Would You Smoke GMO Pot?

Pressure Mounts for DEA Head to Step Down After Medical Marijuana Remarks

from Alternet

Medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered today at DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, to hand in more than 100,000 petition signatures demanding the resignation or firing of DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg after he called medical marijuana “a joke.”

The petition, which was started only two weeks ago, has more than doubled the number of signatures on an earlier petition that helped prompt the ouster of Rosenberg’s predecessor, former DEA head Michele Leonhart.

After walking from the nearby site of the International Drug Reform Conference, the group held a brief press conference in front of the DEA building. It was led by petition organizer Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority, whose own mother is a patient.

“My mom uses medical marijuana to deal with the severe pain caused by multiple sclerosis,” he said. “This issue is no laughing matter for her and millions of other people who have seen the benefits of cannabis for themselves.”

Also addressing the press conference were medical marijuana patients and the parents of young medical marijuana patients.

“There is no doubt that my son Jagger is alive today because of medical cannabis,” said Sebastian Cotte, who helped carry the petitions. “Cannabis has tremendously decreased the pain and seizures caused by his mitochondrial disease, while improving his quality of life. For our family, this is no joke.”

“There’s nothing funny about suicidal thoughts, and those are something my family and I lived with day-to-day die to my military-related PTSD,” said Navy veteran T.J. Thompson. “Using medical marijuana not only helps with my condition, but it has also had the added effect of making me a better father and husband.”

Medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, and 17 more states have more limited laws allowing for the use of marijuana extracts, primarily for children suffering seizure disorders. According to Americans for Safe Access, which supported the petition, more than two million Americans now use medical marijuana in accordance with state laws.

An ever-increasing mountain of scientific studies have shown that medical marijuana is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of serious conditions, including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, and many others. With his remarks about medical marijuana as “a joke,” DEA head Rosenberg made clear that he was either ignorant of the science around medical marijuana or indifferent to it.

The petition delivery came one day after a bipartisan group of members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama calling for Rosenberg’s head, saying his comments “send a clear signal to the American people that the federal government isn’t listening to them. It erodes trust. Cavalier statements like these fly in the face of state policy and the experience of millions of patients.”

The letter blasted Rosenberg’s statements as relics of “a throwback ideology rooted in the failed war on drugs” and accused him of “trivializing” both the science and the experience of millions of American who have used medical marijuana.

“Mr. Rosenberg’s statements send a clear signal to the American people that the federal government isn’t listening to them…Through his statements, Mr. Rosenberg has demonstrated that he is not the right person to hold the job of head of the DEA, and we urge you to find new leadership that can work to develop the right tools to properly rationalize our treatment of marijuana,” the letter said.

It was signed by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA)Jim McDermott (D-WA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). Blumenauer himself took to the House floor to echo the call for Rosenberg’s resignation or firing.

“This is going to be a political problem for the Obama administration until they fix it,” warned Angell.

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

People Want DEA Chief to Resign After He Called Medical Marijuana ‘a Joke’

Many doctors have opted to prescribe marijuana over prescription painkillers that can be extremely addictive and deadly. In 2013, 16,000 people overdosed on painkillers, according to the CDC. Other studies have found that the availability of medical marijuana correlates with a reduction in pain killer abuse rates.

Marijuana leaf on a white background
Getty Images


Protestors point to scientific studies that show the medicinal benefits of marijuana on patients suffering from chronic pain

Medical marijuana patients want to see the DEA chief go up in smoke. After agency head Chuck Rosenberg called medical marijuana “a joke” during a Q&A with reporters last week, over 10,000 people have signed a petition on change.org demanding his resignation.

Editor’s note: as of this post, the number of sigs has risen to over 34,000

“What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal because it’s not,” Rosenberg said, according to CBS. “We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don’t call it medicine — that is a joke.”

“There are pieces of marijuana — extracts or constituents or component parts — that have great promise,” he said. “But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana — which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana — it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”

Angry medical marijuana users have pointed to studies that have found the drug is effective at treating pain and muscle spasms. A meta-analysis of 79 medical marijuana studies that involved over 6,000 patients published in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year discovered “moderate-quality evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity.”

Many doctors have opted to prescribe marijuana over prescription painkillers that can be extremely addictive and deadly. In 2013, 16,000 people overdosed on painkillers, according to the CDC. Other studies have found that the availability of medical marijuana correlates with a reduction in pain killer abuse rates.

But some research has linked adolescent marijuana use to cognitive deficiencies, though it’s unclear whether the relationship is cause and effect.

Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana. It is still illegal under federal law.

This Is The First U.S. School To Allow Marijuana For Disabled Students

Sebastian Murdock Reporter, Huffington Post

A school in New Jersey has become the first in the nation to allow students with disabilities and various medical conditions to legally consume marijuana to alleviate symptoms.

Larc School, which educates students “with a wide range of disabilities,” approved guidelines for medical marijuana use on Wednesday night, just days after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed a bill that protects schools and instructors from punishment if sick or disabled students take medical marijuana during school hours.

Although Colorado was the first state in the nation to allow medical marijuana in schools, New Jersey is the first state in which a school has actively adopted the policy.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Larc School in Bellmawr, New Jersey, became the first school in the country to allow students with disabilities to consume medical marijuana.</span>
Larc School Larc School in Bellmawr, New Jersey, became the first school in the country to allow students with disabilities to consume medical marijuana. 

Last year, the family of 16-year-old Larc School student Genny Barbour unsuccessfully sued the school so the teen could medicate with cannabis oil. Barbour suffers from epilepsy that causes seizures prescription drugs can’t alleviate, but just four small doses of cannabis oil a day caused her seizures to dramatically decline, NJ.com reported.

Larc School feared it would be violating federal marijuana laws at the time of the lawsuit. But with the new state law in place, that fear is less of a factor.

“We want the best for Genny,” Susan Weiner, executive director of Larc School, told NJ.com. “We were not able to do it legally [last year] … We are pleased we are able to help the family.”

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Cannabis oil can help students like Genny Barbour deal with medical conditions, including epilepsy.</span> Lew Robertson via Getty Images Cannabis oil can help students like Genny Barbour deal with medical conditions, including epilepsy. 

“I know there are so many kids in this state and across the country who can benefit from this,” said Weiner, according to PhillyVoice. “We’re grateful that our legislators recognized it’s a sincere need that helps students, because we do see the difference.”

Texas vets call for legal medical marijuana, end to painkiller dependence

From Al Jazeera

United States military veterans rallied at a parade in Texas on Wednesday for the right to treat their war wounds, both physical and psychological, with medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law and is strictly limited in Texas.

The Veterans Day protest came a day after the U.S. Senate approved a measure allowing federal Veterans Affairs doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis.

Texas allows the use of only a nonpsychoactive marijuana oil product for the treatment of severe seizures. The veterans, affiliated with pro-legalization group Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy (TRMP), want much wider legalization, saying it could help veterans with long-term pain and psychological disorders. Texas has 1.7 million veterans, the second most number in the country, after California.

Dozens of former service members — from the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy — marched to press their call for change in Austin’s Veteran’s Day parade Wednesday. They then gathered at the Vietnam War memorial near the statehouse to announce the launch of Operation Trapped, a campaign to raise awareness of veterans’ hope for access to medical marijuana, both edible and smokable. Continue reading

Smoking weed is now a human right in Mexico

By Andy Coghlan for New Scientist
Smoking weed is now a human right in Mexico

Is smoking weed a human right? Days after voters in the US state of Ohio rejected a proposal to legalise cannabis for recreational use, Mexico has ruled that smoking pot is a fundamental human right.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled by 4 to 1 that banning the consumption and cultivation of cannabis for personal use violates the human right to free development of one’s personality.

The ruling only applies to the four individuals who brought the case to court, but widespread legalisation may follow.

“This vote by Mexico’s Supreme Court is extraordinary for two reasons,” says Hannah Hetzer of the US Drug Policy Alliance, which campaigns for the relaxation of drug laws. “First, it’s being argued on human-rights grounds, and secondly, it’s taking place in one of the countries that has suffered most from the war on drugs,” she says.

Several other countries have moved towards more lenient laws on cannabis use, but none have done so solely on the basis of human rights. Most, like Ireland, which in early November moved towards legalising supervised heroin use and possible decriminalisation of other drugs, have cited health, compassionate and economic grounds.

Four US states – Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon – have legalised the personal use of cannabis and Canada is expected to follow suit. Bills to legalise cannabis for medical use are under debate in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica.

“We’re seeing a new rationality in relation to drug laws,” says David Nutt of Imperial College London, who is a former UK government adviser on drugs. “At last some countries have the courage to admit that the ‘war on drugs’ is futile and does more harm than good.”

Image credit: Omar Franco Pérez Reyes/Demotix/PA

Change.org petition: Fire DEA Head Chuck Rosenberg for Calling Medical Marijuana a “Joke”

Chuck Rosenberg, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just made highly offensive comments calling medical marijuana a “joke.”

While it’s nothing new for drug war bureaucrats to oppose sensible marijuana policies, Rosenberg’s comments go way too far.

Medical marijuana is not a “joke” to the millions of seriously ill patients in a growing number of states who use it legally in accordance with doctors’ recommendations.

It is not a “joke” to the growing number of prominent medical organizations — American Nurses Association, American College of Physicians, American Academy of Family Physicians, for example — who know that cannabis has real and proven medical benefits.

And it’s not a “joke” to the clear majority of U.S voters who support passing laws to protect medical marijuana patients from harassment by police and the DEA.

President Obama should fire Chuck Rosenberg and appoint a new DEA administrator who will respect science, medicine, patients and voters.

Sign the petition here


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