Why I Support the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment

petition.jpgThe Constitution of the State of Ohio
Bill of Rights  Article 1:, Section 1

States that Ohioans are, “by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.”  Every word of this preamble is honored in our proposed amendment titled the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment.
 
Our rights to live our lives as free people was enshrined in our State Constitution by our forbearers and was defended over the centuries by our bravest citizens.  Many of those defenders of freedom are in attendance today and I wish to take this moment to thank them for their service to us all.  These Veterans and other ailing Ohioans want nothing more than to exercise these stated rights and decide for themselves how best to enjoy their lives and seek happiness and safety.
 
My name is John Pardee, the President of The Ohio Rights Group.  My mission began 5 years ago when my son was severely injured in a car accident.  And my need to advocate on his behalf, lead me to start advocating on behalf of all suffering Ohioans.  This journey lead me to find the amazingly talented and caring people that have formed The Ohio Rights Group.  Unlike me, many of these fine folks have dedicated their lives to reform.  These internationally recognized experts have spent decades spreading the truth about cannabis and fighting against an unjust system. What these fine people have taught me is that we Ohioans are not powerless.  Unlike many states, we Ohioans have the ability to amend our state constitution by popular vote and by the voice of the majority we can chart our own destiny independent of any entrenched legislative body.
 
I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me longing to tell their own personal stories of anguish and helplessness to anyone who really cares and can effect meaningful change.  Like me, these good people have found a voice in the Ohio Rights Group.  I’ve met an endless parade of chronically sick people who come to me saying how their ever-present pain is abated by it and they use it to get out of bed in the morning and sleep soundly at night.  There are an estimated 931,000 Ohioans who live with chronic pain.  All of these people, if they so choose, could benefit by allowing them safe access to the various therapeutic compounds found in this amazing plant.  The science is in; cannabis is safe and effective for treating the many physical and cognitive ailments that currently plague millions of our people.
 
So why am I here?  I stand here and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves for fear of losing their jobs or their earned benefits or being branded a pothead.  I have news for all of you, these “potheads” are your doctors, your lawyers, your ministers, your veterans, your teachers, and business owners who come from every walk of life who know that this plant is safe and they have used it for years all the while doing their jobs with professionalism and pride.  The Ohio Rights Groups proudly speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves.
 
I do this for the thousands of young people, whose lives have been ruined by the failed war on cannabis.  Over 25,000 Ohioans per year are arrested for their involvement with cannabis.  We spend over $203 million dollars per year to arrest, prosecute and jail our people.  All this does is destroy their lives and slam shut the door of employment and opportunity. I want our young people to be our future, not our ward.  I want them to be celebrated and educated, not indicted and convicted.  I want them to be doctors, and lawyers, and carpenters and programmers not inmates and felons, ex-cons, and parolees.
 
I do this because we, as a nation, are failing our returning veterans. The VA estimates that we are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide.  This is a national disgrace.  Too many of these heroes are perishing by their own hand because the nation is failing miserably at providing them the care they so bravely earned.  Why are we vilifying a therapy that so many veterans credit for helping them through their darkest hours?  These Ohio vets served their country honorably so that I, and the rest of you, can live free.   So I am honored to join them in this struggle so they in turn can be freed from the lingering shackles of war.
 
I do this to reinvigorate Ohio’s family farms. Hemp is a deep-rooted plant that will aerate their soil, add a low maintenance and profitable crop to their rotation and give them a measure of independence from the encroachment of big agribusiness. There is evidence that Hemp can be grown more than a dozen years without soil depletion or reduction in yield.  Let’s let Ohio farmers decide if hemp is right for their futile fields.
 
I do this because I’m tired of millions of dollars that leave our state in brown paper bags headed across the border to enrich foreign drug cartels.  That money could be used right here to start new businesses, feed Ohio families and contribute to the tax base needed to rebuild our rusting economy.  I want to take this product out of the hands of the cartels and put it in the hands of shop owners and healers.   When the DEA and foreign drug cartels agree that maintaining cannabis prohibition is a good idea, then you know damn well, the system is broken and it’s time to set it right.
 
And any politician who claims to be a budget hawk and supports continued prohibition is either a lobbyist lapdog or a damned fool.  This ill-conceived ban on cannabis costs the nation over $7 billion in enforcement and forgoes over $6 billion in potential tax revenue.  From a strictly fiscal responsibility standpoint, the first thing we should cut isn’t social security and it isn’t veteran’s benefits.  It’s time to scuttle the Federal Prohibition on Cannabis once and for all.
 
I do this as a proud Ohioan, one who is tired of watching all of the innovations being created in other states and the medicinal values being unlocked in other countries.  I want to see this plant grow the Ohio economy, grow our tax base, grow our infrastructure and grow our research and development sectors.  Passage of the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment will grow our prominence in all industries that connect to this dawning economic sector; like biofuels, textiles, health foods, biodegradable plastics, medical research, building materials and the rest of the 50,000 uses already known and the thousands more uses yet to be discovered.
 
I’m also doing this job because those in Columbus and Washington have failed to do theirs.  Many of these politicians have known for decades that this plant is harmless, and in fact, quite beneficial in many circumstances, yet they did nothing.
 
And to that end, we Ohioans have a unique opportunity to help all suffering Americans by citizen decree.  We all know that Ohio is THE epicenter of national politics.  When we sneeze, Washington DC gets a cold.  So here we are Ohio; the heart of it all, standing on the cusp of history.  We have a strong political wind at our back on this issue. More than 70% of Ohioans support allowing our citizens the right to safe access to therapeutic cannabis and more still support industrial hemp production.  Americans from California to Michigan to Maine are fully behind ending the Federal Prohibition on cannabis and returning the rights of self-determination back to the citizens of those states.   The only thing standing in our way is the hard-wired intransigence of our federal government.  People of America hear our call.  We want you to look upon Ohio and our movement as the spearhead aimed at the heart of Federal prohibition.  Help us change Ohio and in doing so, we will help free you from the ruinous, expensive and antiquated prohibition on cannabis.  It’s time to put our suffering citizens at the front of the line for a change.  It’s time to tell our elected leaders, that we’ve had enough.
 
Enough of your decades of inaction while people suffer in pain.
Enough of your ignorance about the safety and benefits of cannabis.
Enough of your fear mongering and spreading lies to aid your corporate pals.
We Ohioans and the Ohio Rights Group say no more.
No more delays, no more empty promises.
We are taking action because you have failed to act.  We will tolerate it no more.
No more ruining the lives of our young people by sending them to prison or fleeing to other states while you pretend to give a damn.
No more seizing a man’s property when his only crime is loving his ailing wife.
 
So, if you are like me, and you have had enough, please join us.
If you are tired of watching a loved one suffer pain with no safe options, join us.
If you want to support our veterans on and off the battlefield, join us.
If you want to see our young people as our future and not our burden, join us.
If you want to see family farms bounce back stronger than ever, join us.
If you want to see Ohio retool our rusting factories and forge a path to a new and greener economy, please join The Ohio Rights Group.
 
Anyone in America who hears our message, please help us.
Help us change Ohio and in doing so we can change America as a whole and finally, after all of these years of senseless suffering, we will be free.

Honored to serve,

John P. Pardee, President
The Ohio Rights Group

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We need to hear from our Veterans

We are failing our veterans, especially here in Ohio. If you are an Ohio vet, first, thank you so much for your service. Secondly, we need your testimonial. We need to know what life is like as a returning vet coming home to Ohio where you are denied safe access to what has been shown to be an effective medicine for PTSD and TBI. Please contact us ASAP by utilizing our "Contact" page.6-online-resources-for-veterans-seeking-jobs-98f61acf91.jpg

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Let's get this job done!

As you may know, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Association has transformed into the Ohio Rights Group. New name, same important mission of passing an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that ensures the rights of Ohio’s sick, dying and disabled to use cannabis therapeutically as medicine. We are honoring our commitment to your longstanding support with a motto of, let’s get this job done!call-to-action.jpg

Please visit our new website at:
www.ohiorights.org
and Facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/ohiorightsgroup.

And to our OMCA and Ohio Rights Group volunteers and followers, thank you so much for your support and patience while we organize and staff up. We are entering a very exciting phase in our movement right now. Please note that we have scheduled some critical meetings this weekend and we will be making some big announcements in the coming weeks. We also want you to know that the ORG website will be getting an extreme makeover, so keep checking back for developments. Get ready, we are approaching critical mass and soon our message will be all over this great state. Much needed change is on the horizon!

John Pardee, President
Ohio Rights Group

LET'S GET THIS JOB DONE!

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Annual Causes of Death in the United States - INFOGRAPHIC

LET'S GET THIS JOB DONE OHIO!

annual-deaths_1.jpg

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Doctors debate telling patients to smoke marijuana

By Mary MacVean

February 20, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

Perhaps you know whether you’d want to use marijuana to relieve severe pain or nausea. But if you were a doctor, what would you tell patients who asked about taking something that’s against federal law?

The New England Journal of Medicine poses the question to its readers and on Wednesday presented arguments for and against from doctors.

The hypothetical patient is 68-year-old Marilyn, who has cancer and who says the standard medications are not relieving her pain and nausea. She lives in a state that allows medical marijuana use and says her family could grow it. She is asking her primary care doctor for advice.

“I endorse thoughtful prescription of medicinal marijuana for patients in situations similar to Marilyn’s,” writes Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, representing one side. Doctors should turn to marijuana only when “conservative options” fail, he says.

“Simply to allow a patient with uncontrolled symptoms of metastatic breast cancer to leave the office with a recommendation to smoke marijuana is to succumb to therapeutic nihilism,” Drs. Gary Reisfield and Robert DuPont write on the other side.

Bostwick says that federal policy has not kept pace with scientific advances and that “largely anecdotal but growing literature supports” the efficacy of marijuana for pain and nausea that don’t respond to ordinary treatments.

With 18 states making legal medicinal marijuana, “the cannabis horse long ago burst from the federal jurisdictional barn,” Bostwick writes. He notes that the abuse of the state laws by some doctors should not prevent all doctors from being able to prescribe marijuana.

He also notes that the federal law has meant that no Food and Drug Administration trials have looked at it in comparison to traditional drugs.

If Marilyn had never tried marijuana as a recreational drug, Bostwick writes, she might not like its “psychoactive effects,” but if she feels better with it, “she would channel 5,000 years of medical history.”

In the “no pot” camp, Reisfield and DuPont argue that smoking marijuana is “nonmedical, nonspecific and potentially hazardous.” The cannabis plant, they write, has hundreds of pharmacologically active compounds that could lead to unwanted effects. Among the several possible negative results, they write, are effects on Marilyn’s cognitive and psychomotor abilities, such as driving, and effects on her health at a time when her immune system is compromised.

While the doctors say the issues surrounding marijuana should be discussed with Marilyn, “there is little scientific basis for recommending that she smoke marijuana for symptom control.”

Mary.MacVean@latimes.com

@mmacvean on Twitter

http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-doctors-debate-telling...

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U.S. Drug Czar: We will enforce federal marijuana laws

U.S. drug czar: We will enforce federal marijuana laws9:29 AM 02/20/2013  Robby SoaveReporter, The Daily Caller News Foundation

President Obama’s drug czar told a Canadian magazine recently that the federal government would still go after  growers and distributors, despite the recent ballot initiatives that decriminalized marijuana usage in those states.

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said he opposed state-based efforts to legalize marijuana.

“I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties,” he said in an interview with Maclean’s. “I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing.”

When asked whether drug legalization was similar to gay marriage—in that many states were passing laws in favor of it, despite continued federal opposition—Kerlikowske replied that the two issues have nothing in common.

“I don’t look at marijuana as a human right, or a civil right, or even in the same venue as gay marriage,” he said. “This is a issue.”

Proponents of marijuana legalization argued that Colorado and Washington are doing everything they can to respect federal law while still asserting their right to treat marijuana similarly to alcohol.

“The question is whether federal officials want these states to regulate marijuana sales and bring them above board, or keep them in the underground market where they are controlled by the cartels,” wrote Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are hopeful [federal officials] will see the benefits of regulating marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, and we are pleased to see the progress these two states are making toward doing just that.”

Even the president knows that policing recreational marijuana use is a waste of time and money, said Tvert.

“As President Obama has said, the federal government does not have the time and resources to go after adult marijuana consumers,” he wrote.

Public support for relaxing marijuana laws is at an all-time high. A majority of Americans believe states have the right to legalize pot without federal interference.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/20/u-s-drug-czar-we-will-enforce-federal-marijuana-laws/#ixzz2LT5vv9tz

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Rocky Mountain High

Pot tourism in Colo.? Marijuana regulators OK idea

DENVER (AP) — Marijuana tourism is on the way to Colorado, under a recommendation made Tuesday by a state task force to regulate the drug made legal by voters last year.

But Colorado should erect signs in airports and borders telling visitors they can't take pot home, the task force recommended.

Colorado's marijuana task force was assembled to suggest regulations for pot after voters chose to flout federal drug law and allow its use without a doctor's recommendation. Made up of lawmakers, law enforcement authorities and marijuana activists, the task force agreed Tuesday that the constitutional amendment on marijuana simply says that adults over 21 can use the drug, not just Colorado residents. If lawmakers agree with the recommendation, tourists would be free to buy and smoke marijuana.

"Imposing a residency requirement would almost certainly create a black market for recreational marijuana in the state," said Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat who sits on the task force.

Tourists could see purchasing caps though, possibly as low as an eighth of an ounce per transaction.

Afraid that marijuana tourism could open the door for traffickers to load up and take it across state borders for illegal sale, task force members agreed that non-residents should be able to buy only limited amounts, though a specific amount wasn't set.

"Marijuana purchased in Colorado must stay in Colorado," Pabon warned.

"We could attract greater federal scrutiny and displeasure of our neighbors," if marijuana flows across state lines, he said.

Task force members were less successful agreeing to recommendations on marijuana growing and public use. Colorado's marijuana law allows home growing but requires plants to be in a locked, secure location out of public view. The task force couldn't agree whether a "locked" and "secure" location would mean a backyard surrounded by a fence, or whether an enclosure such as a shed or greenhouse should be mandatory.

One of the task force's most vocal marijuana critics, Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson, worried that backyard pot gardens would need more than a chain-link fence to keep kids out.

Not all task force members agreed. User advocate Meg Sanders said the covering requirement wouldn't be fair to rural Coloradans.

"I think it goes too far in restricting what people can do on their own private property," Sanders said.

Public use also prompted a dispute that wasn't resolved Tuesday. Jackson and others wanted to ban marijuana use on publicly visible patios, porches and backyard. Marijuana activists chafed.

"So I can drink a beer on my porch? But I can't smoke a joint?" asked marijuana advocate Christian Sederberg.

State Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, said lawmakers would hesitate to regulate something legal people do on private property. What about backyard grills that send the smell of hamburgers into the nose of a neighbor who's vegetarian?, she asked.

"I don't know how far we want to go telling people what they can't do on their own porches," she said.

The porch marijuana question was left unsettled. Task force members also put off a decision on proposals from Jackson to exempt law enforcement from maintaining marijuana and marijuana plants seized during criminal investigations.

Potency and labeling recommendations for commercial marijuana will also be discussed later.

The task force has until Feb. 28 to recommend marijuana regulations, which will ultimately be set by the state Legislature and the Department of Revenue, the agency which oversees gambling and alcohol and will also regulate recreational pot.

{C}

Kristen Wyatt can be found on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt

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Sens. McConnell, Paul join forces to legalize Hemp

 Sens.  and  have announced that they will co-sponsor legislation that would allow American farmers to grow hemp legally.

Hemp is a non-drug variety of the cannabis plant — the marijuana plant — used for a range of consumer products, including rope, fabric, paper, soap and food. The bill would remove low-drug content hemp from federal classification as a Schedule I controlled substance.

The Republican pair is joined by “Oregon Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in introducing legislation to allow American farmers to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp,” according to a statement from McConnell’s office.

“I am proud to introduce legislation with my friend Rand Paul that will allow Kentucky farmers to harness the economic potential that industrial hemp can provide,” the Senate minority leader said in the statement. “During these tough economic times, this legislation has the potential to create jobs and provide a boost to Kentucky’s economy and to our farmers and their families.”

A bipartisan House version of the bill was introduced last week with 28 co-sponsors.

In announcing the bill, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said legalizing hemp would provide a new crop option for his family farm.

“My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up,” the Republican said in his statement. “Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit.  Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/18/sens-mcconnell-paul-join-forces-to-legalize-hemp/#ixzz2LGzHqGMg

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Woman pulled over after Ohio St. sticker confused for drug symbol

A 65-year-old woman was pulled over by police officers while driving through Tennessee after the officers mistook her car's Buckeye stickers— those commonly seen on the helmets of Ohio State football players — for a marijuana symbol.

"It's just amazing they would be that dumb," said Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni, which pretty much sums up this entire story.

Jonas-Boggioni and her husband, Giorgio Boggioni, 66, of Plano, Texas, were driving home through Tennessee from Columbus, Ohio, where they had attended a funeral for Jonas-Boggioni's mother.

The two were pulled over a few miles east of Memphis, along I-40, and were greeted by a pair of black SUVs containing officers wearing "body armor and guns," Jonas-Boggioni told Joe Blundo of The Columbus Dispatch.

<snip>

Before letting the pair off, officers told the couple that they should remove the Ohio State sticker from their car. "I said, 'You mean in Tennessee?" Jones-Boggioni said. "No, permanently," the officers replied.

No chance. Have you ever met an Ohio State fan? "I didn't take it off," Jones-Boggioni told Blundo. <snip>

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Top Policy director: Obama administration "has not done a particularly good job on drugs"

President Barack Obama’s drug czar this week exhaled a puff of protest at the White House’s laid-back attitude about the spreading conflict between federal drug laws and newly relaxed state laws on marijuana.

“The administration has not done a particularly good job of, one, talking about marijuana as a public health issue, and number two, talking about what can be done and where we should be headed on our drug policy,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told a Canadian magazine, who also indicated his opposition to the state decriminalization laws.

“I think a patchwork of policies would create real difficulties,” he said in the article, which was published online on Monday. “This is a public health issue. … I don’t see the legalization of drugs and making them widely available as a good thing, and I don’t think locking everyone up is a good thing, either.”

  

Over the last several years, several states — including California, Colorado and Washington state — have rolled back penalties for marijuana possession. (RELATED: Colorado law enforcement struggles with realities of legalized pot)

Kerlikowske’s criticism of Obama’s administration is mild but remarkable, because Obama’s deputies rarely openly criticize their boss on the record.

Obama has tried to ignore the drug-law conflicts, even as the nation’s uniform federal drugs laws have been converted into a national patchwork, with a series of states allowing what federal law forbids. He has continued federal prosecutions of marijuana drug possession.

In high school and college, Obama used marijuana. He and a group of drug-using friends in Hawaii described themselves “The Choom Gang.”

http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/11/top-policy-director-obama-administrati...

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