Leukaemia and Cannabis Oil: The Story of the Late Ronnie Smith

 

 

Above:  right to left Brian McCullough, Cher Ford McCullough, Richard Rawlings, Heidi Drake and Ronnie Smith aka Roland A Duby, taken at Reefer Rumble in Cincinnati circa 2001

 

One of the all-stars of the cannabis counter culture, Ronnie Lee Smith ranks right up there with Rick Simpson, Jack Herer, and many others. Ronnie, at the age of 47 regretfully passed away in Colorado, on April 3rd 2014. The cause of death is said to be complications from leukaemia.

That’s why Ronnie’s case is particularly important. That’s because Ronnie died of a disease for which he has supposedly treated others in similar situations. Ronnie, with his rocket-scientist in-the-rough intellect, was as familiar to You Tube viewers as Rick Simpson.

I watched several of his videos months earlier. He was the go-to person when a patient needed help in either obtaining Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), or getting safe, reliable advice for their condition. He was also a professional comedian and a radio-show host. He was as compassionate as he was generous.

If you had a cancer and needed RSO, he would provide it at no charge. The true sign of selflessness is giving. He certainly gave and claims to have treated hundreds of patients over the years. He even ran for sheriff in 2010 in Gallatin County Kentucky; indicating that if elected, he would provide free, on demand, cannabis oil to anyone in the county who needed it.

Yet, everyone is asking the same question. If cannabis helps treat leukaemia, why did it fail to treat Ronnie, one of the most ardent supporters of health freedom using cannabis and other alternative strategies in America?

As we know, some families seem particularly prone to cancers of many types. In Ronnie’s family cancer was running wild; his brother Lester died of lymphoma in 2003, his mother died of brain cancer—metastatic from decades of smoking and the development of stage IV lung cancer—which had spread to her brain, three days after his brother died. A couple of years after that, his father died of prostate cancer. Had any of them tried cannabis oil? It did not appear to help, if they had tried it. Which is very disappointing to say the least. But I’m only guessing since there are no further details.

It would be of great benefit to know. I personally am trying to gather a database on the efficacy of marijuana in treating cancers but the existing data is so meagre and disorganized that, for the time being, I cannot make a determination. Those that make wild claims of treating cancers, especially those that actually run dispensaries or “clinics” like the ones located in the Bay Area of California, here in the US, are not willing to share their stories save for a few cases that end up on the internet. They say that they have treated hundreds of end stage cancer victims. If so, please provide the proof we need. Reveal these cases so that others may learn of these treatments. Being secretive does not help our cause.

Ronnie Lee Smith was born on August 20, 1966 at the old St. Elizabeth North Hospital in Covington, Kentucky.

Ronnie and Rick Simpson met around 2006. In 2007, Jack Herer enlisted Ronnie’s formidable brain in editing his now classic forthcoming book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It was around this time when something odd happened.

After Jack and Ronnie became friends, Ronnie would help out making bubble hash with trimmings from Jack’s grow operation. It was then that Ronnie Lee Smith had discovered cancerous lumps “in between each knuckle”, and “a lump hanging out of my rear.” He next describes an astonishing event. Ronnie continues:

“While making the hash I would eat a spoonful on occasion, and I did that four or five times a day for a couple months. I noticed after a month that the lumps between my knuckles got softer and after 2 months, they were gone. Jack said that he wrote in his book about a college study where they killed cancer in rats with THC in the 70’s. His wife Googled the article and in the search, she found Rick Simpson and the story about the oil. This was 2006, and we called Rick, and Rick turned out to be a big fan of Jacks, so Jack had him on the Jack Herer TV show every week. Rick said he needed someone in America to make oil and I volunteered. He sent me referrals for 3 years before he got stuck in Europe. By 2010, I had cured over 200 people. I decided to run for Sheriff and make the cure available for free to anyone in my county. Ronnie Lee Smith co-starred in the hemp documentary about Jack Herer called [[The Emperor Wears No Clothes]], which was based on his popular book.”

At this point it appears that Ronnie’s leukaemia was in remission. From discovering the nodules between his knuckles in 2006 to the year 2010 he was doing great. By his own admission he had treated over 200 people by then.

Note, before we go any further, that Ronnie had initially used bubble hash which does not involve cooking or the use of heat. Therefore, Ronnie’s initial treatment stemmed from using the carboxylated (the acid) form of THC, CBD and the remaining cannabinoids. This is in sharp contrast to RSO which is a cooked formula and therefore de-carboxylated, and presumably the most powerful variation to take for medical conditions.

In other words, these are very different oils, yet they may possess similar powerful effects. There is continuing debate on the use of acidic forms such as fresh-squeezed marijuana and hashish (eaten) versus the decarboxylated RSO-type preparations. They both seem to have potent curative properties but many insist that cancers be treated with RSO analogues. Most of what I have written about involves RSO or RSO-like essential oils.

So what went wrong? Let’s examine what took place in the months preceding his premature demise.

On April 24, 2013, while driving through Yavapai County, Arizona, Ronnie was pulled over, searched, and arrested for possession of marijuana. The Arizona State Patrol found 2 ounces of marijuana in the trunk of Ronnie’s car, plus cannabis oil (Phoenix Tears AKA RSO). It was during a protracted jail sentence that he was not able to use RSO and this ultimately may have led to his death. Sometime between April and June of 2013, while Ronnie was in the Yavapai County Jail for over 3 months, the State of Arizona never allowed Ronnie to take his medical marijuana to prevent his leukaemia from regenerating.

On February 25, 2014, during a Bobby Pickles podcast, Ronnie Lee Smith explained how his cancer regenerated while he was in the Arizona jail. “I got arrested in Arizona and went to jail for my medical marijuana, which I told the cop was for cancer. So I was in jail for 3 months and developed hardcore leukaemia while I was in there, and then they had rushed me to Emergency Room and got me a [blood] transfusion. That was the only way I got out of jail, because they released me because I was dying and they didn’t want to pay the hospital bill.” … “They finally had to rush me to the hospital for a blood transfusion where they diagnosed me with leukaemia and said I would be dead in 2 weeks.”

As I have written previously some forms of leukaemia appear to be treatable using cannabis oil. The acute leukaemia being more difficult while the chronic forms and the paediatric leukaemia are the easiest to put into remission.

Do not underestimate the power of stress to induce illness or to reverse remissions in cancers. It’s the one problem that most people do not emphasize enough. Stress kills. Here’s a man with a deadly leukaemia which he had been able to keep in remission f
or at least six years. Now take away his medication and throw him into probably the unhealthiest, stressful, squalid condition possible and watch your cancer grow.

Prison food is notoriously unhealthy. Lacking in micro-nutrients, high in pesticide residues, high in sugars and carbohydrate—the preferred food for cancer cells to grow, and lacking in living nutrients. It’s not too much of a leap to suggest that three months of processed junk food contributed to decreasing his immunity. Add to that lack of sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is a potent anti-cancer hormone.

What I find astonishing is how law enforcement withheld his medication in a medical marijuana state. They knew that it could lead to a regrowth of his cancer and an early demise, yet did nothing.
Lastly there is some speculation that some of the last cannabis oil Ronnie took may have been tainted. Ronnie’s ex-wife presumably had some analysed but there is no further information.

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen MD,MS, an anesthesiologist with a Master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, is a professor, lecturer, seminar provider, and world authority on preventive medicine. For more information on preventive medicine see www.inflaNATION.com.

CONTINUE READING…

Leukaemia and Cannabis Oil: The Story of the Late Ronnie Smith

 

 

Above:  right to left Brian McCullough, Cher Ford McCullough, Richard Rawlings, Heidi Drake and Ronnie Smith aka Roland A Duby, taken at Reefer Rumble in Cincinnati circa 2001

 

One of the all-stars of the cannabis counter culture, Ronnie Lee Smith ranks right up there with Rick Simpson, Jack Herer, and many others. Ronnie, at the age of 47 regretfully passed away in Colorado, on April 3rd 2014. The cause of death is said to be complications from leukaemia.

That’s why Ronnie’s case is particularly important. That’s because Ronnie died of a disease for which he has supposedly treated others in similar situations. Ronnie, with his rocket-scientist in-the-rough intellect, was as familiar to You Tube viewers as Rick Simpson.

I watched several of his videos months earlier. He was the go-to person when a patient needed help in either obtaining Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), or getting safe, reliable advice for their condition. He was also a professional comedian and a radio-show host. He was as compassionate as he was generous.

If you had a cancer and needed RSO, he would provide it at no charge. The true sign of selflessness is giving. He certainly gave and claims to have treated hundreds of patients over the years. He even ran for sheriff in 2010 in Gallatin County Kentucky; indicating that if elected, he would provide free, on demand, cannabis oil to anyone in the county who needed it.

Yet, everyone is asking the same question. If cannabis helps treat leukaemia, why did it fail to treat Ronnie, one of the most ardent supporters of health freedom using cannabis and other alternative strategies in America?

As we know, some families seem particularly prone to cancers of many types. In Ronnie’s family cancer was running wild; his brother Lester died of lymphoma in 2003, his mother died of brain cancer—metastatic from decades of smoking and the development of stage IV lung cancer—which had spread to her brain, three days after his brother died. A couple of years after that, his father died of prostate cancer. Had any of them tried cannabis oil? It did not appear to help, if they had tried it. Which is very disappointing to say the least. But I’m only guessing since there are no further details.

It would be of great benefit to know. I personally am trying to gather a database on the efficacy of marijuana in treating cancers but the existing data is so meagre and disorganized that, for the time being, I cannot make a determination. Those that make wild claims of treating cancers, especially those that actually run dispensaries or “clinics” like the ones located in the Bay Area of California, here in the US, are not willing to share their stories save for a few cases that end up on the internet. They say that they have treated hundreds of end stage cancer victims. If so, please provide the proof we need. Reveal these cases so that others may learn of these treatments. Being secretive does not help our cause.

Ronnie Lee Smith was born on August 20, 1966 at the old St. Elizabeth North Hospital in Covington, Kentucky.

Ronnie and Rick Simpson met around 2006. In 2007, Jack Herer enlisted Ronnie’s formidable brain in editing his now classic forthcoming book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. It was around this time when something odd happened.

After Jack and Ronnie became friends, Ronnie would help out making bubble hash with trimmings from Jack’s grow operation. It was then that Ronnie Lee Smith had discovered cancerous lumps “in between each knuckle”, and “a lump hanging out of my rear.” He next describes an astonishing event. Ronnie continues:

“While making the hash I would eat a spoonful on occasion, and I did that four or five times a day for a couple months. I noticed after a month that the lumps between my knuckles got softer and after 2 months, they were gone. Jack said that he wrote in his book about a college study where they killed cancer in rats with THC in the 70’s. His wife Googled the article and in the search, she found Rick Simpson and the story about the oil. This was 2006, and we called Rick, and Rick turned out to be a big fan of Jacks, so Jack had him on the Jack Herer TV show every week. Rick said he needed someone in America to make oil and I volunteered. He sent me referrals for 3 years before he got stuck in Europe. By 2010, I had cured over 200 people. I decided to run for Sheriff and make the cure available for free to anyone in my county. Ronnie Lee Smith co-starred in the hemp documentary about Jack Herer called [[The Emperor Wears No Clothes]], which was based on his popular book.”

At this point it appears that Ronnie’s leukaemia was in remission. From discovering the nodules between his knuckles in 2006 to the year 2010 he was doing great. By his own admission he had treated over 200 people by then.

Note, before we go any further, that Ronnie had initially used bubble hash which does not involve cooking or the use of heat. Therefore, Ronnie’s initial treatment stemmed from using the carboxylated (the acid) form of THC, CBD and the remaining cannabinoids. This is in sharp contrast to RSO which is a cooked formula and therefore de-carboxylated, and presumably the most powerful variation to take for medical conditions.

In other words, these are very different oils, yet they may possess similar powerful effects. There is continuing debate on the use of acidic forms such as fresh-squeezed marijuana and hashish (eaten) versus the decarboxylated RSO-type preparations. They both seem to have potent curative properties but many insist that cancers be treated with RSO analogues. Most of what I have written about involves RSO or RSO-like essential oils.

So what went wrong? Let’s examine what took place in the months preceding his premature demise.

On April 24, 2013, while driving through Yavapai County, Arizona, Ronnie was pulled over, searched, and arrested for possession of marijuana. The Arizona State Patrol found 2 ounces of marijuana in the trunk of Ronnie’s car, plus cannabis oil (Phoenix Tears AKA RSO). It was during a protracted jail sentence that he was not able to use RSO and this ultimately may have led to his death. Sometime between April and June of 2013, while Ronnie was in the Yavapai County Jail for over 3 months, the State of Arizona never allowed Ronnie to take his medical marijuana to prevent his leukaemia from regenerating.

On February 25, 2014, during a Bobby Pickles podcast, Ronnie Lee Smith explained how his cancer regenerated while he was in the Arizona jail. “I got arrested in Arizona and went to jail for my medical marijuana, which I told the cop was for cancer. So I was in jail for 3 months and developed hardcore leukaemia while I was in there, and then they had rushed me to Emergency Room and got me a [blood] transfusion. That was the only way I got out of jail, because they released me because I was dying and they didn’t want to pay the hospital bill.” … “They finally had to rush me to the hospital for a blood transfusion where they diagnosed me with leukaemia and said I would be dead in 2 weeks.”

As I have written previously some forms of leukaemia appear to be treatable using cannabis oil. The acute leukaemia being more difficult while the chronic forms and the paediatric leukaemia are the easiest to put into remission.

Do not underestimate the power of stress to induce illness or to reverse remissions in cancers. It’s the one problem that most people do not emphasize enough. Stress kills. Here’s a man with a deadly leukaemia which he had been able to keep in remission for at least six yea
rs. Now take away his medication and throw him into probably the unhealthiest, stressful, squalid condition possible and watch your cancer grow.

Prison food is notoriously unhealthy. Lacking in micro-nutrients, high in pesticide residues, high in sugars and carbohydrate—the preferred food for cancer cells to grow, and lacking in living nutrients. It’s not too much of a leap to suggest that three months of processed junk food contributed to decreasing his immunity. Add to that lack of sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is a potent anti-cancer hormone.

What I find astonishing is how law enforcement withheld his medication in a medical marijuana state. They knew that it could lead to a regrowth of his cancer and an early demise, yet did nothing.
Lastly there is some speculation that some of the last cannabis oil Ronnie took may have been tainted. Ronnie’s ex-wife presumably had some analysed but there is no further information.

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen

Dr. Christopher Rasmussen MD,MS, an anesthesiologist with a Master’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, is a professor, lecturer, seminar provider, and world authority on preventive medicine. For more information on preventive medicine see www.inflaNATION.com.

CONTINUE READING…

Barry Lambert: “Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do.”

"Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do," says Barry Lambert of campaigning ... 

 

Barry Lambert is gazing out the picture window of his Sydney home at a multimillion-dollar beach view. Around him his grandchildren fiddle on their phones while his wife Joy sips tea. Lambert drinks a cappuccino he’s just bought at the local café. It’s a charming family scene – except for one thing. At the table beside him, his son Michael is committing a crime that carries a sentence of up to two years’ jail.

Michael, 44, takes out a tube that says “Hemp Oil 20 per cent CBD”, squeezes it and smears the brown paste onto a corn chip which he then gives to his daughter Katelyn, who is draped sleepily on her mother Saowalak’s lap. Katelyn, Lambert’s four-year-old granddaughter, wakes briefly and chews on the chip.

The oil is an extract of cannabis, a substance prohibited under the NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act of 1985. It is being used to treat a dangerous form of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, although there is as yet little hard evidence to prove its effectiveness.

Asked how he feels about the use of an illegal cannabis product to treat Katelyn, the 70-year-old Lambert, who has sat quietly as his family squawks and scraps around him, pauses a little awkwardly before answering softly but firmly.

“Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do.”

Until last year Barry Lambert was known in Australian business circles chiefly for his success in building Count Financial, a chain of accounting and financial planning shopfronts that he started 35 years ago and eventually sold to the Commonwealth Bank for more than $373 million. That 2011 sale landed him a spot on the BRW Rich 200, where he was ranked the 156th wealthiest Australian last year.

So it was a surprise when Lambert publicly associated himself with the cause of medicinal cannabis. With little warning, he gave a press conference in August at which he announced that he and his family would donate $34 million to the University of Sydney for what is called the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics.

Lambert’s mind-boggling donation has put him at the crossroads of some of the most difficult issues in health, ethics and business. Suffering families welcomed the boost he has given to research that could benefit thousands, if not millions, of sick people. Police and conservative politicians, however, worry that medicinal cannabis will be a Trojan horse for legalisation of recreational drugs and quack therapies. There are also doctors who will not recommend medicinal cannabis given its still unproven benefits.

Ingrid Scheffer, professor at Melbourne University and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, is one of them. The world expert in paediatric neurology, to whom the Lamberts turned for advice, says cannabis is potentially beneficial in some cases but has been hyped. “It is not a silver bullet.” She says she is not yet able to recommend it because so far there is no hard scientific evidence of its benefits in treating epilepsy, although she is optimistic that proper clinical trials will give an answer in the very near future.

“It worries me how often I don’t get asked about the risks of medicinal cannabis,” says Professor Scheffer. “There is good data showing a link between cannabis and psychosis and we know there are people we see through our adult epilepsy program whose epilepsy won’t come under control until they stop taking cannabis. We need to weigh up the risks and benefits but I think that medicinal cannabis will have a place in the treatment of epilepsy in the near future.”

Read more: http://www.afr.com/brand/afr-magazine/why-millionaire-barry-lambert-invested-34-million-in-medicinal-cannabis-20160313-gni315#ixzz47EFdeRZj
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

Barry Lambert: "Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do."

"Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do," says Barry Lambert of campaigning ... 

 

Barry Lambert is gazing out the picture window of his Sydney home at a multimillion-dollar beach view. Around him his grandchildren fiddle on their phones while his wife Joy sips tea. Lambert drinks a cappuccino he’s just bought at the local café. It’s a charming family scene – except for one thing. At the table beside him, his son Michael is committing a crime that carries a sentence of up to two years’ jail.

Michael, 44, takes out a tube that says “Hemp Oil 20 per cent CBD”, squeezes it and smears the brown paste onto a corn chip which he then gives to his daughter Katelyn, who is draped sleepily on her mother Saowalak’s lap. Katelyn, Lambert’s four-year-old granddaughter, wakes briefly and chews on the chip.

The oil is an extract of cannabis, a substance prohibited under the NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act of 1985. It is being used to treat a dangerous form of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, although there is as yet little hard evidence to prove its effectiveness.

Asked how he feels about the use of an illegal cannabis product to treat Katelyn, the 70-year-old Lambert, who has sat quietly as his family squawks and scraps around him, pauses a little awkwardly before answering softly but firmly.

“Bad laws deserve to be broken. I am fully supportive. It is the right thing to do.”

Until last year Barry Lambert was known in Australian business circles chiefly for his success in building Count Financial, a chain of accounting and financial planning shopfronts that he started 35 years ago and eventually sold to the Commonwealth Bank for more than $373 million. That 2011 sale landed him a spot on the BRW Rich 200, where he was ranked the 156th wealthiest Australian last year.

So it was a surprise when Lambert publicly associated himself with the cause of medicinal cannabis. With little warning, he gave a press conference in August at which he announced that he and his family would donate $34 million to the University of Sydney for what is called the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics.

Lambert’s mind-boggling donation has put him at the crossroads of some of the most difficult issues in health, ethics and business. Suffering families welcomed the boost he has given to research that could benefit thousands, if not millions, of sick people. Police and conservative politicians, however, worry that medicinal cannabis will be a Trojan horse for legalisation of recreational drugs and quack therapies. There are also doctors who will not recommend medicinal cannabis given its still unproven benefits.

Ingrid Scheffer, professor at Melbourne University and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, is one of them. The world expert in paediatric neurology, to whom the Lamberts turned for advice, says cannabis is potentially beneficial in some cases but has been hyped. “It is not a silver bullet.” She says she is not yet able to recommend it because so far there is no hard scientific evidence of its benefits in treating epilepsy, although she is optimistic that proper clinical trials will give an answer in the very near future.

“It worries me how often I don’t get asked about the risks of medicinal cannabis,” says Professor Scheffer. “There is good data showing a link between cannabis and psychosis and we know there are people we see through our adult epilepsy program whose epilepsy won’t come under control until they stop taking cannabis. We need to weigh up the risks and benefits but I think that medicinal cannabis will have a place in the treatment of epilepsy in the near future.”

Read more: http://www.afr.com/brand/afr-magazine/why-millionaire-barry-lambert-invested-34-million-in-medicinal-cannabis-20160313-gni315#ixzz47EFdeRZj
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations

Why legalizing marijuana will be much harder than you think

 

 

By Erwin Chemerinsky April 27

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week, we’re talking about drug scheduling. Need a primer? Catch up here.

Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

There are rumors that the federal government may soon lift its ban on marijuana, but that wouldn’t end marijuana prohibitions in the United States. This incongruity is the result of federalism: the ability of each jurisdiction — the federal government and every state — to maintain its own laws as to which drugs are illegal and which are not.

Completely legalizing marijuana in the United States would require the actions of both the federal government and every state government. If the federal government repealed its criminal prohibition of marijuana or rescheduled the drug under federal law, that would not change state laws that forbid its possession or sale. Likewise, state governments can repeal their marijuana laws, in whole or in part, but that does not change federal law.

[The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it]

When Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, questions arose as to how this would interact with federal law. Specifically, the question was whether such state efforts are preempted by the federal law, which still prohibits marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin and cocaine.

The answer is clear: States can have whatever laws they want with regard to marijuana or any other drug. No state is required to have a law prohibiting or regulating marijuana. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress cannot force states to enact laws; such coercion violates the 10th Amendment. A state could choose to have no law prohibiting marijuana, or a law prohibiting marijuana with an exception for medical use, or a law allowing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or anything else. In fact, across the United States today, this is exactly the situation — many states have very different laws concerning marijuana.

Similarly, if the federal government were to repeal the prohibition of marijuana or reschedule it under the Controlled Substances Act, that would not change state laws. States still could prohibit and punish the sale and possession of marijuana under state criminal statutes.

Contrary to what many believe, marijuana laws continue to be enforced by both states and the federal government. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations. Of these, 609,423 — or 88 percent — were arrested for simple possession. There is an enormous cost in terms of law enforcement resources, the criminal justice system and people’s lives for marijuana to remain illegal. Even for those arrested and never prosecuted or convicted, arrest records have real harms in terms of the ability to get jobs, loans, housing and benefits.

Like all drug laws, the prohibition against marijuana is much more likely to be enforced against African Americans and Latinos than against whites. According to a 2013 study, whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rates, but blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

[Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t]

In Theory newsletter

Emerging ideas and arguments behind the news.

Yet there is little benefit to illegality. The primary argument for keeping marijuana illegal is that it is harmful. But as President Obama observed, pot is no “more dangerous than alcohol.” Many things are harmful — cigarettes, foods high in sugar and salt and cholesterol — but that does not mean that they should be illegal. In fact, there is a good deal of evidence that marijuana is significantly less harmful than tobacco or alcohol and that it has benefits in treating some medical conditions such as glaucoma and seizure disorders, and alleviating some of the ill effects of chemotherapy. That is why 24 states and the District allow medical use of marijuana.

Like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has been a failure. The drug is readily available and it is estimated that 30 million Americans used it in the past year. And similar to the prohibition of alcohol, it is a costly failure. In addition to the cost in enforcing the criminal laws, there is the loss of significant revenue that could be gained from taxation and legalization.

It is a question of when, not whether, marijuana becomes legal in the United States. A study by the Pew Research Center last year found that a majority of Americans now favor legalization and only 44 percent believe it should be illegal. Of those under 35 years old, 68 percent believe that marijuana should be legal. But there is no doubt that the confusion federalism entails will make legalizing marijuana much more difficult.

Explore these other perspectives:

Keith Humphreys: The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it

CONTINUE READING…

693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations

Why legalizing marijuana will be much harder than you think

 

 

By Erwin Chemerinsky April 27

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week, we’re talking about drug scheduling. Need a primer? Catch up here.

Erwin Chemerinsky is dean and distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

There are rumors that the federal government may soon lift its ban on marijuana, but that wouldn’t end marijuana prohibitions in the United States. This incongruity is the result of federalism: the ability of each jurisdiction — the federal government and every state — to maintain its own laws as to which drugs are illegal and which are not.

Completely legalizing marijuana in the United States would require the actions of both the federal government and every state government. If the federal government repealed its criminal prohibition of marijuana or rescheduled the drug under federal law, that would not change state laws that forbid its possession or sale. Likewise, state governments can repeal their marijuana laws, in whole or in part, but that does not change federal law.

[The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it]

When Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, questions arose as to how this would interact with federal law. Specifically, the question was whether such state efforts are preempted by the federal law, which still prohibits marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin and cocaine.

The answer is clear: States can have whatever laws they want with regard to marijuana or any other drug. No state is required to have a law prohibiting or regulating marijuana. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress cannot force states to enact laws; such coercion violates the 10th Amendment. A state could choose to have no law prohibiting marijuana, or a law prohibiting marijuana with an exception for medical use, or a law allowing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or anything else. In fact, across the United States today, this is exactly the situation — many states have very different laws concerning marijuana.

Similarly, if the federal government were to repeal the prohibition of marijuana or reschedule it under the Controlled Substances Act, that would not change state laws. States still could prohibit and punish the sale and possession of marijuana under state criminal statutes.

Contrary to what many believe, marijuana laws continue to be enforced by both states and the federal government. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 693,482 individuals in the United States were arrested in 2013 and charged with marijuana violations. Of these, 609,423 — or 88 percent — were arrested for simple possession. There is an enormous cost in terms of law enforcement resources, the criminal justice system and people’s lives for marijuana to remain illegal. Even for those arrested and never prosecuted or convicted, arrest records have real harms in terms of the ability to get jobs, loans, housing and benefits.

Like all drug laws, the prohibition against marijuana is much more likely to be enforced against African Americans and Latinos than against whites. According to a 2013 study, whites and blacks use marijuana at roughly the same rates, but blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana.

[Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn’t]

In Theory newsletter

Emerging ideas and arguments behind the news.

Yet there is little benefit to illegality. The primary argument for keeping marijuana illegal is that it is harmful. But as President Obama observed, pot is no “more dangerous than alcohol.” Many things are harmful — cigarettes, foods high in sugar and salt and cholesterol — but that does not mean that they should be illegal. In fact, there is a good deal of evidence that marijuana is significantly less harmful than tobacco or alcohol and that it has benefits in treating some medical conditions such as glaucoma and seizure disorders, and alleviating some of the ill effects of chemotherapy. That is why 24 states and the District allow medical use of marijuana.

Like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has been a failure. The drug is readily available and it is estimated that 30 million Americans used it in the past year. And similar to the prohibition of alcohol, it is a costly failure. In addition to the cost in enforcing the criminal laws, there is the loss of significant revenue that could be gained from taxation and legalization.

It is a question of when, not whether, marijuana becomes legal in the United States. A study by the Pew Research Center last year found that a majority of Americans now favor legalization and only 44 percent believe it should be illegal. Of those under 35 years old, 68 percent believe that marijuana should be legal. But there is no doubt that the confusion federalism entails will make legalizing marijuana much more difficult.

Explore these other perspectives:

Keith Humphreys: The paradox at the heart of our marijuana laws — and how to fix it

CONTINUE READING…

A new report says Kentucky has the highest percentage of children in the nation who have had a parent in jail – a situation so detrimental that a child advocate compares it to abuse

LOUISVILLE – A new report says Kentucky has the highest percentage of children in the nation who have had a parent in jail – a situation so detrimental that a child advocate compares it to abuse.

Citing a report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville reports that 13 percent of Kentucky children – 135,000 – reported in 2011-12 that they had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives. That percentage is nearly double the national average of 7 percent.

Nationwide, about 5.1 million children have experienced parental incarceration, according to the report, “A Shared Sentence,” co-released by Kentucky Youth Advocates, a nonprofit children’s advocacy organization. Indiana had 177,000 such children, the report says.

Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks said parental incarceration exacts a devastating toll on families and society at large by creating an “unstable environment” for children, with the effects being long-lasting.

“Having a parent incarcerated is a stressful, traumatic experience of the same magnitude as abuse, domestic violence and divorce,” the report said.

Brooks hopes the report’s findings bring attention to the issue.

“Policy debates about incarceration rarely focus on the impact on children,” Brooks said. “You can’t ignore a 13-percent-of-the-population problem.”

The report uses data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health, the latest available.

Since that survey took place, Kentucky has enacted numerous criminal justice reforms in order to curb the growth of a prison population that had been increasing four times faster than the national average. The reforms included an expansion of alternative sentencing for nonviolent crimes.

John Tilley, secretary of the Kentucky Justice Cabinet who helped push those changes as a legislator, said they have helped level off the increase that some predicted could have reached 27,000 by 2015.

Still, the prison population in the state has continued to grow.

State jails and prisons held about 22,700 people in April, compared to 21,500 in April 2012.

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Kentucky comes up short of falling in line with current mainstream Cannabis reform – once again

April 17, 2016
Sheree Krider

legalize-marijuana-leaf-red-white-blue-flag-300x300

 
Kratom 2016
http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/16RS/SB136/SCS1.pdf
 
The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 regular session ended on Friday, April 15 and once again the people’s requests were ignored.
There were a total of five Cannabis and Hemp Bills introduced into this Legislature and not one of them made it.
Here is the short list of them:
March 2, 2016
Senate Bill 262 is AN ACT relating to industrial hempSen. Perry Clark
Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Agriculture (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate
*
Senate Bill 263 is AN ACT relating to medical cannabisSen. Perry Clark
Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate
*
March 1, 2016 –
HB 584(BR-1994) by Representative Denver Butler, “medical marijuana” .
Mar 01, 2016 – introduced in House, Mar 02, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H)
*
February 25, 2016
HR 173  A “Resolution” to the FDA to “study medical marijuana”, the Sponsors are David Osborne, Lynn Bechler, and Brad Montell.
Monday, February 29, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H), Thursday, February 25, 2016 – introduced in House
*
January 6, 2016 – introduced in Senate by Sen. Perry Clark – This was the “Cannabis Freedom Bill” (This Bill was “pre-filed” in December of 2015)!
SB 13(BR-161)/LM/CI
Jan 06, 2016 – introduced in Senate, Jan 07, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)
 
As early as January 28th they were already reporting that Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky,
so they KNEW beyond a doubt that they would not take any action on the Cannabis Bills as early as January!
At least Hundreds, maybe thousands of concerned Kentuckians made their way to the Capitol of Frankfort, Kentucky this year to attempt to
impress upon our Legislators just how important the “Cannabis” Bills were, yet I can count on one hand the number of Representatives
in Kentucky that stepped up.
Louisville, KY’s Sen. Perry Clark is a “stand up” Legislator for the People and he definitely did his homework correctly.  I cannot see one thing
that he could have done differently to persuade a different outcome.  Please send him a note of THANKS for everything he has done this year!
Not only could the Representatives not find time to take up the Cannabis issue, but they MADE TIME to take up the issue of moving “Kratom”,
which is another herbal plant, not a “spice” type of drug, to Schedule I in Kentucky taking yet another plant away from the people via “legislation”.
THIS Bill was introduced by W. Westerfield.  Be sure to send him a note and let him know how much we appreciate him stealing our plants!
Kentucky is a corrupt State.  That’s it and that’s that.
Once again, Kentucky will remain last on the list, at least for now.  But it is not for lack of trying to climb up and out of this corruption, by the people who have stood up and asked to be counted!  It is,
as usual, the Kentucky Government as it exists today and has existed for many years.
There is always next year, and there will be a new President in the White House by that time.  As well, there will be new Legislators in Kentucky.
All we can do is to set our sites on next year, and say a prayer.
WE THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY WILL NOT BE SILENCED ANYMORE!
The Legislators can expect to have a LARGER crowd in Frankfort in 2017, expecting them to stand up and do the RIGHT thing!
sk

Mauritanian appeals court upholds death sentence for blogger

Karim Wade est victime

 

New York, April 21, 2016– An appeals court in Nouadhibou today upheld the death sentence for Mauritanian blogger and freelance journalist Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, who was convicted of apostasy in 2014 for an article he wrote, according to news reports.

The appeals court referred the case to Mauritania’s Supreme Court, which has the power to repeal the sentence, reports said. Under article 306 in the Mauritanian penal code, if the Supreme Court rules that a defendant is repentant, it can reduce the sentence to up to two years in jail and up to 60,000 Mauritanian ouguiya (US$172.93.)

“We strongly condemn today’s verdict against Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, and call on Mauritania’s Supreme Court to repeal the sentence,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “This mockery of a judicial process, which could end someone’s life for writing an article, should be consigned to the history books.”

The appeal hearing today was held under tight security after the article Mohamed wrote led in January 2014 to nationwide demonstrations, in which protesters called for President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz to punish Mohamed for what they saw as blasphemy, according to reports. The president told reporters in April 2014 that he did not believe Mohamed was aware of the seriousness of what he had written.

Mohamed’s article–published on December 31, 2013, on the news website Aqlame–criticized Mauritania’s caste system and said that followers of Islam interpreted the religion according to circumstance, Reuters reported. The editor of Aqlame, Riad Ould Ahmed, took down the article from the website and issued a statement on January 4, 2014, saying it had been posted accidentally.

During today’s court session, Mohamed admitted he had made a mistake and asked for forgiveness, according to news reports. On January 11, 2014, Mohamed issued a statement from prison denying that he intended to insult the Prophet Muhammad.

During the appeal hearing, the prosecution called for death by firing squad, according to reports. The defense demanded that the appeals court withdraw the blogger’s 2014 death sentence because it was based on his social class, and asked the court to take into consideration his repentance, according to news reports.

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RELATED:

Mauritania must quash the death sentence against blogger

http://diasporaenligne.net/

After Fighting for Freedom, 76-yo Vet Sentenced to Die In Prison for Treating His Illness With Pot

 

 

Claire Bernish April 21, 2016

As public frustration helps sound the death knell for the drug war, its arbitrary laws and policies appear even more absurd. In the latest inexcusable enforcement of an antiquated law, 76-year-old disabled veteran Lee Carroll Brooker will live out what should be his golden years behind bars — for simple possession of cannabis.

Brooker had been treating multiple chronic conditions with cannabis he grew in his son’s backyard; but when officials in Alabama officials discovered the three dozen plants, they threw him in prison for life — without the possibility of parole.

Thanks to a pointless mandatory minimum sentencing catchall — and the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear his case this week — Brooker has been left little recourse but to ultimately die in jail for treating his ailments with a plant.

“Alabama, like three other states, mandates a life without parole sentence for simple possession of small amounts of marijuana by people with certain prior felony convictions — and Mr. Brooker had been convicted of a string of robberies twenty years earlier in Florida, crimes for which he served ten years in prison,” The New York Times explained. “In such a case, the law doesn’t require prosecutors to prove any intent to sell the drug.”

Essentially, Brooker has been imprisoned twice for the same crime — because he sought relief from nature instead of arguably dangerous, legal and often lethal pharmaceuticals, courtesy of Big Pharma. Worse, Alabama’s already irrational law sets the cutoff in a case like this at 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram), and Brooker’s plants weighed just 2.8 pounds — but that included unusable parts, like stalks and leaves.

Make no mistake — this is an unjust law, an unjust conviction, and a ridiculous capitulation by the Supreme Court to Alabama’s archaic notion a nonviolent offense should somehow land a vet behind bars for life and separate him from his medicine — as if law were an inflexible monster to be beholden to, no matter its worth.

In fact, as the Times pointed out, “[W]hile the sentence was mandatory, the prosecutor was not required to bring the precise charges that triggered it. Prosecutorial discretion here, as in most cases, is a central factor in determining what punishment defendants face.”

In other words, the prosecutor railroaded Brooker over his personal, medicinal plants — by choice. Brooker, who joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and came under fire in both Lebanon and the Dominican Republic, eventually rose to the rank of sergeant in the 82nd Airborne — where he was decorated for infantry service. 

Vox reported that even “notoriously conservative” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore characterized Brooker’s sentence as “excessive and unjustified.” And according to the Times, the judge deciding the vet’s fate would have preferred to hand down a lighter sentence, but once the charges had been brought as they were, he was obligated to enforce the letter of the law.

Yes, this disabled man technically broke the law; but proffering such a rebuttal rings hollow, if not cold, considering the majority of Americans support cannabis legalization. Legality does not dictate morality.

A growing segment of officials and public figures do, as well, as The Free Thought Project reported recently, more than 1,000 police, world leaders, celebrities, and others signed a letter calling to summarily end the disastrous war on drugs.

In fact, though little comfort to Brooker now, the Drug Enforcement Agency will likely downgrade cannabis from its inexplicable Schedule 1 classification to Schedule 2 — as early as July of this year. Note that while a plethora of viable arguments can be asserted for rescheduling, considering states with laws like Alabama’s — and cases like Brooker’s — the slight concession by federal law would make a comparative, whopping difference.

Brooker attempted to bring his case before the highest court in the land as an inarguable violation of the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment — to no avail. The court’s stonewall, in itself, could be considered as much — in an increasing number of states, Brooker’s so-called crime would have been perfectly legal.

For now, though, it appears the 76-year-old will suffer the consequences of bad policy, unjustifiable law, and the cruelty of ostensible authority figures who were all just doing their jobs.

Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/life-sentence-75-year-old-vet-slightly-plant-allowed-law/#s8Vo4JapilISzggR.99