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Medical Marijuana Patients Aren’t Criminals

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medical marijuana patient florida cathy jordanFrom our friends at the Florida medical marijuana campaign:

Every week, people send us their stories: “My son had epilepsy.” “My husband was in an accident and had severe nerve damage…” “The medicine I take to treat AIDS has destroyed my appetite.”

In so many cases, people with legitimate, debilitating conditions were forced to do something illegal to get the care they need and deserve – and which the vast, vast majority of Floridians think they should have.

Please contribute today to support a major expansion of our petition gathering efforts.

Every contribution is matched dollar for dollar by one of our major supporters through December 5th.

We have just over four weeks to collect hundreds of thousands of petitions to finally get medical marijuana on the ballot. We’re going to do this through an intense volunteer effort – and the funding of many generous donors.

But it’s not enough – we need your support, and we need it today:

Please donate today – and double the impact of your contribution.

We’ve collected more than 400,000 petitions. We’re going to win in court and then we are going to win on the ground – but only with your help.

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20 Comments

  1. You’ve been “quite”? Don’t you hate this automatic spell check? When I read some of my old posts, I see stuff like this. As you can see, I didn’t have enough self control to nitpick about a misspelled word. :D Exercise? I wash my own dishes everyday. And exercising my brain counts.

  2. Notice how quiet I’ve been? I’m exercising self control. The only exercise I got today, LOL

  3. This sounds like the brat that didn’t get exactly what he wanted for Xmas. Try living with a morphine dependency and you can’t find canabis even if you had the money. Try having so much pain you consider suicide everyday know the cost of the ineffective legal meds are draining your family money and cheating your kids from eating. Get a grip, go buy you some weed and smoke it in your house and think about how stupid and selfish you sound. I hope no one ever hurts you or you come down with an illness. What is messed up is 1 out of 3 people getting cancer and hospitals and doctors that make money from the headless suffering of people. It is just as ducked as private prisons and seizure laws. Everyone needs to get insured because if your not rich you can’t afford to use you ins. I really wonder if Americans were Moe responsible would this movement have taken my lifetime to have happened

  4. I have learned that these guys aren’t really interested in our opinion, unless it supports their opinion. Then they need our opinion to prove their opinion. It’s a whole opinion-thing. I’ve been burned a couple of times when trying to help out (of course that doesn’t always stop me).

  5. You are no angel and no fool, just a dude with balls. I salute you! And wish you a happy Consumer Day. Here’s hoping you spent your guts out (yours truly, the American Economy).

  6. I don’t live in Oregon or California, I actually live in a red state dungeon, but I would love to see both OCTA and CCHI 2014 succeed.

  7. Thanks, pk2. Hope the holidays find you well. It is said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Well, I’m no angel, so you know where that leaves me heh heh :)

  8. If you support that kind of access, support bills like Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, and California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 (arguably the best one). Despite Russ’ propaganda re : “support and funding for these bills”, Oregon’s Measure 80 just as well as the one that had so many “donations” and hype, Prop 19. The lesson learned here is Big Money Russ will always pick Big Money.

  9. All I see is more excuses, and you going back defending unnecessary restrictions.
    If you believe in defending these restrictions, stick to defending
    them, and not attacking patients in the process, most of whom are not
    for these restrictions. All you sound is like you’re upset that these
    patients have less restrictions than non-patients, when the patients
    were telling non-patients, like yourself, that your bills are too
    restrictive and will place unnecessary restrictions on both patients,
    and non-patients. Anyone with eyes who could read the bill can see that
    the bill would destroy Washington’s medical marijuana program. So which
    one are you : extremely naive, or delusional? Your childish blaming of
    MMJ patients for the restrictions you set yourself up for shows the
    crazy level you have reached to defend this trash bill that you
    supported. You act like you’re uniting people, when you’re partially
    responsible for the division yourself, and are giving legitimacy to a
    lot of fears expressed by others about these bills. Most used to doubt
    those people, now the doubt is wearing off : the results are in.

  10. Josh, I don’t know about grapes and wine, but speaking only for myself, I would love to see marijuana treated like coffee.

  11. Denver’s no-porch toking is exactly the kind of response you can expect from Patients Not Criminals framing. For years now, you’ve called us healthy tokers criminals. You’ve implied that only with a medical excuse is pot smoking acceptable. Is it surprising that soccer moms can flip a city council vote over fear that her child will see some criminal-type person doing something so vile and disgusting as smoking pot without a medical excuse?

    Really, the Denver council is just following the Amendment 20 medical marijuana lead, where it states:

    (5)(a) No patient shall: (I) Engage in the medical use of marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of any person; or (II) Engage in the medical use of marijuana in plain view of, or in a place open to, the general public.

    I imagine that seven city councilors remembered that there isn’t supposed to be medical marijuana use in “plain view of… the general public” and then remembered a whole bunch of events where patients are medicating outdoors in “plain view of… the general public” and went a bit overboard trying to make sure the pot smokers didn’t pull another fast one on them. I apologize if I missed the post where you were excoriating the authors of Amendment 20 for their “no public view” language.

  12. The only “poorly written” legalization bills are the ones filed year after year in Washington by medical marijuana advocates that never got any funding, any major support, or enough signatures to make the ballot – measures I supported as well, Josh. For about 8,000 – 10,000 healthy Washington tokers who avoided a criminal record this year, I-502 is a wonderfully-written legalization law… but forgetting about the plight of the healthy toker is a hallmark of Patients Not Criminals thinking. 10,000 healthy tokers aren’t criminals, but by God, if 420 people who get 15 plants and a pound and a half of weed smoke pot all day every day for a medical condition then get in their car, drive in a way to attract police suspicion of impairment, fail a field sobriety test, and get convicted of a DUID when it’s found they have over 5ng of active, impairing THC in their system, we should scrap the whole thing and let those 10,000 people every year be criminals.

    Why do you think Alison had to write a bill with no home grows in it? Do you think she was fiendishly plotting to destroy medical marijuana or set up a state monopoly? Or could it be that medical marijuana advocates put the 99th-percentile outlier seriously disabled patient front and center to garner enough sympathy to get 15 plants per patient and 45 plant collective grows and next thing you know, state police from Idaho to Nebraska are seizing trunkloads of Pacific Northwest medical marijuana bound for triple profits in Chicago? Could it be that analysis of those trends and other polling is what leads to writing a bill a certain way?

    If medical marijuana had been confined to the truly sick and disabled folks that the voters thought they were approving medical marijuana for, perhaps our legalization bills could be more expansive. But in state after state, medical marijuana proponents promised the public pot would just be for the poor sick cancer, AIDS, and chronic pain patients, and then the public saw 420 Nurses on Venice Beach, naturopaths in Hempfest tents, and a few too many Medical Cannabis Cups to believe the promises. And when the public looked to the medical marijuana community for condemnation of all this, they were told “all use is medical”, including, presumably, the 22-year-old guy putting on the gas mask bong to treat his chronic pain before headbanging in the mosh pit. When confronted with lines of young, healthy-looking males populating dispensaries, the public was told “you can’t tell what a sick person looks like” instead of wondering why so many young men are so sick and the only cure is pot. But nooooo, medical marijuana advocates were more than happy to expand their ranks and some, their bottom line, by looking away at obvious abuses of the system, welcoming and in some cases assisting that abuse, and offering no solutions to a problem they refused to recognize.

    I know Alison Holcomb personally, and I know that if she thought passing Jack Herer’s Wet Dream of 99 plant personal grows, 12 pounds of personal possession, freeing all the pot prisoners and expunging all pot records, and $10 / ounce maximum tax would attract funders, high-profile support, and a win at the ballot box, she’d have filed that. But she’s a smart woman and she did polling and testing and research and believed that Prop 19’s exit polls on stoned driving and Washington polls on home growing required language that addressed that. I disagreed with her vehemently; I felt people would accept a small 10×10 home grow or a few plants and we could successfully reframe and defeat the need for a per se DUID standard.

    But sometimes smart people disagree, and since much of the funding and support for I-502 agreed with her and I didn’t have six million dollars to back my opinion, I-502 made the ballot while violating two of my three standards for legalization (legality of home cultivation and equality of pot smokers to beer drinkers).

    However, it fulfilled the prime of the three standards – legality of pot possession. And that is HUGE. Aside from the 10 point bump in national polls, it has also led to dropping charges against tokers and de-training drug dogs against sniffing pot. It has removed that probable cause of smelling or seeing pot as an excuse to mess with tokers. It has made legalization concrete, not abstract, and shown states and nations that they can do it, too.

    Does the rollout of I-502 suck? Yes, absolutely – everyone should get home grow. Does the implementation of A-64 in Denver suck? Yes, absolutely – everyone should be able to toke on their own property outdoors. But like Obamacare’s roll out, don’t forget what it was replacing. Do you really want to go back to no legal marijuana states in America? Would you really feel good about three out of three states losing in 2012, following California’s loss in 2010? Do you think Oregon and Alaska would be trying as successfully for 2014 if that had happened? Do you wish another few thousand healthy tokers now had criminal records?

  13. ” Every state that has legalized so far and every one looking to do so
    next proposes possession and cultivation limits far below what patients
    are allowed. Why? Because giving the criminals too much weed would
    lead to crime, but giving the patients too much medicine is impossible.”

    I find it hilarious Russ that now you are blaming the MMJ crowd for these “problems” you’ve dedicated a rant to. Wasn’t it you who was arguing that we needed all of these restrictions in these legalization bills so they could pass? Wasn’t it a portion of the pro-legalization crowd AND the MMJ crowd calling you out on these restrictive, poorly written bills? Wasn’t it us that told you that you need to support an unrestrictive legalization bill, that you dedicated another rant to make fun of us for? So which is it Russ? Do you want full legalization where marijuana is treated like grapes and wine here in California? Or do you just want to keep pushing these restrictive bills, where you end up placing the blame on the patients after their outcome? -_-

  14. Not to mention the vote regarding banning toking in your front porch was because Amendment 64 has a provision written in the bill that bans public consumption of marijuana. The Denver City Council had interpreted in their own way that smoking in your front porch was public consumption, so they banned it. Again, the ban had nothing to do with the MMJ crowd.

  15. “And look what kind of legalization “patients not criminals” thinking
    brought us. No front porch toking in Denver and no home-growing in
    Washington.”

    There you go again with twisting the truth, blaming medical marijuana patients for Allison Holcomb’s poorly written bill (I-502) that was written not to allow home grows, that is now taking away Washington MMJ patients right to grow. The Denver City Council voted on the restriction and had nothing to do with medical marijuana patients. Keep twisting the truth of the poor outcome of your legalization bill, that medical marijuana patients had been warning the community about since the beginning. Maybe next time you can support a bill that allows home growing, and a bill that guarantees rights instead of leaving the regulatory power entirely up to cities, and have you sit around bitching about the inevitable outcomes of the bill and twist the blame onto the MMJ patients, when only a small fraction of them have been against full marijuana legalization.

  16. Just because it’s my pet peeve…

    So, who among the marijuana smokers ARE criminals?

    I get so tired of this “we’re patients, not criminals” crap. No, you’re cannabis consumers, not criminals. It’s not your illness that makes you not a criminal. It is your natural right of choosing to use cannabis that makes you not a criminal. Your illness just gives you a more socially acceptable excuse.

    Every time we say “patients not criminals” we activate two frames:

    Patients = sick people, disabled people, people who are suffering, people in need of medicine and doctors.

    Criminals = bad guys, those who do harm to others, those who break the law.

    By juxtaposing the two, we identify patients as the only pot smokers who are not criminals (“I’m not a patient, therefore I am a ______”). By doing that, we reinforce the opposition frame that smoking pot is a criminal act.

    This is more than just wordplay, it affects how people think. Someone who adopts “I’m a patient, not a criminal” has now elevated themselves to a special class, above the criminals. “My patient status has removed me from the criminal class”, if you will.

    That leads to Patient Entitlement Syndrome – “I’m entitled to my marijuana, because it’s my medicine and I’m not a criminal.” Which is fine, in and of itself – who doesn’t want patients to get their medicine? – but becomes problematic when the criminals start to feel they’re entitled to marijuana, too. That’s when the patients begin to resist expanding their special protected status to the non-patients. If everyone can smoke pot, patients are no longer special. And if allowing the criminals to smoke pot affects in any way the privilege the patients have earned, it must be opposed (see: “of course we support legalization, just not THIS legalization, because for patients blah blah blah…”)

    It also works to set our opponents’ expectations of legalization. Every state that has legalized so far and every one looking to do so next proposes possession and cultivation limits far below what patients are allowed. Why? Because giving the criminals too much weed would lead to crime, but giving the patients too much medicine is impossible.

    As medical marijuana was being first passed during the 20th century, the medical marijuana advocates couldn’t shush and hide us criminals fast enough. “This isn’t about pot legalization,” they’d insist, “this is about patients.” Legalizers were maligned as hedonists, partiers, and supporting an intellectual exercise in libertarianism while medicalizers were alluded to as compassionate, altruistic caregivers, fighting for the poor frail disabled cancer patients who had been mistaken for low-life dope-smoking criminals.

    And for the most part, we did. We shut up about legalization and worked hard to pass medical, because the medical people insisted that they, too, were for full legalization, just not quite yet. Nobody supports full legalization, but they will support not jailing the sick, they told us. Once we pass medical, then the people will see pot isn’t so scary, and then we can legalize it for all, they told us. It did work to some extent – we certainly wouldn’t have legal Washington and Colorado without medical marijuana California and 19 others. But it also worked to divide the base of marijuana smokers such that some of the loudest and best funded opponents of legalization are medical marijuana patients, caregivers, growers, and dispensaries.

    And look what kind of legalization “patients not criminals” thinking brought us. No front porch toking in Denver and no home-growing in Washington. Every effort made to ensure that healthy pot smokers are as restricted as possible, because without the medical reason, our pot smoking is something bad, wicked, and to be distrusted (after all, until recently, these people were criminals!) Now this continued framing of healthy pot smoking as criminal has encroached upon medical marijuana, too, with each successive medical marijuana state being further restricted in order to keep the criminals out, and Washington trying to decimate its medical program because the criminals might misuse it now that they’re legal.

    So, can we retire “We’re patients, not criminals” please? May I suggest “Patients Need Medicine, Not Jail”?