Sunday, March 16, 2014

Safe Access Turning to No Access in Oregon

Collective Awakenings Portland, OR
What is Safe Access?

Safe access is a term that is used to describe a safe environment in which to gain access to something. For medical marijuana patients safe access is a necessity and should be considered a right. People who use cannabis medicinally have chosen to do so because they have found the relief they have been searching for in a plant based medicine, experiencing a significant increase in quality of life. Patients suffering from a range of debilitating conditions are given permission by the state to use, grow and possess cannabis in limited amounts.

A dispensary is a place where medical cannabis is dispensed to the patient. These establishments are called safe access points because a patient is not forced to seek their medicine on the volatile black market. There are thousands of patients that are partially to fully disabled, and the thought of meeting a dealer in an alley, car or basement is highly unattractive and sometimes dangerous. The war on drugs and the prohibition of cannabis created a very stable and thriving black market for not only marijuana but other more dangerous substances; Dangerous substances usually equals dangerous people which often means a dangerous situation.

Community members are often times uncomfortable with the thought of marijuana, let alone legal marijuana, many are opposed to it. This is because of a long standing stigma surrounding the Cannabis plant. We have all been taught from a young age that Cannabis is bad, but what if that was not exactly accurate?

Thanks to the rise in social media and global communication there are thousands of stories circulating about people treating and sometimes curing severe conditions by using cannabis therapeutically. For two decades adults everywhere have found relief. It is estimated that there are as many as 100 million cannabis users in the US that are open about their consumption. This is not accounting for those who are more discreet and do not share. The patients who live in medical marijuana states rely on safe access points for their prescriptions.

In the past two years there has been an interesting and controversial conversation started by the parents in our country. Droves of parents have turned to medical marijuana to treat their suffering children after being inspired by a few outspoken families about their experiences. The results have been stunning. Remissions from childhood cancer, cessation in severe epilepsy, recovery from autism and more have been reported, with more cases appearing every day. The taboo has been broken and the discussion has been started. Parents rely on safe access points for their child’s medical marijuana.

Oregon is a state that has allowed medicinal cannabis to qualifying patients since 1998 after passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (ORS 475.300-ORS475.346). As of 2014 there are 60,516 patients according to the Oregon Health Authority.  As of august 14, 2013 OregonGovernor John Kitzhaber (D) signed into law HB 3460 which made dispensaries in Oregon legal. This was heralded as a victory for patients all over the state because they now had the right to legal safe access. Then these hopes were smothered as Senate Bill 1531- allowing for community bans of dispensaries began circulating the House and Senate. Now patients and families are left fearing the loss of their newly given rights and experiencing a reinstatement of the public and legal persecution they faced before.

The worry is real because City Councils and County Boards across the state are racing to pass moratoriums against dispensaries before they forfeit the opportunity to on May 1, 2014. Medical Cannabis supporters and consumers do not understand why elected officials are taking a stance against the governor, the law and the people?

When someone visits their doctor and is prescribed a medicine, ranging from antibiotics to narcotics they are able to visit one of the large pharmacies in their city and safely gain access to their medicine. However when someone is prescribed medicinal marijuana it seems they are expected to seek their medicine on the street.

Why are medical cannabis users not being afforded the same decency, rights and safe accessibility as the rest of the populace?

            Please do not support your local moratoriums, they are discriminatory and harmful.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cannabis for Autism?

Autism... a general term for a broad spectrum of complex disorders in development... a child diagnosed with autism exhibits slight to heavy deficits in social interaction, sensory processing and communication skills; sometimes accompanied by repetitive or exaggerated behaviors.

It is said statistically that 1 in 88 children has been identified as having an Autism spectrum disorder.

1 in 88~

That is a staggering, saddening and disturbing statistic.

If you look at the same statistics for childhood cancer, it says that approximately 1 in 10,000 kids will be diagnosed with a form of cancer. That is saying a child is more likely to be diagnosed with autism than cancer. This shows that something is very wrong in our environment and how we are living as a society. Autism research is well underway across the country and around the globe. That is great, but what are we doing about the here and now for these children?

The standard medical protocol for autism spectrum disorder management is treating "core symptoms" with off label prescribing of pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs commonly being stimulants, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics  and mood stabilizers.

i.e: Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Paxil, Zoloft, Risperodol, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Depecote, Lithium, Tegretol, Abilify

The list of drugs prescribed to these little developing bodies is questionable at best. The long term effects of many of these drugs are just now becoming known to medicine. Some of the others will not have the long term and latent effects discovered until 10-20 years from now. Many of these drugs have addictive properties as well as intense mind altering effects. So the question is this:

If society is willing to accept the use of medications such as those listed above for children as young as two years old, if the benefits outweigh the risks, then why not be accepting of something that weighs even better with even less (no known) inherent risks?

It is time to consider Autism a qualifying condition for Medicinal Cannabis


AUTISM related links courtesy Granny Stormcrow
Cannabis and Aspergers, My Experience by Anonymous (anecdotal - undated)
Medical Marijuana as a Cure for Autism (anecdotal – undated)
THE SAM PROJECT: James D. (news / anecdotal - 2002)
Medical Marijuana: A Valuable Treatment for Autism? (news – 2003)
Variations in the human cannabinoid receptor (CNR1) gene modulate striatal responses to happy faces. (abst – 2006)
Autism, ADD, ADHD and Marijuana Therapy (news - 2008)
Does marijuana replace pharmaceuticals as a treatment for Autism? (news – 2009)
Prescribing marijuana to kids (news – 2009)
ABC News Lauds Marijuana for Autism (news – 2009)
Sam’s Story: Using Medical Cannabis to Treat Autism Spectrum Disorder
(news / anecdotal - 2009)
Mom: Medical marijuana saved son's life (news / anecdotal - 2009)
The ultimate herbal remedy: Can cannabis improve autism? (news / anecdotal - 2009)
Use of dronabinol (delta-9-THC) in autism: A prospective single-case-study with an early infantile autistic child (full – 2010)
Can autism be triggered by acetaminophen activation of the endocannabinoid system?
(link to PDF – 2010)
Steamboat mom sees results from giving autistic son medical marijuana
(news/ anecdotal - 2010)
Sam's Story: Medical Marijuana and Autism (news / anecdotal - 2010)
Why I Give My Autistic Son Pot, Part1 (news – 2010)
Why I Give My Autistic Son Pot, Part2 (news – 2010)
Why I Give My 9-Year-Old Pot, Part 3 (news - 2010)
Variation in the human Cannabinoid Receptor (CNR1) gene modulates gaze duration for happy faces. (full – 2011)
Consequences of cannabinoid and monoaminergic system disruption in a mouse model of autism spectrum disorders. (abst – 2011)
Autism (news – 2011)
Why I Give My Autistic Son Pot, Part 4 (news – 2011)
THC for Autism (news – 2011)
Cannabis Science And The Unconventional Foundation For Autism (UF4A) Partner To Advance Successful Cannabis-Based Autism Treatments (news/info-mercial - 2011)
Would some cannabinoids ameliorate symptoms of autism? (1st page - 2012)
Medical Marijuana: A "Cure" for Autism? (news – 2012)
Marijuana cannabinoids found to help combat autism (news – 2012)
Ryan’s Story: Medical Marijuana And Autism (news – 2012)
Marijuana and Asperger's Syndrome (anecdotal – 2012)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Just Say No to the Drug War

Yesterday all over the news and social media were stories being told of legal cannabis sales in Colorado. People lined up around the block at every pot store in Colorado to buy the first ever legal bud since the Prohibition of Cannabis began in the late thirties. What a memorable day for many. Cannabis users and supporters across the country and globe were all buzzing about Colorado and their wishes to be there.

As I sat and watched the revelry it became increasingly clear that something is seriously wrong with this country. As most complained of the “mile-high” prices shown on receipts, with taxation upwards of 14 dollars per 8th in some instances, I focused on the thoughts of the many hundreds and thousands of men and women who are currently incarcerated for growing, possessing and selling cannabis. I am curious to know how these people feel watching and reading this news. So before we complain about the price you’re paying for legal weed, think about the price these people have paid along the way to these momentous first days of 2014.

I am an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Cardholder, and this allows me to grow, possess and use Cannabis for specific medical reasons. In the entire state of Oregon I am safe from persecution over this plant from local, county and state authorities. This is a state that upholds federal prohibition, but only barely. However, if you live here and have no documented medical condition that is approved for the program, then you are not protected, and are at risk of arrest and prosecution for possession.

I find the hypocrisy here the US particularly disturbing. This country was taught to me through all of elementary school that this is the land of the free built upon unwavering values of justice, liberty and brotherhood. If only I had known that was all propaganda back then, I wouldn’t feel so jaded today. The United States incarceration rate is unsustainable. The practice of private prisons for profit seriously undermines freedom in this country. These prisons have led to the development of more laws, mandatory minimums and exponentially increasing conviction rates, many for victimless crimes such as possession, distribution, manufacture or delivery, of a controlled substance. 


Ronald Reagan's presidency marked the start of decades of Exponential growth in incarceration rates, He is to blame for the unprecedented expansion of the drug war beyond Nixon's work. This expansion has led to the number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increasing from 50,000 in 1980 to over 2,000,000 by 2006. This number continues to increase each year consecutively, with no end in sight. It is time to reconsider our failed policies, free the prisoners of the drug war, and focus on restoring our country to the land of the free.

~Just Say No To The Drug War~


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