By Mark Pedersen
In a March 15th story, Marty Swant reported for the Columbia Missourian on how the House was quick to shoot down efforts to legalize medical cannabis during a debate concerning House Bill 1472 regarding K2, the so-called “synthetic marijuana”. Senate Bill 887 is very similar to this.
In a related STLToday article, Missouri Representative Franz was quoted as saying, ” We’ve got to do something, because somebody’s going to be using this, driving a vehicle and killing somebody.”
The Associate Press has reported that ” K2 blend is a mixture of herbs and spices applied with a synthetic chemical compound similar to that of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Commonly labeled as “incense,” the substance gives the person a high by smoking it.”
The psychoactive part of K2 actually originated from the research conducted by Dr. John Huffman of Clemson University. He published a paper back in ’95 regarding his research into the effects of cannabinoids found in cannabis.
It wasn’t long before people hoping to avoid cannabis-related prosecution began using Huffman’s notes to create their own synthetic cannabinoids and spraying them on incense, herbs and tobacco.
What ensued turned out to be a new revenue stream for “head shops” worldwide.
Basically, the claim is that when smoked, you will experience a euphoric, uplifting, mildly psychedelic feeling that lasts about 30 minutes.
K2 is currently (but probably not for long) legal in Missouri.
According to HB 1472, sponsored by Ward Franz of West Plains, proponents of this bill believe that, and I quote: “…K2 is becoming prolific on the streets and in our schools. K2 is an herbal compound that mimics marijuana and can be 10 times stronger. It is important that this compound be designated as a controlled substance so law enforcement can prevent an epidemic of dependency and the criminal element associated with it.” Opponents to this bill protest that, “…no substance should be criminalized without verifiable evidence that it causes harm to an individual.”
Both of these bills invoke an “emergency clause”. An emergency clause gives lawmakers the ability to impliment the bill immediately after the governor signs it, prior to the normal effective date. Doing so negates the usual 90 day period when the public would be able to gather signatures to put the issue up for a statewide public vote. In other words, you have been removed from the so called Democratic system.
To date, there has been no evidence put forth to substantiated ANY of the malevolent claims of either of these bills.
According to our Speaker of the House, Ron Richard, our state legislators are too busy to deal with issues as insignificant as those that directly regard our state’s chronically and terminally ill; particularly holistic alternatives like cannabis. Consequently, Richard has blocked our medical cannabis compassion bill (currently labeled HB 1670) for the second year, refusing to assign it to a committee.
Despite endorsements from the American Academy of Physicians and the American Medical Association, for the medicinal use of cannabis, Richard’s opposition is resolute. If he has his way, the state House and Senate, not to mention the Missouri people, will never have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not this safe holistic alternative to prescription drugs should be available to our state’s most ill.
Now, in some absurd antiquated ploy of politics, we have witnessed the issue regarding K2 quickly pass to the House floor. Why? Well, obviously because it has been labeled “like marijuana”.
While the rest of the world is finally reawakening to the vital medicinal efficacy of cannabis for the treatment of a wide range of serious autoimmune diseases, Missourians are forced to suffer helplessly; their only treatment, harmful, toxic pharmaceuticals.
I am a medical cannabis patient and activist. I make it a point to not stray off to other issues if at all possible. I have enough with my own struggle and, doing what I can to give a voice to our sick and dying, but occasionally, I have to speak out on ridiculous things like this K2 debacle.
After over a 150 interviews with our nation’s chronically and terminally ill, I realize the seriousness of our state’s lawmaker’s preoccupation with persecuting the most vulnerable of our citizens.
I have heard the many comments of our elect as they discount the efficacy of cannabis treatment. I am repeatedly dumbfounded to think that those responsible for creating our state’s laws would be ignorant of the volumes of research that have been conducted on this God given plant – part of that research being directed and funded by our Federal Government, as was the case with Dr. Donald Tashkin’s Marijuana Lung Cancer Study. That study, which was intended to prove that cannabis caused lung cancer, actually proved that it shrank lung tumors.
In an attempt to provide something positive from this K2 mess, Representative Kate Meiners of Kansas City attempted to link to the bill protection for those who legitimately use cannabis for medicine. She and other legislative advocates were promptly out voted by our predominantly Republican House and the political circus resumed.
Its demoralizing to have to listen to the shameful, bigoted rants of people like Representative Flook of Liberty when he dares to make statements like “It’s about a party, not about illness,” when speaking out about Meiners’ medical cannabis amendment to HB 1472.
Flook sited a supposed youtube video that showed people faking an ailment to get their “marijuana prescription”.
It’s unfortunate that he had to wade through my many legitimate patient videos before finding one that supported his claims.
Speaking by phone with Representative Jason Holsman, a devoted father and advocate for the holistic treatment of chronic and terminal illness, he stated, “Prohibition does not strengthen family values.” It “…does not prevent people from using controlled substances.”
Holsman went on to say, “I feel that education , empowering families… is most important. What we need is sensible drug reform.”
He concluded by saying, “Missouri’s Chief Justice has pleaded with lawmakers to stop putting non-violent offenders in prison.”
On February 3rd of this year, Justice William Ray Price told the Missouri House of Representatives, ” Perhaps the biggest waste of resources in all of state government is the over-incarceration of nonviolent offenders and our mishandling of drug and alcohol offenders. It is costing us billions of dollars and it is not making a dent in crime.”
Now this is where we all should stop and consider the one thing that is strikingly absent from this whole K2/cannabis fiasco. Common sense.
Understand that tobacco, in its many forms, is in fact mood altering and could be considered a mild hallucinogenic. Its legal – and it has been proven to cause cancer.
Consumable alcohol is a 45 billion dollar a year industry. Millions of people across our nation daily slug down their Jack Daniels and their Anheuser-Busch products for only one reason, for the legal “high” they get from it. They suffer stomach ailments and liver disease, not to mention the detrimental effects on their families and the ever present threat they pose on our nation’s highways.
Alcohol kills over 100 thousand American deaths per year and is a leading cause of child and spousal abuse.
There is no medicinal value. Not for them. Not for anyone. Nothing new here. Virtually every American is painfully aware of this fact.
Pharmaceutical companies make no attempt to disguise the great and terrible harm most of their drugs cause. They openly proclaim the terrible side effects at the end of every television commercial. And yet, Prescription drugs are a 600 billion dollar a year enterprise.
Cannabis, on the other hand, has for decades of research proven to be virtually harmless while providing real relief for a host of autoimmune ailments. Even the Federal Government admitted in a 2003 Patent that cannabinoids were effective in the treatment of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and HIV dementia.”
So why do some Missouri lawmakers insist on these cannabis and “marijuana-like” witch hunts? That’s an easy one.
It’s not because they care about your safety or the safety of your children. If they did, they would be supporting worthwhile counseling for real drug abuse problems like meth, heroine, alcohol, tobacco and, most of all, prescription drugs.
If all the many recent political scandals haven’t already made you skeptical about the motivations behind our elect when they create these sensationalistic postulations, my God, why not? Obviously, all they care about is the fear they can implant in the hearts of their constituents. By doing so, they establish a false “family” platform with easily attainable press.
Follow my links to the Senators and Representatives that are so outspoken concerning issues like this. Take a long hard look at their faces. Remember them. These are not watchdogs of public safety as they would like to be portrayed.
Public servants are expected to be the most informed on every issue they endorse. After all, the legislation they create DIRECTLY effects us all. If they truly cared about our welfare, it would show in their actions.When it comes to cannabis, you can be assured that they are either grossly ignorant of the current science on the subject or they are opportunists preying on the emotions of an uninformed public.
Either way, they have no business in Missouri state politics.
This is state politics at its worst. It’s up to us to change it.