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MMJ Pioneers: Men and Women Who Have Taught Us About Medical Marijuana
Posted by Laura Vladimirova | February 14 2012 | 5079 views | Comments ↓
Medical marijuana advocates have been at work for over 100 years.
(Click to enlarge)
The medical marijuana community has come a long way. For the first time in history, judges are presiding over breakthrough medical marijuana cases, state senators are vocally supporting legislation, and scientific findings are saving lives. The road is still arduous, but with advocates in pockets all over the world, support has never been stronger.
A lot of work has gone into getting our community here and there have been so many unsung heroes. Everyone from lawyers to everyday citizens have put their lives and freedom on the line.
This article is about just a few of the people who paved the way for these advances; They are our medical marijuana godparents. Some did not get a chance to see how far the community has come and some are warriors who fight everyday for fair access to medical marijuana. Here's to them.
Dr. William Brooke O'Shaughnessy
Dr. O'Shaughnessy was a 19th century Irish-born physician, surgeon, scientist. And chemistry professor. He is one of the first physicians to recognize the power of cannabis as a therapeutic and attempt to teach other doctors of its uses.
It was Dr. O'Shaughnessy's work in India that led him to study the medical uses for cannabis and bring his research back to Europe. One such famous discovery was that cannabis resin could help relieve the painful symptoms of tetanus and rabies.
Doctor J (Jay Cavanaugh)
Doctor J was A Ph.D. and long-term advocate for medical marijuana. He worked his way up from an outpatient treatment caseworker in the National Director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis.
During his long and prominent medical career, Dr. J served countless patients with addiction recovery. This enabled him to speak with authority on the root causes of addiction and the differences between drugs and medical marijuana. He famously published controversial articles questioning the value of medical marijuana and the war on drugs. In his article, "Reckless Disregard," he famously states: "We are fighting the wrong drug war on the wrong people and we are paying for this terrible mistake through great suffering and loss of life. Intentional and reckless disregard for human life is the very definition of homicide. Why then are we punishing the sick growing medical marijuana while ignoring the real holocaust being perpetrated by supposedly responsible and humanitarian companies? In today's America greed is only rewarded and mass murder ignored."
Valerie is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana and Raha Kudo, Design for Dying Project. Her medical marijuana story began when she was involved is a car accident that left her suffering from brain trauma, epilepsy and migraines. Valerie also began to have seizures despite being put on prescription medication.
Later, she began a steady regiment of using medical marijuana and found that her health improved significantly. Unfortunately, Valerie was arrested for medical marijuana cultivation and as a result she became the first person in the state of California to challenge the law for medical use of marijuana. After several other run-ins with the law, Valerie started The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), one of the first non-profit medical marijuana collectives in the country. She also founded a hospice center for terminally ill patients who use medical marijuana. She has helped thousands of patients in their last moments of life.
Valerie has been at the forefront of many major lawsuits advocating for marijuana caregivers, patients and medical studies.
Nándor Steven Tánczos
Nándor was a member of New Zealand's Green Party. He resigned in 2008 but vowed to continue political work outside of the Parliament. He focused his work on the environment and sustainable land management, cannabis activism (introducing a bill that changed standing regulation to allow for the growing of hemp), and other issues. He is also the only practicing Rastafarian to ever sit in a New Zealand Parliament.
Nándor's departure from official politics was concluded with a poignant speech in which he said that, “Expecting politicians to be dishonest and venal is letting them off the hook.” Rather, he believed most MPs came to Parliament with “honest intentions, but not many left with their honesty intact because of how the system itself compromises people.”
He also co-founded Hempstore Aotearoa, a hemp production business that manufactures sustainable cosmetics and clothing made from hemp.
Lisa “Mamakind” Kirkman
An outspoken Canadian medical marijuana activist, Lisa found herself in a challenging situation when her son, a boy with special needs, was taken by child safety authorities for not wearing a bike safety helmet while visiting his stepfather in Oregon. Then, through a series of bizarre legal loopholes, he wound up stuck in a U.S. foster home. For two years, Lisa and her family fought hard to get him back, but authorities were reluctant to give in because of Lisa's medical marijuana connections and a 2003 conviction for growing without permission.
Lisa was forced to undergo evaluations, tests, and sit through all sorts of questioning. Though, she has a valid license to use medical marijuana in her native Calgary, authorities were adamant that she quit all marijuana affiliations before her son was returned. Luckily, the situation was resolved and Lisa's son was allowed to go home. This ordeal, coupled with Lisa's previous advocacy work, has only strengthened her resolve to fight for patients rights and fair access for Canadians.
Lisa has authored a book titled SexPot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Getting’ It On, published by another well-known activist, Ed Rosenthal, is a regular contributor to various medical cannabis publications, and has helped start medical marijuana clubs and dispensaries.
There are, of course, countless men and women who contributed invaluable service to a better understanding of medical marijuana. From doctors and researchers like Dr. Lester Grinspoon and Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, passionate growers like Jorge Cervantes, to patients who have been prosecuted like Alicia Castilla, aka Senora Cannabis—the doors these warriors have kicked open have only made it easier for others to work for a better future.
If there's a pioneer that needs mentioning, please shout him or her out below, we salute them all.
Photo Credits: 1) Wikipedia; 2) Wikipedia; 3) Facebook profile; 4) Wikipedia; 5) Facebook profile
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Thursday, 26 January 2012
Article by Laura Vladimirova, on Feb. 14th 2012