Pulling Back the Curtain on Rob McKenna’s War on the Sick

In the wake of the Obama Administration’s declaration that the federal government would respect state medical marijuana laws, Kirk Johnson in the New York Times reported the following:

For years, since the first medical marijuana laws were passed in the mid-1990s, many local and state governments could be confident, if not complacent, knowing that marijuana would be kept in check because it remained illegal under federal law, and that hard-nosed federal prosecutors were not about to forget it.

But with the Justice Department’s announcement last week that it would not prosecute people who use marijuana for medical purposes in states where it is legal, local and state officials say they will now have to take on the job themselves.

Why? If it’s legal, then what job is there to take on? The article appears to be implying that it’s the job of state and local officials to enforce the federal law over the state one. That’s just not true. Here in Washington, our state law enforcement officials should be following the voter initiative passed in 1998 (and the follow-up legislation from 2007), not the Federal law. Unfortunately, our Attorney General doesn’t seem to agree. Rob McKenna’s office has been trying to undermine Washington State’s medical marijuana law, and thanks to a Public Disclosure Request, we’re finally able to shine some light on what they’ve been doing.

After the PDR was filed, nearly 800 pages of emails and other documents from the Department of Corrections were recently released to the Cannabis Defense Coalition. They’re broken up into eight 100-page PDF files. The documents are not in any order, so I created a chronological index for easy searching of specific events.

The reason that so much attention is focused on the DOC is because a number of qualified medical marijuana patients have been raided by police and arrested (the medical marijuana law does not provide an affirmative defense from arrest), pressured into accepting plea deals that would keep them out of a jail cell but still on probation, and then put under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections would then claim the authority to deny those individuals the ability to use medical marijuana through internal rules that they’d made up after consulting with the AG’s office. They would then easily enforce those rules by administering drug tests. In the end, you had individuals who’d been authorized by their doctors to use medical marijuana having law enforcement interfere with that decision and either force them to stop using that medicine or to use a less effective alternative like Marinol.

This end-around of the voter-approved medical marijuana law worked on a number of medical marijuana patients. Pamela Olson was one victim before her husband Bruce fought his own case in Kitsap County court and won (sadly, they lost their home in the process). It’s not clear, even with the released documents, exactly how many people were affected by this (names are redacted throughout), but lawyers who defend authorized patients have been dealing with cases across the state for several years now and are still hoping to bring some kind of legal action against the Attorney General, the DOC, or both.

What we do know from the documents just released is that there was clearly some nervousness within the DOC about how the Attorney General’s office was advising them to deal with those under their supervision who were authorized by a doctor to use medical marijuana. The actual advice from the AG’s office is also redacted throughout the documents (using the same attorney-client privilege argument that the Bush Administration used to initially keep the infamous torture memos under wraps), but emails like this one from a DOC employee make it clear that the Attorney General was advising them to do things that were morally questionable at best and against state law at worst [emphasis in original]:

Karen, Lori, Eldon let me offer a few off the top of my head thoughts and comments. How DOC handles the medicinal use of MJ depends on whether this is the hill we want to die on? The advice from the AGO may* (see below) be correct, as far as it goes, i.e. [<—————-redacted—————–>] But the real question is not whether DOC can violate an offender who proves the prerequisites for the medicinal use of MJ, but can/should DOC recognize it as a defense? From a small “p” political standpoint does DOC want to violate an offender for activity that the state legislature recognizes as lawful? Something they made lawful in recognition of the medical necessities occasioned by the offender’s illness.

Consider if you will the purpose and intent of the enabling statue: “The people of Washington state find that some patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses, under their physician’s care, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Some of the illnesses for which marijuana appears to be beneficial include chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients; AIDS wasting syndrome; severe muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and other spasticity disorders; epilepsy; acute or chronic glaucoma; and some forms of intractable pain. The people find that humanitarian compassion necessitates that the decision to authorize the medical use of marijuana by patients with terminal or debilitating illnesses is a personal, individual decision, based upon their physician’s professional medical judgment and discretion.” So how would this look? Offender XY is HIV positive and has full blown AIDS.

They are in considerable pain and a licensed doctor has agreed that MJ will relieve this offenders suffering. If all of the statutory requirements are met, this person’s possession and use is not against state law. Should DOC still violate this offender for actions that our state legislature recognized was necessary for, “humanitarian compassion”. Do we really want to die on this hill?

That memo was from April 2008. A month later, as a number of the indexed items show, the DOC was forced to apologize to a medical marijuana patient who was improperly arrested and held for six days until her blood pressure shot up to dangerous levels. At around the same time, the DOC finally formalized their policy on dealing with medical marijuana, which was little more than a smokescreen that made it appear as if they were accommodating the law, but in reality was simply denying everyone who had their doctor fill out the DOC’s verification form. On several occasions, they were informed that they were violating state law, but those warnings don’t appear to have made any difference in their policy.

The larger question for the attorneys, doctors, and patients who’ve been fighting the DOC over this policy continues to be focused on what Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office was doing and why. All of the deliberations and discussions at the beginning of this timeline happened during the Bush Administration, when it was still the Federal Government’s policy to expend resources to override state medical marijuana law (which the Obama Administration just reversed). But Rob McKenna doesn’t work for the Federal Government. He’s our state’s top law enforcement officer. There’s no reason for him to be trying to enforce Federal laws over our state laws, especially a state law that was passed by a wide margin in a voter initiative and maintains widespread support. It’s clear from reading through these documents that the AG’s office was giving advice that led to a policy that undermined the law, but until there are enough resources to take them to court over their claims of attorney-client privilege, their communications to the DOC will stay hidden.

For anyone who hasn’t followed the fight over medical marijuana in states where it’s been legalized, Kirk Johnson’s description of the attitude of local law enforcers may seem surreal. At a time when we have prisons that are bursting at the seams and budgets that are running low, you’d think that people who collect a salary on the taxpayer dime would have more sense than to remain so concerned about stopping people with serious ailments from using a medicinal plant. Throw in the fact that the voters of this state have demanded that this be legal, and it’s beyond comprehension that police are still actively trying to stop people from using it. Whatever the rationale is for Rob McKenna to continue to undermine the state’s medical marijuana law, the least we should be able to get from him is more transparency into what his office has been doing.


The Cannabis Defense Coalition, who put in the PDR request, is expecting to get two more document dumps from the DOC. The requests are not free, so if you feel inclined to pitch in, they have a Paypal donation page here.

UPDATE: A Public Disclosure Request was filed, not a FOIA. The post has been updated.


  1. 1

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Maybe the way to end this craziness is to, like that town in Colorado, have our small towns and cities simply legalize marijuana for adults. Once enough of our towns and cities point out to guys like McKenna that the marijuana laws are stupid, maybe the whole state can legalize marijuana. If enough states legalize marijuana, then the federal government will finally be shamed into legalizing this substance. It’s time for Prohibition to end!

  2. 2

    CC "Bud" Baxter spews:

    As a state employee, I sadly have to report that my state agency is attacking worker rights and using the Attorney General office as cover.

    There is a half century of progressive discipline policies that almost all state agencies have followed. This starts with a verbal warning at first. It then progresses to written counseling. Finally, the employee is disciplined.

    Well my state agency threw that in the trash and went right to the discipline phase, in the form of pre-disciplinary Loudermill Hearings. What bothers me is they are giving employees highly prejudiced letters that completely ignore any facts in the employees favor, and paint a biased picture of the employees conduct – a picture that is many times completely wrong.

    When they send these inflammatory and intimidating letters to employees, they are also sending a copy to the Attorney General office. So not only are they abandoning fifty years of common courtesy and common sense of progressive discipline, they are also using extremely biased inflammatory letters to tar and feather the employee before they even get to the meeting. Many times these biased letters are the first indication that the employee is even suspected of misconduct.

    I won’t name my agency because they are retaliating big-time.
    What bothers me the most is the timing of these situation. My agency lost millions of dollars this past summer because of gross mismanagement. Now they are trying to divert attention away from their obvious and expensive mismanagement, onto the backs of the lowest paid employees. Typical hypocrisy.

    Low paid state employees, and even our unions, don’t have the deep pockets of the AG office backing us up.

  3. 4

    Geov spews:

    @3 A lot of medical studies (as well as a mountain of anecdotal evidence) would disagree with you. More to the point, that’s not up to McKenna, or you or I, to decide at this point. (Personally I’ve never even tried pot and have no interest in it, but I also think what people do to their own bodies is their own business.) Both voters and the state legislature have spoken on this issue. It’s McKenna’s job to enforce state law, whether he personally agrees with it or not.

  4. 5

    ArtFart spews:

    @3 Who gives a rat’s ass? Where’s the Attorney General’s license to practice medicine? Let’s see his pharmacology certification.

    It’s not his fucking job to decide whether or not Marijuana, or for that matter anything else, is medicine or not. It’s his job to uphold and enforce the laws of the State of Washington, and clearly he’s deliberately not doing that.

  5. 6


    Hey, I’m for the legalization of pot. But even I think the whole medical marijuana movement is a scam. Call me gullible, call me ignorant, but that’s just what I believe. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a pretty clever tactic of the legalize pot movement to convince the public that pot is medicine, but I’m not buying it, even when you do cite this or that person who claims it helped their (fill in the blank). That said, I still think marijuana should be treated similar to alcohol. Legalize but control it. Free-up prison space for dangerous criminals.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 Let me guess — L & I?

    For those of you who don’t know, a “Loudermill hearing” refers to the right of a tenured public employee facing disciplinary action to be notified of the charges and evidence against him and given an opportunity to defend himself. It is not a full-blown trial, however, but more like a “reasonable cause” procedure. The terminology comes from a 1985 Supreme Court case called Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill.

  7. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 “But even I think the whole medical marijuana movement is a scam.”

    That’s consistent with the general level of ignorance you display on this blog.

  8. 10

    Bluecollar Libertarian spews:

    @3 Troll cannabis has a history of medical use going back to ancient Egypt. It has been used by cultures around the world for centuries. Most recently in the U.S. Parke-Davis made a tincture from cannabis for medical use in the late 1920s and early 30s.

    It is no one’s business what I or others use for medical purposes.

    And btw Troll there is the ninth amendment which protects my right to use what I wish.

  9. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Republicans like McKenna aren’t happy unless people are suffering. Republicans like to watch other human beings writhe in pain. That’s why they torture people and oppose anyone getting pain medications.

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 You’re wasting your time trying to reason with that idiot. The only thing he’s interested in is being deliberately provocative.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 I second that. In fact, I’d like to add a few more adjectives of my own:

    benighted, dark, illiterate, nonliterate, simple, uneducated, uninstructed, unlearned, unlettered, unread, unschooled, untaught, untutored, lowbrow, uncultivated, uncultured; callow, green, inexperienced, innocent, naive, unsophisticated; raw, untrained; brainless, dumb, idiotic, imbecilic, moronic, stupid, witless; foolish, senseless, silly

    (from online thesaurus)

  12. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Oops … not “innocent.” Shoulda proofread it. Troll is NOT innocent — expunge that word!

  13. 17



    And black witch doctors spitting chicken blood into patent’s faces for medical purposes has a history going back to ancient times. So what?

  14. 18

    nemo spews:

    You have to ask just for how much longer will such gross wastes of the taxpayer’s money be tolerated when the economy is tightening like a noose around the necks of the poor and the formerly middle class, who’ve joined the ranks of the poor?

    How much of the public’s money have people like Mr. McKenna wasted, when it could have gone to things like Unemployment Insurance? The voters, especially those in desperate need of that UI and other life-support programs, can’t possibly look favorably upon that loss, given their own circumstances.

    There’s an old saying that Americans don’t give much credence to, because it’s been two generations since things have been as bad as they are now, and those who lived through those times are dying off. And that saying is this: “There’s no place more than three missed meals away from a revolution.”

    Our social fabric is fraying, our government drowning in debt to foreign powers (who’d very much like to see America slip from its’ preeminence in the world to that of a political and social basket-case), more and more citizens are joining the ranks of the permanently unemployed, who are losing hope and faith in the political system by the day.

    The last time something like this happened was during the Great Depression, with serious people making equally serious noises about the ‘failure of Capitalism’ and suggesting adopting Communism or Socialism. We were that close to the edge then, and we’re heading there again.

    And yet, people in government have time and money to play these kinds of games?

    Looks like it’s time for some hearings about this unconscionable waste of the tax revenues. That, or some apologies are due from putative public servants’ who’ve forgotten their true role.

  15. 19


    Is Medical marijuana a scam?

    The MM movement is .. unfortunately .. a mixed bag. Pushing for reefers after the medical experience with cigarettes is pretty stupid.

    If you think smoking MJ is a good idea, don’t try collecting the smoke on a filter and then wiping that in your skin. The result will likely be skin cancer.

    The bottom line is that marijuana plant has many ingredients, one of which, THC, has moderately useful clinical effects. Marijuana smoke has frighteningly high levels of carcinogens so mots people, including patients, should be advised to get their THC in other ways.

    “Marinol” BTW is THC! There are issues with whether one should take marinol as a pill or by inhalation. If Lee really were concerned for “sick” people who “need” MJ, he would be pushing for accelerating worki to bring other forms of THC to the US market (they are already legal in Canada).

  16. 20


    I really dislike marijuana. Makes me stupid. It smells something awful.

    But the next time I have chemo, I’m first in line. I’ve already puked my brains out (eyes turned full red from burst blood vessels, very scary looking). That was with the anti-nausea meds.

    Hopefully I can get just straight THC in pill form or something. I really should look into my options, plan ahead.

  17. 21


    @17 Troll 17.

    And black witch doctors spitting chicken blood into patent’s faces for medical purposes has a history going back to ancient times. So what


    Hmmm …

    when my black ancestors were writing the bible and leading medical research, your white ass ancestors were hiding in trees out of fear of the great god Ghiaga.

    Bit of bigotry there?

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 “witch doctors spitting chicken blood into faces”

    You just provided us with a first-rate description of wingnut ideology. Thanks!

  19. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @18 “the economy is tightening like a noose around the necks of the poor and the formerly middle class”

    Unfortunately, Republicans don’t care about this. In fact, it was their objective all along.

  20. 25

    Ekim spews:

    Troll @6

    Call me gullible, call me ignorant, but that’s just what I believe.

    No need. We’ve known all along you were both gullible and ignorant. We’ve also known you are not educable so we don’t expect any better from you.

  21. 26

    X'ad spews:

    21. SJ spews:

    @17 Troll 17.

    And black witch doctors spitting chicken blood into patent’s faces for medical purposes has a history going back to ancient times. So what


    Hmmm …

    when my black ancestors were writing the bible and leading medical research, your white ass ancestors were hiding in trees out of fear of the great god Ghiaga.

    Bit of bigotry there?[/]

    A pretty good variation on the theme of Benjamin Disraeli. Nice update!

  22. 27

    X'ad spews:

    Benjamin Disraeli, attributed:

    “Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.” [Disraeli was responding to an opponent in Parliament. A similar statement is attributed to U.S. Senator Judah P. Benjamin, in reply to another senator: “The gentleman will please remember that when his half-civilized ancestors were hunting wild boar in the forests of Silesia, mine were the princes of the earth.”]


  23. 28


    @27 Tx

    Actually, one of the great mistakes of MY ancdestors occured when Schmoel Ben Reuven discovered tghe British Islands. This was back in 3300.

    The guy should have claimed the place in the name of the throne of David, but .. even tghe jews were simply not smart enough to wip0e out indigenes in the name of our nameless Deity..

  24. 29

    trueblue spews:

    Marijuana will never be legal as long as your local law enforcement is able to make money seizing property….

  25. 30

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    It will take time, but the tide has changed. Eventually marijuana will be made legal. Decriminalization is the first step, and we’re seeing that first step in progress right now. It’s a matter of time.

  26. 31

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    SJ @ 28,

    I think the British Isles were inhabited by humans long before 3300 BCE. I did a bit of DNA testing on my ancestry, and some of my ancestors were the people who painted the walls of those caves in Southern France about 35,000 to 45,000 years ago. As the ice retreated from that ice age, those ancestors moved up into what was to become the British Isles. They arrived long before 3300 BCE.

  27. 32

    Bluecollar Libertarian spews:

    Cannabis has long been taken orally and sometimes been used as a topical ointment. Smoking it is not the only way to use it.

  28. 34

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @31 PI

    Gosh …

    Actually I would be VERY surprised if you have DNA identifying you with the cro-magnon.

    Their genomes are a bit of a mystery, some fgeel they were all wiped out or overwhelmed by the immigrations of about 8-10k ago, others suggest the Basque are the descendents of the cro magnon.

    More .likely, your DNA shows origins from the the Caucuses.

    As for discovery, who “discovered” America? Yuse guys seem to have wioerd ideas on this subject.

  29. 35

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    #2 oral MJ

    sure, and that is likley a safer way of using it BUT the effect that Lee extolls as different from marinol probably requires inhalation.’

    I suspect someone is gpoing to add MJ to the new e-cigs and solve the probme as those do not burn anything.

  30. 36

    Ben spews:

    Suggesting that cannabis has no medicinal value is akin to suggesting the opium poppy has no medicinal value. Inside every human body, our cells have at least two known “cannabinoid receptors.”

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid_receptor

    These are found particularly in the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and throughout the immune system. Many animals — including mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles — produce “endogenic cannabinoids” naturally in the body. A very few plants produce “exogenous cannabinoids” which also plug into the body’s cannabinoid receptors. No plant produces them in amounts as great as the marijuana plant.

    Similarly, one’s body has opiod receptors which trigger intracellular communications, and can be externally triggered using opiate-based medicines. Most of our pain management pharmacopeia is opiate-based, created from the opium poppy.

    So, again, off-the-cuff, unsubstantiated “marijuana is not medicine” assertions belie a great lack of knowledge on the subject.

  31. 37

    Ben spews:


    “The bottom line is that marijuana plant has many ingredients, one of which, THC, has moderately useful clinical effects.”

    This is far from correct. In fact, marijuana contains 66 known cannabinoids. See:


    The most promising cannabinoid “ingredients” in marijuana seem to moderate pain, convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea.

    In re the argument that smoking marijuana will cause one cancer, that is untrue. Inhaled burning vegetable matter will, of course, contain carcinogenic material. I’m inclined to agree that rubbing smoke and tar on one’s body would promote skin cancer. That seems like the least efficacious delivery method of which I’ve ever heard, and I recommend against it. That said, it appears that many of the “ingredients” in marijuana actually fight cancer. See:

    * http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC1277837/

    * http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,196678,00.html

    * http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....193338.htm

    * http://www.webmd.com/cancer/br.....ain-cancer

    Smoking marijuana is definitely NOT the most efficacious way to ingest this medically beneficial plant. As you point out, combusted vegetable matter contains carcinogens. Patients concerned about these things — and patients should be — would do well to vaporize their medicine, ingest it in the form of food or tincture, or apply it topically in the form of skin creams.

  32. 39

    R.O.E. spews:

    Troll, climb back under your bridge.

    This fight over cannabis is about freedom. The right to put in your body what you wish.
    I for one would like to have intensive studies dont to find what medicines cannabis can provide. If we could have medicine to fight cancer,are any of you going to tell me you wont use it because its cannabis? If so you havent witnessed someone dying of cancer or had it your self. But back to my original statement, this is about freedom.

    It must be a dark time indeed. Our ELECTED officials are fighting what we the people have voted for,why do they think they can go against the will of the people? They work for us. If those that dont agree with medical cannabis laws…Go vote! Thats how it works. If we would vote that penguins are tasty snacks to be eaten, you can bet people who love animals will vote thier butts off, but we dont arrest people for eating said penguins because law says we can eat them. Medical cannabis is no different. We voted for it.

    People in this country better pull their heads out of their rearends before we ruin our freedoms. I’ve said for a very long time, “We are lawing ourselves right out of the very freedoms our founders fought so hard to give us.”

    At least lets meet in the middle somewhere.

    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
    From Benito Mussolini
    “London Sunday Express,” December 8, 1935

    You know damn well that these lessons of the past are used today. How easy it must be to convince people they are living in a ‘free’ society.

    Heres some common sense to counter this type of thinking.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

    Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have … The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

    We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826), letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816

    A little rebellion now and then…is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826), Letter to James Madison, 1787

    If none of these quotes ring true to you, you are truely un-American.

  33. 40

    Mark1 spews:

    So Lee, do you have some sort of a painful medical condition that you use pot for, or are you just another worthless chronic stoner using it simply to get high and trying the use a “medical” excuse to justify your illegal habit?

    We’re waiting….

    And let me also venture a guess you subscribe to “High Times” magazine, right?

  34. 42

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @36 Ben

    OK: “Marijuana is not medicine” … but then neither are poppies, pig pancreas (where we used to get insulin), tree bark (aspirin), etc. Hel, when I am hypogycemic I need sugar … so I take glucose tabs or drink an effing Coke. If Obamacare taxes high glucose drinks I guess I wi get me a prescription for medicinal cola?

    The trouble with the medical marijuana crusade is that it is as hyped as the anti MJ laws.

    We should legalize and regulate the stuff!

  35. 45

    Brenda Helverson spews:

    I hope that Boy Attorney General Robbie McKenna lets his ego lead him to run for Governor. I want to see the Democrat, Jay Inslee or whoever, beat him like a rented Hutchinson. Then he can go off and join Chris Vance as a Professional Nobody. Or better yet, he can join Mike!, Dino Rossi, and (P)Rick White in complete obscurity.

    Anyone (besides me) wish that Deborah Senn was the AG?

  36. 46

    worf spews:

    42 – Umm… I did. I assume you think I missed this part:

    “The AMA, however, also adopted as part of its new policy a sentence that admonishes: “This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product.”

    Which does not negate the central point of the move to reschedule:

    “In changing its policy, the group said its goal was to clear the way to conduct clinical research, develop cannabis-based medicines and devise alternative ways to deliver the drug.”

  37. 48

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @43 IAF

    I know folks who do cannabis research. There really is no where near the problem Lee makes out.

    However, doing research to disprove something that is widely expected to be true, ie that smoking pot –>; cancer, is not a terribly high priority given the existing evidence and the marginal evidence that THC itself is all that usefu as a class of therapeutics. Grants for most of that work are not likely to be competitive at NIH.

    If Lee and other pot=partisans raise money for THC research, I am sure someone wil do it.

  38. 49

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @46 Lee

    You should read the link as well.
    It says is what is obvious, THC is not an addictive drug and should not be classed with opiates.

    The article also clearly discourages smoking pot …including the “medical marijuana” you extol.

    The sow one here is anyone who does not think the mass exposure of kids to benzpyrene at Hemfest was disgusting.

    On a positive note .. jave you tried an e-cigarette? These look like a good delivery system for MJ!

  39. 51

    Rockyglass spews:

    My husband smoked pot during his final illness a result of exposure to agent orange in Vietnam.
    It did not prolong his life but it made what was left much better than it would have been and was using the standard federally legal drugs,
    Those who would deny that same quality of life to others are pieces of garbage that deserve a special place in hell.
    Those who try to claim it’s just some big scam are just ignorant plain and simple.

  40. 52

    Broadway Joe spews:

    I’ve told this story before, I’ll tell it again. It works. My wife suffers from a suite of autoimmune disorders, including fibromyalgia and sarcoidosis (and she recently learned that she may have MS), and has been taking anywhere from 2 to 4 oxycodone tablets a day for the last 4 years. Two years ago, we attended the annual Halloween party of my old rugby club, where she was presented a ‘magic’ brownie from an old teammate of mine. She was pain-free for about 36 hours after that. No pills taken, not a single one.

    If you ask me, what’s worse for a person, some synthetic opiod monster unleashed by Big Pharma, or something I can grow in my backyard?

  41. 53

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    SJ @ 34,

    Hey, what can I tell ya – I did the swabs, sent them in, and they came back saying I was a descendant of a group of folks called the “Artisans.” They were responsible for painting the the bison and deer pictures on the walls in the caves in Southern France and Northern Spain about 40,000 years ago. Before that, the group came out of the Caucuses. Before then, it was out of Africa. I think, it toto, my lines came from Germanic and Celtic tribes.

    Did you know the Celts spent a lot of time in the region that is now Hungary and Austria? They migrated, with a great deal of help from the Roman Empire, to the regions of northern coastal Spain, coastal France, and the British Isles.

    The early Britons may have lived in what is now Armenia at one time. Who knows who actually built Stonehenge. Maybe it was the early Britons or some other tribe that lived there for a few thousand years before being overcome by another tribe or tirbes.

    As far as I know, nobody can be credited with “discovering” any land mass. Did the early African humans discover Africa? Hell, we’re all immigrants to wherever we are today.

  42. 54

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    Rocky and Joe

    The point the AMA is making is that there is no reason to oonsider MJ harmful so it ought not to be regulated like an opiate.

    The brownie route should be fine.

    As for having the choice between growing your own drugs and buying them, the AMA is actuaklly advoicatingb making THC anbd other similar compounds as drugs … just like the opiates et al, you don’t like now.

    As for the “green vegetable matter,” when mj is made legal I would guess the smoking laws will limit smoking weed because of concern for cancer and respiratory damage from smoke.

    For that matter I doubt very much that legalized marijuana would remain a home grown product any more than most of our bathtubs are full of brewski since prohibition ended. Legalizing pot would mean regulating it just as we regulate everything else sold to the public.

    BTW, drug companies make very little money on generic drugs. If MJ were simply to become legal, it is likely that THC would be so cheap to make that most folks wanting to make brownies would get their THC the same place they get their nutmeg,

    I think the final point the AMA is making is that freeing up the drug companies to develop drugs would allow them to optimize the clinical effects you describe.

  43. 55

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “…I doubt very much that legalized marijuana would remain a home grown product any more than most of our bathtubs are full of brewski since prohibition ended.”

    My maternal grandfather did a brisk business in homemade beer in Chicago during Prohibition. Once Prohibition ended, he stopped making his own beer. Marijuana will probably take the same course: people who grow it now will probably not bother to do so if the substance is commercially available.

    One thing that is total lunacy is putting people who choose to enjoy marijuana in jail. That is a waste of the justice system’s time. Mere possession of a reasonable amount (say less than a kilogram or so) should merely result in a small fine and be labeled a misdemeanor like a speeding ticket is. When is comes to marijuana, the punishment far exceeds the “crime.”

  44. 56

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @52 PI

    I still find this confusing.

    Was this part of the National Geographic program?

    My understanding is that the exit of the cro magnon from Africa is controversial but that they were quite separate from the much later migrations of the Celts. This is supposed to account for the linguistics as well since European languages appear to have arisen as part of the indo european group.

    Part of the problem is that not a lot is know about how the first homo sapiens .. ie the cro magnon got from Africa to Europe. I have read some speculation that these folks crossed over at Gibraltar and we derived from the ancestral stock we now call Berber.

    Here is an entry from the Wiki:

    A 2003 sequencing on two Cro-Magnons, 23 and 24,000 years old Pelosi 1 and 2, mitochondrial DNA, published by an Italo-Spanish research team led by David Caramelli, identified the mtDNA as Haplogroup N.[21] Haplogroup N is found among modern populations of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, and its descendant haplogroups are found among modern North African, Eurasian, Polynesian and Native American populations.[22]

  45. 57

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    SJ @ 55,

    I did a swab test for Ancestry.com, and the results labeled me as having ancestors in the group refered to as the Artisans. Now, keep in mind, that all the test did was look at the fathers’ side of the DNA. If you think about it, there are thousands upon thousands of combinations out there involving ALL our ancestors, not just the male side or the female side. I should probably take the test that attempts to trace the female lineage or have my sister take the test. I’m sure the total DNA package is quite, quite diverse.

  46. 58

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @52 PI

    as for “discovering” Britain, the image of Europeans claiming land they “discovered” is one I would guess will one day be the basis of humor.

    I have read a charming story about how the Chinese saw the European explorers as comical.

    Since we had settled in Spain along time before the Romans came, it seems not unreasonable to imagine some ancestpr of mine discovering England.

    Of course the current owners are damned possessive.

  47. 59

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:


    This is intersting. I know there are mitochondrial (female) markers that are believed to trace to the Cro Magnon.

    Oh well, as long as we keep the dalmatians and the poodles in their places, our breeds can keep on screwing each other.

  48. 60

    Politically Incorrect spews:


    Here’s a partial of what the test results said:

    You belong to haplogroup R1b, The Artisans, who first arrived in Europe from west Asia about 35,000- 40,000 years ago at the dawning of the Aurignacian culture. This cultural was remarkable for its subtle yet significant technological progress, like the shift from random flint collection to the use of a single stone core to shape flint tools as needed. Aurignacian decorative beads and jewelry could also be the first sign we have of the uniquely human quality of self-awareness and adornment. Additionally, some anthropologists believe that the Aurignacian culture was the first to paint. Either way, the people of this time period left behind fascinating cave paintings in France, Spain and Portugal.

    One subgroup of the Artisans, R1b3 (sometimes called R1b1c) is associated with the Cro-Magnons. Based on archaeological excavations, particularly in France, it’s believed that the Cro-Magnons wove clothes, built huts and painted.

    Yep, there could have been a Cro-Magnon up the family tree. I’ve seen some Nat Geo shows that suggest some Neanderthal genes may have survived in some of us “modern” humans, too. I doubt we’ll ever know the full story!

  49. 61

    Mark1 spews:

    Lee, I asked you a simple and legitimate question at #40.

    Your silence says it all; or maybe you didn’t see it. So, here I am again.

    We’re waiting for that answer….

  50. 62


    I’ve smoked pot exactly once in the last 8 months.

    And I think I’ll ask you my own question. Exactly how much of a coward does one have to be in order to be terrified of a plant?

  51. 63


    @60 That is what I thought.

    Where are your knonw ancestors from? The Aurignacian are supposed to have either dies out or been diluted by later immigrations.

    The supposed exception is the basque.

    These genomes will get better as the databases grow. We just sent ours off to NG and are looking forward to the results!

  52. 64


    The article also clearly discourages smoking pot …including the “medical marijuana” you extol.

    That’s correct. And if you can find an instance of where I’ve said that people should smoke it (as opposed to other delivery methods), you’d have some sort of point. But I’ve never said that, and your eagerness to insist otherwise is why everyone thinks you’re a lying douchebag.

  53. 65


    And by the way, comment #37 was trapped in the filter. You should take some time to check out the links. Be careful though, you might learn something.

  54. 66

    SJ on Troll Patrol spews:


    You would be a lot more effective in your argument if you did not keep falling into fanaticism and a sexual obsession with me.

    The dumbass thing about your POV is that I, like most scientists, think THC is a relatively harmless drug and see no reason to should not be made as available as beer or antihistamines.

    Going beyond that, however, into promoting marijuana some sort of miracle drug is foolish. You can not rely on science to support legalization and then say, yeh but we will ignore science when it comes to evaluating MJ’s risk of causing cancer or effectiveness for the many diseases users claim to need relief from.

    As for whether you have ever advocated smoking, seems to me I remember several posts by you wringing your hands because “suffering patients” were denied the right to smoke pot in hospitals or the deluge of posts from you oBECAUSE someone is trying to enforce the laws on how much a medical marijuana possesor can hold and how to determine if she is selling it to non authorized users, etc.

    Unless my eidetic memory is non functioning, you have never addressed the obvious question of why these folks can not simply buy THC pills or get the inhaled form of THC from Canada?

    Actually, the latter IS an issue we should agree on. Rather than legalizing an uncharacterized green vegetable matter, why not just legalize THC? Is there any reason I should not ve able to buy a known innocuous agent and out it into my hookah?

    Back at your support for inhalation, what about your outrage at my comments on the exposure of children and unwilling bystanders to the inhaled smoke at hempfest? Didn’t you play some role in setting this up? Hows about banning kids next year and posting signs like the warnings on cigarettes?

    In the mean time, someday you will explain to my why you think the term “douchebag” is so useful to you. Personally, I prefer to swear in German.

  55. 67

    SJ on Troll Patrol spews:

    @37 Ben

    1. Cannabinoids other than THC in MJ.

    Yes thes exist, but I have sene no eviodence that they alter the effects of THC.

    2. Anti cancer properties of MJ

    This is simply incorrect.

    Unless there is something new,

    The studies cited by Lee and others do not demonstrate anti cancer effects. They show biochemical toxicity. For example, anything that inhibits cell replication is interesting as an anti cancer drug, BUT inhibiting cell replication can also cause cancer. If you follow this bizarre reason, we should put taxol, prednisone, and cyclophosphamide into tobacco smoke.

    3. Is Inhaling MJ bad?

    Ben and I agree on this.

    Given what we KNOW about cancer, it is likely that burning marijuana will cause cancer. There is no reason to think this is true about eating or drinking stuff made form marijuana. The same should be true for tobacco BTW, except that we know chewing tobacco soes cause cancer.

  56. 68

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    SJ @ 63,

    All my known ancestors are from Northern and Western Europe. From what I’ve done on researching the family, it’s starting to look like almost all Celtic and Germanic tribes.

  57. 69

    Politically Incorrect spews:


    I’d say that smoking anything is bad for the lungs, but I think people ought to be able to smoke marijuana if they choose to do so. Even if smoking it helps a little with easing suffering, I’d say let’s legalize and regulate it.

  58. 70

    Steve spews:

    @70 I sometimes wonder why farm, tobacco or beverage corporations aren’t lobbying for legalization, what with all the money to be made.

  59. 71


    Unless my eidetic memory is non functioning, you have never addressed the obvious question of why these folks can not simply buy THC pills or get the inhaled form of THC from Canada?

    The THC pills do not work for a large number of patients. Please read the comment at #37 before continuing this discussion. You simply do not know what you’re talking about – at all.

  60. 72


    Yes thes exist, but I have sene no eviodence that they alter the effects of THC.

    If that’s true, then how come Marinol doesn’t work for a large number of patients who derive medical benefit from the plant itself? THC is just the psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant. As Ben mentioned, there are over 60 others. This is why Dr. Aggarwal told you that “you have a lot to learn about cannabinoids”. You’ve come into this discussion mistakenly believing that you knew a lot more about this subject than you actually do. In the process, you’ve made an utter ass of yourself as you’ve tried to get yourself more in line with what the scientific world actually knows about this plant.

    Why don’t you just take a step back, study the research, and try to get over the fact that walked into this discussion without the requisite knowledge required.