Protection of Medical Cannabis in Legal States Has Bipartisan Support in Congress

An agreement among representatives on both sides of the aisle in the United States House of Representatives has retained the bill that prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using its allocated funds for DEA interventions in states that allow cannabis for medical purposes. It was included as part of the House final appropriations budget for the fiscal year 2018, which ends September 30, 2018. 62 Congress members from both sides of the aisle have decided to start pushing now for the 2019 inclusion of this protective provision with a letter which included the following: "We believe that the consistent, bipartisan support for such protections against federal enforcement, combined with the fact that similar language has been in place since December 2014, makes a strong case for including similar language in your base FY 2019 appropriations bill." The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), would end the federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all, by removing the drug from the DEA’s list of controlled substances entirely. The Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), would end the federal prohibition on marijuana once and for all, by removing the drug from the DEA’s list of controlled substances entirely. It was introduced as Senate bill number S. 1689, but thus far is without co-sponsors. Earlier, Senator Bernie Sanders had attempted to introduce a similar bill with similar results. However, a similar version of S. 1689, H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, was introduced into the House of Representatives by Thomas Garrett (R-Vir) and has 15 House co-sponsors. Recently, 14 members of Congress have asked to cut funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's cannabis eradication program, writing: "Throughout the country, states are increasingly turning away from marijuana prohibition and enacting alternative policies to lower crime rates, free up limited law enforcement resources, and keep drugs out of the hands of children. Despite both the Cannabis Eradication Program’s proven ineffectiveness and the seismic shift in attitudes on marijuana policy within Congress and across our nation, the DEA continues to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on this program, spending $22 million in 2015 alone. There is no justification for spending this kind of money on an antiquated program never shown to be effective. Of course, there is some justification. It puts more non-violent marijuana users into private prisons, which were beginning to be phased out prior to this new administration with stock values plummeting. After all, the Federal Government spent 639 million dollars on 'private prisons.'"

Withdrawing from Psychiatric Drugs: A Holistic Approach

Drugs such as cocaine and heroine are difficult to stop after daily use for a month or longer. The longer the more difficult. But there are “legal” pharmaceutical drugs that are as difficult or worse, depending on the length of time one is placed on them by a physician or psychiatrist. It’s not unusual to be on one or more of those types of drugs for several months to several years. A 2103 study discovered that one in six Americans is on a psychiatric drug for nervous and emotional issues, up from one in ten disclosed in a 2011 government Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) report. And many were initially put on these drugs for lifetime use or have become addicted after even a few months of using them. Many are seeking to get off psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Their attempts often fail due to the difficulty of tapering off alone. They usually speak of “waves and windows” that can go on for years after getting off anti-depressants and other psychiatric drugs. Waves are surges of needing or craving the drug while overwhelmed with the symptoms that were supposedly held off with the drugs. Windows are lucid occasions of being free from disturbing thoughts and emotions. There are several natural options for getting more windows and less waves while tapering.

Oregon CPS Kidnaps Child Because Parents are Legal Medical Marijuana Patients

An Oregon couple was blindsided when Child Protective Services seized baby Kaylynn, alleging Child Neglect because of their medical marijuana use. Oregon has issued permits for the medicinal use for marijuana since 1998 and legalized recreational use since 2014. The couple has complied with all state laws, and they don't understand how the same state can legalize something on one hand while on the other hand, they seize a child from her home for the very thing that the legislators and voters have said that they can do. This murky and confusing legal climate has left a mother devastated and her baby girl robbed of her family. No matter what one believes about the legalization, use, or ethics of marijuana, it is clear that families should not be torn apart over differing policies within the same state agencies.

Study: Cannabis Prevents Premature Deaths – Cannabis Prohibition is a Major Cause of Premature Death in the U.S.

The head of the Biology Department at Indiana University South Bend, Professor Thomas M. Clark, recently published in 2017 a lengthy “systematic review, meta-analysis, and narrative summary of effects of cannabis use on mortality are performed.” The bottom line from the 53 page document titled “Cannabis use is associated with a substantial reduction in premature deaths in the United States” is: "Cannabis use prevents thousands of premature deaths each year, and Cannabis prohibition is revealed as a major cause of premature death in the U.S."

Does Marijuana Cause Brain Damage?

Brain damage is a major issue that marijuana prohibitionists point out as a primary reason to ban cannabis. Throughout the "Drug War" declared by then President Nixon in 1971, which has been continued through subsequent presidential administrations, there have been a few outrageous attempts at proving brain damage from cannabis. However, anecdotal and clinical application reports of recoveries from brain damage or neurological diseases have contradicted what most formally funded academic studies report regarding effects on the brain. Studies not funded by American government agencies, however, are reporting that the brain damage fears are at least exaggerated, if not completely unfounded.

Access to Medical Cannabis Speeds Ahead in Countries Outside the U.S.

Despite newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Session’s unfounded proclamations that marijuana destroys families and lives, the steady march of medical marijuana successes and greater access to patients continues internationally. North and south of the U.S. borders, making medical marijuana available to patients who need it is making strong advances. Since its start in 2000, Canada’s nationwide medical marijuana system has evolved into a more accessible program for patients today, and 2018 is arriving with even more improvements. April 2017 is when Mexico’s Congress overwhelming passed a bill approved by its Senate last year to allow cannabis as medicine, allowing national research to proceed as well as decriminalizing its use among citizens. Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto has fully supported this action, suggesting even more access to medical marijuana. Despite this and international research proving the merits of medical cannabis, our United States national government agencies continue promoting false "Reefer Madness" fears.

Medical Cannabis Infused in Coconut Oil Maximizes Health Benefits 

Among medical marijuana proponents there has been a lot of discussion about the various ways of combining coconut oil and cannabis as an ideal carrier for combining cannabis' external cannabinoids with the body’s internal cannabinoid system for healing. At first this combination was used to facilitate suppositories that when inserted rectally would somehow allow those who are THC intolerant to absorb full spectrum plant cannabis' benefits to be absorbed without the high. Then the coconut oil with cannabis was contained in capsules to create standardized cannabis edibles for medical consumption. This is what 77 year old Stan Rutner used to cure his terminal lung and brain cancer during hospice under his daughter Corrine’s and son-in-law John Malanca’s custody in California.

Trump Administration goes After Medical Marijuana – Threat to Prescription Opioid Drug Sales?

As soon as President Trump announced his Attorney General (AG) appointee as Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, there was tension among medical cannabis advocates. Would Trump honor his campaign comments about state’s rights regarding medical marijuana, or would his new Attorney General be unleashed to increase the war on drugs using cannabis as his first target? Unfortunately, Trump’s Attorney General appointee Jeff Sessions has been quoted as saying heroin is only slightly worse than marijuana and "good people don’t smoke marijuana." And as the United States Attorney General, he is head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), which houses the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). News reports this week revealed a letter Sessions sent to Congress last month seeking funding to go after medical cannabis operations in states where medical marijuana is legal. “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Republican and Democratic House and Senate leadership. “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.” Sessions reasons for going after medical cannabis were quickly exposed as false by many in the media. Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham wrote: Sessions’s citing of a “historic drug epidemic” to justify a crackdown on medical marijuana is at odds with what researchers know about current drug use and abuse in the United States. The epidemic Sessions refers to involves deadly opiate drugs, not marijuana. A growing body of research (acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) has shown that opiate deaths and overdoses actually decrease in states with medical marijuana laws on the books. With the well-known national epidemic of opioid prescription drug abuse spiraling out of control, and medical marijuana's documented evidence of reducing opioid addiction, one has to wonder if the pharmaceutical drug manufacturers are behind this new emphasis to go after medical marijuana? Is medical marijuana a threat to their legal opioid drug sales?

Profitable Opioid Painkillers and Synthetic Pot Patents: Big Pharma’s Motivation to Keep Marijuana Illegal

Last year’s November elections included several state ballots to either introduce medical marijuana or expand beyond permissible medical applications and allow “recreational” use for adults. Former marijuana resistant states Florida, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Montana passed medical cannabis measures by popular vote. States that had medical marijuana allowances already in place, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine approved adult recreational marijuana. But the biggest surprise for many was Arizona voters' rejection of an adult recreational use measure, Proposition 205. Arizona was the only state that refused to advance from its current cannabis status at the polls. Arizonians for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) was the major front group for hire that publicly opposed Arizona's Proposition 205. And its main donor of a half million dollars was a pharmaceutical company based out of Arizona known as Insys Therapeutics. Was Insys Therapeutics' motivation to oppose legal marijuana its lucrative opioid painkiller market, or its recent approval for a patent to make a synthetic form of marijuana?

New Bills Proposed to Protect Consumer Access to Medical Marijuana Extract

Two bills have been introduced to protect consumer access to cannabidiol (CBD). We have a growing opioid painkiller epidemic in this country—one that has followed the scandal of so many heart-health-destroying or cancer-causing pain relievers being approved by the FDA. There is a natural alternative, and of course the government is intent on banning it for no reason at all—other than to clear the way for a blockbuster new drug. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) has introduced two bills, the Legitimate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (HR 714) and the Compassionate Access Act (HR 715), both aimed at removing federal obstacles that prevent patient access to CBD, a medicinal extract of the marijuana plant. These bills follow a recent move by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that classified marijuana and all its extracts as Schedule I controlled substances—a category that includes heroin, LSD, mescaline, and MDMA. Note that none of the CBD extracts contains significant amounts of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana—only the non-psychoactive painkilling chemicals. Although “CBD” or “cannibinoids” are not mentioned in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)—the legislation that the DEA must follow in creating rules related to controlled substances—the agency nonetheless lumps CBD and all other constituents of the plant into the definition of “marijuana.”