#1

MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:54 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/05/was...ijuana-license/





Washington state issues first legal marijuana license



OLYMPIA, WASH. – Washington state has issued its first legal marijuana license, launching a new phase in the state's ambitious effort to regulate a market that has been illegal for more than 75 years.

Officials granted the first marijuana growing and processing license to Sean Green, who has previously operated medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane as well as the Seattle suburb of Shoreline.

Green is the chief executive of Spokane's Kouchlock Productions.

The state Liquor Control Board issued the license to Green at its meeting in Olympia on Wednesday, as his supporters erupted in applause.

The board is due to issue retail licenses later this spring, with sales expected to begin in June or July.

Sales began Jan. 1 in Colorado, the only other state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

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#2

RE: MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:54 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/03/05/fed...for-first-time/




Union gripe brings federal labor agency into marijuana debate for first time


The federal government’s latest mixed signal on pot stems from Maine, where a medical marijuana dispensary has settled charges alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act and the rights of its employees.

The National Labor Relations Board agreed to hear claims of union-busting at the Wellness Connection of Maine, and although the case was settled first, the board's willingness to hear it was yet another tacit acknowledgement of the industry’s legitimacy. Although the federal government considers pot illegal, whether for recreational or medical use, new state laws legalizing it have forced federal authorities to address a variety of conflicts. Notably, the Justice Department has agreed to help banks — barred by money laundering statutes from working with drug dealers — find a way to do business with marijuana merchants in Colorado and Washington.

“The conflict is federal labor law, which has a broad definition of employees, and we have to accommodate that with federal criminal law, which makes working with marijuana a crime,” said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, a professor of labor and employment law at Indiana University. “That is some recognition that federal law may give these employees rights even though federal law may also say what they’re doing is illegal.”

"That is some recognition that federal law may give these employees rights even though federal law may also say what they’re doing is illegal."
- Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, professor of labor and employment law, Indiana University

Dau-Schmidt said federal courts and agencies such as the NLRB face a "quandary" because federal laws are in conflict. The workers' right to organize must be protected, but in this case they are employed in an industry the federal government deems illegal. Asked if cases like these will force the government’s hand regarding medical marijuana, Dau-Schmidt declined to speculate “too far” into the future, but added that similar issues in other arenas are likely to arise.

“This is going to crop up not only in banking, labor, employment law, tax issues,” he said. “I’m sure you’re going to see similar conflicts in other areas.”

Matt LaMourie, an attorney who represented Wellness Connection, confirmed to FoxNews.com that a settlement had been reached between the Maine firm and the NLRB, adding that the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) had “blessed” all terms of the undisclosed agreement. The union, which the workers had sought to join, voluntarily withdrew 21 of 29 unfair labor practice charges it filed against the company last year, LaMourie said.

The independent agency’s role in the case doesn’t show some level of federal recognition of the medical marijuana industry, he said.

“My sense is the NLRB is going to evaluate cases brought to them on a case-by-case basis,” LaMourie told FoxNews.com. “I don’t think this represents some sweeping mandate, not at all … This isn’t a victory for the union by any stretch of the imagination.”

UFCW officials, meanwhile, said the allegations began last February, when workers from an Auburn cultivation site led a walkout in protest of the company’s unlawful practice of applying pesticides. The NLRB was then prepared to issue a complaint related to interrogation and solicitation to oppose the union.

The UFCW, which represents more than 1.3 workers in the retail, meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries, also represents thousands of medical marijuana workers in six states and the District of Columbia. Those members primarily work in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries and growing/training facilities. In 2009, medical marijuana dispensaries were legalized in Maine and Wellness Connection serves as the state’s largest medical marijuana distributor.

“Only by sticking together, we were able to find the strength to speak out about the gross violations that we saw at work,” Jenifer Moody, a former Wellness employee included in the charges, said in a statement. “By fighting for our union, we are protecting our customers and shaping the medical marijuana industry into a safe and well-regulated industry that provides good jobs and needed medicine for our community. I am proud of what we workers have done, and glad to see the NLRB validate our charges against this company.”

Evan Yeats, a spokesman for the union, told FoxNews.com that the settlement speaks to the undeniable “fundamental rights” to all U.S. citizens.

“What it’s saying is that regardless of the industry you work in, American workers have fundamental rights,” he said. “And that includes the right to stick together and speak as a group.”


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

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#3

RE: MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:55 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index...g_on_natio.html





Vaping on national TV gets Colorado event planner fired



A Denver event planner was canned after she vaporized marijuana on a network news program about Colorado's "pot rush," The Denver Post reports.


Ricardo Baca, editor of The Cannabist, the Post's must-read source for all-things-marijuana, reports that Amy Dannemiller, an event planner by day and 'gangapreneur' by night, was dismissed after her East Coast bosses saw her vaping in on a recent NBC Nightly News segment and in a CNBC documentary about marijuana in Colorado.

Dannemiller, who goes by Jane West, launched a business last month hosting cannabis-themed dinner parties. She was asked to resign from her 9-5 job on Feb. 28.

In the CNBC interview, Dannemiller was seen trying out a vaporizer at a work meeting as she told the network’s Harry Smith: “I’m just trying to change the mind-set and definition of what cannabis consumption looks like. I’m actually shocked that so many people think the fact that I consume marijuana is so shocking. So I think it is important to say, ‘I use marijuana, and that’s OK.’ ”

Looking back, it’s easy to see that pot use isn’t OK with everybody, even though four major polls the past year have documented America’s first-ever shift toward favoring legal marijuana.

Baca reports that Dannemiller doesn't regret her decision to vape on camera.

“It’s just something I knew I had to do,” she said. “There are so many images in all of this media — people taking bong rips and pipe hits and passing joints — and if I’m trying to say that this should be normalized but didn’t want myself on camera, I would be hypocritical.”

Interested in cannabis headlines out of Colorado? Follow Baca on Twitter and bookmark The Cannabist.

The Washington Post reports on a major shift in marijuana policy in Washington, D.C., where the D.C. council voted Tuesday to partially decriminalize marijuana possession, Washington Post staff writer Aaron C. Davis reports.

Possessing marijuana and smoking it in the privacy of one’s home would no longer be criminal offenses in the nation’s capital under a bill passed Tuesday by the D.C. Council, putting the District at the forefront of a simmering national debate over decriminalization.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) intends to sign the bill, which would partially decriminalize pot by imposing civil fines rather than jail time for most offenses. The District joins 17 states that have taken similar action but doesn’t go as far as Colorado or Washington state, where voters have legalized the sale and taxation of marijuana.

The District also stopped short of legalizing public smoking — a decision influenced by the input of police officials, parents and others who remain unconvinced that full decriminalization is a good step for the city.

Here's a breakdown of state-by-state marijuana laws, courtesy of the Marijuana Policy Project.

And in Oregon, which decriminalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana possession four decades ago, Oregonian political writer Jeff Mapes reports on the status of a legislative referral on marijuana legalization. Bottom line: the effort appears to be dead.

A measure that would ask voters if they want to legalize marijuana – and leave the regulatory details to lawmakers in the next session – doesn't have enough votes to pass the Senate and appears certain to die in committee.

"It's dead at this point, and for good reason," said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, one of the lawmakers helping to bottle up the bill. Kruse said the measure has too many problems to iron out in the Legislature's short session.

And he is among those saying that Oregon should hold off on legalization for at least a couple years while watching to see how Colorado and Washington implement legalization initiatives they approved in 2012.

Mapes reports that Oregonians are still likely to see an initiative on the fall ballot. News that the legislative referral seemed dead generated this response from Dan Riffle, lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project:

Oregonian political reporter Yuxing Zheng reports on a compromise reached late Tuesday over controversial legislation dealing with local control over Oregon's medical marijuana dispensaries.

The House is set to vote Wednesday on a new version of a controversial medical marijuana dispensaries bill that would allow cities and counties to ban the facilities until May 1, 2015.
Under Senate Bill 1531, local governments would have to decide by May 1 this year whether to enact such bans.

If they don't ban them, they could still set policies for when such facilities could be open and other such regulations. Lawmakers and representatives of cities, counties, public safety organizations and others brokered the compromise legislation late Tuesday afternoon. The House Rules Committee approved the amended version of the bill 5 to 2.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Scroll up

#4

RE: MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:56 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/t...f39c_story.html





Tax revenue from legalized marijuana may not meet expectations



MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION was a hot topic at the recent meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, for obvious reasons — among them the prospect of raising much-needed revenue by taxing pot sales. “With all the bad weather we’ve had back home and all the potholes, we ought to have the revenue go to infrastructure — ‘pot for potholes,’ ” Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) said.

Such an experiment is underway in Washington and Colorado, so it’s noteworthy that John Hickenlooper, the latter state’s Democratic governor, did not echo Mr. Chafee’s enthusiasm about the tax bonanza. “Going out and getting tax revenue is absolutely the wrong reason to even think about legalizing recreational marijuana,” he said, since it puts a state in the position of benefiting from use of a harmful substance — even if it’s not the most harmful.

Of course, government is already in that position, due to the levying of “sin taxes” on tobacco and alcohol. Mr. Hickenlooper could have bolstered his moral argument with a more practical political one: Over time, the tax take from legal pot probably won’t live up to the hype because producers, distributors and consumers could develop into a powerful lobby opposed to taxation.

That’s the lesson of post-Prohibition federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, which have gone up just once for beer and wine and twice for distilled spirits over the past 60 years. As a result, excise tax rates on alcohol are “far lower than historical levels when adjusted for inflation,” as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts it in a recent report. The erosion of alcohol taxes is a tribute to the alcoholic beverage industry’s clout on Capitol Hill. And U.S. breweries are pushing a bill that would erode them further, by halving the $18-per-barrel excise tax that large brewers pay and lessening the more modest tax on microbreweries. The proposal has 91 co-sponsors in the House, according to a recent National Journal account. The beer lobby says it’s all about helping the industry create jobs.

The bill’s prospects for passage are dim in the short run, which is good, since what the country needs is a higher alcohol excise tax to help restore its lost value, trim the deficit and account more fully for the public health and safety costs of alcohol abuse. Also, the tax should be applied more uniformly across all beverages, as opposed to varying rates for liquor, beer and wine. The CBO says that taxing them all at $16 per proof gallon, a standard measure of alcohol content, would raise $64 billion over 10 years.

Our position is that marijuana should be decriminalized, but states in our area should go slow on any broader legalization until the results of the Washington and Colorado experiments are in. Obviously, some tax revenue from pot sales is better than none, which is what we get now. However, the likelihood of a smaller-than-advertised tax windfall is one of the many unintended consequences of legalization that lawmakers must weigh before they act.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Last edited Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:56 pm | Scroll up

#5

RE: MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:57 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/05/3976162/conservative-committee-opens-door.html





Conservative committee opens door to medical marijuana for Florida



TALLAHASSEE -- One conservative Republican who has suffered from brain cancer talked about the deceit of the federal government in hiding the health benefits of marijuana for his cancer. Another legislator reluctantly met with a South Florida family, only to be persuaded to support legalizing the drug.

Then there was Rep. Charles Van Zant, the surly Republican from Palatka who is considered the most conservative in the House. He not only voted with his colleagues Wednesday to pass out the bill to legalize a strain of marijuana for medical purposes, he filed the amendment to raise the amount of psychoactive ingredients allowed by law — to make it more likely the drug will be effective.

The 11-1 vote by the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, was a historic moment for the conservatives in the GOP-dominated House. It was the first time in modern history that the Florida Legislature voted to approve any marijuana-related product.

“That’s because people here in Tallahassee have realized that we can’t just have a bumper-sticker approach to marijuana where you’re either for it or against it,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, the committee chairman and sponsor of the bill after the emotional hearing. “Not all marijuana is created equally.”

The committee embraced the proposal, HB 843, by Gaetz and Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, after hearing heart-wrenching testimony from families whose children suffer from chronic epilepsy.

A similar bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate, where Senate president Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican and Matt’s father, has said he has heard the testimony from the families and he wants the bill to pass as a first step.

“Here I am, a conservative Republican but I have to try to be humble about my dogma,” Senate President Don Gaetz told the Herald/Times.

The families told the House committee that the discovery in Colorado of a marijuana strain, low in the euphoric properties known as THC and high in the anti-seizure properties of CBD, is their last best hope.

They spoke of how they are considering moving to Colorado to get the relief needed for their kids, and they pleaded with the committee to move quickly.

“Daniel has over 300 seizures a year — that’s on the low side,” said Kim Dillard of Pensacola, pointing to her 15-year-old son who suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

“We figure after 15 years, the odds of a big one are kind of against us,” she said. “We just want the chance to try it.”

The bill gives anyone found in possession of this kind of marijuana the right to defend themselves against prosecution. It also steers $1 million to state universities to research, develop and come up with a distribution plan for the specialty drug in Florida.

Under Van Zant’s amendment, marijuana would be considered legal if it contains .8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol (CBD) levels — or a ratio of 1 to 12.

He said that level should be easily obtained by researchers and growers but still be “far from having any street value.”

The low THC strain has been cultivated in others states and named “Charlotte’s Web,” in honor of the Colorado girl named Charlotte whose seizures were reduced dramatically after her parents gave her an oil made from the extract of the special marijuana strain.

For a committee known for its dense, often tedious scrutiny of legal text, the debate was remarkable.

Rep. Dave Hood, a Republican trial lawyer from Daytona Beach who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, talked about how the federal government knew in 1975 of the health benefits of cannabis in stopping the growth of “brain cancer, of lung cancer, glaucoma and 17 diseases including Lou Gehrig’s disease” but continued to ban the substance.

“Frankly, we need to be a state where guys like me, who are cancer victims, aren’t criminals in seeking treatment I’m entitled too,” Hood said.

Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, said he had his mind made up in opposition to the bill, then changed his mind after meeting the Hyman family of Weston. Their daughter, Rebecca, suffers from Dravet’s Syndrome.

“We’ve got a plant here on God’s green earth that’s got a stigma to it — but it’s got a medical value,’’ Eagle said,

“I don’t want to look into their eyes and say I’m sorry we can’t help you,’’ he said. “We need to put the politics aside today and help these families in need.”

The Florida Sheriff’s Association, which adamantly opposes a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for medical use in Florida, surprised many when it chose not to speak up. Its lobbyist simply announced the group was “insupport.”

The bi-partisan support for the bill was summed up by Rep. Dave Kerner, a Democrat and lawyer from Lake Worth.

“We sit here, we put words on a piece of paper and they become law,’’ he said. “It’s very rare as a legislator that we have an opportunity with our words to save a life.”

The only opposing vote came from Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, an advocate for the Florida Medical Association. Her husband is a doctor.

She looked at the families in the audience and, as tears welled in her eyes, she told them: “I can’t imagine how desperate you must be and I want to solve this problem for you.”

But, she said the bill had “serious problems.” It allowed for a drug to be dispensed without clinical trials and absent the kind of research that is needed to protect patients from harm.

“I really think we need to address this using science,” Harrell said, suggesting legislators should launch a pilot program to study and test the effectiveness of the marijuana strain. “This bill takes a step in the right direction … but it’s not quite there.”

Gaetz, the committee chairman, envisions a cottage industry in Florida built on the existing network of farmers, nurseries, cultivators and agri-business labs that currently track and measure food from farm to fork.

Since there are no known growers currently producing the plant in Florida, a market would have to be established using plants illegally obtained from other states, he said.

“We do not create in the bill a mechanism to get the stuff here,” he said. “However that happens, it’s a serious federal crime.”

But, once the seeds are here — and once the growers engage in contracts with manufacturers and distributors the goal is to “get the product to the patients as soon as possible,” he said.

If someone is caught with the plants, or a person starts farming them, the burden will be on the grower to prove the plants are low in THC, Gaetz said.

“If what we see in Colorado plays out in Florida, the patients will actually never be in possession of anything other than the goop in either coconut oil or olive oil,” Gaetz said.

By contrast, the Senate bill requires that dispensaries be set up throughout the state to distribute the medicine. Gaetz fears there will not be enough demand to justify building the dispensaries because there are only about 125,000 Florida residents with some form of severe epilepsy who might seek the medicine.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Scroll up

#6

RE: MJ News for 03/06/2014

in Marijuana in the News Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:57 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

hMPp://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/health/gupta-medical-marijuana/





Gupta: 'I am doubling down' on medical marijuana



Editor's note: Don't miss "Weed 2: Cannabis Madness: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports," at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Also, Dr. Gupta will be answering your questions on Reddit at noon ET Tuesday.

(CNN) -- It's been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.

I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say "sorry."

It is not easy to apologize and take your lumps, but this was never about me.
This scientific journey is about a growing number of patients who want the cannabis plant as a genuine medicine, not to get high.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and CNN\'s chief medical correspondent.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and CNN's chief medical correspondent.

It is about emerging science that not only shows and proves what marijuana can do for the body but provides better insights into the mechanisms of marijuana in the brain, helping us better understand a plant whose benefits have been documented for thousands of years. This journey is also about a Draconian system where politics override science and patients are caught in the middle.

Since our documentary "Weed" aired in August, I have continued to travel the world, investigating and asking tough questions about marijuana.

I have met with hundreds of patients, dozens of scientists and the curious majority who simply want a deeper understanding of this ancient plant. I have sat in labs and personally analyzed the molecules in marijuana that have such potential but are also a source of intense controversy. I have seen those molecules turned into medicine that has quelled epilepsy in a child and pain in a grown adult. I've seen it help a woman at the peak of her life to overcome the ravages of multiple sclerosis.

I am more convinced than ever that it is irresponsible to not provide the best care we can, care that often may involve marijuana.

I am not backing down on medical marijuana; I am doubling down.

I should add that, although I've taken some heat for my reporting on marijuana, it hasn't been as lonely a position as I expected. Legislators from several states have reached out to me, eager to inform their own positions and asking to show the documentary to their fellow lawmakers.

I've avoided any lobbying, but of course it is gratifying to know that people with influence are paying attention to the film. One place where lawmakers saw a long clip was Georgia, where the state House just passed a medical marijuana bill by a vote of 171-4. Before the legislative session started, most people didn't think this bill had a chance.

More remarkable, many doctors and scientists, worried about being ostracized for even discussing the potential of marijuana, called me confidentially to share their own stories of the drug and the benefit it has provided to their patients. I will honor my promise not to name them, but I hope this next documentary will enable a more open discussion and advance science in the process.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, defined as "the most dangerous" drugs "with no currently accepted medical use."

Neither of those statements has ever been factual. Even many of the most ardent critics of medical marijuana don't agree with the Schedule I classification, knowing how it's impeded the ability to conduct needed research on the plant.

Even the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, seems to have softened her stance; she told me she believes we need to loosen restrictions for researchers.

Along the way, the public has become intensely engaged. Our collective society has paid closer attention to this issue than ever before, and with that increased education, support for medical marijuana has only grown, including in some unexpected places.

Pete Carroll, the coach of the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks, said the National Football League should explore medical marijuana if it helps players. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn't dismissed the idea, saying that if marijuana is reconsidered by the medical establishment, the league would treat it the same as any other medicine. Goodell also says the NFL is following the science that suggests marijuana may help recovery from concussions.
Recently, I had the chance to tell him that the United States already holds a patent on medical marijuana for that very purpose. Patent No. 6630507: Cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma.

However, this particular issue still bothers me: How can the government deny the benefits of medical marijuana even as it holds a patent for those very same benefits? Members of the Food and Drug Administration declined my repeated requests for an interview.

This past year, President Barack Obama told the New Yorker magazine, "I don't think (marijuana) is more dangerous than alcohol." And yet, as alcohol remains available to any adult, the president has not moved to remove marijuana from the list of the most tightly controlled substances in the country.

Since I started my reporting on this topic, I have mostly resisted temptation to inject a subjective moral equivalency into this discussion, such as pitting alcohol against marijuana or reminding you that cocaine and methamphetamine are actually more available than marijuana to patients, physicians and medical researchers: They are Schedule II drugs, with recognized medical uses. Or telling you that on average, a person dies every 19 minutes in this country from a legal prescription drug overdose, while it is virtually unheard-of to die from a marijuana overdose.

But, with a discussion like this, consistency does matter. Terms matter, too.

We are talking about a medicine, known scientifically as cannabis. In order for people to start thinking of this substance as a medicine, perhaps we should start calling it by its medical name, something that was suggested to me by medical marijuana advocates pretty much everywhere I went this year.

I've tried to pull together these latest developments in our new documentary, "Cannabis Madness." Although the 1936 film "Reefer Madness" was propaganda made to advance an agenda with dramatic falsehoods and hyperbole, I hope you will find "Cannabis Madness" an accurate reflection of what is happening today, injected with the best current science.

You will meet families all across the country -- a stay-at-home mom from Ohio, a nurse practitioner from Florida, an insurance salesman from Alabama -- more than 100 families who have all left jobs, homes, friends and family behind and moved to Colorado to get the medicine that relieves their suffering.

As things stand now, many of these good people don't ever get to return home. Why? Because transporting their medicine, even if it is a non-psychoactive cannabis oil, could get them arrested for drug trafficking. And so they are stuck, cannabis refugees.

You will meet them, and if you're like me, you'll be heartbroken to hear their stories, but you'll also have a lump in your throat when you see the raw, true love these parents have for their sick children.

History books may one day draw a parallel between this chapter of medical marijuana and the story of David and Goliath. Playing the role of David's slingshot, which ultimately brought Goliath to his knees, would be a 2-year-old girl named Vivian Wilson. She inspired her father to challenge the system in a spectacular way that caused a nation to stop for a moment and take note.
For months, we have filmed and followed the Wilson family with all of their trials and tribulations, and you will meet the whole family in the upcoming documentary.

I am a father myself, first and foremost. I don't want my children taking or being offered a psychoactive substance. As a neurosurgeon, I know that the developing brain is more susceptible to the most harmful effects of cannabis and that brain development continues well into our mid-20s.

I also worry that generations from now, my great-grandkids will find Internet headlines referring to me as the "pot doc." I do hope they will also read the rest of the story and understand the lives of the countless people who have suffered needlessly when a plant could have helped. I hope they know that I have dedicated my time to researching the medical literature, speaking to the scientists in person and piecing together a fact-based presentation meant to educate, not frighten.

I hope future generations won't consider me naive. Yes, I know there is a concern that many people out there will feign ailments just to get marijuana.

But withholding legitimate treatment for the needy is a very unjust way of addressing that concern.

As a physician and reporter, I feel a deeper obligation to present the real stories, soundly supported with the science from all over the world.
When I first apologized for my previous marijuana reporting, I was thinking about the impact that reporting may have had on Charlotte Figi. She is a sweet little girl whose brain was locked in nearly nonstop seizure activity. Without success, she tried seven different medications, stringent diets and high-dose supplements. Modern medicine had nothing more to offer, which is why her parents turned to an ancient plant. As you know, it worked.

And, as you will see, she is one of so many patients out there, suffering from different ailments, who believe cannabis rescued them when nothing else did.
For conditions like Charlotte's, the American Epilepsy Society says that there are a million people for whom existing therapies do not control their seizures. The society recently said anecdotes about medical marijuana "give reason for hope" and said it supports "well-controlled studies that will lead to a better understanding of the disease and the development of safe and effective treatments."

You should know that Charlotte continues to do well. When I saw her around the holidays, she ran over and gave me a hug. She looked me in the eyes, took me by the hand and led me all around to meet her friends. She is a delightful, happy and now healthy little girl.

I know the discussion around this topic will no doubt get heated. I have felt that heat. But I feel a greater responsibility than ever to make sure those heated discussions are also well-informed by science.

And, with that: I hope you get a chance to watch on March 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern.


BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Scroll up



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