Tag: medical cannabis

BIG!!! Texas Medical Cannabis Program Expands for PTSD and All Cancer Patients

I’m one to celebrate every single victory for the cannabis community, and when Texas makes progress it can have an outsized impact beyond its borders, so even seemingly incremental change is actually big news for the movement. While some that have had the privilege of living in states that legalized medical use all the way back in the 1990s, increasing the THC limit to 1% and just now enrolling all cancer patients and PTSD sufferers into the state’s medical program may not seem like much, this progress will inevitably set the stage for future positive reforms in the Lonestar State as well as helping in other states, especially conservative ones that see Texas as a leader on important issues. As the Texas Tribune reported, improving the state’s medical system will be a life changer for folks like 64-year-old Desert Storm veteran David Bass who has “had nightmares almost every night for six years about being back on the warfield:”

“Bass was prescribed several kinds of medications to ease his hypervigilance after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. But those medications didn’t help him sleep. Instead, they caused him to have “flat emotions” — and, eventually, suicidal thoughts.

“It wasn’t until he tried marijuana that he was able to ease his mind and get a good night’s rest. But since the state’s medical cannabis program is restricted to those with neurological disorders or terminal cancer, Bass had to get his hands on marijuana illegally for years.

“Starting on Sept. 1, however, the Texas Compassionate Use Program will expand to include people with PTSD and cancer of all stages, allowing them to use ‘low-THC cannabis.’”

Texas’ sheer size and influence allows it to impact the actions of other states, just as we’ve seen former Governor Rick Perry getting attention in Wisconsin when talking about a medical psilocybin bill he championed for military veterans or even the textbooks used in schools across the nation. I fully expect advocates, likely led by military veterans, to expand the class of medical and increase the THC content of cannabis and other products allowed in the state’s medical program. One day, the fog of Reefer Madness will dissipate and Texas will have a truly functioning and effective medical program and this small step in the right direction should be viewed as a major advancement in that important journey. And as Texas progresses towards a more sane cannabis policy, that progress will reverberate across the nation and throughout the halls of Congress.

Kind Leaf is proud to be Pendleton’s premier craft cannabis boutique who goes the extra mile for OMMP patients, military veterans, and senior citizens with discounts available on top of weekly deals.

Military Veterans Leading the Fight for Medical Cannabis Access in Prohibition States

As I just blogged, military veterans have a way of helping cross the political divide on drug policy, so it’s no surprise to see that they are helping lead the fight to legalize medical cannabis in the few prohibition states that still don’t have any medical programs. Veterans and their families sacrifice so much for our nation and it is unconscionable that they can be prosecuted and persecuted for using a relatively safe medicine recommended by their doctor to alleviate their severe and debilitating medical conditions, whether they are suffering physically or mentally. As USA Today reported, military veterans are key in helping sway more conservative voters and elected officials:

“In a state that’s home to eight military bases, one of the largest veteran populations in the country and a Republican-controlled legislature that prides itself on supporting the troops, they hope their voices will act as a crucial lever to push through a bill that has faced opposition in the past.

***

“Successes are already evident. In Texas and Louisiana, veterans played a key role in the recent expansion of medical marijuana programs. In Mississippi, they supported a successful ballot initiative for medical cannabis in 2020, though the result was later overturned by the state Supreme Court. And in Alabama, the case of an out-of-state veteran arrested and jailed for possession of medical marijuana incited national outrage and calls for legalization. The state legalized medical marijuana earlier this year.

“To be sure, not every veteran supports these efforts, and the developments in red states have been influenced by other factors: advocacy from cancer patients and parents whose children have epilepsy, lawmakers who see this as a states’ rights issue, a search for alternative pain relief amid the opioid epidemic and a push from industries seeking economic gains.”

“I’ve lost more men to suicide since we went to Afghanistan in ’01 than I have in combat,” veteran Chayse Roth, told USA Today, adding that, “It’s just unacceptable for these guys to go overseas and win the battle and come home and lose the battle to themselves.” Roth stated that he personally doesn’t use cannabis but that he supports his fellow vets that could benefit.

A sincere thanks to all veterans who have given so much of themselves and their lives to our nation. And a huge thanks to those that advocate for the well being of all of us by standing up for the truth when they come home. By advocating for medical cannabis, these veterans are taking heat for many others that are unable to speak out due to their occupation or societal pressures. In 2021, it’s odd for many of us living in legal states to even imagine people’s lives ruined because medical cannabis remains illegal, but that is the case for far too many people. The day of fully ending Reefer Madness prohibition from sea to shining sea in the land of the free and the home of the brave inches closer each and every day because people are speaking truth to power.

Kind Leaf is humbled and proud to provide discounts every single day to military veterans, as well as all senior citizens and OMMP patients, in addition to offering amazing weekly deals. You can even view our menu online and order via Leafly to save time. Or come on into the the premier craft cannabis boutique in Pendleton, we’d love to see you.

Oregon Senator’s Medical Cannabis Veterans Amendment Passes Key Committee

“We have now 36 states that have medical cannabis, and our veterans want to know from their VA doctor what their thoughts are on the pros and cons or appropriate role or challenges of this particular strategy for treating a variety of issues, including PTSD. I think it’s really important that we not force our veterans to be unable to discuss this issue with their doctors.” Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

There are a lot of tragedies caused by the war on cannabis and one is the lack of access provided to military veterans who could benefit from medical cannabis recommended by their doctor, especially with so many vets suffering from post-traumatic stress. A suicide epidemic has been raging for far too long among those that sacrificed for our nation and VA physicians have been denied the ability to recommend medical cannabis to their patients. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is hoping to change that and he’s well on his way after an amendment that he’s championed has passed a key Senate committee as Marijuana Moment reported:

“A powerful Senate committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that’s meant to promote military veterans’ access to medical marijuana by allowing doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue cannabis recommendations in legal states.

“The measure, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee on a voice vote. It would further prohibit VA from interfering with, or denying services to, veterans who participate in a state-legal medical cannabis program.”

It seems common sense that doctors operating within a state with legal cannabis would be able to recommend a relatively safe medicine to their patients, but when it comes to Reefer Madness prohibition, common sense has too often been ignored. With the political climate catching up to the science, we are finally seeing progress in Congress and it will be heartening to see former service members have state-legal medical options available to them.

While there’s much more work to be done to see this amendment in a final bill, making it through the Senate Appropriations Committee is an important step in the process. Merkley’s work demonstrates the importance of Oregon’s pioneering work battling the War on Drugs. There is no way that a sitting United States senator goes alone on an issue without the strong backing of his constituents. Regardless of your party affiliation, it’s imperative that we continue to help lead the way on ending the failed and harmful Drug War. Time and time again, we have seen Oregon helping lead the way on much-needed cannabis and drug policy reforms, going back to 1973 when the Beaver State was the first to decriminalize cannabis. With Oregonians legalizing psilocybin therapy and decriminalizing personal drug possession in 2020, we can expect our representatives in DC to continue pushing the envelope in our fight for freedom and common sense.

Kind Leaf is proud to always offer discounts to military veterans, along with senior citizens and OMMP patients. Check out the best selection in the Great Northwest. You can even order online via Leafly.

A Group of Veterans Want Uncle Sam to Reconsider Cannabis Classification

“It’s a relic of a bygone era,” attorney Shane Pennington told a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

Everyone but the most delusional or misleading Reefer Madness prohibitionist understands that the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” is a nonsensical farce. How can cannabis, a substance that the federal government has grown for patients to treat various medical conditions have no accepted medicinal use? How can Marinol, 100% synthetic THC, have an accepted medical use, but cannabis with 20% THC not be recognized for its medical qualities? This obviously makes no sense and a medical researcher and a group of military veterans are asking the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to force Uncle Sam to reconsider the ridiculous Schedule I classification, as Court News Services reports:

“In a case that could make the federal government reconsider how it classifies marijuana, a lawyer urged a Ninth Circuit panel Thursday to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reassess its 49-year-old position that cannabis has no accepted medical use.

***

“(Shane) Pennington represents Dr. Suzanne Sisley, an Arizona-based medical marijuana researcher, and three veterans who claim they suffer ongoing harm from the federal government’s refusal to reclassify cannabis as a drug with medicinal benefits. Their Ninth Circuit petition highlights research Sisley has conducted using marijuana to treat veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, the DEA has classified cannabis as a Schedule I drug — the most restrictive category — since 1972. Congress empowered the DEA to decide how drugs should be classified in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. That was around the same time former President Richard Nixon declared a ‘war on drugs.'”

It appears that the 9th Circuit may rule on this case based on a technicality regarding whether these veterans and Dr. Sisley have standing rather than on the actual merits of their arguments, but anytime you can shine a light on the utter absurdity of the War on Drugs, the better. A sincere thanks to these veterans and the good doctor for fighting the good fight.

Kind Leaf is proud to offer the best selection of cannabis in the Great Northwest and to provide discounts to military veterans, OMMP patients, and senior citizens.

Texas Senate Advances Medical Cannabis Legislation, but Not Enough

Everything is supposed to be bigger in Texas, but not advancements in medical cannabis, apparently, as the Texas Senate significantly scaled back legislation that had already passed the state House. Even the House version, with a 5% cap on THC was an extremely limited upgrade of one of the nation’s most restrictive medicinal cannabis programs that caps THC at half a percent. The Senate unanimously passed an expansion of THC limits to just 1% while stripping away chronic pain as a qualifying condition. With the nation’s current opioid addiction and overdose epidemic, it seems incredulous that legislators would prohibit patients with pain conditions that would otherwise be treated with an opioid from utilizing a significantly safer and less addictive medicine. The bill will still increase the number of qualifying conditions, including PTSD, but this baby step is disappointing. I am usually one to celebrate any victories for the cannabis community, so I’ll admit at being disheartened hearing the dismay of the advocates on the ground in the Lone Star State as the Houston Chronicle reported:

“To see some of the amendments that were made leaves us advocates disappointed and somewhat dismayed,” said Heather Fazio, director of advocacy group Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

***

Texas is among 47 states and four territories that offer medical marijuana programs; however, it’s one of the 12 most-restrictive states that limit patients to low-THC products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

***

“Every state surrounding Texas allows patients safe and legal access to this medicine,” Fazio said. “The fact that we’re just inching forward, expanding this program so minimally is disappointing and just demonstrates how much work we have to do as advocates.”

A sincere thanks to the Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy and everyone working hard in a very difficult political environment. Many of us understand the emotional rollercoaster political efforts put you through, whether it’s a ballot campaign or a legislative battle. Not accomplishing your ultimate goal can be deflating, but keep your head up, freedom fighters. While I sincerely feel for the advocates that are distressed at the moment and the patients that will be denied an effective medicine for the time being, improving the state’s medical cannabis program this year will improve more lives and will set the stage for future victories.

Kind Leaf is glad that Oregonians have a much better selection of cannabis products to choose from and always offers OMMP patients an additional 15% off of their medicinal purchases. All senior citizens and military veterans also receive discounts.

A Victory for the Cannabis Community in Alabama Will Reverberate Across the South

With record-breaking support for cannabis legalization and virtually unanimous support for medical use, positive reforms have largely become bipartisan when debating policy. However, when actually enacting change, it’s easy to see that the Deep South is the last frontier for advocates, both because of entrenched political powers and the lack of the initiative process. It’s a huge victory for the cannabis community, and a testament to the perseverance and dedication of Alabama advocates that they managed to get the signature of Governor Kay Ivey on a medical bill sponsored by a medical professional and a former member of law enforcement. The Associated Press reports:

“The bill was sponsored by Republican Sen. Tim Melson, an anesthesiologist. It was handled in the House of Representatives by Republican Rep. Mike Ball, a former state trooper and state investigator. The approval came after a number of lawmakers shared stories of loved ones and their illnesses.

***

“The bill would allow the marijuana in forms such as pills, skin patches and creams but not in smoking or vaping products.

“The program authorizes use of medical marijuana to treat for conditions including cancer-related nausea or vomiting, or chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; depression; epilepsy, HIV/AIDS-related nausea or weight loss; panic disorder, Parkinson’s disease; persistent nausea; post-traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and Tourette’s syndrome.”

Yes, it’s disappointing that patients won’t be able to smoke or vaporize cannabis, but this is a great step in the right direction, and most importantly, it will improve many lives once enacted. And each step in the right direction lays the foundation for future reforms that will benefit even more people, not only in Alabama, but in the few remaining states without medical cannabis laws. This is a great victory for the cannabis community in Alabama and the its positive implications will be felt well beyond its borders.

At Kind Leaf, we are happy to always provide OMMP patients an additional 15% off of their cannabis purchase.

Featured photo credit: Darrin Harris Frisby/Drug Policy Alliance

This Must End. Another Military Veteran Fired for Medical Cannabis Usage

The use of medical cannabis, when legal under state law, should not be a fireable offense when there is no impairment on the job. Full stop. It’s maddening to see record-breaking support for cannabis legalization and yet the cannabis community still treated as second class citizens when it comes to employment, and a whole host of other issues. It is even more infuriating when medical cannabis patients that served our nation in the military fired without any proof that cannabis impaired them on the job whatsoever.

The case of Mike Hickman, a Florida marine vet and state-legal patient who fought in Iraq during Gulf Storm 30 years ago, is just the latest outrage. The Marion County School Board fired Hickman, a dean at the school, when he tested positive for cannabis after he was injured breaking up a fight at the school as the Orlando Sentinel reported:

The central Florida district offered to suspend Hickman, 51, if he agreed not to use medical marijuana in the future, but the 10-year employee refused. After an administrative judge upheld a previous superintendent’s recommendation that he be fired, the board acted.

***

Hickman’s attorney, Mark Herdman, told the Ocala Star-Banner, “It is just another unfortunate decision handed down by the Marion County School Board to fire yet another good employee.” Hickman argued it was unfair that he legally could have kept using the opioid painkiller he took before switching to marijuana because it was more effective and has fewer side effects.

Chris Altobello, an executive director with the Marion County teachers union, told the paper in a text message that Hickman “was no more impaired than someone who took an aspirin for a headache. They implied that this is tantamount to smoking pot in the boys bathroom!”

It’s getting real tiresome hearing about the inevitability of ending cannabis prohibition AND how our nation honors military veterans and then learning about too many stories of vets getting punished for utilizing medicinal cannabis. Are we really honoring and respecting our military veterans when we push them to use alcohol and opiates, while penalizing them for using medical cannabis? Stories like this inspire me to work even harder for true freedom and equality for the cannabis community. Especially our veterans.

Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique always honors veterans with a standing discount. There are also discounts for senior citizens, OMMP patients, and for utilizing the pickup window.

Happy Veterans Day! Kind Leaf Celebrates Veterans Today and Every Day.

Despite our many legitimate complaints about our government, we have many reasons to be thankful, and one of the reasons are military veterans. Thanks to veterans, we have the freedom and opportunity to criticize and speak openly. This Veterans Day, Kind Leaf is honoring veterans with a 20% discount on anything in the store. Understanding that veterans should be honored every day, and not just on November 11th, Kind Leaf always offers our vets a 10% discount. Please just show military ID or valid proof of service.

In honor of today, the Willamette Week reached out to some veterans within the cannabis community. The whole piece is certainly worth a read. Here’s a snippet, an interview with Steve Danyluk, retired lieutenant colonel U.S. Marine Corps and founder of Warfighter Hemp:

WW: How has cannabis use affected your life post-service?

Danyluk: My viewpoint on cannabis did a complete 180 after leaving the Marine Corps, where it was completely forbidden. For me the most significant impact was seeing the positive effect that it was having on so many of my colleagues who were struggling with opiates and other powerful medications that they were being prescribed by the VA. A lot of veterans, particularly the combat-wounded ones who seem to prefer our stronger oils, many of these veterans are completely off of prescription medications as a result [of CBD therapy], and that is one of the things that we at Warfighter Hemp are most proud of.

How will you be spending your Veterans Day this year?

My wife is still in active duty, so the first thing I will probably do when I wake up is kiss her and thank her for her service. Then, during the day, I will probably spend a few moments thinking about Dave Greene. Dave was a guy I served with and who is the highest-ranking Marine officer to have been killed in action in Iraq. He was an exceptional person on so many levels, and his loss was a loss for all of us.

Too many veterans are going without the basic medical care that they need, including medicinal cannabis. This lack of care and concern has led to an alarming increase in the number of suicides among military veterans. Let’s all do our part to help those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. Please reach out to veterans that you know to check in on them and continue to lobby our elected officials to implement policies that protect the health of our vets, including access to medical cannabis, regardless of where they live.

Misguided Attack Against Medical Cannabis by Mississippi’s Governor

It’s 2020, so I should be used to everything being political, but I couldn’t help but be both saddened and outraged to see Mississippi’s governor attacking a medical cannabis measure on the state’s ballot as some type of “liberal” boogeyman. The science and facts are in. Medical cannabis is a nonpartisan issue and allowing medical use has benefitted states and their residents across our great nation.

Marijuana Moment reports:

The governor of Mississippi is not happy about the medical marijuana measures on his state’s ballot this week, saying they are favored by “stoners.”

“There are good folks on all sides of the medical marijuana debate. Most non-stoners say we should be careful & deliberate,” Gov. Tate Reeves (R) tweeted. “Initiative 65 is the opposite.”

“Experts say it would mean the most liberal weed rules in the US! Pot shops everywhere—no local authority,” he said.

Too much of our lives have devolved into a “liberal” vs. “conservative,” “blue state” vs. “red state” fight and that just shouldn’t be the case for many issues, especially medical cannabis. Decisions about medical cannabis should be a private matter between people and their doctors, and a supermajority of Americans agree with that. A strong majority understand that cannabis prohibition should be repealed and that adults should be trusted to make their own choices regarding cannabis.

Beyond the personal liberty and medical privacy aspects of cannabis, there is the fact that medical cannabis laws have proven to benefit patients and states in a number of ways. Study after study has shown various medical benefits and research has shown that opioid usage has decreased. Since states starting legalizing medical cannabis back in 1996, we certainly have seen that the sky hasn’t fallen and there is zero justification for arresting, prosecuting, jailing, and imposing criminal records on patients and their providers.

Residents of the United States of America need to find common ground on as many issues as possible. Medical cannabis and ending prohibition are two of the most agreed upon “controversial” issues in our nation. Let’s remember that more binds us than divides us as Americans. So stop into a craft cannabis boutique, preferably Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton, Oregon, and help alleviate your election day stress with the best cannabis selection in Oregon. Maybe purchase a gift for a friend that doesn’t share your exact same political views and make some time to bond over something that brings us together. We need a lot more of that these days.

Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, not only has the best selection, but the best deals around as well. Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients receive a 15% discount. You can view Kind Leaf’s menu, deals, and order online via Leafly.

Rest in Peace Charlotte Figi, Your Strength Saved Lives and Changed the World

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted all of our lives, causing immense pain and grief across our nation and globe. One thing that I have learned during this crisis is to better appreciate that there are people who live their entire lives in a constant state of emergency and those people need help, support, and hope.

I imagine that there can be no greater sense of despair than watching your child suffer. Unfortunately, this is an all-too common part of life for too many people. Hearts around the world were changed when they learned about the suffering of Charlotte Figi and her family because of Dravet syndrome. Cannabis extracts improved her life and the world was changed for the better. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Charlotte passed away yesterday at just 13 years of age. May she rest in peace and power, forever. My heart goes out to her parents Matt and Paige, her family, and everyone mourning the loss of a special angel warrior.

Most people first learned about Charlotte’s plight from Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s special “Weed” and that mainstream attention changed the debate around medical cannabis and cannabis in general. Here’s an excerpt from the CNN piece “Marijuana stops child’s severe seizures“:

Today, Charlotte, 6, is thriving. Her seizures only happen two to three times per month, almost solely in her sleep. Not only is she walking, she can ride her bicycle. She feeds herself and is talking more and more each day.
“I literally see Charlotte’s brain making connections that haven’t been made in years,” Matt said. “My thought now is, why were we the ones that had to go out and find this cure? This natural cure? How come a doctor didn’t know about this? How come they didn’t make me aware of this?”
The marijuana strain Charlotte and now 41 other patients use to ease painful symptoms of diseases such as epilepsy and cancer has been named after the little girl who is getting her life back one day at a time.
It’s called Charlotte’s Web.

In this life, we can only hope to impact as many lives that Charlotte did. The Charlotte’s Web strain was named after her and countless people will have their lives saved and improved thanks to her strength. While my heart aches for her family, I’m glad that we live in a world where brave people like Charlotte and her family stand up and change the world for the better.