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Marijuana Law

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Congress Passes New Spending Measure To Help End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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Congress Passes New Spending Measure To Help End Federal Marijuana Prohibition
Congress passed a 1,603 page federal spending measure this past Saturday evening that had a provision included that effectively ends federal prohibition on marijuana. The new measure blocks the Department of Justice (DOJ), which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from allocating and spending funds chasing after legal, retail and medical marijuana operations in the United States.

 

Included under this new umbrella, state-level hemp laws are also not to be interfered with. At the same time, the bill also contains a provision that impedes the implementation of Washington D.C.’s approved recreational marijuana initiative.  Activists for full marijuana legalization are definitely torn on this one, but many can’t deny that this is a big step in the right direction.

Congress Ends State-wide Medical Marijuana Prohibition

Many people have concerns that a less-tolerant administration in the future will try to revise the bill. Regardless, this is the first time since cannabis was initially made illegal nationwide with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that we have seen national support for ending prohibition. “The war on medical marijuana is over. Now the fight moves on to legalization of all marijuana,” said Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance. Removing patients from the line of fire shouldn’t have required a bill but now that one has passed, it is safe to say that states with legal medical marijuana are going to be sleeping a lot easier now.

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Allen St. Pierre of NORML, has said he believes that this shift in medical marijuana policy is representative of the changing demographic of our government officials across the board. “More and more baby boomers and millennials are moving into positions of power and doing away with outdated policies,” he goes on to say.

Washington DC Caught in the Crossfire

With Obama signing this into law this week, federal agents are no longer allowed to raid any legal medical marijuana or hemp operations. However, this victory is part of a two sided coin.  On one end, we have something to celebrate but on the other, Washington D.C. has been caught in the crossfire for no discernible reason.  With the passing of the federal spending bill, D.C. was blocked from implementing its recreational marijuana programs.  There is hope that D.C. will continue to actualize their plans based on a technicality.

“…this shift in medical marijuana policy is representative of the changing demographic of our government officials across the board.” – Allen St. Pierre of NORML

The text of the bill says no funds “may be used to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated” with recreational use of drugs illegal under federal law.  “Some advocates I’ve spoken with aren’t so sure” the bill blocks legalization, Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell told The Huffington Post. “It all hinges on the definition of the word ‘enact.’”

 

This triumph sends a strong message to America and all her states.  Your vote did have an impact; legalizing on the state level has influenced the federal government.  So many patients still live in fear even though their state has legalized medical marijuana and their doctor has written them a prescription to use a wonder plant to cure their ailments. Now, they can actually feel safe and protected by the law again.  For so many patients, legality has been reason enough to suffer, to die earlier than necessary, and to choose prescriptions over cannabis.  This kind of revolution changes the conversation.

Federal Government Eases Up On Medical Marijuana Patients

For the first time since the mid 1970’s, the federal government has gotten closer to providing disability-equality than we have ever seen. In November, 1976, Robert Randall won in court against the federal government forcing them to provide him with the only known cure to glaucoma: cannabis. Since then, the medical marijuana program has had a maximum of 15 patients at any given time and was closed to more entries in 1992. Only four patients remain in the program today.

 

While the federal government won’t be providing the nation’s ill with free cannabis, they have agreed to guarantee their peace. “This is a victory for so many, including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy and MS,” says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R- Calif.), co-sponsor of the medical marijuana protections bill.

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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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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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Let’s Come Out of the 4/20 Closet

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Every day a patient passes away who could have had a longer life with the aid of cannabis. Every day someone gets arrested for smoking a joint and spends time behind bars. And on that same day, someone in a different state alleviates their pain with cannabis on the comfort of their couch or local park lawn in peace.

 

State lines shouldn’t impact what is medicine or certain inalienable rights to freedom. So many people proudly display their cannabis culture daily and others hide in the shadows. Maybe you were arrested, maybe you’re paranoid, or maybe you’re just living in the wrong state.

 

4/20 is no stoner secret; it’s the one day a year where everyone thinks about marijuana,1ccddd17aecc3ea0a2df65187bed6636 and this year even Grandma.

 

Marijuana has been under attack in the USA for almost seventy years. Why is a plant that can more effectively treat cancer than any other option we have, against the law?

 

Marijuana should have never been persecuted and we can’t right that wrong with enough haste. Enough people have been wronged, enough lives lost, and enough money wasted. Now that the truth is being set free and we are on a steady slide into full legalization, the best thing to do is to talk about it. We have freedom of speech in this country for a reason; we need to use it!

 

California native and cannabis activist, Coral Reefer suggested in one of her Stoney Sunday webisodes we make 4/20 our “coming out” day. This would be a day that we as a “taboo community” come out of the closet, if you will. No one is telling you how to do it but the one thing we can all do is share our relationship with cannabis with others. Rather than take to the streets like a mob, introduce someone who doesn’t know about the benefits of cannabis to your world.

 

Warning SignThe hardest people for me to tell were my parents. They have both never smoked a day in their lives and it wasn’t an easy thing to explain. Months later, they saw first hand the way cannabis alleviates my pain from Late Stage Lyme Disease. They even had to help me medicate when the pain was so excruciating! Now they share my story with everyone they know to encourage more people to get passionate about cannabis legalization.

 

I’m pledging today, 4/20 will forever be the day we all talk to someone new in our lives about cannabis. Will you take the pledge with me?

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