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Florida: I Want to Come Home and My Fate is In Your Hands November 4th

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I want to come home and my fate is in your hands November 4th. In 2011, I had to move out of Florida, so that I could legally access medical marijuana to treat my Late Stage Lyme Disease. It was not an easy decision; it was a matter of life and death. Here is my story…

 

I’m a fifth generation Floridian. My family roots run deep in Florida, from the keys all the way up to Jacksonville. I grew up on the beach, wore flip-flops religiously no matter where I traveled, and can still wear a hoodie during 80 degree F weather on a humid Miami night. My entire family lives in Florida, from my fifteen-year-old brother, Cody, my parents, my cousins, my best friends, to my great Aunt Edith who just turned 100 this past September. I missed her birthday party because I must live where I am legally able to treat myself with medical cannabis, in California. My only choices in Florida are to be a criminal, or to be addicted to prescription narcotics; neither of those choices is acceptable.

 

I was born in Miami in 1989, went to grade school in Tampa, and attended Florida Statealexis University on a Bright Futures Scholarship. During my freshman year spring semester, I went camping with a bunch of friends from my dormitory for the weekend. We all slept outside in sleeping bags around the campfire…not worrying about a thing. Over the next six months, I experienced many strange symptoms, wound up in the hospital several times with severe fevers, a bout of strep throat one time, and dehydration, but in the excitement of college life, I shrugged off the warning signals.

 

neurons, transferring pulses and generating information.June 6th, 2008 was the day my life changed forever. Excruciating nerve pain, that would haunt me for the next five and a half years set in, rendering my arms useless. I couldn’t unscrew bottles of water, pull open a door, push shopping carts, even write with a pencil. I was at the mercy of the loving support of my friends and family, on the goodwill of other people. The dozens of doctors that “treated” me had nothing to offer me, except narcotics…not even a diagnosis! Each doctor I tried failed to alleviate my pain or improve my condition in any way. Over a three-year period, they prescribed Gaba pentin, Vicodin, Percocet, lorazepam, and cyclobenzaprine. The drugs made me tired, and altered my mood, and did nothing for my pain. Worse, I had grown up in a family that consciously minimized pharmaceutical use.

 

One day, a friend suggested I try cannabis. Pot? No way! I had been taught my whole life that marijuana was a gateway drug; but having exhausted every other option my family could think of, I figured that trying one more “drug” couldn’t hurt. The immediate relief shocked me. Finally, something worked! I had discovered a wonder drug that could interrupt my misery. My mood improved, the visibly bulging vein on my neck would subside, and I could and would actually relax.

 

The only problem was that I couldn’t access it legally. Living in constant fear that I wouldLeaf Of Cannabis get caught, I kept the marijuana a secret from everyone, except a close few friends. I shared the secret with my doctors but they wouldn’t acknowledge its efficacy. So, I kept my medical use hidden; only using cannabis when the pain was so agonizing that I was on the verge of incapacitation. I felt guilty that it helped me…like I was letting everyone in my family down. But without it, I could not sleep, eat, or escape the incessant pain wracking my body. Eventually, I had to accept that living with the risk and the guilt was better than not living at all.

 

In June of 2010, a doctor in Florida diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme Disease with a Western Blot test. My infectious disease doctor prescribed a six-month regimen of daily Warning Signintravenous and oral antibiotics. I was prescribed Marinol, the synthetic form of THC, but it did nothing to help my pain. Within six months, the intense doses of antibiotics had destroyed my gut. My infectious disease doctor paused the treatment, as if to wait the storm out, just waiting until he could put me back on antibiotics. Visit after visit (at $500 a pop) went by with no change. My digestive system was trashed; it wasn’t repairing itself, and I dropped from 130 lbs. to 89 lbs. My family was worried I might not survive.

 

So, we looked for different doctors. I saw a nutritionist, and then an acupuncturist, and I found mild relief with craniosacral chiropractic therapy. Even though it felt like I was tryingHand Silhouettes Protecting A Human Brain Or Mind - Mental Healt everything, no real progress was felt or seen. I had no local family in Tallahassee. My boyfriend, Aaron, graduated from FSU a year and half before me; I had had to suspend my studies for a few months because I simply couldn’t function. Steadfast, he stayed in town to take care of me while I finished my degree. He even had to wash my hair. Chronic pain does not just alter the person suffering; it affects everyone who cares for and about that person.

 

But even with Aaron’s generous assistance I was still fading. I needed alternative treatments for a body ravaged by the Lyme spirochetes and, now, by mega doses of antibiotics. And I needed the cannabis to survive; it alleviated my pain and stimulated my appetite. Without it, I believe I would have died.

 

3D Map of CaliforniaMoving to California wasn’t a decision we came to lightly. My parents agreed that it wasn’t safe for me in Florida. I couldn’t risk arrest for my health any longer. I wouldn’t survive jail in my condition. As we drove cross country, through states that had even stricter marijuana laws than the one I was leaving, I felt more trapped than ever. We will never be free until every state in America has legal access to cannabis. Patients live in fear unable to travel to visit doctors or out of town family. Forget vacations. Anywhere that I can’t take cannabis, I cannot visit. How can we call ourselves the “land of the free” when some of us are shackled this way?

 

In California, I found a new infectious disease specialist, Dr. Harris, who is ranked number one in the state for treating Lyme disease.

 

The only thing that helps my pain is medical marijuana,” I mentioned with trepidation.

 

For the first time in my life, the doctor didn’t break eye contact when I said that but insteadDoctor nodded along agreeing that my medicine of choice was, in fact, medicine. I can say that through his open, alternative approach to my disease, my life has remarkably improved.

 

Three years later, I juice cannabis daily that I grow in my own closet. Juicing cannabis does not get the user “high” but has been proven to contain the curative properties. After three years of intensive natural treatments, California law has allowed me to heal in peace by providing me with the freedom from fear and pain. My California infectious disease doctor is an MD; he treats people with antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, as well. The point is that people need and deserve choices. Unfortunately, my body required an option that wasn’t “on the table” in my home state. Your vote could change that.

 

The care I received from my doctors in Florida was restricted. We must provide FloridaYes on 2 doctors and patients deserve to have the ability to participate in the whole conversation. This is why I ask you, old neighbor, to get out and vote Yes on 2 this November 4th. I want to be in Tampa when Aunt Edith turns 101 and when Cody graduates from High School down in Miami. Please let me come home.

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Attorney General Urges Legislators To Reduce Nonviolent Drug Sentences

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Attorney General Urges Legislators To Reduce Nonviolent Drug Sentences

After the U.S. Sentencing Committee voted in favor of reducing sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, the progress was noted. President Obama recently called for clemency and now Attorney General Eric Holder has echoed these cries.

AG Eric Holder Supports Retroactively Reducing Jailtime

On Tuesday, Attorney General Holder announced his support for retroactively reducing sentences for those already serving jail time for non-violent drug offenses.

 

“Not everyone in prison for a drug-related offense would be eligible,” Holder said Tuesday. “Nor would everyone who is eligible be guaranteed a reduced sentence. But this proposal strikes the best balance between protecting public safety and addressing the overcrowding of our prison system that has been exacerbated by unnecessarily long sentences.”

sally yates

The US commission heard testimony Tuesday from Georgia U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, who also offered her support for the measure.

 

“While we believe finality in sentencing should remain the general rule, and with public safety our foremost goal, we also recognize that sentences imposed for some drug defendants under the current sentencing guidelines are longer than necessary,” Yatestold the commission. “And this creates a negative impact upon both the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system and our prison resources.”

 

Thousands of lives have been altered by the war on drugs, and advocates believe the adjustment to these laws could drastically improve their situation. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, 20 to 50 thousand prisoners may be positively affected by this change and it could save taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion.

“This move would help correct sentencing laws that have broken our criminal justice system and led to the mass incarceration of many low-level nonviolent drug offenders.” – Anthony Papa

 

Anthony Papa, Media Relations Manager for The Drug Policy Alliance, who served 12 years behind bars due to New York’sRockefeller Drug Laws, applauded Attorney General Holder for his support. In doing so, he explained the potential benefits of retroactively reducing drug sentences.

 

“Many prisoners that would become eligible have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance to be reunited with their families and become productive tax-paying citizens,” Papa says. “This move would help correct sentencing laws that have broken our criminal justice system and led to the mass incarceration of many low-level nonviolent drug offenders.”

 

Legislators are expected to vote on on the measure next month. Those interested in more information are encouraged to contact Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Tony Papa (646-420-7290)

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Why Decriminalization Isn’t Good Enough

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To say, “We have won once the Country decriminalizes cannabis,” would be to neglect her greater call. The medicinal benefits should be in the spotlight. When life and adolescent brain development (epilepsy) are on the line, nothing else matters. If we only ‘decriminalize’ the plant, we are likening it to alcohol or some other social party favor. This is a wonder drug and the world needs to know! The brilliant minds of this country must be unafraid to innovate and improve the cannabis industry.

 

By demonizing cannabis, brushing the medicinal benefits under the rug, and creating the Marijuana Excise Tax of 1937, the U.S. Government drove the discussion off course and the advancement paused.

 

Patients and industrial companies had to pay a special excise tax to continue usingBenjamin cannabis and hemp. By the 1950’s, patients were cut off when it became a crime for anyone to possess cannabis. This schedule 1 drug helps the ill eat, sleep, and numbs their pain. Instead of this drug being a blessing in his time of hardship, it now came with the fear of arrest and consequent jail time: a penalty most patients won’t survive. So, they suffer and die earlier than they would otherwise.

 

In 1976, a judge ruled in the favor of a glaucoma patient making him the first legal pot smoker during Prohibition. As a compromise to other glaucoma patients who also expressed that cannabis was the only drug that aided their pain, the federal government allowed thirteen other participants to join the program. Only four remain and the government continues to provide their medicine. No more patients may enter. If you’ve ever tried the G-13 strain, you are sampling the genetic lineage developed by the US government.

 

Supreme Court Building

Nothing positive has come of Prohibition. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said it best on NPR.org when asked if he thought Marijuana should be legalized, ” Yes. I really think … and recognize that the distinction between marijuana and alcoholic beverages is really not much of a distinction. Alcohol, the prohibition against selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages has I think been generally… not worth the cost. And I really think in time that will be the general consensus with respect to this particular drug.”

 

When bright minds like Justice Stevens impart irrefutable logic upon us, we must listenrGJaOid7-Lubwp-moZgILOmBJ8oLsvB_GCHm7Lw6FO69lh_XWSLi9gH3Pf_t and act. Our country is finally starting to recognize the illegitimacy of our past lawmakers’ move to smear the image of cannabis. While cannabis has been inaccessible to legal testing and research by non-government scientists and doctors for almost 80 years, modern science has improved light years. If we stop at decriminalization, our scientists may never tap into the reservoir of medicinal miracles just waiting to be discovered. A revolution is bubbling like a volcano eager to explode and the federal government acts as if they can just plug it with a cork. Decriminalization must be just the first of many steps on the trail we are so freshly blazing.

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The Political Future of Cannabis

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With the upcoming 2012 election around the corner, deciding where your loyalties lie is of pressing concern. Our generation bears the responsibility for making sure that this medicine is still available legally for years to come. Our President has not kept the promise he made to leave the issues of cannabis to state and local government. He has unleashed what Rolling Stone termed a ‘War on Pot.’

 

On a late-night television interview with Jimmy Fallon… Obama laughed off a question about marijuana legalization. “We’re not going to be legalizing weed — or what — anytime soon,” the president said.

 

When questioned in Colorado, Mitt Romney said that he thinks “marijuana should be illegal in this country and that it is a gateway drug.” We, as voters, have no one in our corner. Those suffering from serious health complications use cannabis to sustain as close to normal lives as possible. They do not need the added stress of worrying about the political climate affecting their access to what, for them, is medicine.

 

The solution has and always will be in your hands. In 1996, California paved the way for the rest of the country to begin recognizing the need for compassion. This isn’t an issue of recreation but of saving lives and maintaining the highest quality of life available. In the last twenty years the medical cannabis industry has travelled light years, now catering to the needs of patients by providing entirely safe lab-tested consumption alternatives from pills to salves.

 

According to Rolling Stone, “Over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana.”

 

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obamas-war-on-pot-20120216#ixzz21sGYXJYB

 

Obama promised in 2008 that he would “respect state law.” Then in his Rolling Stone article, he clarified what he meant from the beginning, which was “I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’” Then why was Oaksterdam University (the first official cannabis school in the US) raided April 3rd, 2012?

 

The only thing we can do to make a difference is to engage in our democratic way of life and speak out. We already started the movement; the hard part is done. We must proceed only supporting those who will protect our right to justice, liberty, and the pursuit of the best health we can possibly enjoy. We have a right to our access to medicine! Don’t compromise on yourself!

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