Some Peoples’ Kids, Sheesh

So, I was cruising through the local paper the other morning when I came to the opinion page. Granted, it is the opinion page, but when folks spew ignorant statements in a public forum and attempt to cover it with sarcastic humor… well, it chaps my ass. Here’s the Letter to the Editor that rubbed me the wrong way.

WTH?

Yes, of course I submitted a response:

“According to the Dec. 22 story in The Columbian, “State considers adding ADD, OCD to medical pot list,” the state of Washington is considering legalizing the use of marijuana for anyone who has a medical problem of any kind. For instance, Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder would qualify. Other unrelated diseases, such as a “social disorder” and “intractable pain,” also would make the grade.”

This previous paragraph is, almost, wholly false. “Intractable pain” is an acceptable condition, now. “Social disorder” was previously declined. The state of Washington is NOT considering legalizing the use of cannabis for anyone who has a medical problem of any kind.

Sir, I found your letter wholly disingenuous. Further, I can’t help, but wonder your point? The last reference to cannabis being an “ addictive gateway drug,” could give us a hint? Yes, yes it does. –That- hypothesis was debunked some time ago.

Sir, may I recommend you point your favorite search engine to PubMed. Once there, enter THC, CBD and a malady of your choice. Heck, try ADD and OCD!

Please sir, educate yourself.

What the writer of the original letter must not be aware of is, the People of the State of Washington are considering legalizing cannabis… for recreational use.  Heh.

To Senator Patty Murray

Good day, Senator.
An article in the local newspaper, about vets seeking psychiatric help, has me scratching my head. I’m aware you are a staunch supporter of vets and I applaud you for your work.

But you also oppose the medicinal use of cannabis. Is that not true?

Phytocannabinoids’ efficacy in treating PTSD have been anecdotally noted for some time. Recent animal studies at the University of Haifi are proving this out in the laboratory, albeit with a cannabinoid analog.

I’m having trouble with reconciling your support for vets, but yet stifling treatment that could well help them.

So, I thought I’d ask how -you- reconcile the two.

Thanks,
(redacted)
(USN ’76-79)

Phytocannabinoids

I love that word. Not only does it sound cool, but it looks pretty neat written. Look up there, doesn’t the “phyt” really jump out at ya? Myself, I think it looks a lot cooler than endocannabinoid. Maybe it’s ‘cuz the “endo” part reminds me of a horrific bicycle incident when I was a child. Bad memories, man…

I read the daily paper every morn. I sit up here and drink coffee and read email, forums, stuff, from awakening to 0700. At 0700 I go below and grab the paper from my porch, plop in my chair and drink more coffee — with my paper.

Along with the “news” there are several columns I read for entertainment value. One such column is Doc Donohue. The good doctor gives advise on corns, shingles, arthritis… You get it. I pulled together the following letter as a prank. Oh, I did mail it. The thing is, it doesn’t really fit the criteria. That is, I’m not asking for advise on what the foam in the toilet, produced from urinating, indicates (yes, it was a readers question). 

I’m thinking my lotto ticket has a better chance of hitting than the letter being published. Here, check it out:

Doc Donohue                                                                                                       11-25-11
PO Bx. 536475
Orlando, Florida, 32853-6475

Good day, Doc!
Hopefully this letter finds you well.

Say, I was wondering of your opinion on the efficacy of phytocannabinoids in the treatment of various maladies. If one does a search on PubMed using cannabis and cancer, pain, MS, or even diabetes one can view many abstracts that indicate phytocannabinoids have promise in the treatment of. The phytocannabinoids are known to be antimitogenic, antiangiogenic and proapototic. These properties make them extremely hopeful in the treatment of cancers, from  gliomas to breast to prostate.

I’ll note that GW Pharmaceuticals currently has a phyto-derivative in FDA phase three trials. Should those trials prove positive Sativex will be licensed for cancer patients whom opiates provide inadequate analgesia.

Do you find these discoveries and applications promising and exciting?

Thank you,

I was out at the picnic table telling a friend about my little prank. He suggested I send the letter to my legislators. I think it’s a lovely idea. In the next few days I’ll be changing the names and mailing them out. Yep, paper, envelope and stamp.

The responses, if any, should prove interesting, eh? What can I say? I’m feeling a bit mischievous, heh!

What a Friggin’ Mess!

I have a couple of other letters here addressing Senate Bill 5073. Now that it’s become law, shit is really getting weird, man. Cities and Counties across Washington State are passing moratorium on the collective gardens made legal by said bill.

I don’t know if I’m flabbergasted more by the hysteria or the ignorance.

Oh, it’s true that entrepreneurs in the northwest part of the state are quickly changing the names of their enterprises from “dispensaries” to “collectives.” How the hell that could be legal I haven’t a clue. But then, dispensaries were never legal.

Anywho… in the interest of education, I wrote a letter to the Vancouver City Council, Attorney, and Clark County Commissioners. Wanna see it? Kay.

Ted Gathe, Vancouver City Attorney                                                                 7-26-11

Vancouver City Council
PO BX 1995
Vancouver Wa. 98668

Clark County Commissioners
PO BX 5000
Vancouver, WA. 98666

 

 

RE: Collective Cannabis Garden Moratorium.

Good day. Hopefully this letter has found you well.

There appears to be some confusion surrounding the passage of E2SSB 5073. Undoubtedly a portion of this uncertainty is related to Governor Gregoire’s veto of 36 sections of the bill prior to signing. For instance, section 401 makes reference to section 901 (several sections do, actually). Section 901 had provisions for a patient registry. 901 was vetoed.

I would highly recommend each and every one of you obtain a copy of “5073” and review it yourself. I believe the two sections that are relevant to the moratorium are 403 (collective gardens) and 1102 (zoning, licensing, distribution).

Let’s just toss 1102 right out. Though planning for the possibility of licensed dispensaries in the future might be prudent they are currently illegal.  1102 speaks solely to dispensaries. Also, as you scan through 1102, you will note the descriptive collective garden does not appear in this section. 1102 is not applicable to this discussion at this time.

That leaves us with the section that seems to be of your concern: 403.

It was back in June of ’09 that I wrote to (the then Clark County Prosecuting Attorney) Art Curtis inquiring if he interpreted one qualifying patient holding a recommendation (“patient” here on) handing another patient a cannabis plant (or cannabis) as delivery and or distribution. Not surprisingly I never received a response. The answer is obvious however. Of course it is. Cannabis is a controlled substance under the CSA. An analogy might be; me handing another individual a narcotic pain-killer. Though we both have a prescription for the drug, I am not a licensed pharmacist, nor a doctor. The act would be illegal.

Cannabis is a bit different animal than prescribed medications though, isn’t it?

Section 403 is the provision that allows ten patients to support one another without fear of transportation, distribution, cultivation and/or other related charges. Contrary to popular belief cannabis isn’t hard to grow. The equipment for a small indoor grow needn’t be expensive to procure. The cost of supporting a small garden needn’t be prohibitive. Even with that said, for some, cultivation is impossible; whether it is due to their health problems, living arrangements… what-have-you.

A Designated Provider is allowed under the law, but that can prove to be a narrow avenue of support. It isn’t uncommon to have a garden “crash.” This can be from insect infestation, mistakes on the grower’s part, disease, any number of reasons. A crash can be devastating.

Let’s take a closer look at section 403.

The “presumptive” amount of plants and materials here are what would normally be afforded three patients at any one time. Please, don’t allow the number ‘10’ to induce a vision of fields of cannabis.  45 plants can easily be grown in an indoor environment. Outdoor grows only occur during the summer months. These, as well as the indoor, are kept somewhat covert. Not for fear of law enforcement, but thieves.

Allow me to introduce a hypothetic scenario here. Let’s say we have a husband and wife that are both patients and providers. Under the law, they may possess 60 plants and/or 6 pounds of material at any one time. This hypothetical grow is not subject to your regulation. Do you wonder if grows such as this are out there? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

Nowhere in section 403 will you find the word ‘facility.’ Nowhere in 403 will you see the word ‘dispensary’ or ‘licensing.’ That is not the intention of the law. The intention is to allow a small group of patients to support one another. If you stop and give this some consideration you’ll realize that it is actually contrary to the dispensary model!

I understand that law enforcement has some concerns about unscrupulous individuals manipulating possible loopholes in the law. This happened with the previous law that read a designated provider can only have one patient at any one time. These individuals defined “time” as fifteen minutes, or less. 5073 states 15 days. Should a provider/patient relationship end, that provider may not provide for another patient for 15 days. Loophole closed.

Why not have the Clark/Skamania Task Force publish a policy revolving around their interpretation of the law? Guidelines, if you will. I know that prior to the DOH issuing their definition of a presumptive limit the Task Force had defined that as nine plants. Would it be legal to state that a member of a collective, upon leaving, cannot be replaced for 15 days? It would seem to me this would be in concert with the law’s intent.

In closing (and I don’t mean to be condescending) it sure seems to me “someone” is making a mountain out of a mole hill, here. If I may assist in clarifying any questions you may have feel free to contact me. I’m hearing impaired so email would be best. Heck, I’ll go a step further. If you would like to speak directly with a “patient” and/or take a tour of a small medicinal grow, drop me a line and we’ll set up a time.

Stirring the Pot?

There was an article in the June 11th edition of The Columbian, the local paper. It was about your typical grow-house bust. No one lived there. Power was being stolen. There were 1,600 plants. Classically, when there are suspects apprehended with these things they are associated with Mexican or Asian pot peddling outfits. …nothing new there. I don’t recall reading about many (any other?) of those, here in Vancouver, but typical nonetheless.

What I found terribly odd was when the “Task Force Commander” started talking about dispensaries. You know, medicinal cannabis dispensaries?  The cat was quoted as saying the product from these grows was headed to the dispensaries!

He was quoted as having a conversation with the Clark County commissioners about zoning… wait for it… for DISPENSARIES!

And then, THEN! the county’s drug and alcohol program manager (what the hell is  he doing  in this article?) is quoted as saying that the senate bill Governor Gregoire line vetoed 36 sections of, and then signed April 29th at 3:00 p.m., is new information.

I’m flabbergasted.

How the hell did we go from a black-market pot grow to medicinal cannabis, dispensary zoning and — “new information” on a piece of legislation that’s been lying around for a month and a half?

You think I’m making this all up? Here’s the article. Read it for yourself.

The Columbian, June 11th

So, you guys know me. I couldn’t let the thing go. After giving it some consideration I figured the best option would be to offer to educate the two individuals mentioned in the article about the medicinal cannabis laws in the state of Washington.  After all, I do feel education is key here. The following is my letter to the Editor as it appeared in the paper.

Regarding the June 11 story, “Growing suspicions; Thanks to alert neighbors, police find prolific pot-growing operation in Vancouver house,” a black-market grow ruining a home is not a good thing. Theft of power is stealing. I’ve no arguments there. All bad stuff, no doubt.

You know what else is bad? How about when Task Force Commander Mike Cooke off-handedly slams medicinal cannabis as a charade and then makes statements that indicate he doesn’t know what the medicinal cannabis laws are in this state? That scares me more than a black-market pot grow.

I find Cooke’s comments wholly disingenuous and verging on malfeasance.

I would guess it would take Cooke about five minutes to have my phone number and address. So, Cooke — grab Cleve Thompson, the county’s drug and alcohol program manager, and drop in. I’d be more than happy to school you guys on RCW 69.51a and Senate Bill 5073. All I ask is you come by at a decent hour and knock.

Ironically, when I sent the LTTE (via email) I got a response back reminding me my address and phone number were required for submission. Heh.

In the Washington State Legislature

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Wells introduced SB 5073 this year. Basically, it’s a revamp of Washington’s current 69.51a; the state’s medicinal cannabis law(s). Everyone and their sibling has seen this as an opportunity to make amendments to suit their own purposes. Some of those efforts appear to be nefarious in nature.

When I learned of one such amendment I dropped a note to the members of the Ways and Means Committee.  It was sent 2/21 and follows:

I understand you folks have been barraged by special interest groups and the like in response to this bill. May I preface this correspondence by stating my only special interest is me.

I don’t care what defines a “provider.” I don’t care about collectives or cannabis store fronts. I don’t care about employment U.A.s. I don’t care about…

All I want is to peacefully grow my small plants and use the harvest to supplement the small amount of opiate pain relievers I rely on. And to do so within the confines of the law.

It is my belief that the following amendment to SB 5073 will force me to become a criminal in order to relieve the pain from my malady:

“…Health care professionals must monitor patients on a quarterly basis and file quarterly reports with the Department of Health regarding number of patients they have authorized to use medical cannabis. DOH is authorized to determine if the amount of authorizations is “inappropriate.” Such a determination would constitute a finding of unprofessional conduct against a health care professional.”

These are not real expectations. My ailment is chronic. My spine will not suddenly heal itself and I will not suddenly become tolerant of the various pharmaceuticals I have attempted to utilize for palliative relief. Further, my income will not support quarterly doctor visits.

Also, there is no sane physician (in my opinion, obviously) that will begin to discuss cannabis, let alone write a recommendation, given the veiled threat contained in the amendment.

Please, I beseech you, strike this amendment.

If you can’t see your way to that then I would ask you pool together for my bail. A little lawyer money would be nice too.

The bill passed out of Ways and Means the evening of 2/24 with amendment 411 (Written on lavender paper. I watched the hearing on CCTV). 411 amends the above mentioned requirements that I was concerned with.

2SSB 5073 (newly named) now moves on to the Senate Rules Committee.

Man, this thing scares the bejeezus out of me. 

(a later in the day update… oops)

From further investigation it appears the portion that would threaten a medical professional with sanction, if they make more recommendations than the DOH feels appropriate, was not struck from the bill. Now I’ve got a drawers full of “bejeezus!”

Again With the Columbian Newspaper

The article I’m referring to in this particular letter to the editor can be found here:  Paraphernalia.

More laws are not the answer

Regarding the Feb. 10 Columbian story, “Popping pipe dreams: County eyes banning drug paraphernalia in convenience stores,” allow me to preface by saying I don’t necessarily approve of the display of these pipes and such in the mentioned stores. However, I strongly disapprove of enacting yet another law “in the name of the children.” Drug laws only perpetuate juvenile drug abuse. The answer is truthful education, not scare tactics. Lying is counterproductive. It discredits the pontificator.

More than 800,000 people were arrested on cannabis charges in this country last year. Approximately 80 percent of those arrests were for possession only. We incarcerate more people (per capita) than any other. We have a higher incidence of juvenile drug abuse than any other industrialized nation. How are those Draconian drug laws working out for us?

Another law? Part of the answer to the American drug problem is educating our children and honesty. That, and treating abuse for what it is — a social and health issue. We don’t need any more laws related to drugs. Actually, the evidence before us would indicate we should repeal those currently on the books. Now that would truly be “for the children.”

Another Letter For The Editorial Page

A Dec. 30 Columbian story “Safe streets” declared “For this story we’ve looked at just three serious crimes, the kind folks might worry about. We added assaults, burglaries and drug crimes for each area.”

Excuse me? There weren’t enough rapes and murders so The Columbian decided to fall back on the old standby “drugs”? What exactly is a drug crime? Is DUI a drug crime? Is standing too close to the doorway of a business while smoking tobacco a drug crime?

The words “drug” and “crime” would not be found in the same sentence if this ludicrous prohibition would end. Turf wars, crack babies and a large percentage of juveniles using illegal drugs would be a thing of the past. These issues aren’t of drugs but the illicit trade prohibition propagates and the threat of criminal prosecution that limits an abuser’s resources for help. The near 30,000 people killed in Mexico haven’t been about drugs, but money.

Drug abuse is a social-health issue … a crime? The only major drug crimes that come to my mind are the Harrison Act, Marijuana Tax Act and the Controlled Substance Act — crimes of a nation against its citizens.

Another Columbian Letter

The article my letter refers to can be found here-

Cheers and Jeers

It’s the third “cheers” down.

“The Columbian’s bias has become painfully clear to me over the years. However, I believe the editorialized in the June 12 “Cheers and Jeers” relating to Initiative 1068 are over the top with ‘we wonder whether people would see it as a justification to abuse intoxicants.’ I can’t decide if that sentence is a red herring or just plain nonsensical.”

“You mention a poll that suggests voters would approve of cannabis legalization. Yet you still publish negative prose. Obviously, the will of Washingtonians is meaningless to the Columbian; bias indeed.”

“You use the same old worn-out argument that cannabis is a schedule I drug and state legalization would create a problem for local law enforcement. That’s nonsense. It would free law enforcement to go after the real bad guys. It would make room in the court system to take the same to trial.”

 “Also, it is the responsibility of the states to protest in the face of unjust federal law. Cannabis’ illegality is unjust, plain and simple. There’s no justification for it- none.”

“I respect the Columbian’s right to voice its puritanical views. I would suggest, though, that if you care to maintain any credibility with your readers you dial back your nonsensical rhetoric.”

The Letter That Wasn’t

Last April a letter to the editor was published in the Columbian news paper. I can’t help but attempt to respond when I read these types of ignorant statements. I waited the mandatory 30 day period between this and my last letter. I believe I hit the 200 word limit on the button. At this point in time it’s obvious to me the publisher hasn’t seen fit to print my rebuttal. Here’s the letter that raised my ire; 

A prescription still drug use

Here’s my letter (that didn’t make print) in response;

In Kenneth Juergen von Husan’s missive dated April 17 and titled _A prescription still drug use_, his last sentence reads, “There is no such thing as ‘medical marijuana,’ pot is pot.” This statement leads me to believe Mr. Husan is woefully ignorant on the medicinal efficacy of cannabis. In the interest of education allow me to briefly point out;

It’s documented that cannabis has been used as an herbal medicine for over 2,300 years.

GW Pharmaceuticals is currently marketing a cannabis derived product (Sativex) in Canada and several European nations. This medicine is used to treat MS and severe pain. Several other pharmaceutical companies are following suit.

WSU is currently involved in a study to verify the synergistic relationship between cannabis and opiate pain relievers.

The Washington State Department of Health has approved cannabis in the treatment of several maladies, from pain to eating disorders.

Current studies are showing that cannabis may very well shrink tumors associated with breast cancer. Though the results aren’t conclusive at this point there is evidence that cannabis may even prevent some cancers.

With a 200 word limit I’m forced to keep this class session short. The bell has rung. You are dismissed.

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