Free Medical Marijuana Documentary and Forum at Bettendorf Public Library this Saturday at 3 pm

The Marijuana Policy Project will be showing the award winning documentary, "Waiting to Inhale", this Saturday at the Bettendorf Public Library.  The film will be shown at 3:00 pm and will be followed by patient testimonies.  A legal expert and medical cannabis lobbyist will lead a forum where the general public can ask questions about the legislation, which will be debated by our state legislature next spring.

Bettendorf, Iowa, June 16
- On Saturday, June 20 at 3:00 p.m., a free screening of the award-winning medical marijuana documentary "Waiting to Inhale" will be held at the Bettendorf Public Library in the Quad Cities.  The screening will be followed by a discussion with patients and advocates involved in this year's efforts to make Iowa the 14th state to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.

Ray Lakers, a Multiple Sclerosis patient, served time in jail for possession of less than one gram of marijuana.  Jeff Elton, a Diabetic Neuropathic Gastroparesis patient, claims marijuana to be the only medicine that stops his nausea.  Lisa Jackson will explain what it's like to live with Fibromyalgia and how medical marijuana saved her from overdosing on her old medications.  Also speaking will be Jacob Orr, a severe chronic pain patient who replaced highly addictive and dangerous opiates with medical marijuana.

The event is being led by Jimmy Morrison, a grassroots organizer for the largest medical marijuana lobbyist organization in the country.  Carl Olsen will explain the progress his lawsuit has made in finally addressing the medical marijuana legislation already passed in this state in 1979.  They hope to answer the many questions Iowans may have about the bill S.F. 293, which Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) introduced to be debated in the spring of 2010.  There are currently 13 states who have legalized medical marijuana, the most recent being Michigan where a ballot initiative was passed with 63% of the vote.  None of these states have found an increase in teen drug use since passing legislation.

The federal government started the Investigational New Drug Program decades ago, which grows and provides medical marijuana for free to fifteen patients.  Although the program has been shut down and only four patients are still alive, George McMahon and Barbara Douglass, both Iowa residents, continue to receive legal medical marijuana every month.  George McMahon suffers from Nail-Patella Syndrome and Barbara Douglass has Multiple Sclerosis.

In 1988, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled marijuana to be "in its natural form, one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."  In 1999, the White House commissioned the Institute of Medicine to review all medical literature on marijuana.  This review found "Nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting and can be mitigated by marijuana.  Although some medications are more effective than marijuana for these problems, they are not equally effective in all patients."  Since February of 2007, three studies have shown marijuana relieves neuropathic pain, commonly associated with AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, and other illnesses.

Marijuana is Schedule I in Iowa, which means it has no accepted medical value.  This schedule includes such drugs as LSD and pure heroine; however, marijuana is also Schedule II in Iowa, which means it has accepted medical value.  Schedule II includes such drugs as cocaine, morpheine, oxycodone, other opiates, and methamphetamine.  In 1979, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy Examiners, a bureacracy, was supposed to study and decide if there is accepted medical value in the United States.  They recently disobeyed a court order to address the issue.

The documentary to be shown, "Waiting to Inhale", was produced and directed by Jed Riffe and was partially funded by the Marijuana Policy Project's grants program.  The film examines the medical marijuana debate up close by taking you inside the lives of patients, doctors, and activists, while seeking to understand why opponents support the continued criminalization of our sick and dying.  "Waiting to Inhale" has already played to critical acclaim, having won the 2005 CINE Golden Eagle Award, the Gold Special Jury Remi Award at the 38th Annual WorldFest-Houston, and the 2005 Best Documentary Film/Video at the New Jersey International Film Festival.
Dear Editor, Iowans for Medical Marijuana will be holding a public forum on Saturday, September 23, in the auditorium of the State Historical Building just west of the State Capitol Building. The topic will be medical marijuana legislation in Iowa and in the United States. We have three speakers so far, (1) Marty Ryan, Legislative Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa; (2) George McMahon (one of five remaining patients in the United States and a resident of Iowa who has been receiving 300 marijuana cigarettes per month from the federal government for the past 15 years); (3) and State Representative Ed Fallon who received 25% of the votes for Governor in the last primary election in June 2006. We invite you to participate in a discussion of state and federal policy regarding the medical use of marijuana and the recent decision in Iowa v. Bonjour, No. 160 / 03-0309, SUPREME COURT OF IOWA, 694 N.W.2d 511 (Iowa 2005) ( Marijuana was outlawed by the federal government in 1970 because it contains a psychoactive drug called THC. Since that time, THC has been found to be a safe and effective medicine, much safer than drugs made from other plants such as cocaine or morphine. THC was moved from Schedule I to Schedule II by the DEA in 1986: 51 Fed. Reg. 17,476, and THC was moved from Schedule II to Schedule III by the DEA in 1999, 64 Fed. Reg. 35928. Cocaine and morphine are in Schedule II as are the plants they are made from. Marijuana remains in Schedule I despite the fact that the only reason it was put there no longer exists. The last time the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (the official agency charged with reviewing marijuana's status by the statute which created marijuana's current scheduling) held a scheduling hearing on marijuana, the DEA chief administrative law judge held that, "There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality." DEA Docket No. 86-22, Sept. 6, 1988, at page 56. "A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response." Ibid. at. 57. "In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity." Ibid. at 57. The judge went on to say that eating marijuana is safer than eating raw potatoes or aspirin, and "it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death." Ibid. at 58. "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." Ibid. at 58-59. Attached is the flyer from the 2000 Medical Marijuana Conference hosted by the University of Iowa Medical School and Nursing School.  We want to know when the legislators are going to follow the lead of the University of Iowa and create legislation that will assist people using this plant for medical purposes. I'm also enclosing a flyer I handed to Jeff Lamberti and Leonard Boswell at yesterday's congressional candidate debate at the UAW. Please help us promote this forum.  If you know any legislators that would be willing to participate on one of our state or federal panels, please invite them to participate. Thank you! Carl Olsen, Iowans for Medical MarijuanaGeorge McMahon, Bode, Iowa (one of five people currently receiving marijuana from the federal government)

Barbara Douglass, Storm Lake, Iowa (one of five people currently receiving marijuana from the federal government)


Print this flyer and give it to candidates for U.S. House of Representatives For a conference Brochure click here. [PDF]