Medicine

RSS Feed for this category

Willie Nelson to do benefit for MPP

Join Willie Nelson and the Marijuana Policy Project at a concert to raise money for marijuana policy reform! What: Austin Freedom Fest, featuring Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel Where: The Backyard in Austin, Texas When: August 10 You can buy regular tickets here (http://www.austinfreedomfest.com/) — but you might consider buying a VIP ticket. VIP tickets include dinner, open bar, seating in the exclusive tree deck, and the opportunity to network with special celebrity guests. But only 20 VIP tickets are available, so act fast if you want one. The concert will star legendary country singer Willie Nelson and the Grammy award-winning band Asleep at the Wheel — featuring MPP VIP advisory board member Ray Benson. Other special guests include Paula Nelson, Carolyn Wonderland, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling, and Mark Stepnoski. Proceeds from the benefit will go to MPP, NORML, and WAMM. Earlier this week, the Austin-American Statesman reported that Nelson has cancelled many of his tour dates through August — except for MPP's and the annual Farm Aid concert. So if you want to see Willie Nelson in concert this summer, MPP’s event might be your only chance.
Location: 
Austin, TX
United States

Clinton Promises to End Federal Raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Hillary Clinton continues to get the drug policy questions right:
During a visit to Manchester, New Hampshire on July 13, Len Epstein of Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana told the senator and presidential candidate: "Twelve states allow medical marijuana, but the Bush administrations continues to raid patients."

Clinton replied: "Yes, I know. It's terrible."

"Would you stop the federal raids?" Epstein asked.

"Yes, I will," she responded firmly. [MPP]
As I've said before, it's exciting to hear the democratic front-runner taking the right positions on our issues. Clinton has now pledged to fight racial profiling, reform the crack/powder sentencing disparity, promote treatment instead of incarceration, and now vows to end the federal war on medical marijuana patients and providers. That's a rock solid drug policy platform for a mainstream candidate.

Yes, I know there are long-shot candidates willing to go further (what's his name, Ron something?). But the willingness of front-runners – on the left, at least – to take common sense positions on drug policy reflects a growing awareness that reform is not political suicide.

Heck, given massive public support for medical marijuana, and Giuliani and McCain's refusal to defend patients, Democrats would be foolish not to step forward on this.

(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

 

Location: 
United States

CA NORML Release: DEA Announces Federal Medical MJ Indictments in So. Cal - Business as Usual in DEAland?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2007 The DEA announced several indictments of medical cannabis operators in Southern California today. There was less to them than meets the eye, however, as they involved outstanding cases against dispensaries that had been previously raided or warned. Indicted were operators of: (1) Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in Morro Bay, which had been raided last March; (2) Compassionate Caregivers, once the largest chain of dispensaries in California, closed by federal action in 2005-6 (one former CC employee was also arrested for having opened a new facility); (3) Healing Nations Collective in Corona, which had been fighting efforts by local authorities to close it, and (in a raid yesterday) (4) Nature's Medicinal in Bakersfield, a popular, high-traffic facility that was raided in May. None of the arrestees had been targets of the LA DEA's recent landlord warning letter, nor were any forfeiture actions announced against landlords of the arrestees. One twist was that the charges named a doctor, who allegedly wrote recommendations for the Morro Bay store's patrons. Significantly, the doctor was said to have received a finders' fee for referrals, which would exempt him from the federal Conant injunction that protects doctors so long as they don't help patients procure cannabis illegally. Although the Morro Bay dispensary was alleged to have sold cannabis to minors, sources close to the case say all the minors were either over 18 or accompanied by parents. Although the Bakersfield dispensary was charged with making millions of dollars, DEA did not mention that it was paying payroll and sales taxes like other legal businesses. Today's announcements were obviously timed to "send a message" along with the landlord warning letters. That does not mean that the government is about to send forfeiture notices to all the landlords. To do so would invite more backlash than this bankrupt administration can afford. The DEA is picking off a few ripe targets in a desperate attempt to slow down the medical marijuana stampede. Every day brings more scientific evidence for the medical efficacy of cannabis. When the dust settles, the government will be forced to concede Americans' right to medicine. In the next week or two, Congress is expected to vote on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to halt federal funding for medical marijuana raids. TELL YOUR CONGRESS MEMBER TO END THE FEDERAL WAR ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=9998376 - D. Gieringer, Cal NORML
Location: 
CA
United States

Showtime's "In Pot We Trust" is a Must-see

Wow, man. There's lots of heady nugs in this movie. Just pack your favorite bong, zap some popcorn, and get ready for the ride of your life.

Actually, no. In Pot We Trust doesn't make you want to smoke pot. It will make you want to give all your pot to Jacqueline Patterson. Jacqueline has celebral palsy, which manifests itself most notably in the form of a severe stutter. When she uses medical marijuana, Jacqueline can speak much more quickly and clearly, because the drug relieves her muscle tension. The difference is so obvious, I don’t know how anyone could watch this and say marijuana isn't medicine.

In Pot We Trust tells the story of four medical marijuana patients, against the backdrop of last year's Hinchey-Rohrabacher vote. The filmmakers follow MPP's Aaron Houston through the halls of Congress, then join the DEA as they uproot marijuana plants in the hills of California. Marijuana experts such as Lester Grinspoon provide insight into the drug's benefits, while prohibitionists Joe Califano and Robert Dupont explain why they've dedicated themselves to criminalizing sick people.

The film is invaluable because patients themselves make the best spokespeople for medical marijuana. The ulterior motives so often attributed to the medical marijuana legalization effort become irrelevant here, as we meet the actual people whose health and wellbeing lies at the center of this controversy.

I won't ruin the ending, but in case you haven’t heard, patients who rely on medical marijuana to maintain their quality of life are still criminals under federal law.

Location: 
United States

Authorities allege medical marijuana stores profited from sales

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
San Jose Mercury News (CA)
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_6401647

Rudy Giuliani's Position on OxyContin and Pain Management Is Correct

John Riley at Newsday has an interesting piece on Rudy Giuliani's role in helping Purdue Pharma preserve its image after the painkiller OxyContin was linked to widespread abuse. When Giuliani spoke out against medical marijuana, I repeatedly cited his work for Purdue Pharma as evidence of his hypocrisy. While I stand by that position, it should be noted that Giuliani's stance on pain management is actually quite good, in and of itself:
The OxyContin debate has been part of a larger fight in which patient advocacy groups that are worried about historic undertreatment of pain have joined with drug companies to argue against regulatory and law enforcement restrictions on painkillers that might unduly restrict their availability.


Giuliani was a key ally in that debate. He cast himself as an expert because of his prosecutorial background and his experience with prostate cancer. As part of his work for Purdue, he agreed to chair a group called the Rx Action Alliance, which promoted a "balanced" approach that would address abuse but maintain access for patients…

As the DEA continues its misguided war on pain management specialists, it's really quite refreshing to know that a front-running presidential candidate understands the problem. DEA's overreaction to OxyContin abuse has been disastrous, resulting in the reluctance of doctors nationwide to prescribe pain-relievers to deserving patients. Whether it was his prostate cancer, or the money Purdue paid his firm, something has led him to stand up for patient access and there's nothing wrong with that.

The only remaining question is why Giuliani is so hostile to medical marijuana. The fact pattern is remarkably similar: the stigma resulting from widespread recreational marijuana use has created a climate in which legitimate patients are denied medical access to the drug.

If only medical marijuana patients could afford to hire Giuliani Partners, LLC to help improve their public image…

(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

 

Location: 
United States

DEA targets landlords of pot outlets

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-potlords17jul17,0,3296426.story?coll=la-home-local

Judge Calls For New Vote After Data Loss

Location: 
Oakland, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Daily Californian (CA)
URL: 
http://www.dailycal.org/sharticle.php?id=25421

Hurwitz Receives Lesser Sentence Second Time Around, Could Be Free in 17 Months

Via John Tierney at the New York Times, posted late last night... Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced pain physician Dr. William Hurwitz to 57 months, more than pain treatment advocates were hoping for but considerably less than the 25 years handed down in the first trial by Judge Wexler. With time served, he could be out in 17 months. One paragraph in particular from Tierney's blog post encapsulates much of the backwardness inherent in the federal sentencing system, backwardness that affects many much more run-of-the-mill cases as well:
While there was no evidence that Dr. Hurwitz was profiting from the resale of his prescriptions -- and the jurors I interviewed said they didn’t think he intended the drugs to be resold -- he will still spend more time in prison than almost all the patients who admitting lying to him and reselling the drugs. Thanks to the deals they made to cooperate with prosecutors, seven of the nine patients got sentences ranging from 10 to 39 months. Only two got longer sentences than 57 months -- and one of them, who got 72 months, was also guilty of armed robbery and arson.
The other thing that is really troubling about this case is that jurors admitted to Tierney (previously) that they were not clear on what the law says about whether a doctor who screws up and prescribes to the wrong people, but isn't intentionally diverting drugs to the black market, should be held criminally responsible. But that is precisely the point of law on which the verdicts turned. If jurors don't understand the law they are judging, what is the justification for keeping the conviction and imprisoning someone for it? Despite the praise that has been given to Brinkema by Tierney and others for her handling of this case -- which admittedly was far better than other judges have done -- at the end of the day I have to say that I think she failed to do proper justice. I repeat, if the jurors admit that they did not understand the key point of law before them, I see no reasonable way for the verdicts to be considered legitimate, because the process itself is simply unsound. I could see an argument (theoretically) for having a third trial, but Dr. Hurwitz should be at home tonight with his family, and it's a crime that he's not -- not only for his sake, but for all the pain patients who effectively are being tortured by denial of pain medication because doctors don't want to take the risk of getting sent to prison. Lastly on this theme, think about the fact that the first set of convictions were invalidated, and this second set for the aforementioned reasons clearly should have been. That's an extraordinarily poor track record. A criminal justice system that imprisons people even when jurors admit they didn't know what they were doing is a system that is fundamentally corroded and has lost its way. Don't be proud of yourselves, feds! Despite all of the foregoing, I also have to say that I am relieved. 17 months is a long time to spend in prison, even if one hasn't already spent some years there already, but it could be much, much worse. Judge Brinkema could have given him the same 25 years, or life -- or 10 years, or 12 or 15. The trial also had a bright spot in that Brinkema saw through the misrepresentation about dosages that prosecutors had attempted:
Brinkema said she had read news accounts of the first trial and had seen some of the massive prescriptions Hurwitz had given out, including one patient who was given 1,600 pills a day. "The amount of drugs Dr. Hurwitz prescribed struck me as absolutely crazy," the judge said. But after hearing testimony from both sides, "I totally turned around on that issue," Brinkema said. "The mere prescription of huge quantities of opioids doesn’t mean anything."
In fact, there are known pain treatment cases in which the dosages were literally four times greater than the largest dosage prescribed by Hurwitz in the cases at stake (as I pointed out in a letter to Judge Wexler before the first sentencing, though obviously to no avail). Now lawyers in other pain cases (current and future) can read Judge Brinkema's comments to judges and jurors to explain why the apparently large doses may have been appropriate. The problem hasn't been a lack of experts willing to say that in trials; the problem has been that for some reason it just seems to wash over people in the face of the large number of pills. I think that having a quote like that from a federal judge will help to break through. I'm not a physician, and I'm not in a position to judge whether or not Dr. Hurwitz practiced good medicine in every case. But I'm completely confident that he did not engage any drug-dealing conspiracy. Perhaps the fact that I've met him several times in the past biases my view. But I've also met many of his former patients -- some of them I know well -- and it's a provable fact that he helped many people whom others doctors wouldn't help and who desperately needed the help, and that he gave them the benefit of thoughtful attention. A lot of these people were left in the lurch when the authorities moved against him, causing at least one suicide and arguably a few of them. Hopefully this outcome, while highly imperfect, has enough good points in it to help move things in the right direction; time will tell. You can keep with all of our pain reporting in our topical archive -- RSS is available here -- email us if you'd like to run our pain feed (or any other feed we offer) on your web site.
Location: 
United States

Judge keeps door open for WAMM's medical marijuana case

Location: 
San Jose, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
URL: 
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2007/July/14/local/stories/02local.htm

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School