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Informational Presentations on Kansas Medical Marijuana Act

Informational Presentations on Kansas Medical Marijuana Act

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Published by Bob Weeks
Testimony in support of Kansas HB 2610, an act which would enable the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Coverage of the hearing is at http://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/medical-marijuana-testimony-presented-kansas-house-committee/
Testimony in support of Kansas HB 2610, an act which would enable the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Coverage of the hearing is at http://wichitaliberty.org/kansas-government/medical-marijuana-testimony-presented-kansas-house-committee/

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Published by: Bob Weeks on Mar 20, 2010
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05/18/2012

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Testimony in Favor of HB 2610, Before The Kansas HouseHealth and Human Services Committee
March 17, 2010by Paul ArmentanoDeputy DirectorNORML | NORML Foundation
I applaud the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee for holding
today’s ‘informational presentation’ on House Bill 2610, which seeks to shield qualified
 patients who use marijuana therapeutically with a doctor's recommendation from criminal prosecution. The physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana is a scientific and public health issue. It should not be held hostage by the concerns of law enforcement
 personnel, politicians who wish to appear ‘tough on crime,’ or others who lack ex
 pertisein the scientific arena.Professionally, I have examined the science surrounding the medicinal use of marijuanaand its components since 1995, publishing more than 500 articles and white papers on thesubject and authoring the book:
 Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis &Cannabinoids
 – 
A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature
.
1
I have also served as aconsultant for British biotechnology firm GW Pharmaceuticals
 – 
the only companylegally licensed in the world to cultivate medical cannabis and perform clinical trials onvarious preparations of oral spray cannabis extracts. These extracts are legally available by prescription in Canada as well as on a limited basis in Spain and the United Kingdomunder the trade name Sativex.
2
 Despite the ongoing political debate regarding the legality of medicinal marijuana,scientific investigations of the therapeutic use of the plant and its compounds (known ascannabinoids) are now more prevalent than at any time in history. This fact was summedup by a recent review in the journal
Medicinal Research Reviews
, which concluded,
“Research on the chemistry and pharmacology of cannabinoids … has reached enormous proportions, with approximately 15,000 articles on cannabis sativa” now available in the
scientific literature.
3
It is not hyperbole to assert that marijuana is arguably the moststudied plant on Earth.
1
Online version available at:http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002 
2
 http://www.gwpharm.com/sativex.aspx 
3
L. Hanus. 2009. Pharmacological and therapeutic secrets of plant and brain (end)cannabinoids.
Medicinal  Research Reviews
29: 213-271.
 
2
And what have these studies taught us? In short, experts have concluded have thatmarijuana may be used safely and effectively to treat a broad range of symptoms
 – 
 including neuropathic (nerve) pain, spasticity, nausea, incontinence, and decreasedappetite. In fact, just this year the results of a series of double-blind, placebo-controlledtrials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled marijuana reported that the drugalleviated neuropathic pain and symptoms of multiple sclerosis in a manner that was asgood or superior to conventional pharmaceutical medications.
4
 Further, emerging clinical and preclinical studies indicate that marijuana and its activecomponents may actually modify the course of various debilitating diseases. Of particular 
interest, scientists are investigating marijuana’s capacity to moderate autoimmune
disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory boweldisease
, as well as the substance’s role in the treatment of neurological
disorders such asAlzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease.)Consequently many, if not most individuals in the scientific and health communityendorse legal access to the use of cannabis as medicine. Dozens of national and statehealth care organizations -- including the American Public Health Association,
5
theAmerican Nurses Association,
6
and the AIDS Action Council
7
-- have enactingresolutions backing patients' access to marijuana under a doctor's supervision. American physicians are also supportive, with nearly half of all doctors with an opinion on thesubject supporting legalizing cannabis as a medicine, according to a recent nationalsurvey published in the
 Journal of Addictive Diseases
.
8
 Most recently, the American Medical Association concluded in November, "Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain,improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and
may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
9
The AMA resolved,"[The] AMA urges that marijuana's status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance bereviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of 
4
Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. 2010.
 Report to the Legislature and Governor of the State of California presenting findings pursuant to SB847 which created the CMCR and provided state funding 
. SanDiego, CAhttp://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/CMCR_REPORT_FEB17.pdf  
5
American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513: "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis."The resolution states, in part, that the APHA "encourages research of the therapeutic properties of variouscannabinoids and combinations of cannabinoids, and urges the Administration and Congress to moveexpeditiously to make cannabis available as a legal medicine.
6
American Nurses Association, June 2003 Resolution: "The ANA will Support legislation to removecriminal penalties including arrest and imprisonment for bona fide patients and prescribers of therapeutic
marijuana/cannabis."
7
AIDS Action Council, "Resolution in Support of Access to Medical-Use Marijuana," adopted by thePublic Policy Committee of AIDS Action Council: November 15, 1996. The resolution states, in part, thatthe Council "supports the elimination of federal restrictions that bar doctors from prescribing marijuana for medical use by individuals with HIV/AIDS."
8
Charuvastra et al. 2005. Physician Attitudes Regarding the Prescription of Medical Marijuana.
 Journal of  Addictive Diseases
24: 87-93.
9
 http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/AMA_Report.pdf  
 
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cannabinoid-
 based medicines.”
10
 Fourteen states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington --have enacted laws protecting authorized medical cannabis patients from state prosecution. According to a report by the federal General Accounting Office, these lawsare operating as voters and legislators intended and abuses by the public are minimal.
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 The goal of House Bill 2610 is not to sanction the use of marijuana by the general population. Rather it is to protect patients and doctors who recognize that cannabis hasmedical utility, and uphold the sanctity and privacy of the doctor-patient relationship.State laws already allow the medical use of many controlled substances, such as cocaineand morphine, which can be abused in a non-medical setting. Likewise, Kansas lawshould also properly differentiate between medicinal cannabis and other controlledsubstances. As opined by the
 New England Journal of Medicine
, "[A]uthorities shouldrescind their prohibition of the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients andallow physicians to decide which patie
nts to treat.”
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 # END #
 Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and is the co-author of the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009).
10
CBS News. November 11, 2009.AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions.
11
General Accounting Office. 2002.
Marijuana: Early Experiences With Four States' Laws That Allow Use For Medical Purposes
. Washington, DC, page 4.
12
Editorial: "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana." January 30, 1997.
 New England Journal of Medicine
 336: 366-367.

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