Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana laws’

New Report Claims ‘New England’ Region Has Highest Rate Of Marijuana Consumption

pile of weedThe northeastern part of the United States possesses the highest rates of self-reported marijuana consumption, according to a new federal government report.

As a region, New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) rank in the top percentile for marijuana use in virtually every category surveyed — including ‘marijuana use in the past year among youths age 12 to 17,’ ‘marijuana use in the past year among persons age 18 to 25,’ ‘marijuana use in the past year among persons aged 12 and older,’ and ‘marijuana use in the past month among persons age 26 or older.’

Other states that consistently ranked in the top percentile of marijuana use in the United States are Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, and Oregon.

Nationally, the study reported “no increases in current illicit drug use occurred in any state” among those aged 12 to 17 between the years 2002-2003 and 2008-2009. The finding rebuffs claims recently made by the Drug Czar and other federal officials that the implementation of statewide medical marijuana laws – most of which were enacted between the years 1998 and 2004 — is encouraging increased use of cannabis and other illicit substances by young people.

A separate study published in June by the Marijuana Policy Project also reported, “[O]f the 13 states with available data, teen use rates have stayed the same or decreased since enacting medical marijuana laws.”

The state-by-state consumption data was compiled from the federal government’s annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which interviewed approximately 138,000 Americans age 12 and over in 2008-2009 on their use of licit and illicit substances.

Full text of the study, “State Estimates of Substance Use and Mental Disorders from the 2008-2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health,” is available online from the US Department of Health and Services.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at:

Reformed Nazi Twin Singers Renounce Racism; Credit Marijuana

Photo: Polaris
Lamb and Lynx Gaede, formerly of the white supremacist rock group Prussian Blue.

​It’s only mid-afternoon, but I’m confident this is the strangest story that’s going to cross my desk all day. A pair of twins who caused a media frenzy a few years ago by presenting themselves as the cute faces of white supremacist racism have renounced their former hatred, saying that medical marijuana has helped them see the error of their ways.

Lamb and Lynx Gaede, whose band Prussian Blue was popular back in 2005 among those inclined to like such things, ascribed their unsavory past to having been “home schooled country bumpkins” heavily influenced by their domineering white supremacist mother, reports Neurobonkers.

Photo: Play Guitar 24/7
The twins back when they were little 13-year-old Nazis about six years ago
Since then the twins, who turned 19 on June 30, have moved to Montana to attend high school, where in her first year Lynx was diagnosed with both cancer (which led to removal of a tumor) and cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). Lamb developed scoloiosis and back pain, “as well as lack of appetite and intense emotional stress.”
Both of the girls, who sort of became the white supremacist equivalent of the Olsen Twins, began using marijuana after Lynx had a bad reaction to the harsh pharmaceutical narcotics Oxycontin and morphine, which a doctor had prescribed to treat her pain.
“I have to say, marijuana saved my life,” Lynx said. “I would probably be dead if I didn’t have it.”
Lynx became one of the first five minors in Montana to get a medical marijuana card, and Lamb now has one, too. One can only wonder what will become of the girls now that Montana’s conservative Republican-controlled Legislature has all but repealed the state’s compassionate medical marijuana law, approved by 62 percent voters in 2004.
Apparently, the marijuana didn’t just ease the physical pain, but also quelled the psychological hatred that had been inculcated in the girls by their racist upbringing.
Photo: Alaska Pride
Cute? Yeah, until you listened to their lyrics.
“I’m not a white nationalist anymore,” Lamb told The Daily in the twins’ first interview in five years, reports Aaron Gell. “My sister and I are pretty liberal now.”
“Personally, I love diversity,” Lynx said. “I’m stoked that we have so many different cultures. I think it’s amazing and it makes me proud of humanity every day that we have so many different places and people. We just want to come from a place of love and light.”
“I think we’re meant do do something more — we’re healers,” Lamb said. “We just want to exert the most love and positivity we can.”
The twins now spend their time painting artworks and refurbishing furniture. They plan to enroll in college and said they hope to help legalize marijuana in all 50 states.
Lynx lives in northwest Montana with her mother, her stepfather and her half-sister, Dresden. Lamb, who works as a hotel chambermaid, lives a short drive away.
Both daughters now openly question their mother, April’s fixation with the fate of the white race, as well as her encouragement of their bizarre Nazi-inflected musical career.
“I’m glad we were in the band, but I think we should have been pushed toward something a little more mainstream and easier for us to handle than being frontmen for a belief system that we didn’t even completely understand at the time,” Lynx said. “We were little kids.”

Marc Emery On Contracting Superbug: ‘Concerned’ but Feeling Fine

Free Marc Emery

By Jeremiah Vandermeer

Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery, imprisoned in the United States for selling cannabis seeds and using the money to fund projects like Cannabis Culture, has contracted the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA. Emery discusses his current health status in this exclusive interview with CC.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a type of bacteria that can cause hard-to-treat infections in humans and even be fatal if not looked after properly, though many contract the bug and have few or no serious problems.

“I’m in good health and the MRSA only becomes a problem really during surgery if I were to have it,” Emery told CC in an interview via the Corrlinks electronic mail system. “Even then, there are antibiotics that work with MRSA. However, I did contract it with the brown recluse spider-bite, which has left scarring and discoloration on my left buttock.”

Emery, who has three years left before his prison release date, said getting the bug is “definitely a concern”, but that he is currently healthy and feeling fine.

“The medical staff here have always looked at my ailments promptly,” he said. “Alas, there’s nothing I can do about it, it will recur over time, but it is only a problem if an infection gets into the organs, bloodstream, or that sort of thing.”

The bacteria was found after a sample was taken from a boil Emery suffered from sitting on hard surfaces while being bussed between prison locations last April.

“They took a culture from it then and that came back positive for MRSA,” he said. “But the swollen boil did subside over a two-week period.”

According to Emery’s wife Jodie, activist and current publisher of CC, a former inmate of Marc’s contracted the bug and had a leg amputated. He died shortly afterward.

“[He] had an amputation of his leg and he just died of complications, so that terrifies me to think that Marc was there at the same time and it could be the same sort of strain,” she told CBC News.

Marc says he is watching his health closely, but doesn’t expect things to change much.

“It isn’t expected to affect my daily life but I do have to work my utmost to stay healthy,” he said. “The prison diet is lacking in vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals to maintain optimum health. That said, I eat very little junk food, drink only water as a fluid, try to eat any healthy food here as often as possible.”

MRSA is common in US prisons and can spread quickly because of the close-quarters and poor health conditions of inmates.

“Prisoners get MRSA in high numbers, as do people in any contained institution like hospitals, schools, and prisons,” Marc said.

There have been a flurry of news reports since Jodie Emery announced the news to the public, with some commentators pointing to the irony that the “highly contagious MRSA bacteria has already caused more health problems for Marc Emery than dozens of years smoking pot“.

But the irony seems to be piling on, as cannabis has been found to be one of the best antibacterial agents capable of fighting the superbug. Recent studies show that cannabinoids “could soon outshine conventional antibiotics in the escalating battle against drug-resistant bacteria” including MRSA. Read more from the Journal of Natural Products (PDF).

“Marc suffering this sort of dangerous infection after being extradited and imprisoned in the U.S. — after harming nobody at all — proves the insanity of war on marijuana,” Jodie told Postmedia News.

Watch Jodie on CBC News in this video:

Go to for more information on political prisoner Marc Emery.

Article From Cannabis Culture and used with special permission.

How To: Help Re-Legalize Cannabis by David Brannon

Want to help re-legalize cannabis? Here’s an idea anyone and everyone can do if (1) you have access to the internet, and (2) you live in a community holding an election this coming November. If you are reading this you have satisfied #1, and if you live in America you satisfy #2. So, let’s get to work.

TO START: Create a list of your local candidates and the office they seek; identify where on the political spectrum each of your candidates fall. A quick review of the candidates’ on-line website or a local voter’s guide will reveal this information.

NEXT: Have you heard of the Just Say Now campaign? Our primary purpose will be to advertise the efforts of Just Say Now. So, if necessary, enlighten yourself before going any further. Pay attention to the political leanings of the members of the Advisory Board of Just Say Now. This Board represents every compass point on the political spectrum – just like your list of candidates.

Every one of your local candidates can be philosophically and politically “matched” with a Just Say Now board member. Someone on that Board is going to look and sound very much like your local candidates. Example: there are several law enforcement reps on the Board – pair them with your more conservative candidates.

THEN: Appear wherever your local pols are speaking, shaking hands, kissing babies, whatever it is they are doing, and, in front of as many voters and television cameras as possible, ask that candidate:

Do you agree with the goals and ideals of Just Say Now as “big shot so-and-so” [the candidates “match”] has done?”

Use your “do you agree” question to wake up both candidates and voters to Just Say Now. Our efforts will help get people talking about changing drug policy. Know how long it has been since this was even discussed during an election cycle? Jimmy Carter was President!

Nothing changes until lots of people start loudly demanding change. Every one of us can do our bit to help. The diverse board of Just Say Now allows a way to approach anyone seeking any office. Why shouldn’t every local dog killer be asked to take a position on drug law reform? Let’s get every politician on the record. Let’s bring to the attention of the candidates, the voters, and the media the growing, coming-from-the-bottom-up demand to reassess the failed war on drugs.

Majority of States Could Soon Have Legal Medical Marijuana

A few months ago, Congressman Jared Polis told the Colorado Independent that he thought it would take a majority of states legalizing medical marijuana or otherwise liberalizing their laws before Congress would be likely to do anything at the federal level.

Currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Now it looks like at least one more state is moving in that direction, with two different measures moving toward a vote in Ohio.

From The Columbus Dispatch: While Cleveland billionaire Peter Lewis already had sent up smoke signals about organizing and funding a medical marijuana ballot issue, another group quietly has been laying the groundwork for a constitutional amendment.

If approved by voters, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 would establish a regulatory system modeled after the Ohio State Liquor Control system. There would be an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control, plus a state division and superintendent to run it. Marijuana purchases would require a doctor’s prescription and would be subject to state and local sales taxes.


Peter Lewis is the chairman of the board of Progressive Insurance Company, a company founded by his father. He has donated almost a quarter of a billion dollars to Princeton University, at least $15 million to the ACLU and $3 million to the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that, among other things, tracks marijuana policy in the states.

Karen O’Keefe, of MPP, says she sees a scenario by which 27 states have legalized medical marijuana by 2014. In addition to Ohio, other states apparently on the cusp include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Arkansas, Idaho, North Dakota and New Hampshire.

Once a majority of states have passed laws, she says it becomes much more likely that Congress will pass a bill like the one recently introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, Rep. Jared Polis and others that would actually legalize marijuana federally, leaving it to each state to either keep it illegal at the state level or to legalize, regulate and tax it.

She said that even if a bill like that doesn’t pass, with each new state that legalizes medical marijuana it becomes more likely that congress will address the issue by at least instructing federal law enforcement agencies not to prosecute anyone who is in compliance with state laws that legalize and regulate medical marijuana.

Coalition Working To Bring Medical Marijuana To Alabama

By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

State Lawmaker: ‘Good Possibility’ He Will Sponsor A Medical Marijuana Bill In Alabama Legislature

Did you know that the Heart of Dixie stands an excellent chance to become the first medical marijuana state in the Deep South?

The newest Alabama group working to allow marijuana as medicine is taking its message to the people with a series of picnic-style meetings across the state. The Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC), the group’s second event, was held Saturday in Jacksonville at Germania Springs Park.

A crowd that grew to close to 70 people was on hand for the picnic, including a state lawmaker who said there is a “good possibility” that he will sponsor a medical marijuana bill in the Alabama Legislature next year.

Rep. K.L. Brown (R-Jacksonville) said some legislators will never get past the stigma of the word “marijuana,” reports Jason Bacaj of The Anniston Star. But Brown said he showed up at the picnic to learn more about the issue and about the people involved with the coalition.

Brown has a personal connection to the use of medicinal cannabis, as he lost a sister to breast cancer in 1987. He said he didn’t know much about marijuana then, but he saw how it worked to relieve his ailing sister’s pain and nausea.

“I do know that marijuana tablets were very helpful to her there, especially at the end,” Brown said.

According to Rep. Brown, if the AMMJC can get people to listen to stories of situations where marijuana helps people with pain and nausea, the bill stands of chance of success in Montgomery.

“They were the hardest working guys in Montgomery last year, and I think they made a lot of headway,” Brown said of the AMMJC. “If we can go at it with the same energy as the past year, maybe we can have some success this time.”

AMMJC Co-President Ron Crumpton agrees.

“We worked with Represantative Brown during the last session, and when we started looking for a sponsor in the House, he wasn’t at the top of the list; was was the top of the list,” Crumpton told Toke of the Town. “He is great at what he does because he seems so mild mannered, yet he is surprisingly tenacious. He just calmly beats you over the head with reason and facts until you have almost no choice but to agree with him,” Crumpton told me.

“People think I’m crazy when I saw we can pass our bill this year,” Crumpton said, “but I can tell you that for a medical marijuana bill to pass in a Legislature state you have to do two things: You have to build relationships with legislators and you have to conquer the stigma associated with marijuana.

“We forged the relationships during the last session,” Crumpton told me. “Our goal for the next session is to deal with perception. If we do that the bill will pass.”

Marijuana Pill Bottle

Harsh Pharmaceuticals or Organic Marijuana?
People Should Have The Choice

AMMJC Co-President Chris Butts told the crowd that a two-story fall 19 years ago left with with a spinal compression injury, slowly degenerating discs along his spine and daily pain that got him a permanent prescription for Oxycontin.

Butts said he became addicted to the prescription narcotic and it nearly ruined his life. After five years he was able to kick the habit by using medical marijuana, which Butts said he had used daily for 14 years in edible form to manage pain from the injury.

“I’m just somebody who doesn’t want to feel like a criminal for doing something my doctor advised,” Butts said.

According to Butts, besides the obvious legal challenges faced by Alabama residents who choose to use marijuana medicinally, there are quality control problems with black market weed. Butts said that many patients were so desperate for something that worked, that they used cannabis despite the laws.

“It’s ludicrous to think that tens of thousands of patients in the 16 medical marijuana states are using marijuana to help with their conditions, and the patients in Alabama aren’t,” Butts told Toke of the Town Sunday night. “The difference is, our patients here are using a product that has been smuggled across our northern and southern borders and is subject to be moldy or mildewed, or have who knows what in it.

“It seems to me the better solution is to have safe access to a clean, locally produced product that is subject to state inspection,” Butts told me.

He still has that Oxycontin prescription, but Butts said he now he only has to use it three or four times a year, and is able to take it when necessary without relapsing into addiction, thanks to medical marijuana.

A wide variety of people attended the meeting, from teenagers with facial piercings to a decorated Vietnam veteran who has used cannabis to treat combat-related ailments for 38 years. The veteran said he fought in the Marines in the 77-day Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968, earning a Silver Star and a Purple Heart during his tour.

It was when he returned home that he realized marijuana helped him handle the post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares and other health problems — including chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder due to Agent Orange — lingering from the war.

“It helps me better than any damn pill,” the veteran said. “Got to go out to the damn ghetto (to get it). That’s the problem.”

You Can Help

“We at AMMJC would like to thank the 60-plus people who chocked back the fear and taboo associated with this issue and attended the event,” Butts said. “AMMJC will be doing these little events in every corner of the state before the end of the year and things look they they will only get bigger and better.

“We call on all Alabamians who support the therapeutic use of marijuana to join us,” Butts said. “We are easy to find on Facebook and have a web presence at Please contact us if you support our efforts and want to help.”

“To raise awareness we need a steady stream of letters to the editor to local newspapers and letters to your representatives and senators in the Alabama Legislature,” Butts said. “We need supportive Alabamians to talk to the people in their community about this touchy subject and be honest with everyone about their support.”

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.

Marijuana Advocates Sue Feds After DEA Rejects Weed as Medicine

PHOTO: Medical marijuana and a prescription are pictured in this undated file photo.
Medical marijuana and a prescription are pictured in this undated file photo. (Getty Images)
July 12, 2011

Without medical marijuana, Scott Rozman swears, he wouldn’t be alive today.

At 30, Rozman was the youngest documented case of teratoma and angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that his doctors treated in the middle of his chest with equally aggressive rounds of chemotherapy. The chemo was so intense that he would throw up 40 to 50 times a day during treatment, unable to keep any food down. He lost 60 pounds during the first two months alone, making him potentially too weak to finish out his treatment

“The doctors thought I was a dead man,” Rozman, now 46 and a life coach in Guttenberg, N.J., said.

But then Mary Jane came into his life.

As a last-ditch effort, his doctors prescribed him marijuana because of its purported ability to stave off chemotherapy nausea. Not only was he able to keep food down again, the marijuana calmed him and helped him cope psychologically with the harrowing experience of the chemotherapy sessions. Weed had done for Rozman what no traditional anti-nausea medication could.

Although 16 states recognize marijuana as a drug with important medicinal properties, the DEA has shot down a petition to reclassify marijuana as such, citing that it has “no accepted medical use.” The result is that marijuana will remain within the strictest categorization of restricted substances, alongside heroin and LSD.

“As a doctor and medical researcher, I find the DEA’s decision unfortunate,” said Dr. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California-San Diego. “It looks like they underplayed what positive information there is in the literature about marijuana. This policy is guided more by certain kinds of beliefs in the dangers of marijuana, at the expense of advance of medical knowledge for patients.”

The DEA’s refusal, laid out in a June 21 letter from DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart to the organizations who filed the petition back in 2002, marks yet another bump in the road for patients, doctors and activists fighting for improved access to what they deem a vitally therapeutic medication.

“The statement ‘it has no accepted medical use‘ is simply wrong as a statement of fact,” said Rob MacCoun, psychologist and professor of Law and Public Policy at University of California Berkeley Law School. “There is now considerable evidence showing medical benefits, at or exceeding standards of evidence for many other pharmaceuticals. Prescribing physicians in over a dozen states clearly see an accepted medical value for their patients.”

Americans for Safe Access, one of the organizations petitioning the DEA, already has plans to appeal the decision, taking the federal government to court, and if necessary, the Supreme Court, in order to argue for the medicinal value of marijuana.

“Frankly, we’re ready to go head to head with the Obama administration on this issue,” said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. “We have science on our side and we’re hopeful the court will see it that way.”

Calls made to the DEA for comment were not returned.

Why Reclassify?

The original petition sent to the DEA in 2002 called for reclassifying marijuana into schedule III, IV, or V, all of which would acknowledge its potential for medical use and place its threat as a potentially harmful and/or addictive substance as less severe than class I and II drugs such as heroine, cocaine, amphetamines and morphine.

Such a change means that marijuana would remain a controlled substance, but that its use in medical contexts would not be considered illegal under federal law, as is the case now.

It would also make it easier for studies on marijuana’s medicinal properties to take place. Grant of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research said that even with federal compliance with his research on medicinal marijuana, each study takes at least a year to even garner approval because of all the regulatory red tape surrounding use of a schedule I drug in trials.

Berkeley’s MacCoun said, “Schedule I is a barrier to research and to physician practice. Under federal law, it precludes physician prescriptions, putting state and federal laws in conflict for [those] states that have legalized medical marijuana.”

War on Medicinal Marijuana?

The DEA’s decision comes on the coattails of another move by the Department of Justice to reinforce federal restrictions on marijuana. U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole released a memo June 29 that reaffirms the department of justice’s right and intention to prosecute large-scale medical marijuana cultivation operations and dispensaries even in states where they are operating in compliance with state laws.

The Cole memo purportedly “clarifies” the landmark memo written in 2009 by then Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, which suggested that the DOJ would not bother to prosecute those involved in state-sanctioned medicinal marijuana distribution. 

Cole’s clarification puts everyone from growers to pro-medicinal marijuana public officials within the DOJ’s sights for prosecution. Only patients with prescriptions escape possible legal action from the government.

This regulatory dance emerges because the states that allow medicinal marijuana are in conflict with the federal drug laws that criminalize possession of marijuana, regardless of its intended use and these federal laws trump those of the states.

Obama campaigned with the promise not to interfere with states’ rights in this area, so the Cole memo has been seen by marijuana advocates as the administration’s backpedalling in response to the rapid proliferation of cannabis providers and distributors cropping up in recent years.

“The government’s position is very clear,” Hermes said. “The number of raids on medical marijuana distributors is staggering, far beyond what the Bush administration was doing. And because the federal government won’t acknowledge marijuana as a medicinal substance, those arrested have absolutely no defense they can bring in federal court.”

Hermes said be believes the “whole point” of the Cole memo was to create a “culture of fear” among growers, distributors, and patients.

Mitch Woolhiser, 43, happens to be all three. Diagnosed with seizure disorder in 1995, the medicinal marijuana distributor from Edgewater, Colo., got his prescription after reading studies suggesting that marijuana has anti-seizure properties.

He was able to wean himself slowly off the seizure meds that were straining his liver and today, years later, is seizure free. Now he provides medicinal-grade marijuana for at least 100 regular customers in the Denver area.

“The Ogden memo kind of opened the floodgates here in Colorado and that’s what brought people into the industry of distributing marijuana, including me,” he said. “It’s very regulated, we do lab tests for THC levels [the major active compound in cannabis] and that makes everything more regulated for the patients.

“But if you go after the distributors, you’re really just hurting the patients,” he said. “You’re taking away their ability to safely and conveniently get their medicine, and instead pushing them to buy it on the street.”

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