Medicine

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Hinchey “encouraged” by House support for failed medical marijuana bill

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
Mid-Hudson News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/med_mar_Hinchey-30Jul07.html

Deputies employ new tactic to weed out illegal pot growers

Location: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
URL: 
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2007/July/29/local/stories/02local.htm

Another Pain Doctor on the Ropes

Another pain physician, Dr. William Mangino, was convicted on trumped up charges equating his reasonable prescribing of opioid pain medications in the course of practicing medicine with illegal drug dealing. He is in jail pending sentencing, unless someone comes up with the $3,500 bail he needs to get out. Dr. Mangino is a writer and a thinker, and throughout his lengthy travail he has sent a copious amount of email to people who are interested in this problem, including myself -- not just about himself but commentary on the issue too, and on prosecutions brought against other doctors, much of it very detailed. It always makes me sad when these cases turn out badly (or when most drug cases turn out badly, for that matter), but the combination of the absence of his emails with the news itself has reinforced the reality of it for me. It probably won't be long, though, before he writes some things for us about this latest stage and someone gets it typed up and posted. Alex DeLuca has an update that includes some of the defense strategies for challenging the conviction (which include a Motion for a Directed Verdict of Not Guilty), the address for writing to Dr. Mangino in jail, and other information.
Location: 
United States

My Representative Explains Why She Voted Against Hinchey-Rohrabacher

Although I'm sitting in British Columbia this month and will be in Northern California next month, I am registered to vote in South Dakota. My representative in Congress--South Dakota only has one congressperson--is Democrat Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Elected in 2004 in an extremely tight race, she has consistently voted against Hinchey-Rohrabacher, which would stop the feds from arresting and prosecuting medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. I emailed and telephoned her office prior to the vote urging her to vote for Hinchey. Again this year, she voted against it. Here's her reason why:
July 27, 2007 Mr. Phillip Smith XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Huron, SD 57350 Dear Phillip: Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue of medical marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you. As you may be aware, on July 25th, the House of Representatives again defeated an amendment that would have prevented federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act against medical marijuana users and providers in the states that have approved such use. I opposed the amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the scope of federal authority to make and enforce laws regarding medical marijuana. The Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Justice can continue to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act against medical marijuana use in states whose laws authorize medical marijuana use. The ruling does not strike down state laws approving such use, but permits the Department of Justice to continue enforcing federal laws regarding such use. Thank you again for contacting me. I will keep your thoughts in mind as issues related to medical marijuana use are discussed in Congress. Sincerely, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Basically, Herseth Sandlin is saying that illegal (under federal law) is illegal, and she's not about to get in the way of the DEA--even if it means allowing the agency to disrupt the lives of seriously ill people (whom she never even mentions). She does not bother to say where she stands on the issue of medical marijuana, only that the feds are allowed to enforce the law. As much as I disliker her reasoning and her vote, she has something of a point: If we don't like a law, we should get rid of it, not allow it to remain on the books but with no funding to enforce it. Now, I understand the political realities that lead to efforts like Hinchey-Rohrabacher: A bill to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level will go nowhere any time in the foreseeable future, and we want to do something NOW to stop these raids. But as my Blue Dog Democrat representative and her fellow "no" voters demonstrate, Hinchey-Rohrabacher doesn't seem to be going anywhere, either. Maybe it's time to drop the Hinchey effort and retarget. Is it better to push for the currently unobtainable--a federal medical marijuana law--or try to seek interim fixes like Hinchey? I don't have a good answer. All I know is I'm getting very frustrated playing this political game. Where's my "Don't Tread On Me" flag? I'll have some more suggestions tomorrow about where we can go from here, and they don't involve begging our political leaders to do it for us. Stay tuned.
Location: 
United States

Another Letter from a Medical Marijuana Patient

This one is excerpted from a post made anonymously on our comment boards by a reader from Ohio:
I have had multiple sclerosis and a seizure disorder for 13 years now. I tried it the legal way and just got sicker and sicker, to the point of staying in bed all day. Then I tried marijuana, and it's like a wonder drug for me! I do not get high from the marijuana, it helps relax my muscles and takes the spasms away. Not to mention it's the only way I have an appetite to eat anything. How could someone tell me, no medical marijuana for you?
Good question.
Location: 
OH
United States

I'm as angry as I've been in a long time over this one...

This one has me as angry as I've been in a long time. Tampa Bay, Florida, area resident Mark O'Hara served two years of a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for 58 Vicodin pills. (Vicodin is an opiate pain reliever.) Sound like an extreme sentence for such a small amount, even if it was trafficking as the charges read? But there's more. O'Hara had a prescription for the pills. He's a pain patient. His doctor confirmed that he had prescribed the Vicodin to O'Hara and that he had been treating O'Hara for years. But prosecutors moved against him, and -- astonishingly -- argued to the judge that the jury shouldn't be informed that O'Hara had a prescription for the Vicodin, because there's no "prescription defense." And the judge -- doubly astonishingly -- actually bought it. Never mind the fact that the drug law O'Hara was charged with violating specifically exempts people who have a prescription. The appellate judges who threw out his conviction used words like "ridiculous" and "absurd" to describe it. Sickeningly, prosecutors have yet to say that O'Hara is off the hook and won't be taken to trial again. I think we need to organize on this one and press the system to do justice to the prosecutors and judge for the terrible atrocity they committed against Mark O'Hara. Knowingly imprisoning an innocent person is the functional equivalent of kidnapping. It should be treated as such. Prosecutors Mark Ober and Darrell Dirks should be in chains; their continued status as individuals holding power in the criminal justice system poses a threat to the safety of all Americans. The judge who enabled the kidnapping, Ronald Ficarrotta, may only be completely incompetent, but I'm not sure he should get that benefit of the doubt. Read more at Reason.
Location: 
Tampa, FL
United States

The People Support Medical Marijuana, Even If Congress Does Not

After retaining the right to arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers, ONDCP's Tom Riley was unable to contain his glee:
Riley called the vote "a really tough day" for backers of the medical marijuana legislation.


"More and more people are realizing there is a con going on…" [Reuters]
This is just false on so many levels. For starters, we're gaining votes every year and we know more or less what to expect. Yesterday's result is not some sort of shocking rebuke of our position. If anything, Riley should be a bit concerned that 165 members of Congress think his whole team has its head up its collective posterior.

Similarly, Riley's assertion that "more and more people" are turning against medical marijuana is utter nonsense. We would have liked to get more votes, of course, but this is still the most support medical marijuana has seen in Congress. Public support for medical marijuana is far greater, hovering between 70% and 80%. Riley knows perfectly well that this issue is a full-blown public relations nightmare for his office, and he should be supremely grateful that idiocy about medical marijuana is better represented in Congress than the general population.
Location: 
United States

photos from LA raid aftermath on LAist web site

Photos from the aftermath of the raid on LA's Cannabis Patients Group coop, including the civil disobedience action, can be found online here.
Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States

Photo Essay: Hollywood Medical Marijuana DEA Raid

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
LAist (CA)
URL: 
http://laist.com/2007/07/27/medical_marijuana_dea_raids.php

McNerney draws fire from backers of medicinal pot

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Publication/Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
URL: 
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/27/MNG6FR7OQG1.DTL

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