Monday, April 26, 2010

Kenny Horn's 'Bake'

Today we buried my long time friend Kenny Horn who passed away on Thursday, April 22, 2010 after a long, hard, battle with life. If you wonder what I mean by that just click the link above.

The funeral was held at a small country Baptist Church in Goodwater, Alabama.

Let me start with the really, inexplicably, exquisitely, great stuff about a real country funeral in rural, economically depressed Alabama. There is nothing in the world quite like one. The people, who are poor in material items, but very, very, rich in spirit, tenacity and grit showed up in droves. The kind of deep, wonderful, true, country people that are who they are no matter where they are, By God! Real people. Not a bone of pretense in them. Salt of the earth in its purest form.

They are the people who packed out the church in droves, I mean standing room only, many who were dressed in their t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. One pallbearer was a biker, complete with long hair, tattoos and a chain attached to his billfold. Another wore a green t-shirt. I guess he didn't have a white one. And that's ok. Around here what you are wearing couldn't make less of a shit to those who know and love you. We don't necessarily have dress codes. I mean, at my brother John's funeral we dressed him in overalls and an Alabama Crimson Tide cap and all of the pallbearers wore overalls.

In fact, Kenny Horn, who was an HUGE Alabama Crimson Tide fan, was buried in his 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide National Championship t-shirt. And that is just as it should be. I was worried that some do-gooder would try to suit him up....which just wouldn't have gone over well at all. Not only was Kenny buried in his Tide tee, his casket spray and one of the large wreaths had Crimson Tide ribbons all over them. His awesome beard, which he loved so much, was left intact as well.

That's just how we do stuff around here. We are who we are when we are living, and when we leave this life, we go out as who we were. That's the way things ought to be, in my opinion. Come and go as you are.

There was some beautiful solo singing by a gentleman. He first sang Amazing Grace. Despite my being a non-believer those familiar Christian hymns remind me of comforting things from my childhood and I always enjoy them. The next piece of music was something I have never heard before. It was a pre-recorded bluegrass/country/gospel tune and I think the title was "Stroll Across Heaven with You". That'un made me squall almost as bad as 'Precious Memories' does at funerals. Kenny's mom cried out repeatedly during that song, too. While I was sitting up front and couldn't say for absolute certain I'd be willing to bet there wasn't a dry eye in the house after that tune. I'd actually like a copy of that for my mp3 player. If anyone knows the artist or has a copy please let me know.

During the service I sat next to Kenny's elderly first cousin. We talked and introduced ourselves. As soon as I said my name a gentleman sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was Loretta Nall. I told him I was and he and his wife said they had read my tribute to Kenny and thought it spot on. They thanked me for it. I was glad that the family had liked it. I told them after the service and after the funeral home people had filled in the grave that those of us who were closest to Kenny were going to meet at the graveside and have our own sendoff ceremony.

The Christian church funeral was for one group of his mom and elderly relatives who believe in a Christian burial. The ceremony that I planned was for another group of attendees, the flip-flop, t-shirt and short wearers and well let's just say it was a 'different' sort of ceremony. Close cousins, nieces and nephews, and the many, many personal friends who could be found over at Kenny's on any given day of the week. Those of us who helped him ingest his medicine, scratched his nose, rolled his joints, lit and held them for him, helped him get from his bed, to his chair, to outside under the apple tree, held the phone for him, opened the window and turned on the fan, gave him drinks of water, got stray itchy hairs out of his eyes, and those that drove him around, when he was in better health, to wherever he wanted to go and did whatever he wanted to do...etc....I think there is a nickname that Kenny gave to everyone at our private ceremony and we will get to those later on in this story. They good'uns.

Now, for a tad of the things I could have done without at the funeral.

The only times I have been in church, since I turned 13 and refused continue attending because I thought it was a complete bunch of horseshit (no offense), have been for funerals. Every time I go back I am reminded of why I stopped going. This won't be a long post bitching about religion as I see it, but, I do have one gripe about the way some funerals are conducted by the preachers and Kenny's funeral was one of those funerals.

Kenny wasn't what I could call a big Christian. He believed in God and had made peace long ago...but he lived his life and never harmed a soul. The preachers who gave his eulogy didn't know him as a person. They had never gone by and spent a day with him just helping him with the simple things that the able bodied among us take entirely for granted. I'm pretty sure they never held a joint for him and probably few if any of the other things I already mentioned. I am not judging them for that. Just sayin...

Trying to give a eulogy for someone you do not really know is trying to like...well... give a eulogy for someone you don't know. A good and proper one just can't be done. So, there was no eulogy other than the preacher saying Kenny was an angry man who he had been blessed out by and who he had blessed out back.

I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. The Kenny Horn I knew was not angry. He could get angry and I'm sure there were times in his life, before I knew him, that he probably was very angry and frustrated and felt hopeless before he grew to accept his paralyzed, completely dependent state. But, for the last 15 years that I knew him he was not an angry man.

The Kenny Horn I knew enjoyed life to the fullest extent possible. Yes, at one point in his life he drank moonshine, beer, whiskey, and wine and maybe smoked some shit other than weed once or twice. But don't you dare judge him on that. What in the hell would you do if the only part of your body that you had any control over was your mind and you had to live the life that Kenny Horn lived?

Day in and day out in the same room, in a fucking bed with a special air mattress, a wheel chair, with a special cushion, to move you from place to place when you could gather enough strength in your mostly-paralyzed arm to move the damn button yourself,a hydraulic lift to move you from bed to chair to bed, to chair to bed. Having to lose all your dignity and shit and piss in bags that everyone could see, not being able to scratch your own fucking nose when it itches and having to lay there and depend on anyone....anyone for help....and hope somebody in the house hears you when you call. No wife, no sex, no children. Wouldn't you want to explore any other reality than you own, cruel, unchanging one? I would. Kenny did. And bless the folks who helped him do so.

I, personally, thank whatever beings there may or may not be for drugs, both licit and illicit, that help alter the human mind and take it to an elevated place...most especially for people like Kenny Horn, for his mind was all he had. To only have been able to experience pain and suffering and the same four bedroom or hospital walls with no natural, herbal, alcohol or stimulant relief would have been a horror more terrible than any I have ever contemplated in my 35 years of life.

To say he was bitter and angry was shitty. How can one who has not lived in Kenny's state for 30 years ever bring themselves to say any such thing? Especially at a funeral?

After that brief statement the non-eulogy became a sermon about how we would all meet Kenny's fate someday and so forth and so on. Obscure bible verses...even one about a shepherd, possibly Jesus, breaking the leg of a sheep and carrying it on his shoulders to prevent it from straying from the flock. I don't recall that particular bible story from my recollections of church. The preacher was neat though. At one point he even said "sheep are the dumbest animals on earth", which struck me as quite humorous. He also claimed that he was once a drunken outlaw in Stone Mountain, Georgia and that God saved him and here he was today, a living testament to all the drankin, dope smoking, outlaws in attendance at Kenny's funeral that they could be just like him....SAVED...or at least that was how I interpreted. At one point, because this preacher went on and on and on, I swear I heard Kenny say, "I wish'd he shut up so we could go smoke a joint." I told my husband about it later and he said he had a similar experience. It was very real.

No offense on the accepting Christianity offer...but I'll pass. I think eulogies should be given by friends and family members who knew the deceased best. When I die, and if I die before you, my friends and family, please get up and tell a funny story about something we did together. Share personal moments about the real me. Don't let someone who doesn't know diddly squat about me get up there and talk about dumb sheep and all that other stuff that had nothing to do with me.

Having said that, I really and truly did enjoy the whole church funeral experience. Those are traditions that I was brought up to believe in, but don't. I respect them and those who do believe them and their right to believe them. It's a very personal thing and I mean no disrespect with my description.

Now...on to the personal send off of Kenny Horn by his friends and close family. I'm an organizer by nature so, when I first got to the church, I sought out one of the regular Kenny Crew members and told them to find all the folks who were regular features at Kenny's house and ask them to come out to the graveside after the funeral home staff had left so that we could send Kenny off in the way that he had told us he wanted to go.

C rounded up Butt Bone, Peanut, Bubba, Head, Fruitsy Fly, Pee Wee, Tootsie, Nigger Charles (a white guy who loved the rebel flag so much that Kenny sarcastically nicknamed him that)....(if that offends you I'm sorry...but it is what it is and I just can't leave it out) and about ten others I only know the real names of and won't use here, and told them of the plan. Back at the graveside about four or five other carloads of folks pulled up to join in the alternate celebration of Kenny's life. It got back to me that some industrious soul had thought to bury Kenny with a fat joint and had hidden one in his left hand so that no one could see. It also got back to me that it was probably a good thing no one could see it, otherwise Kenny might not have been buried with his favorite thing. While some of you might find that shocking I, personally, find it hysterical! Long live wild, country, poor people!

Instead of a 'WAKE', a common tradition in some cultures where the family and friends of the deceased eat, drink, and party for days on end and remember all of the wonderful moments they shared with the recently departed, we had a 'BAKE' for Kenny Horn. All of those mentioned above gathered round his grave, I said a few words, others shared funny stories, shock at his death, anger at the preacher who said Kenny was angry (I'm not the only one that preacher pissed off) and Kenny's kind of sacrament was passed around. Lot's of sacrament. Kenny was there with us. I could hear him saying, "Now at's wut I'm talkin bout y'all". Then his soul rose through the atmosphere on the smoke that enabled him to have enjoyment in life.

It was a fitting tribute to a man who taught me about real bravery and courage in the face of adversity. I will forever remember him and always miss his presence.

So long buddy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'll miss you terribly Kenny Horn

My long time friend and medical marijuana patient Kenny Horn has just passed away.

When Kenny was 16 he did what a lot of country kids do and that was to jump off a bridge into a creek. And it turned out very badly. He broke his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down with only a small amount of movement in his arms. Kenny was 46 and had lived the last 30 years of his life as basically a talking head, completely dependent on others for his most basic needs. When it first happened his doctors didn't expect he would make it through the night....but he did. They now call him the miracle man because he has lived so long and through so many medical procedures, blood clots, infections, bed sores etc...

In all the years I knew Kenny he was, for the most part, a very cheerful, funny man. Very kind, would help anyone out, give you the shirt off his back, kind of person. Not that he didn't get frustrated sometimes. But, if I were a talking head, dependent on everyone else for just basic needs like getting a drink of water, scratching my nose, or being fed, I'd probably be a real bitter, mean, miserable, asshole who would have no friends. Kenny, though, was surrounded by many friends and a loving family.

Last week I took him to two doctor appointments. One to his regular doctor to look at his bed sores and another to a urologist in Anniston. I had recently told him I would come over on my days out of school and sit with him, help him medicate, and drive him to his appointments when I could, so that I could help take some of the strain off him and his mom.

His mom is 74 and does most of his care by herself, including getting him into and out of a lift so that he can move from his bed to his wheel chair, into and out of the lift chair in the van, all the driving to appointments all over the state..etc. Kenny weights probably 260. His mom is a little, old lady. However, the one thing his mom couldn't do was roll him a joint and help him smoke it.

She believed with all her heart that it was medicine, she'd seen it work over the years where nothing else had, and believed what the doctor said about it, but she just wasn't able to help him with that. He'd often call me on the mornings, when he had been unable to get a friend or family member to come by to help him get his medicine, and ask me to come help him do it. "Come on by girl...I'm bout to die" he'd say. He'd be in awful pain when I got there and the difference after he smoked his medicine was just an amazing thing to witness.

I stayed with him for a few hours after those two days last week. We sat out under the apple tree, medicating him, talking about everything under the sun, and just enjoying spending time with him. I've known for a while they he couldn't possibly survive much longer and cherished the time I got to go and see him for a little while. He wanted me to help him wash his hair that day, but some folks pulled up just as I was about to start and then my ride pulled up a few minutes later and I didn't get to help him do that. I feel really shitty about that now. It's funny the moments you think of when someone you love has died. The little things you didn't do that you could know?

I was supposed to take Kenny back to Anniston today for his urology appointment. I called this morning to see if they still needed me to come over and take him, but no one answered. When no one answers at Kenny's that means only one thing. He's in the hospital.

I called the hospital and they told me he was in CCU, in a coma and that his organs had pretty much quit functioning. For the last three years or so he has really gone down hill. The first major episode was when his pain medication was switched from Lortab to Oxycontin. He took three doses of Oxycontin, just like he was supposed to, and after the third dose they found him blue and unresponsive in his bed and rushed him to Birmingham. More recently he's had a lot of blood clots hit his brain which caused seizures and strokes and that really had an awful impact on his mind.

He's told me many times in the last few years that he is ready to go, that he is tired of suffering and being a burden on his mom. His doctor, an old, wise, country one, knew that Kenny smoked copious amounts of marijuana and had for years. He said that is what kept him alive and in relative good health this long. After the pain medicine episode, Kenny told the doctor not to write him any more prescription pain medicine, that marijuana worked better for him than anything else and wouldn't kill him. His doctor agreed and told him to stop smoking cigarettes but to smoke as much marijuana as he wanted.

When Kenny would have to be in the hospital his doctor would prescribe Marinol for him, but it didn't work. However, when no one was looking some of the nurses, who have worked with him as their patient for years, would sneak him out of the hospital and give him the real stuff. Bless them for being such kind, considerate and wonderful souls to risk their careers and their very freedom to help one of their patients.

Just the other day Kenny and I were talking about the medical marijuana bill and he told me that if he made it another year that he would go to Montgomery during the next legislative session and testify before the committee. He always wanted to go, but, due to bed sores or lack of proper transportation, or some other issue, we were never able to get him down there. That's too bad. Kenny , who was as deep country as they come and said just exactly what was on his mind, would have told it like it was. The judiciary committee and everyone else in the House and Senate should have had to look at him in the eyes and hear what he had to say. He was 'the least among us' and he should have had his day before those in power who seek to put poor souls like him in jail for trying to ease their pain.

This afternoon I went up to the hospital where Kenny is and spent about 2 hours with him and his mom. He was in the death rattles then. I kissed his sweet head, continuously replaced the cool rag on his forehead, rubbed his hair, held his hand, and told him how much I loved him and would miss him, but that I knew he was ready to go on and not have to suffer anymore. He had refused to be placed on a ventilator again. Yesterday he coded and they brought him back, but only gave him an oxygen mask per his request. All fluids except morphine had been discontinued.

He died 15 minutes after I left.

His poor little mama is tore all to pieces. This is the third child she has buried, and Kenny was the baby. For all of his life he has depended on her for literally everything. She and I cried together and she said she don't know what she will do with herself now that he is gone. We laughed over the things we will miss hearing him say like, "Come on by girl," "Scratch my nose," "Push on my stomach," (when he needed to cough) " "Light me up at joint right yonder", "Get this hair off my eye," "Gimme a drank uh at water," and "Give me a puff off at cigarette."

I know that wherever Kenny's essence is floating free tonight that there are no wheelchairs, no special air mattresses, no needles or ventilators, no colostomy bags, no bed sores, no super pubic catheters and no pain and misery. I know his death means the end of his long suffering, but, somehow that doesn't make it suck much less.

I love you dearly Kenny Horn and your loss is being felt very deeply tonight at my house. I promise to bury you with your favorite thing and to keep the other big promise I made to you last week. I hope that when you get to wherever we go after this life that you have the finest, most athletically fit body ever waiting on you and a completely unbreakable spine. I bet that there will be a beautiful red-headed woman waiting to love you and bare you many beautiful children, which you so desperately wanted in this life, but were physically unable to obtain.

You are already missed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on Alabama Medical Marijuana Bill

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to just take a moment and give everyone an update about ACC and what our plans are for the coming months.

I've taken a short sabbatical since HB642 passed out of committee on April 7. I had put off a lot of my college course work in order to work on the bill and unfortunately fell way behind. If you have had a hard time getting hold of me its because I had to block out everything and focus on my work or risk losing my 3.7 GPA which I have no intention of doing. Besides, we all need a small breather and a little time to reflect on our monumental feat of getting out medical marijuana bill out of committee in an election year. We made history. Give yourselves a big pat on the back. You deserve it.

Now, a large number of people have inquired about if we were having/could we please have a 420 celebration. We didn't. Never do. While I am a big fan of our International marijuana celebration day I do not feel the time is right for me to organize one in Alabama. There are a number of reasons for that. The most important one is that at this time we are all working hard to get this medical marijuana legislation passed and on the Governor's desk. The closer we get to that goal the more our opponents will monitor every single move we make, take harmless things like a 420 celebration, and use the worst images they can find from it against us in committee meetings and on the house floor. It may sound crazy, but one picture of a young person smoking a joint or someone in a tie-dye t-shirt can undo years of work that I and others have done to get us to the point where we got this legislative session. It wouldn't even have to be one of our own. Take the following incident as an example;

ACC held a medical marijuana rally in Birmingham a few months ago, which included a march to the fountain at 5 Points. As soon as the media pulled up, what appeared to be a couple of 16 year old kids came over to the fountain and lit up a blunt. These kids were not part of the ACC demonstration. We did not know them. They came out of nowhere. I approached them and told them they had to leave and that they should not be smoking pot in public. They told me that it wasn't pot but that fake crap being sold all over now known as K2/Spice. I told them I didn't care what it was, that this was a medical marijuana rally and was focused patients and not a general legalization rally and that them standing there would be the first thing they showed on the nightly news. They still wouldn't leave. Finally, one of the older men with ACC came over and told them it was illegal to smoke anything in public and to leave right now. They finally did. I had to explain to the media that they were not with us, that we had never seen them before and to please not put them on the news as they had nothing to do with the medical marijuana rally we were holding. Thankfully, the News complied. I happen to think it possible that someone paid those kids to come over as soon as the media arrived to try and derail our issue by making it look to the public like we were encouraging teenagers to smoke pot (even if it wasn't actual pot) in public. Politics is dirty and the opposition will try and undercut us and make us look bad at every turn. When they can't find us doing anything wrong they will insert their own people doing something wrong and then claim it was one of ours. Some may think I am paranoid....but there is no such thing as paranoia in politics.

So, that's the reason I do not organize public celebrations on 420 in Alabama. When we get to the point that the environment has changed enough that such a thing would not cause us major public relations damage then we will do one. Now, however, is not that time. Another reason that I don't do them is that I find them pretty useless. It's fun to socialize with like minds and celebrate the wonderful cannabis plant....but it's choir preaching. I know you support it. You know I support it. We don't need a day to stand around and tell each other how much we support it. I feel our energies/resources would be much better spent by preaching to those in power about the laws which need to be changed and how THEY need to support it. That's just my personal view.

Now, what's next for ACC and the Compassionate Care bill? We will begin working on our strategy for the remainder of this year (an election year) after the legislative session ends and I am finished with my classes. Sometime in early June we will have another ACC meeting where we will discuss strategy and give everyone marching orders about all of the things that need to be done between now and next session.

One of the main things we need to do between now and November is start showing up at campaign rallies of everyone running for public office....from Governor down to legislator. We need to make our presence known and let those seeking office know that we are a force to be reckoned with and that we are not going anywhere and that if they want our support then we need to know here they stand on this issue. Showing up at nearly every campaign rally will let them know that we are serious. It will let the media know that we are serious. And it will let the public know that we are serious and that this issue isn't going away until we get what we want. Today I want all of you reading this to find out who will be campaigning in or near your town between now and November and make plans to be at the campaign event. Send me a list of all political events and we will work out what you need to say and do when you attend. This is critical.

Another CRITICAL thing that everyone who supports medical marijuana in Alabama needs to do is MAKE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS to the following legislators.

Rep. Patricia Todd (bill sponsor)
Rep. John Robinson
Rep. Cam Ward (will be senator Cam Ward after the election)
Rep. Chris England
Rep. Laura Hall

All of the information you need to send a campaign contribution is listed at this link

It doesn't matter if it is only $5. What matters is that these legislators hear from YOU and that you let them know you appreciate their support on medical marijuana and want to help them get back in office in 2011. Those small contributions sometimes mean more than the huge ones that well funded businesses and well off individuals make. They can afford huge chunks of money and a $1,000 contribution to them is nothing. But, a $5 contribution from someone on a fixed income who is suffering from cancer or multiple sclerosis etc...means a great deal more because they can least afford it, but did it anyway. Please send a note along with your contribution thanking them for their support of HB642 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. It can and will make a world of difference.

Finally, and this is REALLY critical, ACC needs monetary contributions to continue our work between now and September. We had a lot of action this year and that action depleted our finances. We also had a lot of success. I cannot stress how amazing the committee meeting was, nor how astounding some of the things we heard from representatives were, nor can I over-emphasize the miraculous outcome of getting our medical marijuana bill out of the hardest committee in the entire house IN AN ELECTION YEAR. Please help us continue our incredible and amazing work in Alabama, the hardest state of all in which to bring about change. We need to be able to help members attend campaign rallies, visit with their legislator and senator over the break between sessions, and we need to keep the lights on and the bills paid at ACC. Currently contributions are not tax deductible. We have registered with the state but are still in the process of being granted 501c3 status from the IRS.

If you would like to make a contribution please send a check or money order made payable to:

4633 Pearson Chapel Rd
Alexander City, AL 35010

Currently there is no way to make an online contribution. Due to PayPal's long history of seizing the accounts of drug policy reform groups, stealing the money contained in those accounts, and sharing information with the Feds we at ACC refuse to use them. When we are granted 501c3 status we will make a way to contribute online available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

House Judiciary Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Bill


Alabama made HISTORY today when, for the first time ever, our Cadillac of a
medical marijuana bill HB642 passed out of the house judiciary committee. About 40
patients and supporters showed up at the state house this morning for a
press conference and to pack out the committee room.

There was some opposition to the bill, but, for the first time those who opposed it actually stated their opposition and agreed to work with us between now and the next
session to find common ground. I will be preparing a much longer write up and posting it later along with a video of the entire committee session.

Many, many thanks to the wonderful people at Drug Policy Alliance who have been our allies for 6 years, Rep. Patricia Todd our magnificent bill sponsor who is a true champion for the medical marijuana cause and a very special thank you to Mrs. Jacki Phillips, the mother of Michael Phillips, who the bill is named in honor of. You can't talk to Mrs. Jacki and be opposed to medical marijuana afterward. She's an angel.

And of course much love and respect to all of the patients, family members, and supporters who have called, emailed, and visited members of the House Judiciary Committee, attended meetings, written letters to the editor, and donated time and money to this noble cause. None of this would be possible without all of you out there every day putting your freedom on the line. I can never thank you enough for standing up with me in Alabama.

This is the fist step of many, but we are closer today to Alabama becoming
the first medical marijuana state in the South than ever before. Rep. Todd
has already agreed to sponsor our bill again next year and we plan to get an
early start. I feel like 2011 or 2012 will be the year that patients and
physicians in Alabama will finally have the protection they deserve.

Loretta Nall

Here are two news stories that have already hit the media. Please leave comments on both.

Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Alabama House panel votes to allow medical marijuana use

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

News Release

Alabamians for Compassionate Care

For Immediate Release: Loretta Nall: 256-625-9599
Gabriel Sayegh 646-335-2264


Wednesday: Alabama House of Representatives Committee to Consider Medical Marijuana Legislation

Statehouse Press Conference with Medical Marijuana Patient, Family Advocates and Legislative Sponsors of the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act

Alabama could become 15th State, and First in the South to Allow Access to Medical Marijuana for Select Patients

MONTGOMERY, AL -- On Wednesday, the Alabama House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on HB 642, the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. Prior to the hearings, members of Alabamians for Compassionate Care will hold a press conference at the Capitol.

WHAT: Press Conference in Support of HB 642, The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act

WHERE: Legislative Office Building, 11 South Union St., Montgomery, AL

WHEN: Wednesday, April 7, 8:15 a.m.

WHO: Patients, Families, Community Members, Advocates, and bill sponsor Rep. Patricia Todd

The legislation, introduced by Rep. Patricia Todd, would allow patients suffering from certain debilitating and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The bill would also allow for the licensing of centers where qualifying patients could safely access medical marijuana. The program would be administered by the Alabama Department of Health.

"I have known dozens of people with HIV who have benefited from using marijuana, and I believe this should be a medical option,” said bill sponsor Rep. Patricia Todd, (D-54, Birmingham). “I have seen many people I love experience severe pain and I know I would have done anything in my power to relieve it".

Patients, doctors, and advocates were ecstatic that the legislation, which they have been supporting for over nearly five years, is finally being taken up by Alabama legislators.

Currently, fourteen states, and the District of Columbia, have passed similar medical marijuana legislation allowing patients with certain debilitating conditions to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

"As an adult with chronic pain, why is perfectly fine to take the prescriptions my doctor gives me to the point of addiction, but it illegal for me to use a substance the US government has been giving out medicinally to certain patients since the 70's?,” asked patient Christopher Butts of Cullman, AL. “Shouldn’t my doctor be able to recommend the best treatments for me? Doesn’t my family have the right to live without the fear of police arresting me for using medicine that helps?”

A 2004 poll administered by the Mobile Register/University of South Alabama found that 76% of Alabamians support allowing access to medical marijuana as recommended by a physician. And 2010 ABC News/Washington Post national poll found that 81% of those polled, including 68% of Conservatives and 72% of Republicans, think that doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

Hundreds of local and national organizations support allowing physicians to recommend, and patients to access, medical marijuana for certain debilitating conditions, including The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Bar Association, and American Public Health Association.

“Alabama patients suffering from cancer and other illnesses today are criminals for using medical marijuana, while patients in New Jersey and thirteen other states are not,” said Loretta Nall, executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, a group of patients, family members and community members calling for changes to the law. “If marijuana is good medicine for patients in 14 states and the District of Colombia, then it is good medicine for patients in Alabama and they should have safe access to it under their doctor’s care. It's time to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation in Alabama. This is a states rights issue and the patients and physicians in Alabama need protection.”


Monday, April 05, 2010

Medical Marijuana in the BHAM News

ACC member and medical marijuana patient Christopher Butts had an excellent letter published in today's Birmingham News.


Bill up for debate on Wednesday

The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act is making its way through the Alabama Legislature and will be heard by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The bill would protect doctors for recommending marijuana to their patients, as well as protect patients for both possessing and using marijuana to treat debilitating conditions.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have passed similar medical marijuana legislation giving residents with debilitating conditions the freedom to use a safer, natural alternative to their prescribed medications. Marijuana has been in the pharmacopeia of almost every culture on this planet for thousands of years without a single death; the same cannot be said for the drugs in your medicine cabinet.

Let's get this bill passed and provide Alabama's sick and suffering those same liberties provided by a growing number of states.

Christopher Butts


Loretta Nall on Matt Murphy Tuesday 7:45 a.m.


I will be on the Matt Murphy show in the morning (Tuesday,April 6) at 7:45 am to discuss HB642 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act coming up in committee on Wednesday. You can listen live online at Matt Murphy Show

You may also call in at 1-877-569-1005

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Make Marijuana Legal for Patients

ACC member and South Alabama ACC coordinator Samuel Barksdale had a letter published in today's Montgomery Advertiser.

Make Marijuana Legal for Patients

Please drop by the Montgomery Advertiser Website and leave a comment.