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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
July 1, 2014

Libertarian Politicians move to marijuana industry

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products.

Johnson said Tuesday he was recently named CEO and president of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., and intends to work out of New Mexico to help develop products that are legal in states like Colorado and Washington.

In addition, of Cannabis Sativa announced Tuesday it has acquired marijuana research company Kush and named that company's founder, Steve Kubby, as its chairman.

Kubby was the 1998 Libertarian Party nominee for California governor.


Democrats - take note. If you have people like Cuomo fighting against even medical marijuana, you're not going to win independent votes in places where the liquor lobby (and the drug warriors who defend it - c.f. Kevin Sabet) doesn't have the social power that it does in the northeast.

Western state voters, both Democratic and libertarian, made legalization happen in Colorado. It looks like New Mexico and Nevada may be the next states, after Alaska and Oregon.

...and the northeast just keeps playing those same old tired tunes about reefer madness.
June 30, 2014

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June 30, 2014

Washington D.C. set to put marijuana legalization on ballot



Sixteen years ago, D.C. activists gathered signatures to let voters decide if the District should be among the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Then Congress stepped in, and city officials were not even allowed to count the ballots that voters had cast.

Inside a rented house in Northwest Washington, behind a shaggy bear skin rug strung up as a makeshift curtain and amid rollaway beds set up for signature gatherers who have come from as far away as California and Colorado, there’s growing anxiety that history is about to repeat itself.

Organizers for Initiative 71, a measure that would fully legalize possession of marijuana in the District, plan to announce this week that they are closing in on 60,000 signatures — a comfortable buffer over the 22,600 needed to ensure the measure qualifies for the November ballot.

District voters support legalization by a ration of 2 to 1, polls show. The city has medical marijuana dispensaries and is taking steps to soon loosen restraints and let doctors recommend the drug for any ailment. The D.C. Council even voted in March to decriminalize possession, making it a fine of $25, instead of a year-long jail term.

This is one to watch, folks. It may well be the tipping point - combined with Oregon and Alaska.
June 30, 2014

Vive les personnes

or les acunes, or les pas des...

The fastest growing religious trend in the nation is "not any" - or belief in no one's doctrine. Some of those within this group state they have spiritual beliefs, but they do not align with any church.

The reason for the growth in this group seems to stem from the 1980 takeover of the Republican Party by the religious right. Those who were coming of age at that time have since raised children - and the children of Americans who were born when the religious right was throwing around their power comprise the least religious group in the United States.

While religious believers were crowing about their importance to the family, many families took one look at them and said, "No thank you. I'll raise my child to reject your political and religious beliefs."

The religious right has continued to exert enormous influence over American political life. The outcome of religious involvement in politics has been the creation of generations who want nothing to do with religion, while some are plenty interested in politics, especially in opposition to the religious right.

This bodes well for American economic policy changes. Back in the dark, dark ages, McCarthy, and, along with him, the religious right, attacked anyone who supported social policies to address wealth disparity. To this day, religious right wingers foam at the mouth at the mention of social democracy (I've seen it from some o.f. talking about Canada's ssssssocialist health care policy...)

The opposition to social democratic reform has long come from the religious right. Those who reject religious doctrine, on the other hand, can look at policy issues dispassionately. They can look at the reality that social democracies have greater social mobility than the U.S.

One reason they have greater social mobility is because social democracies do not have the depth of poverty that is allowed in the U.S. as a "good christian nation." Those Marxists, Pope Francis noted, took ideas from the Beatitudes. But they did more than spout the words. They created policy that made wealth taxation possible, and this social safety net created the means by which the poor could escape from poverty.

Americans would prefer a nation that is arranged like social democracies. They just deny how this is achieved because the Republican Party, and the religious right that undergirds it, has lied to their congregants/voters for DECADES about the way such mobility and greater equality are achieved.

These goals are achieved by taxation on wealth that goes to fund healthcare and education (from preschool to the university), that guarantees a living wage in a job, and that reserves the right to nationalize industries on behalf of the citizens of those nations in the event of something like the international banking crisis of 2007/8.

Those who prefer no religion don't come with the built in bias of the older "hrmph, godless commies" of the older generations. Even when pollsters use the "scare word" socialism, the voters who are looking for a party now, as they develop a political conscience, approve of socialism more than capitalism.

As the link a couple of paragraphs above notes, when pollsters don't use scare words, but just ask how they would like wealth to be distributed, the overwhelming marjority approves of "socialism" as part of economic policy.

The sad thing is that the media in the U.S. has conspired with the religious right and corporate conservatives to deny knowledge to the public of how deep the divide is between the wealthy and everyone else...and, beyond that, the divide between the middle class and the poor. When the media work to keep Americans ignorant about the outcome of economic policies, you have to assume their loyalty is to who writes their checks, not to the truth.

The truth is that Americans have rejected the Republican Party, and they want a political party that will represent their economic interests. The group that will make this come to pass are those who are not restricted by religious fears. Those voters are our future.

June 29, 2014

Bill Clinton's Remarks Show How Political Opinion Has Changed

In an interview with David Gregory this week:

"I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing," Clinton said. "I think there are a lot of unresolved questions, but I think we should leave it to the states. This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going."

While Clinton stopped short of endorsing legalization at the federal level, he said he supports states' experimentation.

Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said Clinton's remarks reflect how legalization has progressed from a once politically untouchable issue to a mainstream cause.

"These comments from a skilled politician who knows how to stake out positions that resonate with the majority of voters show just how far the politics of this issue have shifted in favor of legalization," Angell said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "When Bill Clinton was president his administration tried to punish doctors just for discussing medical marijuana with their patients. Now he not only says that there's a lot of evidence to support medical marijuana, but he thinks states should be able to legalize marijuana outright without the feds standing in the way. Whereas this issue was once seen as a political third rail, there's no question it has now emerged into the mainstream. Polls show that the majority of voters support legalization, and today's politicians have no choice but to catch up or get left behind."

Nevertheless, Clinton's position appears to be to more conservative than that of the Obama administration's. Obama noted the racial disparity in arrests when he discussed this issue, and his administration has worked to change sentencing laws that discriminated against African Americans. Obama has spoken out directly to the public, through an interview, to state that he likens marijuana use to alcohol use. Obama's reaction to the legalization votes in CO and WA state is far, far more liberal than Clinton's reaction was when California's medical marijuana initiative passed.

During his time in office: Clinton Administration officials denounced the California law and a similar successful ballot initiative in Arizona as significant threats to the Government's efforts to limit the traffic in illegal drugs and to persuade younger Americans, in particular, not to use them.

...the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy led the Government in a public relations offensive.

This was after the bipartisan support for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, that led to the creation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has spent millions of dollars on failed advertising campaigns and paid large salaries to bureaucrats to design ineffective propaganda aimed at the American people.

At that time, GLBT activist Dennis Peron was at the forefront of the medical marijuana movement. Peron lived through the HIV/AIDS crisis, when compassionate caregivers brought marijuana brownies to patients dying from AIDS-related cancer. By 1991, an overwhelming number of Californians wanted to make marijuana available to patients whose government had told them it didn't care about them, or, in fact, was openly hostile to them. This was the ten year legacy of the religious right.

The medical marijuana movement did not come from people who said... oh, yeah, let's use this as a way to bring legalization to the table. The medical marijuana movement began as a compassionate response to personal suffering, something the government of this nation ridiculed or ignored for a decade.

The AIDS crisis emerged in the 1980s, at the same time that the religious right gained ascendancy in the U.S. in the Republican Party. The Southern Strategy, birthed from racist reaction to the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, courted the white, often southern, religious voter. The media engaged in a propaganda campaign, with talk about a crack cocaine epidemic, that led to harsh penalties under Reagan and Bush aimed at minorities. Obama's Justice Department has worked to correct these racist laws through sentencing reform that treats all cocaine use equally. Back then...

Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates stated that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”

Newt Gringrich proposed the death penalty for possession of marijuana over a certain amount.

The legacy of the Reagan/Bush Sr. years was property forfeiture, expanded police powers, militarization of the police, zero- tolerance policy, and an expanded prison system. And virulent racism and homophobia.

Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." [link:Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Reagan-s-AIDS-Legacy-Silence-equals-death-2751030.php|(Reagan's) advisers, Koop said, "took the stand, 'They are only getting what they justly deserve.' "]

Reagan's attitude was to ignore the AIDS crisis and leave it to the states to devise strategies to deal with a national health crisis.

Recognizing the limitations of attempting reform through the legislature, Dennis Peron spearheaded a drive to legalize marijuana by bringing the issue directly to state voters in the 1996 election. Since the turn of the 20th century, California’s constitution has allowed citizens and organizations to put initiatives on statewide ballots for a yes-or-no vote. This referendum process is a legacy from the Progressive Era of the same time period designed to bolster direct democracy. To get his initiative on the November ballot, Peron needed to gather 433,000 signatures, a long and expensive undertaking that required significant organization and financial resources.

To mobilize this effort, Peron and his allies formed a political action group (PAC) known as Californians for Compassionate Use that took the responsibility of writing the initiative, which it titled “The Compassionate Use Act.” However, this measure also benefited from the substantial largess of a PAC known as California for Medical Rights, whose donors included George Soros, a billionaire financier, and Laurence Rockefeller, of Rockefeller family fame. With over $1 million, supporters of the measure gathered about 850,000 signatures, which Peron noted was one-fifth of the total number of votes that they needed for passage in November.

Two months after the passage of the Compassionate Use Act, the Clinton Administration took a coordinated hard line against the new law. In a press conference, Barry McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control and Policy announced that: “Nothing has changed. Federal law is unaffected by these propositions.” Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala worried that California’s initiative reinforced the belief that marijuana was benign. Finally, Attorney General Janet Reno stated that she was reallocating federal enforcement resources to target California physicians who recommended marijuana to their patients, threatening to revoke their registration with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and prohibit them from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Despite staunch federal opposition, subsequent court rulings blunted some of the threats, even though they did not provide much clarity on the everyday legality of medical marijuana use in California. For example, not long after the Clinton Administration’s strong rebuke of the new Californian law, a group of physicians, patients, and nonprofits filed a complaint (Conant v. seeking to block the federal government from punishing physicians that recommended marijuana to their patients. This complaint, known as Conant v. McCaffrey, was settled in September of 2000, when the US District Court for Northern California (a federal judiciary) issued a ruling that limited the ability of federal officials to punish physicians who prescribed medical marijuana under the guidelines of Proposition 215.


Clinton actively courted the GLBT vote, after Democrats saw that Republicans had cornered the religious bigot vote. The party reached out to the voting bloc the religious right actively hated... and continues to hate. Clinton's stance on AIDS was a huge improvement over Reagan and Bush Sr.

...but Clinton didn't recognize the interplay of the GLBT voter concerns at the time and medical marijuana.

When Clinton took office, the prison population had grown to 1.3 million. When he left office, the prison population had grown to 2 million. That number now stands at something like 2.4 million, part of a three-year decrease.

Initially people had hope for the Clinton administration because the appointment of Dr. Joyce Elders was a progressive move. Elders spoke about the need for sensible sex education strategies. She was also open to discussion of medical marijuana. Clinton immediately caved to conservative criticism and fired her.

He went after outspoken author Peter McWilliams. The author choked on his own vomit because he could not use marijuana to keep down his HIV and cancer medications after his arrest, or his mother would forfeit her house, her only asset.

...The Clinton years saw outlandishly cruel persecution of the ill. Among the thousands prosecuted for use of medical marijuana is Jimmy Montgomery, an Oklahoma paraplegic with no criminal record. In 1995, he received a life sentence for possession of less than one and a half ounces of marijuana-a sentence later commuted to life at home when it was discovered the state couldn't afford to treat his condition in prison. Another Oklahoman with no prior arrests, arthritis sufferer Will Foster, received 93 years in 1997 for a small medical-marijuana garden he had in his basement. (His term has since been reduced to 20 years.) And Tom Brown of Arkansas, busted
by the DEA in 1995, (served) a 10-year sentence for growing marijuana for medical use.

Welcome to the new world, Bill.

The American people who are not part of the republican party or right wing overwhelmingly support full legalization.

Public support for legalizing marijuana use is at an all-time high of 54%, though it is virtually unchanged from last year (52%). There is even more agreement that people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve time in jail.

About three-quarters of Americans (76%) say that if marijuana use is not legalized, those who are convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve jail time. Just 22% favor jail time for those convicted of minor marijuana possession. Democrats favor legalization by 63% and Independents by 58%.

It was in 2003 that John Ashcroft went after Tommy Chong in a sting set up by Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. attorney for the western district of PA, when she had a man go to California to buy bongs from Chong's son, Paris, then ask them to be shipped to Pennsylvania (where the shipping of such materials is prohibited). Btw, when Crisco™ John was being anointed for his job as AG, if he had wanted to be biblically literal, he probably should've used 6 lbs of marijuana in a quart of olive oil... Show trials, fake anointing. The Republican way. But Junior was putting more attention from his AG's office on other issues, for the most part. (That's another example of prosecutorial discretion, something Republicans want to impeach Obama for at this time.)

The Obama administration has made some missteps regarding marijuana law enforcement, according to activists in California, even after Holder stated medical marijuana raids would end, but the recent history of this issue should remind everyone of how far we've come.

We still have a long way to go, and we have a Republican-controlled House that is openly hostile to the will of the American people regarding this issue. The history of reactionary actions from the federal government remind us we cannot rely upon government officials to change policy unless we tell them we want change. Now.
June 29, 2014

Here's how to change the world

Education is important - but it's not necessary to change the world. Education performs an important function for those who want to explain something to her/his rational mind. But education is not enough to change the world.

Positive Messages are important - but they're not enough to change the world. They, however, are VASTLY important to create change - but the reason for this may not be what you think.

Negative messages do not promote change. The reason for this is because they invalidate the one actual way to create change.

People say different things motivate them to change, or to create change. However social science research has indicated one way that change actually occurs.

The one, demonstrated, way to create change is to let your peers, your politicians, your family members know that others support this change or behavior or action and are acting upon this support.

That's the truth. Herd behavior explains our positive and negative actions. Sadly. (Someone posted a thread here that mentioned this in relation to torture - i.e. "nice" people who "go along" with society's dictates are most likely to torture people to death. The reason for their willingness is that they are part of the herd and i.d. as such by their cooperativeness.)

This is why negative messages are harmful, because they promote the herd belief that most people are involved in those negative behaviors. People aren't necessarily influenced by disgust from negative messages. They receive the information that their peers are engaged in those behaviors, so they're not motivated to change, either.

Positive messages work when they utilize the concept that others are engaged in the positive behavior (i.e. modeling).

So, while the rich guy talks about people coming with pitchforks, etc... he's talking about behavior - but his purpose - to raise the minimum wage - will be effective when those who agree with him raise their wages as modeling behavior for the capitalist herd. This modeled behavior is then one of those "of course" moments - tho, in this case, the effect of raising wages for one company would mean they would attract people before companies that did not raise wages.

Congress must treat capitalists as a horde of insensible animals who must be taught how to function in a democracy, because the principles that structure corporations are not the principles that undergird democracies. Education really doesn't matter in this case, because the basic issue is that the horde will not seek to alter its own behavior when the model for its behavior - the ayn-ti christ rand - or corporate structure - leads the herd to engage in harmful behaviors.

So, if you want to change the world - seek out people who are engaged in actions that do so. Tell others about those people. Help others to see that this change is what people are doing who are worth lauding in our society. (That would mean turning off "reality tv" entirely, btw). The herd will come along - and they'll also be the ones "tut-tut-ing" those who come after them, as a way for the "cooperators" to force the laggers.


June 27, 2014

Lock 'Em Up Nation


How did the United States, land of the free, become the world’s top jailer? It’s a question asked by visitors from other democracies, and the American citizen who wakes from a stupor to find that our prisons are stuffed with people serving interminable sentences for nonviolent crimes.

For the answer, you need look no further than the real America, the sparsely settled, ruggedly beautiful, financially struggling eastern third of Washington State. There, 70-year-old Larry Harvey, his wife, two family members and a friend are facing mandatory 10-year prison terms for growing medical marijuana — openly and, they thought, legally — on their farm near the little town of Kettle Falls.

To get a sense of the tragic absurdity of this federal prosecution, reaching all the way to the desk of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., consider what will happen next month. Pot stores will open in Washington, selling legal marijuana for the recreational user — per a vote of the people. A few weeks later, the Feds will try to put away the so-called Kettle Falls Five for growing weed on their land to ease their medical maladies. Federal sentencing guidelines, which trump state law, call for mandatory prison terms.

Harvey is a former long-haul truck driver with a bad knee, spasms of gout and high blood pressure. He says he has no criminal record, and spends much of his time in a wheelchair. His wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, is a retired hairdresser with arthritis and osteoporosis. Mr. Harvey says he takes his wife’s home-baked marijuana confections when the pain in his knee starts to flare. The Harveys thought they were in the clear, growing 68 marijuana plants on their acreage in northeast Washington, one of 22 states allowing legal medical marijuana. (Federal authorities say they are several plants over the limit.)

Link to information on reform of mandatory sentencing - The Smart Sentencing Act from Durbin and Lee
June 27, 2014

Regular Cannabis Smoking not associated with lung cancer

More than 2000 controls and nearly 3000 subjects were included in the study from 4 different English-speaking nations.

Their findings are similar to those of a 2013 review published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, which concluded: "[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. ... Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking."

An accompanying commentary appearing in the same journal affirmed, "...Cannabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that at low doses cannabis may be protective for both conditions."

Preclinical studies have documented that cannabinoids possess potent anti-cancer properties, including the inhibition of lung cancer cell growth. To date, however, scientists have yet to conduct controlled clinical trials replicating these results in human subjects.



To investigate the association between cannabis smoking and lung cancer risk, data on 2159 lung cancer cases and 2985 controls were pooled from 6 case-control studies in the US, Canada, UK and New Zealand within the International Lung Cancer Consortium. Study-specific associations between cannabis smoking and lung cancer were estimated using unconditional logistic regression adjusting for sociodemographic factors, tobacco smoking status and pack-years; odds-ratio estimates were pooled using random effects models. Sub-group analyses were done for sex, histology, and tobacco smoking status. The shapes of dose-response associations were examined using restricted cubic spline regression. The overall pooled OR for habitual vs. non-habitual or never users was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.66-1.38). Compared to non-habitual or never users, the summary OR was 0.88 (95%CI: 0.63-1.24) for individuals who smoked 1 or more joint-equivalents of cannabis per day and 0.94 (95%CI: 0.67-1.32) for those consumed at least 10 joint-years. For adenocarcinoma cases the ORs were 1.73 (95%CI: 0.75-4.00) and 1.74 (95%CI: 0.85-3.55), respectively. However, no association was found for the squamous cell carcinoma based on small numbers. Weak associations between cannabis smoking and lung cancer were observed in never tobacco smokers. Spline modeling indicated a weak positive monotonic association between cumulative cannabis use and lung cancer, but precision was low at high exposure levels. Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers, although the possibility of potential adverse effect for heavy consumption cannot be excluded.

A 2008 study concluded: ?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits epithelial growth factor-induced lung cancer cell migration in vitro as well as its growth and metastasis in vivo



?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary cannabinoid of marijuana and has been shown to either potentiate or inhibit tumor growth, depending on the type of cancer and its pathogenesis. Little is known about the activity of cannabinoids like THC on epidermal growth factor receptor-overexpressing lung cancers, which are often highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy. In this study, we characterized the effects of THC on the EGF-induced growth and metastasis of human non-small cell lung cancer using the cell lines A549 and SW-1573 as in vitro models. We found that these cells express the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, known targets for THC action, and that THC inhibited EGF-induced growth, chemotaxis and chemoinvasion. Moreover, signaling studies indicated that THC may act by inhibiting the EGF-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and AKT. THC also induced the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase at tyrosine 397. Additionally, in in vivo studies in severe combined immunodeficient mice, there was significant inhibition of the subcutaneous tumor growth and lung metastasis of A549 cells in THC-treated animals as compared to vehicle-treated controls. Tumor samples from THC-treated animals revealed antiproliferative and antiangiogenic effects of THC. Our study suggests that cannabinoids like THC should be explored as novel therapeutic molecules in controlling the growth and metastasis of certain lung cancers.
June 27, 2014

Support the Smarter Sentencing Act!

via the Marijuana Policy Project:

The Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410), sponsored by a bipartisan coalition including Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Lee (R-UT), would bring real change to destructive mandatory minimum sentences in our criminal justice system. Aside from saving billions of dollars spent on incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders, the bill would give judges more flexibility in sentencing those with minor criminal records.

More specifically, some current mandatory minimum sentences would be cut in half. That means that if this bill passes, we could potentially see 10 and five-year mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offenses cut to five and 2.5 years, respectively. This would be a huge victory, and we need your help to secure the votes.

Tell Congress to pass the Smarter Sentencing Act!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently announced that he wants to bring the Smarter Sentencing Act up for a vote in the Senate this summer. Twenty-four senators have co-sponsored the bill already, but we need to secure 60 votes to pass the bill on the floor. The House companion bill, H.R. 3382, already has a bipartisan coalition consisting of 33 co-sponsors.

Link to MPP support letter here.

Summary of the bill here, at the Congress.Gov website.

June 26, 2014

Update: Austin, TX PASSES resolution supporting medical marijuana

Updated: Thursday, June 26 2014, 01:39 PM CDT UPDATE: The Austin City Council voted Thursday to support legislation in the next Texas legislative session to legalize medical marijuana.


Read More at: http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/updated-austin-council-back-medical-marijuana-legislation-18974.shtml


Two council members are sponsoring the resolution, and an Austin mother says she'll be watching this item closely.

...Thalia Michelle, believes medical cannabis could help her (autistic) son. "It could help with his hyperactivity, cognition, focus [and] even speech," she said. "This isn't just about smoking for nausea and pain anymore."

She says in states where medical marijuana is legal, parents are giving autistic children cannabis oil. She says the plant-based extract is giving many hope for the future.

For Vincent Lopez, living with muscular dystrophy means pain 24-hours a day, and he says medical marijuana is the only way to ease his agony.

This article, from the autism support network, talks about one mother's use of marijuana for her son's autism.


...she typed “autism and medical marijuana” into an internet search engine and the name Dr. Bernard Rimland popped up. Rimland is a former director of the Autism Research Institute who wrote about using medical marijuana to treat autism.

“I’m not pro-drug, but I am very much pro-safe and effective treatment, especially in cases when an autistic individual’s behaviors are devastating and do not respond to other interventions,” Rimland once wrote. “Early evidence suggests that medical marijuana may be an effective treatment for autism, as well as being safer than the drugs that doctors routinely prescribe.”

According to the Autism Research Institute, some of the symptoms marijuana has improved in children with autism include anxiety, aggression, panic disorder, tantrums and self-injurious behavior. Though Rimland died in 2006, his ideas continue to draw interest from parents with children on the spectrum.

The improvements continue to be evident, she says, as Joey is now smiling and even attempting to talk—things he never did before. Having appeared on Good Morning America and other media outlets, Hester-Perez is spreading the word about medical marijuana and autism. She has even started her own website, uf4a.org. “There are definitely other parents who are using it but I’m just the only parent that’s gone public,” she says.

Bernard Rimland, a doctor of psychology, was also the founder of the Autism Society of America. After his son was born with severe autism, Bernard directed his research toward autism. Rimland challenged the prevailing view that autism was a result of defective parenting, a view the person who first coined the autism dx shared with pop psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim (whose views came out of Freudian theories.) Rimland's work changed the focus of autism research and thinking about the issue to a view that autism has neurological (biological) foundations, not psychological.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon, mentioned in the video, above, was close friends with Carl Sagan. Both were professors at Harvard. While Sagan was an enthusiastic supporter of cannabis for its value as a spur to his thinking, Grinspoon was much more reserved - even opposed, initially, to the widespread use of marijuana on Harvard's campus by students and faculty. Then Grinspoon's son was dx'd with leukemia. His wife acquired marijuana for their son and his oncology team told the Grinspoons they could bring the cannabis to the medical center and their son could smoke there, before his chemotherapy, rather than in the car, because the doctors were so amazed at the positive effect of marijuana for wasting and nausea.

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