John Edwards for President

Finally!:

Asked by a crowd member if he would continue the Bush administration practice of conducting raids against those who use marijuana for medicinal purposes, Edwards said he would not. In those states where voters had approved medicinal marijuana, he said he would honor the democratic process.

Related post:

(And it turns out, we share a birthday.)

Correction: His birthday is the day before mine.

Etz Chaim

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/12377753/view]

Heal the nation.

Doesn’t Angel Raich have a right to life?

Press release today from the Marijuana Policy Project (h/t FoM):

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — In consultation with her legal team, medical marijuana patient Angel Raich has decided not to pursue further appeals in her litigation seeking the right to protect her life and health through the use of medical marijuana. Lawyers will file a notice of dismissal today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, but Raich and her supporters emphasized that her struggle will continue.

“I’m not a quitter, so this was a hard decision,” Raich said. “But I’ve lost all faith in the judicial system. Right now I need to concentrate on my health. Because my brain tumor is beginning to cause damage to the nerves, I will need to undergo radiation treatment and focus on my recovery, but as soon as I’ve recovered I am going to get back to work on taking the fight to Congress.”

“Upon analysis, the avenues left to us did not look fruitful,” said Robert Raich, attorney for the plaintiffs. “It’s a sorry commentary that right now we simply cannot depend on the courts to uphold fundamental rights, even the right to life.”

On March 14, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Angel Raich’s appeal for protection against federal arrest, based on her doctors’ testimony that medical marijuana is essential for her survival. The court left open the possibility that she could successfully raise a medical necessity defense were she to be arrested.

“The battle to protect medical marijuana patients like Angel isn’t ending. It’s simply moving to another playing field — Congress,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., which has supported and helped to fund Raich’s litigation.

Two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that Angel Raich had made “strong arguments … that marijuana does have valid therapeutic purposes” and expressed hope that those arguments “may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.” MPP estimates that Congress will be taking up legislation this summer — the fifth summer in a row — to prohibit the U.S. Justice Department from spending taxpayer money to arrest medical marijuana patients and providers in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal.

Should poor people be denied music, or even poetry, unless by corporate consent?

for anne sexton

looking down on empty streets, all she can see
are the dreams all made solid
are the dreams all made real

all of the buildings, all of the cars
were once just a dream
in somebody’s head

she pictures the broken glass, she pictures the steam
she pictures a soul
with no leak at the seam

lets take the boat out
wait until darkness
let’s take the boat out
wait until darkness comes

nowhere in the corridors of pale green and grey
nowhere in the suburbs
in the cold light of day

there in the midst of it so alive and alone
words support like bone

dreaming of mercy st.
wear your inside out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy’s arms again
dreaming of mercy st.
‘swear they moved that sign
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy’s arms

pulling out the papers from the drawers that slide smooth
tugging at the darkness, word upon word

confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box
to the priest;he’s the doctor
he can handle the shocks

dreaming of the tenderness, tremble in the hips
of kissing Mary’s lips

dreaming of mercy st.
wear your insides out
dreaming of mercy
in your daddy’s arms again
dreaming of mercy st.
‘swear they moved that sign
looking for mercy
in your daddy’s arms

mercy, mercy, looking for mercy
mercy, mercy, looking for mercy

Anne, with her father is out in the boat
riding the water
riding the waves on the sea

Recommended listening:

This state of independence shall be

Pawtucket Times, Rhode Island:

PROVIDENCE – Following in the footsteps of Wednesday’s House vote, the Senate approved legislation Thursday to make the state’s medical marijuana law permanent. The vote was 28-5, far exceeding the three-fifths vote required to survive the veto Gov. Donald Carcieri says is likely to come.

How about don’t veto it? Have some compassion. What kind of signal are you trying to send when you would want to deny safe and effective medicine to treat suffering people?

John Lennon made lots of money too

John Edwards

John Edwards is a very rich man. He can afford a $400 haircut. He has made no secret of this.

He has not unjustly enriched himself, to my knowledge.

This cannot be said of Republicans who profit from human misery.

Press release

From the Drug Policy Alliance, today:

Your work is paying off–Connecticut’s Compassionate Use medical marijuana legislation, House Bill 6715 (HB 6715), passed the Joint Judiciary Committee in March and will be considered by the General Law Committee tomorrow

Let’s make sure the committee passes the legislation tomorrow morning – please take action now!

HB 6715 would allow seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A 2004 University of Connecticut poll found that 83% of Connecticut residents support allowing patients to access medical marijuana for relief of symptoms associated with debilitating conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Of particular note, three legislators who voted “no” in 2005 actually voted “yes” this year. This is a strong indication that your faxes, letters, and testimonies are having a positive effect. Great work!

Support for Compassionate Use legislation continues to be strong, largely due to the continued pressure we have been applying to the CT legislature. We hosted a a successful press conference with Montel Williams in March 2007 and Connecticut Governor, M. Jodi Rell, has indicated possible support for Compassionate Use legislation. In addition, the Hartford Advocate recently featured Compassionate Use activist Mark Braunstein, in an article decrying opposition to HB 6715.

Help move HB 6715 forward! Please send a message to the Connecticut General Law Committee members, urging them to support this important legislation.

The General Law Committee will vote on HB 6715 tomorrow, Tuesday, April 24, at 10:30 AM, in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT. Please take action now, and forward this email to five people you know today-the more of us who take action, the more likely we’ll win Compassionate Use in Connecticut this year.

Thanks for all you do.

Gabriel Sayegh
Drug Policy Alliance

A treatment for lung cancer

HealthDay:

Harvard University researchers have found that, in both laboratory and mouse studies, delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cuts tumor growth in half in common lung cancer while impeding the cancer’s ability to spread.

Hat-tip.

Vaporized medicinal cannabis contains plenty of THC and contains none of the oxidized smoke and tar which can cause irritation. Smoked cannabis has not been shown to cause a higher incidence of lung cancer, but vaporized cannabis is likely to shrink tumors and restore lung function.

Related post:

Little Amsterdam

for RAINN.

George Bush wants to resign now.

How else to interpret the fact that he’s seeking a new Commander-in-Chief?

For the want of a reply…

Cannabis is neither physically addictive nor toxic in any demonstrated way, it is beneficial to health for people who have conditions that it treats, and no possibility of overdose fatality exists. It is, in short, perhaps the safest medicine known to humankind.

Those who, like myself, suffer from chronic pain, and use cannabis under a doctor’s recommendation, will use it every single day, because we benefit from having pain relief, and it does not impair our function. To the contrary, we are less functional without it because we then have untreated pain.

You cannot honestly say that it would be better to take some prescribed opiate or over-the-counter drug that causes liver damage. Cannabis does not cause organ damage.

Those who have no pain to begin with will have no need of cannabis, but those who are addicted to other drugs would be well advised to switch, were it only legal to do so. Cannabis can treat cocaine, heroin and other dependency, by helping make withdrawal less difficult. Those other drugs can kill, and have very serious withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous, making their addictiveness truly horrific.

Cannabis is benign, it is beneficial, it is good. It is not for everyone, some will dislike it (and I dislike broccoli, so there). I would not give it to children unless a doctor thought it was appropriate to recommend. There is no real harm in adults using cannabis, except for the harms consequent to prohibition. These are points you may wish to contest, and the social consequences of cannabis are important considerations as well. I’m looking forward to having that conversation with more of you.

Pictures of beautiful women

Don Imus is more despicable than anyone I can think of. Not only does he have the need to be insulting and rude to his audience and guests, he thinks that in the life of a young woman who has achieved some accomplishment deserving praise, she ought to be cussed at with racist and sexually offensive terms. Don is a wealthy, wealthy man. He’s got everything money can buy, doesn’t he? And all he’s got for it is hatred and disgust for himself and everyone on the planet.

Yeah, I’m big pimpin’ alright. I’m telling you. These are women who deserve respect.

But you gotta go read the General, so you know what this is about. Inform yourself about the people you see on television and listen to on the radio, see the victims of their hatred, and be disgusted. I won’t demand anyone be fired, no. If his employers intend to convey the message he conveys, they should keep him on, and they should wear him as a badge of pride, such as cometh before the fall.

Update: MSNBC has reportedly fired Don Imus. No word on CBS yet.

Update 2: CBS has also canceled his contract. Hat-tip Waveflux.

War. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Hat-tip Nicole Belle.

Save this city.

Hat-tip D.R. Scott.

On blogonomics

Melissa McEwan, my friend who runs Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare’s Sister), has an excellent post about how we as a blogging community might sustain ourselves. Obviously we can do this out of our pockets and free time for only so long, but we do not want to become compromised by anyone for the sake of a coin. Advertisers will limit what you can or cannot say. Mimus Pauly wrote a long but very good post about this the day before yesterday. For him this must be always a part-time endeavor, his advice — don’t quit your day job (he hasn’t).

But good writers should have a way to write full-time. Good bloggers should be able to make this a profession, and afford to feed themselves and their families without selling out. The alternative is that you will have no good bloggers that do it for a long time, and eventually our whole ecosystem will be corporate shills like we have on the mainstream media today.

We need patronage, we need to do some things to make a network of bloggers that can rate one another in terms of worthiness, and help new bloggers get connected with a source of funding. We need a structure that is more than each of us having a donation box, as patrons may not know about more than a few of the larger blogs, and some of us blog semi-pseudonymously for good reasons.

Cannablog is a blog about cannabis, and I am a medical marijuana patient in California. This is information I have made public and I feel no great concern about my safety in saying so. California law protects patients. The federal government may have other ideas, and that is something that needs badly to change. Though I feel safe now, I am not safe forever, if it does not. But in other states, medical patients who are living and not dying because they take cannabis are constantly at risk of arrest and imprisonment by local and state officials now. If they want to be bloggers and honestly talk about how cannabis helps them, they cannot use their names. This needs to change.

I want to ensure that they can be funded somehow, to be given help so that they can afford to live, so they can feed their families. They are capable of being great writers and bloggers, and if you think otherwise, if you think this blog is substandard in any way, then I would ask you to please leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to see me do better.

This is, for me, a labor of love. I do it because I must do it. I do it because it is more important to try to stop war than anything else I can do, and this is how I can help to achieve that objective. But I must eat. All must eat.

This is my church.

Related post:

Ron Paul for president

I will not support this nomination for reasons that I can set forth at length, but I suggest to the remnant Republicans who want to save your party in some form: support his candidacy. He has earned trust and respect for his own integrity.

Montel, today

Montel Williams From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today. Hat-tip Cannabis News.

Medical use of marijuana should be legalized
By Montel Williams
04/03/2007

You probably know me as a talk show host and, perhaps, as someone who for several years has spoken out about my use of medical marijuana for the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. That surprised a few people, but recent research has proved that I was right: right about marijuana’s medical benefits and right about how urgent it is for states to change their laws so that sick people aren’t treated as criminals. The Illinois General Assembly is considering such a change right now.

If you see me on television [10 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4 in St. Louis], I look healthy. What you don’t see is the mind-numbing pain searing through my legs like hot pokers.

My doctors wrote me prescriptions for some of the strongest painkillers available. I took Percocet, Vicodin and Oxycontin on a regular basis, knowingly risking overdose just trying to make the pain bearable. But these powerful, expensive drugs brought me no relief. I couldn’t sleep, I was agitated, my legs kicked involuntarily in bed and the pain was so bad I found myself crying in the middle of the night.

All these heavy-duty narcotics made me nearly incoherent. I couldn’t take them when I had to work, because they turned me into a zombie. Worse, these drugs are highly addictive, and one thing I knew was that I didn’t want to become a junkie.

When someone suggested I try marijuana, I was skeptical. But I also was desperate. To my amazement, it worked after the legal drugs had failed. Three puffs and within minutes the excruciating pain in my legs subsided. I had my first restful sleep in months.

I am not alone. A new study from the University of California, published in February in the highly regarded medical journal Neurology, leaves no doubt about that.

You see, people with MS suffer from a particular type of pain called neuropathic pain: pain caused by damage to the nerves. It’s common in MS but also in many other illnesses, including diabetes and HIV/AIDS. It’s typically a burning or stabbing sensation, and conventional pain drugs don’t help much, whatever the specific illness.

The new study, conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams, looked at neuropathic pain in HIV/AIDS patients. About one-third of people with HIV eventually suffer this kind of pain, and there are no FDA-approved treatments. For some it gets so bad that they can’t walk.

This was what is known as a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the “gold standard” of medical research. And marijuana worked. The very first marijuana cigarette reduced the pain by an average of 72 percent, without serious side effects.

What makes this even more impressive is that U.S. researchers studying marijuana are required to use marijuana supplied by the federal government, marijuana that is famous for its poor quality and weakness. So there is every reason to believe that studies such as this one underestimate the potential relief that high-quality marijuana could provide.

In my case, medical marijuana has allowed me to live a productive, fruitful life despite having multiple sclerosis. Many thousands of others all over this country — less well-known than me but whose stories are just as real — have experienced the same thing.

Here’s what’s shocking: The U.S. government knows marijuana works as a medicine. Our government actually provides medical marijuana each month to five patients in a program that started about 25 years ago but was closed to new patients in 1992. One of the patients in that program, Florida stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, was a guest on my show two years ago. If federal officials come to town to tell you there’s no evidence marijuana is a safe, effective medicine, know this: They’re lying, and they know it.

Still, 39 states subject patients with illnesses like MS, cancer or HIV/AIDS to arrest and jail for using medical marijuana, even if their doctor has recommended it. It’s long past time for that to change.

Illinois state Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has introduced a bill — SB 650 — to protect patients like me from arrest and jail for using medical marijuana when it’s recommended by a physician. Similar laws are working well in 11 states right now.

The General Assembly should pass the medical marijuana bill without delay. Sick people shouldn’t be treated as criminals.

Television talk show host Montel Williams is the author, with Lawrence Grobel, of “Climbing Higher” and other books.

Special to the Post-Dispatch