Patient and advocate: Marijuana should be seen as a medicine

Timothy Clancy wants people to begin treating medical marijuana like a medicine and not like a street drug.

Clancy is one of about 900 Connecticut residents who has a doctor’s prescription and state registration card to purchase and use marijuana.

“The people using it as medicine aren’t teenagers hanging out on the corner but are sick patients, the elderly, people who are homebound,” he said. “It’s a last-resort medicine when all other pharmaceuticals have failed.”

Clancy recently spoke before the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission, which has enacted a nine-month moratorium on receiving potential applications for marijuana producing and dispensing facilities in the city.

The Stratford resident is the founder and spokesman for CT Kind, a cannabis patient advocacy and education organization.

“I’m a patient — not a criminal,” states the Facebook page of CT Kind, which is seeking nonprofit status.


Helping patients through the process

Clancy is determined to help patients through the challenge of getting marijuana legally and to educate the general public about what he considers the many benefits of cannabis.

“We’re trying to teach the community — including doctors — about this,” he said. “We want to educate people who have the wrong notion of it.”

CT Kind volunteers are available to meet with current or potential medical cannabis patients, helping them to navigate the state’s new, still-evolving medical marijuana program.

The organization offers information and educational materials, provides testimonials, and can make doctor and lawyer referrals.

“I network with people all over the country and internationally to get answers,” Clancy said.

There are about a dozen illnesses — all life-threatening — that can qualify someone to use marijuana legally in the state, and he would like to see that number increase.


Better understood

Clancy said some of the most medically beneficial ingredients in marijuana are not those that get people high, meaning they are non-psycho-active.

The medical benefits of marijuana are becoming better understood, he said. “It isn’t just for nausea,” Clancy said.

He said marijuana was used legally for medical reasons in the United States until the 1940s. That changed partly due to lobbying by corporations such as DuPont, he said, which was making nylon to compete with rope made from hemp, a kind of cannabis.


Can be consumed in different forms

Clancy said one misconception is that marijuana has to be smoked. In addition to being available in pill form, he said cannabis can be drunk after being juiced or used as a nutritional supplement to food after being chopped up. It also can be made available as an oil.

The medical benefits of marijuana are more appreciated in some other countries around the world, Clancy said. For instance, marijuana is given to patients in Israel for dementia, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, he said.

He would like to see cannabis used in detox settings to help people get off alcohol and hard drugs. Now, he said, many people at substance abuse rehab programs receive powerful pharmaceuticals.


Now medically legal in 20 states

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states, including all six New England states. Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state.

Marijuana for medical purposes became legal on Oct. 1, 2012 in Connecticut, based on action by the state legislature and governor, but the specific guidelines and regulations pertaining to the law have just been approved by state officials.

A marijuana producer would grow the substance, and a dispensary is where patients will go to purchase the substance for medical reasons.

Clancy said he respects the Shelton P&Z’s decision to pass a moratorium, which is something some other towns are doing as well. “They are doing their due diligence to make sure it will be in a secure environment, which also is important to patients,” he said.

He said if dispensaries and producers are set up properly, they will be “out of sight and out of mind” to the general public.

Connecticut is expected to have a handful of dispensaries statewide, with a licensed pharmacist on the premises of each one. Clancy hopes to be able to buy cannabis at such a facility in Connecticut by next summer.


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  • Impacts of Marijuana

    Marijuana will be treated as a medicine when it has gone through all of the property FDA certified processes. Marijuana is a federally illegal drug and to push pot as a medicine in defiance of the Food and Drug Administration strict guidelines only proves to discredit the use of marijuana.

    Marijuana is not prescribed as the article notes, marijuana can only be recommended by a doctor, and most doctors throughout other so-called medical marijuana states are pot doctors and not our mainstream doctors who have legitimate and reputable relationships with their patients.

    The article notes that it isn’t teens hanging out on the corner, but rather neglects to inform you that the access by teens with these so-called marijuana programs in on the rise in all states with these programs. Of all the kids going into county treatment programs in my county, 87.5% are there for pot addiction and the kids themselves are telling us that they are getting it from their medical marijuana dad, relative, or friend.

    Shelton Planning and Zoning should heed the warning from other states and include in their zoning law a phrase that says: “Will prohibit the actions/activities and shall not support or sanction any actions/activities within the geographic boundaries of [city] which is in violation of federal law, to include, but not limited to the growing of marijuana or the sales/distribution of marijuana or any products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).”

    Pot growers and dispensaries are easy marks for criminal activities because of valuable marijuana crops and large amounts of cash. Operators of dispensaries and marijuana grow sites have been attacked and murdered by armed criminals both at their storefronts, homes, and grow sites. Common byproducts related to grow sites include: drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, diversion of marijuana from “patients” to our youth, public marijuana consumption, increased traffic accidents and driving under the influence arrests –- all of which could lead to the loss of other commercial businesses that don’t want to be located near a marijuana grow site or dispensary. Cities should also be concerned about the potential loss of new business ventures that will look to expand in areas not effected by pot shops and pot growers.

    If Clancy wants to help patients through the process, then they should do it the right way. Testimonials are hardly a legitimate criteria or proper process for entering a real medicine into the market place. Drugs should be scientifically tested through the rigorous protocols of the FDA.

    This is not an issue of teaching the community, but rather warning the community of the dangers of allowing a federally illegal drug in their communities.

    This has not proven successful in any of the current marijuana program states.

    • jud

      My existence proves you wrong. i am a patient; this is medicine.

      • Impacts of Marijuana

        It is not an issue of proving someone wrong, it is doing what it right.

        Then put it through all of the proper processes to prove that. It is inappropriate for citizens and legislators to be voting and legislating a federally illegal drug as a medicine without it having gone through all of the proper scientific tests.

        It is reasonable to question why marijuana advocates, if really believe that marijuana is an effective medicine, do they not push for the valid research that follows the proper procedures to obtain FDA approval. The answer is obvious as Dr. Robert Dupont noted, “There is only one reason the advocates for ‘medical marijuana’ do not use this new openness of the FDA to fulfill their hopes, and that is the difficulty they face in proving that smoked marijuana is an effective and safe way to treat any illness.”

    • Duncan20903

      It amazes me that there are still people that prostrate themselves at the altar of the FDA.Regardless of the fact that there are almost 1.5 million emergency room visits each year caused by FDA-approved medicines taken as directed, I’d like to point out that the FDA grandfathered drugs like aspirin and penicillin that were in widespread use when the FDA protocols for new drugs was instituted.

      Cannabis has a 5,000-year track record of safe use as a medicine. It’s simply outrageous nonsense to claim that it needs to go through the FDA approval process for new drugs because it is anything but.

      But there’s no doubt in my mind that people like “Impacts of Merrywanna” are just looking for an excuse so that they need not face the reality their misplaced faith in the FDA is causing very real people who are really very sick to suffer very real injury and very real pain that is a direct result of this very real misplaced faith in a government approval process.

      So tell us, oh worship at the altar of the FDA posters. How many more decades do you expect people just to suffer because of your misplaced antagonism? It’s really very con-veee-eeenient when all the nattering nabobs of negativism need to do is to say, “Oh! We just don’t have enough testing!” BTW, that claim is also hogwash. The only testing that we’re short on is studies that return the results that the prohibitionists want.

      Every single substance that has been approved by the FDA had exactly the same medicinal utility on the day after it was approved as it did on the day before it was approved. FDA approval does not magically confer medicinal utility on a substance.

      As long as people let scoundrels like “Impact of Merrywanna” to muddy the waters of reason with their personal animosity, you’re just as guilty of causing sick people to suffer more than needed. That’s just cruel and inhuman IMO.

      • Impacts of Marijuana

        What muddies the waters of reason are those who think that they can just circumvent the proper protocols. Those protocols are there for a reason — to protect society.

        I doubt that sick people are suffering, as marijuana is readily available in the black market for use.

        The only scoundrels are those who resort to name-calling and are disrespectful of any ways other than their own.

    • sandydog5

      To Impacts of Marijuana, just say “no” for yourself and move along. Kids go to MJ rehab because a judge/police officer orders it. Those with low incomes can go for free, tax subsidized (a real money-maker for clinics). How many wealthy families have their kids in MJ rehab? The powers-that-be also are diagnosing many of these kids with severe mental problems that many don’t have.

      If you want to help your youth, try being honest with them. You might find their honesty refreshing. Educate and open your frigging mind.

      The only people that have problems with the states legalizing MJ (recreational or medical) are prohibitionists — a dying group, thank God.

      You have marijuana in Wyoming because the people of Wyoming use the stuff. Otherwise it wouldn’t be there — it’s supply and demand.

      • Impacts of Marijuana

        It makes no difference whether someone goes to rehab because of a judge, parent or other, you have to meet a certain addiction criteria to get into rehab and that is called addiction.

        I work with youth and am honest with them daily about the dangers of all drugs.

  • Hiro

    To Impacts of Marijuana: You sound very ridiculous right now. You act as if there is no medical documentation on the uses of cannabis and you act as if this substance has directly claimed thousands of lives. Open your mind and do the research before spouting off government-spun material. Of course there is nothing known about cannabis in the U.S. because the plant was made illegal for racist reasons. (Thank you, Harry Anslinger.)

    The FDA has approved many prescription drugs, and they claim a life accidentally every 19 seconds. Find me some research that claims a single death from cannabis. Chances are you’ll die of old age before you find any evidence. With cannabis under Schedule 1, the U.S. cannot conduct medical research, thus, the reason why this country doesn’t know any better.

    Thank you to the article’s author for speaking the truth and not regurgitating closed-minded propaganda.

    • Impacts of Marijuana

      What is ridiculous are those who assume, rather than ask. My post is objecting to the fact that marijuana is a federally illegal drug and to date the FDA and DEA find no substantial testing that marijuana has medical value and has a high rates of abuse. I suggest that it might be better if your mind opens a little as the FDA ruling has allowed testing with marijuana, and to date there is not sufficient scientific available testing to prove beneficial value of marijuana.

      It is reasonable to question why marijuana advocates, if really believe that marijuana is an effective medicine, do they not push for the valid research that follows the proper procedures to obtain FDA approval. The answer is obvious as Dr. Robert Dupont noted, “There is only one reason the advocates for ‘medical marijuana’ do not use this new openness of the FDA to fulfill their hopes, and that is the difficulty they face in proving that smoked marijuana is an effective and safe way to treat any illness.”

      The only regurgitated propaganda is coming from those who think that it is OK to disrespect the country’s proper protocols for testing medicines.

  • You are both wrong

    To Impacts of Marijuana, you have basically said marijuana is bad because it’s illegal. That is the sort of pointless circular logic prohibitionists have been using for a long time. It’s an argument that is meritless and without substance.

    As for your claim about armies of addicted teenagers, no one is addicted to marijuana — no one. If they use it in excess it is likely because they have other life problems that drive them toward marijuana. If they weren’t smoking weed, it might be excessive alcohol or worse yet, meth, cocaine etc. In reality it’s probably fortuitous they chose marijuana given the alternatives.

    Your diatribe and fear-mongering about the dangers of cannabis businesses are also meritless and not supported by any facts (you passed off your opinion as fact). The best way to manage the problems associated with marijuana is to legalize and regulate it — just like alcohol. That is why you don’t have problems with bootleggers hanging out at the corner or grocery stores being robbed of illicit funds obtained from the sale of alcohol — because it is a well regulated legal system. Marijuana should be no different.

    • Impacts of Marijuana

      I have said nothing about marijuana being bad. What I have said is that it has never been deemed a medicine through the proper scientific protocols that all other medicines have to follow.

      What is meritless and without substance are those who spew studies that have not been scientifically processed through the proper protocols of the FDA.

      You are incorrect —- many people are addicted to marijuana, as they are to cigarettes, which does not have the addictive high that goes along with it. In our county, 87.5% of teens in treatment are there are marijuana addiction.

      It is your diatribe and fear-mongering that marijuana is a safe drug and harmless drug that is offending, because you are wrong.

      On August 27 in Colorado, Denver, DA Mitch Morrissey takes to YouTube to prove his pot point and the dangers of marijuana dispensaries and in home grows.

  • New Jersey has created a legal black market for the sale of medical marijuana. Some dispensaries are charging up to $600 an ounce for cannabis, which insurance does not cover. This pushes many patients to go through non-legal avenues to obtain their needed medicine.

    Stop New Jersey from making the sick and dying criminals, and let’s get some compassion into our medical marijuana laws.

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