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February 27, 2009

Capital Times editorial: An embarrassed Police Department

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, February 27, 2009

My favorite part of the Capital Times editorial below is Number 3.

Source: Capital Times click here
Pubdate: Feb 27, 2009

EDITORIAL: AN EMBARRASSED POLICE DEPARTMENT

The comedy of errors involving the Madison Police Department, Ald. Mike Verveer and the supposed smell of marijuana would have been just that -- a comedy of errors -- if it did not remind us of the need for the Police Department to get focused on its actual mission.

Let's get a few things clear:

1. There is no evidence that Verveer did anything wrong. And there never was. Any attempt to suggest that there is a cloud over the downtown alder -- and any attempt to alter his role with the city's Alcohol License Review Committee -- would be pure politics of the worst kind.

2. There is no evidence that marijuana was being used by anyone at the State Street lounge, where Madison police officer Carrie Hemming saw Verveer and thought she smelled something. Hemming acknowledges that she saw no illegal activity, saw no drug-related paraphernalia, and did not conduct an investigation. If she did, indeed, smell marijuana, the odor could have come from the coat of a passing customer.

3. There is no reason to be particularly concerned about the smell of marijuana or the presence of marijuana in Madison. This city has, for the better part of four decades, adopted the view that possession and use of the substance should be decriminalized. And if a poll were conducted, we are quite certain that most Madisonians would prefer that -- in instances where everyone who might be involved is an adult -- police officers always walk away when they smell marijuana.

So there is no problem with Verveer.

And there is not much problem with Officer Hemming, although she received a reprimand for not following department procedures.

But there is a problem with a police department that seems so frequently to struggle when it has serious matters to deal with -- like murders and patterns of downtown assaults -- but seems to have plenty of time and energy to produce and circulate after-the-fact reports about incidents that were not investigated and did not matter.

The Madison Police Department has embarrassed itself, badly.

Chief Noble Wray and his team should take a deep breath, review this incident and figure out how to make sure that the focus is on serious crime fighting rather than petty gossip.

Posted by Gary at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2009

US Attorney General Eric Holder: Ending Medical Cannabis Raids now US Policy

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, February 26, 2009

President Obama's promise to end DEA raids on medical cannabis dispensaries will be upheld, according to the new Attorney General. Video below:

Posted by Gary at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2009

New Jersey Gov. Corzine says he will sign medical cannabis bill

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine has again reiterated he will sign the medical cannabis legislation now halfway through the New Jersey legislature. Hopefully, NJ state lawmakers will get it done quickly, so patients don't have to wait any longer.

Corzine says he will sign medical marijuana bill
Source: NJ.com: click here

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said he will "absolutely" sign a medical marijuana bill for chronically and terminally ill patients if it gets to his desk.

Corzine, a Democrat running for re-election, made the comments Wednesday morning on WNYC radio's "Brian Lehrer Show."

He told Lehrer the law could be structured so patients are comfortable and there are safeguards against abuses.

The Senate approved the bill Monday. It faces an uncertain fate in the Assembly.

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-LedgerGov. Jon Corzine

Thirteen states have medical marijuana laws on the books. All but four came about because of voter referendums. In New Jersey, the Legislature must change the law.

Corzine also said on the show that the $17 billion-plus in federal stimulus money headed to New Jersey will generate or protect 100,000 jobs.

He told Lehrer that the jobs tally includes keeping police officers, firefighters and teachers who might have been laid off in the deepening recession.

The governor and the Legislature will have little control over most of the money, including $7.5 billion in tax breaks, Corzine said.

Much of the $10 billion or so in spending is earmarked for programs like Medicaid or the unemployment insurance fund.

Corzine said a screening process will be set up for discretionary spending on projects like clean energy and road and bridge repairs.

Posted by Gary at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2009

New Jersey State Senate passes Medical Cannabis bill 22-16!

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, February 23, 2009

Today is a great day for NJ patients and their families and friends along with medical cannabis supporters everywhere! Today, the NJ Senate passed medical cannabis legislation by a vote of 22-16. The bill now proceeds on to the NJ State Assembly.

Posted by Gary at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2009

Letter in Capital Times: Medical cannabis effective for elderly

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here's a quick letter I penned in response to a letter about overmedication and the elderly.

Source: Capital Times click here
Published: Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009

Medical cannabis effective for elderly

Dear Editor:

Problems due to overmedication of seniors are just one more reason why Wisconsin needs to join Michigan and 12 other states in passing comprehensive medical cannabis legislation. As noted by Ann Albert in her recent letter, medication management is vital for senior citizens.

Physicians and scientific researchers have found medical cannabis effective in managing symptoms and treating illness associated with aging. Medical cannabis has a number of properties that make it ideal for senior citizens. Nontoxic cannabis works synergistically with other medications, allowing patients to reduce or eliminate doses of conventional medications, reducing side effects. Cannabis can replace multiple meds: it treats many ailments common to older folks, like glaucoma, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic pain. Cannabis protects the brain against trauma from stroke or falls.

Wisconsin seniors and other patients who can benefit now from medical cannabis should not have to risk arrest and jail for something not only safer, but legally available to 25 percent of Americans under these compassionate state laws. Wisconsinites and groups that care about the health of state residents need to contact Gov. Jim Doyle and their lawmakers and ask them to pass medical cannabis legislation this session.

Gary Storck
Is My Medicine Legal YET?
Madison

Posted by Gary at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2009

CMMJ: New Jersey Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana Mon., 2/23/09

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, February 18, 2009

Cheryl Miller's dream of medical cannabis for New Jersey patients is moving closer to reality!

New Jersey Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana Mon., 2/23/09

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Ken @ (609) 394-2137

New Jersey Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana
WHO: State Senators in New Jersey
WHAT: Will vote on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act
(S119)
WHEN: Monday February 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Senate Chambers of the New Jersey State House in Trenton, NJ
WHY: To advance a bill that will protect seriously ill or injured New Jersey patients who use therapeutic marijuana on the advice of a licensed physician.

The New Jersey State Senate will vote on the _New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (S119) _ (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=S119) on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM in the State House Senate Chambers in Trenton, NJ. Many supporters of the bill plan to attend the voting session, led by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ). New Jersey would become the 14th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana by passing this legislation into law.

S119 will remove the state penalties for the possession, use and cultivation of a small amount of marijuana when a licensed physician recommends it for a debilitating medical condition. Qualifying medical conditions include chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, etc. Patients will be issued ID cards in a program run by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). Patients will be permitted to grow up to six plants and possess one ounce of marijuana, but they will not be permitted to use their therapeutic marijuana in public or while operating motor vehicles. Patients may designate a caregiver or treatment center to grow the plants for them, but the caregiver/center must also register with DHSS. CMMNJ Executive Director, Ken Wolski, RN said, “The bill is very conservative. No medical marijuana state has a smaller plant limit or possession amount. Still, it will help a tremendous number of patients here.” The American Nurses Association, the American College of Physicians, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine and many other professional healthcare organizations have endorsed medical marijuana.

S119 was originally introduced by Senator Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden, in January 2005, and was referred to the senate health committee. Hearings were conducted on the bill in June 2006 and in December 2008, at which time the bill was favorably released out of committee by a 6 – 1 vote. If the bill passes in the senate, it will then go to the assembly for votes by the health committee and the entire assembly. Governor Jon Corzine has said on several occasions that he supports medical marijuana and that he will sign the bill when it gets to his desk.

CMMNJ, 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana. For more info, contact:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
844 Spruce St., Trenton, NJ 08648
609.394.2137 _www.cmmnj.org_ (http://www.cmmnj.org/) _ohamkrw@aol.com_

Watch and listen live online the day of the vote around 2:00 p.m. at: (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp) or (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/archive_audio2.asp?KEY=S&SESSION=2008).

The vote will also be recorded and archived on the NJ legislature’s homepage at: (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/archive_audio2.asp?KEY=S&SESSION=2008) if you can’t be by your computer at that time and day.

Posted by Gary at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2009

New Mexico adds 7 conditions to medical marijuana coverage

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, February 16, 2009

Great news as New Mexico adds 7 qualifying conditions including PTSD.

Source: Las Cruces Sun-News: click here

NM adds 7 conditions to medical marijuana coverage
By The Associated Press
Posted: 02/16/2009 03:52:46 PM MST

SANTA FE — The state Department of Health is adding seven conditions to coverage under the state's medical marijuana program.

Patients can apply if they have painful peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea or vomiting, severe anorexia/cachexia, hepatitis C infection if that's also receiving antiviral treatment, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil said Monday the conditions were added based on recommendations of the department's Medical Advisory Boards and scientific findings that the conditions could be helped by medical cannabis.

The board recommended adding eight conditions, but Vigil turned down fibromyalgia, saying there wasn't enough evidence that medical marijuana is effective for it.

Posted by Gary at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

Revised Michigan medical cannabis rules "much better"

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, February 16,2009

In about a month and a half, the state of Michigan will begin issuing medical cannabis ID cards to patients and caregivers. Here's an update on the program rules.

Monday, February 16,2009

Marijuana Journal

Revised medical marijuana rules much better

by Greg Francisco

The revised rules for the state medical marijuana program were released last week and we could not be more pleased.

Gone from the new rules are the objectionable provisions contained in the Dec 5 draft. Gross violations of patient privacy, plant production logs and inventories, defining private homes as public space are all gone.

(To read the new rules, go here.)

As commented upon in an earlier column, the Dec. 5 rules did not match with the law voters approved in November. Nowhere in the law was it envisioned that patients would be forced to disclose private information to authorities, that patients cultivating their own medicine would be subject to random searches, nor that they be compelled to hand over to law enforcement written documentation of their inventories, which was equivalent to documenting a federal crime. The state Department of Community Health was put on notice at the Jan. 5 hearing by medical marijuana patients and advocates that it was overreaching its authority.

Fortunately, state administrators were willing to listen and talk to leaders within our activist community. Over the last six weeks, there has been considerable discussion as both sides sought common ground. And we really did agree on much more than we disagreed. We all want to live in an orderly society — no one wants to arrest or exploit cancer patients. We all agree that like or loathe the law, it is the law. It is in everyone’s best interest that implementation goes smoothly.

The revised Administrative rules much more accurately reflect the will of the voters. Patient privacy is protected, common sense prohibitions on using marijuana in public are preserved and sensible limits are put on the possession, transfer and use of medical marijuana. But the bottom line is that patients and caregivers who stay within the limits of the law will be protected from arrest and harassment. And that is exactly what voters approved.

To learn more about the rights and responsibilities of patients under the Michigan Medical Marijuana program visit our Web site,  www.MichiganMedicalMarijuana.org.

Posted by Gary at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2009

One year ago today: asking Bill Clinton, "Whee's Jacki's Medicine?"

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, February 14, 2009

It seems so long ago, but it was just a year ago today that Ben Masel and I ventured out to the UW Stock Pavilion on a freezing cold day to ask Bill Clinton, "Where's Jacki's Medicine?"

Clinton had promised Jacki at a 1992 campaign stop that if elected, she would get her medicine. As Dick Cowan once observed, "what a difference it would have made if Clinton had won.

Here is the original entry: 16 years later, Bill Clinton finally gets asked, “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?” click here.

Here is a follow up: Bill Clinton claims not to remember 1992 campaign encounter with Jacki Rickert click here.

Posted by Gary at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2009

Minnesota Independent: Medical marijuana bill advances in Senate with moving testimony

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Wednesday Feb. 11, Minnesota's latest medical cannabis bill, S.F. 97, passed the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee in a bipartisan vote of 8 to 3, despite veto threats from the Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican.

Medical marijuana bill advances in Senate with moving testimony
MN Independent: click here.
By Andy Birkey 2/12/09 3:33 PM

It was a tear-filled room at a meeting of the Health, Housing and Family Security Committee as senators heard testimony about how medical marijuana had helped loved ones live in less pain during the last few days of their lives. But after those tears, the hearing devolved into a strange round of testimony as opponents pulled out all the stops to blame marijuana for higher crime rates and the downfall of the family, and one testified that medical marijuana is a scheme by billionaire George Soros to make drugs legal.

Dr. George Wagoner, a physician in Virginia, Minn., broke down as he described the trials he and his wife suffered as she struggled with ovarian cancer. They had tried Marinol, a prescription made of synthetic THC, one of the more than 60 active compounds in marijuana.

After the couple tried everything, they turned to friends after hearing about medical marijuana. Soon after, a bag of marijuana mysteriously appeared on their doorstep. After smoking a small amount, he said his wife “experienced sudden and complete relief from her nausea.”

Choking back tears, he said, “Eating lunch isn’t a big deal until you can’t … The relief was as complete and dramatic as any I’ve experienced in my practice.”

Joni Whiting described how marijuana helped her daughter, a wife and mother of three, deal with the pain of cancer during the last days of her life.

“I can tell you with conviction that I would have no problem going to jail for acquiring medical marijuana for my suffering child,” said Whiting. “The law is unjust. And I would have rather spent the rest of my life in prison than have denied her the medicine that kept her pain at bay and allowed her to live 89 more days.”

She spoke of her family, their service to the country (Whiting is a Vietnam veteran and one of her sons recently completed an 18-month tour in Iraq) and her reluctance to allow an illegal drug in her home. “What would you have done had you been in my shoes?” Whiting asked. “Could you sleep at night when your child was screaming in pain?”

Kathy Rippentrop spoke of her mother, who used marijuana when she suffered debilitating pain as a result of cancer. “Two puffs, two minutes, and the violent sickness was totally gone,” she said. “An hour later, Mom was able to have a good meal. The stomach problems from the chemo were totally gone. It also helped her regain a quality of life that allowed her to continue to fight.”

(snip)

Continues: click here.

Posted by Gary at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2009

Minnesota: New push for medical marijuana legalization

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More on Minnesota patients' ongoing fight for medical cannabis and the Republican governor standing in the way.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune: click here

New push for medical marijuana legalization

By MARK BRUNSWICK and BOB von STERNBERG, Star Tribune

February 11, 2009

Backers of medical marijuana want the face of Stephanie Whiting-Shadinger to be one of those Minnesota lawmakers remember as debate resumes at the State Capitol on allowing some patients to use the now-illegal drug.

Whiting-Shadinger died in 2003 at age 26, suffering from malignant melanoma that required experimental treatments, chemotherapy and 10 surgeries. Daily doses of pain killers failed to relieve her misery.

Joni Whiting, a suburban grandma from Jordan, will be testifying today in a Senate committee that she reluctantly abandoned her anti-drug sentiments and went along with her daughter smoking marijuana in her final days. And she's glad she did.

Opposition to legalizing medicinal marijuana remains strong among those concerned about its effects on drug abuse. But supporters hope new strategies can build support for their cause.

Like nothing else, Joni Whiting said, marijuana eased some of her daughter's pain and restored some of her appetite. She lived three months longer than doctors predicted, smiled for the first time in months and was able to eat a mushroom and cheese omelette the day before she died.

Before her daughter's illness, Whiting said, "I looked at people talking about medical marijuana as the potheads, lazy people wanting to smoke pot and sit on the couch all day. My daughter was living proof that this plant is a miracle plant and it worked.

"She smiled again and she played with her children. It was a miracle what happened to my daughter from the moment she smoked that pot."

It's stories like those -- from people no one would expect to sing marijuana's praises -- that supporters hope will persuade legislators to add Minnesota to the list of 13 states that permit some form of medicinal use of marijuana. The proposal, debated repeatedly in recent years, has gained support among legislators but has been blocked by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor remains opposed but would reconsider if law enforcement officials do.

(snip)

Continues: click here


Posted by Gary at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2009

Marijuana Journal reports MI physicians slow to recommend medical cannabis so far

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, February 9, 2009

More on the implementation of Michigan's new medical cannabis law which passed in every county in MI last November, outpolling President Obama by 10%.

Marijuana Journal
by Greg Francisco
Monday, February 9,2009

Physicians are gatekeepers for entry into the state medical marijuana program. Patients wishing to use medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of disease or debilitating condition must obtain a recommendation from a physician — this is not subject to review or second-guessing. It may not be overridden by any government agency.

Naturally, there is confusion and concern about how this is supposed to work. Doctors are unsure what constitutes a legitimate recommendation; they worry about liability when recommending a drug not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And how do you ensure consistency in dosage, purity and strength?

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act stipulates doctors shall not be subject to sanction for writing medical cannabis recommendations. In Conant v. Walters (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled doctor-patient privacy rights protect discussions of medical marijuana and that recommendations are protected free speech. The confidentiality provisions contained in the state law protect doctors as well as patients; the state maintains no list of doctors writing recommendations. Physicians cannot lose their license to prescribe medications for writing medical marijuana recommendations.

Finding physicians willing to assess patients for a medical marijuana recommendation is turning out to be difficult for many patients. Almost daily I hear from patients with the same question, “Where do I find a doctor that will evaluate me for a medical cannabis recommendation?” Thus far, only one clinic in the state is openly accepting new patient referrals for medical marijuana assessments: the THC-F clinic in Southfield.
A few family doctors have begun quietly writing recommendations for old patients. Most, however, are either refusing or taking a wait-and-see attitude. Many erroneously believe that the law, which actually took effect Dec. 5, is on hold until the state publishes final rules in April.

The most troubling reports concern patients being dismissed from practices for simply asking their physicians about medical marijuana. While rare, it is happening. Recently, I spoke with a woman in Antrim County with epilepsy; on another day it was a man in Grand Rapids with heart disease. Each had asked their doctor about medical marijuana and both were dismissed just for asking. This is unconscionable and unethical but apparently legal.

For up to date information visit our Web site, www.MichiganMedicalMarijuana.org. Appointments with the THC-F clinic may be scheduled at: www.thc-foundation.

Posted by Gary at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2009

AP: Medical marijuana bill returns to Minn. Capitol

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Minnesota Legislature is again seeing medical cannabis legislation in motion as the new session's bill gets a Senate hearing this Wednesday.

Medical marijuana bill returns to Minn. Capitol

Associated Press - February 8, 2009 1:24 PM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A plan to let seriously ill patients smoke pot is back at the Minnesota Legislature.

The bill from Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, gets its first hearing of the session in a Senate health panel on Wednesday.

The legislation would allow those with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and other debilitating conditions to use marijuana to control pain and other symptoms. The Health Department would keep a registry of authorized medical marijuana users.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has stood against the proposal and has said it would make enforcing drug laws harder.

Lawmakers have considered medical marijuana bills going back a decade, without signing off. Two years ago, the full Senate passed the bill.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Posted by Gary at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2009

UW Daily Cardinal: Phelps drama overdone, marijuana ban should go up in smoke

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, February 6, 2009

Nice piece on the Michael Phelps hypocrisy from the UW Daily Cardinal!

Phelps drama overdone, marijuana ban should go up in smoke

By: Cole Wenzel /The Daily Cardinal click here -

February 6, 2009

If we can learn anything from the recent troubles of Michael Phelps, it's that marijuana should not be illegal in the U.S.

By Cole Wenzel The Daily Cardinal

Until Wednesday, I was going to keep my mouth shut about the media’s obsession with Michael Phelps hitting a bong. But, in the midst of my Digging, I found an article on CNN.com titled “Police Looking to Charge Michael Phelps for Smoking Pot.” This has gone too far—much too far. Are the police really going to charge an Olympian for recreational marijuana smoking, something that allegedly happened all the way back in November? Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott claims, “If someone breaks a law in Richland County, we have an obligation as law enforcement to investigate and to bring charges.” Must we pry further into this “mistake” that our beloved, smiling, gold-medal winning, American swimmer made at some college party? Let’s not forget that some time back in 2004 Phelps had to suffer 18 months probation for a DUI charge. So, it is clear that Phelps is no stranger to the occasional substance abuse—as few of us are that attend college at prestigious Big Ten institutions (Phelps did at Michigan). The powers that be are blowing this out of proportion. It is completely absurd to be taking such drastic and hostile action as investigating such an act, a mostly harmless one at that, which took place three months ago.

What’s more, the goofy dolphin-man has already issued his apology, citing the behavior as “regrettable.” On the Fox News program “Red Eye” the other day, the commentators began discussion of this incident and came to the careful conclusion that Phelps even had a good “bong stance,” clearly indicating that he is no novice to the likes of the Schedule I substance.

Let us examine the situation logically. Michael Phelps willingly and knowingly smoked a bong, supposedly some time in November. Recently, a British tabloid got ahold of a photograph of Michael Phelps in the act. This would have to mean that someone at the party, perhaps an acquaintance of Phelps, snapped the photograph and, later, someone submitted the photo for print in the paper. Now published, the world has freaked out and cannot believe that swimming’s poster boy would commit such a horrible act. Naturally, being an intelligent businessman and public relations person, Phelps has thoroughly apologized for his heinous act. This is where everything should have stopped—even university police and Columbia, South Carolina, police have decided not to pursue any charges. But the damn sheriff’s department is simply too just of an institution to let this slide.

What really comes out of this whole debacle is the fact that the most winning Olympian in history not only drinks (as the DUI showed us), but also indulges in marijuana from time to time. If Phelps, the amazing role model and inspiration for Americans, can do the amazing things he does and still smoke some pot, perhaps we need to reconsider our stance on the issue of marijuana use.

Currently, marijuana sits on the top of the list of America’s worst drugs. The DEA drug-scheduling system, which came about in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, was an early part of Nixon’s War on Drugs, which we still wage today. The system is composed of a five-part scheduling system, ranging from I through V, I being most severe. The definition of a Schedule I drug is as follows: a) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse, b) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, c) There is no provision for safe use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

There are currently 13 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law. Clearly, marijuana does not meet the criteria of a Schedule I drug. Other drugs on this list include heroin and ecstasy (MDMA). What may be more alarming, though, is the fact that the Schedule II, a lesser classification, includes such drugs as cocaine and opium. Logically, marijuana should not hold such stern unlawful status.

I think it is time for our nation to recognize the relevance of Michael Phelps’ marijuana use. He is the embodiment of a great American. He possesses great willpower, determination and perhaps greatest of all, he has a hell of a work ethic. If such an individual chooses to recreationally use marijuana, maybe as an alternative to drinking alcohol, and can still reach the monumental pedestals that he does, then perhaps it is time we consider a more logical approach to this legal travesty.

Cole Wenzel is a sophomore majoring in business.

Posted by Gary at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2009

Kalmazoo MM Compassion Club forms as Michigan patients implement new law

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wisconsin patients have to be heartened by recent progress in Michigan. As medical cannabis goes mainstream, how long can it be before the entire Midwest is safe and legal for patients who can benefit?

Source: Kalamazoo Weekly click here

Kalmazoo MM Compassion Club forms

By J. Anderson

Kalamazoo now has a Medical Marijuana Compassion Club that meets at the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library bi-weekly. Compassion Clubs inform, teach, and most importantly, support patients.

At the first local meeting Monday, February 2nd, supporters discussed the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008, qualifying conditions, obtaining a medical marijuana recommendation, talk-ing with your doctor, becoming a caregiver, finding a caregiver, and enrolling in the MMM program.

MMC Clubs have sprung up all over the state of Michigan since the passing of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act in 2008. Several club meetings are being held in Paw Paw, Coloma, Kalamazoo, Cheboygan, Traverse City, Bay City, Monroe, Mount Pleasant, Grand Rapids, Owosso, Flint, Escanaba, Manistee, Marquette, Wayne County and Ann Arbor. The clubs are sponsored by the MMM Association, the largest, patient advocacy group in the state. The first Compassion Club meeting was held in January at Hydrobiz in Lansing.

Patients find out about these clubs by notices on the MMM website and word-of-mouth. Greg Francisco, Southwest Michigan coordinator for MINORML, says that patients get the “same thing they would get out of any patient group, support.” He goes on to say that they won’t get medical marijuana or seeds to grow plants for medicinal purposes.

“It is a private medical matter and patients owe no one any explanation,” said Francisco, “patients may still rightly fear the stigma (of smoking marijuana), but they no longer need fear agents of their own government.”

Caregivers that assist and support patients are also involved in the MMC Clubs. Caregivers are not growers as one might think; according to Francisco “being a caregiver means assisting the patients with his or her total medical needs, not just as it relates to medical marijuana.”

Locally, the Oshtemo Library Branch was chosen for its location, (it is easy to find, right off US-131) as organizers came from Berrien County, Holland, Three Rivers and Grand Rapids to learn how to launch their own MMC Clubs.

The MMM Association was organized as an umbrella group serving the entire state of Michigan. The MMM Act prohibits smoking medical marijuana in public and smoking the substance is outlawed inside public buildings in Michigan.

“These meetings are a place where people who have lived in the shadows for too long can finally come together and openly support each other,” said Francisco.


Posted by Gary at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Medical marijuana picks up GOP support in MN House

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Midwest moves closer to medical cannabis as Minnesota's bill gains more support!

Medical marijuana picks up GOP support in MN House
Source: Minnesota Independent: click here

By Andy Birkey 2/4/09 8:51 AM
Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Marijuana is back in the news this week after Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is threatened with criminal charges for toking at a party and three Minnesota House Republicans sign on to a bill relax criminal penalties for users of medicinal marijuana.

Rep. Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan; Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont; and Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, are the three Republicans comprising a bipartisan slate of support to make Minnesota the 14th state to allow medical marijuana. Buesgens and Gunther are new to the bill, which saw similar bipartisan support last session. Hackbarth is a big supporter, having seen how it helped members of his family who were dying of cancer.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, is the lead author on the bill, and coauthor support has doubled from last year with 29 legislators backing the bill.

The medical marijuana bill, and its companion bill in the Senate, are expected to do well in the Minnesota Legislature, but could face a shaky future if it arrives on Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s desk. As shaky a future as Phelps career? Let’s hope both do just fine.

The list of bill sponsors include:
Rep. Mark Buesgnes (R-Jordan), Rep. Anthony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm), Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth), Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar), Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont), Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Cy Thao (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Lyndon Carlson, Sr. (DFL-Crystal), Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Bill Hitly (DFL-Finlayson), Rep. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley), Rep. Will Morgan (DFL-Bursnville), Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Leon Lille (DFL-North St. Paul), Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Larry Haws (DFL-St. Cloud), Rep. Sheldon Johnson (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar), Rep. Dianne Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL-Richfield), Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. David Bly (DFL-Northfield)

Posted by Gary at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2009

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Published letter: It’s time to make pot legal and taxable

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I guess I must be feeling better after recent eye surgery, as I penned this letter which the Journal-Sentinel published, my first in the J-S since 2002.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel click here
Pubdate: 3 Feb 2009

MARIJUANA

IT’S TIME TO MAKE POT LEGAL AND TAXABLE

Who cares if Olympian Michael Phelps was photographed enjoying cannabis? (“Phelps apologizes for photo,” Feb. 2)

In light of everything else going on in the world, the real issue is why is this still an issue? Millions are jobless and facing foreclosures, climate change is wreaking havoc, billions in bailout funds are being diverted and misspent, while a few prudes moralize about how Phelps celebrates victory.

It’s time to stop imprisoning our citizenry for this noble herb, legalize it and use the tax revenues to help our country.

Gary Storck
VP, Wisconsin chapter, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws (NORML)
Madison

Posted by Gary at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2009

Wisconsin Radio Network: Phelps furor: totally bogus?

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, February 2, 2009

The appearance of a photo taken last fall of multi-gold medal Olympian Michael Phelps apparently taking a hit of cannabis from a bong has helped trigger a discussion of cannabis prohibition!

Phelps furor: totally bogus?

Source: Wisconsin Radio Network click here

Monday, February 2, 2009, 2:22 PM
By Bob Hague

Michael Phelps tokes up . . . should we care? An image of the Olympic gold medal swimmer taking a bong hit is all over the media.

"Hyperbolic and hysterical" is how Gary Storck with the Madison chapter of NORML characterizes the coverage. "Three out of four college students have used marijuana," says Storck. "It's nothing out of the ordinary. I think the most egregious part of it is whoever snapped his picture, and violated his privacy like that."

Storck says it's past time to decriminalize marijuana in Wisconsin. "We have a 5-point-4 billion dollar budget deficit," he notes. "Can we continue to enforce marijuana laws, where we're targeting people for small amounts and putting them in jail? I don't think a lot of people understand that a second offense for cannabis in Wisconsin, any amount, is a felony."

Storck notes that cannabis is not a performance enhancing drug, and Michael Phelps apparently tested clean for the Olympics. In a statement, the 23 year-old Phelps said his pot smoking "was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment."

Posted by Gary at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)