Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Big business/Republican attack continues on medical marijuana

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 4:57 PM

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As I mentioned, the Farm Bureau/Chamber of Commerce combine that has joined hands with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to beat medical marijuana proposals that would provide legal relief to sick people brought a controversial "expert" to Arkansas today.

They showed off Kevin Sabet in Springdale  and added a hospital executive, a sheriff and a chamber of commerce official to the chorus, with a former aide to the governor as ringmaster. The chamber is hoping to win some allies for its support od a bid to get taxpayers to approve a separate amendment that will restore taxpayer funding to chambers of commerce. They in turn use the money to lobby against the public interest in varied ways, including medical marijuana.

I've written about Sabet before. Here's a typical take on the marijuana tales he puts out. No word yet if anybody asked about his financial backing and what he might have been paid to be in Arkansas today. Still waiting, in fact, to hear who's paying for the bills of Arkansans Against Legal Marijuana.

The most offensive part of the road show was a core dishonesty. Recognizing the growing support for medical marijuana, the group pretended to be FOR medical marijuana. But only in the great by and by — after FDA research and much other rigamarole. You may be sure the pharmaceutical industry has no interest in seeing that day ever come. Again today the anti-pot forces dragged out the dubious idea that a prescription drug, Marinol, is as good as marijuana. Here's one of many contrary views on that. I tend believe the many sick people who've testified to their own comparative experiences, particularly as to the speed with which marijuana brings relief over Marinol. The anti-pot speakers also are using children, saying edible marijuana is a particular evil. The sales will be regulated. Fact is, edible marijuana is a boon to many sick people, particularly those who never got the hang of smoking. Dangerous substances do fall into the hands of children, no matter how hard we try — whiskey, beer, wine, prescription pills, marijuana. It's another scare tactic, no more or less.

I'm for medical marijuana, make no mistake. I'm also against the constitutional amendment that would provide my tax money to chambers of commerce to put on dog and pony shows.

But to provide a touch of fairness: Here's the packaged Reefer Madness propaganda from the media event today:

Springdale – Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana (AALM) held a press conference in Springdale today highlighting concerns with ballot issues 6 & 7.

Dr. Kevin Sabet, a national drug policy expert was the featured speaker along with President of Mercy Hospital NWA Eric Pianalto, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder and Springdale Chamber Vice President Lance Eads.

The press conference highlighted that AALM is not just saying no to medical uses of Marijuana. Rather, AALM believes that we need to leave decisions of medicine to our doctors, the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration. We shouldn’t make decisions for our future based on the two flawed ballot issues that are more beneficial to “big marijuana corporations” rather than our families here in Arkansas.

President of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas Eric Pianalto issued the following statement: “Today’s event, hosted by Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana, is an important educational opportunity related to Arkansas Proposed Amendments 6 & 7 that will be on the November Ballot. Both of these Ballot Issues seek to legalize the use of medical marijuana, and I join a long list of participants from the medical community who oppose these Amendments. It is important to note that I along with my many of colleagues are not opposing any form of marijuana for medical purposes, we simply believe that our physicians, the Federal Drug Administration and the American Medical Association are the most qualified to determine the appropriate use. Issues 6 & 7 are not based on the recommendations and are not right for Arkansas.”

Sheriff Tim Helder of Washington County issued the following statement: “I speak to you not only as a law enforcement officer but as a father and a grandfather. I speak to you in complete opposition to issues 6 & 7 not just from a law enforcement perspective but what is right for our state.

President and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) Dr. Kevin Sabet issued the following statement: “Issues 6 & 7 are not about medicine; they are about a 21-year-old with a headache being able to buy a marijuana candy bar. This is an effort to legalize marijuana across the nation. And while we need more medications and we need more medical research on possible medical uses from marijuana, voting for 6 & 7 is not the answer and it is the wrong path for Arkansas. This should go through a scientific process and not a political process.”

Vice-President of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce Lance Eads issued the following statement: “We want to make sure that we are effective at educating our membership with our concerns on issues of 6& 7. The broadness of these two issues stand a real chance at harming our workplaces which will in turn impact our economy.”
The Springdale C of C, BTW, was one of the most famous users and abusers of tax money for its own special purposes. It wants back the tax welfare subsidies it got until a lawsuit upset their apple cart and led to the amendment proposed by the legislature, led by NWA homey Jon Woods.

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