Friday, December 15, 2006

Texans for Medical Marijuana needs your help

I received an email yesterday from the good folks at Texans for Medical Marijuana who for several years now have been speaking out in Texas on behalf of the sick and infirm, especially patients with MS, cancer, glaucoma and other ailments where marijuana has been identified as a useful treatment.

When Noelle Davis first founded Texans for Medical Marijuana, I have to admit I was cynical. I considered the issue basically a stalking horse for the marijuana legalization movement, but since then I've come around on the question 180 degrees. One of the great merits of TMM's campaign has that they've scrupulously refused to allow the issue to be framed as part of the drug legalization debate, insisting on highlighting stories of real patients and hard medical science while eschewing politicized rhetoric. I admire that approach and have become convinced that there are real, medically based reasons for allowing marijuana use by some patients, and the issue really deserves to be considered on its own merits.

Apparently not everyone at the Texas Legislature has had a similar transformation in their thinking, because Noelle's email asked TMM supporters to help educate their own local representatives on why these patients deserve exemption from prosecution. With her permission I reprint the letter in full:

For the past five months I have traveled across the state meeting with Texas State Legislators to ask them to support a medical marijuana bill during the legislative session starting January 9th. I am glad to report the overwhelming majority of both Democrats and Republicans said they agreed that patients should not be locked up for following their doctors’ advice. However, as of today at least, none feel politically safe enough to join Representative Naishtat in bravely breaking the silence and offering a solution that has proven effective in 11 other states. Now I have not met with all the legislators, so I still hope to find some who are brave enough, but simply have not been asked yet.

Two of the legislators I spoke with shared exactly the same reason why they would not publicly support our bill: they fear their primary opponent or general election opponent running a TV commercial against them saying, “He voted to LEGALIZE MARIJUANA!!!” Sadly, they are probably right to fear such intentionally deceptive commercials.

The number one reason legislators gave as to why they won’t publicly support medical marijuana is that they do not have enough political cover. They want political cover in the form of public support for medical marijuana legislation from groups like the Texas Medical Association, their local prosecutors and law enforcement groups. So far my attempts to talk with these groups have been mostly met with silence. Two law enforcement associations have said they will likely remain neutral, which in the game of Texas politics is sometimes the best you can get.

Several of the legislators also said they are not hearing from medical marijuana supporters in their district, and one said he had only heard from people who are opposed.

This is where you come in. Your personal participation will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of this campaign. The time has come to start educating your state legislators either by a phone call, hand written letter, or the most effective method (when you are well prepared), a personal visit.

Why do you personally care if they support medical marijuana legislation? Please tell them either by calling, writing or personally visiting, and ask them to support a policy change that would save state law enforcement the precious resources of money and time, while creating a program that will help some of the most vulnerable people among us. Here are the main points that need to be included in a bill to make it an effective law:

• protect registered seriously ill patients - and their registered caregivers - who possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana with their doctors' certification from arrest and prosecution by state authorities;

• create registry identification cards, so that law enforcement officials will be able to easily tell who is a registered qualified patient or caregiver and who is not, and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards;

• protect doctors from being punished for advising their patients that - in their sincere professional judgment - the benefits of the medical use of marijuana for the patient would exceed the risks;

• allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to raise a medical defense in court; and

• prohibit the public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana, among other common sense restrictions.

Between now and the beginning of April, if every person receiving this message contacted their legislators and successfully encouraged one friend or family member to reach out to their legislators also – that might generate enough “political cover” to get the legislators in Austin to do the right thing and support Representative Naishtat's bill.

We need your help telling people what we are trying to achieve and explaining how they can join you in playing an important role in speaking up for safe access. You can find who represents you in the Texas State Legislature, and their contact information, by inserting your address at the following link: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

Thank you for demonstrating your courage and commitment by speaking up for safe access!

Happy Holidays,

Noelle Davis
Executive Director
Texans for Medical Marijuana

www.TexansforMedicalMarijuana.org

11 comments:

Jason said...

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20921083-421,00.html

What do they have to say about this study?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'll forward the question and ask them. I suspect their answer would be to point to many other studies citing its usefulness for specific ailments and to argue that that's why "medical" marijuana should be doctor-supervised.

For me, even if the study is accurate (and it flies in the face of other research I've seen) it only points to an intellectual catch-22: People with depression, anxiety disorders, etc., self-medicate because of lack of healthcare access and because it might take many doctor visits to correctly diagnose mental health problems. So does the dope cause the mental illness, or is its use higher among such people because they use it to self-medicate? You can't tell from that study, and if it's the latter then it's not an argument against medical pot.

Also, I note the study's authors disagree with a law enforcement approach to marijuana, including a former cop. From the article you cite:

"Mr Palmer said the report was a wake-up call for the way authorities dealt with cannabis use, recalling his time spent as a detective rounding up offenders in drug busts.

"I'm not sure how effective the deterrence was in those incidents, and I'm not sure how many habits we changed as a result of those interventions by police," he said.

"I suspect the answer to both those questions is, in the first case, not very, and in the second case, not many."

"He backed the need for an education campaign similar to those for tobacco and binge-drinking. "

800 pound gorilla said...

People in California seem to be concerned that such registries will serve the DEA to identify "easy targets" for drug raids. Medical marijuana patients are very unlikely to be heavily armed or to flush their "dangerous drugs" down the toilet. Heck, they could probably execute a knock and enter search with positive results... although most in commando style drug raid units would miss the rush of excitement that goes with commando style raids. Hearkens them back to the 'good ole daze' of military special operations when the good guys got the drop on the bad guys.

Rusty said...

It is sad the government has to even be involved with this issue! I have never figured out how they can claim sole possession of a plant THEY DIDN'T AND CAN'T CREATE??? A plant that there has " NEVER " been a death recorded anywhere on this planet due to an overdose on it, " NEVER "!!!

How does one justify harming " MILLIONS " of free Americans who supposedly have Individual Freedoms and Free Will, simply because of choices that harm no one??? If people practiced their faith and minded their own damn business, this wouldn't even be an issue!!! As far as this so called study, why should millions be attacked and their lives and that of their families ruined for the actions and problems OF A FEW???

Hope said...

Jason's study. "The report, released today by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer, analysed the growing body of evidence of the long-suspected link between marijuana use and mental disorders."

Governments and police and "Police Commissioners" are STILL looking for and making up, if they have to, the reason cannabis has such a bad effect on "the degenerate races."

A person would have to be "droned" to believe reports like that from any government. They're scraping up doubtful studies and putting them together in an effort to prove something that's just not true.

They are protecting the huge business of the "war" against cannabis and cannabis users and the whole bag of goodies and "law enforcement" toys they get to dive into.

They are protecting remarkable budgets and remarkable business ventures that depend on the WoD to draw in the steady stream of victims to feed the machine that is making them money and locking up people they aren't afraid of, really, but just flat don't like.

Rusty said...

hope,

WELL SAID, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH!!!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Hi hope, good to hear from you.

Rusty said...

jason,

Instead of buying in to the years of propaganda so those ADDICTED to this CASH COW can continue with their self serving biased and bigoted agendas. Try looking at the truth! Here are some links for ya!

The Myths - www.DrugWarDistortions.org
The Facts - www.DrugWarFacts.org
Weekly Updates- www.drcnet@drcnet.org
Wrongful Deaths - http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/08/17/drugWarVictims.html
Informational- http://www.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=3271

thehim said...

Jason,
That article is completely bogus and it's very easy to prove it wrong. You can simply compare the numbers of people who smoke marijuana in the United States in the early part of the 20th century (hardly anyone) to now (roughly 20 million) and then look at the prevalence of mental illness (it has only changed slightly).

The reality is (and several studies have now shown this very clearly) that people who are predisposed to certain mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, can have their illness exacerbated by marijuana, but marijuana does not cause mental illness.

Hope said...

Thanks Grits and Rusty.

Sometimes a person just has to say something. (Thank you, Grits, for this fine place to speak out.)

The medical marijuana debacle brings up one of those times.

To keep people from getting the help they can get from using the herb is absolutely immoral.

Rusty said...

thehim,

Excellent another TRUTH EDUCATED person, WELL DONE! We at www.leap.cc know we will not be able to reveres 80+ years of propaganda and manipulation over night. But every day we see more Americans and those all over the world refusing to accept this BS any longer!

If one stops and really thinks about all those making a living off the ADDICTION to this CASH COW, criminals and the supposed good guys! The magnitude is unbelievable! Here are a few I can think of, just following an arrest.

Other countries, and special aid and programs, and staff

Fed. and State Governments, and staff.

MADD and other special interest lobbyist organization, and staff

Police, through illegal forfeitures, and staff

Tow Truck and impoundment yards, and staff

Jail, and staff.

Bail Bondsman, and staff

Lawyers, and staff

Insurance comp. ,and staff

DA's, and staff

Courts, and staff

DPS,and staff through tariffs

Probation Departments, and Special programs and staff

Prisons, and special programs ,and staff

Parole Departments, and staff

Have way houses and work release centers and staff.

Drug testing companies and staff from home test kits, schools, employment, hospitals, etc..

Rehabilitation and treatment centers , and staff

Surveillance and specialty companies, and staff

Pharmaceutical companies, and staff

And on and on, get the picture? Now stop and think on this list EACH ONE HAS THOUSANDS of people making a living of this CASH COW.
when you figure in the families of these THOUSANDS of people, YOUR NOW TALKING " MILLIONS OF PEOPLE "!

I guess if we are not the ones physically as well as actually harming the sons and daughters of America, then we can justify making a living off this misery, RIGHT!!! Can some one please show me "" ANY WHERE "" in the teachings of the ALMIGHTY were this is acceptable??? Or that of the founding fathers and their values and beliefs this country was founded on???

I CALL BSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!