Daily News for Neuros, Nurses & Savvy MSers: 208,152 Viewers, 8,368 Stories & Studies
Click Here For My Videos, Advice, Tips, Studies and Trials.
Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Professor

Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
Click here to read my columns
Brian R. Apatoff, MD, PhD
Multiple Sclerosis Institute
Center for Neurological Disorders

Associate Professor Neurology and Neuroscience,

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Clinical Attending in Neurology,
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
You'll get FREE Breaking News Alerts on new MS treatments as they are approved

HERE'S A FEW OF OUR 6000+ Facebook & MySpace FRIENDS
Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

Click to view 1280 MS Walk photos!

"MS Can Not
Rob You of Joy"
"I'm an Mom has MS and we have a message for everyone."
- Jennifer Hartmark-Hill MD
Beverly Dean

"I've had MS for 2 years...this is the most important advice you'll ever hear."
"This is how I give myself a painless injection."
Heather Johnson

"A helpful tip for newly diagnosed MS patients."
"Important advice on choosing MS medication "
Joyce Moore

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Former Fox 2 anchor with MS joins the politics of pot

Image Source: STORIFY

When television news anchors sign off for the last time, some take cushy retirements while others land in politics or on a college faculty.

Not "Q." She shocked viewers by leaving for something that, a generation ago, would've had media critics mocking and peers giving her the cold shoulder.

Anqunette Jamison, known to news fans of Fox 2 Detroit as Q, left the prestigious morning anchor job on Oct. 31 to become an unpaid volunteer in the effort to legalize marijuana. Jamison did so at a propitious time for marijuana advocates. Across the political spectrum, from far left to ultra right, the legalization of marijuana has become a serious political issue. And she did so at a challenging time for her personally.

“I understand the reservations about it, but I feel that we as a country have been very misled and misinformed about cannabis,” said Jamison, 44, at her Farmington Hills home last week.

In a reflection of how profoundly attitudes have changed, she said her fans and friends have been supportive – especially after hearing that Jamison took a disability retirement for symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which she treats with medical marijuana.

“The response has been wonderful. I was expecting more of a backlash about going public with my marijuana usage,” she said. Although Jamison is a legal, card-carrying user of medical marijuana in Michigan, she wants the state to accept full legalization of the drug, "so people don't keep getting harassed by police," she said.

Just as three states, including California, voted earlier this month to fully legalize marijuana, Jamison has joined a Lansing-based political group that's determined to give Michigan voters a chance to follow suit. The group, MI Legalize, came close to getting its legalization measure on Michigan ballots and already its leaders have pledged to try again next year – with Jamison as a leading spokeswoman.

“We’re super excited to have her, and we’re coming back next year 10 times stronger," said Jeff Hank, a Lansing lawyer who chairs MI Legalize. The group plans to relaunch its petition drive in April and Jamison "is going to play a big role” in the fresh campaign for largely the same ballot proposal, Hank said.

Already, she's set to represent MI Legalize as a speaker Dec. 4 in Lansing at the Capital Conference "for those currently in or aspiring to get involved in the medical marijuana business market," according to the event's website. Jamison said the MS symptoms that spurred her retirement from TV won't stop her from speaking out for legalizing marijuana.

"I've had no trouble walking so far. My feet will go numb sometimes," she said. She's extra-cautious on stairs after having a bad fall last year, and she sometimes has short-term memory lapses, she said.

Taxation and regulation

MI Legalize burned through about $1 million in this year's ill-fated petition drive, but contributions are rolling in for a fresh attempt at the same task: to gather more than 252,000 signatures, a requirement based on the turnout of Michigan voters in the last election for governor, according to online marijuana blogs and list serves. MI Legalize supporters include lawyers, blue-collar workers, retirees and a few farmers.

But Jamison will be a unique voice, said Matt Abel, a Detroiter who heads Michigan's chapter of NORML -- the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. Because Jamison is an African-American woman, she adds diversity to a movement that has been dominated by white men, Abel said. And her voice is a counterweight to the legions of black ministers who've preached for half a century that marijuana is evil, Abel said.

Finally, "she's a highly credible example of a person who gets real help from medical marijuana," he said.

The mantra on the MI Legalize website is "tax it and regulate it like alcohol.” The group's referendum measure was kept off Michigan ballots by state election officials. They said MILegalize failed to gather all of its signatures within a 180-day period, a ruling upheld in multiple court decisions this year. Next year, "assuming our petitioning is done by next November, we'll have a whole additional year to fund raise and educate the public" prior to placing a legalization question on statewide ballots in fall 2018, when Gov. Rick Snyder's successor is elected, Abel said.

The political climate, both in Michigan and nationwide, is rapidly becoming marijuana-friendly, said Karen O'Keefe, a Grosse Pointe Farms native who is state policy director for the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project -- a think tank based in Washington, D.C., that pushes for legalization.

Last week, "the number of states where marijuana is legal for adults doubled in one day, and medical marijuana measures passed in every case," O'Keefe said. As late as Tuesday, votes were still being counted in Arizona, although its legalization effort was expected to fail, she said.

No one can be sure how President-elect Donald Trump will act on marijuana issues. But he can't turn back the tide of acceptance swelling around cannabis, O'Keefe said.

In October, a Gallup poll showed that 60% of Americans favored some form of legalization; a Pew Research Center poll pegged the figure at 57%. Such polls are nudging state and federal lawmakers to take notice, said Barney Warf, a professor of geography at the University of Kansas and author of the recent study “High Points: An Historical Geography of Cannabis."

In state capitals, “even conservative legislatures are starting to eye the potential tax revenues” from legalizing and regulating marijuana, Warf said.

Pot push back continues

Marijuana is still considered illegal by the federal government and most states, despite ordinances in such cities as Detroit Ferndale and Ann Arbor that decriminalizes the use and possession of small amounts.

And there's still push-back against the trend from law enforcement officials, substance-abuse educators, religious leaders and others.

In the last five years, Troy police have seen "a dramatic percentage-wise increase in drugged driving arrests," said Chief Gary Mayer. Many of those arrested for drugged driving were found in possession of marijuana, Mayer said.

"But they could have marijuana and beer, or could have marijuana and Xanax (a powerful opioid painkiller). We don't keep data that breaks down exactly what drugs are involved" in an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs, he said.

On Nov. 10, the Michigan Prevention Association held its annual "Burning Issues Conference," a daylong gathering of substance-abuse counselors and educators from across Michigan. Speakers voiced the concern that marijuana someday will be legal in Michigan, said  the association's board secretary Lisa Horvath, a prevention supervisor at Southgate-based SUDDS (Stop Underage Drinking/Drugs Coalition.

Legalization will send a message to Michigan's youth that marijuana is safe, and that inevitably will lead to more young people using it and becoming addicted, Horvath said. Making the legal age 21 won't be any more effective than it has been for alcohol, she said.

"We know the age of onset with alcohol for a lots of kids is 11. They get it from their parents' cupboard, from their friends, their siblings. Marijuana will be the same," Horvath said.

Since 2011, marijuana use actually has dropped nationwide among American youths by just over 2%, said Lloyd Johnston, a research scientists at the University of Michigan. Since 1975, Johnston has led the University of Michigan's nationwide Monitoring the Future study of adolescent substance abuse, which now entails surveying about 50,000 students each year.

Anti-marijuana groups assert that youth use is up in states that have legalized cannabis, but Johnston said it's too early to tell. Still, he believes that Michigan voters should look before they leap.

"States that haven't yet legalized recreational marijuana would be wise to hold off until the results in the states that have legalized are more clear," he said in an email.

Marijuana and morality

Among those who have been vocal about marijuana use and, more recently, the widespread availability of it via dispensaries in Detroit are some of the city's religious leaders.

Two Detroit preachers said Jamison's plight would not budge their opposition to legalizing marijuana.

The Rev. William Revely, 75, pastor of the 200-member Holy Hope Heritage Church in northwest Detroit, said early in his life he headed a drug-abuse center.

“I saw so much that it just convinced me – drug abuse starts harmlessly with marijuana and it just escalates. I never saw anybody who could control that – good lives messed up because they could not control it. The drug is too powerful,” he said.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by DETROITFREEPRESS
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

Go to Newer News Go to Older News