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Worth Repeating: Marijuana As Schedule I Violates Patient's Bill of Rights

Posted on October 29, 2012 by News Admin


The Patient's Bills of Rights guarantees you the right to make your own health decisions when seeking medical care, which includes all the medicines you personally choose to put into your body, in partnership with your physician's recommendations, to prevent, heal, or improve your quality of life due to suboptimal health.

The Patient's Bill of Rights grants you the freedom to use medical marijuana to heal yourself! 

People who are ill, injured, suffering from a disease or disability, and who are prescribed medical marijuana, are patients protected by this Patient's Bill of Rights (PBR) in or out of the hospital. Wherever your pain goes, so go your patient rights.
"You have the right to safe, considerate and respectful care, provided in a manner consistent with your beliefs."
~ National Institutes of Health/Patient's Bill of Rights

Throwing medical marijuana patients and their caregivers into prison for their medical beliefs is a violation of the PBR and causes them direct harm.

Respect and non-discrimination

"You have a right to considerate, respectful care from your doctors, health plan representatives, and other health care providers" [such as the DEA] "that does not discriminate against you based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or source of payment.*"
~ The American Cancer Society
*Or use or medicinal cannabinoids from plant source (You are looking at the future!)

The guiding principle of the PBR is that when receiving care for an illness, injury, disease, or disability, you don't feel that you must "do as you are told."

"Even to the point of you have the right to refuse any test or treatment, even if it means you might have a bad health outcome as a result." 

This means that, even if medical marijuana as a treatment does cause me harm, this also my right as a freedom of medical treatment choice.

Direct Harm

Since your medical condition follows you wherever you go, so do your rights. Your rights don't stop when you walk out of your physician's door. When the clinic where you are filling your doctor-issued prescription for medical cannabis is raided and closed by the DEA, patient rights are being denied to our whole society. This violation of patient's rights on a grand scale is stripping all medical marijuana patients of their right to choose their own medical treatment.

"By keeping marijuana classified as a Schedule I substance, a dangerous drug with no medical value, and by ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence, ASA argues that the federal government has kept marijuana out of reach for millions of Americans who would otherwise benefit from its therapeutic value."
The PBR grants patients the right to choose what medicines they will put in their bodies to improve their level of discomfort from any illness, from any medical condition, to preserve their health and overall quality of life.

This statement is the very heart of what the Patient's Bill of Rights stands for, the right to experience relief from pain and suffering due to poor health.
The PBR is ultimately enforced by Health and Human Services (HHS), so if medical marijuana patients and providers are being arrested by the DEA, the DEA is violating the very same rights that are granted to them in the PBR.

Will HHS protect me as medical marijuana patient against the DEA? These two Federal departments have a conflict of interest and of mission. Question: Why isn't HHS fighting to protect the rights of medical marijuana patients to choose their own treatment plan? 
If marijuana prohibition is backed up by DEA medical research, which is then used to regulate drugs and drug abuse, the DEA is directly involved in the field of medicine whose decisions affect patients and the medicine they use. That being the case, the DEA is bound to respect the Patient's Bill of Rights.  

Every person and organization in the medical field, directly or indirectly, even the U.S. government, is required to respect and not violate the rights of people who receive medical care. Medical marijuana prohibition directly violates this PBR, and causes direct harm to patients by shutting down the locations where they receive their choice of medicine.
Medical marijuana users are the last underground out-group against whom it is still legal to discriminate, and that violation takes the form of Schedule I and prohibition.

Schedule I causes direct harm by forbidding and criminalizing a valuable medicine that directly treats cancer, neurological diseases, and other life-threatening illnesses.

By trying to prop up and maintain such a detrimental law as Schedule I highlights that the DEA has proven itself to be an obsolete organization and a barrier to medical progress.
75 years of institutionalized discrimination against cannabis users can no longer be ignored or tolerated. 

The way sexual orientation made its way onto the PBR list will be the same way medical marijuana will added in the near future. "Marijuana is the new gay." Schedule I takes away my right to make my own medical decision; that is a fundamental right all humans are born with.
"PDFA [Partnership for a Drug-Free America] was the subject of criticism when it was revealed by Cynthia Cotts of the Village Voice that their federal tax returns showed that they had received several million dollars worth of funding from major pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol corporations including American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey), Philip Morris (Marlboro and Virginia Slims cigarettes, Miller beer), Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer), R.J. Reynolds (Camel, Salem, Winston cigarettes), as well as pharmaceutical firms Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Company and Procter & Gamble. From 1997 it has discontinued any direct fiscal association with tobacco and alcohol suppliers, although it still receives donations from pharmaceutical companies. There has been criticism that some of its PSAs have had 'little proven effect on drug use.'" 

Medical marijuana patients have the support of 81 percent of the U.S. population! We are the new supermajority. Let's put legalizing medical marijuana to a national referendum, and while we are at it, let's also vote on defunding the DEA of its $26 billion budget, half of which is just for marijuana eradication.
"The fact is, this is the 21st century. The citizen of this country has access to independent truth. And they are quite aware that the prohibitionist scare tactics against marijuana are largely propaganda. "

"This is America, last time anyone checked. And the role of the federal government is to serve the people. If the people vote overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana, the founding principles of this great country demand nothing less than respect for that majority."
~ Deborah Morgan /, October 21, 2012 

"You have the right to know your treatment options and take part in decisions about your care. You have the right to ask about the pros and cons of any treatment, including no treatment at all." 

As part of my PBR I also demand my right as a patient to hear my physician discuss information about medical marijuana such as this:

"The potential effects of medicinal cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology the health care provider may recommend medicinal cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct anti-tumor effect."
~ National Cancer Institute 

"Towards the use of cannabinoids as antitumor agents"
Nature reviews Cancer / May 2012

"Cannabinoid-associated cell death mechanisms in tumor models"
International Journal of Oncology / May 2012

"The endocannabinoid system in cancer-potential therapeutic target"
Seminars in Cancer Biology / June 2008

"Endocannabinoids as emerging suppressors of angiogenesis and tumor invasion"
Oncology Reports / April 2007

Marijuana is not the answer, except for when it is!
Schedule I discriminates against and harms medical marijuana patients in two direct ways:

It prevents patients from receiving life-saving medicines, and turns sick patients into criminals. 
Marijuana prohibition is an industry, very much like Big Tobacco: both make a profit on creating misery for humans.

The longest war in American history on its own people is starting to come to an end, the two last roadblocks to fall will be Schedule I and the coming tide of cannabis legalization in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. The writing is on the wall.

The very ground is shifting under the feet of the DEA... this is a dying "Drug War" that has been waged on our own citizens. The way that LGBT community/culture was added to the Patient's Bill of Rights will be the way medical cannabinoids will be added to aid our gentle green culture.
This post is dedicated to the patient's rights of Michael Safiotti, age 22 -- in jail for marijuana -- who died after jail workers served him oatmeal containing dairy products, and then refused to help him when he had an allergic reaction. Direct harm was inflicted on Michael by Schedule I. Sleep well tonight, DEA.

Editor's note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS education to teens aged 13-17. He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist. He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years. Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.

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