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Spring 2006
O'Shaughnessy's
Journal of the California Cannabis Research Medical Group

Correspondence


Cancel My Denial

To: California Society of Addiction Medicine
74 New Montgomery Street, Suite 230
San Francisco, CA 94105

American Society of Addiction Medicine
4601 North Park Avenue Suite 101
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Colleagues,
As I contemplated whether or not to renew this year with the not unsubstantial dues, I asked myself “Why should I?” Over the years since I joined the organization I have tried to raise the possibility of a harm-reduction option for the treatment of alcoholism. Notwithstanding my repeated and persistent entreaties, I have been repeatedly denied any opportunity for a collegial and professional forum. I have even offered to make my patients available for questioning and review. Nothing. Lame excuses —not ready yet.
Forays into spiritualism with self-styled practitioners responding to the “spiritual needs” of addicts was particularly disturbing. Somehow I don’t remember any training in medical school in theological studies. The blurring of boundaries and confusion of identity diminishes, attenuates medical leadership, and reduces professional credibility to cultism. Medical Review Officers conducting forensic examinations are not engaged in a medical activity. Endorsing their enforcement of corporate authority diminishes medical leadership and reduces ASAM/CSAM to shills and trough feeders. The societies support the federal government’s irrational drug-war policy while prominent addiction specialists seek to maximize their share of court referrals.
I officially give up on ASAM/CSAM and any possibility of a magical ethical transformation. I have been denied the opportunity to present a viable, effective, and medically appropriate intervention: cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other addictive substances.
Retrospectively, I wonder why I waited so long to quit. I can no longer maintain my wishful thinking that somehow ASAM/CSAM could be fair, objective, professionally and medically correct.
I shall not be renewing my membership.

Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.
Member since 1974
Certified by ASAM 1986
MRO Certified by ASAM 1992


A Close-up View

Hello O'Shaughnessy's,
I am a registered nurse with a BSN from UCSF, with current two years working for a hospice and palliative care institution. My patients who benefit most from medical marijuana suffer from pancreatic cancer, a most devastating disease.
The substance seems to shrink the mechanical pressure of growing tumors in the GI system, resulting in the patient's ability to eat food and the cessation of nausea and vomiting. Patients therefore avoid debilitating cachexia, which is soon followed by death.

A Nurse, Stockton, CA


[section removed due to possible infringement on intellectual property]


Request For Accommodations Denied

To the Editor:
Following is the response from the presiding judge of Sana Ana rejecting my request for accommodations to carry my medicine in Orange County courthouses because it “fundamentally alters the nature of the service provided by the court.”
This is not the first time a state judge has cited federal law as an excuse to persecute and prosecute qualified medical cannabis patients. I’ve heard three state judges tell patients that they were not bound by the California Constitution and did not have to abide by Article 3 Sec. 3.5 which holds that a state law not deemed unconstitutional must be enforced regardless of conflicting federal law. One judge cited separation of governmental entities (executive, judicial & legislative). Judge Wieben Stock failed to acknowledge that I sometimes have to take a bus and have no place to keep my medical cannabis. She also failed to address my ability to smoke outside the courthouse at least 20 ft. from the entrance without police harassment.
I’m not an attorney, but I find it hard to believe that state judges do not have to uphold state law. I’ve heard so many half-truths and out-and-out lies from judges in southern California that I’m not sure if what they’re saying is true or not.
If possible I intend on appealing this decision to a higher level. I am currently writing a response letter and preparing arguments for an appeal hearing. Any suggestions or advise would be greatly appreciated.
Bill Britt


Dear Mr. Britt:
Your request to be allowed to bring cannabis, a pipe, and edible cannabis, in the form of cookies and lozenges, into “any and all state courthouses and government buildings in Orange County” has been carefully reviewed.
Presently, federal law prohibits possession of marijuana in any form. Although there are state authorities to the contrary in this area, federal drug laws still apply to certain types of conduct. For this reason, your request for accommodation is denied because it fundamentally alters the nature of the service provided by the court. The court is sworn to uphold the law by not participating in or permitting illegal activity to take place in or at the courthouse as it requires the court to violate laws prohibiting possession and use of illegal substances
Since the Orange County Sheriff provides the security services for the Court, his deputies must also follow the law in carrying out their duties at the courthouses. This is for your protection, as well as the protection of others coming to handle court business.
If there is a need for you to have any medication nearby, there are public parking structures near the courthouses, with parking spaces designated for persons with disabilities. You are welcome to park in any of these spaces as long as you have the proper disability placard displayed in your car. With reasonable advance notice, the Court is more than willing to assist in arranging parking for you in one of the adjacent parking structures.
Please be reminded that the Court’s decision in this matter relates only to the buildings under Superior Court jurisdiction, and not to all government buildings in Orange County.
Nancy Wieben Stock, Presiding Judge
Superior Court of California, County of Orange


Note to Bill Britt:
I am baffled. Has the court heard of Hiram Johnson and the initiative process? Well, has the judge heard of the California Supreme Court and the Mower decision? It appears she is sticking her thumb in the eye of the State’s highest court. Does she feel she knows more then the California Attorney General who told California law enforcement that they have authority to enforce state and local law,but not federal law.
The FDA provided cannabis for 18 smoked cannabis medical studies administered by UC San Diego. Does the judge mean to say if you were in one of those studies it would be OK? How does the judge feel about tinctures?Could someone come in with Sativex from Canada? The FDA has approved phase III clinical trials for Sativex, so is that OK? How about an edible? The judge obviously has no problem with Marinol, so what specifically is she objecting to? You may want to have an attorney look at Justices Thomas’s and O’Connor’s dissents in Raich and see if there is any ammo for your case there.
Peace,
Dr. Dave Bearman


From attorney Seymour Weisberg:
Mr. Britt should limit his request to courthouse consumption of edible cannabis since Health & Safety Code section 11362.79 (a) prohibits smoking medical cannabis in any place where smoking is prohibited by law. If his modified request draws another wrong response, he should file a complaint with the California Commission on Judicial Performance: (415) 557-1200 or fax (415) 557-1266

From attorney Joe Allen:
Since smoking is otherwise allowed some distance (I believe he said 20 feet) outside the doors, what he could also do is write to the Sheriff and request that he be allowed to bring his smoking MJ to court, give it for safekeeping to the court security officers who do the entrance screening, and pick it up for use at recess.
For comparison, the guards at the Court of Appeal in Ventura have for years been holding my pocket knife for me during court, which I almost invariably forget to leave in the car. They keep it at the front desk and give it back when I leave.


Error of Omission

Dear O’Shaughnessy’s.
Can anyone give me a sound reason why SICKLE CELL DISEASE should be excluded from O’Shaughnessy’s published “Chronic Conditions Treated With Cannabis?” Certainly, between 1990 and 2005 it is well known that people living with SICKLE CELL DISEASE get therapeutic and curative benefits from consuming cannabis from its seed oil, plant concentrates and extracts as well as overall optimum health in people living with sickle cell disease.
Cannabis addresses the violent episodes of pain, and overall comfort for sickle cell sufferers, but the primary benefit is in eating healthy foods enhanced with cannabis, so as to allow the body to heal itself, produce healthier bloodcells allowing longevity of life and quality of life enhanced.
Sister Somayah Moore-Kambui,
Los Angeles


Ed. Note: Dr. Mikuriya regrets the omission and has already added Sickel Cell Anemia 282.60 to his list of conditions (by ICD-9 number) that cannabis has been used to treat with reported success.


 

O'Shaughnessy's
O'Shaughnessy's is the journal of the CCRMG/SCC. Our primary goals are the same as the stated goals of any reputable scientific publication: to bring out findings that are accurate, duplicable, and useful to the community at large. But in order to do this, we have to pursue parallel goals such as removing the impediments to clinical research created by Prohibition, and educating our colleagues, co-workers and patients as we educate ourselves about the medical uses of cannabis.
 
SCC
The Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC) was formed in the Autumn of 2004 by the member physicians of CCRMG to aid in the promulgation of voluntary standards for clinicians engaged in the recommendation and approval of cannabis under California law (HSC §11362.5).

As the collaborative effort continues to move closer to issueing guidelines, this site serves as a public venue for airing and discussing these guidelines.

Visit the SCC Site for more information.