Human Suffering Gets Lost in Med Marijuana Debate

  Human Suffering Gets Lost in Med Marijuana Debate

Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2005 at 06:49:02 PT
By Marc Hansen, Register Columnist 
Source: Des Moines Register 

Iowa -- Terry Mitchell showed up at Java Joe's looking as if he'd just escaped from a Grateful Dead concert. A 1975 Grateful Dead concert. He had the long hair and the headband with the button that said "Like it or not, God made pot."I looked at the 51-year-old Mitchell and got college flashbacks. I listened to his cogent arguments for making prescription marijuana legal for medical purposes, but I wondered.
This being Iowa and all, wouldn't he have a better shot at changing hearts and minds if he looked more like Chuck Grassley than Jerry Garcia?Nah. Probably not. State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City who looks nothing like Jerry Garcia, proposed such a bill during the winter. It would have permitted prescription possession and use of marijuana for glaucoma, nausea from chemotherapy and radiation, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and a few other illnesses.Senate File 64 went nowhere. When it comes to drugs, emotion often trumps reason: We're finally cracking down on meth, and now we want to let up on grass? What kind of message does that send the kids?But Republican or Deadhead, it's a debate worth having. Twelve states, mostly in the West, permit seriously ill patients to use marijuana. Iowa is not one of them.In June, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the federal government can prosecute patients who smoke pot on doctor's orders.Two California women, Diane Monson and Angel Raich, sued the government after federal drug agents confiscated the six marijuana plants growing in Monson's yard.At first there was a standoff. Sheriff's deputies refused to let the agents take the plants. The agents refused to leave, saying they'd be the ones who regulate drug use. Finally, the deputies stood by while the feds chopped down the plants.Unfortunately, the case isn't about whether medical marijuana would help sick people more than legal painkillers. It isn't about two women who can't legally use the cannabis that their doctors have prescribed and that their state has approved.It's about states' rights. It's about who has the constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.It's about human suffering getting lost in legal fine points.Raich has a brain tumor and a slew of other disabling medical conditions. Monson has severe back problems. They say that regular pain medications don't work for them the way marijuana does.Mitchell, a former truck driver who lives on disability in Dexter, understands. He has degenerative disc problems in his back.He said everyone can tell when he's been smoking pot. How?"I can stand straight up when I'm smoking."Mitchell doesn't need his cane then. He isn't hunched over like a human comma.Doctors tell him the source of his back problems are all those hours riding hard-tail motorcycles and driving trucks as a young man. He's seen the MRI. It's scary."There are all these beautiful white vertebrae," he said, "then there are three that look like someone took a pin and poked little dots in them. They tell me it could snap at any time. The pain is terrible, and cannabis is the only thing that gives me relief."At one point in our conversation at Java Joe's, Mitchell excused himself to go to the men's room. His 6-foot 4-inch frame melted to about 5-9 as he shuffled away from the table.He'll probably be hunched over again Saturday. That's the day of the annual Global Marijuana March. It's the day the pro-legalization crowd rallies from noon to 4 on the Capitol steps.Mitchell can tell you why marijuana should be legal and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. He makes some decent points, but let's be real. Steve King, the Republican congressman from Kiron, will try to make Arabic the official language before that happens.Mitchell tells me he hasn't smoked pot in a while. He was busted for possession in Cass County a few years ago and doesn't like taking chances. He lost his driver's license. He did 30 days in jail. He was hit with a big fine.The State Patrol stopped him for speeding and found a joint in his shirt pocket."That's for medication," he said."Not in this state, it isn't," he was told.No, but why not?Most marijuana users in chronic pain aren't potheads looking to get high. They're sick people trying to get through the day.Complete Title: Human Suffering Gets Lost in Medical Marijuana DebateSource: Des Moines Register (IA)Author: Marc Hansen, Register ColumnistPublished: May 3, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Des Moines RegisterContact: letters dmreg.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News I Really Consider Cannabis My Miracle Expectations - San Francisco Bay Guardian and The Constitution

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Comment #24 posted by eco-man on May 08, 2005 at 14:00:14 PT
Shorter Des Moines Register article URL.
While the URL lasts:
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Comment #23 posted by eco-man on May 08, 2005 at 13:56:39 PT
Des Moines Register article URL. And stuff....
While the URL lasts: and 2005 MMM posters, flyers, and banners for cities worldwide:
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Comment #22 posted by mayan on May 03, 2005 at 16:38:07 PT
Honesty Vs. Appearance
This being Iowa and all, wouldn't he have a better shot at changing hearts and minds if he looked more like Chuck Grassley than Jerry Garcia?How so? At least you could believe a word or two that Garcia said! 
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 14:22:29 PT
Thanks again. You do good work!
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Comment #20 posted by Druid on May 03, 2005 at 14:14:29 PT
Marijuana March 2006 
 Million Marijuana March 2006 #2: 8 Cities Already Signed up for May 6, 2006!Darwin,
Steven's Point,
Thunder Bay,
Washington, D.C.*********************Side Note:
You are Welcome FoM. I have been looking for an excuse to compile the websites into a list. ;) 
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 14:03:41 PT
Thank You Druid!
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Comment #18 posted by Druid on May 03, 2005 at 13:56:49 PT
Here is a list of all web pages that I know of....http://www.cures-not-wars.org are some City level Webpages/Info:Albany: http://www.nystatecan.orgAmsterdam: http://www.legalize.netAntwerpen, Belgium http://www.encod.orgAthens(Greece): http://www.iliosporoi.grAthens, Georgia: http://www.athenshumanrightsfest.orgAuckland, NZ: http://www.hanf-koordination.chBergen, Norway: http://www.hanf-koordination.chBiel/Bienne: http://www.amcb.chBoone, NC: http://NORMLforBoulder.orgBudapest: or http://www.tasz.huBuenos Aires: http://www.pot-party.comChristchurch (NZ): http://mildgreens.comCincinnati: http://www.hemprock.comColorado Springs: http://www.hampenyt.dkCordoba: http://www.napnt.orgDes Moines: , , , , , East Lansing: http://www.hanf-initiative.deFt. Smith: http://www.ozarkmountainhemp.comHalifax: http://www.mumm.caHelsinki: http://www.thc-ministry.orgHouston: http://www.cultural-baggage.comJerusalem: http://cannabischassidis.blogspot.comJyväskylässä: City: http://www.mohemp.orgKiev: http://www.cannabistrust.comLos Angeles: http://www.circ.chMexico City: , , or http://nipponmarijuanalovers.fc2web.comNashville: http://www.punkenstein.comNew Paltz: http://www.nystatecan.orgNew York City: http://www.cures-not-wars.orgNimbin: http://www.nimbin-marijuana-march.420-web-hosting.comOsaka: MMM Forum: http://www.encod.orgPeoria:, Oregon: http://www.ornorml.orgPotsdam: (Germany) http://www.chillout-pdm.deRaleigh-Durham: http://www.cannabisnc.orgRapid City: http://www.sodaknorml.orgRio de Janeiro: http://www.rochester.norml.netRosario: http://www.arda.iwarp.comRostock:. http://www.MercyCenters.orgSan Diego: http://www.growingplantsisnotacrime.comSan Francisco: Santa Barbara: http://www.normlucsb.orgSapporo: http://www.SpoCannabis.comStavanger: Louis: http://www.gstlnorml.orgStockholm: http://www.normal.nuTel Aviv: http://www.cannabisclub.caTraverse City: http://www.vihreetpantterit.orgTwin Oaks: http://www.miehi.comVancouver: http://www.cannabisculture.comVienna:, D.C.: 
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Comment #17 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on May 03, 2005 at 13:53:04 PT
Max Flowers
Thank you for the invitation, but I will stay here where I have been all my life. I would like to advise everyone out there to not give out any email addresses or anything of the sort because the state and federal drug enforcers have been given a lot of money to do lots of things. I was convinced of this when I saw a whole army of state, county, and cannabis police on my porch, lawn, and around my small house all pointing guns at me. They had very little evidence to persue my case and I have never broken the law. All this at a time when my state government was running a bankrupt budget.Prohibit non health insurance
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:04:38 PT
Max Flowers 
It's a pity that we have to worry about email getting copied by evil spam bots but I sure know we need to worry. 
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 13:02:05 PT
Will you be adding links to personal web pages from the different cities and countries? If you do that is exactly what I want to know. I want people to be able to check out personal web sites about the March. I always have felt that if a person takes the time to learn how to make a web page and promote an event that they should have their page somewhere so it can be seen and read.
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Comment #14 posted by Max Flowers on May 03, 2005 at 13:01:38 PT
yes, thanks FoM
I think he'll figure it out.
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Comment #13 posted by Druid on May 03, 2005 at 12:57:17 PT:
No Problem my friend. :)I have been keeping an updated list on OverGrow... anyone at all would like some contact information for a specific city please contact me through Private Message on Overgrow or send me an email and I will try to respond.
 Global Marijuana March, May 7, 2005
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 12:48:40 PT
Thank you but I just would be concerned that I might let something slip if I had to do the editing. Thank you for the offer. With a lot of potential news this week it would wear me out if I tried to tackle more then what I am doing. Maybe someone will edit a page and then I could add the link. That would be so much easier for me and I wouldn't worry about mistakes. 
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Comment #11 posted by Agog on May 03, 2005 at 12:46:05 PT
SOCAL can be relatively understanding as well
Max et al....SOCAL can be OK too. I think the major watchword here is to do it within the confines of SB's 215 and 420 and stay quiet about it... except with your attending physician. After the terrible things that happened to Steve McWilliams most of the rest of the local community just keeps verrwwy verrwy qwwiet!Although we aren't hunting wabbits... I liken it to not teasing the animals in their cages.All the Best
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 12:41:35 PT
Max Flowers 
Is what I did ok?
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Comment #9 posted by Druid on May 03, 2005 at 12:41:01 PT:
 GMM 2005 #25
FoMI have complete list of cities and contact information. If you would like it you can email me druid and I will send you the contact info.However there are some stipulations to what can be displayed on a webpage.snipped from an email from Dana Beal the event organizer....***************************************
The following list is for internal use of Million Marijuana March Organizers. Many [personal addresses] in brackets are listed so that our affiliates can mail posters, buttons, etc. to each other, BUT are not for posting on websites. If you wish to put this list up on a website, consult with to see what we've actually displayed. To get on the poster for 2005-update your contact details & add your city to this New List:
***************************************I will send you the complete list but you will probably have to do some editing so that personal addresses/phone numbers are left out of what you display.Currently there are 187 cities signed up :)
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Comment #8 posted by Max Flowers on May 03, 2005 at 12:38:17 PT

Oops hey FoM I blew it posting an email address as-is--- I'm afraid evil bots will grab it and pollute the account. Could you please edit to change the " " with "at" ? thanks 
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on May 03, 2005 at 12:34:49 PT

Be optimistic, but move in the meantime
PWNI, I know I said this before but damn man, if at all possible, you should try to move to northern California. There is a lot of understanding here for people in your situation. No one here will bust down your door if you keep it modest. In Sonoma County, a patient or caregiver can have up to 99 plants and you get 10 x 10 feet to grow in. It tears me up hearing your story. If you need help with anything write this address
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 11:38:26 PT

Global Marijuana March 2005
I've been updating my MMM page and thought some here might like to check it out. I can't find an absolute list of where all the events are taking place but when I do I will add it to this page. After the events are over I will add any news articles that I archive to this page. Have a great event this weekend is my wish!
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 10:15:04 PT

Just My Thoughts
I have no interest in changing drug laws and never have but when I read your comments it makes me all the more determined to help bring change to our current laws surrounding this excellent medicinal plant. Hang in there.
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Comment #4 posted by GreenJoy on May 03, 2005 at 10:10:32 PT

 I know how you feel P.W.N.I. Its VERY frustrating to know that there is relief at hand that cannot be acquired or used for fear for your remaining freedom...or life. If I were to be caught again, in this state, they would likely give me 2 years house arrest, or worse. I suffer constantly and needlessly with chronic neck pain and since the glorious herb left my quality of life has very noticeably declined. They did me no favor.  Hang in there. Many good people are trying very hard to change things. GJ
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Comment #3 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on May 03, 2005 at 09:50:59 PT

Suffering is the Answer
I have degenerative disc disease, and Michell is not lying. The long list of drugs that have been prescribed for my condition do not work well at all. When the condition gets too bad I take far more than is prescribed, and even then they barely work. These medications are like taking an asprin for cronic pain, it simply is inadequate.I turned to cannabis for relief and bought some grow equiptment from the internet (my big mistake), and I started to grow it in my home. Not long after I started to growing the state police showed up at my door with a door busting devise and an army of gun pointing bullet proof vested Nazis. That was the first time I'd ever had a gun pointed at me (let alone an army of them). After the crowd went through my very small home they found my two tiny seedling plants. It seemed way overkill for the numbers of state cannabis enforcment soldiers and police, who's cars where parked along a whole city block like a farely good size auction was going on or something, to show up in such a large number to yeild two tiny plants.So now I just suffer everyday and live my life as full as I can which is not much. I can't get insurance for my condition because it is pre-exsiting, so nothing is my answer.I think addicting drugs are what the government should be concentrating on like meth, cocaine, and heroin. They are sadly growing like a diseases getting more and more resistant to vaccines.
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Comment #2 posted by BGreen on May 03, 2005 at 09:12:26 PT

Only On THEIR Side is Suffering Ignored
Human Suffering Gets Lost in Medical Marijuana Debate? Not with the relegalization side. Not with the side I've been on for 29 years. Not with the people on and similar sites. Not with the tens of thousands of medical patients whose suffering is alleviated by cannabis.In fact, only the pro-jail/anti-truth side ignores human suffering and instead inflicts even more pain because they LOVE TO SEE PEOPLE SUFFER and Jesus is weeping.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 03, 2005 at 08:44:07 PT

Like It or Not, God Made Pot
Yes He did! Man made white powders and drugs. I'm standing with what God made not man!
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