Tag Archives: Virginia

Garrett introduces legislation to remove marijuana from controlled substances list

February 27, 2017

Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today 5th District Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana.

The short title for this legislation is cited as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.” If passed, this bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list – joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco.

Originally introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015, this bill fulfills a responsibility to create a level playing field across the country.

Upon introduction of this legislation, Rep. Garrett released the following statement:

“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

Garrett went on to say, “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”

In recent weeks, the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised to crack down on federal marijuana crimes. During his confirmation, then-Senator Sessions pointed out that if legislators did not like this approach, they should change the laws accordingly. Garrett anticipates bipartisan support as his legislation makes its way to the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving as the lead original cosponsor on this bipartisan legislation.

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SOURCE LINK

RELATED:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2237

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/congressman-introduces-bill-to-remove-cannabis-from-federal-controlled-substances-act/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiWhGok65Y4

Vaccine exemptions: California Senate overwhelmingly passes SB 277, abolishing most opt-outs

By Lisa M. Krieger

[email protected]

 

Image result for VACCINE

SACRAMENTO — A controversial bill that abolishes "personal belief exemptions" for vaccinations won overwhelming approval in the California Senate on Thursday, bolstering supporters’ hopes that it will also clear the Assembly and be signed into law.

The measure by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan, of Sacramento, and Ben Allen, of Santa Monica — introduced after a outbreak of measles in December at Disneyland sickened 136 Californians — passed 25-10 after the two senators agreed to compromises aimed at easing its passage.

"Vaccines are necessary to protect us. That protection has been eroding," Pan, a pediatrician, said in appealing for passage. "The science is clear: Vaccines are safe and efficacious."

 

The measure, SB 277, would require children to be vaccinated before entering kindergarten. Medical exemptions are permitted, but exemptions based on personal and religious objections are not. That would make California one of only three states — the others are Mississippi and West Virginia — that doesn’t allow personal or religious exemptions to vaccine laws.

In a compromise, the authors agreed to limit the number of required vaccines to 10 to address critics’ concerns of an ever-expanding list of shots. They also amended their bill to remove a requirement for schools to notify parents of immunization rates. That made it possible for SB277 to bypass the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

But perhaps the most significant compromise was the authors’ pledge to "grandfather in" many public and private school students whose parents have claimed personal belief exemptions. That would mean that more than 13,000 children who have had no vaccinations by first grade won’t have to get their shots until they enter seventh grade. And nearly 10,000 seventh-graders who today aren’t fully vaccinated may be able to avoid future shots because the state does not always require them after that grade.

The move was aimed at mollifying hundreds of angry California parents who have staged rallies and jammed hearing rooms, citing their concerns over vaccine side effects and asserting their parental rights.

"By scaling back the bill’s reach, their chance of success becomes much greater," said Dan Schnur, director of the University of Southern California’s Unruh Institute of Politics.

Shannon Martinez, a spokeswoman for Pan, said Thursday the bill had not yet been amended to reflect the grandfather clause but that language will be written into the bill if attorneys agree that clarification is necessary.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signaled that he supports the bill, but there’s still a possibility he might urge legislators to include a religious exemption.

"I would be surprised if he didn’t sign it, because of the public health issues involved," said Jack Pitney, a politics and government professor at Claremont McKenna College. "I think the governor, on one hand, is sensitive to parental rights, but also sees public health as a major responsibility of his.

"The anti-vaccine folks are going to make a very hard push, but passage in the Senate is a good sign it will become law," Pitney said. "Sen. Pan made changes that made it more acceptable to some of the critics and that should greatly improve its changes in the Assembly."

Most Republicans — including Sen. Patricia C. Bates of San Juan Capistrano, Sen. Mike Morrell of Rancho Cucamonga, Sen. Joel Anderson of San Diego and Senate GOP leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar — voted against the measure.

"I am concerned about opportunities for equal education," because unvaccinated kindergarteners would require home schooling, Bates said. "We have 3- and 4-year-olds in the state that are anticipating their first day of kindergarten."

Added Morrell: "It tells deeply devout families that the government thinks it knows better."

But Thursday’s vote and debate often crossed party lines, with Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, endorsing the bill from his experience as a practicing pharmacist and denouncing what he said were myths that have led to false concerns.

Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, was one of two Democrats voting no. He still had concerns about the list of mandated vaccines. "I’m not sure there was a full explanation," he said.

Outside the Senate chamber, a group of vaccine opponents from the California Coalition for Health Choice thanked senators who voted no as they left. They said they would step up efforts in the Assembly to highlight the impact SB 277 would have on schools and the difficulty of acquiring a medical exemption for immunizations.

"The only thing we can do is continue to educate our officials" about the personal belief exemption, said Lisa Bakshi, a mother from Placer County. "The parents who do it now do it for very legitimate reasons. We don’t do it because we are uninformed."

The Associated Press and Sacramento Bee contributed to this report. Contact Lisa M. Krieger at 650-492-4098. Follow her at Twitter.com/Lisa M. Krieger.

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THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SENTENCES VIETNAM VETERAN TO DEATH FOR USING MARIJUANA MEDICALLY

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xfa1/v/t1.0-1/c0.0.56.56/p56x56/429576_3302917330175_1625630525_n.jpg?oh=4ef142851e3e7a013602e8de4a502246&oe=55CBF242&__gda__=1436346351_445034453cec861adb55aad81ea0db28

 

Written by:  Cindy Spencer

                          USMjParty Virginia

 

July 27, 2013

 

What ever happened to the land of the free?

He was certainly one of the brave.

There was no judge or jury. No trial. Just a death sentence. Handed down by Uncle Sam.

        Let’s go back a few years for a little history? My father was born in 1949. He was the youngest of three. He lost his mother very prematurely at the very early age of 12. Soon after his father remarried a very hateful and manipulative woman who had no use for her new husband’s dead wife’s baby boy. His older brother and sister were old enough to be out on their own. He was not. So he was shuffled around a bit between various relatives, meanwhile mourning the loss of his mother and now essentially his father. Add to that, the struggles of coping with having to learn to live without the affections of a mother for her baby boy, and the sting of being discarded by his father when he needed him the most, just to please this new “woman” for lack of a better word, who wanted absolutely nothing around to remind her husband of his first wife.

        Now let’s move on to June of 1967 when he began his enlistment into the United States Army. He went thru the training and arrived in Vietnam July 5 1969. My father never spoke much off his time in Vietnam, as doing so sent him back there, and as many Vietnam vets tell me, they’d do almost anything to keep from “going there”. From what I gather, he was, at least for part of the time, the man the carried the communication device in that kept them connected to base, in which air strikes were called in. because of this, I am quite sure he was definitely one that the enemy would try to “take out”. But really, weren’t they attempting to take them all out? Which they nearly did. He also spoke of the feeling of Agent Orange as it fell and landed on his skin. That their own government poisoned them with. He spent 1 year over there, and returned to the states June 19 1970. I think, it is despicable, no, criminal the way our soldiers were treated upon their return. I also firmly believe that was akin to a secondary wounding, except on friendly soil. I cannot imagine what my father and all those others must have felt after what they had gone thru in an attempt to survive while fighting for their country only to be called baby killers and be spat upon by the very people they were dying to protect. It makes me so angry.

      So, now we go to February 1971 when he weds my mother. He loved her with all the love he had to give. He was definitely wounded in the war, but because his injuries weren’t visible yet, he was not treated, much like many,  many others for PTSD. But he most definitely had it. He and my mother started their family with my birth in December of 1972. Then was my brother in March 1976. Then was my sister in January 1978.  And last but not least, was another brother in February 1980. So here he was with a wife and four kids. With no education other than combat training, he worked long hard hours setting up mobile homes for minimum wage. Which obviously didn’t go too far with a family of 6.  He and my mother struggled long and hard. It took a toll on their marriage, but they stuck it out, for now any way. But he had begun to self medicate with alcohol and marijuana that he was introduced to in Vietnam. This went on with all life’s ups and downs for many years until the kids were raised. It was quite violent at times because of the alcohol.

      After my baby brother graduated high school in 2000, he joined the United States Air Force. By now my dads drinking was daily. He was a very small man weighing in at 119 for most of his life. It didn’t take much and he would be pretty loaded. As long as he drank just beer he really wasn’t as bad. It was when the liquor entered the picture that all of his sense, reason, and self control left the building. This was a huge problem and almost broke our family up for good. Around 2002 my mother had taken all the abuse she could handle, and I mean emotional, and verbal. It only got completely physical once that I know of. And my mom was always slightly bigger than my dad, until recently that is, so she could hold her own, until he pulled the guns that is. I lived with them at this time, as my marriage had fallen apart, and I could not afford to remain on my own for many reasons. So my mom left him. Then it got real bad, he grew more and more depressed. He had been seeing a local backwoods dr. forever for whenever he got sick, and for his “nerves”. That dr. had him on some pretty powerful pills for over 20 years. 2mg of Ativan several times a day. I know he needed something, and they definitely helped him, but it wasn’t nearly enough. This entire time he used marijuana regularly. I truly believe it saved us all at times, not just his life.

             He honestly never knew that he could go to the VA for his medical treatment the whole time. But in 2003, after essentially “running his wife off”, in his mind, and trying to work with all the flashbacks he suffered because he couldn’t medicate at work, in my opinion that is, he quit his job at a very small cabinet shop where he sprayed finish. A friend of his talked him into riding with him to an appointment at the VA. So while he was there he saw someone who talked him into checking in to get off alcohol. Unfortunately after he did, the stopped his Ativan cold turkey and he had 2 Grand Mal seizures that resulted in a fall and a fractured skull. He went thru an ordeal, but emerged a recovering alcoholic. He was also off the Ativan, and no other medicine of that nature ever took its place. He even stopped smoking marijuana. For a while. But after returning home, alone, except for me being there with him in the day. He knew he would be drinking in no time if he didn’t at least smoke. The dr. at the VA refused to give him any medicine that was controlled, as she had labeled him from the word go, as a drug seeker. Which was completely untrue. He was self medicated. It was his only choice.

        It took him and my mom some hard work, but they started over in a new place in 2007. He had finally gotten his pension money for a service connected disability that he had suffered for years. And he wanted to buy the woman he loved a nice home for them to start the next chapter in their lives. He never got drunk again. As it turned out he had awesome will power once he was treated for PTSD thru counseling, antidepressants, and mostly “medicinal use marijuana”.

         Not too long after they got in the new place, my dad was surveying the wood on his land on his 4 wheeler, and as he went over a large tree root, the 4 wheeler tilted some and he instinctively threw his leg out to catch himself, and “snap” broke his leg. My mom panicking, of course, got my brother to help, and called 911 to come get him. In all the commotion, it never occurred to anyone to remove a marijuana cigarette from his shirt pocket. After they rushed him to the hospital, and began assessing his injuries, and I’m a little foggy on how, but hospital staff observed the marijuana cigarette, and alerted the law. They came, and charged him with the possession of it. Well he was in the hospital a while, but after he got out, he went to court when his paper said to, and thru confusion, they didn’t have him on the docket or something to that affect, and after thorough checking, my parents went home. Here is where it gets interesting. After someone somewhere somehow really “effed” something up, and charged him with being a fugitive from justice. They never came to arrest him at home, which is where he was confined with a broken leg, instead they called him at home from the VA to tell him his money would stop because he was a fugitive. He asked them how on earth he was a fugitive when they called him at home to tell him this. Well he had to get an expensive lawyer to fight the erroneous charges, which he did when, but not before they stopped his money for several months until it was straightened out.

            So, even after all that, he still kept his appointments, trying now to be treated for the pain he was constantly experiencing as a result of the broken leg and subsequent placement of a steel bar. Well, of course that wasn’t going to happen, after all, he was already branded with “the scarlet label”. Only now, he was under the impression that if he continued to smoke, without admitting himself for another 28 day stay, he may again risk losing his income. That, in my opinion, should be criminal. So, fearing losing his money, again, he slacked of going to the VA. He was in a no win situation. His appointments became fewer and farther between. After all, he had tried to be as compliant as possible while maintaining some sort of tolerable balance between mood stabilizers, anti depressants, whatever ineffective pain med they may send, and his old faithful plant that grows from the ground that God himself put here for us to use.

    Now, here we are to 2012. He had been feeling down, and tired, and must have been in excruciating pain, but didn’t let on too much to us. He was spending more and more time in bed. We at first thought he was depressed, as he had been before. But when he didn’t respond as he normally did, we began to urge him to let us take him to the dr. he refused. He said they would just treat him like he was looking for drugs, and he was so tired of that. Couple more months passed by, and he made himself get up more, but I think it was so we would quit trying to get him to go to the dr.  Well on Friday, July 13, 2012 my mom called me upset saying she couldn’t get him to wake up good, and would I come over and help her make him go to the hospital. So we raced over, and got him up and dressed, and I asked him if I could call an ambulance. He said no. so my mom drove him, and my son and I followed.

          From this point things went really fast. So fast, that it is almost a blur. I want to say that it was around 7:30 pm when the dr. came in and asked my dad if he wanted the news with us in there or if he wanted his privacy. My dad said”just lay it on me”. She said “Mr. Spencer, you have cancer. It is esophageal cancer and has spread to your lungs, your liver, and your lymph nodes.” I’m sorry to say that I am unaware of what she said next, as I quickly turned to step out of his view so he wouldn’t have to see my face as I fell apart. I’ve always been daddy’s girl, and have been by his side for a lot of things. I could not face him for a while after that, as I didn’t want him to be anymore afraid than I knew he must already be. He had always feared cancer. Kind of like he somehow knew that would be what got him. The next few days were filled with sobs and drs. And swollen faces, and family members we hadn’t seen in years. This was really it. I begged them to explain why we couldn’t try to treat it, even though I knew.

      My father, James R. Spencer, who fought in the deadliest war in our history, died on July 18 2012 at 12:16 am. Just 4 and a half days after being diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic esophageal cancer. Think about that as I have had to. He battled unimaginable pain and sickness for god only knows how long without the benefit of modern medicine to at the very least ease some of his pain, and for what? He deserved to be treated like a human being. If for no other reason than he was. But he was a Vietnam War veteran with honorable discharge. Why was he treated like a drug seeker just for being sick with a disease he got BECAUSE he fought for this country?  I am so angry. I cannot for the life of me ever remember hearing of anyone who battled what had to have been years of terminal cancer without so much as the mildest pain pill. He did not deserve to suffer like that. All because of the fear that was instilled in him by the Veterans Administration that he would lose his ability to support his wife and put food on the table once he lost his income because he chose a god given flower to calm his troubled mind, and ease some of his suffering once it was evident that he would not receive adequate treatment from the VA for an illness that he did not bring on himself.

     This was senseless almost manslaughter. I may not be a lawyer, nor am I a dr. but I am a human being, and I am an American. I have just as much right to be heard as anyone else. This country is falling apart. Why won’t government open their eyes to see what they are doing to America’s people?  Can someone out there help me? It is now my life’s mission to spread my father’s story to anyone who will hear, and especially to those who wouldn’t. It is those that are single minded about the subject that have cost me and my children our father and grandfather. maybe someday we can change enough minds to make sure that this Vietnam veteran hero didn’t die in vain!! That thru his story, never again would something like this happen to any American!

       Thank you for your time,

        Cynthia Spencer Mitchell

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Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

mummyemebed

Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

A 2,400-year-old “Siberian Ice Maiden” apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the “Princess of Ukok,” were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
“‘I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer,” one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. “She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a “cosmetics bag.”
“Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

30 Members Of Congress Demand Increased Access To Marijuana For Research Purposes

 

 

 Matt Ferner

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 [email protected]

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Thirty members of Congress, led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Tuesday demanding an end to the federal monopoly on marijuana research so that more studies can be done by scientists around the nation.

“We write to express our support for increasing scientific research on the therapeutic risks and benefits of marijuana,” the letter reads. “We ask that you take measures to ensure that any non-National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded researcher who has acquired necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and appropriate state and local authority approval be able to access marijuana for research at-cost without further review.” (Read the full text of the letter below.)

The letter comes about two weeks after the House voted to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws, a measure that Rohrabacher sponsored.

And just last week, a scathing joint report from the Drug Policy Alliance and and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies blasted the DEA, arguing that the agency has repeatedly failed to act in a timely fashion when faced with petitions to reschedule marijuana.

The drug is currently illegal under federal law, and remains classified as a Schedule I substance, a designation the DEA reserves for the “most dangerous” drugs with “no currently accepted medical use.” Schedule I drugs, which include substances like heroin and LSD, cannot receive federal funding for research. On three separate occasions — in 1973, 1995 and 2002 — the DEA took years to make a final decision about a rescheduling petition, and in two of those cases the DEA was sued multiple times to force a decision.

Last week’s report criticized the DEA for overruling its own officials charged with determining how illicit substances should be scheduled. It also accused the agency of creating a “regulatory Catch-22” by arguing there is not enough scientific evidence to support rescheduling marijuana — while simultaneously impeding the research that would produce such evidence.

“Two weeks ago, we took a very important vote in the House to stop the DEA from interfering in states’ medical marijuana programs,” Blumenauer said in a statement Tuesday. “Now we need the Administration to stop targeting marijuana above and beyond other drugs when it comes to research. By increasing access for scientists who are conducting studies, we end the Catch-22 of opponents claiming they can’t support medical marijuana because there’s not enough research, but blocking research because they don’t support medical marijuana.”

The U.S. government grows marijuana for research purposes at the University of Mississippi in the only federally legal marijuana garden in the U.S. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of these crops — a process through which the only federally-sanctioned marijuana studies are approved.

Federal authorities have long been accused of only funding marijuana research that focuses on the potential negative effects of the drug. Since 2003, more than 500 grants for marijuana-related studies have received federal approval, with a marked upswing in recent years, according to McClatchy. Only 22 grants were approved in 2003 for cannabis research, totaling $6 million, but in 2012, 69 grants were approved for a total of over $30 million.

Despite these numbers, NIDA has reportedly conducted only about 30 studies to date on the potential benefits of marijuana, according to The Hill.

Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Eight other states — Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin — have legalized CBD oil, a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that is frequently used to treat epilepsy, for limited medical use or for research purposes.

A number of studies in recent years have shown the medical potential of cannabis. Purified forms may attack some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. One study found that legalization of the plant for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates.

Read the full letter below:

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