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