It’s not the Sentinel itself that annoys me so much – though I do disagree with their basic editorial view – it’s the people who read it and post on the comments board. In this case, the headline was “WAMMfest asks for smoking exception, again.” A little background is in order.
What is WAMM? In short, WAMM (Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana) is a group that was started by Michael and Valerie Leveroni Corral here in Santa Cruz, CA. These people do good works. They are a letter-of-the-law medical cannabis cooperative who grow their own and hand it out to their members. It’s the old joke about graveyards, people are just dying to get in; it’s no joke at WAMM. All members of WAMM either have a terminal or chronic illness whose symptoms are relieved by the use of cannabis. Do people pay for the smoke? No. People donate cash as they can and those who can’t get it for free. Usually those who can’t donate cash easily do something else for the co-op; bake muffins or cookies, volunteer in the office, help out in any way they can. Those who are too ill to do either simply get the medicine for free. Only members may receive the weekly ration and the weekly meetings are strictly monitored. If you don’t have your current ID with you, you don’t get into the meeting and you don’t pick up your weekly scrip.
Sept. 17th, WAMM patient, Robert Anton Wilson, picks up his weekly supply of Medical Marijuana in front of Santa Cruz City Hall and millions of people around the world. (Photo and caption from the WAMM website.)
It’s a phenomenal organization that has helped so many people in so many ways, including my husband. I stand tall and bellow loudly about how wonderful this collective is. Later on I will direct you to a film that was made discussing the day the Feds raided the WAMM garden and totally destroyed the crop, resulting in no medicine for the members for quite some time. I wasn’t involved with the organization then and don’t know how they got through it, but they did and every year around that time, WAMM puts on a festival in San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz, in an effort to give something back to the community that helped them through such a rough time. With the advent of smoking bans all over the place (smokers of any kind are second class citizens and have no rights – I know this because I smoke cigarettes), it has become necessary for WAMM to request an exception for legal medical marijuana patiens to be able to smoke in a designated area in the park for those 5 hours a year when WAMMfest occurs.
So much for the history lesson.
Following is a small sampling of the comments left at the Sentinel‘s forum regarding this situation.
Why don’t Mike and Valerie just invite all these people to their marijuana garden and sit around there and smoke themselves to death? We don’t need them doing so in town in violation of the law polluting the air for those who don’t want to inhale their second-hand smoke.
NO! No! No! No!
These people already feel they are above any law and have gotten away with breaking the law under the guise of “medical marijuana” which is a joke for about 95% of those who claim some medicinal value. You can’t tell me these people all need to sit around and self-medicate (or self-intoxicate is more like it) at the same time. Do people taking any other real prescription medication gather all at once to pop their pills? A smoking ban is a smoking ban……..PERIOD
And then there was… Cite one study showing smoking marijuana DOES NOT affect ones lungs or other organs. You can’t. Inhaling anything like cigarette smoke, and certainly marijuana smoke, has a detrimental affect on ones health. There probably has not been a study because anyone with common sense can figure that out without spending mill[i]ons of dollars.
You get the idea. And, in fact, a particular study was cited but this brainiac didn’t seem to be able to read any of the words. In fact, they kept on bellowing about second hand smoke when this government’s own study proved that:
The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.
The new findings “were against our expectations,” said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.
“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
This from The Washington Post, Friday, May 25, 2006 as reported by Post staff writer Marc Kaufmann. The full story can be read here. This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.
I attempted to persuade these folks that if nothing else, they should consider it from the patients’ view point. I was ignored. Well, not completely ignored. I endured quite a bit of jeering after posting this:
I am the wife of a cancer patient who has chosen to use medical marijuana to help him through it. His doctors all agree that it’s a much better way to fight the reactions one gets from radiation et. al., and so it’s the only medication he is on other than said radiation. He has gained weight while undergoing treatment, if you can believe it, and is nearing the end of the doctors’ visits. Without the cannabis, it would have been an entirely different story.
For the record, I am 100% in sympathy with WAMM and feel they should be allowed to have their festival, with their two smoking tents, and any other things they wish to bring in there, without people who are uneducated and blind to change telling them what they may and may not do.
Santa Cruz has always been a place where people work and live together in harmony. It’s one of the reasons my husband and I moved here. Since living here however, we have found so many people, like several of you posting on this board, who feel that the rest of us must take a back seat to their morally unjust stances.
Just jeering mind you. No actual, substantial argument was presented to show how wrong I was. But I digress.
So, why are so many people who post on the Sentinel’s forum ignoring this information? It’s been around for more that 3 years. More and more States in this union are approving the use of medical cannabis. In fact, there are 13 States now. They are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. 13 States. You know, this country was founded with 13 Colonies and based on the premise “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Must I cite our Declaration of Independence for you? Perhaps for some of you not schooled in the States these words don’t bang inside your brains and so I will note that, that line is from paragraph number two of the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776. Just in case you want to refresh your memories or even read it for the first time, you can do so here.
That document means quite a lot to me and I try, daily, to live my life based on these concepts put forth by our founding fathers. It would seem that others in this country do not. I think that’s a shame.
Some of us were in there swinging for the lifting of the ban. The bottom line on all this is that the ban was not lifted this year, but not because of the uneducated. The fact is, it never got on the agenda. While the request was made, apparently one must also request that the item be added to the agenda so it can be discussed. Just asking for an exception isn’t enough anymore. Now you have to ask for it and also ask that they talk about it!
At any rate, that’s why I don’t buy that newspaper. I can not abide the thought that I share anything with people who identify themselves as their moods strike them, as opposed to being strong enough to stand up, say, “Hi. My name is Jessie and I think you lot posting on the forums are a crowd of uneducated, malicious, narrow-minded cowards.” See, I use my name when I post. I don’t hide behind a pseudonym like, “The cow says mooooo….” Really. Some numb-nuts has that as their screen name on the Sentinel forum. Can you stand it?
Whether you agree with me or not is not the issue. Whether you’re willing to educate yourselves and put forth a valid and sensible argument is. And when I say sensible, I don’t mean running around and bellowing, “What about the children?” What about them?! If you don’t know what to do with them, don’t have them!
(Click on the following link to see the movie mentioned earlier: The Cry Movie)