Medical marijuana backers try to make their cause heard


Written by Caitlin Bowling

 

Margaret Wakefield is not a college student nor does she sport dreadlocks and Birkenstocks while chatting about how the world should focus more on peace and love.

Wakefield has short dark hair, pink fingernails and silver heart-shaped earrings. Wearing a printed shirt and sweater, the Cherokee resident is dressed as if she was going to a nice restaurant with a friend or just coming from church.

Despite her clean-cut appearance, Wakefield is a vocal leader for, what some may find, a surprising cause — medical marijuana.

Wakefield’s mother died from cancer a year ago, and the life-changing event has made her very open and passionate about allowing people suffering from chronic illnesses to use cannabis as a form of treatment.

“If I had known then what I know now … (my mother) would have had some to smoke everyday,” said Wakefield, a member of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network, a nonprofit with the end goal of passing a medical marijuana bill. Medical cannabis is legal in 16 states and in Washington, D.C. Another 17 states have seen bills introduced.

The N.C. Cannabis Patients Network has about 700 members, most of whom range from age 30 to 60 and beyond, Wakefield said. Members are also allowed to remain anonymous.

“We are just wanting to be able to grow our own medicine,” she said. “We are trying to get our rights back.”

There is currently a bill in a N.C. House of Representatives committee, which NCCPN hopes will be voted on either during the upcoming short legislative session in April or when the newly elected General Assembly leaders meet next year.

House Bill 577, a.k.a. the Medical Cannabis Act, would allow people with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis (to name a few), to receive prescriptions for medical marijuana from their doctors. Studies have shown that cannabis can increase one’s appetite and offer pain relief.

The state would also profit from the legalization of medical marijuana. Within four years, the state would realize about $250 million in revenue from the production and sale of cannabis each year, according to the bill.

However, Wakefield understands that the organization is in for a tough fight in this Bible Belt state, especially since some are hesitant to sign their name in support of such a controversial bill. When asked what the biggest obstacle to the bill’s passage was, Wakefield immediately spouted the Republicans.

“They tend to be a lot more conservative than Democrats,” she said.

But even when the General Assembly was under a Democratic majority in previous years, similar efforts went nowhere.

While marijuana carries a stigma for its use as a recreational drug, allowing medical marijuana is not tantamount to opening the floodgates of illegal use, supporters claim. Many synthetic pharmaceutical drugs are abused in street settings but are still legal for their perceived medical benefits.

One Democratic state representative from Buncombe County has already put her support behind the Medical Cannabis Act.

Patsy Keever, who is serving her second term of office in the N.C. House of Representatives, said her husband suffered for three years before he died of cancer, and his pain medication was in pill form.

“He couldn’t swallow,” she said.

If medical marijuana was available, her husband could have inhaled it in a vapor form, Keever said.

“Medical marijuana has been proven to treat the pain,” Keever said. “Anything that will just help somebody in pain and not harm them or anybody else seems like a no brainer to me.”

The bill being considered in North Carolina is much stricter than the one in California, Wakefield said.

In California, it is widely claimed that anyone can get a medical marijuana prescription by simply walking into a doctor’s office and saying you have a problem. In North Carolina, patients looking for a prescription would have to have a relationship with their physician, which includes a full medical assessment and the doctor’s willingness to provide follow-up care to determine the efficacy of the drug.

People who wish to grow or sell marijuana or marijuana-infused products, such as cookies or butter, will be required to pay a $5,000 licensing fee each year. That amount could increase to $10,000, pending possible amendments to the bill, Wakefield said.

Get involved

The North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network will hold a meeting at 2 p.m. on March 10 at Tribal Grounds Coffee Shop in Cherokee. Discussions will revolve around allowing the use of medical marijuana in North Carolina and educating people about the benefits of prescription cannabis. The meeting is open to the public.

828.497.9045.

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Ron Paul’s “Super Tuesday” Speech…


REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, DELIVERS REMARKS IN NORTH DAKOTA

 

SEE VIDEO HERE…

 
[*]
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

PAUL: … next year the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve by repealing the Federal Reserve Act. (APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed! End the Fed!

PAUL: But a lot has happened in the last four years. These problems have been going on for a long time. It’d be nice if we could blame one person or one administration, but it’s been going on a long time, so — so many young people here, I think you’re realizing you’re getting a bad rap for what you’re inheriting. You’d like a much better deal. And the deal — the better deal can be found in less government and only sending people to Washington who have actually read the Constitution and will obey the Constitution and take their oath of office seriously…

(APPLAUSE)

… which would be — which would do so many wonderful things for us. Take, for instance, if you’re tired of the wars — I hope you’re sick and tired of the wars that we’re involved in…

(APPLAUSE)

… what if we had the return to the Constitution. The founders made sure in the document in the Constitution that the wars would only occur not by the executive branch, but only by the people, through their representatives in Congress. That’s the way all wars should be declared. If necessary, they should be declared, won, and get them over with, and come home. That’s the way it was supposed to be done.

(APPLAUSE)

But since — since World War II, we have gone to war without a declaration. And for that reason, we essentially have not won one of those wars. It has added a lot of tragedy.

PAUL: Just in these past 10 years, these wars that we’re fighting in the Middle East, over 8,500 Americans have died, 44,000 have come back with serious injuries — and amputations and all kinds of problems — hundreds of thousands looking for help because of post- traumatic stress syndrome, at the same time, economically it’s been very damaging. It has added $4 trillion to our national debt. That is what you’re inheriting. This is the reason why it is so important, if you’re talking about peace and prosperity, you have to change the Constitution and have a lot less war and make a lot more sincere effort to promote the cause of peace.

(APPLAUSE)

But this has been going on for a long time, and both administrations have been doing this, and this is the reason that the message of liberty actually brings people together, because individuals see that the parties aren’t doing a very good job. You elect one party to cut the spending; they raise the debt and the spending, as well. Another party is supposed to do the job; they go in and nothing changes.

So if you look at the candidates today, there is very little difference, except for one.

(APPLAUSE)

The rest — the rest of the candidates support the status quo. Foreign policies never change. Monetary policy doesn’t change. There’s no challenge to the Federal Reserve system. And most of all, there’s no — no desire to protect personal liberty, personal privacy, protect us from the intrusiveness of the federal government, to protect your right to use — to use the Internet.

These are the kinds of things that are so important to so many people. And, unfortunately, that is not offered. I believe it is the offering up of a program that — that emphasizes personal liberty, the Constitution, sound monetary policy, and a sensible foreign policy is the reason the momentum is building and the reason why we’re getting such a great reception here in North Dakota.

By Kenneth W. Smith Jr.  |  10:21 PM ET, 03/06/2012

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Resources for Kentuckians Affected by Friday’s Tornadoes


Resources for Kentuckians Affected by Friday’s Tornadoes

My staff in Kentucky has been on the ground surveying the damage from Friday’s tornado devastation. They have compiled the following information to share with affected Kentuckians and opportunities for those who wish to volunteer or donate items. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors. As more information comes in, we will send additional updates.

I would also like to offer my deepest sympathy and prayers to the families of those who lost their lives and all those affected by these horrific storms. I am dedicated to serving the people of Kentucky and it is times like these our state motto rings most true, as communities come together united for the good of the Commonwealth.

– Senator Rand Paul

###

VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS:

PERRY COUNTY – Hazard

Hazard National Guard Armory accepting donations through 5 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 4

BREATHITT COUNTY – Jackson
Jackson National Guard Armory accepting donations through 5 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 4
651 Armory Drive
Jackson, KY 41339
606-666-2440

KENTON COUNTY – Independence
Sprint Store – Accepting clothing, children’s items, water, food, cleaning supplies through 7 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
2081 Centennial Blvd.
Independence, KY 41051
859-363-9000

LAUREL COUNTY – East Bernstadt
East Bernstadt Fire Department – accepting volunteers and donations
2541 N US Highway 25
East Bernstadt, KY 40729
606-843-6511

AMERICAN RED CROSS
SAFE AND WELL PROGRAM

DONATIONS TO THE KENTUCKY CARES CAMPAIGN

  • Text "Redcross" to 90999
  • Drop off a check at any Central Bank location

SHELTERS:
ELLIOTT COUNTY – Sandy Hook
Elliott County High School
Main Street
Sandy Hook, KY 41171

GRANT COUNTY – Dry Ridge
Grant County High School
715 Warsaw Rd.
Dry Ridge, KY 41035

LAUREL COUNTY – London
Laurel Fire Department
911 TLC Lane
London, KY 40741

LAUREL COUNTY – East Bernstadt
First Baptist Church – East Bernstadt
226 School St.
East Bernstadt KY 40729
606-843-6211

LAWRENCE COUNTY – Louisa
Lawrence County High School
100 Bulldog Lane
Louisa, KY 41230

MAGOFFIN COUNTY – Salyersville
Magoffin County Health Department
132 E Mountain Parkway
Salyersville, KY 41465

MENIFEE COUNTY – Frenchburg
Menifee County High School
119 Indian Creek Rd
Frenchburg, KY 40322

MORGAN COUNTY – West Liberty
Morgan County High School
150 Road to Success
West Liberty, KY 41472
SEN. PAUL STAFF MEMBERS
Our office’s state staff is hard at work on the ground helping connect constituents with the resources they need. Please do not hesitate to contact the following staff – or the contact information at the top of this release – with updates to open shelters and donation sites.

Eastern Kentucky (including West Liberty/Morgan County)
Chris Musgrave
chris_musgrave@paul.senate.gov
859-338-7348

Bryan Mills
bryan_mills@paul.senate.gov
606-854-3296

Northern Kentucky (including East Bernstadt/Kenton County)
Bernie Kunkel
bernie_kunkel@paul.senate.gov
859-322-3499

Angel McClary Raich is dying of Radiation Necrosis and Brain Tumor…


 –  Jan 31, 2012  –  Public
ANGEL NEEDS HELP!!! Beloved Activist and Medical Marijuana activist – Angel McClary Raich is dying of Radiation Necrosis and brain tumor. Please join Angel’s brain tumor, radiation necrosis, and end-of-life support webpage!! Follow along and keep up-to-date with Angel Raich and her needs. Sign up to come visit Angel Angel McClary Raich, offer words of support with her loved ones, and offer much needed help. Not sure what to say to Angel learn helpful tips provided by caring pages. Please join Angel’s care pages.

http://www.carepages.com/carepages/angelraich

become a member. Why become a CarePages member? It’s a free, easy way to support your friend. Stay up-to-date on your friend’s health progress. Connect with other people like you.
FROM ANGEL RAICH:

Make Contributions
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Donations_Help_Angel_Raich.html

I’m writing you this letter today to give you some very unfortunate news! I am dying from Radiation Necrosis. (Cell Death) Patient’s who get radiation necrosis, do not survive, and there’s very little research. There is no treatment except to attempt to control my major brain seizures. Therefore, doctors at UCSF Medical Center -Department of Neurological Surgery and Neuro-oncology Clinic are keeping a very close eye on my condition. My new doctor is building a educated group of brain surgeons and neurologists on the team. Last year USCF Brain Tumor Center was ranked 1 of the top 5 brain center in the USA.

I am sure you are in shock, you are not sure how to respond, maybe afraid to be near someone you know who’s dying but please try to be here for me… I really need your support and your help.

Now I have brain MRI’s every 2 months. My body has already begun it’s decent! Doctors are still not quite sure of my timeline yet but suggested preparing for end-of-life. It may take a couple months to determine the rate of growth.

I am in tremendous pain every single second! I have already lost a lot of brain functions, motor function, balance, memory, and coordination just to list a few. To make matters worse I am having serious and major seizures. Some seizures have lasted up to 20 minutes and have stopped my breathing. December 2011-present I have been rushed to ER several times because of these seizures. Right now, doctors would like to brain surgery again, however, due to my past brain surgery complications it’s to harmful to do the same surgery they preform on other patients. Therefore, my doctors are in the process of attempting to control them using seizure mediations. Please continue to read more about my medical condition…

VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME!!
PLEASE CONTACT ANGEL TO SCHEDULE A TIME.
“Physical Connections” to people will help Angel live as long as she can and give her the will, strength, and desire to keep fighting to stay here on earth!

READ MORE ABOUT ANGEL RAICH’S HEALTH & MEDICAL CONDITION
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Angel_Raichs_Brain_Health_Update.html

MAKE A DONATION TODAY!
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Donations_Help_Angel_Raich.html

WHAT IS RADIATION NECROSIS?

Radiation Necrosis, a focal structure lesion that usually a curse at the original tumor site, it a potential long term Central Nervous System (CNS) complication of radiosurgery or radiosurgery. Edema and the presence of the tumor render the CNS parenchyma in the tumor bed more susceptible to radiation necrosis. Radiation necrosis can occur when radiotherapy is used to treat primary CNS tumors, webcast the disease or head and neck malignancies. It can occur secondary to any form of radiotherapy modality or regimen.

WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS OF RADIATION NECROSIS?

Prognosis is related to the natural history of underlying tumor and the idiosyncratic nature of radiation necrosis. Some lesions may show no Internet the while others require multiple resections to relieve disability. While long-term survival is uncommon, prolonged survival in the context of radiation necrosis has been described. The next big real question is how does that relate to me? Well, I am dying…

LEARN MORE ABOUT RADIATION NECROSIS
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/What_is_Radiation_Necrosis.html

READ MORE ABOUT ANGEL MEDICAL CONDITION BY GOING TO:
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Angel_Raichs_Brain_Health_Update.html

MAKE A DONATION TO HELP ANGEL RAICH:
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Donations_Help_Angel_Raich.html

CHECK OUT ANGEL’S VIDEO JOURNALS ON YOUTUBE:
http://www.youtube.com/

MAKE A DONATION TODAY!

MAKE A DONATION VIA ANGEL’S WEBSITE!
http://www.angeljustice.org/angel/Donations_Help_Angel_Raich.html

BACKGROUND:

WHO IS ANGEL RAICH?

It’s hard to believe after all these years of fighting to stay as healthy as possible my life is coming to a graceful, painful, end… I have create and made history. I have been to the US Supreme Court in two cases and in 2012 my third. I sued John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales for the right to posses, use, and cultivate medical cannabis in a federal case that made history upon it’s filing and again when we one in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This case may have had the appearance of being only about medical cannabis, but in fact, the case won and went to the US Supreme Court using the Commerce Clause. What does this have to do with Obama Care? The “mandate & tax” is commerce. Therefore, it’s my Gonzales v. Raich case both side are using as their legal arguments heading to the US Supreme Court again now.

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: www.angeljustice.org

PLEASE DO NOT CALL BEFORE 10AM
ANGEL’S CELL 510-915-6069

CALL ANGEL FOR HER HOME ADDRESS.

SKYPE: angelraich

ANGEL’S MAIN MEDICAL CENTER

UCSF Medical Center at Parnassus
505 Parnassus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 476-1000
For mail, please use the zip code 94143-0296
http://www.ucsfhealth.org/maps_and_directions/

WHEN ANGEL IS RUSHED BY AMBULANCE:

Whenever I am rushed to ER by ambulance they take me to either Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley or Summit Hospital in Oakland.

Alta Bates Hospital Campus

2450 Ashby Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 204-4444
http://www.altabatessummit.org/visiting/altabates_directions.html

Summit Hospital Campus

Merritt Pavilion:
350 Hawthorne Ave., Oakland, CA 94609
Providence Pavilion:
3100 Summit St., Oakland, CA 94609
Providence Pavilion South:
3012 Summit St., Oakland, CA 94609

Main Phone for all Summit Campus locations:
(510) 655-4000
http://www.altabatessummit.org/visiting/summit_directions.html

SB 129 Medical marijuana, Legislative Concerns


February 29, 2012

Now that Kentucky’s Senate has proposed a bill allowing for the medical use of marijuana, Senate Bill 129 The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act filed by State Senator Perry Clark, legislators will have to seriously consider the proposal. I’m pretty sure the majority of Kentucky’s legislators have not done this before. In truth, one can find out everything known about marijuana, good and bad, by going to two sources. The Marijuana Policy Project, MPP, has in it’s library an extensive list of studies, reports, state by state comparisons and general knowledge regarding marijuana and especially information on medical marijuana. MPP can be accessed at MPP.org, click on issues and a list of the various aspects of marijuana will come up. The other clearing house for all things marijuana is The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, NORML, which also has an extensive library which can be accessed at NORML.ORG. One can get a ton of government information from the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug Czar’s office but with the governments 40 year history of misinformation about marijuana and the current government pronouncement that there is no medical value to marijuana, anything they say on the subject is certainly suspect.
Currently 16 states and the District of Columbia have medical marijuana and all of Kentucky’s neighbors are currently working on their own medical marijuana laws. This means that medical marijuana has passed 16 senate and 16 house judicial, public safety and health and human services committees. In addition Congress, in voting to allow the District of Columbia to have medical marijuana, may have inadvertently allowed it for the whole country!
What might be the concerns of legislators considering medical marijuana? Certainly teen access to marijuana would be a concern. So far studies have shown a decrease in teen use in states with medical marijuana laws, regulation making it harder for teens to acquire. Another concern might be drugged driving. Laws are currently in place regarding DUI, however, on an anecdotal level, I read the paper every day and watch the local news. In the last 10 years I have only seen 1 story of a marijuana caused accident on the news and the story changed 2 days after it ran. On top of that, an estimated 22 million people in America smoke marijuana on a regular basis. If driving is a problem with marijuana, where are all the reports of marijuana related accidents? Some concerns were raised in California about increased crime in neighborhoods where marijuana pharmacies and facilities are located. Studies on the issue showed that because of the facilities’ security measures, cameras and such, crime in the vicinity of these facilities is lower because they are there. Kentucky has an extremely bad problem with prescription drugs and especially opioid pain killers like oxycontin. As a legislator my concern would be how medical marijuana laws impact this problem. So far studies show that medical marijuana users decrease their use and dependence on prescription drugs. Veterans in Medical marijuana states have reported stopping pain meds completely when using marijuana or only needing minimal amounts to cope with their conditions. Finally as a legislator considering medical marijuana for my state I would be concerned about Federal raids on state medical marijuana facilities. One can only rely on the Justice Department’s word that they only raid facilities that are not in compliance with state law. Given the challenges to prohibition policy with 6 states having full legalization on the ballot in November, the government might have to finally reconsider prohibition entirely.
On the pro side of the ledger medical marijuana has alleviated the pain and suffering of thousands of patients, and created thousands of jobs in states with controlled distribution like California, Colorado and Michigan to name a few. It creates large sums of revenue for the State, has decreased costs for police and courts, has spread a wave of economic activity thru the states that have it and decreased the use of prescription painkillers.
As a legislator, (if I were one), would I vote to allow medical marijuana in Kentucky?
Given all available information I would have to vote a resounding yes!

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Senator Ken Winters’ Frankfort Report


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 28, 2012

Senator Ken Winters’ Frankfort Report

FRANKFORT – After a pause for President’s Day, the Legislature moved into the second half of the 2012 General Assembly Session. I had visits from groups representing adult day health care providers and developmental disabilities. Many Boy Scout troops came to Frankfort for the annual Boy Scout Day at the Capitol. It was a pleasure to see these civic-minded boys and young men and their dedicated troop leaders and parents.

Of the bills we focused on this week, two were of particularly high profile. Senate Bill 1 would restrict the legislature to appropriating no more than 6 percent of General Fund revenues to bonded indebtedness. This is a level generally accepted as the standard by bond rating agencies, as well as a threshold the legislature has historically attempted to operate within. As long as I have been a member, the Senate has always passed a budget with less debt than either the Governor’s or the House’s proposals. We cannot continue paying off the Visa with the MasterCard.  I voted for the bill because setting the limit in statute will provide an additional safeguard against high debt levels in the future, as well as make it easier to prioritize critical programs and services when determining budget allocations.

The measure excludes debt for universities, the Kentucky Housing Authority, and other agencies using funds outside the General Fund, including the stand-alone Road Fund. It also contains a provision allowing the General Assembly to exceed the cap by a majority vote if the Governor declares a state of emergency that would require additional funds. Senate Bill 1 will now go to the House for their consideration.

Much has been reported about Senate Bill 151, a bill that would have placed on the November ballot for voter ratification a constitutional amendment authorizing casino gambling in Kentucky. However, the bill also included language that would constitutionally protect one industry over others. Many felt troubled by the vague language of where the revenue would go. And others were simply opposed because they felt that basing the state budget on the ability of their own citizens to be on the losing side of a slot machine or blackjack table is wrong and bad public policy. The bill was defeated 21-16.

Small group sessions continue studying the budget. We are waiting for the House to take action on the budget as they are constitutionally required to do first. But their apparent delay has not stopped the Senate from looking closely at what the Administration is requesting.

Even though there are less than 30 working days left in this legislative session, there is still plenty of time to get involved and have your voice heard on the issues that matter to you.  I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and concerns.

To learn more about the Kentucky General Assembly and the work of the 2012 Regular Session, visit our home page, www.lrc.ky.gov.  You can also call 1-800-633-9650 for a taped message containing information on legislative committee meetings.  To check the status of a bill, you may call the toll-free Bill Status Line at 1-866-840-2835.  To leave a message for me, or any legislator, call the General Assembly’s toll-free Message Line at 1-800-372-7181.

###

Note: Senator Ken Winters (R-Murray) is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.  He also serves on the Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection Committee.  Sen Winters is also a member if the Budget Review Subcommittee on Education and the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee.  He represents the 1st Senate District which includes Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, and Trigg counties.  For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Winters, please log onto www.lrc. ky.gov/pubinfo/ephoto.htm.

Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life by grtv


 

Open Seeds: Biopiracy and the Patenting of Life

by grtv

As the world begins to digest the implications of intellectual property for online censorship, another IP issue threatens an even more fundamental part of our daily lives: our food supply. Backed by legal precedent and armed with seemingly inexhaustible lobbying funds, a handful of multinationals are attempting to use patents on life itself to monopolize the biosphere.

Find out more about the process of patenting life and what it means for the food supply on this week’s GRTV Backgrounder.

Transcript and sources:

The oft-neglected legal minefield of intellectual property rights has seen a surge in public interest in recent months due to the storm of protest over proposed legislation and treaties related to online censorship.[1] One of the effects of such legislation as SOPA and PIPA and such international treaties as ACTA is to have drawn attention to the grave implications that intellectual property arguments can have on the everyday lives of the average citizen.

As important as the protection of online freedoms is, however, an even more fundamental part of our lives has come under the purview of the multinational corporations that are seeking to patent the world around us for their own gain. Unknown to a large section of the public, a single US Supreme Court ruling in 1980 made it possible for the first time to patent life itself for the profit of the patent holder.

The decision, known as Diamond v. Chakrabarty, centered on a genetic engineer working for General Electric who created a bacterium that could break down crude oil, which could be used in the clean-up of oil spills.[2] In its decision, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled that:

“A live, human-made micro-organism is patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101”

With this ruling, the ability to patent living organisms, so long as they had been genetically altered in some novel way, was established in legal precedent.

The implications of such a monumental ruling are understandably wide-reaching, touching on all sorts of issues that have the potential to change the world around us. But it did not take long at all for this decision’s effects to make itself felt in one of the most basic parts of the biosphere: our food supply.

In the years following the Diamond v. Chakrabarty decision, an entire industry rose up around the idea that these new patent protections could foster the economic incentive for major corporations to develop a new class of genetically engineered foods to help increase crop yields and reduce world hunger.

The first commercially available genetically modified food, Calgene’s “Flavr Savr” tomato, was approved for human consumption by the Food and Drug Administration in the US in 1992 and was on the market in 1994.[3] Since then, adoption of GM foods has proceeded swiftly, especially in the US where the vast majority of soybeans, corn and cotton have been genetically altered.

By 1997, the problems inherent in the patenting of these GM crops had already begun to surface in Saskatchewan, Canada. It was in the sleepy town of Bruno that a canola farmer, Percy Schmeiser, found that a variety of GM canola known as “Roundup Ready” had infected his fields, mixing with his non-GM crop.[4] Amazingly, Monsanto, the agrichemical company that owned the Roundup Ready patent, sued Schmeiser for infringing their patent. After a years-long legal battle against the multinational that threatened to bankrupt his small farming operation, Schmeiser finally won an out-of-court settlement with Monsanto that saw the company agree to pay for the clean-up costs associated with the contamination of his field.

In India, tens of thousands of farmers per year commited suicide[5] in an epidemic labeled the GM genocide.[6] Sold a story of “magic seeds” that would produce immense yields, farmers around the country were driven into ruinous debt by a combination of high-priced seeds, high-priced pesticides, and crop failure. Worst of all, the GM seeds had been engineered with so-called “terminator technology,” meaning that seeds from one harvest could not be re-planted the following year. Instead, farmers were forced to buy seeds at the same exorbitant prices from the biotech giants every year, insuring a debt spiral that was impossible to escape. As a result, hundreds of thousands of farmers have committed suicide in the Indian countryside since the introduction of GM crops in 1997.

As philosopher, quantum physicist and activist Vandana Shiva has detailed at great length, the effect of the invocation of intellectual property in enabling the monopolization of the world’s most fundamental resources was not accidental or contingent.[7] On the contrary, this is something that has been self-consciously designed by the heads of the very corporations who now seek to reap the benefit of this monopolization, and the monumental nature of their achievement has been obscured behind bureaucratic institutions like the WTO and innocuous sounding agreements like the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Although the deck appears to be stacked in favour of the giant multinationals and their practically inexhaustible access to lobbying and legal funds, the people are by no means incapable of fighting back against this patenting of the biosphere.

In India itself, where so much devestation has been wrought by the introduction of genetically engineered crops, the people are fighting back against the world’s most well-known purveyor of GMO foods, Monsanto. The country’s National Biodiversity Diversity Authority has enabled the government to proceed with legal action against the company for so-called biopiracy, or attempting to develop a GM crop derived from local varieties of eggplant, without the appropriate licences.[8]

Although resistance to the patenting of the world’s food supply should be applauded in all its forms, what is needed is a fundamental transformation in our understanding of life itself from a patentable organism to the common property of all of the peoples who have developed the seeds from which these novel GM crops are derived.

This concept, known as open seeds, is being promoted by organizations around the globe, including Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya organization.[9]

PLEASE CONTINUE READING HERE…

Medical Marijuana : “Gain” one right, loose others


drugsandotherthings

I am a medical marijuana patient. Which in my state grants me certain rights- the right to ingest cannabis. The right to purchase it at dispensaries. And the right to grow (a limited amount) of cannabis. And of course- all these rights come with the major caveat- they are still forbidden under federal law, a lwa whose enforcement can, and does change, at the whim of not only the current administration, but of the non-elected people in power within the many federal agencies.

But the point I want to make here- is the loss of my freedom of travel. While nearly a third of the states have medical marijuana laws- most have no provisions to recognize patients from other states. So- IF I travel out of state, whether as part of my job, or to visit family or friends, for pleasure, or to see another doctor/specialist- I once again become…

View original post 210 more words

We are ANTI-PROHIBITIONISTS! We are "Constitutionalists"! We are "Overgrowing the Government"

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