Should health care facilities have the power to make lifestyle decisions for you — and punish you when your choices don’t measure up to their ideals? More and more hospitals are making exactly those kinds of decisions when it comes to people who choose to use marijuana — even legal patients in medical marijuana states. Apparently, these places don’t mind looking exactly as if they have more loyalty to their Big Pharma benefactors than they do to their own patients.
A new policy at one Alaska clinic — requiring patients taking painkilling medications to be marijuana free — serves to highlight the hypocrisy and cruelty of such rules, which are used at more and more health care facilities, particularly the big corporate chains (the clinic in question is a member of the Banner Health chain).
Tanana Valley Clinic, in Fairbanks, started handing out prepared statements to all chronic pain patients on Monday, said Corinne Leistikow, assistant medical director for family practice at TVC, reports Dorothy Chomicz at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
"We will no longer prescribe controlled substances, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, to patients who are using marijuana (THC)," the statement reads in part. "These drugs are psychoactive substances and it is not safe for you to take them together." (This statement is patently false; marijuana has no known dangerous reactions with any other drugs, and in fact, since marijuana relieves chronic pain, it often makes it possible for pain patients to take smaller, safer doses of opiates and other drugs.)
LIAR, LIAR: Corinne Leistikow, M.D. says "patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death." We’d love to see the study you’re talking about, Corinne.
"Your urine will be tested for marijuana," patients are sternly warned. "If you test positive you will have two months to get it out of your system. You will be retested in two months. If you still have THC in your urine, we will no longer prescribe controlled substances for you."
TVC patient Scott Ide, who takes methadone to control chronic back pain, also uses medical marijuana to ease the nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis. He believes TVC decided to change its policy after an Anchorage-based medical marijuana authorization clinic spend three days in Fairbanks in June, helping patients get the necessary documentation to get a state medical marijuana card.
"I’m a victim of circumstance because of what occurred," Ide said. "I was already a patient with her — I was already on this regimen. We already knew what we were doing to get me better and work things out for me. I think it’s wrong."
Ide, a former Alaska State Trooper, said he was addicted to painkillers, but medical marijuana helped him wean himself off all medications except methadone.
Leistikow admitted that the new policy may force some patients to drive all the way to Anchorage, because there are only a few chronic pain specialists in Fairbanks. Still, she claimed the strict new policy was "necessary."
The assistant medical director is so eager to defend the clinic’s new policy that she took a significant departure from the facts in so doing.
"What we have decided as a clinic — we’re setting policy for which patients we can take care of and which ones we can’t — patients who use opiates and marijuana together are at much higher risk of death, abuse and misuse of medications, of having side effects from their medications, and recommendations are generally that patients on those should be followed by a pain specialist," Leistikow lied.
Patients who use opiates and marijuana together are NOT in fact at higher risk of death, abuse, misuse and side effects; I invite Ms. Leistikow to produce any studies which indicate they are. As mentioned earlier, pain patients who also use marijuana are usually able to use smaller, safer doses of painkillers than would be the case without cannabis supplementation.
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Marijuana activists are headed to an Obama campaign office to protest what they consider “hostile actions” from the administration.
Pot activists say that President Barack Obama’s administration is making “attacks” on medical marijuana patients.
Several activists were headed to a campaign office in Lakewood Thursday to hand out pamphlets and criticize the administration’s approach to marijuana.
A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign in Colorado had no immediate statement on the marijuana protest.
Similar protests were planned in six other states, some at Obama campaign offices and some at federal buildings.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
by Chelsea Rabideau
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Updated Friday, Jul 6 at 10:52 AM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Kentucky state senator from Louisville is pitching a bill in Frankfort that would legalize medical marijuana. It’s named in honor of one of medical marijuana’s long-standing supporters, Gatewood Galbraith, who died in January. But, one of the senator’s long-time friends says the bill is self-serving.
David Toborowsky says he’s been friends with democratic senator Perry Clark for 15 years. He’s also a supporter of Clark’s opponent Chris Thieneman. When Clark introduced the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act of 2013 Thursday, Toborowsky says he was bothered.
“You know, being an elected official is leadership and as a constituent, I would hope for a little more from that. Like I said, there’s more important issues out there,” Toborowsky said.
But, there’s a little more to it.
Toborowsky said he faced an uncomfortable situation during the last legislative session. He claimed he went to Clark’s house to talk politics and the senator was smoking pot.
“They handed it to me, I’m not a pot smoker, it’s not my thing,” Toborowsky said. “I don’t judge anybody, what people do in their personal lives is their business. I didn’t think anything of it and it didn’t bother me until the bill was filed…and I thought, you know, that’s kind of self-serving.”
Senator Clark freely admitted to using the drug.
“I have chronic back pain. I’ve been known to smoke weed. People know that about me somewhat. I’m not a chronic smoker. I’m a 70’s child, child of the 70’s, I’m a veteran,” Clark said. “They put me in not the greatest places in the Orient. We were sailors so, you know what we were doing and we weren’t behaving totally. But, I have been recommended marijuana for my back.”
Again, Toborowsky said he’s been friends with Clark for 15 years. But, he’s also contributed money to republican Chris Thieneman’s campaign in the past. He also caused his own stir when he listed the same address as Thieneman when he filed to run for the Jefferson County School Board in 2010.
A new study out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reveals some baby soaps may cause infants to test positive for marijuana, reports My Health News Daily.
While researchers aren’t sure why the tests came out positive, they asserted infants were not experiencing a "high" from the soap.
"It’s not marijuana in any way, shape or form," said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina.
Researchers first became aware of the issue when nurses at a North Carolina hospital noticed a high number of positive urine tests, according to WFMY News.
The study was conducted so families wouldn’t be falsely accused of exposing children to illegal drugs, a form of child abuse that would need to be reported to social services.
Posted: 05/10/2012 7:47 pm
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan measure that would have eliminated funding for federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they’re legal failed Wednesday in the House of Representatives. The legislation, introduced by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), was part of the appropriations bill to fund the Department of Justice for fiscal 2013. It failed 262-163.
The bill came as the administration of President Barack Obama has unleashed an interagency crackdown on the cannabis industry, with raids on pot dispensaries, many in California operating in full compliance with state law. Since October 2009, the Justice Department has conducted more than 170 aggressive SWAT-style raids in nine states that allow medical marijuana, resulting in at least 61 federal indictments, according to data compiled by Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group. While medical marijuana is legal under laws in 17 states and the District of Columbia, federal law says any use of marijuana is illegal.
The failed bill’s text reads as follows:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
Of the 190 Democrats in the House, 134 (more than 70 percent) voted in favor of the bill. Only 29 of the 242 House Republicans (less than 12 percent) did.
"If states’ rights aren’t a good enough reason to pass this amendment, do it because of compassion. Compassion demands it," said Farr in his statement Wednesday on the House floor. "We offer this amendment for terminal cancer patients," he added, "for AIDS victims, for persons who suffer chronic pain. We offer this amendment not only to protect those people, but we offer this amendment to protect the states that are progressive enough to provide alternative medical options to those who need it."
Watch Farr’s address to Congress below.
PHOENIX — Doctors and businesses in Arizona that are cheated out of money by medical marijuana dispensaries may have no legal recourse after a recent court ruling.
The new legal reality stems from a case in which two Arizonans, Michele Rene Hammer and Mark Haile, gave a $500,000 loan to a medical marijuana company in Colorado, which — along with Arizona and over a dozen other states — permits some medicinal use of the drug.
When the company failed to repay the loan, Hammer and Haile sued.
But Maricopa County, Ariz., Superior Court Judge Michael McVey threw out their lawsuit because federal law prohibits marijuana possession for all reasons.
"The explicitly stated purpose of these loan agreements was to finance the sale and distribution of marijuana," McVey wrote in his judgment of dismissal. "This was in clear violation of the laws of the United States. As such, this contract is void and unenforceable."
It is unknown whether Hammer and Haile will appeal.
Legal observers noted McVey’s ruling could make it impossible to enforce business agreements with medical marijuana companies.
"This is just one contractual relationship," Randy Nussbaum, managing partner of a law firm that represented Hammer and Haile, told The Arizona Republic. "The macro view of this is, if it’s true that anyone who has a contractual relationship with anyone dispensing medical marijuana and that contract is not enforceable, how does anyone enforce a legitimate contract in this business?"
Phoenix attorney Richard Keyt, who discusses legal issues related to medical marijuana on his blog keytlaw.com, noted that McVey’s ruling means landlords who rent to medical marijuana dispensaries may not be able to take squatting tenants to court.
Doctors who provide services to dispensaries may also have no legal options if they are denied payments, according to Keyt.
"Until an Arizona appellate court reverses the result in this case it means that people who enter into contracts that relate in any way to Arizona medical marijuana will have to hope the other side to the contract satisfies his/her/its obligations because it may not be possible to sue for breach of contract and get a judgment against the party who defaults," Keyt wrote.
By DANIELLE CARPENTER Published April 29, 2012 at 11:45pm
Pushing for the legalization of recreational marijuana is a waste of time.
The Tucson Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws held its annual protest on April 20. About 50 protesters made their way to Cheba Hut for the seventh annual protest, where they held up signs to flash at traffic about legalizing marijuana. It’s sad how badly those people want recreational marijuana legalized. Medical marijuana helps people, but recreational marijuana can be dangerous.
Marijuana is the most common illegal drug found in “impaired drivers and crash victims involved in ‘drugged driving’ accidents,” according to the Alcohol Drug Abuse Help & Resource Center website. The drug interferes with the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls coordination, according to the center’s website. Legalizing this drug will do nothing more then increase the number of DUIs and fatal car accidents, as if Arizona needs higher numbers in that department.
A lot of people assume that marijuana does nothing bad for them. But the THC in marijuana — the reason for its effects — can interfere with the hippocampus, according to the center’s website. The hippocampus is one of the most important parts of the brain, as it controls memory, judgment and learning.
In chronic users, the impact on memory and learning can last days or weeks after marijuana’s effects seem to fade, according to a 2001 study in the medical journal Archives of General Psychiatry.
Studies have shown that frequent use of the drug can actually lead to more anxiety and higher rates of mental illness like depression.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, notes that schizophrenia in particular seems to have a link to marijuana use, as a 2007 study found. This may be due to the fact that frequent use of marijuana case can cause a dire psychotic reaction in susceptible people, according to the NIDA, making it a possible factor in the onset or relapse of schizophrenia.
A 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 84 percent of employers drug test new hires, and 39 percent will randomly test employees after they are hired. (Usually, those who meet the criteria for being able to have medical marijuana are excused.)
Most employers want mature, intelligent and dedicated employees who do not abuse drugs. Some employers, such as hospitals, are even starting to look at whether or not their applicants smoke cigarettes, not just marijuana or other controlled substances.
Smoking, marijuana or cigarettes, does not make one more appealing in any way, shape or form to a handful of careers or to other people. It’s time for people to grow up, and figure out how to live life without depending on marijuana.
If even California of all states would not pass a bill legalizing weed for those 21 and older, it’s clear that protesting Arizonans are fighting a hopeless cause. Arizonans should spend their time more wisely than trying to get something as pointless as recreational pot to happen.
The outcomes of keeping recreational marijuana use illegal will save Arizona from the increase of drug-related fatal car accidents, and protect the mental health of residents. Smoking weed recreationally should remain against the law.