Medicinal cannabis patients classed as ‘drug addicts’ by Oregon sheriffs

13 04 2011

Despite the amount of illegal firearms and genuinely harmful drugs that America seems to be knee-deep in, police in Oregon are concerned that card-holding medicinal marijuana users might be legally carrying guns.

Under the U. S. Gun Control Act of 1968, guns may not be sold to drug addicts. Most people would agree that this is a good idea, as the mental image of a ‘drug addict’ is almost always negative: shaking, dirty, paranoid, and incapable of rational thought. Nobody wants to arm that person.

An elderly medicinal marijuana user

An elderly medicinal marijuana user in Oregon (image courtesy of NORML)

Concealed Handgun Permits are refused

The sheriffs of Oregon, however, are classing medicinal cannabis users as drug addicts and refusing to issue concealed handgun permits to them. The sheriff’s office, by state law, should not refuse to grant such a license provided a list of conditions is met. These conditions usually  include U.S. citizenship, completing  a gun safety course, no criminal record, no mental illness or substance abuse problems. Again, these are all reasonable requirements, but the medicinal cannabis patients who fulfill them are still being refused the permit.

Use of prescribed marijuana should not limit a person’s rights

Retired school bus driver Cynthia Willis is one such patient, and along with three co-plaintiffs she is part of a potentially landmark case currently under consideration by the Oregon Supreme Court. Cynthia likes to carry a Walther P-22 automatic pistol, which she says she’s never had to draw, for self-defense. She also uses cannabis to control muscle spasms and pain from her arthritis, but says she never uses it when she plans to carry her gun (or drive). So far she’s won two court cases on the argument that prescribed drug use does not disqualify a person from holding a concealed gun permit, and medicinal cannabis is a prescribed drug like any other.

Outdoor medicinal marijuana

An outdoor medicinal marijuana crop in America

More at stake than the right to carry a concealed firearm

What is at stake here is not just the right of medicinal cannabis users to carry (concealed) firearms: by Oregon law, if someone doesn’t have a concealed gun permit but does have a gun license, they can simply carry the gun openly, as Cynthia plans to do if she loses her case. Given the tragic events in Alphen aan den Rijn on Saturday as the latest in a long line of horrific shootings by licensed gun owners throughout the world,  it can be argued that gun licenses should be revoked altogether.

How do you abuse your own medicinal cannabis crop?

The underlying issue of concern in Oregon is the classification of medical marijuana patients as ‘drug addicts’, with all the negative connotations of this epithet. Although cannabis seeds have never been illegal in Oregon, and it was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of bud back in 1973, courts recently decided that employers had the right to fire medicinal cannabis users. The sheriffs of this county openly argue that the majority of medicinal card holders are abusing the right to use ganja as a medicine, despite the fact that buying, selling, and dispensaries are still prohibited so patients must grow their own (or have someone grow it for them without profit) in order to do so.

Flyer for the Oregon NORML Cannabis Cafe, with buds

NORML is active in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.

Defending the rights of medical marijuana users

Executive Director of NORML Allen St. Pierre is focused on defending the right of every medicinal marijuana card holder to be treated like any other citizen: “A person who uses medical cannabis should not have to give up their fundamental rights as enumerated by the Constitution,”‘ St. Pierre said.

Source material for this article here .





Czech police wants to use seized cannabis for treatment

2 02 2011

Well it’s definitely an idea only a cop could come up with, but while being surrealistic, it seems to reignite the debate on medical cannabis in a country where all drugs are already decriminalized in small amount.

Obviously the Justice Minister of the Czech Republic sees in this idea an opportunity to lower costs for his ministry not to dismiss it, but the expert quoted in the original article is right about the quality of the cannabis grown in illegal operations. It’s just not grown for such purpose.

cannabis farm police
Rather than seizing it, why not grow it?

The junior government Czech Public Affairs (VV) party supports the idea of marijuana being legalised for for medical purposes. But while first thinking about importing  cannabis from Holland, they now appear to be tempted by the cut in costs such initiative would create, not seeing any troubles in using weed from the black market to provide for patients’ treatment .

Maybe this is the opportunity to think about the legislation in a different way for medical marijuana since more and more Czech state institutions and politicians support the use of hemp for medical purposes.

Well even if the idea is not a safe one for patients, at least it opens the debate on medical cannabis. Let’s just hope this will lead to a new law legalising the medical use of cannabis in yet an other European country. And if police wants to help, they could provide with the grow equipment from previous seizure rather than the weed itself.

Sources: Cannabis Culture





Mexico former president advocates for drug legalization

11 08 2010
And here’s one more former politician advocating for legalization of drugs!
It seems that quite a few of them can have a totally different speech once they retire. This double-sided view doesn’t reassure much when you realize these guys have the power, or better to say, they serve it. The organised crime in Mexico has indeed more power than it’s own government when it comes to war.
Maybe that is the lesson Vincente Fox, former president of Mexico, learned since he left his office. Not even a week after the current president Calderon opened the door for discussions about the legalization of drugs, Fox’s comment on his blog shows his support to such initiative.
“We should consider legalizing the production, distribution and sale of drugs,” said Fox, who served as president from 2000 to 2006 and is a member of President Calderon’s conservative National Action Party. “Radical prohibition strategies have never worked.”
“Legalizing in this sense does not mean drugs are good and don’t harm those who consume then,” he wrote. “Rather we should look at it as a strategy to strike at and break the economic structure that allows gangs to generate huge profits in their trade, which feeds corruption and increases their areas of power.”

According to Fox, the government could tax legalized drug sales to finance programs for reducing addiction and rehabilitating users.

Fox, who left office with low approval ratings, came under criticism for starting an anti-cartel crackdown aimed at arresting the gangs’ leaders.
The approach led to power vacuums that fed brutal fighting among rival cartels, bringing violence that has killed more than 28,000 people since Calderon took office.

Drug violence has damaged “the perception and image of the country, and economic activity, particularly in tourism and foreign investment,” Fox said.
Mexico already eliminated jail time for possessing small amounts of cannabis, cocaine, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine in 2009, giving it some of the world’s most liberal drug laws.

Several Latin American countries have decriminalized possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use, but legalization has been slower in coming.

In his blog, Fox harshly criticized widespread drug violence. “The first responsibility of a government is to provide security for the people and their possessions… today, we find that, unfortunately, the Mexican government is not complying with that responsibility.”

He has a point. It seems that their government provided more for the cartels by wasting money on a lost war rather than for the rest of their population.
No wonder why the organised crime is known as the octopus, cut a tentacle and it will grow again! Best way is to starve it to death…




Veterans Affairs makes exception for Medical Marijuana

26 07 2010

A veteran who grows his own cannabis for medical purpose

The Department of Veterans Affairs will formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification that veterans have sought for several years.

A department directive, expected to take effect next week, resolves the conflict in veterans facilities between federal law, which outlaws marijuana, and the 14 states that allow medicinal use of the drug, effectively deferring to the states.

The policy will not permit department doctors to prescribe marijuana. But it will address the concern of many patients who use the drug that they could lose access to their prescription pain medication if caught.

Under department rules, veterans can be denied pain medications if they are found to be using illegal drugs. Until now, the department had no written exception for medical marijuana.

This has led many patients to distrust their doctors, veterans say. With doctors and patients pressing the veterans department for formal guidance, agency officials began drafting a policy last fall.

“When states start legalizing marijuana we are put in a bit of a unique position because as a federal agency, we are beholden to federal law,” said Dr. Robert Jesse, the principal deputy under secretary for health in the veterans department.

At the same time, Dr. Jesse said, “We didn’t want patients who were legally using marijuana to be administratively denied access to pain management programs.” Read the rest of this entry »





We declared a war on ourselves, not drugs!

15 06 2010

As the country of origin for the war on drugs, the USA is the perfect example to overview the consequences of such measure.

As some Americans have been, and continue to be, pointing at the utility of such measures, Tony Newmann, communications director for the Drug Policy Alliance gives his view on the conception of drugs:

ALL OF US USE DRUGS, BUT ONLY SOME OF US GO TO JAIL!

Despite a $40 billion a year “war on drugs” that is premised on the goal of creating a “drug-free society,” our country is swimming in drugs.

Most people start using drugs before they even leave the house in the morning.  Yes, that first cup of coffee is what many of us need to start the day.  The next drug that millions of Americans use, sometimes up to 20 times a day, is our nicotine! And then, after a long day of work, many of us head to a local bar or to our refrigerator and pour ourselves a cocktail, ice cold beer or a nice glass of wine.

And I’m just getting started.  There are over 100 million Americans who have used marijuana.  Thirty years after Nancy Reagan told us to “Just Say No,” half of high-school seniors will try marijuana and 75% will try alcohol before they graduate.  And what about the college students who use Ritalin to help them focus and put in long hours at the library? And how about all of the superstar athletes who use performance enhancing substances? What about all of the men ( and women ) who are deeply grateful forthe “little blue pill”? And how about the businessmen who stay up until three in the morning with the help of a “little bump”?

Drugs are so popular because people use them for both pleasure and for pain.  Drugs can be fun.  How many of us enjoy having some drinks and going out dancing? How many of us enjoy a little smoke after a nice dinner with friends? Many people bond with others or find inspiration alone while under the influence of drugs.  On the flip side, many people self-medicate to try to ease the pain in their lives.  How many have us have had too much to drink to drown our sorrows over a breakup or some other painful event? How many of us smoke cigarettes or take prescription drugs to deal with anxiety or stress? Throughout recorded history, people have inevitably altered their consciousness to fall asleep, wake up, deal with stress, and for creative and spiritual purposes.

Read the rest of this entry »





Balkenende’s Message To Youth: (Some) Drugs Bad, Swearing Good

10 06 2010

Is Jan Peter Balkenende’s publicist on a secret sabotage mission?

The recent photos of the Dutch Prime Minister wandering around in a ‘FUCK DRUGS!’ t-shirt and swigging from a can of Grolsch at two in the afternoon would suggest so.  (see original picture)

He was visiting Volendam, the small fishing village where hard drug use is so prevalent it’s known as ‘Cocaine Town’ in  Amsterdam. Being spiked with Rohypnol and dragged to a festival might have explained all this, as well as why the t-shirt seemed to have been forced onto the politician over the top of his shirt and tie without due care and attention.

The group of laughing blokes in the background, drinking beer and taking phone photos of the CDA leader as he grins like a twit, completes the illusion that this is the PM having it large on a day off rather than a serious flesh-pressing junket just days before a general election.

Read the rest of this entry »





Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe-report

22 03 2010

cannabis - marijuana  usage reportThe annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction was published late last year, so while it´s not exactly ´hot off the presses´ news, the study´s findings and conclusions are well worth mentioning.

The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands’ well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published.  Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures.

A higher percentage of adults in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and France took cannabis last year, the EU agency said, with the highest being Italy at 14.6 percent. Usage in Italy used to be among the lowest at below 10 percent a decade ago.

Countries with the lowest usage rates, according to the Lisbon-based agency, were Romania, Malta, Greece and Bulgaria.

Cannabis use in Europe rose steadily during the 90s and earlier this decade, but has recently stabilised and is beginning to show signs of decline, the agency said, owing to several national campaigns to curb and treat use of the drug.

“Data from general population and school surveys point to a stabilising or even decreasing situation,” the report said.

Source: Reuters.com

Read the full report.








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