Vol. 1, Number 2
December 1, 2009
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Who's Who
What's New
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AAMC California
AAMC El Dorado County CA
AAMC Idaho
AAMC Kansas
AAMC Oregon
AAMC Washington

International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Last month in Albuquerque people from all around the globe and from all walks of life congregated to ponder drug policy—and the reform thereof—at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference.

One of the first things to strike me about the thousand-plus attendees was that it appeared the older generations and the younger were pretty much equally represented. It’s good to know that if our work isn’t done by the time we die off there are others coming along to finish it, but I hope that will not be necessary.

At this conference, more than at any of the past, it seemed the air was charged with positive change. Several times I heard speakers say, “The wind is at our backs.” They were referring to several recent developments in drug policy:

Within this past year Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, and Portugal all have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana and drugs for personal use. Governors Schwarzenegger of California and Paterson of New York have called for a serious debate on regulation and taxation of marijuana.

Cannabis has been featured this year on the covers of nationally respected magazines, including Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. The Obama administration has announced a shift in medical marijuana policy, and in a major change of policy, the American Medical Association has called for the reclassification of marijuana so that clinical studies may be conducted to determine once and for all whether it has any medicinal qualities.

The three-day conference featured sessions on many facets of drug policy reform. I tried to concentrate primarily on those having to do with medical marijuana or marijuana prohibition:

• Medical Marijuana Production and Distribution Systems: Patients’ Rights and Access

• Medical Marijuana Research and Policy: The Latest Developments

• Marijuana’s Cultural Moment—this one was for fun and that it was.

• The Well-Rounded Activist (training)—extremely helpful and empowering

• Ending Marijuana Prohibition—momentum continues to build!

The sessions were very informative, and even though I’ve been an advocate for decades I gained new knowledge and valuable insight, and one startling new statistic caught my attention: in every state with a medical cannabis program, marijuana use among teens has dropped. Proof of the old “forbidden fruit” factor?

These conferences have been some of the most powerful and inspirational events of my life; every activist should have the opportunity to attend at least one. Rubbing elbows with more than a thousand like-minded reformers is an incredible experience, especially given that most of the attendees looked more like someone you would encounter at church than at a hard rock concert.

One of the most touching gatherings was a twilight candlelight vigil at a downtown plaza to remember people currently and formerly incarcerated for drug law infractions. Speakers at this moving event were particularly powerful and their messages quite stirring. Several major news organizations had crews recording the event. For the sake of our society I hope those images and messages are seen and heard around the world.

Website: www.reformconference.org

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Dr. Lester Grinspoon

“I believe it would be good for the country if more people in business, academic and professional worlds were known to be marijuana users,” Dr. Lester Grinspoon writes in his essay To Smoke or Not to Smoke: A Cannabis Odyssey.

Dr. Grinspoon then goes on to say, “The government has been able to pursue its policies of persecution and prosecution largely because of the widespread false belief that cannabis smokers are either irresponsible and socially marginal people or adolescents who ‘experiment,’ learn their lesson, and abandon all use of the drug. That lie is unfortunately perpetuated when those who know better remain silent.”

Back in 1967 Dr. Grinspoon had become alarmed that so many young people were using the “terribly dangerous drug” marijuana so he set out to review existing medical and scientific literature on cannabis and write an objective, scientific paper on the dangers of the substance in order to expose its mental and physical toxicity and save these youngsters from inflicting irreparable harm upon themselves.

As Dr. Grinspoon delved into his research it wasn’t long before he began to question his “knowledge” about cannabis. He began to realize that what he believed was based largely on myths, both old and new, and misinformation perpetuated by the federal government. As his research progressed, Dr. Grinspoon began to recognize the vast potential of this complex plant and became an advocate for its legalization. His compassion and commitment to the truth remain unparalleled to this day.

Lester Grinspoon was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1928. He is married and the father of three. The first American physician to prescribe lithium carbonate for bipolar disorder, Dr. Grinspoon is Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has authored or co-authored more than 160 journal articles or chapters and twelve books on marijuana and psychedelics, beginning in 1971 with Marihuana Reconsidered (recently republished as a classic) and continuing through his latest book, Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine, co-authored with James B. Bakalar.

Also among Dr. Grinspoon’s accomplishments:

• 40 years as Senior Psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston

• Founded Harvard Mental Health Letter; editor for fifteen years.

• Has testified before Congress, and as expert witness in legal proceedings.

• Worked with AG Ramsey Clark on a number of international marijuana-related incidents.

• Alfred R. Lindesmith Award of the Drug Policy Foundation for "achievement in the field of drug scholarship."

• Operates two websites:

  1. Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine (thousands of individual anecdotes)

  2. Uses of Marijuana (user essays on 'enhancing' effects of marijuana)
• Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychiatric Association

This is only a partial listing of Dr. Grinspoon’s myriad achievements. He is currently writing a book on the many uses of marijuana and is still active in the quest for reform. Every one of us who enjoys or employs marijuana in any way owes Dr. Lester Grinspoon an undying debt of gratitude.

Learn more about Dr.Lester Grinspoon and his outstanding accomplishments for medical cannabis patients. See http://www.marijuana-uses.com

What's New

Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Connecticut: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Delaware: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Idaho: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Illinois: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Iowa: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Kansas: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Massachusetts: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Minnesota: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Missouri: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New Jersey: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New York: Considering a medical marijuana law.

North Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Ohio: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Pennsylvania: Considering a medical marijuana law.

South Carolina: Considering a medical marijuana law.

South Dakota: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

Tennessee: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Texas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Wisconsin: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Featured Recipe - Glycerine-based Tincture by Leanne Barron

You need to use food grade U.S.P glycerine, this can be relatively hard to find inexpensively but a gallon lasts a LONG time.

Glycerines have a shorter shelf life than alcohol based tinctures and while they can sit on the shelf I refrigerate mine. Vegetable glycerine has nearly no impact on blood sugar or insulin and is very low in calories (4.3 per gram). It's sweet taste makes the tincture more palatable than the alcohol based tincture and is a suitable substitute for those concerned with alcohol consumption.

Add the amount of cannabis that you desire for potency. I added 6 oz of roughly trimmed (finger trimmed the leaves off) cannabis to 1 gallon of glycerine. For your personal preference add more cannabis or less depending on desired potency. I blend mine, using a coffee grinder, blender or if you are lucky enough to have a Vita Mix. Make sure there is no other product matter in whatever you use. I use a clean basting brush to clean out my Vita Mix when I am done powdering my cannabis.

Place in a crockpot on low. Some crockpot's low settings are too high so you may not be able to use yours. A "Keep Warm" setting if you have it is the best choice. Too hot, and you are killing the properties you are trying to extract, you want the mixture to be as warm as possible without boiling, I left my tincture like this for 24 hours. I have heard people leaving the tincture from anywhere from 4-6 hours to 3 days. You can try the tincture at intervals to decide when you are done. REMEMBER that glycerine tincture retains heat VERY WELL, do not burn yourself!!

If you do not have a crockpot you can place the herbs in a clear, sealed jar in a warm, sunny spot and accomplish the same thing over 4 weeks. Some people make their "sunshine tinctures" over 2 weeks. I do not feel that is long enough, especially in colder weather. Some leave them in the sun for up to 12 weeks. I have never seen a need to go that long myself. Shake each day to mix the herbs in.

When ready to strain use cheesecloth and a strainer to extract the cannabis debris, the THC has been extracted and the tincture is ready to use. The best way to store is in a glass amber bottle. A good place to obtain a large bottle for the bulk of your tincture is a brewery store that has supplies to make wine or beer. I also obtained a few small amber bottles with eye droppers for convenience. It takes a lot longer to strain glycerine than it does alcohol, the tincture will drip when strained instead of flow.

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Don't miss the
6th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics
April 15-17, 2010
Providence, RI USA

Medical Marijuana States

New Mexico
Rhode Island