Vol. 2, Number 2
February 1, 2010
cheryl riley, editor & writer
Gradi Jordan, writer
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Women in the medical marijuna movement - by Gradi Jordan

The fight for the right to vote, the fight for equal rights and now the fight for medical marijuana all have something in common - women.

Women have been fighting on the front lines of many civil movements, many of which have highly successful, and are now leading the charge in the fight to legalize medical marijuana.

Women such as NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Foundation chair and film producer Ann Druyan, attorney and political activist Jessica Corry, editor Shelby Sadler, best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich, Beverly Hills NORML director Cheryl Shuman, NORML Foundation board member Jeralyn Merritt, Esq., cannabis activist and author Mikki Norris, Cannabis Action Network and Berkeley Patients Group founder Debby Goldsberry, NORML board member and director of Oregon NORML Madeline Martinez, law professor Marjorie Russell, and former ACLU president Nadine Strossen are each founding members of the NORML's Women's Alliance which "seeks to replace a failed, tax coffer-draining and child endangering 73-year old cannabis prohibition with functional, tax-producing and youth-friendly cannabis policies consisting of legal and social controls".

Other women such as Valerie Corral (co-creator of the Wo/Myn's Alliance for Medical Marijuana), Karen Watson and Sita Windheim (who Vancouver's Amsterdam Cafe) and Lynn Mathre who is a registered nurse (who convinced several major nursing associations in the United States to endorse medical marijuana, while also co-sponsoring America's first clinical cannabis conferences) have all each worked tirelessly to further the movement to legalize medical marijuana.

Dr. Melanie Dreher conducted pioneering academic work that established the beneficial medicinal and cultural value of ganja in Jamaica and Loretta Nall defied police attacks to create the US Marijuana Party and become a leading pro-marijuana speaker and debater.

Carol Gwilt, a mild-mannered former teacher of disabled students, opened Vancouver's first authentic Dutch-style retail cannabis shop, Da Kine, and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

Angel Raich, who sued U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Drug Enforcement Administration director Asa Hutchinson on October 9, 2002 for the ability to legalize possess and use medical marijuana in order to treat her chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, endometriosis, scoliosis, uterine fibroid tumors and rotator cuff syndrome, an inoperable brain tumor, seizures, and life-threatening wasting syndrome, accompanied by near-constant nausea, as well as several other diseases.

These are but a small sampling of women who are actively involved in the movement to decriminalize medical marijuana.

By pioneering the medical marijuana movement, women such as these are setting an example for all medical marijuana patients and provide inspiration and hope for other women in the fight, even in ultra-conservative states such as Utah.

It is the hope of such women that medical marijuana patients will soon be able to safely and legally obtain, possess and use their choice of herbal medication, as responsible adults.

Who's Who in Medical Cannabis - Dr. Tod Mikuriya

As one of the authors of Proposition 215—the 1996 California state ballot measure legalizing marijuana for seriously ill patients having a doctor's recommendation—Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya (1933-2007) was truly a pioneer in cannabis research and medicine. Still in medical school when he first started the study of cannabis medicine, Dr. Mikuriya went on in 1967 to briefly oversee the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse Studies’ non-classified marijuana research program. He left the Institute when he learned the government was interested in negative results only.

Dr. Mikuriya—or “Dr. Tod” as he was widely known—was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in the Quaker community of Fallsington, and attended Quaker schools. Dr. Tod’s father was a Japanese Civil Engineer and converted Christian and his mother, a German immigrant, practiced the Bahá'í faith. Together, they decided to raise their children as Quakers. As an adult, Dr. Tod believed that his views were related to his religious background, and so it might seem.

Of those gentle people, Dr. Tod said, “The Quakers were proprietors of the Underground Railway, I’m proud to say. The cannabis prohibition has the same dynamics as the bigotry and racism my family and I experienced starting on 7 December 1941, when we were transformed from normal-but-different people into war-criminal surrogates."

Eager for higher education, Mikuriya sang folk songs to pay his way through Reed College in Portland, Oregon, graduating in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He served as a medic in the Army and then earned his medical degree in 1962 from Temple University. It was at Temple that Dr. Tod’s lifelong interest in medical cannabis began when he chanced upon a reference to it in a pharmacological text.

After specializing in psychiatry at Oregon State Hospital and completing training at Mendocino State Hospital, Dr. Mikuriya by 1970 had entered private practice in Berkeley. Mikuriya Medical is California's original medical marijuana consultation service. In 1972 Mikuriya published Marijuana Medical Papers: 1869-1972, a landmark work which signaled the beginning of the current medical marijuana movement.

Dr. Tod had a gentle manner and usually wore a white lab coat emblazoned with the snake and staff of Asclepius atop a marijuana leaf, revealing his specialty. He wrote lyrics for several of the songs used in the campaign for the 1996 Medical Marijuana Initiative in California and when the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 became law, Dr. Tod began practicing cannabis therapy full time.

Not surprisingly, negative attention from many prohibitionists rained down upon Dr. Tod shortly after this bold move. Protagonists of prohibition from the Federal Drug Czar down to county sheriffs verbally attacked and threatened Dr. Mikuriya, but he stood firm and did not waver and by the time of his death in May 2007 he had overcome most of this personal opposition.

To help educate his colleagues about the medical uses of cannabis, in 1999 Dr. Mikuriya founded the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. He made a list of 285 conditions known to respond to cannabis therapy—including many cancers, insomnia and stuttering. Dr. Tod has written a number of books on the subject as well.

His controversial practices might have caused Dr. Mikuriya more than his share of clashes with authorities, but he took it all in stride and continued with his work.

In 2004, Dr. Tod was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California, who accused him of incompetence and unprofessional conduct for recommending marijuana to 16 patients and failing to perform proper physical examinations. He was also accused of failure to keep adequate records. These accusations came from law enforcement only; not one patient, family or physician complaint was filed when the Board solicited comments.

When the state placed Dr. Mikuriya on probation in 2004 he appealed the decision and, under the watchful eye of a state monitor, continued his practice, although he stopped seeing patients at his home.

Dr. Tod intended to continue to appeal his charges—which he considered to be politically motivated—but he became ill with cancer, which ultimately claimed his life in May, 2007. His sister, Mary Jane Mikuriya, took over her brother’s cannabis clinical consultation practice after his death.

In addition to his life’s work, Mary Jane says that Dr. Tod also enjoyed traveling, flying his plane, racing cars and experimental cooking—including once using food coloring to turn an entire meal blue just to examine the psychological effect.

Of her brother, Mary Jane also said, "He was eclectic and had an adventurer's spirit and was very, very curious.” Dr. Tod is also survived by another sister, a son and a daughter.


Learn more about Dr. Tod Mikuriya and his outstanding accomplishments for medical cannabis patients. See http://www.mikuriya.com/

What's New

Alabama: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Arkansas: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Connecticut: Considering a medical marijuana law.

Delaware: Considering a medical marijuana law.

District of Columbia: Congress Lifts Ban on Medical Marijuana.

Florida: Medical marijuana petition drive underway.

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.
   Cottleville Mayor Don Yarber hopes Missouri legislature passes medical marijuana law

New Hampshire: Considering a medical marijuana law.

New Jersey: Passes a medical marijuana law.
   New Jersey passes 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 - Arthritis Balm Recipe by Bryan A Krumm

Take 4 ounces of leaf marijuana and place in a large stock pot. Cover well with water and add 1.25 cups of olive oil. Bring to a boil and simmer at a low boil for 5-6 hours, adding water as needed.

Allow to cool and strain through cheese cloth, saving the liquid. Place the liquid into the refrigerator over night.

Peel the olive oil layer off the top and place into a small pot and heat over low to melt. Add some beeswax (1-2 ounces should work but experiment to get the consistency you like) and cool into a salve.

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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

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New Mexico
Rhode Island