Med-Pot News

State politicians throughout the US are introducing bills to legalize medical marijuana; meanwhile, scientific research continues to prove new medical uses for the healing herb.
Bills for buds

In New Jersey last January, democratic State Senator Nicholas Scutari introduced a bill that would prevent the sick from getting charged, arrested and prosecuted for med-pot. The bill proposes that medical marijuana users be allowed to possess one ounce, or six plants, and even would allow minors to use the healing herb with consent from their parents. Ironically, Scutari is also a city prosecutor, and doesn’t agree with legalizing recreational marijuana.

Ultra-conservative republican State Assemblyman Michael Carroll, who last February announced plans to co-sponsor a bill to mirror Scutari’s in the New Jersey state assembly backs Scutari.

Scutari also faces some opposition as New Jersey Governor Richard Codey has spoken out strongly against the bill.

February saw state med-pot legislation sweeping the US. In Ohio, democratic State Senator Bob Hagan introduced a bill that would allow patients with a wide range of chronic and terminal illnesses to use med-pot after an in-depth doctor’s assessment during which the patient must be advised of potential “risks.”

The same month also saw the introduction of pro med-pot bills in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Texas. The Connecticut and Rhode Island bills, both aimed at legalizing med-pot, are thought to have excellent chances of succeeding this year despite previous failures. A bill in Texas that would allow med-pot patients to introduce their illnesses in court as a defense against pot charges might also pass.

Unfortunately, February also saw a vote to legalize med-pot fail in Illinois. After the failed Illinois vote, med-pot activist Irvin Rosenfeld – one of only a handful of users given lifetime permissions to use pot by the US federal government – was detained by police for brandishing joints during his testimony before the Illinois house. Police let him go after confirming his legal status. Rosenfeld uses cannabis to successfully treat bone tumors.

Illinois politicians who favored the bill were angered that White House Drug Czar John Walters and his minions had lobbied against it by touring the state to fraudulently advertise medical marijuana as a “cruel hoax” that would cause problems with law enforcement, while also creating public safety hazards. In the past, Walters? anti-drug department has faced similar complaints that it unlawfully interfered in med-pot ballot initiatives in Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Alaska.

In March, New Mexico introduced three separate pro med-pot bills. One of the bills would see cannabis farmed at licensed facilities for distribution to patients, while another calls on drug companies to grow it. Absurdly, a third bill would legalize med-pot only for use as an ointment.

Walters might slow down med-pot, but med-pot will come out on top as more and more states introduce legislation to legalize it.

Reefer research

The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is slowed by cannabis, say two recent medical studies, bringing new hope to sufferers of the tragic, terminal illness.

Published in the Journal of Neuroscience last February, a study titled Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology by Cannabinoids tells how research led by Doctor Ramirez at Madrid’s Complutense University discovered failing cannabinoid receptors in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers. Researchers then mimicked the onset of Alzheimer’s in rats and injected them with cannabinoids. They found that cannabinoid-dosed Alzheimer rats had less brain inflammation and better mental functioning, concluding that cannabinoids “succeed in preventing the neurodegenerative process occurring in the disease.”

Similarly last February, BBC news reported that British Researchers had discovered cannabinoids play a vital role in preventing the build-up of certain proteins – commonly found in the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers – from becoming toxic and causing neuro-degeneration.

In a January press release, Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals announced that its research had found cannabis helps relieve the pain associated with cancer. According to the press release, researchers studied 177 patients with extreme cancer whose pain was not responding to strong drugs like morphine. Patients who received an equal mix of THC and CBD reported a 30% reduction in their pain.

In a press release from October of last year, cannabinoid researcher Dr J Zajicek announced results from his team’s follow-up study on the herb’s effectiveness in treating Multiple Sclerosis. Zajicek’s original study, published in November 2003, found that although MS patients reported a marked lessening of spasticity and pain, researchers? empirical tests found no significant improvement. The follow up study found that patient improvement eventually became significant enough to show up on empirical tests, prompting researchers to conclude that “there may be more benefit over the longer-term” for MS sufferers who use THC.

Zajicek’s initial results were heralded by media around the world as evidence that cannabis is no good for Multiple Sclerosis. The same media could demonstrate balanced reporting by reporting the latest findings with similar zeal.

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