Thursday, November 21, 2013

Washington State Medical Cannabis Program Alternatives: A Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis Therapy Treatment Clinic Model

My name is Rick Rosio and I am a Washington State Citizen and an HIV Patient. I am also the program director of Washington’s Veterans for Compassionate Care, a program driven health care delivery clinic model that seeks approval to provide Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis therapy to the Warfighter communities.

The state has issued a new mandate in response to the passage of I-502 calling for all Washington Citizens who are medical patients using Cannabis as a therapy, to follow an entirely new framework for accessing Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis.

After careful review of the proposed amendments to the medical cannabis program of Washington State, we have concluded the proposed changes by the advisory group to the LCBD to merge the medical cannabis program into I-502 regulations is harmful and unacceptable to Washington Citizen/Patients.

We feel this move has the potential to deeply disadvantage the entire spectrum of the vulnerable disabilities communities.

This would effectively end the ability of Washington Citizen/Patients to have whole plant botanical cannabis substance access and make all other vulnerable patient loads exposed to new and unexpected regimes in finding the same type of palpable relief to many of the maladies that these patients have been unable to meet with traditional pharmaceuticals.

The cannabis benefit

The medical literature is full of historical evidence proving that Cannabis is indeed a very significant adjunct to wellness care, having been a “Traditional” substance offered in the medical pharmacopeia for many, many years before the unscientific ugly stain of Prohibition took it out.

It is this ideal of Wellness delivered through a whole plant botanical substance that is the Human Right of every Citizen within the Public Commons! The Cannabis Hemp Plant is a long standing member of the Public Commons, with ancient ties to human engagement for a myriad of uses. As such, it would be Anti-Human to keep the body politic itself out of the Public Commons, so why are we trying to keep a plant that has been a member of that same Public Commons longer than even we humans, when its benefits to humanity are so well enshrined throughout history.

We are Washington Citizens, therefore harken to our own cultural underpinnings of being “Pioneers”… hearty self-directed individuals hell-bent on bringing about a life worth living.

And that is the core of the message we want to bring today, that we are still “Pioneers” attempting to carry on our unique states’ mandate to craft lives worth living for each and every one of our Washington Citizens … for at some point, we will all be patients and deserving of the quality of experience that this spirit of what it means to be a Washington Citizen is all about.

Good compassionate care brought about in the most nurturing and hospitable form it can be delivered in – that is where and why Cannabis Therapy shines so bright, it has all those characteristics that make life worth living.

Affordable medicine

The Washington Medical Cannabis Program has produced a great number of benefits to our citizen/patients.

We have seen many of these vulnerable citizen/patient groups find relief in their increasing economic burdens brought about by an economic climate that has pushed many into situations where they can no longer afford any other option to being able to grow their own Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis and find uses for it that traditional medical treatments are simply not able to deliver.

Therefore, we cannot allow the complete eradication of the Medical Cannabis Program because of the unique abilities of the Cannabis Hemp Plant to meet the needs of our states most vulnerable. The sick and dying need special attention, those with life threatening conditions need specialized treatments, the economically depressed have special needs that only direct personal access to the plant can deliver.

There is a clear mandate for the state to regulate this segment and indeed bringing the benefits of the plant to the larger medical community is a valid long term strategy. The state feels a need to craft a regulatory environment to allow for the roll-out of the I-502 program, making a recreational component of this plant available by taking away the entirety of the existing Medical Cannabis Program.

One does NOT have to mean extinguishing the other.

The people voted for it … in 1998

The state can certainly produce a regulatory system to support a flourishing recreational model, while also crafting a similar regulatory scheme allowing for smart rational parameters that continue to allow for Washington Citizen/Patients who voted for the right to have Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis to continue on a redrawn blueprint for promoting wellness for our own states Citizen/Patients.

The citizens of this state have rights and now, one of them is to Whole Plant Botanical Cannabis and we urge our elected officials to recognize that we the Citizen/Patients have spoken clearly about this issue. The many benefits those that grow are able to achieve should not be totally taken away. The collective garden model is a necessary adjunct for those sick and injured who are not able to garden for themselves.

Now, with the state’s input at this crucial time, a new set of operating protocols can be established allowing for a more specified system that patients can use to guide them in pursuit of a self-directed healthcare regime.

What advances such a model is a regulatory system that affirms the Washington citizens’ rights to behavior consistent with the law of the state. This logically continues to provide for each citizen to care for themselves, with remade limits, either through a personal grow or a reworked collective garden model.

We’ll vote again …

The ideal of providing access point protection and regulation under Washington law is simply a smart and sensible control factor, one that could aid and assist during a transitional period to a full service commercial market place.

We vote, our friends and family members vote …

We will support the right of Washington State Citizen/Patients in keeping to the spirit of the existing medical cannabis program protocols while formulating new operating guidelines that enshrine these originating principles. We will campaign insuring that Washington will not return to a time of prohibitionist attitudes where the sick and suffering live in fear without personal access.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Motivations - Julia Glick

Day 14, September 27


There are some, in the medical cannabis activist community who express to me that violating the law publicly in front of my previous employer is a mistake- that I am motivated by revenge, or that, since the laws governing cannabis are gradually relaxing, there is no need to push this issue into a more direct and confrontational place. I disagree completely with both assertions. This is my response.

The assertion that I am motivated by a desire for payback after my treatment as a nurse is nonsense on its face. Anyone who really knows me understands that revenge is an idea completely reprehensible to me on many levels. Revenge is based upon an unfulfilled feeling that a wrong has not been balanced through some application of justice- that the wronged party has a right to inflict pain on another person because that person inflicted pain on them. It is the law of the jungle, of the Old Testament, of many religions. I am not feeling that and I never have.

Let me be crystal clear: I am motivated for this action because of a much deeper level of appreciation- that even as the political framework creeps slowly towards some measure of justice for medical cannabis patients- the medical establishment of Oregon is stuck in a place which violates its ethics and responsibilities to treat ALL patients with acceptance and dignity and respect.

Let me get to the heart of the matter:

“Benzodiazepines and Marijuana

For different reasons, I advise against concurrent chronic opioids and either benzodiazepines or marijuana. Benzodiazepines and alcohol markedly increase the risk of overdose. The proliferation of state laws permitting medical and recreational use of marijuana make some physicians uncomfortable saying “No” to marijuana. Patients who request marijuana generally do so for “mood modulation.” It doesn’t make sense to me to add a drug to a pain regimen that has the analgesic properties of 50 mg of codeine when it already includes much more potent opioids. Patients should choose between marijuana and opioids, and I’m always surprised how many opt for the former.

 (Oregon Board of medical Examiners Newsletter, January 2013)

The BME newsletter from January 2013 articulates a position towards medical cannabis patients which is untenable on every level. It violates the ethics of medicine which REQUIRE clinicians to form trust relationships based on mutual consideration. It also violates the responsibility of medical systems to continually improve the delivery of health care based upon science and critical thinking.

It indicates a profoundly disturbing delusional process at the top level of Oregon medical practice that blames the victim of opiate addiction, even though it was the physician who made them addicted through over-prescribing of dangerous opiates.

If medical cannabis patients are going to be officially marginalized by the leadership of Oregon medical practice then I am going to speak about it. My lack of a license actually benefits me in that I can express myself without fear of Board of Nursing investigations. I believe I am more a nurse today than I have ever been.

If even one physician or nurse publicly supports this action I will be surprised. The medical board, with the support of the DEA, is an executioner standing forever above the head of any practicing physician who dares to question the utter insanity of this policy. I am not motivated by revenge towards Samaritan Health, but a belief that there are many good people in their system (including many physicians) who really believe that “patients come first”. And that the system is capable of improvement. Medical systems don’t get to pick and choose whom they respect. Treating 98% of patients with acceptance and dignity, while treating 2% with intolerance and rejection undermines the moral authority of the system.

The other criticisim I am hearing is that since the process of change is moving in the direction of increasing sanity why should I rock the boat? It might be perceived as crazy and outrageous by the population of the community.

To this I can only say that if standing up publicly to reject laws which are themselves baseless in actually protecting society is foolish, then I am foolish. If defending cannabis patients who are marginalized, drug tested, humiliated in office visits, subjected to pain contracts, forced to choose opiates or cannabis, rejected by their clinicians, or subjected to ignorant tirades by clinicians is foolish then I gratefully accept that title.

The medical establishment of Oregon is broken. The treatment of cannabis patients is unacceptable. I am giving an opportunity for the community of patients, or anyone rejected by the medical establishment- to voice their concern.

The process of change may be gradually occurring in the state of Oregon but it is not occurring in the offices of the Oregon BME. It is not happening in the Administration of Samaritan Health Services. I suspect that there will soon be new guidelines issued which require OMMP patients to choose either cannabis or opiates. Though reprehensible, perhaps it will be a good thing because tens-of- thousands of patients will stop using dangerous opiates. However forcing them with threats and pain contracts will further undermine trust, and subjecting patients to increasing pain for those who cannot rely on cannabis solely, is incomprehensible.

One additional comment: The much heralded process of change in these insane laws does not extend to the federal government or federal administrative level. Cannabis patients are utterly victimized by federal laws, and the change of administration and some funding increases will renew the war on patients. Also, the Dispensary Bill (HB 3460) passed into law this year, will likely be a mess of intruding agencies, fees, regulatory schemes, rules, taxes, surcharges, license fees, security systems, compliance systems, as every agency with some interest is lobbying to create some revenue stream for themselves. Even the OMMP itself is an over priced protection racket, extorting hundreds of dollars from patients in order to maybe keep the Oregon Sheriff from arresting them on some other charge. The price of cannabis in the dispensaries will sky rocket, and the black market will proliferate. That is my prediction.

Perhaps we are moving gradually in the right direction, but we have a long way to go. I intend to speed it up. I am doing my best to make change happen, and to act in a way which honors my life commitment to nursing. I am throwing this out to the community, and if what I am articulating is in fact real, the community of patients will respond. If it is fabricated then I will make a tiny impact, but I hardly doubt that this action will negatively reflect on the cannabis community unless I completely mess it up.

I take refuge in a belief that things can be a lot better, and that time for me to act is limited. I also take enormous strength from the people who I have tried to assist for these many years. I will assist them in every way I can, and frankly, I am mystified by the historical timidity of Oregon’s cannabis activist community. What I am planning is really pretty tame. We should be closing down the BME, we should be bringing business as usual to a halt, like my gay brothers and sisters did so well in response to the AIDS crisis many years ago.

Julia Glick

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

El Dorado County

Dave Bishop

It was a diverse group of people at the BOS in El Dorado county yesterday...there were people calling for complete bans because they had a personal demon or experience that, in their minds, demonstrated a need to ban cannabis at all levels...there was even a guy who insisted that there were dozens of pills that works just fine. And then he said, how his heart went out to those people that REALLY needed it, but then, it was back to, I don't believe it should be allowed. We had the drug free divide speak about the kids, but nobody suggested that someone, anyone, should teach their kids better, than to steal..

There were many people that spoke of the benefits of cannabis use and how these ordinances would surely cause them harm and suffering, then, at the end of the day, the supervisors passed two ordinances. The first allows the existing dispensaries to remain open, and the second effectively forces people that HAD been collectively cultivating, into those dispensaries. People will be allowed a 200 sq. ft. garden on properties of an acre to five acres, 400 for ten acres, and six hundred for twenty acres or more. BUT only THREE people may utilize any one parcel. This is a silly ass provision, as many people COULD collectively cultivate, within those guidelines.

Most of us went away feeling as though the board of supervisors, especially Mikulako, couldn't care less. It is frustrating to see the pain in the eyes of those this affects, and not want to scream out some sort of obscenity... This issue will be revisited in six months. Personally, I hope that when the smoke clears(no pun intended),that this outdoor grow ordinance doesn't create any issues for anybody...but I suspect, that El dorado county may have a number of actions taken against them, and whether or not those actions are successful , it will be an ugly time for our county, and a costly time. AND, since some things bare repeating, keep in mind, it is NOT my job to teach YOUR children what is right and what is wrong.

When those folks start parading the kids around saying they need to be kept safe from this plant, be reminded...honesty starts at is not honesty to steal. If more people took their parental responsibility to heart...well you know.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Suit demands removal of cannabis from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.


For immediate release.

I am Reverend Bryan Krumm, CNP. I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and I have filed a suit in the US District Court for New Mexico demanding removal of cannabis from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. 1:13-cv-00562-RB-LFG. The suit alleges the failure and the futility of the CSA's Administrative Process for scheduling, which is the responsibility of the Attorney General to enforce and which has been delegated to the DEA. These rules were enacted to ensure the safety of the American People.

Tragically, this legal process has been repeatedly violated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, which colludes with the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and National Institute on Drug Abuse in order to maintain the prohibition of Cannabis. Meanwhile, the Attorney General has ignored his responsibility to ensure the DEA acts fairly and legally. I have had a rescheduling petition filed with the DEA for over 3 years and the DEA has failed to respond to my argument, that because Cannabis now has "accepted medical use in the United States" by 20 States and the District of Columbia it is illegal to keep Cannabis in Schedule I. This failure of the administrative process has left me with no other choice than to seek extraordinary relief from the Courts.

In 1988, the DEA refused to remove Cannabis from schedule I of the CSA, in opposition to the recommendation of their own Administrative Law Judge. They cited a lack of "accepted medical use" as their rationale, in spite of overwhelming evidence of the safety and efficacy of Cannabis. There were no State Medical Cannabis Programs at that time. Cannabis now has "accepted medical use" in 20 States and the District of Columbia. The DEA simply looks the other way and continues to insist that "there is no accepted medical use in the United States". The DEA is violating the law by maintaining Schedule I placement of Cannabis in the CSA and in doing so, they have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The Defendants demand that more and better research be done while they actively block FDA approved research protocols looking for potential benefits of Cannabis. They claim that the thousands of studies in peer reviewed medical and scientific journals don't meet their level of scrutiny, while they engage in pseudoscience that is often never subjected to peer review. They simply ignore the large number of studies that have been conducted with smoked Cannabis in both the US and abroad, unless it is a study designed to find harm.

However, the issue at hand is not even about the research. It is about "accepted medical use". The quality of the research is clearly adequate for 20 States and the District of Columbia to have accepted the medical use of Cannabis. Therefore Cannabis does not meet the definition of a Schedule I drug which clearly states it can have "no" accepted medical use in the United States. Cannabis cannot legally remain in schedule I of the CSA if it has accepted medical use.

Cannabinoids, substances found in cannabis, activate specific receptors in the body called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are involved in maintaining homeostasis and regulate many biological systems. Because of this, Cannabis has a broad range of therapeutic value. Because Cannabinoids have little effect on basic life support function, it is virtually impossible to overdose on Cannabis. There has never been a documented overdose death attributable solely to Cannabis. While mild changes in respiratory function can occur from smoking cannabis, we do not see the serious respiratory problems associated with tobacco use. Long term heavy use of cannabis has not been found to have a significant negative impact on overall health, and has been shown to provide significant relief from a great number of ailments.

In my clinical practice, Cannabis has proven to be the only medication consistently effective in treating PTSD. In the United States, 22 veterans suicide every day because there are no legal treatments which are consistently effective in treating PTSD. We have lost more active duty troops to suicide than to enemy fire in Iraq and Afganistan. Certainly the brave men and women who serve our country deserve better than to be denied a safe and effective treatment by appointed bureaucrats who are not held accountable to the American People.

Cannabis also has unique therapeutic value for treating cancer. In cancer, cannabinoids have been shown to induce apoptosis, the normal process of cell death which stops in cancer cells and leads to the development of tumors. Simply stated, cannabis may kill tumors while leaving health cells alone. Cannabis may also inhibit angiogenesis, the process by which tumors take over blood vessels to feed themselves, so cannabinoids starve the tumor. Finally, cannabinoids inhibit metastasis, the spread of the tumor to other areas of the body. Cannabis is far safer than any chemotherapeutic agent but Defendants refuse to allow human studies to be conducted so we can find out if cannabis might help save some of the over half a million Americans projected to die of cancer this year.

Alzheimer's is another disease for which we have no adequate treatments. Cannabis helps to prevent the deposition of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's. It also shuts down the inflammatory processes which lead to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's.

In my clinical practice, Cannabis has also proven to be effective in treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, irritability, anger, psychosis, mood swings, pain, spasticity, cachexia, and even the core behavioral problems associated with profound Autism. It does so with superior safety and oftentimes greater efficacy than available pharmaceuticals. It is unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to stand between these sufferers and the medication they need to alleviate their symptoms.

As a Vet, I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. By causing the death of hundreds of thousands of American Citizens, these agencies have proven that they have no respect for the Constitution or the Freedoms the Constitution is designed to protect. That is why I have brought this suit, to demand that these appointed bureaucrats are made to follow the law.

Rev. Bryan A Krumm CNP

Monday, July 8, 2013

Which State Has Had The Most Marijuana Reform During The 2013 Legislative Session?

With summer in full-swing, and with months of political bickering already behind us, the 2013 legislative session has adjourned for many states, with most of the remaining few finishing their final days. During this session, cannabis reform has been a popular and much-discussed topic in numerous states.

As a result, Colorado now has a regulation and taxation system in place for their newly-legal recreational cannabis industry, legislatures in Illinois and New Hampshire have approved measures legalizing medical cannabis, Vermont lawmakers voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis (which is already in effect), Nevada voted to legalize medical cannabis dispensaries, etc., etc..

With all of the movement made so far this year, one state stands out as having made the most progress in regards to their cannabis policies - the year obviously isn’t over, but we don’t see the outcome changing.

The state? Oregon.

Oregon’s Legislature – and governor – has taken multiple steps to drastically alter the state’s cannabis laws for the better, and activists continue to push for further reform.

Once each of the approved-proposals takes effect, these changes will be made to Oregon’s cannabis laws:
  • The possession of up to an ounce of cannabis will no longer be a misdemeanor charge – it will instead be a civil infraction (Senate Bill 40).
  • The possession of 1 to 4 ounces will be reduced from a felony, to a misdemeanor; even in states like Washington, where small amounts of recreational cannabis has been legalized, the possession of an ounce and a half or more remains a felony (Senate Bill 40).
  • The possession of up to an ounce will no longer result in the suspension of someone’s driver’s license – something that will effect over 5,000 people a year (Senate Bill 82).
  • Dispensaries will be explicitly legalized, finally providing patients in the state with a safe and (hopefully) consistent means to obtain their medicine. The measure which makes this change has been sent to the governor for final consideration; he’s expected to sign it into law (House Bill 3460).
  • Post traumatic stress disorder will be added as a qualifying medical cannabis condition (Senate Bill 281).

In addition to these changes, in April Oregon’s House Judiciary Committee become one of the first legislative committees in U.S. history to approve a measure which would explicitly legalize cannabis; the measure – which would have legalized possession, private cultivation and state-licensed retail outlets – has failed to advance, but has garnered a large amount of attention.

In response to the legislature’s refusal to act upon full legalization, the proponents of last year’s Measure 80 – which would have legalized cannabis in Oregon but failed narrowly in November’s general election - have filed two legalization initiatives (one a constitutional amendment, one a state-law change) aimed at the 2014 ballot.

All-in-all, it’s been a great year for cannabis law reform, especially in Oregon. We couldn’t be more excited to see the changes that will take place in the coming months and in the next legislative session!

Source: The Joint Blog

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's good medicine

Does Granny Need Ganja?

“Marijuana legalization transcends gender, race, class, geography, and age, so it's encouraging to see people from different backgrounds and generations coming together,” Stacia Cosner, SSDP's 26-year-old Associate Director, says. “Young people and seniors don't share a lot of political views and interests, but this is a unique issue that's no longer on the fringe.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Support medical cannabis

Veterans Press Statement -> RE: Senate Bill 281 becomes law:

Who: Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access

Contact: Sgt. Michael Krawitz USAF Disabled 540-365-2141

What: On 6 June 2013 Gov. John Kitzhaber signed SB-281 into law

Oregon: 10 June 2013
By signing SB-281 into law Governor Kitzhaber, as of 1 Jan 2014, adds PTSD as a qualifying condition to Oregon's well established medical cannabis access laws.

Veterans throughout Oregon and indeed the nation whose eyes have been set on this process express gratitude for the swift and decisive action by Oregon's Legislature and Governor making up for years of agony in the futile attempts to broach the entrenched bureaucracy of the Oregon Department of Human Services whose job it was to add this medical condition to the list of those allowed protection of Oregon's medical cannabis access law.

As retired Lt. Commander Al Byrne said "It's About Time"

An effort that Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access [VMCA] has supported from the beginning, adding PTSD to Oregon's law has been an adventure.

VMCA wants to thank Nurse Ed Glick and Atty. Lee Berger for sticking to it through miserable responses from individuals in positions of authority who should know better. Their requests to Oregon's DHS were not only met with inaction but actual hostility at times despite valiant testimony of disabled United States military Veterans flanked by their respective doctors in absolute majority asking for this addition.

VMCA thanks Todd Dalotto and his constituent Senator Boquist for presenting this request to the state legislature and many thanks to all Veterans, EMS, and Police who spoke to their legislators and presented testimony for this bill as well as those survivors of childhood and/or adult trauma whose testimony helped a unchallenged truth become law. The truth? Cannabis works well for PTSD and those who suffer from this medical condition have real evidence and deserve our respect and compassion.

VMCA thanks Anthony Taylor, Director of Compassionate Oregon and Sam Chapman without whose tireless efforts this bill would have been much slower on the uptake and probably wouldn't have passed this year.

Adding to the growing list of states where cannabis is listed specifically as allowed for treatment of PTSD Oregon joins Delaware, Connecticut and New Mexico as well as Massachusetts and California who, wisely, allows doctors to decide these things as well as Washington and Colorado who, maybe even more wisely have re-legalized all personal use by those over 21.

Considering extreme rates of suicide amongst our disabled Veterans taken together with a host of pharmaceuticals that, in this case, suck and the extraordinarily good results we have seen from Veterans who have been able to integrate cannabis into their PTSD regimens VMCA joins Mr. Byrne in saying "It's about time"!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Science Over Ideology? An open letter to President Obama

Science Over Ideology?
And yet the war on pot continues

MAY 9, 2013 - 1:00AM | BY JIM GREIG

An open letter to President Obama:

I am a disabled American worker who uses state approved marijuana for medical reasons. I am offended that you choose to consider me a criminal.

Mr. President, we all know that you smoked a lot of weed as a youth, and that your cannabis consumption did not prevent you from becoming this nation's elected leader. But what seems to be passing over your head, sir, is that had you been arrested for possession of pot, you most certainly would never have become president of the U.S.

You should know that during your first four years in office, while you dodged and dismissed the marijuana issue, some three-quarters of a million people were arrested each year for possession — about three million marijuana arrests just in your first term. I'm curious how that fact fares when we consider your statement at Northwestern University in 2004 that the “war on drugs has been an utter failure."

Mr. President, I'd really like to understand where you're coming from. With 80 percent of U.S. voters supporting medical marijuana legalization and a slim majority favoring adult use, I have a hard time comprehending your reluctance to act properly.

There is no risk to you — and certainly your fellow Democrats in Congress could stand a boost in their popularity.

Mr. Obama, may I remind you that when you were elected, one of your initial points on how your administration would operate revolved around supporting science rather than ideology. You said "promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.”

Well sir, I'm not sure how to break this to you, because it might be "inconvenient" but there is no scientific legitimacy behind the illegality of cannabis in any of its forms. Surely you must agree that the continued prohibition of industrial hemp is absurd. And to deny patients like myself legitimate access to a non-toxic, non-addictive, grow-it-at-home substance that greatly reduces my consumption of toxic pharmaceuticals, is cruel and capricious.

As our commander-in-chief you should know that today 22 veterans will commit suicide. Tomorrow, 22 more. In this country nearly two dozen veterans take their own lives every day. A lot of them suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When University of Arizona psychiatrist Dr. Sue Sisley put together a study to find how effective cannabis is as a treatment for combat veterans with PTSD she first had to gain FDA and VA approval. Green-lighted from both agencies, her next step was to gain approval from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse. Since NIDA's mission is to find only the harms of drugs, her application was quickly rejected.

In February I was in Washington, D.C., attending the Americas for Safe Access Unity Conference. While there I had the opportunity to meet Dr. John Schwarz, a physicist best known as one of the "fathers of string theory."

In a November 2012 Huffington Post op-ed, Schwarz, who's wife is a medical marijuana patient, criticized your administration for "ignoring scientists' voices on medical marijuana policy ... and severely restricting their ability to conduct new research."

He went on to say the "acceptance of science has come a long way since Galileo was arrested as a heretic for questioning the order of the universe. Yet today, the federal government ignores scientific facts accepted around the globe — not to mention the will of the American people — to cling to outdated ideological policies and restrict marijuana research. This is hardly the 'free and open scientific inquiry' President Obama touted in 2009."

Please, Mr. President. I would like to believe that you are not a hypocrite — that you believe in both science and the will of the American people. You cannot lose, sir, you can only gain.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

Original article

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Medical Cannabis - Healing with an herbal medicine

We are raising funds for a project that will produce educational videos about how marijuana is used in the treatment of various medical conditions. We need to raise at least $20,000 to get this project started. We will produce professional quality videos with medical cannabis experts and patients describing how they use marijuana to treat their condition.

Click here to donate

Thank you for your support!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Rick Doblin reply to Bonner

Subject:   Rick Doblin reply to Bonner - LA Times:  Ex-DEA Head Bonner claims no studies support mj efficacy and that the DEA/NIDA has never blocked a single study

From: Rick Doblin
Date: February 1, 2013

What follows below is a reply I wrote to Bonner's article in the LA Times.  I tried to post it below the article but I'm not sure if my text will actually be posted. There was a word limit and I had to post it in five segments. The posts are moderated which adds another layer of review.  You can circulate this however you wish.

Dear Mr. Robert Bonner,

Hello from Rick Doblin, Ph.D., (Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, with my dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana).  I'm currently Executive Director of the non-profit research and educational organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS,, which I founded in 1986.  You may be surprised to learn that for the last 20+ years, I have been inspired by, and frequently quote, your 1992 statement that you mention in your article above in which you encouraged advocates of medical marijuana to conduct more research.

In 1992, you wrote, “Those who insist that marijuana has medical uses would serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more legitimate scientific research, rather than throwing their time, money and rhetoric into lobbying public relations campaigns and perennial litigation."

I have put my full energies for the last 20+ years into trying to conduct FDA-approved medical marijuana drug development research. Unfortunately, my experience, to which I hope you will give some credence, is exactly opposite of the open door to research that you claim exists.  MAPS has obtained FDA and IRB approval for three different  protocols to which NIDA refused to sell any marijuana, preventing the studies from taking place. In addition, NIDA refused for 7 years to sell MAPS 10 grams (!!) of marijuana for laboratory research investigating the vapors that come out of the Volcano vaporizer, compared to smoke from combusted marijuana.

Furthermore, MAPS has been involved for the last decade in litigation against DEA for refusing to license Prof. Craker, UMass Amherst, to grow marijuana exclusively for use in federally regulated research. In 2007, DEA Administrative Law Judge Bittner recommended, after extensive hearings with witness testimony, that it would be in the public interest for DEA to license Prof. Craker to grow marijuana under contract to MAPS, ending the NIDA monopoly on the supply of marijuana legal for use in FDA-regulated studies.  DEA waited for almost two years and then rejected the ALJ recommendation just six days before the inauguration of Pres. Obama. 

On May 11, 2012, oral arguments took place before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit by Prof. Craker challenging DEA's rationale for rejecting the DEA ALJ recommendation. A ruling is currently pending from the 1st Circuit.  From my perspective, DEA's rationale for rejecting the DEA ALJ recommendation is arbitrary and capricious, but of course what matters is what the 1st Circuit will eventually decide.

In your article above, you claimed, “To the contrary, not a single scientifically valid study by a qualified researcher has ever been denied by the DEA or, for that matter, by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.”   The wiggle room in your statement above is the definition of "scientifically valid study".  One would think that for a privately funded study being conducted without a penny of government money, with the aim of developing marijuana into an FDA-approved prescription medicine, that the FDA would be the regulatory agency to determine whether the study was "scientifically valid” and that Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval would be sufficient to protect the safety of the human volunteers to the study.

However, in 1999, HHS created a policy (which could be reversed by Pres. Obama at any time without Congressional action) stating that PHS/NIDA reviewers would have to conduct an additional review of protocols  from privately-funded sponsors seeking to purchase marijuana from NIDA.  This additional PHS/NIDA protocol review process exists only for marijuana, not for research with any other controlled substance. MAPS has been able to make substantial progress with our research exploring the use of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD, including a current study in 24 US veterans, firefighters and perhaps even police officers with work-related PTSD.

It is these PHS/NIDA reviewers who have rejected all three of MAPS' FDA and IRB approved medical marijuana drug development protocols, preventing them from taking place.  You can claim that the rejection of these protocols was because they were not "scientifically valid".   However, to make that claim, you would be saying that FDA and IRBs have approved studies that are not "scientifically valid", an accusation against the FDA that I doubt you really want to make.

MAPS currently has obtained FDA and IRB approval for a study of marijuana in 50 US veterans with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. Dr. Sue Sisley of UArizona is the PI and approval has been obtained from the UArizona IRB as well as the FDA. Research into a potentially beneficial treatment for US veterans is being blocked by PHS/NIDA reviewers who rejected this protocol.  These PHS/NIDA reviewers approached the protocol review as if we were asking for a government grant for a basic science study. Instead, we were seeking to purchase marijuana from NIDA for a privately-funded drug development study. The PHS/NIDA reviewers made numerous incorrect and uninformed comments and clearly didn't understand drug development research. One reviewer objected to our outcome measures when we are using the FDA-required measure of PTSD symptoms, the CAPS. If you or any readers want to review our protocol along with the PHS/NIDA reviewers' comments and my annotated response, the documents are posted at:

The compete record of Prof. Craker's DEA lawsuit is posted at:

MAPS will soon be resubmitting our marijuana/PTSD protocol for another round of PHS/NIDA review, even though we think this review should be eliminated from the process. All FDA/IRB and DEA approved protocols should automatically be allowed to purchase marijuana from NIDA.

To summarize, you have been an inspiration to me and have motivated me to devote several decades of my life to seek approval for medical marijuana drug development research. My failure to make progress in overcoming the obstruction of medical marijuana research by DEA/NIDA/PHS provides one of the clearest reasons for state level medical marijuana policy reform.

My conclusion is opposite of yours, when you said, "One can only conclude the marijuana proponents did not go this route because doing so would have shown that cannabis is not an effective and safe medicine."

Rather, one can only conclude that privately-funded medical marijuana drug development research is being aggressively and actively obstructed by DEA/NIDA/PHS because they know it can be scientifically proven that marijuana, smoked or vaporized, is both safe and effective.

The heroes in all of this in my eyes are the FDA.  It's not because FDA is pro-medical marijuana, or pro-psychedelic psychotherapy. Rather, FDA is pro science over politics. In other words, FDA are heroes simply for doing their jobs. If only DEA/NIDA/PHS considered the public interest over their increasingly out of touch passion for blocking FDA-regulated medical marijuana drug development research.

I urge you to reread your 1992 statement and join MAPS in asking for the end of the PHS protocol review process and for a new policy in which all FDA/IRB/DEA approved protocols automatically obtain approval to purchase NIDA marijuana. In addition, I sincerely hope you will also support DEA licensing of Prof. Craker.  It's time to “serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more legitimate scientific research."


Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Executive Director, MAPS
3 Francis Street
Belmont, MA 02478 USA

Date: February 1, 2013
Subject: LA Times: Ex-DEA Head Bonner claims no studies support mj efficacy and that the DEA/NIDA has never blocked a single study,0,5287678.story

The DEA's pot defense [Blowback]
By Robert Bonner
February 1, 2013, 8:23 a.m.

Reacting to a federal appellate court decision upholding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's denial of reclassification of marijuana, The Times states in its Jan. 25 editorial that whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law to permit its prescription as a medicine should be based on science and an evaluation of the facts, rather than on myths. I fully agree.

And yet the editorial is based on the myth that the DEA has made it "nearly impossible" for researchers to obtain marijuana for such scientific studies. To the contrary, not a single scientifically valid study by a qualified researcher has ever been denied by the DEA or, for that matter, by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. And there is ample government-grown marijuana, specifically for research, available at the marijuana farm run by the University of Mississippi. More surprising, as your editorial points out, is that there is still no scientifically valid study that proves that marijuana is effective, much less safe, as a medicine.

As the DEA administrator 20 years ago, I denied the reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I controlled drug because there were no valid scientific studies showing that smoking marijuana was an effective medicine.

In my decision, published in the Federal Register, I interpreted federal law and set forth a five-part test that included whether there were valid scientific studies demonstrating that marijuana was safe and effective for treating any medical condition. I noted that at that time there were none of the kind of controlled, double-blind studies that the Food and Drug Administration would require before approving a new drug application, and I clearly spelled out that this would be necessary before marijuana would be reclassified to a lower schedule that would permit its use as a physician-prescribed medicine.

Essentially, I invited those who advocate marijuana use as a medicine to conduct research and then present it to the DEA. I laid out a road map for what they needed to do. If scientifically valid studies demonstrated that marijuana was ‘effective’ and ‘safe’, as the FDA defines those terms, the agency would reclassify marijuana into one of the other schedules.  It is amazing that 20 years later there is still no such scientific study establishing that marijuana is effective as a medicine. And yet in the interim, the well-funded marijuana lobby, including the National Assn. for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and others, have spent tens of millions of dollars on convincing voters to pass medical marijuana initiatives based on anecdotes but not science.

The reason the FDA and the DEA have scientific standards is because snake-oil salesmen are able to sell just about anything to sick people without any scientific proof that it has a truly helpful therapeutic effect. If proponents of medical marijuana had invested even a small fragment of their money in scientifically valid studies, we would know one way or the other whether it works.

One can only conclude the marijuana proponents did not go this route because doing so would have shown that cannabis is not an effective and safe medicine. Alternatively, we are left to conclude that their agenda was not about marijuana to help sick people, but rather was getting voters to pass medical marijuana initiatives as a wedge to legalize the drug for “recreational" use.