I am a medical doctor who helps many people in Hawaii with medical marijuana. I do not break the law, I help patients to legally and medically fulfill it. I am aware of the Senate Bill 1458 you are supporting that would severely limit the ability for people to medically use marijuana unless they have multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV/AIDS or glaucoma. This would effectively disqualify more than 9 out of ten patients currently registered. I strongly believe you are hurting the people of Hawaii by supporting this bill.
In the news on April 27, 2011, you were quoted in regards to the majority of current patients’ marijuana medical qualifications:
“As a physician I find (it) pretty hard to wrap my mind around,” said Green, who also is an emergency room doctor. “I’m not talking about someone who’s born with a terrible degenerative condition and just had to have any kind of medical solution. I’m talking about people with common injuries.”
The Hawaii state medical marijuana law HRS 3294121 through 128 does not
require that a patient have a “terrible degenerative condition” as you suggest, but a “debilitating condition”.
§329-122 Medical use of marijuana; conditions of use.
(a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient shall be permitted only if:
(1) The qualifying patient has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition;
(2) The qualifying patient’s physician has certified in writing that, in the physician’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the particular qualifying patient; and
The Law specifically defines a debilitating condition as:
“Debilitating medical condition” means:
(1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or the treatment of these conditions;
(2) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
(A) Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
(B) Severe pain;
(C) Severe nausea;
(D) Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; or
(E) Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease; or
(3) Any other medical condition approved by the department of health pursuant to administrative rules in response to a request from a physician or potentially qualifying patient.
Note specifically the current law requirement can be a common chronic medical condition or its treatment that causes severe pain and nausea. I have many sincere, honorable patients of all ages (over 18yo) that have common persistently painful conditions that are part of their life, and are recurrently severe. If physical therapy doesn’t help, they are left with either bearing the pain, taking NSAIDS, narcotics, injections or surgery. It is my professional opinion as a medical doctor and as an expert in natural alternatives to pain relief, that for mature, responsible, medically qualified patients who tolerate marijuana well psychologically, and who do not abuse the smoking and effects of this herb, the benefits of using this medicine far outweigh the dangers, especially as compared to NSAIDS, narcotics and surgery. If it was your chronic neck or shoulder or wrist or ankle or knee or back pain, migraines, queasiness, and you had to go work hard at a manual labor job, perhaps you would see the amazing properties and safe use of this self-evidently medicinal herb. (The law of course limits its use to “not in the workplace”). Perhaps then you too would feel the abuse of power of such laws.
The biggest danger to my patients who are law-abiding citizens, is not marijuana’s effect on their health (that they swear to me and the state see as a benefit) rather it is the law enforcement’s effect on their health. This, I have witnessed, over and over, to be the most negative side effect of medical marijuana.
These patients have entrusted to the state government that they use and grow marijuana and they expected the respect of the government as required by law.
Instead they have their applications delayed processing for five months as routine; The vice helicopters regularly break the law hovering too low over patients’ houses; The vice and county police too frequently enter legal patient’s private property with automatic weapons and scare the kids and animals and are terrifying to law-abiding patients and their families. The state has systematically intimidated and slandered those doctors who have pursued focusing on helping patients with marijuana;
Patients are arrested and convicted for possessing and transporting their medicine within the state – every patient must take their medicine to their house at some point and are thus placed in jeopardy of being arrested for the very law they are fulfilling. Police and the NED and county prosecutors have continually abused the fundamental rights of these legal patients who should be protected from these legal abuses. Even the NED’s website says:
The Hawaii’s law states, however, that the “acquisition, possession, cultivation, use, distribution (defined as only the transfer of marijuana and paraphernalia from the primary caregiver to the qualifying patient), or transportation of marijuana” for medicinal use is specifically protected.
Your bill would also do something that is severely unethical: You take away
rights of people who have come honestly forward to be legal and who rely on this medicine for their relief; and now the NED/Public Safety has their names and numbers and know that they use and grow marijuana. That is like the Nazis allowing freedom of religion as long as you register with them, and then later change the law and go after those that have registered. These thousands of legal patients who would be disqualified by your new bill could hold you personally responsible for their persistent severe pain, nausea, dysfunction, sleepless nights, and especially anxiety they develop because they are either forced into using more toxic medicines or into breaking the law, knowing that the police have their names and addresses.
Dr. Green, I have respected your legislative approaches in the past and have
heard very good things about you as a person and doctor. I was surprised to read this recent article quoted above. Tell me one real human being whom your revised bill helps. Does it help the kids to think their parents, who are using medical marijuana, are now criminals? It further restricts people, intimidates them, and puts your citizens into fear for using a medicine that has been shown through much research, to have medicinal properties, and that they know, wholeheartedly, that it helps them to better tolerate their severe medical condition better than the pharmaceutical alternatives. Do you think 90% of the patients are lying and me and thousands of other doctors as well, and that cannabis really does not help humans to tolerate their condition? I have witnessed the truth of these patients and know it helps them, and that it can be used safely.
As you know, in 2008, 53% of the people on the Big Island successfully voted
to ask the county police to treat 24 plants of marijuana and 24oz as the lowest priority. And now you want to further restrict an already established restrictive medical law that real patients medically rely on. Who exactly are you representing? The people? Which people? Certainly not the many honorable and kind folks on these Islands, I as a law-abiding and sincere medical doctor, have come to know and respect.
Please consider removing the severe medical restrictions from Senate Bill
1458 and be nice to the patients. Please help require the state itself, and the county police, live up to the laws they are required, by law, to uphold.
Jim Berg, MD
via : Hawaii News Daily
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