Medical Marijuana Patients Opposing Federal Approval of ... Medical Marijuana

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Standing Up Against... Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana can be good for the brain. No less an authority than the federal government's Department of Health and Human Services says so: HHS awarded to a group of doctors in 2003 a patent titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants," which recognized cannbinoids' value as a "neuroprotector" to combat dengeration of brain function in patients suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, HIV-related dementia, and other neurological ailments.

At this very moment, New York City-based Kannalife Sciences is seeking a license from the Department of Health and Human Services to develop medicines under this patent that would help treat hepatic encephalopathy, a decrease of brain function stemming from liver disorders.

Oddly enough, vocal opposition to this very specific use of medical marijuana is coming from a group of Los Angeles-based medical marijuana patients. The Union of Medical Marijuana Patients objects to the "hypocrisy" of the government potentially awarding patents to use pot medicinally while simultaneously locking up pot users, and enjoins other advocates of the drug to oppose awarding the patent to Kannalife in a petition on its website.

HHS is accepting public comment on Kannalife's proposal up until the end of business today, according to Betty Tong, a licensing and patent official with the department.

If the grant is awarded, Kannalife could begin pre-clinical trials of its cannabinoid-based medicine in about 18 months, according to Dean Petkanas, the company's New York-based CEO. The company can, legally and without violating the Controlled Substances Act, acquire the necessary cannabinoids from university or pharmaceutical sources, Petkanas told SF Weekly on Friday.

This kind of federally sanctioned use of pot -- if the grant is indeed awarded -- might sound odd, but it's not unprecedented: The government approved a THC-based pill called Marinol in the 1980s, and GW Pharmaceuticals is, at this moment, conducting U.S. government-approved tests of another marijuana-derived drug, called Sativex.

Yet it's certainly raised the hackles of the Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, which "does not believe that granting one corporation the exclusive right to develop and sell medical cannabis will serve the greater public interest in ensuring patient access," according to a posting on its website under the heading "Help Stop Government from Issuing Exclusive License for Medical Cannabis."

"It is a grave injustice that patient associations in California are now facing a coordinated and comprehensive attack by the DOJ, while one pharmaceutical company in New York stands to profit tremendously from the monopolization of medical cannabis thanks to the HHS," stated the union's James Shaw. "While such discrepancy among federal departments frustrates the democratic principle of equal protection, inconsistency exhibited within the Department of Health and Human Services itself is even more reprehensible."

This has raised a stir on the Interwebs among cannabis patients, one of whom posted an angry question on Kannalife's Facebook page, as the national cannabis blog Toke of the Town pointed out. "You guys get exclusive rights to a USD Gov't patent on medical marijuana as they put CA & CO dispensaries out of business?!" one posting read.

When contacted by SF Weekly for an interview, union officials directed inquiries to a secretary spokeswoman, who clarified that the union's objection to Kannalife's grant application isn't so much against this very specific use of medical marijuana, but to the "federal government's hypocrisy." Fair enough: A federal agency awarding research grants would seem to fly in the face of repeated remonstrations from the Justice Department -- like U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who last week met with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) to remind him that the plant is deemed medically worthless -- that cannabis is illegal.

It's possible that the union might be overreaching a bit. After all, Kannalife is years away from developing medicines to combat brain function disorders in liver failure-sufferers, and is not currently in the running for any other marijuana-derived medicines, Petkanas said.

"I have nothing negative to say about the union," Petkanas said, while adding that the union may have "jumped the gun a bit" in its knee-jerk opposition to Kannalife's drug proposal.

And this gun-jumping is evident on Kannalife's Facebook page, where a host of folks purporting to be cannabis patients have posted angry screeds opposing the company. "KannaDeath," one wrote. "The whole thing smacks of corruption," wrote another.

It would be odd if these medical marijuana patients are successful in convincing the feds to limit the medical use of marijuana. As Petkanas opined, "In the theater of war, one might call it getting killed by friendly fire. How sad."

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Kelly E. Dvorak
Kelly E. Dvorak

Let me start off by saying sarcastically, thank you to the federal government. First of all children and adults are told to get a better education so that they can become smarter, that is a waste of time for millions of people. Secondly, since people have spent most of their lives working for an education they end up becoming punished by our federal government that is supposed to be all about making peace and helping others in need. Billions of other's and myself have a problem with unethical decisions that not only is killing our children but are forcing them to create substances that not only illegal but are deadly. Substances such as imitation marijuana, with children and adults being forced to get a better education due to the fact that the parents or students can be charged with or arrested when a child does not attend school due to truancy laws. Furthermore, our government seems to not understand the difference between laws of judgement and the laws of life. Now if we cannot balance the budget,  then how they sit back and make decisions on laws that they think will help us when in actualization they permit us with becoming stronger and united. I thought this is the United States not the United Political Party.  We cannot even agree upon a single president due to the fact that we are taught in school how to debate and state our own opinion or facts. One thing that totally confuses me is the privacy act. If I am at home all of the time and not creating any problems at all or harming anyone, then why can the police not be charged with an act of terrorism when they break the door down and point guns at our family and animals then shoot an animal for unmoral reasons. This is why we went over sea's to police the other countries because of people and our country being endanger. Sorry but if someone wants to grow pot and smoke it in their home is their decision, and as long as they do not leave their home unless it is to go to the hospitable. Their are now police and judges being prosecuted with marijuana charges, the same officials that put many marijuana growers and patients in jail. Come on now,    there has to be a change done today not tomorrow because what happens if another country decides that they are fed up with the U.S. and uses a nuclear bomb that supposedly does not exist. Our government should at least make a temporary law for 4 years that will allow for doctors to make the best decisions for their patients on marijuana and let people grow in their homes for personal use. However in the same respect, anyone that is illegally transporting marijuana without a doctor prescribed card for on ounce be punished by a minimum of $25,000 dollar fine and minimum of 5 years in prison. This will include first timers and will double each time that offender is caught. This will not only free up the prison but boost moral which will indeed help the economy by increase sales of homes and merchandise. This would also help our local police focus their time more wisely and get more support from the community. Another thing that could be mandatory to help the government local, state, and federal is that when this law gets passed that every person in their town must sign a paper that states they will do 500 hours of community service for support during the four trial years. Many people whether they are elderly or disabled could do some type of service such as mowing, picking up trash, painting, removing hazardous waste, fixing computer systems, building, etc... Why not get support from our community and help our officers not only know who is in their town but put each persons talents and jobs to good use. The end result would also show the other countries that by making one good law can make a major difference to us and make or country a United country that has respect for ourselves and others that we are helping. If I am not mistaken do we not want to teach our children right from wrong and what it is to be an example to others. That is all that I have to say, and if you want to know more about me you can email me at hightechredneck68@lycos.com just state that you want to hear my short life stroy and I will send you my life biography. Thanks for listening

Lililives
Lililives

I bet they are secret immoderate alcohol drinkers :P

Alcohol is the top gateway drug in existence. It had made them confused as to their goals.

Ban alcohol and funnel the federal funding money for alcoholism treatment to cannabis legalization, development, and distribution.

The unlimited patent set for marijuana alone would revolutionize the food and drug industries. We'd have all the jobs we'd ever need.

No one will ever have a complete hold on marijuana. It is a constantly evolving plant. People need to learn that there is enough for everyone if we learn to share.

Konajoe
Konajoe

wherever the feds give an inch, Anyone who is for medical use should use such an opportunity to allow freer access for the larger community

Tony Martin
Tony Martin

Damn, didn't Elvis Presly and Rock and Roll music go through this same bull s hit in the 1950's

Legald6269
Legald6269

HHS doesn't grant patents.  The US Patent Office does.  The grant of the patent doesn't mean that the claims of the persons requesting the patent are true or accurate.

Web design London
Web design London

The only solution is a formal federal policy that allows states to regulate cannabis themselves, free of any federal interference. 

Matthew Meyer
Matthew Meyer

I can't help wondering how this proposed federal rulemaking, discussed by Paul Armentano back in March, relates to what KannaLife is up to:http://metrotimes.com/mmj/phar...  

I do know there are drug warriors around here who want Sativex to become available so they can further their war against people who grow and consume herbal cannabis.

MIKE YEVTUCK
MIKE YEVTUCK

Peyote or Mescalito is the best free medicine out there.  and it grows in the southwestern deserts of Arizona and southern Calif and its free. you just gotta know where to look. I been cutting Peyote-Mescalito in the same desert locale since 1974 and there is plenty left and new sprouts growing all the time.

MIKE YEVTUCK
MIKE YEVTUCK

Its easy to get illegal pot and plenty of it so quit your whining sniveling and complaining. just go buy it from your local hippie pot dealer or a member of any local biker gang. there is plenty of grass out there for all of you to get stoned on and or healed  for your body pains. or go with out it I dont care.

anechoicmedia
anechoicmedia

Once any medicine derived from cannabis (Marinol, Sativex, etc) is made proprietary via patents our future will be filled with big Pharma maintaining their bottom lines and protecting their profits by lobbying Govcorp for stricter enforcement so they can sell their concoctions to the public. 

One need only look at Monsanto and what they've done to poor farmers in various parts of the world. This is the future of cannabis IF we let the US Gov't grant exclusive rights to their patents on cannabinoids. Cannabis is an open source plant && science and patents do not mix!

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

As long as you can grow your own,who cares?

anechoicmedia
anechoicmedia

Because you won't be able to fill your bowl or grow your own crop for much longer if Govcorp gets their way.  Look at Monsanto and what they've done to farmers for example.

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

I know plenty of medmj people,we all help each other,I know that my situation is not the norm,but I hope it is not that unique either.One thing we might agree on is that the current situation only serves the drug cartels and drug cops.

anechoicmedia
anechoicmedia

my point was that patients who don't grow their own medicine are not helped by private growers with their own seed banks - this is what the situation used to be, i.e. underground markets, and what we don't want to have again...

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

Sure it does. Most all growers grow for Sinsimillia,without seeds,and if people can't get clones how will people grow their own? My community will have seeds,and that is a good thing.

anechoicmedia
anechoicmedia

that is good for you but doesn't help the community at large

PhilDeBowl
PhilDeBowl

Friends have good supply of seeds and have commited to growing for seeds next season.

anechoicmedia
anechoicmedia

IF - cannabis was NOT a schedule 1 drug - the US gov't didn't deny that cannabis has real medical value while handing over exclusive cannabinoid patent rights to private companies - people were allowed to consume cannabis without fear of the law - medical researchers were freely able to conduct cannabis research without needing permission... - the gov't wasn't shuttering dispensaries in CA, CO & MI - there weren't so many people in jail right now for simple possession - KannaLife were working for the benefit of the mmj community instead of protecting their own investment and research - KannaLife agreed to make all their findings and progress open to the public (like the cannabis genome mapping project did) THEN KannaLife might not get so many 'negative' comments from the public regarding their *exclusive' rights to a patent held by the US gov't for a plant that's been used by humans for over 5000 years

dbcooper
dbcooper

This is simple for me. I have AIDs, Cannabis helps me. I would never remain silent in any court room or anywhere else.  For those who dont like it?  tough. get over it. seek counseling.

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

I'm so mad I could spit.. this is farce.. our government is tossing one of our own in jail every 27 seconds for simple possession.. over a million simple possession charges every year that result in our own people being tossed in jail for nothing more than marijuana...

In the meantime the US government is working back room deals to privatize and industrialize marijuana in the name of the almighty dollar.. while they are working overtime to toss grandpa and grandma's suppliers in jail and take all their valuables along the way as well.

STOP IT.. the time has come.. it's all been a game and a lie and I for one am sick of being lied to and the US government acting like we are all retarded.

Then you have doctors like the guy in the op ed yesterday who said that if a boxer gets caught with marijuana in their system they should be banned from the sport because marijuana is dangerous.. 

Of course two guys bashing each others face's in is not dangerous at all.. only the marijuana.

The BS has to stop.. 

PatientPatient
PatientPatient

Whether cannabis is rescheduled to a II, III, IV or even a V, state medical cannabis laws will still stand. In fact, if it were rescheduled & state laws didn't stand, you wouldn't be able to grow it yourself (only pharmaceutical companies can produce controlled -- aka scheduled -- substances). Codeine is a CIII & yet it's still illegal to produce your own codeine.

That said, I'm all for rescheduling -- research showing cannabis' medical utility will increase, pharmaceutical products will be developed that will help those in less friendly states & countries (like marginally effective Marinol & Sativex do now), & perhaps even the imaginary monster known as "marihuana" will be but a memory replaced by the reality of cannabis.

BunnyOle
BunnyOle

The only reason it hasn't been legalized before is because Pharmaceuticals don't want it to be. People who felt like shit suddenly start feeling better & don't suck down their body killing drugs.  Fucking government.

Sean
Sean

Jump the gun....my butt.  They are standing up for their civil rights on medicine.

Locdasmoke
Locdasmoke

Getting killed by friendly fire?? What BS!! The reason people are upset is because our fellow patients and care givers keep getting raided, shut down, locked up and sometimes even killed by the Feds, but a company who wants to monopolize off our medicine is all ok?? The Feds keep claiming cannabis has no medicinal value, but yet us patients no it truly does and the Feds know it too because they got a patent on it! If the Feds made cannabis a schedule 2 drug instead first and then went and gave Kannalife the ok to create their medicine, then most likely people wouldn't be upset, but right now there's a war going on between the Feds and the medical cannabis and the only way to end it is to reschedule cannabis as a schedule 2 or even 3 drug! Cannabis is not dangerous, it's a medicine that God put on this earth! Time to legalize both cannabis and industrial hemp!!

PatientPatient
PatientPatient

Rescheduling won't do anything to resolve the dispute between medical marijuana states & the Feds (see my other post).

The only solution is a formal federal policy that allows states to regulate cannabis themselves, free of any federal interference.

Case in point: cocaine is currently a CII drug, yet the DEA will swoop on anyone producing it, distributing it or (theoretically) possessing it even if state laws allow for it. Scheduled drugs can only be produced by DEA licensed pharmaceutical firms & not by individuals.

higher57
higher57

As a CO mmj patient, I am glad to see this happen. Yes, it's hypocritical of the gov't, but this isn't the first (or the last) time. The history of prohibition of marijuana is mired in racism. But until we show them its healthful benefits, that racially based bias won't change. 

Good luck, KannaLife!

Matthew Meyer
Matthew Meyer

Problem is, there are anti-cannabis folks mired in the culture war over pot who are just champing at the bit to have one more reason to tell us the prohibition on herbal cannabis is justified.

KannaLife may not be to blame, but they, and GW Pharmaceuticals, makers of Sativex, certainly may be used by the feds to this end.

PatientPatient
PatientPatient

Yep, but state laws still stand regardless of cannabis' federal scheduling status.

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