All posts by Heather Fazio

Grassroots Action for Legislative Reform

Texans of all political persuasions agree:
It’s time for marijuana law reform!

TxLD1

With our lawmakers meeting for only 140 days every two years, we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time. Your participation is critical to changing laws relating to marijuana in Texas. Sign up for our Lobby Day!

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy’s Citizen Lobby Day is a participatory event where we, the people, will engage our legislators and their staff. We will focus on both our civil penalties bill, which reduces penalties associated with the possession of personal amounts of marijuana (an ounce or less), and our medical marijuana bill, which will bring safe and legal access to seriously ill patients.

All materials will be provided and we’ll start our day with training for those who have never visited with their legislators. Please be sure to dress professionally.Dress as if you’re heading to a job interview.

Our broad coalition and united efforts will bring about more responsible marijuana policies in the Lone Star State. Will you join us for Lobby Day? Register today! 

HOST: Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy
DATE: Wednesday, February 18
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Texas State Capitol, Robert E. Johnson Conference Center
DRESS: Professional

Agenda:

10:00 a.m.: Registration/Check-in
11:00 a.m.: Training
12:00 p.m.: Lunch (Capitol Grill, Level E1 or bring your own lunch)
1:00 p.m.: Lobby Action!
3:30 p.m.: Social at Scholz Garten (1607 San Jacinto)

Register Now!

The politics of a marijuana buzz

The possibility of a marijuana buzz seems to be the big barrier for Sen. Kevin Eltife and Rep. Stephanie Klick in passing their medical-marijuana bills. Both Republicans, they’re out to persuade a conservative Texas Legislature to allow the plant to be used to treat epilepsy sufferers.

That’s a tough vote for a Republican, and the GOP rules the roost in Austin, so the two lawmakers crafted bill language and a pitch to account for the inevitable pushback.

The legislation is titled the “Texas Compassionate-Use Act.” They probably wanted to title it the “Don’t Worry, No One Will Get the Least Bit High Act.”

That’s because the cannabis oil that could be produced and dispensed under the bill would have to be extremely low in the THC compound that produces the high for pot users. The Eltife-Klick background materials say the “extremely low” THC levels would not be “sufficient to get the consumer ‘high,’ even in large doses.”

The bills (SB 339 and HB 892) dwell on controlled THC levels, using the term “low-THC cannabis” 51 times. The bills never use the term “marijuana.” They mention the variation “marihuana” once, by way of saying no one following the new law could be busted under current pot statutes. Current laws also use the variation “marihuana.”

All of this makes we wonder why — except for the politics of getting votes — does anyone worry about a cannabis user feeling slightly euphoric?

Typically, no one really cares if prescription pills put a smile on someone’s face.

Read more here: http://dallasmorningviewsblog.dallasnews.com/2015/01/the-politics-of-a-marijuana-buzz.html/

CBD-Only Laws: The New Prohibitionist Strategy to Distract Voters and Delay Cannabis Reform

Photo Credit: Nugbuckets
Photo Credit: Nugbuckets

CBD-Only Wave Begins

Starting in late 2013 and continuing through the 2014 elections, in what appeared to be a sign of change on the horizon, the US saw a surprising new breed of cannabis bills passed and signed into law by many Republican Governors. The majority of these new bills were introduced by Conservative politicians in traditionally Conservative states and allow the possession and/or study of CBD extract oil devoid of therapeutic levels of THC . To date, very few patients have been helped in any of the states where these laws have passed, because none have a way to legally gain access to CBD oil, which like THC, is a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

,mmThese restrictive laws known as “CBD-only laws” are being passed at an astonishingly rate in response to pleas and lobbying efforts from parents of children stricken with seizure disorders after stories of pediatric cannabis therapy for epilepsy were highlighted on CNN’s documentary Weeds, hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Even though Dr. Gupta himself has been quoted as saying he doesn’t approve of CBD-only laws, the advocacy group “Realm of Caring” featured in the documentary has been credited for much of the parent lobbying efforts behind the limited laws that have been enacted in Florida, Alabama, Iowa, Tennessee, Utah, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wisconsin and South Carolina.

Read more here: http://www.ladybud.com/2015/01/21/cbd-only-laws-the-new-prohibitionist-strategy-to-distract-voters-and-delay-cannabis-reform/

American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Rescheduling, Decriminalizing Marijuana

In a report released Monday, the American Academy of PediatricsAAP Logo suggested removing marijuana from Schedule 1 in order to make further research easier to accomplish.

From the Associated Press:

To make it easier to study and develop marijuana-based treatments, the group recommends removing marijuana from the government’s most restrictive drug category, which includes heroin, LSD and other narcotics with no accepted medical use, and switching it to the category which includes methadone and oxycodone.

The recommended switch “could help make a big difference in promoting more research,” said Dr. Seth Ammerman, the policy’s lead author and a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Stanford University.

The report also recommended removing criminal penalties for simple possession:

Citing the lifelong negative effects of a criminal record on adolescents, the AAP strongly supported reducing penalties for marijuana possession and use to misdemeanors. This policy statement, The Impact of Marijuana Policies on Youth: Clinical, Research and Legal Update is a recent revision to its previous 2004 report about the drug.

“The illegality of marijuana has resulted in the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of adolescents, with overrepresentation of minority youth,” wrote Seth D. Ammerman, MD, FAAP, of the 2014-2015 AAP Committee on Substance Abuse, and colleagues. Effects of marijuana-related felony charges include “ineligibility for college loans, housing, financial aid, and certain kinds of jobs,” they said. The report also recommended pediatricians get involved and “advocate for laws that prevent harsh criminal penalties” for possession or use of marijuana.
The authors state in an accompanying technical report that studies have not shown decriminalization results in an overall increase in marijuana use by adolescents, which is a chief concern of those opposed to decriminalizing the drug. In fact, states with decriminalization laws experience similar rates of marijuana use as those with tougher penalties. However, the authors cite “significant savings in criminal justice cost and resources” in states with decriminalization laws.

The Science of Medical Cannabis: A Conversation with Donald Abrams, M.D.

ReasonTV

Donald Abrams, M.D. is chief of Hematology and Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and the co-author—with Andrew Weil—of Integrative Oncology (Oxford University Press). Abrams has extensive experience working with cancer and HIV/AIDS patients and is a pioneer in the field of medical cannabis research.

The U.S. government classifies cannabis—along with heroin and LSD—as a Schedule I drug, the most tightly restricted category of drugs in the United States. According to the federal government, Schedule I drugs are unsafe and have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

However, as medical cannabis proponents have pointed out since the Controlled Substances Act was passed by Congress in 1970, cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and there has never been a reported case of a marijuana overdose. Moreover, in recent years clinical researchers around the world have demonstrated the medicinal value of cannabis.

Reason.tv’s Paul Feine sat down with Dr. Abrams to learn more about the science of medical cannabis.

Approximately 10 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

Go to http://reason.tv for HD, iPod and audio versions of this video and subscribe to Reason.tv’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

New Dallas Store Selling Cannabis For Medical Use

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Cannabis is coming to Dallas. That’s how a new company is promoting products to sell to the public that has the same chemical ingredient as marijuana.

This is not a medical marijuana firm opening in Dallas, but it is promoting the health and medicinal benefits of marijuana’s cannabis cousin hemp.

Four-year-old Harper Howard became the local example of the benefits of using cannabis hemp oil. Her seizures are decreased, according to her mother, due to the cannabis hemp oil she takes orally. That same oil is now part of a series of skin and energy products marketed in a new Dallas office.

Read more here: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/01/23/new-dallas-store-selling-cannabis-for-medical-use/

Nine-year-old Alexis takes medical marijuana fight to Texas Capitol

AUSTIN — Alexis Bortell will tell you she’s a pretty normal kid.

The 9-year old from Rowlett enjoys cartoons, playing with her younger sister and playing golf. Yet in addition to the usual concerns of a kid her age, she’s also fighting a life and death battle against epilepsy.

Alexis’ father Dean Bortell, a U.S. Navy veteran, says Alexis’ first seizure happened at their Rowlett, Texas home in July 2013.

Read more here: http://www.kvue.com/story/news/politics/2015/01/21/alexis-bortell/22134895/

D.C. Police Chief Says Decrim Makes Cops’ Jobs Easier

DC Police Chief, Cathy Lanier
DC Police Chief, Cathy Lanier

Despite raising concerns with the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington, D.C. before it was enacted, the top cop in the nation’s capital now says the policy makes police officers’ jobs easier.

Cathy Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, told NewsChannel 8 on Tuesday that decriminalization “saves us from having to charge someone for small amounts of marijuana now, because it really never was productive to begin with.”

Now that officers don’t have to spend time making arrests, “it’s a little bit easier for us,” she said.

Read more here: http://www.marijuana.com/news/2015/01/d-c-police-chief-says-decrim-makes-cops-jobs-easier/