Apparently there’s another contaminant appearing in marijuana, this time in Germany. So besides the tiny glass beads in Dutch grass exported to the UK, and the sickening crap found in British soapbar hash, now Europeans have a new worry… Lead particles. It seems some dealers/distributors have decided to make even more profit from cannabis by adding lead to the pot they sell.
Fortunately we don’t have any of these problems in the USA. But always BE CAREFUL what you purchase! Purchase only from reliable sources and inspect your weed carefully!
Here’s the story:
Here’s yet another reason to "just say no" to drugs: Smoking marijuana could lead to lead poisoning. Doctors in Germany have linked a mysterious outbreak of lead intoxication to contaminated street supplies of marijuana.
In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Franziska Busse, M.D., of the University Hospital Leipzig and colleagues detail a puzzling occurrence of lead poisoning symptoms over a 3- to 4-month period among patients aged 16 to 33 years old. Twenty-nine patients at four different hospitals had abdominal cramps, nausea, fatigue , and anemia – classic signs and symptoms of lead intoxication.
Yet the source of the lead remained inexplicable. After eight weeks of investigation, Busse and colleagues finally found a common link: all of the patients admitted to smoking pot on a regular basis, either in joint form or through a water pipe.
Tests done on remaining supplies from some patients revealed traces of lead particles mixed with the marijuana leaves. Lead’s grayish color allowed the metal to blend easily with the illicit drug. The large size of lead particles found in one package strongly suggested that the poisoning did not result from soil contamination. Busse writes that police suspect street dealers of deliberately lacing street bags of marijuana with the toxic metal in an effort to increase profits. The weight of the lead particles found in the supplies studied would roughly translate into a profit of $1,500 per kilogram of marijuana.
An anonymous screening program involving 145 people ultimately showed that about two-thirds of the participants had high levels of lead in their blood, requiring treatment. For example, a male patient who smoked nine joints a week had a blood lead level nearly 50 times greater than normal.
Lead poisoning can have serious effects on every part of the body. It can damage the nervous system, impair fertility, and lead to memory and concentration problems. Severe lead poisoning can lead to death. Smoking lead is particularly dangerous, because it allows the metal to be easily absorbed into the airways.
The letter appears in the April 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Do you have interest in the general area of marijuana, especially based around the major new openness in the industry following California’s medical cannabis laws?
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WASHINGTON, DC – April 18 – Congressional Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act," HR 5842, yesterday, a bill co-sponsored by Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Ron Paul (R-TX). The act would change federal policy on medical marijuana in a number of ways. Specifically, HR 5842 would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which cannot be prescribed, to a Schedule II drug, which would recognize the medical value of marijuana and create a regulatory framework for the FDA to begin a drug approval process for marijuana. The act would also prevent interference by the federal government in any local or state run medical marijuana program.
Similar versions of HR 5842 have been introduced in prior Congressional terms, but have never made it out of committee. "It’s time that the federal government take this issue seriously," said Caren Woodson, Government Affairs Director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a nationwide medical marijuana advocacy group working with Mr. Frank and other Members of Congress to change federal policy. "By disregarding marijuana’s medical efficacy, and undermining efforts to implement state laws, the federal government is willfully placing hundreds of thousands of sick Americans in harms way."
In addition to rescheduling marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), HR 5842 would provide protection from the CSA and the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) for qualified patients and caregivers in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Specifically, the act prevents the CSA and FDCA from prohibiting or restricting: (1) a physician from prescribing or recommending marijuana for medical use, (2) an individual from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state, manufacturing, or using marijuana in accordance with their state law, (3) an individual authorized under State law from obtaining, possessing, transporting within their state, or manufacturing marijuana on behalf of an authorized patient, or (4) an entity authorized under local or State law to distribute medical marijuana to authorized patients from obtaining, possessing, or distributing marijuana to such authorized patients.
In December, U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers stated publicly his concern about the tactics being used by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and promised oversight hearings. Since then, several California mayors have written to Conyers expressing their support for hearings, including the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, and Santa Cruz. Opposition to federal interference in state medical marijuana laws has also come from multiple city councils, members of the California Board of Equalization and the state legislature, as well as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
The following story discusses each candidate’s stated position on medical marijuana.
Ever since California voters became the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, the state has faced unyielding opposition from the federal government, which insists it has the power to prohibit a drug it considers useless and dangerous.
That could all change with the next presidential election.
As the candidates prepare for a May 20 primary in Oregon, one of 12 states with a California-style law, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has become an increasingly firm advocate of ending federal intervention and letting states make their own rules when it comes to medical marijuana.
His Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is less explicit, recently softening a pledge she made early in the campaign to halt federal raids in states with medical marijuana laws. But she has expressed none of the hostility that marked the response of her husband’s administration to California’s initiative, Proposition 215.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee-in-waiting, has gone back and forth on the issue – promising a medical marijuana patient at one campaign stop that seriously ill patients would never face arrest under a McCain administration, but ultimately endorsing the Bush administration’s policy of federal raids and prosecutions.
Political battles over exempting medical patients from marijuana laws have been fought mostly in statehouses and at ballot boxes since 1996, when California voters repealed state criminal penalties for those who used the drug with their doctor’s approval. But the federal government has played an important role in limiting the scope of those state laws, and their effectiveness over the next four years may be determined by the next president.
Bill Clinton’s position
President Bill Clinton’s administration opposed the California law from the start and won a court case allowing it to shut nonprofit organizations that supplied medical marijuana to members. Clinton’s Justice Department also tried to punish California doctors who recommended marijuana to their patients by revoking their authority to prescribe any drugs, but federal courts backed the doctors.
The Bush administration has gone further, raiding medical marijuana growers and clinics, prosecuting suppliers under federal drug laws after winning a U.S. Supreme Court case, and pressuring commercial property owners to evict marijuana dispensaries by threatening legal action. The administration has also blocked a University of Massachusetts researcher’s attempt to grow marijuana for studies of its medical properties.
Since 2001, federal prosecutors have won convictions in at least 28 California drug cases where defendants claimed they were supplying or using medical marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Prosecutors have filed charges in 22 more cases, and authorities have raided 10 growers or dispensaries without filing charges, the group says.
The presidential candidates haven’t discussed the issue in speeches or debates, but medical marijuana advocates regularly questioned them in Iowa and New Hampshire. The most sweeping changes were proposed by second-tier candidates – Democrats Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd and Republican Ron Paul called for repealing federal criminal penalties for marijuana – but of the remaining contenders, Obama has been the friendliest to advocates of medical marijuana.
At a November appearance in Audubon, Iowa, Obama recalled that his mother had died of cancer and said he saw no difference between doctor-prescribed morphine and marijuana as pain relievers. He said he would be open to allowing medical use of marijuana, if scientists and doctors concluded it was effective, but only under "strict guidelines," because he was "concerned about folks just kind of growing their own and saying it’s for medicinal purposes."
Obama went a step further in an interview in March with the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford, Ore. While still expressing qualms about patients growing their own supply or getting it from "mom-and-pop stores," he said it is "entirely appropriate" for a state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, "with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors."
In response to recent questions from The Chronicle about medical marijuana, Obama’s campaign – the only one of the three contenders to reply – endorsed a hands-off federal policy.
"Voters and legislators in the states – from California to Nevada to Maine – have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering," said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
"Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice – though he believes medical marijuana should be subject to (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulation like other drugs," LaBolt said. He said the FDA should consider how marijuana is regulated under federal law, while leaving states free to chart their own course.
Obama would end DEA raids
LaBolt also said Obama would end U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana suppliers in states with their own laws.
Those raids have been the focus of Hillary Clinton’s comments on the issue. At a July campaign event in Manchester, N.H., she told a medical marijuana advocate that she would end the federal raids, according to Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, which recorded the exchange.
But the candidate was less absolute in a more recent interview with the Willamette Week newspaper in Hillsboro, Ore.
"I don’t think it’s a good use of federal law enforcement resources to be going after people who are supplying marijuana for medicinal purposes," Clinton said in the April 5 interview. But when asked whether she would stop the raids, she replied, "What we should do is prioritize what the DEA should be doing, and that would not be a high priority. There’s a lot of other, more important work that needs to be done."
Clinton has also said she opposes repealing criminal penalties for marijuana, but told advocates in October that the government should conduct more research "into what, if any, medical benefits it has."
McCain has taken a variety of positions, according to comments recorded by medical marijuana advocates.
At an April 2007 campaign kickoff event, when asked if he would end federal raids, he said, "I would let states decide that issue." But less than two months later, he said he would not end the raids. Then, in November, he promised a man who described himself as a seriously ill marijuana patient that he would "do everything in my power" to make sure the man was never arrested for using the drug.
No policy paper
While maintaining that medical experts considered marijuana ineffectual and potentially dangerous, McCain promised at the same November event in New Hampshire to consult with experts and issue an "in-depth policy paper" on the topic within a few days. McCain’s campaign has not responded to media inquiries, and marijuana advocates say the policy paper was never issued.
He was also asked during a November conference call whether the federal government should override the will of the people in states with medical marijuana laws. "Medical marijuana is not something that the, quote, people want," McCain replied.
Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, said he remains hopeful that the federal climate will improve, no matter who becomes president.
"All it takes," he said, "is for the Justice Department to say, ‘Leave these states alone.’ "
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
A new study from the Heidelberg University Medical Centre in Heidelberg Germany has published the result from a study that shows that the effects of cannabis ease the symptons of ADHD. It also shows that smoking, or ingesting marijuana also helps people suffering from ADHD to concentrate on their driving which is a problem ( I know, I have been diagnosed with severe ADHD.) Please read and distribute this study to your doctor if you suffer from ADHD or to your parents if you are underage.
The synopsis of the story can be found here
Researchers at Ohio State University reported that THC, the main psychoactive substance in the cannabis plant, may reduce inflammation in the brain and even stimulate the formation of new brain cells.
They found that administering a THC-like synthetic drug to older rats performed better at a memory test than a control group of non-medicated elderly rodents.
In some of the rats, the drug apparently lowered inflammation in the hippocampus — the region of the brain responsible for short-term memory. It also seems to have stimulated the generation of new brain cells.
In another study done at UCLA, polyphenols, which are found in high concentrations in tea, nuts and berries, as well as cabernets and merlots, were found to inhibit or prevent the buildup of toxic fibers in the brain.
Marijuana has been used as a reliable medication for nearly 5,000 years and was listed as being a cure for over 100 illnesses or symptoms.
Medical cannabis use is far from being a new phenomenon. In fact, the ancient Chinese were using the plant to help cure, treat, and ease the symptoms of many an ailment. Chief among the uses of cannabis is its ability to help reduce inflammation and pain in the patient. It was cited as being a beneficial drug in the fight against rheumatic pain and has been used for decades to help treat sufferers with chronic pain, such as sufferers of arthritis.
There are, in fact, many types of arthritis but the two most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the degradation and eventual loss of cartilage from the joints; this leads to bone rubbing against bone and is typically associated with considerable pain levels. It is most commonly experienced in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease; its main symptom is inflammation of the synovial lining around the joints. It can lead to serious pain as well as long term disability.Â
There is no cure for either form of arthritis and treatment, therefore, centres on the alleviation of symptoms that present. Generally this means reducing inflammation and reducing the pain that usually accompanies both forms of the illness.Â
Medical marijuana has already been legalised in 18 states with more expected to follow suit. Strictly speaking, cannabis does not reduce the pain suffered by arthritis patients but it does make the pain more bearable for sufferers. Cannabinoids present in THC bind with receptors in the brain as well as the immune system and this means that the brain is unable to transmit feelings of pain in the same way.Â
Furthermore, cannabis works as an anti-inflammatory. Receptors in the immune system bind with the cannabinoids present in marijuana and this reduces inflammation because it prevents the immune system from fighting the body. In rheumatoid arthritis, this is one of the principle causes of inflammation â€“ the immune system fights against otherwise healthy areas of the body causing inflammation and pain.Â
There are more than 400 components to be found in cannabis and research is still being conducted as to the potential medical benefits of each of these. Synthetic cannabinoid drugs like Marinol and Sativex can and are used to effectively treat many conditions in countries throughout the world but there is a growing body of evidence that points to the use of marijuana as a means to fight pain and other diseases.Â
There have been no reported cases of fatality caused by marijuana overdoses. The use of the drug may interact with other sedative related drugs and possible side effects include a rapid heartbeat and short-term high blood pressure. The immune system may be weakened and smoking the drug can lead to a number of lung and breathing problems as well as problem associated with smoking tobacco.Â
Cannabis can be taken in a number of forms, most commonly it is smoked or it may be combined with other ingredients in cannabis cooking techniques. Synthetic cannabinoid related drugs are available and these are considered safe for use by most health authorities and groups.Â
For arthritis sufferers, it can seem that there is no way of relieving the inflammation and pain associated with the disease. Cannabis can be viewed as a viable treatment for these ailments because it reduces both inflammation and pain while also dampening the immune system. With few side effects and an overdose level so high that it is a negligible consideration, medical marijuana could prove a highly beneficial form of treatment.Â
Buy marijuana seeds from Worldwide Marijuana Seeds to enjoy access to some of the best medical strains and for competitive prices, discreet shipping, and other benefits.
Author of “Bonanza of Green”
In my previous article for Treating Yourself, “Sacrament or Medicine?” the case was made that Cannabis is reasonable to consider as real medicine or sacrament. Let’s consider a few aspects of the medical use and its place in medicine.
First of all you must ask yourself “What is Real Medicine?” In reality there are many forms of medicine practiced in the past and present. To many people the term “Western Medicine” has come to mean the only form of medicine. There are many forms of medicine within “western medicine” because it evolved from older methods.
“Alternative Medicine” has become the term for many older forms of medicine as well as new ideas in medical evolution. Most people realistically assume that “Modern Medicine” is a product of scientific progress and much has been learned. However, the new knowledge didn’t invalidate much of the old knowledge but instead added to it.
My background in emergency medicine and 16 years of in-hospital experience taught me the value of modern science. This medical experience included treatment of psychiatric disorders. Believe me when I tell you that working with the sick, dying and the mentally ill, it teaches you compassion.
People suffer in many ways and they have always tried to find ways to ease their suffering and cure their ills. Hospital work is rewarding but sad to see at times. The best medicine would be a combination of many forms of therapies. Drugs are valuable but often too much emphasis in “Western or Modern Medicine” is on drugs and certain approved therapies. Things could be better.
In Alternative Medicine the idea of Medical Marijuana is often scoffed at due to fear or ignorance. My experience included training at a Naturopathic College run by some very good and spiritual people. Their view about Cannabis were driven by their desire to be legitimate medicine themselves. Alternative Medical Practitioners often fear prosecution for practicing medicine without a license. Some still believe Cannabis to be an addictive drug despite the science to the contrary. No one dies from Cannabis usage.
My goal has always been to help people. The best way I can do that is by my own example and in helping good people see that they are all on the same side. Most medical people, of whatever sort, want to help. What I found in a time of crisis for a patient to be helpful was often as little as a gentle hand on their shoulder and a word of reassurance. That they could feel safe that we had things under control.
Being “Human” means loving each other and what makes a suffering person feel better is good medicine. Cannabis has several medical properties including pain control. Cannabis also stimulates appetite, decreases nausea and helps us sleep and relax. THC receptors in our brains get THC from many foods but Cannabis is very high in THC. Other chemicals are also formed when Cannabis is ingested. Here are some suggestions for relief of pain without narcotics. There is nothing wrong with opiates really but consider them for later when you really need them. Opiates constipate you and drag you down.
Moderate pain and even fairly severe pain can be treated with Ibuprofen 1800-2400 mg per day, and then when combined with Cannabis can be potentiated to take the pain away. To do this you will need to maintain a considerably higher THC level than normal. However, even small amounts of THC can create a state of mind in which the pain is forgotten for a time.
When pain is severe and a higher level of THC is desired a good addition to smoking or vaping is the eating of Cannabis edibles. They can be purchased from most Cannabis clubs and you can easily make your own edibles. Edibles can be as simple as a cookie and as complex as a truffle. The reason for the edible is that a more potent form of THC is released when Cannabis is taken by mouth. Edibles are great in the evening to relax and help you sleep well.
Medical Doctors have been prescribing non-narcotic pain relievers like Celebrex and still are despite the proof that these types of medicines actually cause heart attacks! How safe are new medicines when compared to the old herb Cannabis? The usages once prescribed for Cannabis have proven true and the safety of Cannabis is now clear.
All herbal medicines, homeopathic medicine, body works, hands on healing methods, etc. are safe and often effective. We must unite all of medicine in the “One Love” we share. My teachings on how to grow Cannabis have been known to the online world in the past and I want to teach you to grow your own medical marijuana if you decide to.
My book, “Bonanza of Green” is my simple “BOG” method of indoor organic growing. The book is available at www.fsbookco.com or in E-book form right on the MJ Guide. I made the book simple to understand with lots of pictures. See you next time with more on the Sacramental and spiritual side of Cannabis.
One Love, BOG
Could Ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms one day be legitimate prescription medicines? It sounds unlikely, but doctors and researchers in the US and across Europe believe it is possible and that new science will prove the case.
Second chances are rare in science. In the Fifties and Sixties, hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, were hailed as the magic bullet to everything from alcoholism to migraine. But they became caught in the crossfire of the cultural wars of the times. Western politicians banned the use of psychedelics in research once they started to be used recreationally, and became associated with flower-power and the counter culture. The drugs were dangerous; the science was flawed; the researchers biased.
But a comeback has been under way for more than a decade. A new generation of researchers say that psychedelic drugs can treat conditions such as addiction, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and a type of headache called cluster headache.
Studies with Ecstasy and LSD are planned or are under way in the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Israel. And so big is this scientific movement that researchers and speakers are gathered this weekend in Basel, Switzerland, for the inaugural World Psychedelic Forum. Here are some of the drugs they may be discussing. ECSTASY In the mid to late-Eighties, Ecstasy, or its chemical name MDMA, was used therapeutically by psychotherapists on the West Coast of the US. They were wowed by its ability to break down psychological barriers between patient and practitioner, and instil feelings of empathy and calm. It was found to be particularly useful in marriage counselling.
How it achieves its effect is not clear, but it is thought to affect the action of two moodenhancing brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine. Proponents say that the drug allows people to open up and express themselves in ways that they otherwise might not be able to. They are also more relaxed and calm, which helps to stop them becoming traumatised again when they revisit painful memories. The drug is neurotoxic at high doses, but the debate continues as to whether a few low to medium doses causes permanent damage.
Supporters argue that any risk is outweighed by the possible benefits for people who have not responded to conventional treatments, and that limited exposure to the drug in moderate doses will not result in addiction or long-term memory problems. Michael Mithoefer, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, is finishing a study into MDMA’s effect on patients with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder. He says the preliminary results are promising and that the therapeutic response “warrants our going on to larger studies”.
The “classic” hallucinogens, such as LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic” mushrooms), also affect the serotonin and dopamine systems in the brain. LSD causes hallucinations, commonly known as a “trip”. Researchers believe that it may be useful in treating severe headaches known as cluster headaches. These usually centre around one side of the head, and can occur several times a day for weeks, before stopping for long stretches of up to several months. Scientists believe that these can be treated with a sub-hallucinogenic dose of LSD, which does not cause the wild visual distortions associated with larger doses.
How can a hallucinogen prevent a type of headache? They have a similar chemical structure to serotonin and exert their effects by binding to some of the same receptors as serotonin, a property that is exploited by some mainstream migraine drugs, such as sumatriptan (Imigran) and methysergide.
Andrew Sewell and John Halpern, of McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, conducted interviews confirming that LSD and psilocybin were both more effective than conventional drugs at stopping a new cycle of headaches, and that psilocybin was the best drug of all to abort an attack. Halpern is developing full clinical trials. Studies are also under way in Switzerland and the US using LSD or psilocybin as a palliative care agent for patients with anxieties associated with terminal cancer.
Ketamine is an anaesthetic developed in 1962 for human and veterinary medicine. It works on a wide range of receptors and sites within the brain, with recreational users reporting feelings of euphoria and out-of-body experiences. It is neurotoxic at high doses (at least in rats), but smaller doses could have safer medical benefits, and act as an antidepressant.
In 2006, scientists from the US National Institute of Mental Health injected 17 patients suffering from depression – and who had failed at least six previous drug treatments – with either a low dose of ketamine or a placebo. More than two thirds responded favourably to the drug within a day. However, its psychedelic effects may have to be smoothed out before it can be used therapeutically.
Users say that cannabis makes them feel relaxed and congenial. It is also known to increase appetite. The drug, or its chemical derivatives (cannabinoids), is used in the US as an appetite stimulant for Aids sufferers and chemotherapy patients.
The cannabis-based medicine Sativex uses fewer psychoactive cannabinoids and is licensed in Canada as an under-the-tongue analgesic spray for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and advanced cancer. It is also available in Spain and the UK on a case-by-case basis. Researchers are investigating the drug as a potential treatment for conditions such as glaucoma, obesity and diabetes, and as an agent against addiction and hypertension, as revealed recently by scientists at the University of Nottingham.
Not everyone believes that using hallucinogenic drugs for medical purposes will be fruitful, or that it is warranted. “You have to look at research policy within the usual rules without giving way to passion or modern fashions,” says Griffith Edwards, the co-founder of the National Addiction Centre.
He says that the risk to the individual of experiencing drug-induced negative effects must be considered. It may be that a new generation of psychotherapists are viewing the past with kaleidoscope eyes, and that the medical benefits may be a mirage based on bad science in the past when risks were under-reported and follow-ups inadequate.
While scientists and medics do not dispute the catastrophic effects that these drugs can have on physical and mental health when taken recreationally, the pace of research into the medical benefits of such substances, when taken in a controlled setting, shows no signs of slowing down.
PROVIDENCE — A year after passing permanent medical marijuana legislation, lawmakers say it’s time to establish a safe and legal means for patients to obtain the drug.
Right now, qualifying patients may grow marijuana, but since the state provides no access to the drug, they often resort to buying it on the street.
Legislators and doctors call that scenario an unwanted weak link in an otherwise successful law. They’ve heard too many stories like that of Warwick’s Buddy Coolen, 29, a medical marijuana user who three months ago was robbed at gunpoint by the drug dealer while trying to buy marijuana to treat his debilitating gastrointestinal condition.
Now Rep. Thomas C. Slater and Sen. Rhoda E. Perry, both of Providence, who sponsored the permanent medical marijuana law, propose expanding its scope to create licensed marijuana dispensaries, or “compassion centers,” which would legally grow and distribute the drug at affordable prices to the 359 patients who partake of the state’s program.
The centers would be regulated by the Health Department and would also offer education services to eligible patients and their caregivers.
Testifying at a Senate hearing on the subject last night, Dr. Todd Handel, a physiatrist and pain-management specialist, said such clinics would resolve a host of obstacles that currently accompany the use of medical marijuana in this state.
“The problem now is, how are my patients supposed to get it? If I write a prescription for Oxycontin, they’re not going to the street to buy it, they’re going to a pharmacy,” he noted. “… But when it comes to marijuana I can’t tell them how much to take, how to use it and where they can get it because it’s illegal for them to get it. So I’m saying to them, ‘you have a diagnosis that the state allows for but it’s illegal for you to obtain it and I can’t tell you how to do it.’ ”
Handel was one of several doctors and almost a half dozen patients who testified in support of the proposed centers. Together, they agreed that the state’s medical marijuana program has been invaluable in helping relieve the chronic pain and nausea that accompanies cancer, AIDS and other illnesses. But growing enough healthy plants for regular dosages, or finding reliable places to buy the drug, can prove challenging, they admitted.
It’s a set of circumstances Slater and Perry say already weakened patients should not have to grapple with.
Slater said he omitted the creation of compassion centers from the original proposal –– which passed as a temporary measure in 2006 and was written into permanent law last year –– because he felt it was important to pass the legislation incrementally, to allow lawmakers to warm up to the idea. “But I think now is the time to help protect those patients who really need it and give them a safe place to get it,” Slater said yesterday.
Nationwide, the use of medical marijuana has increased in recent years. At least 12 states now have laws allowing use of the drug for medical purposes. But according to the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, only New Mexico and California have laws governing dispensaries: California’s centers are not regulated by the state and need not be nonprofit agencies, and so far New Mexico has not yet licensed any clinics, said Jesse Stout, executive director of the coalition.
Rhode Island’s compassion center proposal is not without its critics, including the governor and others who say Rhode Island shouldn’t be passing laws that ignore federal law, which still bans marijuana usage.
“To continue to flout the federal law and to start dealerships or whatever you want to call them is just irresponsible,” said Rep. Nicholas Gorham, R-Coventry, who has in the past opposed marijuana legislation. Gorham pointed to the spate of federal raids on California dispensaries in recent years as examples of the problems Rhode Island could face if it creates such centers.
Health Department spokeswoman Helen Drew voiced similar concerns, saying the department does not want to jeopardize the program in its current format.
Furthermore, she said, the Health Department “has no expertise in licensing these types of facilities” and no expertise in establishing regulations. “We feel it moves us way beyond the scope of public health,” she said.
A Carcieri spokesman said the governor continues to oppose any medical marijuana legislation, having twice vetoed the measure.
Slater acknowledged yesterday that the compassion-center proposal will encounter obstacles. “But it’s a start,” he said, noting that it took almost a decade to garner enough support to pass the medical marijuana legislation.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services took no action on the bill yesterday. A hearing on an identical House bill is expected sometime next week.
Patient Buddy Coolen believes that passage can’t come soon enough to safeguard the state’s sickest residents, to avoid other violent attacks such as the one against him. “Hopefully we can prevent innocent patients from getting into a situation that could turn deadly,” he said.
Source: The Providence Journal