All posts by Heather Fazio

SPECIAL REPORT: Moving for Medical Marijuana

MyFoxAustin
By Ann Wyatt Little

Posted: May 05, 2015 10:25 PM CDT
Updated: May 05, 2015 10:25 PM CDT

Sherise Nipper and her family are going to Colorado.Sherise Nipper

“My body is tired and there are some days I just feel like I can’t get up anymore,” she explains. The 35-year-old will take part in a 30 day cannabis trial.

“The only reason I can’t be healed in Texas is because of politics and to me that’s not very fair.”

Seizures have been a part of her life for ten years now after being diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite a cocktail of medications, she still suffers

“In the past 24 hours I’ve had more than 50 seizures.”

She’s taken CBD Oil before which her husband says helped.

“Just in the little bit she’s tried it’s severely decreased her seizures,” he told FOX 7 reporter Ann Wyatt Little. Nipper had several seizures during a recent visit to the Texas Capitol but that didn’t stop her from lobbying lawmakers.

“We’re trying everything to be able to get relief from my seizures but I’m afraid if I stay here in Texas waiting on legislation I’m going to die waiting.” Nipper would like to see Texas legalize the whole plant.

While she may not get what she wants this session, Representative Stephanie Klick is working to give some epilepsy patients an option with House Bill 892.

“It allows an extract of cannabis plant to be used,” explained Rep. Klick.

The Republican from Fort Worth is a registered nurse. Her bill has support from both sides of the aisle.

“I know there are those who want a broader based medical bill but there really isn’t the support for it.”

Time, education and constituent’s struggles changed Klick’s view on the issue.

“There are 150,000 people in Texas intractable epilepsy and we believe this approach has a low risk of abuse and puts another tool in the tool box for doctors,” Klick said.

Nipper believes Klick’s bill is a step in the right direction but more needs to be done. While lawmakers debate, she’ll be in Colorado hoping and praying for relief.

“We really need the laws to change here in Texas. If they don’t I’m afraid we won’t be able to stay,” Nipper said.

Read more here: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/28987858/special-report-moving-for-medical-marijuana

Texas House committee approves reduced penalties for marijuana possession

Ask your representative to support HB 507.

This evening, the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence approved HB 507, a bill that removes the threat of arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for possession of small amounts of marijuana — replacing them with a civil fine of up to $250. The measure will now advance to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote by the Texas House.

Call now to ask your representative to support HB 507.

Under current Texas law, individuals found with less than two ounces of marijuana can be arrested, jailed for up to six months, and fined up to $2,000. But Texans want to see this changed!

More than 60% of Texas voters support limiting the punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a fine, according to a September 2013 Public Policy Polling survey.

“Texas cannot afford to continue criminalizing tens of thousands of citizens for marijuana possession each year,” said Rep. Joe Moody, who sponsors HB 507. “We need to start taking a more level-headed approach. It is neither fair nor prudent to arrest people, jail them, and give them criminal records for such a low-level, nonviolent offense.”

According to FBI data, there were 72,150 arrests or citations issued for marijuana-related offenses in Texas in 2012, 97% of which were for simple possession. That same year, nearly 90% of all burglaries, including home invasions, and 88% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved.

Thank you for your continued support and activism! Please share this with like-minded friends or family.

Editorial: Medical marijuana

Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff
Photo: Mayra Beltran, Staff

Ann Lee, an 85-year-old Republican activist who is pushing the decriminalization of marijuana, supports Ramp Against Marijuana Prohibition in Texas on Friday, March 6, 2015, in Houston. (Mayra Beltran / Houston Chronicle)

The days before Thanksgiving should be filled with turkey recipes and touch football, building up to the excitement of the Christmas season. For six people in Harris County, however, those days were their last. Over a period of two days in November 2013, half-a-dozen Houstonians died of prescription drug overdoses (“Pain pill OD data largely unsound,” Page A1, April 26).

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Martin: Does marijuana use lead to harder drugs?

Studies find that the majority of people who used pot don’t move on to stronger substances.

By William Martin | April 30, 2015
Houston Chronicle

Pot is hot in Austin this spring as legislators consider a double bill-martinhandful of bills ranging from permitting medicinal use of a low-potency strain of cannabis with limited applications to treating marijuana much the same as tomatoes or jalapeños.

In almost any discussion about decriminalizing or legalizing use of marijuana, the question arises, “Is it a gateway to the use of harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin?”

It’s a valid question that deserves and has received serious attention.

First, consider the numbers from the massive National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the primary source of government-gathered statistical data on drug use and abuse in America.

As of 2013, nearly 44 percent of Americans 12 and older – more than half of those under 60 – had tried marijuana at some point in their lives but only 7.5 percent had used it in the last month.

As for harder drugs, about 14 percent had tried cocaine, but only 0.6 percent had done so in the last month. For heroin, 1.8 percent had tried it, but only 0.1 percent in the last month. Obviously, the overwhelming numbers of people who ever use marijuana do not go on to use harder drugs, and certainly not at a problematic level.

But what about those who do use harder drugs? Did marijuana play a role?

Quite likely, most of them did use marijuana before using cocaine or heroin, since it is by far the most widely used and easily obtainable illicit drug. And almost surely, nearly all had already used alcohol and/or tobacco, both of which are far more addictive and harmful. Adolescents who use alcohol heavily are 12 times more likely to use illicit drugs than are nondrinkers. Young smokers are nine times more likely than their non-smoking peers to try such drugs.

Read more here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Martin-Does-marijuana-use-lead-to-harder-drugs-6234329.phpTo

Marijuana Is Not, Repeat Not, a Gateway Drug

By Miriam Boeri 4/25/15 at 3:03 PM

marijuana0425

With states legalizing marijuana by popular vote, some politicians, including Boston mayor Marty Walsh and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, are still calling marijuana a gateway drug.

The gateway theory argues that because heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine users often used marijuana before graduating to harder drugs, it must be a “gateway” to harder drug use. The theory implies that there is a causal mechanism that biologically sensitizes drug users, making them more willing to try—and more desirous of—harder drugs.

Yet the gateway hypothesis doesn’t make sense to those who use marijuana or have used in the past. Research shows that the vast majority of marijuana users do not go on to use hard drugs. Most stop using after entering the adult social world of family and work.

Military veterans urge Texas legislators to legalize medical marijuana

POSTED 7:42 PM, APRIL 22, 2015, BY MTRUEHILL3RD

AUSTIN, TX – When it comes to marijuana in Texas, one particular group has high hopes of changing the law of the land.

Military veterans rallied at the Texas capitol to support the legalization of medical marijuana. Supporters urged Public Health Committee chairwoman Myra Crownover to hold a hearing on House Bill 3785.

The bill would allow seriously ill Texans to have access to marijuana if their doctors recommend it as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other debilitating medical conditions.

These are the same folks who put the needs of the country before their own. Looks like they’re not holding their breath about the puffs they really want to take.

See original article here: http://cw39.com/2015/04/22/military-veterans-urge-texas-legislators-to-legalize-medical-marijuana/

Foes Of Marijuana Legalization Can’t Like These New Numbers

Posted: 04/14/2015 8:31 pm EDT
by Matt Ferner

Opponents of legalizing marijuana can’t be happy about several new polls released Tuesday. Majority support for making cannabis legal is holding steady, while young adults are legalization’s biggest fans. And that’s true both nationally and in several swing states.

Nationally, 53 percent of Americans support legalization, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Pew found essentially the same result, 54 percent in favor, in a similar poll last year.

Millennials are far more supportive than other voter demographic groups, according to Pew. Sixty-eight percent of those aged 18-34 support legalization, a full 16 points higher than the next most supportive demographic, those aged 35-50. An earlier Pew survey showed that the millennial demographic is significantly more supportive across party lines.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/marijuana-legalization-polls_n_7063768.html

A Pro-Life Defense of Marijuana Legalization

by Jason Vaughn on April 10, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Three years ago, I don’t think I would have ever imagined myself defending the decriminalization of marijuana, much less the legalization of it. My first ministry internship while in college included living with and working in a half way house. I’ve seen the self destruction that drugs cause, and I am not a supporter nor do I condone drug abuse. Yet, since I founded Pro-Life Texas almost two years ago, my thought process has started to change. So if you’ll indulge me as you read this, I hope to join others speaking in defense of marijuana legalization on a pro-life basis.

Read more here: http://www.texasgopvote.com/pro-life/pro-life-defense-marijuana-legalization-007692

‘Out of Options’: Veterans With PTSD Hit Pot Underground

by Bill Briggs | NBCNews.com

Marine veteran Logan Edwards worried he could become one of the 22 former members of the armed services who, on average, commit suicide every day.

Then, he says, he tried marijuana.

Edwards, who served eight months in Iraq, is one of an unknown number of veterans who have turned to marijuana to manage Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which may afflict as much as 20 percent of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to experts. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t let its doctors prescribe weed, so the former service members buy it illegally, fib to their doctors, accept it as a gift, or grow it themselves.

In Edwards’ case, he says the drug may have saved his life.

“The first time I used it, I wanted to cry. Because it took away my anxiety. Because it did everything for me that the Oxycontin, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants the VA prescribed me for three years did not do,” said Edwards, 26, a resident of Davenport, Iowa. His symptoms -– an unrelenting “hyper-vigilance,” insomnia and nightmares -– emerged “the moment we walked off the plane” in 2008.

“I can function completely fine all day just by using cannabis. I’m back in school. My attendance is good. My grades are good. My relationships have healed,” added the former Marine. “It allowed me to get my life back.”

Read more here: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/out-options-veterans-ptsd-hit-pot-underground-n64026

Longview family seeks medical marijuana for son’s seizure disorder

By Matthew Prosser
March 27, 2015 at 1:30 a.m.

Jon Eric and Lleyton

Jon Eric and Rachel Johnson are like a lot of parents who want what’s best for their children, and are willing to do anything to help their little ones grow.

But for Lleyton Johnson, 6, the challenge is one that has stumped even medical experts.

Lleyton has a seizure disorder that has prevented him from reaching the developmental milestones most young boys reach. He cannot sit up, crawl, talk or eat on his own.

Rachel Johnson said Lleyton has frequent seizures — about 20 to 30 per day — that force him to rely upon his parents for everything.

“His most recent MRI shows scarring on his brain due to the amount of seizures he has,” she said.

The couple have taken Lleyton to a number of doctors and specialists, and their son is prescribed five medications that are taken four times a day. But it’s a temporary treatment, and one that’s limited in its effectiveness.

“The neurologist told us Lleyton will never be seizure-free on prescription meds,” Jon Eric Johnson said. What’s more, some prescriptions have side effects so severe and numerous that the couple doesn’t dare risk their son’s health.

“So we’re running out of options,” he said.

One new option has given the family a glimmer of hope: a newly developed treatment called Charlotte’s Web that some experts in the field of epilepsy and seizure disorders believe could help Lleyton.

Read more here: http://www.news-journal.com/news/2015/mar/27/longview-family-seeks-medical-marijuana-for-sons-s/