Targeting Medical Marijuana Industry Only Hurts Patients who rely on the Treatment

Without medical marijuana in Los Angeles, a number of residents would suffer needlessly from debilitating diseases and conditions. A 30-year-old medical marijuana patient, was the youngest diagnosed with teratoma and angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer that doctors treat with equally aggressive doses of chemotherapy. These doses of chemo made him vomit up to 50 times a day during treatment. He lost about 60 pounds during the first two months of treatment alone.

“The doctors thought I was a dead man,” Rozman, now 46-years-old and a life coach in Guttenberg, N.J., said.
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Our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys understand that medical marijuana may be the only available treatment for a number of residents suffering from certain medical conditions. The drug may be their last hope at enjoying a normal life. He was able to experience the miracle treatment of the drug.

In a last effort to heal his pain, his doctors prescribed him marijuana. It was the only drug with the purported ability to stave off chemotherapy nausea. He was not only was he able to stop vomiting, but he claimed that the marijuana calmed him and helped him cope psychologically with the chemotherapy sessions. Medical marijuana treated him as no other traditional anti-nausea medication could.

The Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) doesn’t agree with his claims. Even though 16 states currently recognize marijuana as an effective drug with a number of important medicinal properties, the DEA shot down another a petition to reclassify marijuana as such, citing that it has “no accepted medical use.” The result is that marijuana will remain within the strictest categorization of restricted substances, alongside heroin and LSD.

“As a doctor and medical researcher, I find the DEA’s decision unfortunate,” said Dr. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist and director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California-San Diego. “It looks like they underplayed what positive information there is in the literature about marijuana. This policy is guided more by certain kinds of beliefs in the dangers of marijuana, at the expense of advance of medical knowledge for patients.”

The refusal to reclassify the drug was presented to the public through a June 21st letter from Michele Leonhard, a DEA Administrator. The petition was initially filed back in 2002.

“The statement ‘it has no accepted medical use’ is simply wrong as a statement of fact,” said Rob MacCoun, psychologist and professor of Law and Public Policy at University of California Berkeley Law School. “There is now considerable evidence showing medical benefits, at or exceeding standards of evidence for many other pharmaceuticals. Prescribing physicians in over a dozen states clearly see an accepted medical value for their patients.”

A change in classification would mean that marijuana would remain a controlled substance. The only difference is that it could be used in medical contexts and would not be considered illegal under federal law.

“Frankly, we’re ready to go head to head with the Obama administration on this issue,” said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. “We have science on our side and we’re hopeful the court will see it that way.”

A 43-year-old California resident and grower, a distributor and a patient that uses the product for treatment, knows its value. He was diagnosed with a serious seizure disorder back in 2005. He began marijuana treatment from a distributor from Edgewater, Colo. He decided to take up his doctors on the prescription after reading a number of studies that concluded that marijuana has anti-seizure properties.

He was able to wean himself slowly off the seizure meds and is now, years later, seizure free. Currently, he is handing on the healing drug, medicinal-grade marijuana, to at least 100 regular customers in his area.

What infuriates him and other marijuana advocates the most is that Obama campaigned with the promise to steer clear of states’ rights in the medical marijuana industry. Recent raids and enforcement efforts have said anything but.

“The government’s position is very clear,” Hermes said. “The number of raids on medical marijuana distributors is staggering, far beyond what the Bush administration was doing. And because the federal government won’t acknowledge marijuana as a medicinal substance, those arrested have absolutely no defense they can bring in federal court.”

The battle continues between state and federal government because states that allow the drug are in conflict with federal drug laws. Federal law criminalizes possession of marijuana, regardless of intended use. Unfortunately for this industry, federal laws trump those of the states.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP is a law firm dedicated to the rights of medical marijuana patients, collectives and growers and has built a reputation for high-powered, aggressive legal representation of the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Marijuana Advocates Sue Feds After DEA Rejects Weed as Medicine, by Courtney Hutchinson, ABC News
More Blog Entries:

Government Officials Meet to Straighten Out Medical Marijuana Regulations, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

Business Owners of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Los Angeles Not Treated Fairly, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, July 5, 2011

Oakland Medical Marijuana Operation Shut Down, Marijuana Lawyer Blog, July 3, 2011