Vol. 20 May 1, 2010 Medical Marijuana

“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”    Ronald Reagan


“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can’t remember what they are.”       Matt Lauer

Number of states that have legalized medical use of marijuana: 14 (1)

Date that the federal Justice Department instructed the U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute persons using marijuana for medical purposes in compliances with those state laws: October 2009

Date that that “instructional memo” could be rescinded:  at any time, presumably by a “new administration”

Number of states that have a registration and ID system for medical users which can be used as a first defense in case of an arrest for possession: 12 of 14

Amount of marijuana permitted to be possessed by a person for medical use: ranges from 6 plants and 1 oz. in Alaska to 15 plants and 24 oz. in Washington

  • Does Sara know?
  • “Gee, officer, I can’t believe it. The last time I checked there were only 5 plants here. I have no idea where the other 100 came from.”

Number of states that have medical marijuana dispensaries established by state law:  1 – California, of course.

Estimated number of marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles:  600,”more than Starbucks stores” (2)

  • “One man’s latte is another man’s joint”
  • ” Do you want a tall, a grande, or a REAL venti?”

Number of specific diseases qualifying for medical marijuana use: 22

Number of additional  “debilitating conditions” qualifying:  3 –  hospice care, “other chronic medical condition”, and “any other medical condition approved by state agency”.

Earliest date that marijuana was suggested for medical uses:   2737 BC

First country to legalize marijuana for medical use:   Canada in 2001

Numer of celebrities that have died from prescription drug overdoses since 1962: 18

Number of those deaths involving marijuana: 0

Cost of 1 oz. of marijuana (about enough on average for 6 weeks of medicinal use) in Colorado: $350

Name of the trade organization for medical marijuana founded in Colorado in October 2009:  Colorado Wellness Association (2)

Number of medical literature articles between 1840 and 1900 describing the medical use of marijuana: 100 (3)

Major reason for decline of marijuana use and medical articles about it:  invention of hypodermic syringe and availability of opiates in 1850’s

Year that a tax ($1 an Oz.) on marijuana was imposed by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to control recreational use but which also increased greatly the regulatory burden on medical use and experimentation: 1937

Year that Cannabis was removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia and National Formulary:  1941

Year that the Institute of Medicine recognized the positive medical benefits of marijuana use:  1999

Number arrested in U.S. annually for use of marijuana for any reason:  750,000

1.NEJM 362:16, april 26, 2010, 1453-56 , Hoffman and Weber
2. USA Today, april 20, 2010
3. History of Cannabis, Lester Grinspoon, MD, DEA statement, August 15, 2005

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