On July 6, 2000, the Portuguese Parliament voted to decriminalize the consumption of illegal drugs such as cannabis and heroin and treat drug users as sick people in need of medical help. Until now, drug users and those convicted of possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use could be sentenced to up to one year in jail. Spain and Italy have already decriminalized the consumption and possession of small quantities of drugs.
Even though there have been statewide changes in the medical marijuana laws, there seems to be county by county implementation and interpretation of these same laws. Each county seems to establish their own tolerance level and guidelines for prosecution.
For example, in California alone, we have cities and counties like Oakland allowing 144 plants,
Arcata 44 plants, Tehama 18 plants, Mendocino County 25 plants and Lake County 6 plants (unless your doctor states otherwise on your note), and the list goes on and on.
Since the passage of Prop 215 in California, the arrests of non-medical patients for marijuana pos-session and cultivation have increased by 12% over their already high, record levels.
Medical patients are still being prosecuted for their choice of medicine. Here is a story of a friend of mine. I am sure you all have stories like these. The persecution of the innocent goes on. That is why we must stand up for our rights by changing the laws.
Quality of Life Should Not be Denied the Sick and Dying!
Todd McCormick, 36, suffered from cancer between the ages of 2 through 15, which resulted in his top five vertebrae being fused. In 1978, when Todd was 9 years old, Ann McCormick, Todd’s mom, read in the Family Doctor’s column of the Good Housekeeping magazine, about the use of marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients taking chemotherapy. The article stated that marijuana helped with nausea and appetite stimulation. These were Todd’s symptoms! He couldn’t eat, felt sick, food made him sick, and the lack of food made him weak.
A few months went by and Todd’s tumors acted up, and chemotherapy began again. After a chemotherapy treatment, and on the way home, his mom told the then listless Todd to get on the floor of the car and smoke a joint. Remember now, and keep in mind, Todd was only 9 years old then. They got home and, for the first time, Todd could actually get out of the car by himself and walk to the house with crutches. Then he even sat down and ate dinner! He actually had an appetite! He hadn’t had one in a long time…
The next day, after the next treatment, Ann again told Todd to sit on the floor of the car and smoke a marijuana joint. Again, Todd showed the same results. It was the marijuana! So ecstatic, Todd’s mom went to see the doctors to tell them what happened. They all got quiet and advised her that the process of obtaining medical marijuana would take too long to be a benefit. In reality, it was the fear of federal law, repercussions, penalties and the threat to their medical licenses and livelihood if they recommended the use of marijuana that motivated their advice, even though marijuana would really help Todd. As she walked away, a doctor came up to her and asked her if she could get more? She was confused, thinking that maybe he wanted some, but said yes. He told her to continue what she was doing and to just shut up about it! That was exactly what she did. Todd used marijuana from that day on to alleviate his pain and suffering. In 1997, in Bel Aire, California, Todd was engaged in experimentation utilizing many varieties of cannabis to discover which plants at which stage (e.g. before they budded, after they budded, in the vegetative state? from the roots? seed? what plant age? and on and on) were most effective for various pains and illnesses; which chemicals in the marijuana plant (e.g. cannabinoids, cannabidiolic acid, and tetrahydrocannabinol, etc.) was effective and was writing a meticulously researched book on the subject when he was arrest-ed by the DEA on July 29, 1997 for federal conspiracy and manufacturing (cultivation) charges.
On November 3, 1999, Todd McCormick was denied any medical necessity defense in court, so on November 19, 1999, he pled guilty, and on March 27, 2000, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
In addition, Todd’s publisher, Peter McWilliams, the author of 35 books (five of which made the New York Times Best Seller List), who since 1996 suffered from AIDS and cancer, was himself arrested in July 1998 by the DEA allegedly for conspiring to subsidize Todd’s marijuana “operation” and for manufacturing marijuana with the intent to sell to local buyers’ clubs, all of which – had it been true – would have been his legal prerogative within the state of California. McWilliams flatly stated, and all of his associates, and even enemies, confirmed that he had never grown marijuana nor profited from the sale of even one joint.
Peter was forced to make a plea bargain and faced sentencing in July 2000. He faced 0 to 5 years, with no appeal rights. On June 14, 2000 Peter McWilliams died.
Under the terms of his release on bail (which was secured by his mother’s home of 50 years), he had to abstain from the use of marijuana, which was the only medicine which would alleviate the nausea caused by his treatments for AIDS and cancer. Without smoking marijuana, Peter, along with hundreds of thousands before him, could barely hold down the “cocktails” of chemotherapy he was required to take on a daily basis. Because he wasn’t allowed medicinal marijuana, he got sick and ended up choking on his own vomit and died.
He was in a sense murdered by the government because of the terms of his release on bail. The sick and dying should not be denied the quality of their lives!
On August 9, 1999, the DEA requested that U.S. Customs seize all shipments of hemp seed or hemp seed products at the Canadian border and have them tested for any THC or trace element of THC (10 parts per million). This caused an undue financial burden on the hemp seed companies, putting some of them out of business because of the financial impact of the seizures.
All shipments and carloads were then being seized by U.S. Customs. In December 1999, American politicians got the order overturned and Customs agreed not to hold the products with trace elements, whether it be shampoo, soap, bird seed, hemp food, etc. The products were released in theory, but were still in the U.S. Customs warehouses. On January 12, 2000, the U.S. White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, overrode the D.E.A., who had withdrawn their reason for seizing shipments. McCaffrey then personally ordered Customs to seize any product with even a trace amount of THC. Barry McCaffrey says zero tolerance is zero tolerance, even though it would take 39,000 pounds of hemp seeds to obtain enough THC to be equivalent to a joint.