There’s been a lot of discussion about medical marijuana in the Louisiana legislature this year, and not everyone involved is as informed as they should be. Thursday, the reports rolled in: a lawmaker cites satirical article to argue against legalizing cannabis for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable pain, severe muscle spasms and glaucoma.
Medical Marijuana Legislation Up For Debate In Louisiana House of Representatives
House Bill 579 would extend the list of conditions that merit medical marijuana access. Currently, anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable pain, severe muscle spasms and glaucoma is not eligible for medical marijuana. This legislation went to committee today, where lawmakers voted in its favor 8 to 4. Next, the Louisiana House of Representatives will consider the bill.
Arguing Against This Legislation, This Representative Quotes Satire
Representative. Dodie Horton does not support increasing access to medical marijuana, despite petitions from parents. To argue against passing this legislation, Republican Dodie Horton mentioned an article that originally appeared in the Daily Currant. The article jokes about the deadly consequences of legalization in Colorado.
It reads, “Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalise recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses.”
The article goes so far as to quote a fictional doctor: ” ‘It’s complete chaos here,’ says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, ‘I’ve put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.’ ”
Before the committee voted on House Bill 579, Rep. Horton quoted this alarming fake news about legalization. Later, on Twitter, reporter Elizabeth Crisp accused her of quoting satire.
I was given this info from a so-called “ Trusted” source but now know that the story was not credible! What is fact is the number of car wrecks as a direct result of marijuana use in Colorado is up by 48%. With several ending in deaths. Need the experts/FDA to approve usage/First
After this exchange, Horton blocked the reporter’s account.
In the committee meeting, bill sponsor Rep. Ted James brought up Rep. Horton’s ill-founded argument against medical marijuana. Though Horton admitted that the evidence was fake, she refused to correct the public record according to The Advocate.
There Is A Lot of Misinformation About Marijuana In Politics
As this lawmaker cites satirical article to argue against legalizing cannabis, it calls attention to a pattern of politicians misinforming the public about marijuana. With Rep. Horton, her poor knowledge of legalization appears to come from ignorance. This is common with even democratic politicians like New York Governor Cuomo who has publicly stated that marijuana is a gateway drug.
However, other politicians are not so innocent. In 2010, California’s Proposition 19 did not pass largely due to the effects of the liquor lobby. According to Wikileaks, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America donated to political forces opposing recreational marijuana.
Final Hit: Lawmaker Cites Satirical Article To Argue Against Legalizing Cannabis
Though it’s alarming that someone with a prominent voice in legalization would be so ill-informed, we can rest assured that this medical marijuana legislation will be heard on the House floor. It does, however, suggest the number of occasions when lawmakers disparaged marijuana without being called out by politicians and reporters alike.
Alzheimer’s patients in Puerto Rico may get cannabis-based treatment that would make them the first in the United States with access to a new cannabinoid medicine. The development could be a big step for Puerto Rican Alzheimer’s patients in particular and for medical marijuana more generally.
Hyalolex In Puerto Rico
According to a recent press release, medical marijuana dispensaries in Puerto Rico will start carrying a product called Hyalolex as soon as April. The product is a cannabinoid-based medicine aimed at helping patients cope with the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Hyalolex is manufactured by cannabis pharmaceutical company IGC. The company’s new product will hit dispensaries in Puerto Rico as part of a larger deal between IGC and DaMa Pharmaceuticals.
Under the arrangement, DaMa will play a part in manufacturing Hyalolex in Puerto Rico. From there, the companies will market Hyalolex to the 30 or so dispensaries currently operating in Puerto Rico. The product will also be marketed directly to consumers.
“We are very pleased to work with the DaMa Pharmaceutical team to bring Hyalolex to Puerto Rico, which has a long history of developing premier pharmaceutical products,” said Ram Mukunda, CEO of IGC. “We are proud to be a contributor to Puerto Rico’s economic development and to the well being of its Alzheimer’s patients.”
Hyalolex is a liquid form of medicinal cannabis. More specifically, it was designed to reduce the buildup of certain compounds in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.
So far, the company claims that Hyalolex has shown to effectively treating a range of Alzheimer’s symptoms, including stress, anxiety, agitation, sleep disorders, and more.
Cannabis and Alzheimer’s
Hyalolex aside, cannabis has shown great promise at helping those with Alzheimer’s. In a groundbreaking 2006 study, researchers found that THC could have positive effects on those living with Alzheimer’s. In particular, this project found that THC could slow the formation of the plaque that typically accumulates in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
That initial finding has set the tone for several other studies. Most recently, scientists published a paper last year that looked at the impact of small THC doses on Alzheimer’s patients. This study found that THC can slow the production of beta-amyloid proteins in the brain.
In a healthy brain, those proteins are naturally broken down. But when a person develops Alzheimer’s, those same proteins build up to create clusters of plaque. Researchers believe that these plaque build-ups play a key role in the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Fortunately, cannabinoids such as THC appear to slow this process. In particular, cannabis can help take over the task of breaking apart those beta-amyloid proteins, thereby contributing to better brain health.
Final Hit: Alzheimer’s Patients in Puerto Rico May Get Cannabis-Based Treatment
Puerto Rico already has a relatively strong medical marijuana program. There are reportedly 30 dispensaries already operating on the island. In particular, the capital city of San Juan boasts a couple well-established dispensaries.
Medical marijuana patients with Alzheimer’s are about to have access to another potentially powerful form of treatment. As research indicates, cannabis continues showing promise as a powerful way to decrease the side effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you would’ve told the 1997 version of me that one day I’d be getting high with Ricki Lake, he would’ve thrown a pepperoni pizza Lunchable at your face for the lies. But there I was, on the back porch of a beautiful Austin, TX home with a bunch of journalists, collaborators, and cannabis industry professionals, hitting Ricki Lake’s PAX as we discussed Weed the People, her new documentary that premiered at South by Southwest on March 11th.
Created by executive producer Ricki Lake and director Abby Epstein, two absolute rays of sunshine, Weed the People follows the journeys of five children with various forms of pediatric cancers as their families explore cannabis oil, in conjunction with chemotherapy, as a possible treatment or cure for their diseases.
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In a time where the federal government continues to deny the medical benefits of cannabis (despite having a patent on such, something I learned from the film), Weed the People displays concrete evidence and real cases of the truth. It shows multiple children who are the brink of death, thriving and surviving due to positive effects that cannabis oil has had on their conditions. It’s touching, it’s special, it’s personal. It’ll leave you with a lasting impression on how ridiculous it is that cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 Drug.
Ahead of our evening of smokes and jokes, I sat down with Ricki and Abby to discuss the film and their message behind it.
Leafly: What inspired this whole idea for you?
Ricki Lake: It was very personal. So my husband [Christian Evans], who’s now passed away, it started with him doing his own research. He was bedridden much of the time with lots of different things: chronic pain, migraines, anxiety, depression, he was bipolar. He was on the search to heal himself, and we happened to meet a little girl who had this disease, NF1 [Neurofibromatosis type 1], which causes tumors to grow in your nerve endings, and we went on this crazy quest to heal this stranger. And she ended up living with us for six weeks. So I was telling Abby, and she’s like, “I think we should document this.
Abby Epstein: Christian really put this together. He really put together CBD and what he was researching, and NF1. And then we found on Huffington Post a video of Dr. William Courtney up in Mendocino, and he was showing MRI scans of a little baby whose tumor had disappeared from putting cannabinoid oil on the baby’s pacifier. And the father of this trial wouldn’t even speak to the press because he was so scared of losing his child, because CPS was coming after these families.
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What sets Weed the People apart from many documentaries about cannabis is how it centers on the children’s experience using medical marijuana, which helps address the stale “Oh, these potheads just want drugs” sentiments of uninformed skeptics. “For this plant and this medicine to have the kind of stigma and taboo and judgement, and that most of the country thinks this plant is against God, it’s very hard to argue against science. And in this film, the science we show, it’s hard science at this point. This is indisputable,” says Epstein.
(Courtesy of “Weed the People”)
Is that why you chose to focus on children?
Epstein: Yes. Because there’s no stigma. So they can’t just be like “Oh, they just like their medicine.” And that’s what most people think: they think about someone in chemo that’s just smoking a joint to reduce their nausea.
How Cannabis Is Used for Nausea and Vomiting Relief
In addition to the discussion of cannabis’ medical benefits, Weed the People also sparks conversation surrounding the cost and availability of this medicine for patients in needs. Due to cannabis oil not being covered by health insurance, many of these families are being forced into financial oblivion in order to save the lives of their children. Without proper coverage, even the smallest doses of cannabis oil can cost these families up to $3,000 per month. Some patients are able to secure angel donors, but as of late, many of those donors are disappearing, causing extreme times of crisis for those in need.
Epstein: Just last week, we got this email from one of the families in the film saying they’ve been cut off from their donor. The dispensary that was supplying them has had to cut them off. And they’re desperate, they don’t know what to do. So on our film website, we added a GoFundMe for these families. What’s ironic is with the regulations in California, the recreational shift has been a disaster for medical [patients]. And the costs from patient to provider have ballooned to a point where I don’t know who’s going to be able to afford this medicine.
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Not only are these families risking financial ruin, they’re also risking the loss of their children. Because cannabis is still federally illegal, administering medicine is essentially viewed as giving children “harmful” drugs. It’s what caused Lake and Epstein to lose the first subject of their documentary.
Lake: The first child we were documenting, she dropped out. The family just suddenly disappeared.
Epstein: They got scared. They dropped out of the film as soon at the moment when the actual cannabis oil was delivered to them. I think the whole thing became scary for them because people are losing custody of their children for this.
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All in all, Weed the People is a special documentary that we should all embrace as a cannabis community. It presents a compelling argument in favor of the medicine, as well as shines a light on how the politics surrounding it are literally costing families everything, including the lives of those they love. One thing’s for sure: it’s time for a change. It’s been time for a change.
For more information on how and where you can view the film, or how you may be able to support its cause, check out weedthepeoplemovie.com.
Test Results: 10mg THC per puff | 100 puffs per canister | Tested By: Agricor Laboratories
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In a move that should ease anxiety among those in the cannabis industry, the new federal spending bill includes medical marijuana protections. The move taken Wednesday extends a policy of the federal government that has been in effect since 2014 until September of this year.