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Denied a Liver Transplant for Using Medical Marijuana, and Dying for It!


Health & Wellness  (tags: americans, AlternativeMed, cancer, death, diet, disease, drugs, ethics, food, government, healthcare, medicine, prevention, protection, research, safety, science, study, treatment )

Kit
- 604 days ago - alternet.org
The Heartlessness of Prohibition The tragic fate of Norman B. Smith is all you need to know about to see how senseless it is to make consumption of marijuana a crime.



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Kit B. (276)
Friday April 26, 2013, 7:39 am
Photo Credit: Pablo Evans



Denied a Liver Transplant for Using Medical Marijuana, and Dying for It -- The Heartlessness of Prohibition

The tragic fate of Norman B. Smith is all you need to know about to see how senseless it is to make consumption of marijuana a crime.

After being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009, Norman B. Smith applied to the liver transplant list at Cedar-Sinai hospital. While waiting for a transplant, Mr. Smith underwent chemotherapy in an attempt to destroy the cancer eating away at his liver. This caused severe side-effects, common to many cancer patients. In an attempt to curb the pain, and on the recommendation of his oncologist, Mr. Smith began using medical marijuana. Cannabis has become increasingly common as a medicine of choice for patients undergoing chemotherapy, since it increases appetite and reduces pain—minimizing the chance of a patient developing cancer related wasting syndrome. Finally, in September of 2010, Mr. Smith was notified that he was eligible for a liver transplant and was placed on the liver transplant list. Mr. Smith continued his treatment and submitted to drug testing per the hospital's transplant list policy. After testing positive for THC (one of the active chemicals in marijuana), Mr. Smith was taken off the transplant list and denied a life saving procedure. Mr. Smith died because of this. It did not matter to the hospital that Mr. Smith's marijuana use was non-recreational, and was approved by his oncologist as a way to treat his chemotherapy side effects.

This story is a more common than one might think. While working at NORML I received a call from a 19 year-old medical marijuana patient who had a rare liver cancer. This patient tried everything to control the pain and nausea that plagued her everyday. Pills, healthy foods, acupuncture. . . nothing worked. In fact, many of the prescription drugs given to her by her doctor either worsened her nausea or caused other severe side-effects. Finally, she tried medical marijuana, which her oncologist said might be a good option if she could find a reliable source. She tried it, and it worked. After hearing about Mr. Smith, she became terrified that her marijuana use might jeopardize her chances of getting a new liver. How could this be possible? "I want my liver transplant, but I can't imagine living without my medicine, it would be too painful". Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality laws, it is impossible to know how many people like Mr. Smith there are. But the number will continue to grow as marijuana continues to become an accepted treatment for cancer related pain and nausea. These are the human costs of the war on drugs.

Why do hospitals remove medical marijuana patients from their transplant list? One possibility is fear and ignorance. Cedar-Sinai claims that they remove marijuana users from transplant lists for two main reasons, that marijuana use may indicate a substance abuse problem (but taking high-powered and addictive pharmaceuticals does not?) and that marijuana may increase a user's chance of becoming infected with the aspergillus fungus, which may threaten the well-being of the transplanted organ. This theory is bunk and based on speculation, and a recent study featured in the American Journal of Tranplantation found that marijuana users are just as successful after a transplant as non-marijuana users. Another possibility is that hospitals are beholden to pharmaceutical companies who peddle dangerous drugs when there is a safe and affordable alternative; and marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

According to Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Professor Emeritus of Harvard Medical School, pharmaceutical companies oppose medical marijuana because "[they] cannot patent marijuana. . . [and] it will compete with their own products." And although marijuana has a long history of medical use and thousands of years of validation, it is unable to win FDA approval because of the federal government's refusal to change the Controlled Substances Act, and reschedule marijuana out of its current Schedule I status. Schedule I drugs are defined as follows:

A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Any rational human being who has not been sleeping under a rock for the past 40 years recognizes the absurdity of classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance, but efforts to reschedule it have been met with ignorance and special interest fueled political hacks who oppose anything that would re-think the fallacious state of drug policy in this country.

Even though several states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, the plant still remains illegal to possess for any reason under federal law. Doctor's who recommend the substance may also risk reprimand from the DEA, and although it has not happened, the revocation of a doctor's DEA license is a real possibility for those physicians that recommend cannabis to patients. The federal government's continued prohibition against cannabis is a hallmark example of capture by special interests.

Prohibition undermines the civil liberties of Americans, and creates an irrational and irresponsible environment. This environment causes hospitals to remove patients from transplant lists, causes employers to fire otherwise good employees, and has put tens of millions of Americans into the criminal justice system. This debate ended long ago. The real winner has already been declared. There is no rational reason for Marijuana to be listed as a Schedule I substance or to criminalize its possession, sale, or distribution. By upholding the status quo, politicians show where their true allegiance lies, with special interests and uninformed culture-warriors.
***links for additional information within body of article****

By: Matthew Donigian | alternet |

Matthew Donigian is a third year law student at the University of Illinois College of Law (graduating this May). Before starting this blog I interned as a student public defender for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a legal intern for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“NORML”) where I wrote several articles for the NORML blog. My work has been cited in Reason and has been published in the Journal of Law, Technology and Policy’s “Timely Tech”. I am also the developer of the NORML Android application, and am learning more about web development at Codeacademy, Udacity, and Coursera.
 

Gene Jacobson (255)
Friday April 26, 2013, 8:05 am
"After testing positive for THC (one of the active chemicals in marijuana), Mr. Smith was taken off the transplant list and denied a life saving procedure. Mr. Smith died because of this. It did not matter to the hospital that Mr. Smith's marijuana use was non-recreational, and was approved by his oncologist as a way to treat his chemotherapy side effects."

Insanity defined. I can almost understand not putting someone on a transplant list if they are using drugs or alcohol in ways that would likely cause the transplant to fail, but this is beyond reason. This is dogma. The reasons listed are bogus and the young law student's position unassailable. That big pharma can't profit from this is not known. Legalize cannabis, treat it like alcohol, sell and tax it. They just can't patent it but that doesn't mean they can't grow and sell it. The highest moral crime humanity commits is putting dollars before people. And this is the classic example of how that is done and the deadly effects of doing so. We simply have to allow this marvelous plant back into our lives - its utility in so many ways make hemp a useful and worthy product, clothing, construction there is virtually nothing in which it can't be made useful, including the practice of medicine. I hope that man's family is in process of winning a monster sized award against this hospital which knows nothing of medical ethics nor human ethics, they are not the same, though they should be. It is time this ill-conceived ban be revoked permanently. With the healthy side effect of getting rid of a lot of drug cartels. Win-win. Which of course makes it anathema to politicians, in this case, as in so many, the people know best. And the people favor legalizing the use of this harmless drug and its use in myriad other useful ways as well. Time for politicians to catch up though that is duecedly hard for them to do - witness their inaction on gun control. But it is important, both are, and we all need to keep telling our elected representatives so until they finally GET the message.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Friday April 26, 2013, 8:05 am
Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. And very sad.
 

tasunka m. (338)
Friday April 26, 2013, 8:16 am
RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEY GAVE DAVID CROSBY A NEW LIVER,AND HE WAS IN AND OUT(ESCAPED) MANY REHAB CENTERS FOR A LOT MORE THAN POT.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday April 26, 2013, 9:38 am

As long at the US continues this insane policy of the War on Drugs, these things will keep happening.
 

Dandelion G. (384)
Friday April 26, 2013, 10:28 am
Unfortunately for Norman B. Smith he wasn't a David Crosby or someone connected to some Politician. As I was told as a child, it's not what you know but who you know......and also who you are. The double standards in this Country just go on and on.

This needs to stop, Norman B. Smith even had his Oncologist behind him on this one, yet it didn't matter to what his Dr. felt was appropriate for his patient. Decriminalize this plant that our Creator offers us, how dare individuals place their warped since of justice above someone else getting medical care that works for them.
 

pam w. (191)
Friday April 26, 2013, 10:52 am
How do these ''medical experts'' LIVE with themselves?

I'm stunned.
 

Jane K. (10)
Friday April 26, 2013, 11:11 am
We need to decriminalize marijuana . It seems we learned nothing from the prohibition of alcohol. That didn't work and the prohibition of marijuana will never work either. Take the crime away and we gain tax money as well as the money saved from not chasing marijuana users and then keeping them imprisoned. The best outcome would be that we will gain a much needed medical treatment for those like Mr. Smith. Keeping marijuana use a crime is cruel and senseless.And what was done to Mr Smith should be treated as a crime instead. They essentially condemned him to death.
 

lee e. (114)
Friday April 26, 2013, 11:36 am
Pot has got to be legalized and sold as a valid medication and recreational drug! I agree with the others who posted, this is utter insanity!
 

Vicky P. (466)
Friday April 26, 2013, 11:44 am
horrible, no one should be denied a transplant for something so stupid, they will just let him die now because they don't believe it's right? Pathetic.
 

Lynn D. (0)
Friday April 26, 2013, 12:04 pm
Truly just pathetic ---him and his whole family are in my thoughts and prayers!
 

Gloria picchetti (300)
Friday April 26, 2013, 12:07 pm
Terrible. All pot should be legal.
 

Robert B. (58)
Friday April 26, 2013, 2:00 pm
Marijuana is a natural plant that does not kill or poison people. There are other plants that can kill you, yet they are not banned. This whole thing is absurd. The morons that denied this man a transplant are, in my opinion, guilty of manslaughter by incompetence and stupidity. They should be sued and removed from any position of decision making.
 

Birgit W. (152)
Friday April 26, 2013, 2:34 pm
Discrimination! Outrageous.
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Friday April 26, 2013, 2:48 pm
Thank you! (N, P, T)
 

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (281)
Friday April 26, 2013, 3:58 pm
OUTRAGEOUS
 

Allan Yorkowitz (448)
Friday April 26, 2013, 4:03 pm
The tragegy of this is just heartbreaking. NY, do something about this!
 

Angelika R. (144)
Friday April 26, 2013, 5:23 pm
I wonder how many more years, decades may have to pas and how many more lives be sacrifyced until that war on drugs will finally be ended. Btw, how come Nestlé managed to get a patent on the FENNEL FLOWER (! ) that we are currently fighting with petitions? I don't see any difference. Not getting a patent for hemp/medical maijuana is certainly the ONLY reason.Frankly, I would not even doubt if govt itself in all secrecy has been the only owner of that patent in some form for long time.
 

Munro Tapper (80)
Friday April 26, 2013, 5:25 pm
So stupid. I wish this news was surprising.
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday April 26, 2013, 5:31 pm

The US government owns the patents on Marijuana.

That is the worst part of this article, it came as no surprise.
 

Yvonne White (233)
Friday April 26, 2013, 6:46 pm
But it's okay when doctors give them loads of perscriptions from Big Pharma - some which may have made a new liver necessary...:(
 

Kit B. (276)
Friday April 26, 2013, 7:20 pm

Well, duh Yvonne. How they gonna keep those dollar signs rolling in? Got to keep the medical industrial complex rolling in those patients.
 

Laurie H. (730)
Friday April 26, 2013, 8:51 pm
The entire system reeks!!!! Is there any value to life anymore?????? Sometimes I think the human race is going backwards, not advancing as we are lead to believe. Disgusting situation, just heartbreaking!!!!~ Thanks Kit for posting~~
 

Stuart Thomas (519)
Friday April 26, 2013, 10:28 pm
Noted. Anyone who is having deep pain which can be relieved with medical marijuana should be allowed to take it and not be penalized for doing so.

Thank you for the posting, Kit.
 

Sherri G. (117)
Friday April 26, 2013, 11:33 pm
This one really struck a sensitive nerve for me. I was 34 years old my whole life ahead of me when I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) life expectancy 1 year if they could get me into remission (about 5% in 1978). I almost died several times from the chemotherapy drug Adriamycin (HCL acid). I got Hep C from one of many blood and one white cell transfusions. I lost my hair, couldn't eat, was rushed to the hospital many times with pain so severe I that I prayed I would die. They never found what was going south during chemo. DURING ALL OF THIS TIME I COULDN'T EAT & LOST A LOT OF WEIGHT. My doctor Oncologist and Hematologist Dr. Wallace Sampson said he recommended marijuana if I could get any. They took me off chemotherapy for 6 weeks because my liver enzymes were so high they thought the Hep C was going to kill me. After 6 weeks my bone marrow test showed the AML cancer was moving quickly so Dr. put me back on chemotherapy starting it over from the beginning. Dr. told me AML was going to kill me faster than the Hep C. FINALLY ENTER MARIJUANA. Doctors and nurses turned their heads because they watched for weeks while I unable to eat, losing weight, found crawling to the bathroom, in horrible pain, and near death. Pot couldn't stop the pain and it certainly didn't cure me but finally I could eat a little. I lost the little bit of hair I had grown over 6 weeks. Now, I finally could go home. Fortunately I did not have the internal bleeding and complications that caused the pain again. After getting through the 2nd chemo induction and maintenance injections for 10 weeks my Dr got me into my first and luckily a lasting remission. I have lived with HEP C from the blood transfusions I got then but thanks the great Mother I didn't get AIDS! KEEPING FOOD DOWN AND BEING ABLE TO GO HOME AND BE WITH MY FAMILY MADE ME STRONG ENOUGH TO GET THROUGH A VERY FAST ACTING BLOOD CANCER & CHEMO. It is absolutely ludicrous that a hospital ANY HOSPITAL should deny a liver transplant because someone tested positive for THC to ease nausea. Today so long as Dr. Sampson was my oncologist and hematologist and I was cared for by El Camino Hospital and still had the support of my family I would make it. HOWEVER, if I subsequently had HEP C so bad as to require a transplant I don't know what I would face. It is criminal to be denied a transplant because someone used marijuana to help with nausea. These hospitals should be sued big time. Living with HEP C for 35 years worried me that I would require a transplant. But, not to worry females over 65 have little to no chance to qualify for a transplant. CAVEAT: if you know someone who gets A.M. Leukemia my complications from chemotherapy were unique to me and not typical to chemotherapy. The only improvement today for this type of leukemia is a bone marrow transplant. Otherwise, chemo is still the treatment. I met another one of my Dr.'s patients, also with AML, she was able to handle chemo, as an outpatient and suffered none of the pain and side effects I went through although we had exactly the same treatment. Her name was Marilyn, a friend, who was unable to stay in remission. Our Dr. said if he had been forced to bet on which of us would survive he would have bet it would be Marilyn based on her lack of side effects and complications. Marilyn continued to work during chemo until she passed away at her 3rd attempt to achieve remission. My CAVEAT: don’t let my story of pain guide you away from traditional scientific based treatment because I had the complications of pain. Dr. Wallace Sampson lectured and wrote about quack medicine and so called miracles. Chemo was then and still remains the only chance I had or would have today unless I qualified for a bone marrow transplant. Knowing what I do I would still take the risk and endure what I did. Chemo always attacks the weakest link in our physiology but well worth the risk. Somehow or someway I would get Marijuana again. I never once got high but I was finally able to stabilize my weight loss and my hair grew back curly. Then it started going straight again and I asked my Dr. why. He smiled and said I don't know I have never had someone live long enough to see it happen before. I think the Dr. has since passed on but thanks to him I have gone on to have and enjoy 3 grandchildren. No one could take my blood today and tell I ever had Leukemia. AML takes adults, often in their prime, with a life expectancy of one year unless you achieve a lasting first remission. IT IS TIME for hospitals to stop using whatever STUPID THING they can to disqualify people for transplants and it is TIME NOW for more people to DONATE their organs. Living with liver disease especially when it is shutting down is very painful and anyone and everyone someday should be able to qualify for transplants. Hopefully we will be able to grow a liver from stem cells. The very rich will always be able to buy a liver. It is the middle class and poor who will be bumped for even the most stupid reason as testing positive for Marijuana. Thank you Kit gee I wish I had an opinion on this one. lol
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 1:15 am
When do we realize that Prohibition is the real crime, and Prohibitionists the real criminals?
 

Julie W. (22)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 2:55 am
I am really disgusted with this. 'Health system'? What a joke ( only nobody's laughing.)
 

paul m. (93)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 4:45 am

Like all Drugs ,, Should be on Percription, ( not for fun use)
 

Marilyn K. (51)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 5:36 am
Unfairness runs rampant in our country. How come Dick Chaney at the age of 71 got a heart transplant while men in their 50's were denied and sentenced to death?
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 9:55 am

Interesting Paul M, it's okay for people to have free access to alcohol for "fun" use, just not Pot. That's some thinking that shows the indoctrination from the past few decades has worked.
 

Inge Bjorkman (147)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 10:19 am
In Sweden dare to not even mention the legalization of marijuana, police register link immediately.
Love, Peace and Understanding
 

Inge Bjorkman (147)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 10:42 am
In Sweden dare to not even mention the legalization of marijuana, police register link immediately.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 11:13 am

What a shame! I would have hoped for more enlightened attitudes from Sweden.
 

Angelika R. (144)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 11:38 am
Kit:"The US government owns the patents on Marijuana.
That is the worst part of this article, it came as no surprise. "
Ok, sorry, I admit I did not read the full article but shows my instincts were correct. Disgusting and criminal!
@ Inge - well yes Sweden is altogether different, even with alcohol.
@ Sherri G - thank you for sharing your INCREDIBLE and amazing story with us, painful to read. I am not exactly sure if it's appropriate to say congrats to you but it looks like that to me. Only i do not understand why you so refuse to think, let alone to believe that it WAS in fact the MARIJUANA that did the wonder and likely cure for you? Had it not been for that stabilizing enebling you to eat again what good would all the rest of the conservative therapy have done? None that I can see.

 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 12:12 pm
It is very saddening to hear of such idiocy. I find this with most laws. There is no gray area or human factor taken into account. The Three Strike Law comes to mind also.
Could it be that they don't want to legalize marijuana as it is said to interfere with the neuro linguistic and other types of programming that the darker halls of government uses? It's an interesting concept if it works.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 2:03 pm
paul m, I see by your profile that your first passion is to ‘ broaden my horizons’. You also point out that one of the things you' ‘can’t live without’ is Freedom.

There is something about those two concepts that contradict everything in your last comment. If you really were to ‘broaden your horizons’, you’d know that the health benefits of cannabis makes your ‘not for fun use’ comment sound really stupid. Shall I conclude that your being from Ireland makes you a heavy user of alcohol, strictly for ‘fun use’? Do you understand that alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs on the planet? Is anyone in Ireland pushing to have alcohol by prescription only? Something tells me that you have a very close relationship with that Blarney Stone.

Perhaps it is time to truly broaden your horizons. Alcohol consumption can, and regularly does, lead to death; but if we put a teenager in a room with a pound of buds and any type of cannabis administration medium (bong, joint, vapouriser or edibles) they will not fatally overdose. They cannot. Cannabinoids are not poisonous to the body, in fact they are Endogenous, meaning the body actually produces them naturally. A cannabis overdose, for want of a better word, is comprised of essentially going to sleep.

Except you wake up.

Unlike alcohol overdose.


 

Lois Jordan (58)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 2:05 pm
I agree that cannabis must be removed from Schedule 1 before anything can change; this has always been true. I also believe that a "big corner will be turned" when MMJ is given freely to patients who need it--at no charge. We have MMJ clinics here in AZ now, and the prices are astronomical in my opinion. I wish I had a green thumb and some guts, because I'd spend a piece of my life tending plants to be freely given to cancer patients and others in dire medical need. (Unfortunately, I didn't get the "gardening gene").
 

Ruth R. (216)
Saturday April 27, 2013, 10:41 pm
Where is or are the petitions(s) to help this person. Where did you find them?
 

paul m. (93)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 4:57 am

Noted..
 

Shanti S. (0)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 7:18 am
Thank you.
 

Ro H. (0)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 8:20 am
Judge and jury!, Who died and made them ______________
(fill in the blank).
 

Nancy C. (812)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 10:49 am
For anyone interested:
Legalize Marijuana
Legalize Marijuana
The Marijuana Legalization Engine
Legalize Marijuana
Legalize Marijuana Canada


 

Val R. (254)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 12:33 pm
this is outrageous!
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 2:25 pm
Thank you Nancy, Re-legalization is the only thing that will put an end to these horrible injustices that Prohibition fosters.

For someone that chooses to use a safer medication than the poisonous pharmaceuticals being pushed on our nation, they should not be penalized with a death sentence.
 

pam w. (191)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 6:55 pm
Jane K. is right...DO NOT LEGALIZE MARIJUANA!

DECRIMINALIZE IT!

Two very different things....should it be ''legal'' to grow tomatoes, basil and rosemary? Of course not---and so it should be for marijuana.

LEGALIZING it can lead to taxes, regulations and trouble. I don't want some inspector poking around in my herbs to see how many little pot plants I'm tending!

 

Daniel Partlow (189)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 8:41 pm
The real crime is denying the liver transplant. In my opinion its murder!
 

Kit B. (276)
Sunday April 28, 2013, 9:10 pm

As a friend at Care2 also pointed out, legalization could lead to GMO Marijuana. That would be catastrophic.
 

Diane L. (110)
Monday April 29, 2013, 12:01 am
Thank you, Kit for posting this. I also "ditto" Gene's comment. What a crying shame that this happened, but it happens every day!

I understand and can agree with those who say do not "legalize" it but decriminalize it. That raises good points, BUT the fact is, we need to get rid of the FEDERAL laws against it's use, period. I'm not for allowing just anyone to go out and "willy nilly" buy pot, BUT it's being done now all the time. Keeping it illegal is NOT going to stop those who want it from getting it.

Kit, we already have GMO'd marijuana to some extent. Universities have developed strains that are resistant to insects and mold, which are the biggest issues to medical marijuana.

Pam W., I'm a bit confused........you said, "Two very different things....should it be ''legal'' to grow tomatoes, basil and rosemary? Of course not---and so it should be for marijuana.".......that sounds like you are saying that we should not legally be allowed to grow tomatoes OR marijuana. As for taxes, if one wants to grow marijuana for their own use, they should be allowed to do so, as those who have medical authorizations NOW can, legally (at least according to state law). If they want to grow more than they use and sell it, I don't have any problem with having to pay taxes on what they sell if there is a profit.

In my state (Washington), it is legal to grow for one's own use (15 plants per person) with a medical authorization. RCW 69.51A allows one to have a certain amount on their person providing they also have their proper paperwork. The same rules apply that apply to alcohol, or narcotic medications such as "vicoden". What is sad is that there has been a case all over the news lately about an older man (I think he's a Vietnam vet) who has an authorization and was arrested (maybe just stopped) by cops and his pot confiscated, even though he had proper paperwork. THREE judges have ordered the cops (Pierce County) to return his pot and the cops refuse. They claim to do so will violate "Federal" law, but they MIGHT turn it over to Tacoma Police and let them decide what they want to do with it. Ridiculous.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 3:14 am
Decriminalization:

A system that punishes offenses by means other than prison. Fines for most traffic violations are an example. In relation to drugs, it is normally limited to possession (and sometimes growth) of small amounts (often around one ounce) and somtimes to sale of equally small amounts to adults. It is also often limited to marijuana among the illegal drugs.

There is another distinction possible between de jure decriminalization, which entails an amendment to criminal legislation, and de facto decriminalization, which involves an administrative decision not to prosecute acts that nonetheless remain subject to arrest and imprisonment under the law. Some cities have simply decided de facto to specify that enforcement of some marijuana laws is the "lowest priority" for their police forces.

Legalization:

A system that allows the use and sale of drugs to adults under a system of regulation such as pertains to alcohol or perhaps involving licenses. Many suggest there would be a ban on advertising and public use. If the alcohol model prevailed, different states might vary the regulatory structure and legality might also be limited by local option to specific areas within a state.

Decriminalization : Major problems

* It leaves the illegal supplier in place.

This means more availability to the young, makes use more dangerous, activates the "gateway," and many of the other woes described in Drug War Damage and Children.

* It still entails law enforcement costs.

Some indications from decriminalization trials in England are that many police are more willing to make stops when they know the offender won't go to prison. There is no indication that this has decreased use. It's a small source of revenue, but one unlikely to compensate for wasted police time and inconsequential when compared to potential sales taxes.

* It deprives the state of tax revenues.

Potential revenue could be used for tax relief, education or treatment.

* It cannot make much difference in use.

Above we saw that where decriminalization took place, the removal of what many thought was a deterrent had no apparent effect on use or attitudes. It is a shorter step in terms of theoretical deterrence to move to legalization. We stress that if some 62% have tried marijuana by age 22, there's very little room for an increase of any consequence.

* It sustains the hypocrisy inherent in the double standard for alcohol.

Marijuana policy questions
 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 3:27 am
Personally, I feel that decriminalization, while a huge step in the right direction, does not go nearly far enough. With decriminalization, issues with users goes down, but the black market remains due to the continued criminalization of distribution. Countries like the Netherlands, which decriminalized pot but did not legalize it, are having increased organized crime problems, because of the continued black market.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 5:29 am
Sound like a new twist on a long-running debate within the transplant community—should people whose use of drugs or alcohol may have contributed to liver problems be candidates for transplants? But is also didn't help that he missed appointments. So careless, if he had received a transplant would he have remembered the medicines?
 

Kit B. (276)
Monday April 29, 2013, 8:28 am

Alcohol destroys families. Any one that has had or does have an alcoholic in the family knows this to be true. Yes, people want to mock or make light of using marijuana for medical treatment. First, it is not necessary to get high to get some pain relief from Marijuana. I have known many people that use Pot after work or on the weekends, sometimes, by choice they do get high. Other times they simply want to "let go" a little, which is just fine if you down a six pack, just do not use Marijuana. The Chronic Marijuana user is more like a meme for those who haven't the first clue about this amazing natural cure. People can become addicted to anything, even an aspirin. Marijuana is not addictive, the personality of the user may be, that would be true for them no matter what was available.
 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 11:04 am
Seriously, how can someone be taken seriously that lists 'beer' as their first 'interest', John S? That alcohol induced haze has obviously blinded you to the terrible injustice this article highlights.
F*** the 'missed appointments', this is prohibition driven policy!

 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 11:14 am
One man loses his job, and another man his life. for using medical marijuana
 

Past Member (0)
Monday April 29, 2013, 11:39 am
New Study (2009): Cannabis use has no impact on liver transplant survival.

Study: Cannabis Agonists Produce Anti-Cancer Effects In Human Liver Cancer Cells
 

Robert K. (31)
Monday April 29, 2013, 6:41 pm
Oddly enough I have liver cancer, but I won't be denied for using medical marijuana, I'll be denied because I also have COPD. However, so far every time the cancer returns it's been easy to get rid of by ablation. Which is good, because I wouldn't survive full on surgery of chemo.

But denying anyone for using palliative measures seems to me to be unconstitutional as cruel and unusual treatment.
 

Dandelion G. (384)
Monday April 29, 2013, 10:01 pm
Sherrie thank you for sharing your story and I'm glad you have had many years to be around and raise a family and enjoy grandchildren. Robert I'm glad that ablation is helping you and I hope you have as many years ahead of you.
 

Diane L. (110)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 2:18 am
I guess smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes COULD get one a bit "high", but that is not WHY medical marijuana uses USE it. Many forms are available that can address issues (pain, sleeplessness) and do not result in getting "high" by any means. Topicals absolutely do not get one HIGH. If it were not for the cream I got with THC in it prior to my finally getting surgery to address my CTS, not sure if I'd have been able to stand the pain and have been able to sleep. The teas and tinctures available address many medical issues without getting one "high". If I want to get "high", that would be my last choice. Not only is it not going to produce that effect, but would be far too expensive. Wish Medicare covered it. The operator of the local co-op/dispensary says that if it did, his business would increase 4/X, as most of his customers are over 50. Just hard to afford their "meds" on pensions and S.S. A tiny vial of "tincture" for example, costs $20, but one can get 100 vicoden for $7, sometimes less, depending on their Medicare Supplemental insurance.
 

Azure Wildflowers (0)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 2:50 pm
This is discusting.
 

Debbie Crowe (78)
Monday June 17, 2013, 2:17 am
Rest in Peace Norman B. Smith. I'm sure there is no more pain for you now!!
 
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