-the-most-popular-drug-in-the-world/
With marijuana now being the worlds’ most popular recreational drug and evidence shows that it is far safer than the other most popular recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Why does our government insist on refusing to allow 18 states to continue the medical marijuana experiment without the harassment of otherwise law-abiding citizens? These states voted in their right to access medical marijuana by due process and yet the Federal Government refuses to honor the will of the American people. There is really no good reason to keep marijuana illegal for recreational purposes, let alone forbidding the sick and dying the things that bring them relief. To forbid the sick and dying the things that bring them relief is nothing short of barbaric.
Marijuana prohibition has not stopped or even diminished its use. Many people enjoy using marijuana and historical evidence has failed to show that marijuana has caused appreciable damage to its users or society. While this may still be debatable about marijuana and I believe it is high time we had that debate, the evidence against alcohol and tobacco are no longer in question. Why not give people a safer alternative to the worst recreational drugs on the planet, alcohol and tobacco when considered by the number of people killed by these drugs every year and the damage to society from the violent crime associated with alcohol, and let people choose for themselves the safest recreational drug on the planet that is now the most popular drug in the world. While I am thrilled that people who are suffering find both palliative and curative relief with marijuana, I still believe that needing a doctor’s note to buy marijuana is like needing a prescription to buy beer. People who use and sell alcohol should remember the effect prohibition of alcohol had on America and Americans and be glad their freedom was restored. Our freedom should be no less important.
Beginning this article I mentioned that it is hard to understand our government’s reasons for its stance against medical marijuana use. It is not a lack of evidence supporting the use of marijuana for medical reasons and it can’t be that they are worried about our health, because marijuana is not nearly as harmful as tobacco or alcohol and some of the over the counter medicines available, when considered by the number of fatalities associated with each drug every year. And with millions of people currently using marijuana and scarce evidence of any damage to society or individual users, who and what are they protecting us from? Juvenile use would be easier to control if the people selling marijuana were required to check IDs to make sure customers were of appropriate age.
The only thing that makes any sense to me is that marijuana as a plant cannot be controlled and that our government may be protecting the Pharmaceutical Industry, the Alcohol Industry, the Tobacco Industry and others from competition with marijuana and hemp. These are industrial giants with enormous influence on our elected officials who are supposed to be charged with protecting our freedom. My question to them is, Have We Been Sold Out?