DOC Policy Would Violate Medical Marijuana Law

DOC Policy Would Violate Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by CN Staff on January 14, 2008 at 06:17:35 PT
By Edwin L. Stickney
Source: Billings Gazette
Montana -- The Montana Department of Corrections is trying to ban the use of medical marijuana by anyone on parole or probation. This proposal is almost certainly illegal for numerous reasons. Among these is the fact that Montana's medical marijuana law clearly allows anyone suffering from certain medical conditions, with a doctor's recommendation, to use medical marijuana.The law specifies only one exception, and that is people who are "in" a corrections facility. That means that every other qualified patient, even those on probation or parole (who are not in prison or jail), can use medical marijuana as needed. As a state agency, the department's highest obligation is to honor the state's laws.
But as a lifelong physician and past president of the Montana Medical Association, I see important medical and scientific reasons to be alarmed by what the Department of Corrections is trying to do. In my view, it represents a grave and unacceptable intrusion on the physician-patient relationship. Although it would affect an extremely small number of people, probably fewer than a dozen, it could affect them grievously.Most offensive is the fact that the proposal would apply a "one-size-fits-all" policy of medical treatment to all patients, putting the department in the position of practicing medicine without a license - while not knowing or caring about the details of any patient's specific condition. No physician would make medical judgments without a thorough understanding of a patient's condition. But the Montana Department of Corrections wants a pat bureaucratic policy to override the specific judgments of the trained and licensed physicians who have a history of knowing, diagnosing and working with the individual patients involved.Under the Montana law, medical marijuana is absolutely no different medically - or legally - from insulin for a diabetic, hydrodiuril prescribed for a patient with high blood pressure, or Percodan prescribed for a patient suffering from certain kinds of pain. The Department of Corrections doesn't have the authority to deny patients any of these medicines, much less to deny one and not the others. The thinking behind this proposed rule is both incorrect and arbitrary.Having reviewed the literature reporting on the medicinal benefits of marijuana, I can only assume that the department is largely ignorant of the facts and is prey to generations of misinformation about marijuana. Suffice it to say that a wealth of research published in peer-reviewed, professional journals over the past several decades thoroughly documents marijuana's remarkable values with respect to treating all the conditions approved in Montana's law (as well as others).In addition, marijuana's side effects have been proven to be mild and benign, particularly when compared to those of the alternative drugs for these conditions. Indeed, for some patients, marijuana is the only medicine that provides true relief. Marijuana is one of the safest medicines in the world.Under Montana law, the use of marijuana as medicine is a question we assign to physicians and patients - not the government. We made that decision four years ago, with 62 percent of the vote, the largest margin achieved in any of the 12 states that now recognize marijuana as an invaluable medicine for some people. We made the right decision, both medically and morally.Edwin Stickney lives in Billings. Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Edwin L. StickneyPublished: Monday, January 14, 2008Copyright: 2008 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Article & Web Site:Montana NORML Medical Marijuana - No Medicine for Parolees Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #21 posted by Archimedes on January 17, 2008 at 07:01:58 PT
Doctor knows best
Doctors know what's best for their patients which is why they prescribe it.
Hydroponics Supplies
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Comment #20 posted by RevRayGreen on January 16, 2008 at 21:36:44 PT
ROCK ON !!!!!!
fight 4 freedom..............
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Comment #19 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 16, 2008 at 09:29:52 PT:
Comment #9
The Bay City Times just called to verify the LTE I sent. She said it would be published some time in the next couple of weeks.I'll be looking for it.
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Comment #18 posted by afterburner on January 15, 2008 at 11:04:38 PT
More on Dennis
Kucinich, Willie Nelson appeal Texas ballot case.
By KELLEY SHANNON / Associated Press Attorneys for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich filed notice Monday they are appealing a judge's ruling allowing the Democratic Party to impose a loyalty oath on candidates who seek to be on the Texas ballot.
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Comment #17 posted by afterburner on January 15, 2008 at 09:34:09 PT
Breaking News: 
Breaking News: Judge says MSNBC must include Kucinich.
January 14, 2008.
A judge in Nevada has just ordered MSNBC to include Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Tuesday's Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas or he will cancel the forum.
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Comment #16 posted by afterburner on January 15, 2008 at 09:25:37 PT
Also interesting
OpinionDo presidential candidates drive what they preach? 
Disclosing to Michigan voters what vehicle they drive is a rare opportunity for presidential candidates to show that their personal priorities are consistent with their public policies. We know they can talk the talk about global warming and fuel efficiency -- but do they practice what they preach? - 01/15/2008
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on January 15, 2008 at 09:21:49 PT
I agree about Dennis. I wish they hadn't moved the Primary up and then the vote would be counted and others would be on the ballot too.
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Comment #14 posted by afterburner on January 15, 2008 at 09:18:45 PT
fight_4_freedom #11
FWIW, Dennis has a better chance to bring our issue into the mainstream in the Michigan primary. That's my vote.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 15, 2008 at 06:11:06 PT
Just a Comment
I just don't know what to say except I'm sorry for the 5 year sentence.
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Comment #12 posted by The GCW on January 14, 2008 at 21:50:27 PT
Heroic cannabis activist Marc Emery
I know many C-Newser's know about this news but I want to post this article in its entire because it hits all bull's eyes.-0-CN BC: Column: Marc Emery Agrees to Five Years in Canadian Prison Mon, 14 Jan 2008 Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC) Author: Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun MARC EMERY AGREES TO FIVE YEARS IN CANADIAN PRISON VANCOUVER - Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, has tentatively agreed to a five-year prison term in a plea bargain over U.S. money laundering and marijuana seed-selling charges. Facing an extradition hearing Jan. 21 and the all-but-certain prospect of delivery to American authorities, Emery has cut a deal with U.S. prosecutors to serve his sentence in Canada. He also hopes it will save his two co-accused - Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, who were his lieutenants for so much of the past decade. The three were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the United States and charged even though none had ventured south of the border. Since then, they have been awaiting the extradition hearing. With the proceedings about to begin, Emery says his lawyer brokered the best deal possible. If accepted by the courts in both countries, Emery said he will serve the full term and not be eligible for Canada's lenient get-out-of-jail-early rules. "I'm going to do more time than many violent, repeat offenders," he complained. "There isn't a single victim in my case, no one who can stand up and say, 'I was hurt by Marc Emery.' No one." He's right. Whatever else you may think of Emery - and he grates on many people, what is happening here is a travesty of justice. Emery's case mocks our independence as a country. Prosecutors in Canada have not enforced the law against selling pot seeds and all you need do is walk along Hastings Street between Homer and Cambie for proof. There are numerous stores selling seeds and products for producing cannabis. Around the corner, you'll find more seed stores. You'll find the same shops in Toronto and in other major Canadian cities. The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds, back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to politicians of every stripe. He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own Internet channel, Pot TV. Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling nearly $600,000. He is being hounded because of his success. The political landscape has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for cannabis. Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and of which we are so proud. But along the way he has angered the anti-drug law-enforcement community - the same gang that insists we must continue an expensive War on Drugs that has failed miserably for more than a quarter century and does more harm than good. Canadian police grew so frustrated that neither prosecutors nor the courts would lock up Emery and throw away the key, they urged their U.S. counterparts to do the dirty work. And that's what's wrong. Emery is being handed over to a foreign government for an activity we are loath to prosecute because we don't think it's a major problem. His two associates were charged only as a way of blackmailing him into copping a plea. It's a scandal. Emery is being made a scapegoat for an anti-cannabis criminal law that is a monumental failure. In spite of all our pricey efforts during the last 40 years, and all the demonization of marijuana, there is more pot on our streets, more people smoking dope and more damage being done to our communities as a result of the prohibition. There is a better way and every study from the 1970s Le Dain Commission onward has urged change and legalization. Regardless of what you think of Emery, he should not be facing an unconscionably long jail term for a victimless, non-violent crime that generates a shrug in his own country. Emery is facing more jail time than corporate criminals who defrauded widows and orphans and longer incarceration than violent offenders who have left their victims dead or in wheelchairs. And while he has long seemed to court martyrdom, Emery is by no means sanguine about what is happening. He is angry at local lawyers for failing to come up with a viable defence. "They had two years and $90,000 and they came up with nothing," he fumed. "John Conroy called me up and said 'take the deal - Michelle will die in jail. Michelle will die in jail!' What can I say to that?" Rainey, who has a medical exemption to smoke marijuana, has Crohn's disease. Incarceration in the U.S. would deprive her of her medicine, and she fears it could lead to her death. "It's an ugly situation but Marc expects miracles," Kirk Tousaw, one of the lawyers involved, told me. "There aren't any here." He's right. Our extradition law puts Canadian citizens at the mercy of foreign governments and judges can't do much about it. Emery is being forced to accept a deal because not only are two of his friends in jeopardy if he doesn't, but also to go south for an unfair trial would mean serving as much as 20 years in prison, perhaps more. One of his friends, for example, was handed a 30-year sentence for growing 200 plants. This is wrong. If Emery has been breaking the law and must be jailed, our justice department should charge him and prosecute him in Canada. It's time for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to step in and say, sorry, Uncle Sam, not today - not ever. 
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Comment #11 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 14, 2008 at 21:03:19 PT:
Thanks FoM......I just hope it makes it in there
Tomorrow is our primary. I still have to find out where I have to go since I just changed the address on my license. It's all messed up on the democratic side since we moved up the primary. I have Clinton, Gravel, and Kucinich on the Dem side. And a full slate of the repubs to choose from. I'm going back and forth between Paul and Kucinich. I better figure it out quick lol.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 14, 2008 at 20:35:12 PT
Good job!
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Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 14, 2008 at 19:49:13 PT:
LTE I just sent off to my local paper
"Thank You Mae Nutt"I was very pleased to see an article written recently by Tom Gilchrist to highlight this amazing woman's journey through life. I didn't know Mae personally, but I do know she was a genuine, compassionate woman who fought for what she believed in. She saw with her very own eyes how this natural medicine helped her son battle cancer unlike any other drug. She could see right through the government propaganda, which seems to be difficult for a lot of Americans to do. And it's extremely disheartening that more people don't see it like Mae did, because there are so many people who could benefit immensely from this herb.Now in honor of Mae Nutt, let's use compassion and common sense this November and vote yes to allow seriously ill patients the right to use marijuana here in Michigan.People in pain deserve to have that right.
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Comment #8 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 14, 2008 at 18:35:48 PT:
Edwin L. Stickney
Excellent piece of writing right there.
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Comment #7 posted by masterkush12 on January 14, 2008 at 16:05:32 PT:
once again here we go!! what a fkin joke!! i am so sick of hearing people gettin busted period!! here we have multiple breakins where i live and not one dang thing being done about it. law inforcement is a fkin joke.they even state they cant protect the common citizen!! there own mouthes.blah blah blah.catch thieves, robbers, murderers,rapist,molesters. do your real job wackos!
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on January 14, 2008 at 12:29:34 PT
In Case You Missed It
Aurora cops kill buzzOn Jan. 8, Gulf War veteran and registered medical-marijuana user Kevin Dickes went to the Aurora Police Department to retrieve his confiscated property — 71 marijuana plants, valued at $5,200 each. Interestingly enough, all 71 of Dickes’ plants fit into one brown paper sack. The contents of that sack turned out to be nothing but dried remnants and discards of once-fruitful plants. Dickes is now suing the Aurora Police Department for cannabis compensation. It seems the law is on Dickes’ side, since it clearly states that the confiscated plants should have been taken care of, and not harmed or destroyed. But Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates disagrees, claiming that asking for money to pay or grow back the buds is “the height of absurdity and death of common sense.” We couldn’t agree more. Really, why should a task force have to pay for their own negligent mistakes? It seems especially true when that team is hell-bent on busting folks who are not even breaking the law. It must be hard for crime-stoppers in Aurora (you know, that Denver suburb where crimes like car theft and violent rape are higher than the national average) to find better things to do than bust permit-carrying vets. With all that time on their hands, there’s no reason not to delve into another man’s stash while he sits at home in pain. Way to go, Aurora. Fight the absurd! Boulder Weekly / Jan. 10, 2008
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Comment #5 posted by sam adams on January 14, 2008 at 09:31:56 PT
I guess there is a some good news in this. This means Canada must have at least refused to turn him over to us.  So as bad as it is, this isn't the worst case scenario
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on January 14, 2008 at 09:00:34 PT
Marc Emery going to prison for 5 years
I'm ashamed to be part of this country, we're like a big dumb bully. Nothing has changed, the primitive Inquisition marches on.....
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Comment #3 posted by ripit on January 14, 2008 at 07:40:06 PT:
it's hard for me to 
express how much respect i have for ppl like dr.Stickney who show such common sense and compassion! god be with you!
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on January 14, 2008 at 07:35:13 PT
educate the uneducated
Future states considering legislation legalizing medical cannabis may consider some wording to the effect of establishing a required education program for leos to help eradicate their ignorance of subject and reverse 70 years of prohibition and the propaganda that has accompanied it.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 14, 2008 at 06:53:04 PT
News Article from
Public To Speak Out About Medicinal Marijuana ***January 14, 2008The State Health Department is holding a public hearing at 9 a.m. Monday to help decide the rules for distributing medical marijuana. 
State lawmakers make the drug legal last year for people with certain medical conditions. More than 70 people have already signed up for the program.However, the state is still trying to figure out how to hand out the drugs and where to allow patients to store them. New rules may force patients, caregivers and private companies to get licenses if they plan to distribute it.Those people could face legal trouble. Last year, the State Attorney General's office ruled that federal prosecutors could still go after them for selling or possessing the pot, even if it is being used for medicinal purposes.The meeting will be held on Saint Francis Drive in Santa Fe.Copyright: 2008 KOAT TheNewMexicoChannel.com
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