I’m proud to say that NORML SHOW LIVE was the first to broadcast word of federal patient Elvy Musikka’s harassment by an ignorant Oregon State Trooper. That incident leads the story just posted on MSNBC.com explaining to the general public that, yes, indeed, there are four (and were fourteen) patients being supplied medical marijuana by the US government and they are allowed to possess and smoke it anywhere in the United States.
(MSNBC.com) For the past three decades, Uncle Sam has been providing a handful of patients with some of the highest grade marijuana around. … Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, who directs the operation, said the marijuana was a small part of the crop the university has been growing since 1968 for all cannabis research in the U.S. … ElSohly said the four patients are getting pot with about 3 percent THC. He said 3 percent is about the range patients have preferred in blind tests.
Three percent THC?!? My bongwater is more potent. What a joke – how in the world do you conduct blind tests with any statistical validity given only four-to-fourteen subjects? By contrast, the Netherlands sets a minimum of 15% THC potency for medical marijuana sold in its pharmacies. Something tells me Elvy, Irv, and the other federal patients would rather smoke one hit of decent Oregon 15% THC cannabis than five hits of the schwaggy, stem-laden 3% THC ditchweed Dr. ElSohly thinks they prefer. But when the choices given are “strength 1: 3-4% THC; strength 2: 1.8-2.2% THC; strength 3: placebo, as close to 0% THC as possible”, yeah, they’ll prefer 3%-4% THC.
Then again, if you gave these people potent medicine, they might have even better results than they already have, providing yet another visual proof of marijuana’s medical efficacy while dashing the “Not Your Father’s Woodstock Weed!” potency-equals-danger myth.
In 1976, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must provide Robert Randall of Washington, D.C. with marijuana because of his glaucoma — no other drug could effectively combat his condition. Randall became the nation’s first legal pot smoker since the drug’s prohibition.
Eventually, the government created its program as part of a compromise over Randall’s care in 1978, long before a single state passed a medical marijuana law. What followed were a series of petitions from people like Musikka to join the program.
President George H.W. Bush’s administration, getting tough on crime and drugs, stopped accepting new patients in 1992. Many of the patients who had qualified had AIDS, and they were dying.
What the article neglects to mention is that the Bush I Administration closed the IND program to the dying applicants from San Francisco because of fears that it would spread AIDS. The government declared that allowing AIDS patients to use medical marijuana might lead to them getting high and having unprotected sex and thus facilitate the spread of HIV (a prejudice that lives on today). So despite cannabis’ incredible ability to fight wasting syndrome, pain, nausea, cachexia, and other symptoms of AIDS, a perfect storm of homophobia, cannabiphobia, and election year politics sentenced AIDS patients to four more years of criminality before California passed Prop 215, legalizing medical use at the state level.
Ironically, without the pressure the federal closure of IND placed on activists like Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary and Valerie Corral and others to help suffering Californians, and without a federal program to remove the sickest patients from the public relations battle, California may never have achieved a victory with Prop 215, which led to 1998 victories on the rest of the West Coast and to the sixteen medical marijuana states we have today.