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HISTORIC HIGH: 58% of Americans Want Marijuana Legalized

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 22, 2013

    Gallup released new polling data today that shows an overwhelming majority of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. According to their survey, 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, while only 39% are opposed. This is up significantly from the last time Gallup polled the question in 2012, when only 48% of Americans were in favor and 50% were opposed. For historical perspective, the first time they surveyed this question in 1969 a paltry 12% of Americans were in favor of legalization.

    The support for marijuana legalization has seen unprecedented momentum in the past several years. Gallup observes, “Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide.”

    “The American people have opened their eyes to the failure that is marijuana prohibition and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Following the successful passage of marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington in 2012, the people of this country see that a new approach to marijuana policy is both required and possible,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “The majority of Americans now agree that it is time to legalize and regulate. The issue can no longer be ignored or sidelined. Legalization is now the mainstream position and supporters of perpetuating our war on marijuana will continue to be further relegated to the fringe.”

    The strongest support was coming from those ages 18-29 (67%), ages 30-49 (62%), Democrats (65%), and Independents (62%). The only major demographic groups lacking majority support are those 65+ (45%) and Republicans (35%).

    Full poll results can be viewed here.

    71 Responses to “HISTORIC HIGH: 58% of Americans Want Marijuana Legalized”

    1. Demonhype says:

      @Dunkerella: I think we all know who’s payroll they’re on, and it’s the same payroll the mayor of Denver is on, to go against the will of the overwhelming majority to try and re-criminalize MJ in Colorado.

      1. Drug testing industry
      2. Drug rehab facilities
      3. Private prisons

      And at this point, I wouldn’t put it past the diabetes and cancer industries (that is, the industries that make billions off of treating currently “incurable” diseases and have an interest in eighty-sixing an herb that shows strong promise not only as an inexpensive treatment but a potential cure and/or prevention for those diseases.)

      Anyone have any more enemies to add to this list? I think, what with us now having not only the majority on our side but a momentum capable of advancing us a full ten points in a single year, when it took forty-three years to go from 12% to 48%, it might be good to start making our sh$t list–companies to actively oppose, companies to actively boycott, and such. We could really shake things up if, for example, we started giving most of our business to stores that don’t drug test their employees (already my standard policy, and believe me, they’re there, you just need to look–I live in a state that has only decriminalized but is nowhere near legalizing yet, and I somehow manage to do all my shopping at non-testing stores, so it’s not impossible). We could make more of an impact if we started writing letters to those companies that test to let them know they are not winning any PR points from us, and that we would be more likely to shop there if they changed that policy.

      Imagine how much less money the testing industry would have to lobby our politicians and buy them off if they lost a lot of corporate customers because we made it more costly for them to test than the government tax kickbacks could give them. Plus, PR is important, and a major reason most companies test. If we started making corporate America aware that we are not impressed with their testing programs and actually disapprove of them, they might reconsider violating their employees.

      Given that we have the majority now and it seems to be exponentially increasing, I think we could do that and a whole lot more to promote legalization, end drug testing, and eliminate the failed Drug War.

    2. Elaine says:

      I think if everyone in America (minus those over 70 years of age and those profiting from prohibition) could vote on whether or not marijuana should be legal and regulated like alcohol (nevermind the fact that marijuana is about 100 times safer…) that the percentage voting in favor of legalization would probably be close to 90%.

      It’s disgraceful and shameful that our country continues this fierce predjudice towards a non-toxic plant that so many of us love!

      Pay Attention – Do Not vote for anyone who wants to continue prohibition; or is not for ending prohibition! We have got to get rid of these parasites that are keeping America from living up to it’s potential. Locking up good Americans by the hundreds of thousands each years because of idiotic marijuana laws hurts us all more than most people would ever imagine!

    3. TheOracle says:

      The NYC mayoral election could be used as THE Jerico event that makes the walls of cannabis prohibition crumble. If you get a pro-cannabis mayor who allows cannabis sales for medical and recreational purposes, not dissimilar to Amsterdam-style coffeeshops, barring a ballot or legislation that gets voted on to legalize cannabis regardless of New York state law. All Governor Cuomo has to say then is he’s not going to waste state resources to enforce prohibition where the public clearly doesn’t want cannabis prohibition enforced in the city. That puts even more pressure on the feds to enforce their own prohibition on cannabis, something they are ever increasingly understaffed and underfunded to do all by themselves. Feds are used to relying on state and local law enforcement to do their bidding.

      Wall Street should actually welcome the savings and income stream coming into the legal economy from the underground economy.

      NYC ought to have a really great selection of types of cannabis products, not only for the residents but also for the tourists. Another great reason to visit. Looks like Alec Baldwin on MSNBC is the Big Apple guy, having interviewed DeBlasio already.

      NYC needs to go for the money grab from legal cananbis so they don’t have to wind up like Detroit or some of these other cities that keep kicking their problems down the road to future adminstrations.

    4. Alex M. says:

      Its just like a republicant to do all kinds of evil greedy things and then to turn around with a straight face and blame the democrats! Socialists? Try republicans comitting espionage trying to default and shut down gov cause theyre childish and lost. Bad move. Damage is done… To them! On another note
      Weed should at least be legal for scientific purposes so we can see if its really bad or good for EVERYONE! Not smoking for a while cause I have school. God bless

    5. Anonymous says:

      You don’t need 58% nationwide, you only need 5% in Ohio and Florida.

    6. i really hope that it is made legal worldwide
      if you support prohibition then you support organized crime

    7. jeb says:

      Polling is not an exact science. The actual number of Americans and American residents who want cannabis legalized is likely much higher.

      Some have resigned themselves to total secrecy after observing what the police have learned is “proper procedure” regarding an essentially harmless medicine when compared to anything less.

      Let’s see, some unknown person calls you for a poll and asks you if you approve of a fraudulent scheduling of drugs that has kept cannabis from legalization, and that is used to rationalize imprisonment, forfeiture, or killing, without any sound reasoning or justification.

      How likely will people be to say “yes I approve getting rid of that law” when they’ve had lies and appeals to fear forced on them through social engineering and conditioning that has created a knee-jerk reaction of associating “cannabis” and “bad” together in an incoherent, unquestioned reaction in the mind. Someone said it’s impossible to hold two contradicting thoughts simultaneously in the mind, but social engineering has proved that false, since “bad” is something that law enforcement does TO you for your own choices.

      There are more factors involved. 58% is very high, considering there were likely respondents who would even lie and say “no” even though it’s not in their hearts. In a police state that denies reason, sincerely and honestly good reasons for some policy or contrived “law” still exist, who the hell will say they support going against big brother? to a stranger who calls?

      The percentage for legalization is without doubt, larger than the figure realized.

    8. mexweed says:

      @Dunkerella, google this Senator with keywords like “tobacco”, “cigarette” etc. to check how much campaign money he received from a predatory empire with “collateral damage” of 6,000,000 premature deaths a year. Republican candidates have been getting almost twice as much tobacco money as Democrat through recent years. Legal cannabis will make one-hitters and vaporizers unambiguously legal, eliminating any excuse for Hot Burning Overdose Monoxide “joint” or $igarette format, causing tobacco industry profits to crash.

    9. Judy says:

      Isn’t it sad and ironic that in a supposedly democratic and free country that our leaders at the highest levels of our Govt are still not paying any attention to this issue. Oh, I’m sure they know about it but as far as actually doing what is clearly the will of the people, they continue to either bury their heads in the sand or to fund only studies looking for potential dangers of our favorite herb since they have been paid for by one or more organizations to keep prohibition in place.

      They disgust me and I wish to God that every voter out there would take note and get rid of these people as soon as they get the chance!

    10. TheOracle says:

      The worldwide legalization of cannabis needs to give the U.S. more geopolitical hegemony if the political elite and power elite are to let it happen.

      1. Cannabis will be traded in U.S. dollars on international commodity markets and stock exchanges.

      2. Areas of cannabis production and trade will be open to both U.S. government and its asset corporations and NGOs, and will provide information and intelligence in new regions, hopefully more reliable intelligence.

      Norht Korea, Middle East, South America, Latin America, wherever cannabis is produced and traded they can make it legal and the poor dirt farmers, campesinos, don’t have to fear the drug lords because it will be legal and everyone will have a legal recourse.

      3. Legal cannabis can provide legal, taxable businesses and JOBS!

    11. pk1 says:

      Unfortunately this country is becoming more and more about what the corporations want and less about what the American citizen wants.

    12. Miles says:

      @Jeb – My experience has proven that your words about people being reluctant to admit their true wishes regarding marijuana. Almost everyone I know who uses marijuana is also employed and would lose their job if their employer found out. Others fear their children could be taken from them. The, there’s also the fear of incarceration… I’m pretty sure that a large number of our Senators and Congressmen believe that marijuana should be legal but keep silent out of fear.

      IF we could have a nationwide vote to let the people decide whether or not to legalize marijuana in this country, I’m about 99% sure it would pass.

      IF our senate and congress could have a hidden vote it would probably pass. As it is, when they vote it goes on their record and, out of fear, most of them choose what they believe to be the safe answer; i.e. to continue prohibiton.

      Indeed, out of everyone I know who consumes marijuana (and I have known many in my lifetime), I am the only one who is doing anything to try to help change the law or who makes any donations to marijuana related organizations like NORML.

      It is really sad and utterly ridiculous that America must endure this idiocy and to live in fear of law enforcement. This could once again be a great country if we could get past this great stain on our country and start working together again – users and non-users.

      Factoid – every single non-user I’ve debated the prohibition issue with has agreed that it should be legal; 100%!!! (That would be approximately 50 people over the years…)

      One more thing – I find it very difficult to believe that President Obama truly believes that prohibition should continue. He is one of us in that he too speaks and votes out of fear rather than doing what is truly in our hearts and what is truly the right thing to do. At least he has come a great deal closer to doing the right thing than any president since Jimmy Carter; who in my opinion is the greatest president to have served during my lifetime.

    13. Anonymous says:

      Cannabis legalization has been stagnating in committe in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, yet there is a strong need for it to move forward. Our politicians needed to be shamed into legalizing cannabis, at the very least for medical reasons, because if they don’t they might as well make a media announcement saying they don’t give a shit about this girl or whether she lives or dies.

      Item: Article from 10/28/2013 Lancaster Newspaper

      Mother of daughter with epilepsy makes case for medical marijuanaIntelligencer Journal
      Lancaster New Era

      Updated Oct 28, 2013 10:13

      Originally Published Oct 28, 2013 00:09
      By TOM KNAPP
      Staff Writer
      tknapp@lnpnews.com

      Dana Ulrich is seeing her daughter disappear.

      “Lorelei used to play and laugh and do what kids do,” Ulrich says of her 6-year-old blond-haired girl.

      “I see that Lorelei fading day by day. She rarely smiles, she rarely plays. She barely eats. She’s fading away before my eyes, and these are side effects of the medicines she’s forced to take every day.”

      Lorelei, her mother explains, has epilepsy.

      “It is intractable in nature. That means that, over the last four years, she hasn’t had any successful treatments,” Ulrich says.

      Medical marijuana might help. In fact, recent trials have shown great success in treating children with similar conditions, Ulrich says.

      “I’ve been researching alternative options for almost a year now, looking online mostly, researching everything I can. That’s the thing that kept popping up,” she says.

      “Initially, I disregarded it.”

      Then, in August, CNN aired a documentary, “Weed,” that featured a medical marijuana success.

      In the program, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reversed his opposition to medical marijuana.

      “It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana,” Gupta said.

      “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

      Charlotte — the young girl featured in the documentary — saw a decrease from 300-plus seizures per week to just one or two, Ulrich says.

      “Marijuana has been proven to significantly decrease or stop altogether seizure activity,” she says.

      The problem for Lorelei is that marijuana — even when used solely for medical reasons — is still illegal in Pennsylvania.

      Ulrich, who lives on the Berks County side of Reinholds, is trying to change that.

      “She actually broke my heart the other night,” Ulrich says. “I have been very forthright with her about her condition — you know, she doesn’t really understand her condition because she’s had it since before she was 2 years old, so it’s normal for her.

      “But she asked me, ‘Why won’t those people let me have my cannabis medicine? If they know it will help me get better, why can’t I have it?’ She doesn’t understand why she can’t have it, and I can’t really give her a good explanation.”

      ***

      Specifically, Ulrich says, Lorelei has “primary generalized epilepsy — that’s a trash can diagnosis when they don’t have a more specific name to put on it.”

      What it means, though, is Lorelei has seizures.

      “Our best estimate is about 400 seizures a day. That’s down — she was having 1,400 a day. That’s about a seizure a minute,” her mom says.

      They’re not the convulsive seizures typically associated with epilepsy, Ulrich explains.

      “She’s unconscious for just a few seconds at a time. Her speech will slur off. If she’s walking, she might continue to walk … but she’s not aware what’s going on around her.”

      A teacher might not even notice Lorelei is experiencing a seizure, Ulrich says. And that, she worries, is impacting the girl’s ability to learn.

      Lorelei is now in first grade at Whitfield Elementary School in Wilson School District. She spends part of her day in a life-skills program and the rest in a mainstream classroom, her mother says.

      Developmentally, she says, Lorelei is closer to 4 years old than 6.

      “She started having seizures about two months before her second birthday,” Ulrich recalls. “She was developing normally, hitting all of her milestones. She was doing great.”

      It took four or five months before she was diagnosed, she says.

      Initially, doctors thought Lorelei had childhood absence epilepsy, a variety of the disorder that is more easily treatable and is often outgrown with puberty.

      Then, they changed their diagnosis to something more serious — and almost certainly permanent. Epilepsy can in some cases be controlled, but not cured.

      So far, Ulrich says, attempts to manage Lorelei’s epilepsy have failed.

      “She’s been on at least 10 different medications, and various combinations of those medicines,” she says. “She also was on a ketogenic diet” — a special eating plan that tries to trick the patient’s body into thinking it’s starving — “for four months — and that was also a failure.”

      It all brings Ulrich back to the marijuana issue.

      The medical form of the plant that Lorelei needs is administered without smoking — the medicinal parts are extracted, Ulrich explains, so there is no potential for a “high” from using it.

      “These kids would not be smoking it. They would not get high. Most of the legislators I’ve talked to didn’t know that.”

      Lorelei’s doctors “are very much on board,” she adds. “If it could be legalized in Pennsylvania, they would administer it.”

      But Harrisburg stands in their way.

      Ulrich, along with other parents in the state who are in similar positions, have been taking their case to state senators and representatives, as well as to the governor’s office and to Washington, D.C.

      “We are getting a lot of resistance from, particularly, the GOP. We kind of expected that,” she says.

      Currently, she says, House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 770 are being discussed; both bills would legalize marijuana for medical use only.

      “Right now, those bills are just sitting on the lawmakers’ desks. We’re trying to get them to vote on them,” Ulrich says.

      Another roadblock is Gov. Tom Corbett, who has said he’ll veto any legalization bill.

      “If Tom Corbett gets re-elected, it will be a very long time before we get relief,” Ulrich says.

      She and other parents will rally for support at the capitol rotunda beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 18.

      “The GOP is worried that people will take advantage of the system,” Ulrich says — that people will be able to get marijuana who don’t have a medical need for it.

      “We get a lot of sympathy,” she says. “But they’re worried — what if it gets out of control?”

      She adds, “If you really look at the war on drugs, that war has been lost. It’s already in the wrong hands. If it was legalized and regulated, we might have more control.”

      Ulrich promotes her cause online at “Legalize for Lorelei,” a Facebook group, and operates a blog — with petitions — at mmj4l.com.

      ***

      In August, the Landover, Md.-based Epilepsy Foundation noted on its website the apparent success of treating Dravet syndrome — a rare form of epilepsy with uncontrollable seizures — using marijuana.

      After CNN aired its documentary, the organization in turn gave a guarded endorsement of the medical option.

      “The Epilepsy Foundation is open and committed to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy — assuming they are proven safe and effective. This includes medical marijuana (cannabis),” the statement reads.

      “However, research into medical marijuana and seizure control is not complete. We are in favor of research that evaluates cannabis’s effectiveness so as to better inform and help the millions of individuals who live with epilepsy.”

      The foundation links to an article on the medical use of marijuana in cases of epilepsy at epilepsy.com. The article, dated September 2011 and revised in September 2013, is equally cautious in its endorsement.

      “Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and a small clinical study from a number of years ago suggests that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures,” it states. “However, there are conflicting reports in the literature. So far, no clear, definitive, solid evidence exists to show marijuana helps seizures.”

      Public opinion seems to be on Ulrich’s side.

      According to poll results on Gallup.com, a majority of Americans for the first time favor legalization of marijuana — not for medical use, specifically, but for recreation.

      The recent poll says support for legalization surged 10 points over the past year, to 58 percent. The first time Gallup asked the question — in 1969 — only 12 percent of respondents favored legalization.

      Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/911113_Mother-of-daughter-with-epilepsy-makes-case-for-medical-marijuana.html#ixzz2j3GCkFnY

      Mother of daughter with epilepsy makes case for medical marijuanaIntelligencer Journal
      Lancaster New Era
      Updated Oct 28, 2013 10:13
      Reinholds
      Lorelei Ulrich
      Lorelei gets a hug from her father, Jason Ulrich, after he…

      Lorelei with her brother, Lucas.

      Six-year-old Lorelei Ulrich and her mother, Dana Ulrich, r…

      Lorelei Ulrich, left, plays with her sister, Jolan.

      Lorelei Ulrich, 6, in the middle, poses with her family: b…
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      Tom Corbett (637)
      Epilepsy Foundation (4)
      Originally Published Oct 28, 2013 00:09
      By TOM KNAPP
      Staff Writer
      tknapp@lnpnews.com
      Dana Ulrich is seeing her daughter disappear.

      “Lorelei used to play and laugh and do what kids do,” Ulrich says of her 6-year-old blond-haired girl.

      “I see that Lorelei fading day by day. She rarely smiles, she rarely plays. She barely eats. She’s fading away before my eyes, and these are side effects of the medicines she’s forced to take every day.”

      Lorelei, her mother explains, has epilepsy.

      “It is intractable in nature. That means that, over the last four years, she hasn’t had any successful treatments,” Ulrich says.

      Medical marijuana might help. In fact, recent trials have shown great success in treating children with similar conditions, Ulrich says.

      “I’ve been researching alternative options for almost a year now, looking online mostly, researching everything I can. That’s the thing that kept popping up,” she says.

      “Initially, I disregarded it.”

      Then, in August, CNN aired a documentary, “Weed,” that featured a medical marijuana success.

      In the program, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reversed his opposition to medical marijuana.

      “It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana,” Gupta said.

      “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

      Charlotte — the young girl featured in the documentary — saw a decrease from 300-plus seizures per week to just one or two, Ulrich says.

      “Marijuana has been proven to significantly decrease or stop altogether seizure activity,” she says.

      The problem for Lorelei is that marijuana — even when used solely for medical reasons — is still illegal in Pennsylvania.

      Ulrich, who lives on the Berks County side of Reinholds, is trying to change that.

      “She actually broke my heart the other night,” Ulrich says. “I have been very forthright with her about her condition — you know, she doesn’t really understand her condition because she’s had it since before she was 2 years old, so it’s normal for her.

      “But she asked me, ‘Why won’t those people let me have my cannabis medicine? If they know it will help me get better, why can’t I have it?’ She doesn’t understand why she can’t have it, and I can’t really give her a good explanation.”

      ***

      Specifically, Ulrich says, Lorelei has “primary generalized epilepsy — that’s a trash can diagnosis when they don’t have a more specific name to put on it.”

      What it means, though, is Lorelei has seizures.

      “Our best estimate is about 400 seizures a day. That’s down — she was having 1,400 a day. That’s about a seizure a minute,” her mom says.

      They’re not the convulsive seizures typically associated with epilepsy, Ulrich explains.

      “She’s unconscious for just a few seconds at a time. Her speech will slur off. If she’s walking, she might continue to walk … but she’s not aware what’s going on around her.”

      A teacher might not even notice Lorelei is experiencing a seizure, Ulrich says. And that, she worries, is impacting the girl’s ability to learn.

      Lorelei is now in first grade at Whitfield Elementary School in Wilson School District. She spends part of her day in a life-skills program and the rest in a mainstream classroom, her mother says.

      Developmentally, she says, Lorelei is closer to 4 years old than 6.

      “She started having seizures about two months before her second birthday,” Ulrich recalls. “She was developing normally, hitting all of her milestones. She was doing great.”

      It took four or five months before she was diagnosed, she says.

      Initially, doctors thought Lorelei had childhood absence epilepsy, a variety of the disorder that is more easily treatable and is often outgrown with puberty.

      Then, they changed their diagnosis to something more serious — and almost certainly permanent. Epilepsy can in some cases be controlled, but not cured.

      So far, Ulrich says, attempts to manage Lorelei’s epilepsy have failed.

      “She’s been on at least 10 different medications, and various combinations of those medicines,” she says. “She also was on a ketogenic diet” — a special eating plan that tries to trick the patient’s body into thinking it’s starving — “for four months — and that was also a failure.”

      It all brings Ulrich back to the marijuana issue.

      The medical form of the plant that Lorelei needs is administered without smoking — the medicinal parts are extracted, Ulrich explains, so there is no potential for a “high” from using it.

      “These kids would not be smoking it. They would not get high. Most of the legislators I’ve talked to didn’t know that.”

      Lorelei’s doctors “are very much on board,” she adds. “If it could be legalized in Pennsylvania, they would administer it.”

      But Harrisburg stands in their way.

      Ulrich, along with other parents in the state who are in similar positions, have been taking their case to state senators and representatives, as well as to the governor’s office and to Washington, D.C.

      “We are getting a lot of resistance from, particularly, the GOP. We kind of expected that,” she says.

      Currently, she says, House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 770 are being discussed; both bills would legalize marijuana for medical use only.

      “Right now, those bills are just sitting on the lawmakers’ desks. We’re trying to get them to vote on them,” Ulrich says.

      Another roadblock is Gov. Tom Corbett, who has said he’ll veto any legalization bill.

      “If Tom Corbett gets re-elected, it will be a very long time before we get relief,” Ulrich says.

      She and other parents will rally for support at the capitol rotunda beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 18.

      “The GOP is worried that people will take advantage of the system,” Ulrich says — that people will be able to get marijuana who don’t have a medical need for it.

      “We get a lot of sympathy,” she says. “But they’re worried — what if it gets out of control?”

      She adds, “If you really look at the war on drugs, that war has been lost. It’s already in the wrong hands. If it was legalized and regulated, we might have more control.”

      Ulrich promotes her cause online at “Legalize for Lorelei,” a Facebook group, and operates a blog — with petitions — at mmj4l.com.

      ***

      In August, the Landover, Md.-based Epilepsy Foundation noted on its website the apparent success of treating Dravet syndrome — a rare form of epilepsy with uncontrollable seizures — using marijuana.

      After CNN aired its documentary, the organization in turn gave a guarded endorsement of the medical option.

      “The Epilepsy Foundation is open and committed to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy — assuming they are proven safe and effective. This includes medical marijuana (cannabis),” the statement reads.

      “However, research into medical marijuana and seizure control is not complete. We are in favor of research that evaluates cannabis’s effectiveness so as to better inform and help the millions of individuals who live with epilepsy.”

      The foundation links to an article on the medical use of marijuana in cases of epilepsy at epilepsy.com. The article, dated September 2011 and revised in September 2013, is equally cautious in its endorsement.

      “Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and a small clinical study from a number of years ago suggests that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures,” it states. “However, there are conflicting reports in the literature. So far, no clear, definitive, solid evidence exists to show marijuana helps seizures.”

      Public opinion seems to be on Ulrich’s side.

      According to poll results on Gallup.com, a majority of Americans for the first time favor legalization of marijuana — not for medical use, specifically, but for recreation.

      The recent poll says support for legalization surged 10 points over the past year, to 58 percent. The first time Gallup asked the question — in 1969 — only 12 percent of respondents favored legalization.

      http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/911113_Mother-of-daughter-with-epilepsy-makes-case-for-medical-marijuana.html

    14. TheOracle says:

      Something needs to happen in Pennsylvania. The legislation is stagnating in committe in Harrisburg. Our politicians might as well come right out in a media appearance and say they don’t give a shit about this girl or whether she lives or dies. They’re mostly Republicans, and as one politician from Florida termed their view on health care, it’s die quickly. Well, I don’t want this girl or anyone else to have to continue suffering when cannabis can help them. I don’t want anyone who wants to relax with cannabis for adult recreation purposes to be forced to drink alcoholic beverages either.

      Mother of daughter with epilepsy makes case for medical marijuana

      Originally Published Oct 28, 2013 00:09
      By TOM KNAPP
      Staff Writer
      tknapp@lnpnews.com
      Dana Ulrich is seeing her daughter disappear.

      “Lorelei used to play and laugh and do what kids do,” Ulrich says of her 6-year-old blond-haired girl.

      “I see that Lorelei fading day by day. She rarely smiles, she rarely plays. She barely eats. She’s fading away before my eyes, and these are side effects of the medicines she’s forced to take every day.”

      Lorelei, her mother explains, has epilepsy.

      “It is intractable in nature. That means that, over the last four years, she hasn’t had any successful treatments,” Ulrich says.

      Medical marijuana might help. In fact, recent trials have shown great success in treating children with similar conditions, Ulrich says.

      “I’ve been researching alternative options for almost a year now, looking online mostly, researching everything I can. That’s the thing that kept popping up,” she says.

      “Initially, I disregarded it.”

      Then, in August, CNN aired a documentary, “Weed,” that featured a medical marijuana success.

      In the program, CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta reversed his opposition to medical marijuana.

      “It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana,” Gupta said.

      “We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

      Charlotte — the young girl featured in the documentary — saw a decrease from 300-plus seizures per week to just one or two, Ulrich says.

      “Marijuana has been proven to significantly decrease or stop altogether seizure activity,” she says.

      The problem for Lorelei is that marijuana — even when used solely for medical reasons — is still illegal in Pennsylvania.

      Ulrich, who lives on the Berks County side of Reinholds, is trying to change that.

      “She actually broke my heart the other night,” Ulrich says. “I have been very forthright with her about her condition — you know, she doesn’t really understand her condition because she’s had it since before she was 2 years old, so it’s normal for her.

      “But she asked me, ‘Why won’t those people let me have my cannabis medicine? If they know it will help me get better, why can’t I have it?’ She doesn’t understand why she can’t have it, and I can’t really give her a good explanation.”

      ***

      Specifically, Ulrich says, Lorelei has “primary generalized epilepsy — that’s a trash can diagnosis when they don’t have a more specific name to put on it.”

      What it means, though, is Lorelei has seizures.

      “Our best estimate is about 400 seizures a day. That’s down — she was having 1,400 a day. That’s about a seizure a minute,” her mom says.

      They’re not the convulsive seizures typically associated with epilepsy, Ulrich explains.

      “She’s unconscious for just a few seconds at a time. Her speech will slur off. If she’s walking, she might continue to walk … but she’s not aware what’s going on around her.”

      A teacher might not even notice Lorelei is experiencing a seizure, Ulrich says. And that, she worries, is impacting the girl’s ability to learn.

      Lorelei is now in first grade at Whitfield Elementary School in Wilson School District. She spends part of her day in a life-skills program and the rest in a mainstream classroom, her mother says.

      Developmentally, she says, Lorelei is closer to 4 years old than 6.

      “She started having seizures about two months before her second birthday,” Ulrich recalls. “She was developing normally, hitting all of her milestones. She was doing great.”

      It took four or five months before she was diagnosed, she says.

      Initially, doctors thought Lorelei had childhood absence epilepsy, a variety of the disorder that is more easily treatable and is often outgrown with puberty.

      Then, they changed their diagnosis to something more serious — and almost certainly permanent. Epilepsy can in some cases be controlled, but not cured.

      So far, Ulrich says, attempts to manage Lorelei’s epilepsy have failed.

      “She’s been on at least 10 different medications, and various combinations of those medicines,” she says. “She also was on a ketogenic diet” — a special eating plan that tries to trick the patient’s body into thinking it’s starving — “for four months — and that was also a failure.”

      It all brings Ulrich back to the marijuana issue.

      The medical form of the plant that Lorelei needs is administered without smoking — the medicinal parts are extracted, Ulrich explains, so there is no potential for a “high” from using it.

      “These kids would not be smoking it. They would not get high. Most of the legislators I’ve talked to didn’t know that.”

      Lorelei’s doctors “are very much on board,” she adds. “If it could be legalized in Pennsylvania, they would administer it.”

      But Harrisburg stands in their way.

      Ulrich, along with other parents in the state who are in similar positions, have been taking their case to state senators and representatives, as well as to the governor’s office and to Washington, D.C.

      “We are getting a lot of resistance from, particularly, the GOP. We kind of expected that,” she says.

      Currently, she says, House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 770 are being discussed; both bills would legalize marijuana for medical use only.

      “Right now, those bills are just sitting on the lawmakers’ desks. We’re trying to get them to vote on them,” Ulrich says.

      Another roadblock is Gov. Tom Corbett, who has said he’ll veto any legalization bill.

      “If Tom Corbett gets re-elected, it will be a very long time before we get relief,” Ulrich says.

      She and other parents will rally for support at the capitol rotunda beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 18.

      “The GOP is worried that people will take advantage of the system,” Ulrich says — that people will be able to get marijuana who don’t have a medical need for it.

      “We get a lot of sympathy,” she says. “But they’re worried — what if it gets out of control?”

      She adds, “If you really look at the war on drugs, that war has been lost. It’s already in the wrong hands. If it was legalized and regulated, we might have more control.”

      Ulrich promotes her cause online at “Legalize for Lorelei,” a Facebook group, and operates a blog — with petitions — at mmj4l.com.

      ***

      In August, the Landover, Md.-based Epilepsy Foundation noted on its website the apparent success of treating Dravet syndrome — a rare form of epilepsy with uncontrollable seizures — using marijuana.

      After CNN aired its documentary, the organization in turn gave a guarded endorsement of the medical option.

      “The Epilepsy Foundation is open and committed to exploring and advocating for all potential treatment options for epilepsy — assuming they are proven safe and effective. This includes medical marijuana (cannabis),” the statement reads.

      “However, research into medical marijuana and seizure control is not complete. We are in favor of research that evaluates cannabis’s effectiveness so as to better inform and help the millions of individuals who live with epilepsy.”

      The foundation links to an article on the medical use of marijuana in cases of epilepsy at epilepsy.com. The article, dated September 2011 and revised in September 2013, is equally cautious in its endorsement.

      “Evidence from laboratory studies, anecdotal reports, and a small clinical study from a number of years ago suggests that cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis, could potentially be helpful in controlling seizures,” it states. “However, there are conflicting reports in the literature. So far, no clear, definitive, solid evidence exists to show marijuana helps seizures.”

      Public opinion seems to be on Ulrich’s side.

      According to poll results on Gallup.com, a majority of Americans for the first time favor legalization of marijuana — not for medical use, specifically, but for recreation.

      The recent poll says support for legalization surged 10 points over the past year, to 58 percent. The first time Gallup asked the question — in 1969 — only 12 percent of respondents favored legalization.

      http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/911113_Mother-of-daughter-with-epilepsy-makes-case-for-medical-marijuana.html

    15. Growyourown says:

      @Evening Bud, FYI, SS and Medicare are not socialist programs. You have to have worked 10 full years and paid ss taxes for 40 quarters to qualify for any benefits. It’s your money with interest, not the governments’ handout. Anyway, like your thinking and handle. Keep up the good posts.

    16. I wonder..... says:

      They say a nation wide vote huh? No one asked me or anyone that I know, that number is sure to be higher! No pun intended. Got my vote!!

    17. TheOracle says:

      The ignorance in the article below speaks for itself. These politicians may not realize it, but as far as I am concerned their stance against medical marijuana is just another media exposure for politicians who are making fools of themselves to the public. I’l really like to know who the medical community is of whom they speak, and cite as a reason why they are not for legalizing MMJ to help this girl and many others.

      Hell, they might as well come right out and say they know better than Dr. Gupta and the kid’s doctors; they don’t truly give a shit about the little girl; and they’ll go up against the feds and shut down the government because of their opposition to ObamaCare but they won’t go to bat against the feds on pot which can really, factually help people like this kid, for example, right here, right now. Who believes this shit about prescription medicines not being taxes so it can’t be legalized because MMJ is a medine? So legalize MMJ in Pennsylvania without taxing it aready!

      ****

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      Related Topics
      Tom Corbett (642)
      Mike Sturla (327)
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      Gordon Denlinger (139)
      Ryan Aument (109)
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      Medical marijuana (4)
      Dana Ulrich (2)
      Originally Published Oct 30, 2013 17:34
      By TOM KNAPP
      Staff Writer
      tknapp@lnpnews.com
      If the Lancaster County legislative delegation in Harrisburg has its way, medical marijuana is unlikely to become legally available to ailing Pennsylvanians.

      “I don’t believe the majority of my constituents would support this legislation,” state Rep. David Hickernell, a Republican representing the 98th District, said in an email Tuesday.

      “If the bill comes before the House, I would vote no.”

      House Bill 1181 and Senate Bill 770 would both legalize marijuana for medical use.

      Neither bill is expected to come to the floor for a vote any time soon. If they did, approval is unlikely.

      “I am opposed and will remain opposed to … HB 1181 until the medical community makes the case that this is a medical necessity,” said Rep. Ryan Aument, a Republican who represents the 41st District.

      “To date, this case simply has not been made,” he said. “There is not broad agreement, nor support, within the medical community for the approach taken in HB 1181.”

      Aument said there are “numerous federal restrictions in place that stand in the way of effective implementation of a medical marijuana program.”

      Roadblocks include federal guidelines on insurance coverage and research, he said, as well as the legal right to deny jobs to patients using marijuana in any form.

      A proposal to tax medical-use marijuana is problematic since other prescription medications are not taxed, he added.

      Any action by state lawmakers may be moot unless there’s a change at the top. Gov. Tom Corbett, also a Republican, has said he’ll veto any bill legalizing any form of marijuana.

      Dana Ulrich of Reinholds, whose daughter Lorelei, 6, suffers from epilepsy, has raised the issue.

      Treatment with various medicines has failed to budge the disorder, Ulrich said. She believes — armed with a recent CNN documentary — that a form of medical marijuana can ease Lorelei’s condition.

      The girl suffers some 400 seizures each day, her mother said. Ulrich said Lorelei might gain relief from a marijuana extract that is ingested, not smoked, and has no psychoactive effects.

      Even so, state Rep. Keith Greiner, a Republican representing the 43rd District, said he’s against legalizing medical marijuana here.

      “If it would come up for a vote, I would vote no,” he said.

      “I really don’t believe that there is clear-cut evidence that medical marijuana would help solve that little girl’s problem,” he said Monday. “So, at this point, definitely a no.”

      However, he didn’t slam the door on the possibility of changing his mind.

      “If there’s convincing evidence, maybe I’d give it a second thought,” Greiner said.

      Rep. Mindy Fee, a Republican representing the 37th District, said Lorelei’s story “is tragic.”

      “I absolutely grieve for that family,” Fee said Monday. However, she said, “there are a lot of other tragedies out there where families lost their children to drug abuse.”

      That’s the bottom line for Fee when addressing the question of legalizing medical marijuana.

      “I am opposed to it,” she said. “I am going to stay opposed to it. … It puts our families, our children and our communities at risk.”

      Rep. Bryan Cutler, a Republican representing the 100th District, said debate at the state level is premature.

      “While several states have loosened their laws relating to medical marijuana, the substance is still illegal under federal law,” Cutler wrote in an email Tuesday, “and the federal government has consistently asserted … its authority to prosecute anyone found in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act.”

      He said, for instance, that the feds can seize inventory from medical marijuana dispensaries.

      “As a parent I sympathize with seeking medical treatment for your children and understand the desire to find anything that would help your kids,” Cutler said.

      However, medical trials are, at this time, “the only viable option for patients or their families seeking medical marijuana as a treatment,” he said. Ongoing clinical trials will “help shape the debate” if the federal government opts in the future to allow the use of medical marijuana.

      Rep. Steven Mentzer, a Republican from the 97th District, touted the use of Marinol — an FDA-approved synthetic cannabinoid marketed as a legal alternative to natural cannabis — as an option for the Ulrichs and other patients to consider.

      “There’s a lot of research yet to be done on cannabis,” he said.

      Before he can support a law like HB 1181, Mentzer said, he wants the FDA “to say aye or nay about this.”

      “If research shows that there are no harmful effects, I think we should do anything we can for people who are suffering from diseases like that,” he said.

      Rep. Gordon Denlinger, a Republican from the 99th District, said he’s open to further research.

      “I’m very open to medical research on non-smokable uses of cannabis and will be watching the development as research moves forward,” he said Wednesday.

      “I am somewhat concerned about recreational-use advocates who are riding this issue, riding the medical marijuana issue to try and push through recreational use and legalization,” Denlinger added. “Clearly some individuals are using the hardship of others to gain recreational-use legalization.”

      State Rep. Mike Sturla, who represents the 96th District, said Monday he’s “generally supportive of the concept, but as they always say, the devil’s in the details.

      “I can’t imagine it coming up in the House in the near future,” he added. “For those people who believe they can get some relief from it, that’s not good news.”

      Sturla, the county’s lone Democrat in the Legislature, said Pennsylvania is a socially conservative state, and he expects most lawmakers will wait to see how legalization for medical use goes in other states first.

      But the state House isn’t likely to bend, he said.

      “It looks like there’s going to be a huge hole in next year’s budget,” Sturla said. The Republican Party is interested in expanding gaming to fill the hole, he said.

      “Maybe if they could figure out a way to make money off of medical marijuana, they would,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can think of that would entice them.”

      Ulrich and other supporters may have an ally in the state Senate, however.

      Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican representing the 48th District, said doctors are best able to make decisions regarding drug use.

      Folmer said medical marijuana could be handled in the same way as narcotic painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet.

      “Under the same strict supervision of my medical professional, why would I not be able to have medical marijuana prescribed?” he asked. “If it can help pain and suffering, why not?”

      He blamed widespread opposition on misinformation.

      “Everyone seems to think that medical marijuana means they’ll be sitting around smoking a doobie,” he said.

      One reason Sen. Lloyd Smucker opposes Senate Bill 770 is a clause allowing patients, with a medical card provided by a doctor, “to have in their possession up to six plants, which I presume to mean they could grow it and use it as they see fit.”

      Like with narcotics, Smucker — a Republican representing the 13th District — said, any consideration of medical marijuana should include strong controls of its availability.

      “We have doctors that prescribe drugs that are more potent than marijuana,” he said. “However, marijuana has not been approved by the FDA, so it hasn’t gone through that rigorous review.”

      Smucker also noted that doctors in the area don’t seem to be lining up to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

      “I haven’t heard from doctors in my area that it is a drug that they’d like to prescribe,” he said. “Quite the opposite, in fact.”

      Sen. Michael Brubaker, a Republican from the 36th District, did not immediately return calls Tuesday and Wednesday.

      Ulrich — who runs a blog at mmj4l.com — and other supporters will rally to support medical-use marijuana at the capitol rotunda in Harrisburg at 9 a.m. Nov. 18.

      http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/912327_County-legislators-oppose-legalization-of-medical-marijuana.html

      Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/912327_County-legislators-oppose-legalization-of-medical-marijuana.html#ixzz2jKiJmerX

    18. Evening Bud says:

      @Growyourown

      Thanks for the kind words. My friend, not everyone has the same definition of socialist. Seems that some on the right (tea party far right) consider ANYTHING to do with govt to be socialist. (These people often refer to themselves as libertarian, but they are actually closer to being anarchists.) I agree with you that we pay into SS and Medicare; but I believe that they are social/economic programs, and a sign of an intelligent and evolved society.

    19. Dave Evans says:

      Oracle, you’d think it was still 1995 in PA…

    20. Eric Maksim says:

      I would like to reply to comments that removing marijuana testing from drug tests will somehow break the drug testing industry.

      There will be absolute minimal effect. The only instance that I can even think of is the do-it-yourself test kits that you buy at Walmart, etc that test ONLY for marijuana. Yes they may lose sales but employers and concerned parents will still continue about their business testing for actual narcotics.

    21. ????? says:

      Fifty-one percent of Americans say they think the issue is more about women’s health and their rights than about religious freedom, while 37 percent say the opposite. Among those who say the issue is about women’s health and rights, a strong majority (76 percent) say all employers should cover birth control. Among those who said the coverage issue was more about religious freedoms, a slim majority (53 percent) say all employers should be able to opt out.

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