Posts filed under ‘medicinal’

Montanta Readies for a Step Forward… and a Step Back?

In Montana, two bills are being proposed to change the state medicinal marijuana policy – one for the better, and one for the worse.

House Bill 73 seeks to expand the use of medicinal marijuana by allowing physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe marijuana. (For comparison, nurse practitioners can currently prescribe the same prescription drugs that a psychiatrist can).

Senate Bill 212 seeks to disqualify permanently from the medicinal marijuana program any person who is found operating a motor vehicle with any trace amount of THC in their bloodstream. This is a completely ridiculous proposal, as trace THC can be found in the bloodstream for days after use, and it does not by any stretch mean that the person is operating while under the influence.

Both bills are being discussed this week, so call your representative and senator and voice your support for House Bill 73 and your opposition to Senate Bill 212. As always, contact information can be fount at www.votesmart.org Here are two short sample scripts:

Dear ________ (name of state representative),

I am calling to voice my support for House Bill 73. Medicinal marijuana is currently available as a prescription medication, and I feel that all professionals licensed to prescribe such medication – including physicians assistants and nurse practitioners – should be allowed to do so. Cannabis has many documented medicinal properties, and as many people as possible should have the option of this form of treatment for their ailments if they need it.

Dear __________ (name of state senator),

I am calling to voice my strong opposition to Senate Bill 212. Operating under the influence is dangerous, but this bill targets any person who has smoked cannabis within the past two weeks, regardless of whether or not they are still under the influence. We do not charge a person with driving under the influence of alcohol or punish them otherwise simply for having consumed alcohol within the last two weeks, and, likewise, we should not punish someone for operating a motor vehicle when they are not under the influence.

Call soon to make sure that your voice is heard.

Advertisements

January 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Marijuana Tops Change.org

At change.org, which is an independent site that is also (like change.gov) collecting ideas for the new administration, the top issue is currently the legalization of medicinal and recreational use of marijuana.

The margin is only a few hundred votes, and these ideas will be presented to Obama on the day of his inauguration. Please take the time to vote and ensure that marijuana policy reform stays at the top of the list.

January 7, 2009 at 5:47 pm 1 comment

Why Medicinal Use Matters

The reasons for supporting marijuana policy reform are as many and varied as there are advocates of marijuana policy reform. Medicinal use is only one, but right now, it is a very important one.

I find it hard to believe that there can be any significant change in marijuana policy without a change in the way law-abiding patients acting with a prescription are treated. Currently, patients in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are subject to federal prosecution and violent raids by the DEA. At least they’re safe under state law, right?

Not so fast. According to a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, people who supply marijuana to patients with a prescription are still subject to arrest as if they were drug dealers.

That’s funny – I thought the whole point of legalizing medicinal use was that medicinal use would be, you know, no longer a crime.

And therein lies the problem. How can we expect people to decriminalize marijuana on a wide scale – let alone legalize it- when law enforcement fails to recognize its use as a legitimate medicine?

Maybe I should clarify that: they recognize that marijuana is a legitimate medicine… they just believe that legal distribution and use of a medicine is a crime, even with a prescription and license.

In Michigan, the initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana received a greater portion of the vote than Obama did. (The same holds for the Massachusetts initiative to decriminalize small possession, and I am convinced that, had Massachusetts instead held a vote on medicinal use, it would have passed with over 70% of the vote.) It is no secret that a disproportionately large proportion of the elderly vote, compared to their children/grandchildren, and these voters are more likely to be sympathetic to medicinal use for ailments such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and others. These voters are less likely to support decriminalization or legalization for personal use (though as many as 70% in Massachusetts were polled as supporting decriminalization as well).

Once people accept marijuana as a medicine – thereby accepting that has beneficial properties – they are more likely to adjust their view of marijuana as a ‘dangerous, corruptive, gateway drug’ and start seeing it as it truly is.

We have reports of legislative efforts in Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York already, and it is very easy to start a campaign in your home state if there isn’t already one. (Contact us if you have any questions). It is key at this point to show strong support for state legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana, and it is also a very winnable battle, so let’s get to it!

January 5, 2009 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Medicinal Marijuana in New Jersey?

Last month, a Senate Health Committee in New Jersey approved a medicinal marijuana bill by a 6-1 vote. This allows the issue to face the New Jersey State Senate for – unless I am mistaken – the first time in history.

Aside from the obvious, why is this significant? States such as California and Michigan passed their medicinal use laws through ballot initiatives. New Jersey does not allow ballot initiatives, which means that any change in the their laws must come from the legislature. In other words, this is the first step down the only path by which medicinal marijuana can be legalized in New Jersey.

The Drug Policy Alliance has a good automated form letter that New Jersey residents can use to urge their state senators to support the bill.

Letters are a good. Sometimes, the officials will even respond. However, in a state issue such as this one, phonebanking can be immensely successful. The office must keep a running tally of all call received, and with each senator representing such small areas, just a few calls represent a huge level of support.

Calling your state senator is surprisingly quick – seriously, time it, and you should be done with the whole process of looking up the number, calling, and reading from the script in less than four minutes. If you’re slow, that is.

To look up your state senator, go to www.votesmart.org and enter your 9-digit ZIP code (USPS has a form to look this up if you don’t know it).

Click on your state senator (not your senator in Congress!) and click ‘complete contact information’. Call this number, ask for the office of __________ (your state senator), and read any or all of the following:

I am calling to urge Senator __________ to support the current legislation to legalize medicinal use of marijuana. It is unconscionable to deny patients the benefits of a medicine that has been proven by over 20,000 medical studies to have beneficial properties. These applications range from treating headaches and nausea to treating diabetes, MRSA, glaucoma, cancer, and AIDS.

Medicinal use is not the same as recreational use. New Jersey’s laws on recreational use are firm. However, we cannot deny patients the benefits of a medicine simply because of its potential for abuse. Just as Valium, OxyContin, and Ritalin are all available with a prescription, marijuana should be as well.

DEA Judge young once declared,

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.

I support the medicinal use of marijuana, and I hope that Senator _______ will voice his support as well.

That’s it. You can even read the whole thing in a monotone (though expression helps!). They have to take note of it regardless.

If you have the time (and seriously, who doesn’t have five minutes and 42 cents?), you can both send the letter and call the office. But, between the two, it might be worthwhile to call the office. These offices generally receive a low level of calls, and if supporters of the bill flood the office with calls, they are more likely to vote for the bill – and even openly support the bill with an endorsement.

If you live in New Jersey, do make the small effort to show your support for this law as a constituent, one way or the other (or both).

January 3, 2009 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Happy New Year from Legal.Now!

It’s the new year. Everyone has New Year’s resolutions – and we at Legal.Now are no different. So here are our resolutions – may each and every single one come to pass before 2009 is out!

1. An end to federal raids on law-abiding medicinal marijuana patients.
Under Barack Obama’s administration, this is easily the most significant and most 
accomplishable change we can expect this year. Obama has already promised to end federal 
raids of law-abiding medicinal marijuana patients, and with enough pressure from activists, he
can effect this change without any loss in political capital.


2. Proper enforcement of ‘lowest priority’ laws in districts such as Santa Cruz and Missoula County.
While ‘lowest priority’ laws are certainly commendable, reports such as the one released last month in Missoula County leave reason to doubt that they are actually being followed. When voters speak and legislation is enacted, law enforcement has an obligation to follow the legislation.
3. Successful decriminalization in Massachusetts.
Huh? Didn’t they vote on this just two months ago? Well, yes, but just because a law is on the books doesn’t mean anything actually changes.  As far as I am concerned, ‘success’ in Massachusetts will mean at least three things:
1. The law will not be repealed.
2. Violators will be charged with the appropriate offense (ie, not charged with intent to distribute when the real offense is clearly posession of a few grams in a single bag).
3. There are no negative consequences to the law (such as a sudden spike in violent crime).
4. The media does not portray the law unfavorably.
I am not particularly worried about #3, because every study shows that marijuana use is not connected to violent crime in any way. (Sale and traffiking is another matter). As for the media, while they have not been reporting the facts as faithfully as one would like, they have not been overly biased against the law either. Thus, I would expect that the media will slightly over-emphasize the possibility of negative ramifications, but not any more than they normally do. In all, as long as Massachusetts residents put enough pressure on the legislature not to repeal the law and there is enough pressure on the judicial side to enforce the law fairly, I think that the new law will be a successs.
As you can see, with these three resolutions, we have our work cut out for us, but all three are within the range of possibility. If you have any further ideas for resolutions, contact us, so that we may take proper action.
Happy new year to all!

January 1, 2009 at 3:51 am Leave a comment

Change.gov Open Again for Questions

Barack Obama has opened a section of his website for a second round of questions.

Last time, the top question was about marijuana policy reform, and Obama’s answer was brief and dismissive: ‘President-elect obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.’

No explanation, no evidence, and no rationale. If I had to guess why, I’d probably say because Obama knows there is no rational explanation.

Here is our chance to send a strong message: yes, we actually meant it! If you log into change.gov (and you don’t even need to verify your email, so it should take about thirty seconds to register), you will see that questions about marijuana are in the top ten under categories such as ‘National Security’ and ‘Additional Issues’. There are multiple questions about marijuana in each category, and the more we vote for these questions, the more likely we are to see change in this administration.

My personal opinion: questions about ending DEA raids are the most significant, because it is the step that Obama is most likely to take first. He can end DEA raids on patients using marijuana with a prescription, all without spending much political capital.

That said, vote for all the questions that you would like Obama to answer. Let’s make sure that the Obama administration gets the message.

December 30, 2008 at 4:47 am Leave a comment


Calendar

September 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Posts by Month

Posts by Category