Sunday, December 14, 2008

Drug War Double Standard

Over the course of the last few weeks there have been three letters printed in the Montgomery Advertiser regarding medical marijuana.

State should join marijuana list (my letter)

Medical Purpose Well Justified (Sarah Wires)

Legalization clearly unhealthy (Frank Winkler)

In responses posted to each letter on the Montgomery Advertiser site 'renegade6' a poster there calls for the execution of terminally ill patients, other medical users and recreational users of marijuana.

What makes this fascinating is that renegade6 claims in the posts on the last letter that he is a police officer. I don't believe that to be true, although his attitude fits. If he is a cop then his call for execution of anyone for using marijuana is horrifying.

First, its bullshit that a cop can call for the outright execution of a citizen for ingesting a benign plant. If we ingesters of said plant were to call for the execution of drug cops then we would all be arrested and probably the recipient of a serious beating at the hands of police. But, this guy can call for the execution of peaceful citizens and nothing happens to him. If this is a real war then how come only one side (government aggressor) is allowed to fight and the other side (peaceful pot smokers) is criminalized if they fight back? Nay...criminalized for even thinking (conspiracy) of fighting back?

Second, you can't help but wonder, if this guy is a real cop, then how many people has he shot or brutalized over marijuana in his career? The fact that he has a badge and a gun and has been sanctioned by the government would give him countless opportunities to violate the rights of citizens. You know cops police themselves so any shooting was 'justified' as accidental, or 'suspect was threatening my safety' or the ever present and entirely over-used 'suspect tried to run over me with his car' explanations. All after an 'intense and unbiased investigation', of course. [/sarcasm]

Can it really be a war if only one side is allowed to do the shooting?

EDIT: A Google search reveals that Frank Winkler (letter author) is affiliated with SAYNO Inc. Here is the link. His name appears near the bottom of the page.

I haven't found a link for the organization SAYNO Inc. In fact, I've never heard of them before today.

Chances are Mr. Winkler gets federal funding from the government and clearly has a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal. He'd be out of work if we ended prohibition. Interesting that he didn't put his organization affiliation on this letter.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: State Law TRUMPS Fed Law on Medical Marijuana

US Supreme Court Rules State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal Law

Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release: *December 1, 2008

*U.S. Supreme Court: State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal
Law */medical marijuana case appealed by the City of Garden Grove was denied
review today/

*Washington, DC* -- The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a landmark
decision today in which California state courts found that its medical
marijuana law was not preempted by federal law. The state appellate court
decision from November 28, 2007, ruled that "it is not the job of the local
police to enforce the federal drug laws." The case, involving Felix Kha, a
medical marijuana patient from Garden Grove, was the result of a wrongful
seizure of medical marijuana by local police in June 2005.
Medical marijuana advocates hailed today's decision as a huge victory in
clarifying law enforcement's obligation to uphold state law. Advocates
assert that better adherence to state medical marijuana laws by local police
will result in fewer needless arrests and seizures. In turn, this will allow
for better implementation of medical marijuana laws not only in California,
but in all states that have adopted such laws.

"It's now settled that state law enforcement officers cannot arrest medical
marijuana patients or seize their medicine simply because they prefer the
contrary federal law," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for
Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana advocacy organization that
represented the defendant Felix Kha in a case that the City of Garden Grove
appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Perhaps, in the future local government
will think twice about expending significant time and resources to defy a
law that is overwhelmingly supported by the people of our state."

California medical marijuana patient Felix Kha was pulled over by the Garden
Grove Police Department and cited for possession of marijuana, despite Kha
showing the officers proper documentation. The charge against Kha was
subsequently dismissed, with the Superior Court of Orange County issuing an
order to return Kha's wrongfully seized 8 grams of medical marijuana. The
police, backed by the City of Garden Grove, refused to return Kha's medicine
and the city appealed. Before the 41-page decision was issued a year ago by
California's Fourth District Court of Appeal, the California Attorney
General filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Kha's right to
possess his medicine. The California Supreme Court then denied review in

"The source of local law enforcement's resistance to upholding state law is
an outdated, harmful federal policy with regard to medical marijuana," said
ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "This should send a message to the federal
government that it's time to establish a compassionate policy more
consistent with the 13 states that have adopted medical marijuana laws."

Further information:
Today's U.S. Supreme Court Order denying review:
Decision by the California Fourth Appellate District Court:
Felix Kha's return of property case:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Take Action on Medical Marijuana in Alabama

Alabama’s medical marijuana bill needs our help. After the bill was introduced last month, it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Supporters all over Alabama asked the Committee to hold a hearing, but the Committee has yet to act.

HB 679, the Compassionate Care Act, has been languishing in the Judiciary Committee since March. It’s up to us to step up the pressure and make sure the Committee acts. Please ask the Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote.

Take action now.

The Compassionate Care Act was introduced by Representative Laura Hall. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana when recommended by their physicians.

Legislators on the Judiciary Committee need to hear from you about Compassionate Care. They need to know that Alabamians support Compassionate Care and that they should bring this bill up for a vote in the Committee.

Last year, the Compassionate Care bill was brought up for a hearing in a sub-committee of the Judiciary Committee. Patients, family members and concerned citizens all testified in support of the bill, and press coverage was extremely positive. But the Committee tabled discussion of the bill, and it didn’t move any further.

Let’s not let that happen again. You can do three things right now to make sure this bill is brought up for a hearing in the Judiciary Committee:

1. Send a message to your legislator now, urging him or her to support medical marijuana.

2. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time a legislator hears from someone about HB 679, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!

3. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patients who support Compassionate Care, please contact me at or call 212-613-8048.

With your support, we will pass HB 679 and win compassionate medical marijuana access in Alabama!

If you have any questions about medical marijuana in Alabama, contact me at

Thanks for all you do.

Gabriel Sayegh
Director, State Organizing and Policy Project
Drug Policy Alliance

More Information

Alabama’s Compassionate Care Act, HB 679, would provide much-needed protections for patients suffering from debilitating diseases. The legislation allows for patients to use medical marijuana under a physician’s care and directions. For individuals living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other serious conditions, doctors and patients need to have every option available to alleviate severe pain and suffering.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Marijuana has medicinal purpose

Birmingham News

Marijuana has medicinal purpose:

There was a wonderful essay in The Birmingham News written by Dr. Steven Rudd ("Weigh pros, cons of pot for medical purposes," Commentary, March 23).

Rudd wrote about Michael Phillips, who suffered from seizures. Rudd said Phillips was arrested twice for using marijuana, which was suggested by his doctor to help control his seizures. Rudd asked us to do research and weigh the pros and cons about medical marijuana.

The research shows there has not been one documented death as a result of marijuana use. How many pharmaceutical drugs can we say that about?

When we create laws that send people like Phillips to jail for using a plant that can ease their suffering, it makes us look ignorant and hypocritical with no sense of compassion. Especially when we have a legal drug (alcohol) that causes some 85,000 deaths a year and is sold for recreational use in every convenience store.

With laws like these, what kind of message are we sending about ourselves as a society - one of ignorance and hypocrisy, or one of compassion?

Dawn Palmer


Monday, March 31, 2008

Medical Marijuana LTE

Letters, faxes, and e-mail
Monday, March 31, 2008
Birmingham News

While there have been studies showing that marijuana can shrink cancerous tumors, medical marijuana is essentially a palliative drug. If a doctor recommends marijuana to a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy and it helps them feel better, then it's working. In the end, medical marijuana is a quality-of-life issue best left to patients and their doctors.

Federal bureaucrats waging war on noncorporate drugs contend organic marijuana is not an effective health intervention. The federal government's prescribed intervention for medical marijuana patients is handcuffs, jail cells and criminal records. This heavy-handed approach suggests drug warriors are not well-suited to dictate health care decisions.

It's long past time Congress showed some leadership on the issue and passed legislation reaffirming the Constitution's 10th Amendment guarantee of states' rights. States that prefer to cage sick patients for daring to feel better can continue to do so. The more enlightened states that have passed compassionate-use legislation should not be stymied by a federal government that really should have better things to do.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

Puppet Camp 2008

On March 29 & 30, 2008 two activist groups, Alabamians for Compassionate Care and T.O.P.S. descended on a farm in Clanton, AL for Puppet Camp 2008. During those two days we learned how to assemble giant puppets to be used in political protests that we have planned. The following pictures were taken and show the work from beginning to where we currently are. The Alabamians for Compassionate Care puppet was supposed to look rather generic....but for some reason came out looking like Barak Obama. It will look different when we have added all the accessories and finishing touches.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What things were like before the federalization of local police

I had a doctor's appointment today with a doctor I have used off and on for many years. I haven't seen him much in recent years because I live in a different county. However, I have been unable to find a general practitioner that I feel comfortable using where I live and decided to go back to the familiar.

During the course of today's visit my line of work came up and we started discussing politics, which eventually led to the discussion of medical marijuana.

I asked, "What do you think about medical marijuana? Do you support it?"

The doctor smiled in an odd sort of way and said, "Back when I first opened my practice here one of my first patients had cancer. Nothing I prescribed for him helped with the nausea from chemo. So, I went up to the Sheriff's office and asked the Sheriff to give me some marijuana from the evidence room for my patient. He did."

I was almost too stunned to say anything!

Me: "So, you support it then?"

Doctor: "Yes. There is a pill form available though."

Me: "Marinol. Yes I know. Two of the patients I work with have had it prescribed for them. Neither of them found it very useful and Medicaid and Medicare won't cover it. Since it costs around $700 a month it is cost prohibitive for most people."

Doctor: "That's right they don't cover it. Tell me about the bill."

So, I discussed the ins and outs of the bill with him and told him if he had any patients that might benefit from the passage of this bill to let them know about the bill. I also asked him to contact his Rep. and ask for their support. I would've asked him to testify at the committee hearing, but I felt it best not to 'pile on' until more information is exchanged between us.

That story he told me about his cancer patient really threw me for a loop....a big one. It was about the last thing I expected. I know who was Sheriff at that time, too.

It is amazing to think of a time, not so long ago (less than 20 years), when the local small-town doctor could not only recommend marijuana to a patient, but could actually go down to the Sheriff's office and ask for some from the evidence locker and have his request granted. That's like total Mayberry stuff!

In less than 20 years we have gone from the compassion and common sense demonstrated in the story above to prosecuting wise and compassionate doctors, revoking their license and arresting and imprisoning people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS and a whole long list of other illnesses simply for recommending or using this NATURAL plant.

This is what the drug war has brought us. It will continue to bring us even worse things unless we stand up and say ENOUGH! It will only go as far as We The People allow it to. Please tell the House Judiciary committee YOU'VE HAD ENOUGH!

Audio: Loretta Nall on Matt Murphy

Yesterday, I was a guest on the Matt Murphy Show where we talked about HB679 The Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act. If you missed yesterday's broadcast you can Listen Here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Take Action on Compassionate Care TODAY!

Last week, a medical marijuana access bill was introduced in the Alabama Legislature. Our bill, HB 679, has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, and now needs to get called for a hearing. Can you take two minutes to ask the Judiciary Committee to bring this bill up for a vote?

HB 679, the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act, was introduced by Representative Laura Hall. The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana as recommended by their physicians. You can read the legislation here.

Judiciary Committee members need to hear from you. They need to know that Alabamians support Compassionate Care.

Last year, our Compassionate Care bill made it to a Judiciary Committee hearing. Patients, family members and concerned citizens all testified in support of the bill, and the press coverage we got was extremely positive. But the committee tabled discussion of the bill, and it didn’t move any further.

Let’s get this bill all the way through the legislature this year. There are three things you can do right now to help make sure this bill is brought up in the Judiciary Committee for a hearing:

  1. Forward this action alert to five of your friends. Every time someone contacts his or her legislator about HB 679, it increases the likelihood that the bill will pass!
  2. Help us get in contact with sympathetic doctors and patients. This is especially important. If you know of a doctor or patient who supports Compassionate Care, please contact me at or 256-625-9599.

With your support, we will pass HB 679 and win compassionate medical marijuana legislation in Alabama!

Loretta Nall on NORML Podcast


I did an interview with NORML a little over a week ago and sent out the wrong link to the podcast. In this interview I talk about HB679, our patients Laura Campbell, Christie O'Brien, Don Prockup and Michael Phillips.

Please excuse the delay in getting the correct link out to all of you.

Loretta Nall on The Matt Murphy Show TODAY!


I will be a guest on the Matt Murphy Show today at 5:30 p.m. where I will discuss HB679 Alabama's Compassionate Care Act and our activities surrounding it for the remainder of the legislative session.

You can tune in live at this link!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weigh Pros & Cons of Medical Pot

Our friend and colleague Dr. Steve Rudd of Brookwood Hospital had a piece published about Michael Phillips and medical marijuana in today's BHAM News.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

I didn't know Michael Phillips, but I've had patients like him. Born with an inoperable brain tumor, he was prone to seizures. There were always doubts he'd live to see the next day. From the start, he never had much of a chance.

Some patients like that turn bitter. They give up hope. Others just make do, much like the rest of us. They go with what they've got, and they don't look back.

Then a few are like the young man everyone called Michael.

He took joy in life. Michael gave it, too. From his earliest days, he loved music. Whether it was singing in church or listening to his favorite bands, he savored a melody and he went with the beat. He liked songs that rocked.

Friends tell how Michael took his pastor's words to heart and went home and trashed his rock'n' roll CDs after he joined the church. He held on to the ones by Kiss, though. To Michael's way of thinking, they couldn't be all bad if they rocked like that.

He wanted to take a bigger part in his community, but his precarious condition held him back. The seizures didn't help, either. Call them grand mal or major-motor: By whatever tag, they hit him like a mugging and left him in a heap.


Friday, March 14, 2008

We have a bill number

Alabama's medical marijuana bill, known as the Michael Phillips Compassionate Care Act has finally been assigned a number for this legislative session.

HB679 has been assigned to the judiciary committee again this year and is currently pending committee action in the house of origin.

The legislature is in recess next week for spring break so this bill won't come up until at least week after next.

In the meantime y'all know what to do and what to get ready to do.

Spread the word!!

Start contacting the members of the House Judiciary Committee listed below and ask them to support this bill.

Marcel Black,Chair; Charles Newton, Vice Chair; Steve McMillan, Ranking Minority Member; Spencer Collier, Paul DeMarco, Priscilla Dunn, Chris England, Laura Hall, Tammy Irons, Jamie Ison, Marc Keahey, John Robinson, Yusuf Salaam, Howard Sanderford, Cam Ward

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Compassionate Care Meeting Thursday, Feb. 21

Alabamians for Compassionate Care will conduct a meeting/training session Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008 at

Two Pesos Mexican Grill
201 Southgate Dr
Pelham, AL 35124
(205) 987-3800

The meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. and last until 7:00 p.m. We will be discussing this years bill, our strategy for getting it passed out of committee, recruiting new patients and medical professionals who are interested in supporting this bill, discuss the documentary film about to be made about our group and talk about who will be giving testimony this year.

Please join us if you are able, pass this invitation along to everyone you know and bring along some friends. Appetizers will be on the house. Any additional food or drinks will be dutch treat.

For more information please email Loretta Nall at or Christie O'Brien at

Hope to see you there!

Loretta Nall
Executive Director
Alabamians for Compassionate Care (website) (blog)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Doctors Group Calls for End of Pot Ban

Atlanta Journal Constitution


Sacramento, Calif. -- A large and respected association of physicians
is calling on the federal government to ease its strict ban on
marijuana as medicine and hasten research into the drug's therapeutic uses.

The American College of Physicians, a 124,000-member group that is
the nation's largest for doctors of internal medicine, contends that
the long and rancorous debate over marijuana legalization has
obscured good science that has demonstrated the benefits and
medicinal promise of cannabis.

In a 13-page position paper approved by the college's governing board
of regents and posted Thursday on the group's Web site, the ACP calls
on the government to drop marijuana from Schedule I, a classification
it shares with illegal drugs such as heroin and LSD that are
considered to have no medicinal value and a high likelihood of abuse.

The declaration could put new pressure on lawmakers and government
regulators, who for decades have rejected attempts to reclassify
marijuana. Bush administration officials have aggressively rebuffed
all attempts in Congress, the courts and among law enforcement
organizations to legitimize medical marijuana.

Clinical researchers say the federal government has resisted full
study of the potential medical benefits of cannabis, instead pouring
money into looking at its negative effects. A dozen states have
legalized medical marijuana, but the federal prohibition has led to
an enforcement tug-of-war.

The ACP position paper calls for protection of both doctors and
patients from criminal and civil penalties in states that have
adopted medical-marijuana laws.

Medical-marijuana advocates embraced the position paper as a
watershed event that could help turn the battle in their favor.

Bruce Mirken, a San Francisco spokesman for the Marijuana Policy
Project, said the ACP position is "an earthquake that's going to
rattle the whole medical marijuana debate."

The ACP, he said, "pulverized the government's two favorite myths
about medical marijuana -- that it's not supported by the medical
community and that science hasn't shown marijuana to have medical value."

But officials at the White House Office of National Drug Control
Policy said calls for legalizing medical marijuana are misguided.

"What this would do is drag us back to 14th-century medicine," said
Bertha Madras, the drug czar's deputy director for demand reduction.
"It's so arcane."

She said guidance on marijuana as medicine ought to come from the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is unlikely ever to approve
leafy cannabis as a prescription drug. Two oral derivatives of
marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, THC, have won FDA approval, and
the agency is also in the early stages of considering a marijuana spray.

An FDA spokeswoman referred reporters to a 2006 news advisory noting
that the agency has never approved of smoked marijuana as a medical treatment.