Ohio takes aim at 2014 with popular initiative

The Leaf Online | November 11, 2013 | by Jane Hash

The Ohio Rights Group, headed by John Pardee, is leading the Buckeye State toward legalizing Therapeutic Cannabis and Industrialized Hemp. This swing-state has until July 3, 2014 to gather 385,247 valid signatures from registered voters to get their Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment (OCRA) on the ballot.

This is based upon the requirement to have 10% of the last governor's election statewide.  Of that, at least 44 counties of the 88 are required to have at least 5% valid signatures based upon the last governor's election.  As of the beginning of September, they had gathered approximately 30,000 signatures.

This grassroots effort has gained the support of several NORML chapters, hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and some rather influential friends including Mimi Peleg and Cheryl Shuman. Both ladies are fierce Cannabis activists who were born and raised in Ohio.

Peleg is now Director of Large Scale Cannabis Training for MECKAR, Abarbanel Hospital, in Israel. In July of this year, she was the keynote speaker at an Ohio Rights Group event in Youngstown, Ohio where she focused on current Cannabis research she is involved with as well as her experience with policy implementation.

Shuman’s area of specialty however, is Public Relations and Marketing. In October, this self-proclaimed “Martha Stewart of Marijuana” made the most of her media savvy skills while doing a ten-day Ohio tour with the Ohio Rights Group to help promote their campaign.

Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment Highlights

  • Accords Ohio residents age 18 and older, who have a debilitating medical condition and meet eligibility requirements, the right to use, possess, acquire and produce Cannabis (marijuana). Children may qualify with the written consent of a parent or guardian. Eligibility will be initially tied to a list of over 30 debilitating medical conditions, which can be expanded.
  • Permits eligible individuals or organizations to grow, process and purchase therapeutic Cannabis in various forms such as whole plant, tinctures, edibles and salves.
  • Allows commercial production, distribution and taxation of both therapeutic Cannabis and industrial hemp.
  • Permits eligible Ohio residents to cultivate hemp for thousands of uses: paper, fuel, foods, building materials, clothing and more. Declassifies hemp as a drug and delegates its regulation to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Jane Hash is a Certified Natural Health Professional who empowers students across the country to make healthy life choices.  She hosts the “Holistic Vitality Education Channel” on YouTube, the “Hash It Out With Jane” podcast available on iTunes, and blogs for The Mobility Resource.



In Memory of Peter Lewis

CoIn Memory of Peter Lewislumbus Free Press | December 5, 2013 | by Mary Jane Borden

The passing of a billionaire hardly goes unnoticed and Peter Lewis is no different. In drug policy circles, on either side of the fence, he needs no introduction. At age 80, Peter died in his Florida home on November 23, 2013. He will be remembered for far more than just his money.

I’d like to say that I knew Peter, but in truth, I never personally met him. Yet, in the six degrees of separation, we’re only one degree apart. He had probably seen my name many times, and I, his. He knew some of the same people well who I know well. However, the times that I could have met him, I made other choices.

The 2001 Drug Policy Foundation Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico serves as but one example. On the expansive hotel staircase leading to the ballroom in which Peter would be speaking, I encountered one of my new reform colleagues (now a long-standing and trusted friend). “Come upstairs with me and meet Peter Lewis,” he urged. Bedazzled by all of the famous faces I had met that weekend, I nodded, yes. But my heart lay elsewhere – the trip to Albuquerque served the dual purpose of being a celebration of my 25th wedding anniversary. I could meet Peter Lewis, or leave with my family. I chose the latter. That one degree of separation remained in place. Later, I incidentally learned that, instead of me, Peter met with Rob Kampia, the Executive Director of the newly formed Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who presented him with a business plan that, over the course of coming decade, would spend millions of Peter’s money on marijuana reform.

Those funds were transformative. Peter headed a Fortune 500 company, and he brought his business-focused acumen to what had heretofore been a loosely knit, poorly organized, largely clandestine and consequently tainted “movement.” Through MPP, he established a competitive grants program driven by business principles like goals, objectives, milestones and budgets. The winners weren’t those with the loudest bullhorn, rather the best plans. 

Read more

The ORG Responds to the DFAA on the FDA

Columbus Free Press | November 7, 2013 | by Mary Jane Borden

Cheryl Shuman’s successful tour of Ohio to promote the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, sponsored by the Ohio Rights Group (ORG), concluded in Cleveland a week ago with a segment by Lee Jordan on the city’s News Channel 5. Success becomes self-evident when the opposition appears, often in the form of the Drug Free Action Alliance (DFAA), which is headquartered on Huntley Road in Columbus. The segment, entitled “Northeast Ohio family seeks medical cannabis in Colorado to find effective treatment for seizures” and aired on October, 25, 2013, included several quotes from DFAA Executive Director Margie Seidel to rebut the use of cannabis for treating the devastating seizures experienced by Jordan Lykes who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

In the first quote, Ms. Seidel states that, “Medicine goes through a very rigid process of study and research through the FDA, a revered system throughout the world." Really?

Read more

The Cannabis Vote

Columbus Free Press | November 14, 2013 | by Mary Jane Borden

Politicians should be envious of cannabis. It’s WAY more popular than they are. Its many wins at the ballot box testify to its popularity, and Election Day 2013 served as a case in point.

From Colorado to Michigan, Maine and Miami, voters handed the substance healthy margins that would feel like a mandate to any vote hungry candidate.

Read more

CBD in You and Me

Columbus Free Press | October 24, 2013 | by Mary Jane Borden

Over the millennia, the often deified and sometimes demonized Cannabis plant has taken a circuitous route from friend to foe and back.

Scholars differ on when mankind first discovered the medicinal mysteries contained within Cannabis. Some trace usage back to 4000 BC in Central Asia. Charred seeds found in an ancient Romanian burial site suggest inhalation of the herb's potent and pungent smoke in third millennia BC. In 1500 BC, it was mentioned the Altharva Veda, one of four ancient holy books. A basket of seeds and leaf fragments dating back 2,800 years was discovered in China where Cannabis graced the pharmacopeia of emperor Chen-Nong. As if following the migrational footsteps of humanity, the plant moved to the Near and Middle East (900 BC), Europe (800 BC), South East Asia (2nd Century AD), Africa (11th Century AD) and finally to the Americas (19th Century).

Read more

Northeast Ohio family seeks medical cannabis in Colorado to find effective treatment for seizures

ABC News Channel 5 | October 24, 2013 | by  Lee Jordan

Answer for rare form of epilepsy may be cannabis

CLEVELAND - When Jordan Lyles was six months old, she started having devastating seizures. It took 10 and a half years for multiple specialists in several states to figure out she had Dravet syndrome, a rare type of epilepsy. After powerful prescription drugs failed to control her potentially fatal seizures, her family made a difficult but determined decision to seek treatment with medical cannabis in Colorado, a state where marijuana use of any kind is legal.


The long search for effective seizure control medicine has led the Lyles family to make a radical move: they have split up the family for now so Jordan can have access to medical marijuana. Paula and Jordan are now living in Colorado, going through the steps required to get Jordan CBD - a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. It is extracted as oil, does not give a "high" and has shown some promise for treating epilepsy and other conditions. They hope a current initiative to put medical marijuana before Ohio voters in 2014 is successful so they can eventually get that same treatment here and come home.


CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta spent over a year researching medical marijuana, its use here and around the world, and it completely changed the way he thought about cannabis as medicine - which he once opposed.


"You start to realize this is a medication, one that can work when other drugs don't work. And it can be a lot safer for children who have this intractable epilepsy," Gupta said.


In Ohio, the current petition drive needs 385,000 signatures to get a medical marijuana law on the ballot next year. John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, said the proposed amendment to the state constitution would establish "the right for users to have therapeutic cannabis, to grow, utilize, sell, transport and manufacture. It's not something that could be taken away, struck down by a court, usurped or defunded."



Hemp in the Time of New Federal Marijuana Policy

Phillip Smith | stopthedrugwar.org | Sep. 13, 2013

It's not just medical and legal marijuana states that watched the Justice Department's announcement of its response to marijuana law reforms in the states with interest. Nine states have laws regulating the production of industrial hemp, and ten more have asked Congress to remove barriers to industrial hemp production.

Hemp is also moving in the Congress. An amendment to the Farm Bill cosponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Jared Polis (D-CO) passed the House on a vote of 225-200 in July and will now go to a joint House-Senate conference committee. And the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (House Resolution 525 and Senate Bill 359) is pending in both chambers.

-- Full story: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/sep/12/hemp_and_new_federal_marijuana


Conservatives Fight Marijuana Taxation Despite “Giggle Factor”

Alex Rogers | swampland.time.com | Sep. 12, 2013

In front of the U.S. Capitol Thursday, two congressmen discussed H.R. 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, a little known bill introduced in June by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer to allow deductions and credits relating to expenditures for marijuana sales conducted in compliance with state law.

– Full story: http://swampland.time.com/2013/09/12/conservatives-fight-marijuana-taxation-despite-giggle-factor/


President Pardee on radio

pardee_radio1.jpgWant to listen to President Pardee on the radio again? Here's your chance...

September 12, 2013
1:00pm-2:00pm EST

Airing on Time4Hemp.com as well as being heard on americanfreedomradio.com

The guests will be John Pardee, President of The Ohio Rights Group, talking about the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment.
Joining him will be Tonya Davis, a patient in Ohio who is already using cannabis as medicine.

The call in number for the show is 218.339.8525.


Letter from a suffering Ohioan

is.jpgFROM A SUFFERING OHIOAN (we fight for people like this, please join our fight):

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your efforts, and ask you not to give up.

I am a 37 year old mother of three, step-mother of another three, living with a condition called Chiari Malformation Type 1. What this means is that my brain doesn't fit in my skull, and presses on my spinal cord, blocking the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. At this time, the only "treatment" is decompression surgery - they remove the extended brain tissue, carve away some skull, stretch the dura to make room and close us back up. The odds that this will work and make us better is only about 40%, while there is also a significant chance it will make us worse or there will be complications - and most people who have decompression will need it repeated at least once in their lives, each time risking further damage.

We are given medications like percocet and vicodin, and told to take ibuprofen and moderate Tylenol. I cannot take vicodin because it makes me violently ill, and my body had created a tolerance to the percocet...it no longer works at all, instead making my headaches worse. On a bad Chiari day, like the one I had yesterday, I almost can't think for the pain no matter how much medication I take. Nothing makes it stop. I want to cut my head off to stop the pain, and of course, I can't.

Some Chiarians like me have tried medical marijuana and swear by it. It doesn't have the negative side effects of all of the medications that doctors try to put us on, but it does alleviate pain. Most don't smoke it, they cook with it or take pills, but the difference in their lives since they have begun using it is night and day. Some live where it is legal, some don't but say it is worth the risk. With the number of kids I have, I can't take the risk of not having it legally....so I can't even try it to see if it WOULD help or work. So there's this miracle out there that might help my life and at the very least wouldn't hurt me like the meds that my doctors can give me bottles upon bottles of...not a cure, but a legitimate treatment that could take this horrendous pain away, and I can't even try it. It's so unfair, it's so devastating...it's been proven effective, but I can't touch it.

Please don't stop trying. People like me need you, are counting on you. I don't know what I can do because of my condition, but if there's something I can do - even speak on behalf of those suffering chronic pain conditions, I will. Just keep fighting.