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RainDog's Journal - Archives
Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sun Dec 04th 2011, 05:51 AM

MSNBC says they self-medicate with food, but that word assumes that chimpanzees would only eat something if it were for one purpose, which this study says is not the case. iow, the origins of medicine likely go back beyond our current incarnation in this world as homo sapiens. Maybe they chose to use the word "food" rather than plants because it fits a view related to food and humans and to say "plants" might imply some relation to an anti-tumor, anti-nausea plant that is currently illegal for medical consumption according to the federal govt - or maybe not. in any case...

"We conclude that self-medication may have appeared in our ancestors in association with high social tolerance and lack of herbivorous gut specialization," lead author Shelly Masi and her colleagues write.

Analysis of the mostly non-nutritional and sometimes slightly toxic foods consumed determined that most had medicinal properties. Based on the study, the chimpanzee medicine chest appears to include the following: Antiaris toxicaria leaves (anti-tumor), Cordia abyssinica pith (anti-malarial and anti-bacterial), Ficus capensis (anti-bacterial), Ficus natalensis bark (anti-diarrheal), Ficus urceolaris leaves (de-worming agent), and many more.

The primates seemed to strategically go for the medicinal parts of these plants, and would consume them even when other more nutritious and palatable foods were available.

Michael Huffman also found that chimpanzees and humans shared a common cure for worms.

In addition,

Stacy Lindshield, an Iowa State University researcher, also identified a medicated body scratcher invented by wild spider monkeys.

"Spider monkeys have been observed rubbing crushed and chewed leaves on their bodies," Lindshield told Discovery News, explaining that "some primates select plants or invertebrates with chemical properties." In addition to medicinal purposes, she said the resulting smelly ointment might also facilitate olfactory communication.

Julio Mercader, a University of Calgary archaeologist, told Discovery News that he believes such medicinal and otherwise useful plant “tools” merit study via a new interdisciplinary field of primate archaeology.

Medicine is very old.
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sat Nov 26th 2011, 05:36 PM

Nice article, via New Zealand, on the state of the current drug war, by Peter Huck.

"It would be hard to point to any public policy in the US that causes so much clear and obvious friction between the federal Government and almost a majority, population-wise, of states," argues Allen St Pierre, executive director of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

(Cato Institute) Senior fellow Ted Galen Carpenter argued the savagery of Mexico's drug wars, with 42,000 dead since 2006, had made the US less safe. "Depending on the drug, roughly 90 per cent of the retail price exists because the drugs are illegal."

Legalising cannabis would remove cannabis profits, said Jones. "We would be striking a larger blow at those cartels than any law enforcement effort ever could. What's our exit strategy for the war on drugs?"

Even if the DEA does shutter pot clinics, any victory could be pyrrhic. St Pierre believes Washington's "no quarter" stance on cannabis clashes with grassroots realities. He argues the US has crossed a Rubicon, citing more cannabis-tolerant baby boomers, a need for tax revenue in a deep recession, easy access to cannabis information via the internet and empathy towards the infirm who use the drug.

Prohibition of alcohol ended during the great depression because the FDR administration thought such a move would create jobs and taxable revenue.

Estimated annual revenue from medical cannabis in the U.S., based upon lawsuits against the new govt crackdown: $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion.

Estimated annual sales tax, from the state of California: $50 to $100 million.

Even if a repeal of prohibition caused the price of cannabis to drop, the state could still collect tax revenue adjusted to move the profit from the sale of cannabis from cartels to states in order to fund tax-based services.

But, Huck notes, via Carpenter, that the greatest barrier to any change in prohibition is that politicians are afraid of being branded soft on drugs - because opportunists take such opportunities to attack.

Instead, advancements toward ending the war on drugs take place in the marketplace and at the ballot box when citizens have the opportunity to engage in direct democracy.

As St. Pierre noted, 16 states and DC have passed medical marijuana laws. Of these, approximately 2/3 of the changes in the law occurred because of voters. Of these, an overwhelming majority of voters in these states passed laws with more than 55% of the vote.

These 16 states and D.C. comprise nearly half of the voting population of the U.S. (based upon census data for the voting population.) And that number doesn't adequately gauge the sentiments of the entire voting population because many states do not allow initiatives on their ballots to put this issue to a vote via direct democracy.

Support for medical marijuana, across the U.S. continues to poll at 77%. This support is from all demographic categories: age, gender, political affiliation and region.

We are definitely through the looking glass when the Drug Czar continues to claim there is no medical value to marijuana while 77% of the population disagrees and close to a majority of the voting population has taken action to put that disagreement into law.

What number is the tipping point at which the federal govt. can no longer continue to tout enforcement of laws that so many citizens find unlawful?

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Posted by RainDog in Drug Policy
Sun Nov 20th 2011, 06:54 AM

guidelines point toward targeting those with a criminal past, links to criminal groups, assumed money-laundering for large-profit groups, cultivation for destinations outside of CA and more.

don't know if the actual raids conformed to these guidelines.

"Pot supporters aren't sure exactly when the memo was issued but they indicate it was probably within the last year and well before a recent crackdown on medical marijuana by U.S. Attorneys in California.

The document doesn't dispute the attorney's rationale or foreshadow it, but it does provide some guidelines for those in the business who want to avoid the long arm of the Obama administration.

"The memo looks like what I would have suspected federal guidelines were all along before the crackdown," Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, told the Weekly today. "It's a useful indicator."

But Gieringer warned medical growers that having 199 kilos or 999 plants won't necessarily protect them from prosecution. He said the DEA marches to its own drummer on that stuff: "DEA raids don't necessarily conform with this," he said."
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Fri Nov 18th 2011, 12:36 AM /

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has denied a liver transplant to a patient with inoperable liver cancer because he uses medical marijuana. But the marijuana was prescribed by the very same hospital, according to the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

Sixty-three year-old Norman B. Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009. His oncologist at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Steven Miles, approved of his medical marijuana use as a means to deal with the effects of chemotherapy and pain from an unrelated back surgery.

In September 2010, Smith became eligible for a liver transplant, but after testing positive for marijuana in February he was removed from the transplant list due to non-compliance with the hospital’s substance abuse contract. Smith was within two months of receiving a transplant before he was de-listed.

...In 2008, a medical marijuana patient from Seattle died after being denied a liver transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center. Less than a year later, another medical marijuana patient from Big Island died at Hilo Hospital after being denied a liver transplant.

The use of cannabis is one of the best ways to alleviate side-effects from cancer therapy. Yet, because of the refusal of the DEA to admit the medicinal value of cannabis, those who try to stay alive - to keep their meds down, to keep from wasting away - are treated as criminals.

What is criminal is the current law.

In addition to the three cancer patients noted here, Peter McWilliams' story is another example of the failure of the DEA to do what is right for the American people.

We cannot wait for Congress to act. Congress is ineffectual unless you're a corporation that wants a tax break. Rescheduling of cannabis is something the Dept. of Justice can do and should do because it is a gross miscarriage of justice for cancer patients to be denied care because of law based upon lies.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Mon Nov 14th 2011, 04:17 PM /

I didn't know about McWilliams. I have his book - I was shocked to learn that he was killed by the very sort of bullshit he pointed out in our society. It's sickening.

Drug warriors - here are some of your kills to mount on your wall.

h/t to iscooterliberally - and a link to an excellent thread that was the source of this op
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sun Nov 13th 2011, 05:45 PM
In 2004, 62% of Montana's voters chose to legalize medical marijuana.

In April of this year, led by Republicans, the Montana legislature tried to overturn the will of the people on this issue. They voted to create restrictions on the sale of medical marijuana. (SB 423) Conveniently for the legislature, just before this bill, feds raided medical marijuana facilities in the state in March.

(April 2011)

Republican Gubernatorial wannabe and coffee achiever state senator Jeff Essman (R-Billings) sponsored the 2011 bill to repeal the 2004 vote.

"My reaction is, the original initiative is the unworkable mess which has created the presence of storefronts, which promoted access, brought advertising of the product to the general airwaves and print in the state," Essmann whined."

LOLOL So, conservatives are ANTI-BUSINESS when they don't like that business. Hey, can I get elected and use my office to attack businesses I don't like, too? I mean, so what if they're legal. They annoy me.

Essmann claimed there is "clear evidence" of a supposed "negative impact" from the original medical marijuana law approved by an overwhelming 62 percent of voters in 2000. He claimed SB 423 would fix, that, saying it would work for the state but won't work for the people who chose to take part in the "commercial business of selling medical marijuana."

"If there were any such evidence, none of it was presented to the Legislature," replied attorney Chris Lindsey in the comments to KRTV's coverage. "We got the typical fear mongering, and non-experts were testifying as if they were experts.

The Gov. of Montana repealed the legislature's attempt to overturn the will of the people a week after the vote.

Then, in June, a judge ruled that the legislator's bill was not in compliance with rules regarding other LEGAL business entities.

At the same time, the judge upheld certain provisions of the bill that required greater proof on the part of patients and required them to go to more than one physician - though this bothers the judge b/c it is undermining a physician's ability to practice under legal guidelines- undergo x-rays or mri's at the patient's expense, and prohibited some actions -seems mostly taken by a guy named Jason Christ, who has used various ways to grow his business and has, apparently, been very successful. He also gave interviews on TV and made himself a public figure.

Helena District Judge James Reynolds issued a preliminary injunction against portions of a restrictive overhaul of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, which was due to take effect on Friday. One part of the law would have limited marijuana providers to distributing to a maximum of three patients and barred them from receiving anything of value for their product.

Montana hasn't banned any other industries from receiving compensation for their goods and services, and the state has declared medical marijuana a legal product, Reynolds said in his ruling. A profit ban would limit the number of willing marijuana providers and deny patients "this fundamental right of seeking their health care in a lawful manner."

"The court is unaware of and has not been shown where any person in any other licensed and lawful industry in Montana — be he a barber, an accountant, a lawyer, or a doctor — who, providing a legal product or service, is denied the right to charge for that service or is limited in the number of people he or she can serve," Reynolds wrote.

Reynolds also blocked provisions of the law banning advertising of medical marijuana, allowing unannounced searches of providers and requiring an investigation into any doctor who recommends marijuana for more than 25 patients in a year.

So, THE JUDGE'S PRELIMINARY RULING on this specific issue - commerce - meant that dispensaries, etc. were operating under Montana law until the full case could be heard. /

Oh, the Judge that passed the preliminary ruling noted that one BIG problem was the unannounced searches of registered premises were a possible violation of the protection against searches and seizures.

The Judge noted this is a CONSTITUTIONAL question. So, it would seem the Federal raid isn't just in violation of state law, it's unconstitutional in that it is unreasonable for the feds to raid medical marijuana facilities because the beliefs behind the law are themselves unreasonable - unscientific, unaccepting of reality and research and 5000 years of anecdotal reports that invalidate the raid action's reason for being - to protect society from a substance that has no medicinal value. Tony Scalia himself emphasized the reasonableness of searches. how can a search be legal when it is based upon a law with no foundation in reality? We no longer allow people to raid the homes of suspected witches and burn them at the stake, either.

The Federal raid is also in violation of STATE LAW that has determined that medical marijuana is a legal product that may be grown and sold in the state of Montana. The Obama administration is going beyond the raids in California to go against legal practices in a state that a judge has also upheld in a preliminary ruling after a legislative attempt at an end run around a law that was voted into place 7 years ago. Without consent of the voters.

A judge has overruled the DEA, basically, whether they like it or not, and told them they may not discriminate against the medical marijuana industry by targeting those who are making money from something that is legal in the state of Montana. The judge also stayed the state legislature in its attempt to override the will of the people.

In response to Essman's action, more than 35 thousand people signed a petition to bring this issue back to a vote by the people of the state, rather than allow legislative fiat to change the law. The petition puts a referendum on the ballot to let the people of Montana vote to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with Essman's bill when they vote in 2012.

The petition wants to address possible reforms in the law while still making it possible for patients to obtain medicine. But most of all, it wants the people of the state to get to decide whether or not they agree with Essman's move. /

The reason some people are trying to go after the Montana law is because 30k people have mmj cards. That's a little over 5% of the voting population of the state and legislators do not think that many people should be allowed to have safe access to cannabis products for medicinal use. I don't know if there's some percentage calculator that states people may or may not be allowed to use a substance in a medicinal we maintain such figures for aspirin? Does the legislature look at the number of people who are potentially diabetic and attempt to legislate insulin? I just wonder how common it is to have people with no medical background deciding who should be allowed to take a legal medicine.

Anyway, Arizona's citizens also had to tell their legislature to back the fuck off.

It's one thing to regulate. It's quite another to repeal a law and legislators have to have their power checked at the ballot box.

It's a business competition. Who wants to help support the prison-industrial industry that makes the United States the nation with the most citizens in jail - and an overwhelming number of them are in jail because of this very issue of prohibition - or who wants to have an economy that allows adults to make decisions for themselves about whether or not to use a non-toxic, non-lethal substance as a medicine.

I don't know about you, but I prefer to live in a town with dispensaries rather than prison complexes. The view is so much nicer when you're not putting others behind bars in order to fuel an economy by punishing their use of something that is less harmful than most pharmaceutical products in the market, as well as alcohol, the pols' drug of choice.

Obviously the federal govt is interested in putting money into a mindset that wants to discipline and punish rather than uphold some very basic and essential liberties that are granted to adults.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sun Nov 06th 2011, 09:23 AM
sorry if I missed this - if it was posted earlier in the fall.

however, this is an interesting piece that was aired on CBS News in Detroit about a man there who, in August, told a reporter he had been using a topical cannabis oil to treat skin cancer. The man, Michael McShane, said he was cured. In August, CBS reported:

His dermatologist (Ali Moiin) did not recommend the oil and denies that McShane is completely cured, but said the cancer cells have decreased by up to 60 percent.

“There is some active substance, I’m sure, in cannabis that will help improvement of sun damage,” said Moiin. “You still have some residual ones, but the size has definitely decreased.”

Moiin said the results so far definitely warrant further scientific study for the use of cannabis for treating skin cancer.

So, that was August. Then CBS did a follow-up in Sept.

They reported:

There are no longer any visible signs of the skin cancer on the forehead of Ferndale’s Michael McShane. McShane had a check-up with his dermatologist and says Dr. Ali Mooin is no longer recommending surgery to treat the lesion.

...Dr. Mooin will no longer speak with WWJ. Last month, he said he’d pursue surgery if the cancer was not gone. McShane says surgery was not on the table today.

Isn't it interesting that a documented case of the use of cannabis as a topical ointment is not a cause for celebration?

McShane's claim isn't a new one. When I started reading about current cannabis issues and news I came across this famous one, "Run From the Cure." It's a not a slick video production - it sort of reminded me of a home movie (that loves toaster effects) or a cable access fishing show that gets philosophical. And there's that stirring rendition of "My Way" at the end.

Yeah, I was extremely skeptical. Sometimes cannabis advocates sound like it's the popel pocket fisherman of plants. Of course, it just might be, a lot of evidence is there -- but in our cynical times, something with so many claims can cause a little skepticism just as a defense mechanism - plus, there's that whole concept of... what? Can our govt. agencies really be so recalcitrant in the face of so many benefits from something - especially considering the harmful side effects of so many legally-sanctioned medicines?

Anyway, in order to put some "respectable" background behind McShane's claim, we can also look at a Harvard lung cancer study in 2007. These scientists injected HUMAN cancer cells into mice.

For three weeks, researchers injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been implanted with human lung cancer cells, and found that tumors were reduced in size and weight by about 50 percent in treated animals compared to a control group. There was also about a 60 percent reduction in cancer lesions on the lungs in these mice as well as a significant reduction in protein markers associated with cancer progression.

So, a 60% reduction after three weeks of highly concentrated application of THC to lung cancer cells in a research lab and a 60% reduction in skin cancer lesions in a man who undertook his own topical treatment for about a month without the consent of his doctor. But his doctor did record the 60% reduction and did note this substance should be studied before he declined to talk about this anymore since it's not standard medicine.

But how does it work? According to a researcher in Spain, THC prompts cancer cells to "autophagy," or cell death, without doing the same to healthy cells.

What is autophagy? It's something that was discovered in the 1960s, as part of the cellular process - and it's not fully understood in all ways. However, one thing that is understood is that some forms of autophagy create a membrane that surrounds and separates part of a cell from the energy-giving cytoplasm in each cell. Mitochondria within cells are considered their power source - they're included in that cytoplasm. (Right about now you should be imagining one of those old biology textbooks with a cross section of a cell... remember all those funny-looking things in there - yeah, that stuff.)

THC acts like an endocannabinoid (our body produces these to regulate various functions in our body, which is why cannabis has any noticeable effect.) We have cannabinoid receptors in various parts of our body that are like doorways with locks. Endo- and plant cannabinoids are the "keys" that unlock these doors that allow various processes and effects to enter our cellular lives. In the case of brain cancer, the THC activates the CB1 receptor to rev up or shake its membrane-maker to isolate those cancer cells and turn them into cellular waste that the body then eliminates.

Anyway, that's the most basic, non-scientist version. Interesting stuff, huh?

Don't you wish our govt. would allow more research on this topic? I mean, cancer is kind of a biggie.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sat Nov 05th 2011, 05:51 PM /

The BEST and most intelligent political talk about the WoD from a legislator that I've seen in a LONG time.

“When I make my presentations, I talk about prohibitions throughout history as all having failed, going way back to the 16th century prohibitions of coffee and tobacco in Europe, which were punishable by death at that time,” he told Raw Story in an exclusive interview.

“There are five major reasons to do this work,” Goodman explained. “Drug policy is not an esoteric matter. It is strategically linked to so many other important issues, and in no particular order, the reasons we need to repeal prohibition are: to improve public safety, because we’ve yielded the criminal markets to violent enterprises; to provide better health care; to protect families and children; to save one heck of a lot of money, because it’d be much more fiscally responsible; and to celebrate our civil rights, including the right to choose your own state of mind.”

“I’ve been going around the country meeting with legislators in a lot of states who are keen on reforming the drug laws just on the fiscal point of view,” he said. “If that’s how we’re going to get it done, fine.”

“Most of my colleagues, Democrat and Republican, get it, yet they don’t understand how to frame the issue to make it a winning issue for them. So, when I’m at the salad bar, or in the hallways just talking to my colleagues, I’m teaching them how not to be afraid of this issue and to frame it as I do… And those efforts are already bearing fruit.”

I agree that it's the libertarian/fiscal issues point that conservatives can hear - and eventually the evidence from research will be such public knowledge that even Congress will find it too embarrassing to continue the law THEY keep in place. This issue is local for everyone. It's at the level of state representative that we vote to change bad laws.
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Wed Nov 02nd 2011, 09:57 PM
People keep going around about here about the recent crackdown on dispensaries in CA and other places. One side claims Obama has changed his stance. The other side claims he is in full support of medical marijuana. Both are wrong.

The recent federal actions are consistent with his policy memos and his refusal to address THE issue behind all of this: The issue is prohibition itself. Obama is on the side of prohibition of cannabis for anyone except for patients for whom is it prescribed and given to for free. He is against smoking cannabis as a way to deliver the cannabinoids that provide health benefits, in spite of doctors and caregivers who dispense or recommend medical marijuana without compensation who disagree - who find that inhalation provides the most immediate benefit. The Obama administration is in favor of pharmaceutically-created cannabis medicines that comply with the current view of how medicines are administered. Yet this administration continues to allow the DEA and HHS to refuse research unless that research meets the goal of the federal govt. - which is to find no acceptable use for cannabis. This is his stance based upon the actions, memos and avoidance of his administration.

clear as mud...

The current crackdowns are about the feds acting against normalizing cannabis sale and cultivation in states - the feds have stated they are not going after individuals or individual caregivers. They also note, however, that they ARE going after large-scale (and "large" seems to include medium or any for-profit scale) production facilities because they view these in the same way that they view the Mexican drug cartels.

To me, the irony in this, along with the note, in the Ogden memo, that cannabis sales remains the greatest money-maker for Mexican drug cartels, is that the feds are HELPING the MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS by closing off the means to produce and distribute locally-produced and sold cannabis. California is trying to work toward a way to move cannabis from an illegal to a legal substance.

Yes, the medical marijuana laws have been used by commercial producers as a way to get a foothold in what they (and others) see as an emerging, new legal market... Because of this, they are in violation of state and federal laws. However, since a majority of the American population views cannabis prohibition as bad law, those who are trying to change it by flaunting it are not viewed as the "bad guys" by so many because, in truth, cannabis is the largest cash crop in the U.S. and offers potential revenue streams for California municipalities that need the revenue. The prohibition itself is arbitrary - as is obvious when compared to alcohol. This is where the frustration comes in. The prohibition itself is the problem.

Those who want to change this law are eliding the difference between legally-provided medical marijuana (i.e. non-profit and small-scale) and commercial enterprises as a way to attack the recent raids by claiming they are an attack on medical marijuana - and to those who use these services they can be and are effected by access- but these money-making dispensaries remain illegal by state law - the state, however, has been trying to work out how to regulate this market and they don't want the feds to interfere. Even if local communities have allowed businesses to operate, those for-profit businesses still violate state law.

Those who want to attack Obama claim this is a change in policy - when, in fact, it is not. It is an implementation of policy that was expressed more than 2 year ago. If there was any question about whether or not the Obama Administration supported the recent actions by the 4 Attns Gen, it should have been settled with the Friday release of the reply to petitions to regulate cannabis like alcohol and tobacco. That reply reiterated claims that "smoked" marijuana does not comply with the fed. govt's view of what constitutes acceptable medicine.

It is ridiculous to try to make the claim this was done w/o Obama's okay or that his stance that he supports medical marijuana means that he did not intend to come down on for-profit dispensaries - we have two years of clarification to indicate that Obama's pov matches that of the DoJ.

So, it is JUST as disingenuous to claim that Obama had nothing to do with these raids as it is to claim the raids are a change of policy. Of course these raids reflect his policy views. How do we know this? by the memos that undergird the actions by the 4 Attns. Gen, by the way that this crackdown on for-profit cannabis dispensaries (as well as RESEARCH) has been coordinated across several federal agencies - the DoJ, the IRS, the DEA, the Bureau of ATF and the Dept. of Health and Human Services and by the statement from Obama's appointed director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, just this last Friday.

---Here is the paper trail for those who are interested----

The Ogden Memorandum:

October 2009:

In an October 2009 memo, previous Deputy Attorney General David Ogden said U.S. attorneys “should not focus federal resources” on prosecuting those who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

That includes the 4 who were the spokespersons for this raid. Now, the kicker in this is that the businesses that were raided are not in compliance with existing state law, because the state law protects those who are providing NON-PROFIT cannabis cultivation. This memorandum indicates that what is going on now is NOT A REVERSAL of the Ogden memo, tho many who didn't read it may try to pretend this is the case.

The prosecution of significant traffickers of illegal drugs, including marijuana, and the disruption of illegal drug manufacturing and trafficking networks continues to be a core priority in the Department’s efforts against narcotics and dangerous drugs, and the Department’s investigative and prosecutorial resources should be directed towards these objectives. As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana. For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources. On the other hand, prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the Department. To be sure, claims of compliance with state or local law may mask operations inconsistent with the terms, conditions, or purposes of those laws, and federal law enforcement should not be deterred by such assertions when otherwise pursuing the Department’s core enforcement priorities.

Holder noted this same position here in 2009:
“For those organizations that are doing so sanctioned by state law, and doing it in a way that is consistent with state law, and given the limited resources that we have, that will not be an emphasis for this administration,” Holder said.

The Cole memo came out this year that reiterated, not changed, what does not constitute compliance with the law: /

The term “caregiver” as used in the memorandum meant just that: individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.

...within the past 12 months, several jurisdictions have considered or enacted legislation to authorize multiple large-scale, privately-operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers. Some of these planned facilities have revenue projections of the millions of dollars based on the plant cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.

The Odgen Memorandum was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law. Persons who are in the business of cultivating. selling, or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with the resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA.

Here's the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy response to online petitions:!/re...

imo, those who say Obama supports medical marijuana without any actual analysis of what this means are as wrong as those who claim these actions are meant to eliminate the medical marijuana program. These actions are meant to eliminate is the normalization of the sale of cannabis. But they won't. It's another waste of taxpayer money on the failed WoD and another example of the way in which the bureaucracies that oversee this issue are no longer serving the American people, but rather serving their own interests.
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sat Oct 29th 2011, 01:21 AM
the statement that marijuana leads to addiction and therefore drug treatment programs is based upon current sentencing laws that allow people to go into treatment rather than jail.

even if those people do not show addiction to marijuana, they are considered addicted.

the equivalent would be if alcohol was illegal, you had a bottle of wine in your car you planned to take home for dinner, because you had lived somewhere that thought it was okay to have a glass of wine with dinner - and you were pulled over for an expired registration sticker. the police saw the bottle of wine and offered you the chance to go into an addiction program or face arrest. you go into the program. and you also become a statistic that says, simply because you had alcohol in your car, you are an addict.

The National Institute of Health notes cognitive impairment - however, recent studies indicated a two hour window of impairment for driving, say...again, if you are with friends and you have a couple of glasses of beer, you don't drive. the same thing.

there is no evidence of permanent cognitive impairment as of this study reported in July 2011 /

when the test was controlled for gender and education level - the results showed no impairment.

Participants took tests of memory and intelligence three times over the eight year period the study. They were also asked about how their marijuana use had changed. When the results were at last tabulated, researchers found that there were large initial differences between the groups, with the current marijuana smokers performing worse on tests that required them to recall lists of words after various periods of time or remember numbers in the reverse order from the one in which they were presented.

However, when the investigators controlled for factors like education and gender, almost all of these differences disappeared. The lower education levels of the pot smokers — and their greater likelihood of being male — had made it look like marijuana had significantly affected their intelligence. In fact, men simply tend to do worse than women on tests of verbal intelligence, while women generally underperform on math tests. The relative weighting of the tests made the impact of pot look worse than it was.

The authors, who were led by Robert Tait at the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University, conclude:

he adverse impacts of cannabis use on cognitive functions either appear to be related to pre-existing factors or are reversible in this community cohort even after potentially extended periods of use. These findings may be useful in motivating individuals to lower cannabis use, even after an extensive history of heavy intake.

This issue of potency is also a sleight-of-hand. When potency is higher, people use less to achieve the same high.

The issue of teenage access seems to ignore that the Dutch experiment with cannabis decriminalization indicates fewer teens using cannabis when it is regulated. This is from Sept. 2011 -

The results of a new study published in the journal Addiction earlier this month challenged the United States' "provincial" drug policy rhetoric, especially as it relates to youth. The study compared data on cannabis use among US teens to newly available numbers on usage rates in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. The results: The Dutch have about 700 adults-only clubs that sell 50 to 150 metric tons of cannabis per year, yet Dutch teens report lower levels of weed usage and availability than youth in the United States.

...and on and on.

This might mean California is in play big time for Obama. And a lot of younger people will look for a libertarian candidate to support in a lot of different states after his continued treatment of this issue.

And I guess that claim that the Attns General were working on their own just fell flat.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Fri Oct 28th 2011, 09:19 AM

a spokeswoman (Lauren Horwood) for one of the four federal prosecutors involved claims that Obama didn't order the crackdown, and in fact wasn't involved at all.

Are we really to believe that four rogue U.S. Attorneys have actually staged a medical marijuana coup of sorts in California, forging off on their own and writing a new federal policy 180 degrees opposed to the President's previous position?

...An earlier article by Ray Stern at Toke's sister Village Voice Media publication, Phoenix New Times, had reported that Horwood acknowledged California's U.S. Attorneys got "Obama's blessing" for the crackdown. But Horwood distanced herself from that language on Wednesday....Horwood further claimed that Cole wasn't present at any of the California press conferences on the crackdown not because Cole was distancing himself from the action, but because "California is a long way to travel."

California State Senator Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, both San Francisco Democrats, have requested meetings with the DOJ and the Internal Revenue Service to discuss the reasons behind the crackdown. far the requests are unanswered.

In response to this claim, DrugWarRant says...

(short version: lame) /

So, what's the political reality here? maybe the Attns Gen claim has something to do with this:

(200 medical marijuana protesters show up outside Obama fundraiser)

Earlier in the day, at the press conference at the Marriott, a roomful of activists couldn't fathom how medical marijuana is polling at 70 percent approval, while political leaders could be so terrified of the issue. Four U.S. Attorneys have used cancer patients as a public punching bag Oct. 7, and since then have gone on to threaten dozens of landlords across the state with forfeiture for harboring a marijuana-related business. Raids on Northstone Organics, threats against Prop 19 author Rich Lee's landlord, and the tax assessment against Harborside Health Center make it clear the government wants examples made of industry voices.

Seems that petition online has gotten the attention of more than just the White House.

from this same link:

On October 18, narcotics cops in Los Angeles used federal drug trafficking interdiction time and resources — tax dollars that could be spent making the streets safer — to try and lobby the White House for a continued drug war.

According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — who obtained a leaked copy of the e-mail — on Tuesday at 9:36 a.m., the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area intelligence office called LA CLEAR e-mailed a huge group of cops, asking them to sign a pro-drug war petition. Here's the full email:
(actually, you'll have to click on the link to read the full email. please do...

here's a sample:

WE NEED YOUR HELP: The legalizers are totally dominating the White House "We the People" Web site — they have more signatures than every other issue combined.

CADCA's petition, supporting drug prevention and against marijuana legalization, is up to 1,000 signatures but we need every other network in the field to mobilize to help us get as many more signatures as possible in the next two weeks.

That's 1000 signatures against vs. more than 73,000 for legalized marijuana.

Over at StoptheDrugWar, this is the question

This is amazing. Literally, we are being told by presidentially-appointed officials not to blame the president when they do things we find disgusting. I don’t recall ever being handed a ballot with the name Lauren Horwood on it, and the same goes for James Cole, Eric Holder and every other federal prosecutor presently presiding over this massive new war on medical marijuana patients and providers.

When the president’s own appointees defy his campaign promises and dishonor the values of the American public, the president himself is so obviously, thoroughly, and undeniably at fault that it seems silly to argue the point further.

After all, any effort to sugarcoat this mess is indicative of an increasing awareness at DOJ that their approach to medical marijuana is becoming a bit of a political fiasco. Deflecting criticism from the president is a smart strategy for avoiding a scenario in which mounting public outcry forces Obama to revisit the issue. The lesson here for advocates is to apply more pressure on the president, not less.

It's good to see this issue is bothering the Democrats. It's good for them to remember that marijuana got more votes than Bill Clinton. It's good for them to remember that legalization is on the ballot in both CA and CO.

This might be a good time for Obama to start pandering to the voters that put him in office in the first place because he's gonna need their votes in 2012. So... what is it? Does the Obama administration have control over its justice dept or is Obama trying to play both sides of the issue? I dunno. But if he keeps quiet on this issue, that silence will equal consent. Because actions speak louder than words.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Fri Oct 07th 2011, 05:26 PM

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) -- even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out. The new law, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA, the massive federal law that prohibits drugs like marijuana and strictly regulates prescription medication.

Smith is also the ASSHOLE who stated he would not allow the bipartisan cannabis decriminalization bill to ever get out of committee. Austin - please get rid of this mother fucking creep.

"Under this bill, if a young couple plans a wedding in Amsterdam, and as part of the wedding, they plan to buy the bridal party some marijuana, they would be subject to prosecution," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for reforming the country's drug laws. "The strange thing is that the purchase of and smoking the marijuana while you're there wouldn't be illegal. But this law would make planning the wedding from the U.S. a federal crime."

The law could also potentially affect academics and medical professionals. For example, a U.S. doctor who works with overseas doctors or government officials on needle exchange programs could be subject to criminal prosecution. A U.S. resident who advises someone in another country on how to grow marijuana or how to run a medical marijuana dispensary would also be in violation of the new law, even if medical marijuana is legal in the country where the recipient of the advice resides. If interpreted broadly enough, a prosecutor could possibly even charge doctors, academics and policymakers from contributing their expertise to additional experiments like the drug decriminalization project Portugal, which has successfully reduced drug crime, addiction and overdose deaths.

...Civil libertarian attorney and author Harvey Silverglate says the bill raises several concerns. "Just when you think you can't get any more cynical, a bill like this comes along. I mean, it just sounds like an abomination. First, there's no intuitive reason for an American to think that planning an activity that's perfectly legal in another country would have any effect on America," Silverglate says. "So we're getting further away from the common law tradition that laws should be intuitive, and should include a mens rea component. Second, this is just an act of shameless cultural and legal imperialism. It's just outrageous."

This is the War on Drugs in action. It's bipartisan. It's a violation of EVERY IDEA that was the basis for this govt. It's illegitimate and it is the response of a police state, not a democracy. Thought crimes. Speech crimes. Total disregard for the 4th amendment of the Constitution is the legacy of the war on drugs - now they're upping the ante so that the War on Drugs can make you a criminal for engaging in non-criminal activities. If you're not outraged - you're complicit.

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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Tue Oct 04th 2011, 10:05 PM /

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has blocked a pilot study to examine the benefits of marijuana for veterans with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

...“Hundreds of veterans in medical marijuana states already report using marijuana to control their PTSD symptoms,” MAPS said in a statement. “The growing number of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat-related trauma combined with large numbers of treatment-resistant veterans highlights the pressing need for research into additional treatments for PTSD.”

Recently, a study conducted by Haifa University in Israel found that rats which were treated with marijuana within 24 hours of a traumatic experience successfully avoided any symptoms of PTSD.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has denied researchers requests to obtain licenses to grow marijuana, claiming that the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — overseen by the HHS — can be the only one to supply marijuana for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated research. NIDA’s monopoly on the supply of marijuana for research means the study has no way of moving forward, even though it was approved by the FDA.

MAPS and a law firm that represents pharmaceutical-industry clients has offered pro bono representation to MAPS to challenge the NIDA monoply.
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sat Sep 24th 2011, 12:23 PM /

Robert J. MacCoun, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the UC Berkeley School of Law, said that the well-documented Dutch experience with marijuana shops may provide important information for other jurisdictions wrestling with how to deal with cannabis.

Findings include:

Dutch citizens use cannabis at more modest rates than many of their European neighbors.

Dutch youth report high rates of availability of cannabis, but not as elevated as reported rates in the United States and several other countries.

The Dutch “continuation” rate for using marijuana from a causal experimentation in youth to regular usage in adulthood (ages 15-34) is fairly modest by international standards

Past-year cannabis use among Dutch 15-to-24-year-olds dropped from 14.3 to 11.4 percent between 1997 and 2005.

Dutch cannabis users are more likely to be admitted for substance abuse treatment than their counterparts in most European countries, while the United States reports four marijuana treatment admissions for every one admission in the Netherlands. It is not clear whether this reflects a greater investment in treatment by Dutch officials, or the higher potency of Dutch marijuana.

In the United States, about half of those admitted for treatment for marijuana addiction happen through criminal justice referrals. In the Netherlands, such referrals account for closer to 10 percent.

full journal article here:
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Posted by RainDog in General Discussion
Sat Aug 27th 2011, 01:44 AM
"The cancer-killing properties of marijuana were the subject of discussion in a PBS documentary that aired this week to little media fanfare.

While using marijuana to kill cancer may sound like a wild claim to some, it struck Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti as a great idea. In his studies as professor of pathology and microbiology for the University of South Carolina, he tested synthetic cannabis drugs on cancer cells and developed a formula that was able to completely eradicate cancer cells in a test tube.

A follow-up on mice afflicted with cancer found that up to 30 percent in the test group completely rejected their disease, while others had their tumors significantly reduced. The same drug is now being tested on humans with Leukemia.

But it’s not just Dr. Nagarkatti who sees the medical value of marijuana: it’s the whole pharmaceutical industry. And that’s another point the documentary makes, examining the patents various companies have filed, and what they claim marijuana-based drugs could one day be used to treat."

the full documentary is available to view here:

(the quoted above is from Raw Story)
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