On Saturday, Bluestem posted in Smoke rings & mirrors: Are MN Republicans pivoting on medical pot or just talking in circles? that Senator Julie Rosen had argued against legalizing medical marijuana during committee, then said that new polling by KSTP/SurveyUSA indicating massive public support for medical marijuana is "compelling."
Additional evidence has emerged that away from the media's camera, Senator Rosen isn't so supportive of public opinion about medical cannabis.
In an April 9. 2014, "dear colleague" letter distributed over Rosen and Alexandria Republican Bill Ingebrigtsen's signature, the senators urge fellow lawmakers to "halt this initiative" to "legalize raw Marijuana in any form" since the effort is "a direct attack at our way of life in Minnesota."
Ingebrigtsen and Rosen also call cannabis "This devastatingly addictive drug, which we both have seen firsthand, rips families apart, devastates relationships and destroys communities."
While they admit, "There is proof the marijuana has medical benefits we can agree to that," the rural senators urge colleagues to wait a year and a half for the FDA to extract cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp, while leaving THC behind.
Here's the letter:
Marijuana and myth-making
Ingebrigtsen and Rosen attached anti-marijuana crusader Kevin Sabet's 7 big myths about marijuana and legalization, which first appeared in the Christian Science Monitor. Curiously, only one of these seven myths actually deals with the medical use of marijuana (that smoking or eating marijuana is medicine); the others are arguments against a broader legalization.
Moreover, Sabet's credentials and claims face withering scrutiny for advocates for legalization Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, a a senior resident physician at a large academic medical center in New York City. He is the author of the review article "Cannabinergic Pain Medicine: A Concise Clinical Primer and Survey of Randomized Controlled Trial Results,", documents a number of flaws in Sabet's arguments in 5 Biggest Lies from Anti-Pot Propagandist Kevin Sabet.
Readers can check out Sabet's claim and the counterarguments at the links above.
It's unclear what the senators reference when they speak of the FDA being a year and a half away from extracting cannabidiol (CBD) from marijuana. Such extracts are now available and are undergoing tests, according to Governing magazine's Chris Kardish, who reports in Medical Marijuana Oil Catches On in States:
The legislation from each state is different in terms of exact regulations and the emphasis on further research, but the underlying focus is the same: relaxing marijuana prohibitions to allow children suffering from epilepsy to take a marijuana extract that contains extremely low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the molecule that makes users high. The oil is derived from a strain of marijuana that’s high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a component of the plant that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for study last year hoping to find whether there’s a concrete link between the extract and relief from Dravet syndrome, a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy.
Read more about the study here. Researchers will look at the drug, called Epidiolex; a total of 150 patients in six research centers will take the drug for a year.
In addition to marijuana oil studies, the federal government has given the green light for a study of marijuana used in vaporizers as a treatment for PTSD, Huffington Post reports in Federal Government Signs Off On Study Using Marijuana To Treat Veterans' PTSD:
The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.
The Department of Health and Human Services' decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug's medical uses. . . .
While more than 1 million Americans currently take medical marijuana — usually for chronic pain — rigorous medical research into the drug's effects has been limited, in part due to federal restrictions.
Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the federal government's Controlled Substance Act. That means the drug is considered a high-risk for abuse with no accepted medical applications.
In the past NIDA has focused its research on the risks of drug abuse and addiction, turning away researchers interested in studying the potential benefits of illegal substances.
In a committee hearing last week, Rosen stressed that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, eching the logic of law enforcement and others who point to the negative research that such a classification promotes while restricting discovery of benefits from the plant.
Nice racket if you can sustain it.
Photo: Senator Julie Rosen during the hearing for the Dibble medical marijuana bill.
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