Unable to bridge a gap over how many marijuana dispensaries the state should have, Florida lawmakers Friday failed to pass legislation that would have created a framework to carry out a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for a wide variety of patients.
For patients such as my daughter, who was diagnosed this May (at the age of two) with highly aggressive brain cancer, WE DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR POLITICAL AGENDA. This antiquated legislation MUST be rectified IMMEDIATELY. Marijuana is easily obtainable. The ONLY people these laws have kept the medicinal benefits of cannabis from are DOCTORS and PATIENTS. Having already polled the residents of the State you serve with a result of over 60% being pro-legalization, it is your responsibility as our representatives to present this leglislation on our behalf. Your denial of our request is indicative of the lack of obligation to work for us, and furthermore indicates your willingness to work against us.
The majority of drug addictions in this country are that of prescription drugs and legal alcohol. With that said, I never would have been an advocate for the medicinal use of marijuana had I not been forced into a situation which required my education on the matter. When my daughter was diagnosed in May, at the age of two, with highly aggressive brain cancer, my entire world, everything that ever meant anything, anything that ever made sense, dissipated overnight.
While we are led to believe that we have options in the care of our children, the truth is not so. Chemotherapy and radiation are the only treatments offered to cancer patients, and a parent does not have a choice in this treatment. While my daughter has received the best cancer care in the country, and perhaps the world, there are some things which need to be addressed. Medical professionals have no idea why a baby gets a cancer such as my daughter’s. The conventional treatment are low success and high risk. She may just be one of millions to you, to doctors, and to politicians, but to me, she is the only one. She is the only one of her, and she deserves every chance possible to survive.
I studied diets, supplements, foods, essentials oils, anything that has ever been reported to have any positive effects on cancer. After months of researching, of speaking personally to doctors, scientists, and researchers, I found that cannabinoids (found in cannabis extract) could not only replace a handful of drugs she is currently prescribed, including morphine (extracted from the opium plant- a legal, prescription painkiller that does not send knowledgeable people into panic that someone is going to go smoke opium), several anti-nausea, anti-vomiting, appetite stimulants, etc., but have also been shown to stop the growth of and even kill cancer cells!
Only one of the cannabinoids found in cannabis is psychoactive (THC), and this particular cannabinoid has been replicated by pharmaceutical companies and put on the market as Marinol. Unfortunately, this replication does not work as well and does not have any of the additional effects of the other cannabinoids found in cannabis. THC induces aptosis in cancer cells! When dosed properly, just as morphine or any other plant-derived drug, the drug can be prescribed in a manner that does not obtain the negative side effects one might fear in giving a child any drug. Additionally, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD, can be increased in order to counteract any psychotropic effects of THC. This cannabinoid also aids in the treatment of cancer cells. This is not propaganda- science is firm in these findings!
The United States Government patented cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants! Why, when a two-year-old is diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer, is this not available for a physician to use properly in order to help her? Does the Bible not state that plants are for nourishment and healing? Every drug has the potential for misuse. The supposed abuse by some can no longer deny God-given medicinal benefits to an entire nation! The bottom line is that politicians are not physicians. Please relinquish the antiquated legislation surrounding this demonized drug so that the anti-cancer effects of this drug can be further researched, and so that its many other medicinal benefits can be properly utilized.
We all know that marijuana is not hard to obtain. Therefore, who is the lack of medicinal use benefiting? This is only keeping the drug out of the hands of the people whose hands it should be in- the physicians! Allowing doctors to properly use and prescribe this drug for medicinal purposes will greatly assist those who fear stepping outside of the law, and will prevent many otherwise law-abiding citizens from doing so in extreme situations such as mine and that of so many others.
My daughter’s emotional and mental well-being are as important as and contribute to her physical healing in this horrible situation. I do not feel that moving away from our friends and family in order to relocate to a state where medicinal marijuana is already legal is the right thing to do. Rather, I believe that with the education of our own politicians here in Florida we can bring ourselves up to current time.
If you have never been put in a position to have to research this topic, I will be glad to assist. I have a proposed bill, I have hundreds of studies, and I will be glad to answer any questions you have. I can get you in touch with medical professionals, scientists, and researchers. I will do anything it takes to ensure our politicians are as educated as the parents and loved ones of suffering family members have had to become. The suffering residents of your state are awaiting this legislation, and for those of us in my situation, we do not have much time. Based on the urgency of this matter, I would request that you kindly decline from having a staff member return a generic response.
TO THE GOVERNOR:
My name is Moriah Barnhart and I am writing you on behalf of my daughter, Dahlia, who was diagnosed with a highly aggressive, life-threatening brain cancer this May at the age of two. As you may or may not know, childhood cancer research is largely underfunded and while the cause of cancers such as hers are unknown, the cure is even more debatable. She is currently undergoing the only treatments available under current legislation, and with a low success rate and high probability of organ damage, brain damage, later cancers, and many other ailments, I am seeking to obtain some humanity from our politicians with regards to the outdated legislation governing our current medical treatment options (or, more accurately, the lack thereof).
We are all aware that many of our commonly used medicines come from plants. Morphine comes from opium. In fact, some of the chemotherapy drugs my daughter is being given come from plants. I believe that, as the Bible says, God created plants to nourish and to heal. While the political agenda behind the outlaw of the cannabis plant, and the hemp plant (which does not have the capability of producing psychoactive effects), has maintained a stronghold in this country for decades, we are at a point where the people have become educated and will not stand for the continued stifling of science, research, and medicine. It is now well known and documented that this plant produces extracts which treat and show curative potential for seizures, neurological disorders, and cancer. In fact, it is also becoming public knowledge that the United States government patented cannabinoids from the plant’s extract as neuroprotectants and antioxidants. It is time lawmakers stopped playing God. We now understand that while politicians have maintained that this is a dangerous drug, the science shows otherwise. We see that with the majority of drug-related deaths being attributed to legal prescription drugs and legal alcohol consumption, there are no reports of death by cannabis.
In a position such as mine, I will leave no stone unturned with regards to potential treatment options for my daughter. After vigorously studying diets, supplements, and holistic approaches to helping her fight this deadly disease, it has become quite clear that cannabis is known by scientists and doctors to have medicinal benefits that outweigh those of the handfuls of dangerous and potentially deadly drugs my sweet baby is being given now, with none of the dangerous side effects. However, politicians contend that this is not so, and as a matter of personal and professional agenda refuse to reclassify it appropriately, leaving its use to those who would step outside of the law instead of placing it in the hands of medical professionals.
POLITICIANS ARE NOT PHYSICIANS. It is time this injustice be rectified.
I have attached a link to my narrated letter to Congress, as well as the bill proposal, for your review. While I will be bringing this proposed legislation to Congress on a federal level post-shut down, for the time being, it is urgent that our home state make its appropriate legislative modifications immediately. As I am sure Mr. Fabrizio has already advised you, Florida residents are already at a 60% pro position, and this number is rising. With my public outreach, and that of many others, the education of the residents should bring the statistics up drastically. I look forward to your action in show of concern and support for my daughter, as her emotional and mental well-being during this severe crisis are as important as and contribute to her physical well-being and healing. Therefore, I do not believe it is in her best interest at this time to relocate to a state wherein medicinal marijuana is already legal, but rather to bring our own state out of its antiquated legislation so that she may maintain her close bonds to family and friends here at home.
I am sure that upon being made aware of our situation, along with that of many residents of the State which you serve, as well as being privy to the science which shows the extracts of cannabis have great healing and treating potential, are not dangerous, and do not meet requirements to be falsely classified as a Schedule I drug, that you will kindly make a proactive stance in the legalization of a medicine my daughter and many others are in desperate need of. This is obviously a time-sensitive matter of the utmost urgency and I look forward to hearing back from you shortly.
The landslide vote to legalize the adult possession of cannabis in Portland, Maine caught many commentators by surprise. While the ballot initiative, Question 1, polled well, few expected such a blowout victory in an off-year election in state not usually associated with cannabis policy reform.
The good news is that Maine’s largest city will probably not be the only surprise reform victory notched in coming years. Here’s a snapshot of five surprising states which are poised to beat expectations and pass significant cannabis reform by 2016:
Missouri came out of seemingly nowhere to become the surprise hit of the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver last month. The legalization group Show Me Cannabis impressed even seasoned drug policy activists with a surprisingly strong performance to date: through a series of “town hall”-style meetings, the reform group has generated considerable momentum by bucking the common wisdom. Instead of pushing for decriminalization or a medical initiative, the group has pushed for a full-throated adult legalization bill which could go before the voters of the Show Me state as early as the midterm November 2014 election. Initial polling, showing support well over 50%, has taken the national movement by storm; if they can keep up the momentum for another year, Show Me Cannabis may soon be showing the whole world what a small group of concerned and dedicated citizens can accomplish in a very short time.
Arkansas came within inches of shocking the entire world when a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana last November won a respectable 49% of the vote. The measure, known as Issue 5, would have notched a hugely symbolic victory as the first medical marijuana reform to come to a southern state. Even though Arkansas’ state legislature adjourned in April without passing any cannabis reform, the Natural State remains poised to once again take up the mantle; in the wake of a major shift in public opinion toward legalizing marijuana in nearly every state of the nation, the next attempt to reform cannabis laws in Arkansas stands a strong chance of succeeding.
UPDATE: According to ASA, a new signature-gathering drive has just begun for the new version of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, to be put before voters in 2014. The campaign is hosting a music festival this Saturday, Nov. 9th, from 2pm to 2am, at the Silverado Club in El Dorado, Arkansas.
Kentucky may not represent the forefront of cannabis reform in the minds of most Americans, but historically no other state has ever benefited from a thriving cannabis economy as much as the Bluegrass State, long the heart of America’s industrial hemp economy. Neither the history lesson nor the economic potential of a revitalized economy have been lost on the state’s Senate delegation, with both Senator Rand Paul and Senator Mitch McConnell counting themselves among the community advocating for hemp reform. Indeed, the Kentucky state legislature already passed industrial hemp reform through Senate Bill 50 this summer, and both Sens. Paul and McConnell have been vocal advocates on Capitol Hill for a change in federal law, which is the last obstacle to the legal hemp renaissance waiting in the wings. With an amendment to the federal farm bill authorizing the experimental production of hemp passing the US House in the spring, that renaissance may come more swiftly than most Americans would expect.
Florida failed to pass medical marijuana reform this year when SB 1250, the “Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act” died in committee in the state Senate. So why, then, are activists so hopeful about the Sunshine State? One reason is polling: 70% of voting Floridians (and 56% of Republicans) declared earlier this year that they support medical marijuana laws coming to their home state. Shifting attitudes have already registered at the ballot box, with residents of Miami Beach voting this week to approve a nonbinding resolution in support of medical marijuana. Meanwhile, outreach efforts specializing in reaching Florida’s unique demographics are only now getting started in earnest, between the efforts of groups like the Silver Tour (a senior-led group which aims to spread education on the benefits of medical marijuana for the elderly) and Veterans for Cannabis. If senior citizens, which as a group vote at higher rates than other demographics, can put political pressure on their representatives to allow them to have the medicine they need, then medical marijuana reform may only be a few months around the corner.
Texas may be the last state anyone ever thinks of to pass major drug reform, but in fact the Lone Star State has already done just that. Through a somewhat obscure parallel “drug court” system which operates alongside the traditional punitive measures which make the state famous, the Texan judicial system has so effectively reduced the prison population that the state closed an entire prison for the first time in its 150-year history in 2012. In fact, the program’s focus on drug addiction treatment over punitive prohibition as been so effective at reducing the state’s prison population (and the large tax bill which accompanies it) that more reform may be just around the corner. Although HB 594, a bill which would have provided an “affirmative defense” to Texans caught with marijuana who can show a legitimate medical need for it, failed to advance out of committee in the last legislative session, it’s clear that Texan voters demand a return of the debate over marijuana policy. Perhaps that is why Miriam Martinez, a Republican candidate for Texas governor, has announced her support for both decriminalization and medical marijuana reform. It is a classic case of the politicians following the people. According to a poll commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project this year, a surprising 58% of Texans support taxing and regulating marijuana in a way similar to alcohol. The results confirm a truism about Texas politics which many nationwide find surprising: although the state’s residents love punitive justice, they love their cherished liberties and low taxes even more.