Veteran Hopes for Legalization of Med Marijuana
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Veteran Hopes for Legalization of Med Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on March 15, 2010 at 07:08:01 PT
By Michael Barrett
Source: Gaston Gazette
North Carolina -- When a seizure strikes, Joshua Cook typically hits the ground. His hands clench spastically into fists. His torso contorts. His body shakes uncontrollably for several minutes.The condition first struck the 25-year-old National Guard veteran while he was serving in Iraq three years ago. After receiving a medical discharge, he was prescribed a slew of drugs that either made him sick, caused headaches or simply didn’t prevent his convulsions.
Then he tried a notorious herbal remedy that’s more widely known as a recreational escape.“Nothing had ever worked. At one point, I was having six or seven seizures per week,” said Cook, now a Gastonia resident. “Once I started smoking weed, I didn’t have a seizure for seven months.”Cook is one of many North Carolina residents who hope their illegal use of marijuana might soon become acceptable in the eyes of the law. N.C. Reps. Kelly Alexander Jr. and Nick Mackey, two Mecklenburg County Democrats, are co-sponsoring legislation that would make North Carolina the 15th state in the nation to legalize the medical use of the drug.House Bill 1380 would legalize marijuana for people diagnosed with debilitating conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, who are prone to symptoms such as nausea, pain or epileptic seizures. Producers and dispensaries would be licensed to grow and distribute it.When the General Assembly reconvenes for its short session in May, the bill’s sponsors hope to give it some traction. It is now in the House Committee on Health, whose membership includes three Gaston County Republicans: N.C. Reps. William Current, Pearl Burris-Floyd and Wil Neumann. The Only Remedy?  Supporters of the bill say medical marijuana use is becoming more prevalent here. Mackey hosted a town hall meeting at UNC Charlotte last week where users described how the long debated drug has reduced their pain and suffering.Cook wasn’t able to attend, but fully supported the spirit of the gathering.“I can’t help that I have seizures,” he said recently. “I can’t help that marijuana controls my seizures.”A South Carolina native, Cook enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2006. He served as a military policeman in Iraq, helping to conduct room raids and provide convoy security, he said. Though he was never near any major explosions, it was during that time that he experienced his first seizure.Cook had more episodes once he was discharged and returned home. Since 2007, he said he’s experienced between 40 and 50 seizures in all.Veterans Affairs hospital physicians prescribed an array of anti-seizure medications such as Dilantin, with no success. Then about eight months ago, a friend of Cook’s suggested marijuana.“I’d never done any (recreational) drugs before,” he said. “I always looked down on people who did drugs because I thought it made them look stupid.”But soon after he tried the drug, the seizures stopped. So Cook continued using what worked. He said he now smokes a thin marijuana cigarillo, or small “blunt,” when he wakes up each morning, followed by a second in the late afternoon, and sometimes a third just before bed.“Two to three times per day keeps me good,” he said. Facing Long Odds  Fourteen states now allow the use of medical marijuana, though few deal with the supply. Under the proposed legislation, North Carolina would actually license growers.Sponsors say the bill eventually would raise $60 million a year through taxes and licensing fees, which could come in handy in a bleak economy. Critics question how much of that revenue would be eaten up by higher law enforcement costs for preventing abuse of the system, such as what has been seen in California.The three Gaston County representatives on the House Committee on Health say the bill will face long odds this year. When the bill emerged last summer, Burris-Floyd and Neumann both said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would have to approve marijuana for medical use before they would consider an exemption to the state’s cannabis ban. And their opinions haven’t changed.“The FDA is the gold standard for approval of medications in this country,” said Burris-Floyd. “If they’re not going to stand behind it, it tells me there’s not really a sound, consistent basis for what some of these (medical marijuana) proponents are saying.”The potential medical application of marijuana was discounted by the FDA in a 2006 review. That went against a 1999 study from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that found the drug “moderately well suited” for treating certain conditions.Current said he doesn’t have enough facts to form a firm opinion yet. But the prospect of a windfall in revenue will have no influence on his stance, he said.“What we need to do is ask if this will help people,” he said. “I would make my decision based on whether it’s good for the majority of the people to have this medicinal drug available.”Neumann said most voters, and therefore legislators, are focused on improving the economy and creating jobs right now.“I don’t get the feeling that there are a lot of legislators who want to deal with it right now,” he said. “They’re asking us to take an illegal product and modify it, and I really feel like that should be a medical issue.” Desperate for Legal Treatment  Cook said he’s been honest with doctors about his alternative remedy. On another visit to the VA hospital last month, a physician prescribed him with Depacote. He said he began taking the prescription and cut off his marijuana usage, and within a day and a half suffered his first seizure in more than seven months.His girlfriend held his head and comforted him during the painful, 10-minute ordeal.“I can hear you talking to me and see you,” said Cook, describing what a seizure feels like. “I just can’t control myself.”In January, on two separate occasions, Cook was charged with possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is scheduled to appear in court in March on the four misdemeanor charges.Cook said he cannot get a driver’s license due to his history of seizures. He is unemployed and fears his job options may be limited if he continues to smoke marijuana, due to the prevalence of drug testing. He has begun to feel more depressed about his future options.“It seems like when I came back (from the service), life became more of a hell for me,” he said.But he said avoiding the pain of seizures is more important right now than abiding by the law.“I’d rather keep smoking and be persecuted then to keep having seizures,” said Cook. “I’m tired of being discriminated against just because I need this medicine.”Source: Gaston Gazette, The (NC)Author: Michael BarrettPublished: March 15, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Gaston GazetteContact: gastongazette link.freedom.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #21 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on March 17, 2010 at 01:16:23 PT
Pwl #18 - Great Link!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #20 posted by FoM on March 16, 2010 at 19:53:51 PT
Had Enough
The poll numbers are really going up. That's good.
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Comment #19 posted by Had Enough on March 16, 2010 at 19:51:48 PT
MSNBC Poll Update
Is America ready to legalize marijuana? Yes..... ..........11,525 votes ....98 % 'Party of No'........ 234 votes ... 2% Total of 11,761 votes
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Comment #18 posted by Paint with light on March 16, 2010 at 00:30:59 PT
interesting articles
Since I was a child I have loved Popular Science Magazine.All issues are now up online.Check out this search. like alcohol.
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Comment #17 posted by Had Enough on March 15, 2010 at 22:36:49 PT
#1 in the Top 10...again
Legalizing Marijuana Is America’s Top Political Issue — AgainMarch 15th, 2010 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy DirectorTo the surprise of virtually no one who has been following public opinion polls for the past 18 months, the call to “legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana” placed #1 in the 2010 online vote for the “Top 10 Ideas for Change in America.”Open voting at the website took place for six weeks — during which time citizens voted nearly 210,000 times on over 2,500 different ideas. This morning the website released the top 10 results here.Legalization’s first place victory was expected. After all, the issue topped a similar poll last year. Legalizing marijuana also finished #1 in the White House’s first ever poll; it finished #1 in Barack Obama’s first-ever online Town Hall vote; and it finished #1 in the White House’s 2009 ‘Citizens Briefing Book.’Yet despite these consistent first-place finishes, the administration and the mainstream media remain dismissive. President Obama has twice publicly retreated from the issue — the second time chuckling that such a question would even be asked of him. His press secretary discounted the issue’s true public support, claiming that groups like NORML had somehow stuffed the online ballot box. As if! Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets brushed off the results as the work of “Internet trolls.”Trolls, huh? How do ‘trolls’ explain the consistent victories racked up by marijuana law reformers at the polls year after year? And how do trolls explain the rising public opinion poll numbers that now show that over 80 percent of the public supports legalizing medical marijuana, and a solid majority also backs legalization for all adults.Will today’s latest poll results finally be the time that President Obama, his press secretary, stuttering Robert Gibbs, Drug Czar Gil ‘legalization isn’t in my vocabulary‘ Kerlikowske, and the members of the mainstream press start to heed the public’s message that marijuana legalization is not a political liability, but rather it is a political opportunity?Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to stop telling them that it is.***Ideas for Change in America
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Comment #16 posted by John Tyler on March 15, 2010 at 21:27:59 PT
legalize it
Violence in Mexico is caused by the prohibition, not by what is prohibited. Politician and other with some agenda to address wiifully ignore that important point. If tobacco and alcohol were prohibited there would be violence over that. It is a shame that thousands of people have to suffer because of short sited politicians can’t see the solution in front of their noses.  
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on March 15, 2010 at 20:46:38 PT
Is America ready to legalize marijuana? Yes...8,194 votes . 98.2%No.......154 votes ... 1.8%Total of 8,348 votes************Just walked in the door...missed the runruff show...I believe it will be archived though
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Comment #14 posted by The GCW on March 15, 2010 at 20:20:06 PT
Thanks for the poll
98.1% say yes with 8,017 votes. 1.9% says no with only 154 votes. 
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Comment #13 posted by rchandar on March 15, 2010 at 20:10:09 PT:
North Carolina, etc.
Yes, NC would be a good score. Right in the middle of the Bible Belt; should we move this bill forward, we are making progress.PS Those of you who have been posting about the killings in Mexico. Turn on NPR, or CNN, or read your newspaper. They're making a huge deal about it, potentially to obliterate any meaningful argument from our side. It simply isn't possible to trust the Obama Administration because these are sensational tactics that will land on our doorsteps in the 'burbs and the subject of teen counseling-type discussions among families. Ours depends upon a rational, common-sense discussion. The press is murdering our case with big, loaded examples of sinister violence and grandstanding it daily.I'm watching the Rothstein indictment on TV right now. This month will certainly be a cross that we will have to bear, and come through.Peace.rchandar
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on March 15, 2010 at 17:09:07 PT
just a reminder that there's a great national advocacy group for veterans and cannabis:
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Comment #11 posted by MikeC on March 15, 2010 at 14:28:24 PT
The results continue to amaze me...Is America ready to legalize marijuana?98.2% Yes 3,627 votes1.8%  No 68 votes
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 15, 2010 at 13:25:20 PT
That's great. You posted before me and that's why my number was lower then yours because I had it in the comment and had to let the dog out and came back and posted it and that's how much it went up in such a short time. This is good.
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Comment #9 posted by MikeC on March 15, 2010 at 13:21:20 PT
If I am watching the news or getting it from the internet, it's always MSNBC. I am thrilled and at the same time absolutely blown away that the poll is so extremely lopsided.Is America ready to legalize marijuana?98.4% Yes 1,848 votes1.6% No 30 votes 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 15, 2010 at 13:04:52 PT
I watch MSNBC News all the time. I have since they went on the air. I've always liked them.
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Comment #7 posted by MikeC on March 15, 2010 at 12:51:37 PT
I watched it too. It was very favorable to the cause. Glad to see that the major media is getting on board.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 15, 2010 at 12:37:33 PT
Thank you. It was good what I saw on MSNBC.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 15, 2010 at 12:36:42 PT
POLL: Is America Ready To Legalize Marijuana?
MSNBC Poll:March 15, 2010In California, marijuana stores legally exist to sell different varieties of pot to customers that need the drug for medical purposes. One shop, for example, pays the state some $300,000 in taxes and the federal government $500,000 in taxes. One problem: DEA could shut them down and arrest the people working and selling in the store. State and Federal laws are contradictory.Is America ready to legalize pot, regulate it, tax it, control it the same way that alcohol is controlled by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms or by the FDA?Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies at Harvard University and is the author of an extensive study on legalizing drugs, joins David Shuster on msnbc at 3 p.m. ET Monday.David Shuster looks at whether or not America is ready... in a series of reports this week on msnbc.Current Results:Yes -- 98.7% -- 445 votesNo -- 1.3% -- 6 votesPlease Vote:
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Comment #4 posted by MikeC on March 15, 2010 at 12:26:23 PT
MSNBC Poll...
Is America ready to legalize marijuana? Early results:98.6% Yes 503 votes1.4% No 7 votesSeems about right!
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on March 15, 2010 at 10:59:24 PT
Dang it!
With a houseful of children right now... I can't be listening to Tattoo Zoo... even though I want to. Sooner or later!I'm lucky to get a turn on the computer at all. Right now, it's Nick and Disney time for some time.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on March 15, 2010 at 10:49:33 PT
I am coming up on radio!
I am told it is is real good.The connection is a clean one you will not have any trouble with it!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 15, 2010 at 08:07:53 PT
Heads Up: MSNBC at 3EDT
They keep advertising that at 3 today they will talk about is it time to legalize marijuana.
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