Posts Tagged ‘united states marijuana’

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.

Feds Throw Weight Around On Washington’s Medical Marijuana Bill

The feds are throwing their weight around again when it comes to Washington state’s medical marijuana law. A proposal to rewrite the state’s medicinal cannabis rules attracted federal attention after Governor Christine Gregoire asked for “clear guidance” about the U.S. Department of Justice’s position on state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, which would be legalized under the new rules.

Gov. Gregoire, who sent the letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, claims she “became concerned” about a “potential federal crackdown” after speaking with the U.S. attorneys for Eastern and Western Washington, Michael Ormsby and Jenny Durkan, reports Jonathan Martin at the Seattle Times.
The prosecutors claim they are concerned that the proposed legislation “would legalize commercial sales of marijuana,” according to state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the bill’s prime sponsor.
Mike Ormsby.jpeg
Photo: Seattle Weekly
U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby likes to run his mouth and throw his weight around.
U.S. attorneys Ormsby, who already started threatening Spokane dispensaries last week, and Durkan noted that the U.S. attorney for Northern California was threatening to prosecute operators of a proposed commercial grow farm in Oakland, even though the farm was licensed by that city and legal under state law, Gov. Gregoire said in her letter to the Attorney General.
The bill in question, SB 5073, would create new state licenses for dispensaries, grow farms and cannabis food processors. State licensing of dispensaries is already in place or is currently being implemented in states like Colorado, Maine, New Jersey and New Mexico, as well as in the District of Columbia.
Gregoire’s letter seeks federal input before considering whether to sign the bill. Some political observers of a cynical bent believe the governor may simply be seeking political cover for a spineless veto of all or portions of the bill.
“The governor wants to make sure that if a law goes forward, it’s done in a way that won’t set up Washington state for an endless battle of court cases,” claimed her spokesman, Scott Whiteaker.
Photo: News Junkie Post
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles: “Why should our state be treated any differently than other states?”
​ But Sen. Kohl-Welles said she was mystified why the Department of Justice would treat legalized dispensaries in Washington any differently from six other states and D.C., which all currently license and regulate dispensaries.
“Why should our state be treated any differently than other states?” Kohl-Welles rightly asked.
Ormsby, the headline-seeking hot dog of a U.S. attorney in Spokane, last week threatened in a news release to seize property where dispensaries were operating. An estimated 40 dispensaries do business in Spokane.
Ormsby warned that “marijuana stores” are illegal, and threatened property owners who rent to them with forfeiture of their buildings if they refused to evict the dispensaries.
“We are preparing for quick and direct action against the operators of the stores,” Rambo, I mean Ormsby, wrote.
At least 120 dispensaries are operating statewide in Washington, with marked differences in enforcement from county to county. The shops are using a gray area of the voter-approved 1998 medical marijuana law, which neither expressly allows nor prohibits the dispensaries.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law as a Schedule I substance, but the U.S. Department of Justice has taken a mostly hands-off approach to patients and providers in states where medicinal cannabis is legal since an October 2009 memo issued shortly after Attorney General Holder took over.
That memo famously said that patients and providers in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws were not a priority of federal law enforcement, but a trickle of federal raids has continued to take place, including multiple raids in the past month in Montana and California.
However, the DEA has to our knowledge, so far at least, never raided any state-licensed medical marijuana growers or dispensaries in states like New Mexico and Maine, which explicitly allow and license the facilities through their state health departments.

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