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Marijuana Journalism 101

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Marijuana Journalism 101
“Consider The Source”
Written by:
Al Byrne, co-founder
Patients Out of Time

“Medical cannabis is another name for legalization.
Marijuana is addictive everybody knows that.
Smoking marijuana leads you straight to the harder drugs.
I heard one doctor wrote 5,000 ok’s for patients to use cannabis over the phone.
Cannabis patients are recreational users looking to get high.
There is no science to support the medical marijuana theory”

Chances are very good you have heard one or more of the above statements over the past few years. They are all on the list of talking points used by many US federal government agencies and their surrogates, operating usually as concerned parents groups and funded by US citizens’ tax dollars.

Patients Out of Time, a 501c3 educational charity, stands in defiance of such nonsensical words and uninformed organizations.

Lets make this a “case study” with Patients Out of Time the author of the setup.

You are a journalist working under the direction of a fair-minded editor who holds the idea of a “balanced” article, all sides considered and quoted, as exemplary journalism. Her assignment, “I want you to follow up on that Supreme Court decision on medical marijuana. What’s happening now, what’s the future got coming.”

Going right to Google, you enter medical marijuana and therapeutic cannabis and wow, there’s a lot of information, groups, publications and research out there, a lot to look into. Typing in DEA, their web page appears. They have a lot to say about medical cannabis, all of it bad and they rely heavily on a 1999 study done by the Institute of Medicine at the behest of the federal authorities. Following that lead the Internet moves you to Here’s the balance the boss wants for the story. These patients have a rebuttal of the DEA’s interpretation of the IOM study on that page that tears them up!

As a journalist the more you read, the references, the huge list of support groups, your education, experience and guts, tell you there is a problem, an uneasy feeling enters the search.

The DEA says there is not enough research on the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis to allow its use under any circumstances, except one, the IND Program. It’s been up and running well over twenty years now and among the seven US patients the federal government sends medical marijuana to each year, are five who work with Patients Out of Time. They studied themselves, because after issuing this medicine for decades to these patients the doctors and scientists at NIDA never bothered to find out how their protocol affected these patients. “The Chronic Cannabis Use in the Investigational New Drug Program: An Examination of Benefits and Adverse Effects of Legal Clinical Cannabis”, conducted in the spring of 2001 says that all studied are healthy.

Further reading finds that Patients Out of Time and others submitted a “Petition to Reschedule Cannabis” to the DEA and the DEA passed it to their boss, the Health and Human Services Department of the US, with “merit” in the summer of 2005 because if the petition had “merit” they had to, as required by law. There are about 50,000 pages of international research, all peer reviewed and published on various clinical cannabis applications and potential protocols at
- the web site of the Petition leadership, yet NIDA, says there is little research. Hmmmm.

The patients are fine, the demand has merit, and NIDA and the DEA says flatly cannabis is not medicine.

Then there is the conference series held biennially around the US. If cannabis is not medicine how does this happen? The Colleges of Medicine and Nursing of the University of Iowa; the Oregon Department of Human Services, Health Services, the Oregon Nurses Association, the Portland Community College Institute of Health Professionals; the Virginia Nurses Association, the University of Virginia’s Schools of Nursing, Medicine and Law are all past co-sponsors of the therapeutic cannabis education this group provides. How can these prestigious medical professional organizations endorse medical cannabis if it does not exist?

Why has the California Nurses Association, the University of California San Francisco and the Santa Barbara City College joined with Patients Out of Time to co-sponsor the “accredited” Fourth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics on the beautiful campus of Santa Barbara City College on April 6-8, 2006?

To all the questions and raised eyebrows, considering the politically correct balancing needs of the editor, the requirements of your profession, and the integrity of the media you write…

A suggestion:

Patients Out of Time on their web page has a list, now copied and distributed world wide, that contains dozens of professional health care organizations representing millions of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals that are demanding patients be given the option of medical cannabis, right now. These include the oldest and largest health care group in the US the American Public Health Association; and the most respected profession in the country, Nurses, with the American Nurses Association leading them in their patient advocacy mission, is among the ever-growing list.

Write about the opinion and the experience of the health care professionals that deal daily with their patients cannabis use; write about the DEA agreeing that the petition to remove cannabis from the prohibited list has merit; write about the various academic and professional organizations that have provided forums held in the US over the past five years that contradict every tenet of the US federal government’s policy on medical cannabis.

And if you must give the political nay Sayers their “space” for the sake of “balance”, I would hope you would at the least title your article “Consider the Source.”

Al Byrne, co-founder
Patients Out of Time

In a DEA courtroom in February 2006, a PhD and DEA witness, under oath, charged that a study done by Patients Out of Time on four federal cannabis patients,
the Chronic Cannabis Use in the Investigational New Drug Program:
An examination of the Benefits and Adverse Effects of Legal Clinical Cannabis"
commonly called "The Missoula Study",included forged pictures of federally supplied cannabis.
The testimony was proved false .