No, Alabama Isn’t Ready

The Alabama Medical Marijuana Safe Access Act is sitting and waiting to be voted on by the Senate. If it can get on the calendar. That responsibility falls to the  Majority Leader of the Alabama Senate J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, who has said publicly that Alabama isn’t ready for Medical Marijuana.

This doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him wrong.

Jabo Waggoner was born the same year that Prohibition began. In 1937. All his life he was taught that marijuana is bad, a tool of the devil, a drug that would alter your brain and your behavior. Scary stuff. So scary that it worked on several generations of people, even though marijuana, or cannabis, as it was known then was used in many types of medications, even for children. These medicines were made by the pharmaceutical companies and widely accepted until a campaign of hate against the hemp plant began.

It was all politics then and yes, it is politics now.

Mr. Waggoner can put this bill on the calendar and be seen as a compassionate man … or he can stand in the way of progress and take whatever political damage may come. We can only hope he does the right thing. But being faced with this kind of mindset is an excellent example of what we are up against: 80 years worth of lies and misinformation. And the campaign of deceit against the cannabis plant is not entirely over.

We all know cannabis is medicine. Hopefully Mr. Waggoner is hearing about it now.

Because Alabama isn’t ready.

Alabama isn’t ready to let its children suffer. Many of the children who came to the Statehouse and waited a year for Carly’s Law don’t qualify for the program. Some of them don’t have another year or two to wait. Most of them are on prescription drugs that are causing more damage than cannabis ever could.

Alabama isn’t ready to continue the lie of prohibition. We are better than that. A Christian state doesn’t let its citizens suffer needlessly. In considering medical cannabis for their state, Republican Sen. Mike Folmer of Pennsylvania said, “Here is part of God’s creation he has given us. We have two choices: We can either abuse and misuse it, or we can bring it into proper stewardship and help people with it.”

Alabama isn’t ready to ignore science. We know that the rest of the country expects us to be the last state to embrace progress. We need to show them that we are not stupid. We need to say yes to research where it is needed, and give sick people access to this medicine.

Alabama isn’t ready to move to Colorado. There are people who have already moved to other states and left family here, in Alabama. They deserve to come home. Is Alabama going to say NO to them?

Alabama isn’t ready to play with people’s lives. Theres is little doubt that if any of our lawmakers had a sick loved one, they would take the time to research every avenue of treatment, and every type of medicine, to ease their suffering. Not even their jobs would stop them from wanting to save their child. Or their sister. Or their father. If their child was having seizure after seizure this bill would be on the calendar today.

We have lost 80 years that could have been spent studying and discovering all the medical uses of cannabis. Now The United States is beginning to wake up.

Alabama is not ready to be last on the list.

Alabama is not ready to legalize drugs. But we are eager to treat our sick with compassion and safe, non-toxic medicine. The Alabama Medical Marijuana Safe Access Act allows just that. It allows our doctors to decide what treatment we need. It allows the sick to grow a medicinal plant in their home without the fear of being prosecuted.

The time has come for Alabama to make history. Is Alabama ready?

If you would like to voice your concerns about The Alabama Medical Marijuana Safe Access Act not being put on the Senate calendar, here is the contact information:

J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner

Phone: 334-242-7892, District Phone: 205-978-7405

Email: jabo.waggoner@alsenate.gov

Fri, April 24 2015 » Activism, Marijuana News, Medical Marijuana, Patients Rights, Sonja Renea, Speak Up, Take Action, The Alabama Legislature, Uncategorized » No Comments

Alabama Considers First Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill in the South

For an in-depth look at Alabama SB326 and some background Alabama’s struggle for a medical marijuana bill click here.

Thu, April 23 2015 » Marijuana News, Medical Marijuana, Sonja Renea, The Alabama Legislature, Uncategorized » No Comments

Working for Change: The Life of An Activist

 

The life of an activist is not pretty… it’s usually driven by some sickness, cause or injustice that effects a person’s life and changes it forever.

Or it’s driven by a need for change bigger than just any one of us.

Activism is an endless stream of early morning or late nights or even quick work at lunch, woven in and out of your real life, your personal life, if you have one.

Sometimes it is passionate, maddening, uplifting and frustrating. It can be an hour spent on speakerphone with someone you hardly know… a potential friend, supporter or troll. You never know.

Most people don’t want this work. They want to go to rallies and hear bands, they want to buy t-shirts and maybe contribute to a GoFundMe, but ask them to get up early on a weekend and heads explode.

It’s just not fun. Shaking hands. Chasing people down. Talking to politicians… or gasp! public speaking. It can be hours on your feet at an event, running around trying to make things happen, trying to keep people happy, all with a smile on your face and a camera to capture it all.

Activism is full of sighs, cheers, hugs, not to mention tears of defeat, joy and compassion. It is full of people who appreciate you, who cannot leave their home and count on you to speak for them.

It is a lonely life sometimes, unless you can find your own kind. Even then, there are always personal politics. Activism comes with criticism sometimes. Effective people have no time for haters.

The real life of an activist is not made up of rallies and t-shirts and after-parties. It is getting up early, making preparations and then staying late to clean up and unplug the sound system. Activist don’t have roadies. We are our own roadies. No one does anything for us.

In fact, activists do it all for you. For those who are sick. Who can’t get out of the house, or bed. For those who can’t travel. For those who can’t afford to make it.

But when you feel as if no one supports you, when no one shows up, and when no one appreciates you… that’s when it hurts.

Activism isn’t easy. Neither is change. They are both hard and no one wants to do them… but they have to be done. Because without speaking up, change may happen, but not the change you want.  People have to learn to take the time to speak out. Defend the defenseless. Start conversations that mean something. To not be ashamed of what they believe in.

If you think the government is lying to you, say something. If your loved-one could have been saved with cannabis, share their legacy. If you are in pain or watch your child suffer everyday, let that fuel your efforts to change things.

If all you can do is be a keyboard commando, you have more power than you think… because knowledge is power. But if you can do more, do more. Do as much as you can because without EVERYONE, nothing will change.

A lot of people are afraid to discuss medical marijuana because it is against the law. But only in half the country. Don’t just sit there. Do something. There is no law against activism.

Sonja Renea, AMMJC Director of Communications

 

Wed, March 11 2015 » Activism, Medical Marijuana, Patients Rights, Rants and Raves, Sonja Renea, Speak Up, Take Action, The Alabama Legislature, Uncategorized » No Comments

Roll Up Your Sleeves… We Have Work To Do!

After a little break, The Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition is back and ready to work!

First of all, we want to thank everyone who has been supportive during the last few turbulent months. Our Board of Directors was dissolved due to a breach of trust issue. We also lost our beloved treasurer, the late Jim Dement. But now that we have successfully put that behind us, we are now working hard to rebuild our organization into a more professional, passionate and effective advocacy group.

Secondly, we want everyone to rest assured that our main goal has been and always will be fighting to change the laws concerning medical marijuana for patients in Alabama. Right now our focus is on the next Legislative session.

With the passing of Carly’s Law, we feel encouraged but also frustrated. The bill leaves out many conditions that could be treated with CBD, while also ignoring the science behind the whole plant as medicine.  None of the children that the bill intended to help have received medicine yet. That is because UAB needs Federal approval to move forward. Those children and many other Alabamians don’t have time to wait.

We believe that more needs to be done for the patients of Alabama.

We believe the answer to this is aggressive legislation, community involvement and education to end these infringements and protect the rights and liberties of all Alabama patients.

But we have work to do.

This is a pivotal time in history… and every single voice counts. This Coalition wants to be remembered for fighting in the war for everyone’s freedom… but we need soldiers.

We need you to spend a few minutes on your computer writing letters to our legislators and local newspapers (because the lawmakers DO read them)… You can even write to us and we’ll make sure the Legislature gets your letter! You can send them to Letters to the Legislature ℅ AMMJC, 144 County Road 821, Cullman, AL 35057

To find your legislator’s email click here.

In the left hand column, scroll down to see a box where you can type in your zip code + 4 (the 4 numbers following your zip code on most of your mail). Once you enter your zip code and hit search, it will give you your representative and your senator. You can then click on their name and it will take you to their home page with their email info. If they do not have an email listed, representatives can be reached at their firstname.lastname@alhouse.gov, and senators can be reached at their firstname.lastname@alsenate.gov.

When writing a letter or email, a brief message is best… Ask them to respectfully consider any bill that would help get much-needed medicine to those who are suffering. Tell them why you or a family member needs medical marijuana. If you have a personal story, please share it. Be respectful and polite. Being rude will not help our cause. Our legislature is just beginning to realize what we already know; marijuana is the safest and most useful medicine on the planet, and it is time to stop denying patients the right to that medicine.

Help us educate them.

AMMJC is planning a new project that all of you can participate in…  one that will show that Alabama is a progressive state, with compassionate people in it who support medical marijuana. We’ll have more details very soon! We have not made plans for a rally yet however we are looking at our options. We do plan on being in Montgomery during the next legislative session to speak with the Legislature, and we are holding a fundraiser to help us with our travel expenses. If you would like to donate click here.  You can message us via the donation page, reach out to us via Facebook or email at info@ammjc.org. We look forward to working with you all during this next Legislative session.

Thank you all for your support!

 

 

Sun, September 14 2014 » Letters, Marijuana News, Medical Marijuana, Patients Rights, Sonja Renea, Speak Up, Take Action, The Alabama Legislature, Uncategorized » No Comments

Sign To Show Your Support For Medical Marijuana

We have a new petition out! Unlike the petitions in the past, this one does not support or mention any particular bill that might go up for a vote. In fact, we want our lawmakers to consider ANY bill that would allow Marijuana to be considered legal medicine.

This latest petition is a show of support for the medical use of Marijuana in our state. Period. We want to take the politics out of the wording, and see just how many of our citizens agree that sick people should not be prosecuted for using Marijuana.

Support For The Patient's Right to Medical Marijuana in Alabama

All Members of the Alabama House of Representatives

[signature]

801 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

Mon, September 9 2013 » Marijuana News, Petitions, Take Action, Uncategorized » 4 Comments

Why I Am A Medical Marijuana Advocate

I am an advocate because I am a mother. Because when I looked down into my newborn son’s face, I felt unconditional love for the first time in my life. I knew then I would do anything for him.

I am an advocate because when my son was 11 he started having stomach pain and at 14, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

I am an advocate because now, at age 22, he has been sick half his life.

I am an advocate because of all the pain I have seen him endure… Pain I cannot ease.  Because of all the friends I watched him lose… Friendships that I, as a mother, can never replace. I am an advocate because of all the days and nights that have now become years of unexpected isolation, doctors, anxiety and sadness. I am an advocate because he deserves a chance to have more than that for a life.

I am an advocate because after time, I realized that marijuana, a simple tool of my teenage rebellion, was now the key to helping my son achieve a much better quality of life. I am an advocate because I educate myself. I want the healthiest, safest alternative out there for my son. I am an advocate because I am determined to have hope… and that hope sustains me as I work to make change… so that life will not be a struggle for my son and others who suffer.

I am an advocate because I am scared, and desperate. I am an advocate because I know that doing nothing is not an option.  Anyone with a sick loved one knows this. I am an advocate because I am determined to make it better. And I will never stop until my son can feel better, get well, and learn to enjoy his life, without the worry of being labelled a criminal.

I am an advocate because God blessed me with a talented, brilliant child with a horrible disease — a child who needed me as much as I needed him. Where I am weak, he is strong. And what he cannot do, I will do for him. I am an advocate because I have to be. I have no choice.

— Sonja Renea, Secretary, AMMJC

 

 

 

 

 

Sun, September 1 2013 » Written Patient & Family Testimonials » No Comments

It’s time for the laughing to stop

by Chris Butts

Statehouse-potWith the 2013 Legislative Session coming to a close just days ago, the AMMJC Board of Directors have been discussing the future. We’ve been discussing what the 2014 Legislative Session looks like. We’ve been discussing how we as individuals and as an organization will be getting involved in the November 2014 Elections. During the 2014 elections every one of the seats in the House of Representatives in Montgomery are up for re-election. Because of that Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition plans on moving in slightly different direction.

Those who live in this state who have followed the fight for medical marijuana have far too often seen bills introduced to protect patients treated as a joke. There is no more poignant example than the recent video from the Alabama House of Representatives of their “Shroud Award” presentation. The award is given to the Representative who files the “deadest bill”. Representative Patricia Todd received the 2013 award for three legislative instruments she filed. Those bills were, HB2 the” Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights Act, HB315 the “Alabama Medical Exemption Act and HB550 the “Alabama Cannabis and Hemp Reform Act of 2013″.  (which also has “medical marijuana” language within its text.) The video depicts our elected officials having a grand old time laughing and cutting up, because we all know that a cancer patient on chemotherapy who is vomiting their toenails up is hilarious. Some may think that the people we elected to represent us showing total disregard for the thousands of emails and phone calls they received in support of those bills is a down right knee slapper, but we don’t. We would even venture to say that the majority of Alabamians find it disgusting that our representatives would simply ignore suffering patients around the state, and then actually laugh about them.

(Editors note: For some reason NONE of the links I thought were in this article are active and the video isn’t embedded. I apologize and I’m trying to fix it.)
In the mean time the video is available from our friend Steve Elliott on tokesignals.com

Regina King and her mother have been long time supporters of AMMJC

Regina King and her mother have been long time supporters of AMMJC

Because we believe that every voter in the State of Alabama should know exactly where their elected officials stand on the issue of the therapeutic use of marijuana, we have begun polling our Representatives in the House. Over the next few months AMMJC representatives and volunteers will be contacting each and every Member of the House of Representatives to get their response to a two part question. The question isn’t about the laws surrounding marijuana. It isn’t about the perceived benefits or dangers of marijuana use. The question asked is about their “personal opinion” regarding medical marijuana and the second part asks them to explain their answer to the first question.

1) “Do you believe Alabama patients should have the option to posses and use marijuana without fear of arrest and prosecution, if their physician believes it will help them?”

2) “Why?”

Simple enough, right? As we get responses from our elected officials AMMJC will be posting those responses publicly right here on our website. Regardless of their response, “for”, “against” or “no response” will be posted for all to see. For those Representatives who choose to render no response AMMJC will be employing volunteers in that representative’s district to go visit them personally and solicit a response.

Now of course we know there are many legislators in the House who are indeed taking this issue seriously. To those legislators we express our thanks and gratitude and ask that they help us continue this conversation until changes are made to protect the patients of Alabama. To those who think it is funny being stricken with Cancer, Aids, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, ALS, Parkinson’s and a host of other life altering diseases that can be benefitted by the use of cannabis, well, the elections are right around the corner.

Below is the letter released on Monday May 20, 2013 to the Members of House of Representatives as well as the media outlets around the State of Alabama, and a few national news outlets.

An open letter to all members of the Alabama House of Representatives from Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition

As you may know, there were several pieces of legislation dealing with marijuana policy introduced in the 2013 session by Representative Patricia Todd. All of these instruments are aimed at changing marijuana policy in one manner or another and each would go a long way toward protecting the patients of Alabama who can benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

For far too long, the people of Alabama have seen this issue treated as a punchline in the halls of the Statehouse. While some of you, our elected officials, are snickering among one another, legitimate patients in this state are needlessly suffering. It is time for the laughing to stop. No matter where you stand on the issue of “drugs”, allowing Alabama patients to suffer is unconscionable. It is time for the focus to be making a workable program that allows qualified patients safe access to cannabis, while still being easy to implement and enforce. If your focus is simply killing every bill that happens to have the word marijuana in it, then you certainly aren’t looking for solutions that would benefit the people of Alabama.

There is no debate regarding the cannabis plant being medicine and we invite each of you to fact check the following statements.

  • Almost every culture on this planet has held the cannabis (marijuana) plant as part of their pharmacopoeia for thousands of years.
  • This plant was held in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the early 1940’s before it was removed, after being made illegal in 1937.
  • The Federal “Investigational New Drug Program” has had the University of Mississippi producing medical marijuana for distribution “as medicine” in cigarette form for decades.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hold US Patent # 6630507 which confirms only a portion the medicinal qualities held within the cannabis plant.
  • As this letter is being typed the FDA is clearing the way for GW Pharmaceuticals to introduce SATIVEX, a 100% cannabis extract “as medicine” to the US market.
  • Eighteen states and Washington D.C. have reestablished the cannabis plant as medicine in 2013 and many more have pending legislation.

The research has been done, the science is solid, and science says; marijuana is medicine, and it always has been.

Because we believe every citizen in every district of this great state should know where the person representing them in Montgomery stands on the issue, we at Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition over the next several months, will be contacting every Representative in the House to ask their stance on the medical use of marijuana. Our polling results will then be posted publicly on our website.

Regardless of your stance; “for”, “against” or “no response”, along with any pertinent comment you may have, will be posted publicly. Representatives who choose to send no response will be visited, in person, by AMMJC volunteers who live in their districts to solicit a response. Each of you will have the opportunity to change your mind on your stance should you see reason to do so, and we will gladly update our website to reflect your new views on the subject.

We thank each of you for your service to the people of Alabama and respectfully ask that you take a few minutes to participate in our poll.

Christopher Butts
Executive Director

Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition

144 County Road 821
Cullman, Alabama 35057
 
Ph.# 256-221-3103

 

If you would like, you may get a jump on things and avoid being contacted further regarding this poll, by simply sending your response to the following two part question to “info@ammjc.org” with the subject line “Medical Marijuana in Alabama”. We thank you for your participation.

 

1) Do you believe Alabama patients should have the option to posses and use marijuana without fear of arrest and prosecution, if their physician believes it will help them?

 

2) Why?

Wed, May 22 2013 » Chris' Blogs, Marijuana News, Rants and Raves » 2 Comments

Thank you from AMMJC

 

By Chris Butts

Early in the day at the Conference

Early in the day at the Conference

Yesterday, on May 18th 2013, Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition held a first of its kind event. The North Alabama Marijuana Conference and Fundraiser in Huntsville, Alabama drew just under a hundred attendees throughout the day. Although we had hoped for a larger turnout it was a great day for the patients of Alabama and allowed AMMJC to begin funding preparations for a planned advertising campaign for the 2014 Legislative Session and November 2014 elections. Those of us on the AMMJC staff would like to sincerely thank everyone who made this event possible, starting with everyone who came out and payed the $10 admission and who purchased our merchandise. So many of you have been helping support this organization for two years now and we can’t thank you enough for helping us continue this fight. Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition doesn’t get any money from special interests or national organizations, it is and has always been, the people of Alabama who have funded AMMJC’s efforts. Again, we thank you!

We would also like to thank the Small Business owners who donated goods and services as sponsors for this event. It is so wonderful to see businesses taking an interest in what we are trying to accomplish

still smokin

Our good friends at Still Smokin’

Still Smokin’ of Huntsville donated several door prizes and has always been a great friend to AMMJC . We can’t begin to tell you how appreciative we are for their help.

Execuplex Mini Storage of Huntsville is another business that has gone out of their way to help AMMJC and have allowed us to use properties under their management on more than one occasion. We would like to express our greatest gratitude to them for continueing to help AMMJC.

Baskin-Robbins-Logo

Our friends on Whitesburg Drive

We would like to thank the Owners of the Baskin Robbin’s location on Whitesburg Drive in Huntsville who have, on two occasions, provided ice cream for our events.

We want to express our thanks and appreciation to Tye-Dyes by Jim who came out and spent the entire day with us selling some of the best tye-dye work on the planet, only to give AMMJC a generous donation at the end of the day. Thank you Jim, we relish the thought of continueing a relationship with Tye-Dyes by Jim.

We want to express a huge thank you Elise from Alabama Dancing Bear for her generous door prize donations.

And last but certainly not least, we would like to thank “Sixth Sense” of Athens, Alabama for their door prize donation. They are a new, locally owned business and everyone in Limestone County should go patronize their store and thank them for supporting AMMJC and the patients of Alabama

We emplore all of AMMJC’s supporters to support the businesses that support you. Ask small businesses in your area about sponsoring an event like the one we just had in Huntsville. Let’s all work together to change marijuana policy in Alabama and protect the patients here who can benefit from the therapeutic use of marijuana.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the guest speakers and musical guests who donated their time to help make this event possible.

Steve Elliott, Owner/Editor of Tokesignals.com and contributor at hemp.org

Alabama’s own, Steve Elliott

First a huge thank you to Alabama native Steve Elliott, author of “The Little Black Book of Marijuana” and owner/editor of Tokesignals.com. He made a whirlwind flight into Atlanta of all places and didn’t get to spend quite as much time in Alabama as we would have liked, but we appreciate him taking time out of his schedule to come across the country and help with this event.

We have much love and admiration for James Bell of the Ga Care Project for traveling 4 hours on his own dime to be a guest speaker. We can’t thank you enough James, anytime you or Georgia CARE need AMMJC just let us know.

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Laura Lynn Hardy

We want to thank Dean Sines of Peachtree NORML for agreeing to be a guest speaker on short notice and sharing his knowledge of years of activism with everyone. Thank you also goes out to Kelly of Peachtree NORML for coming out taking lots and lots of pictures, and keeping Dean in under control for most of the time.

Thank you to the fun-loving guys from Acoustify fo taking a Saturday out of their lives to play for us.

We also want to thank  Laura Lynn Hardy for closing out the show in grand fashion.


On a personal note, I (Chris Butts) would like to thank the Staff of AMMJC. Sharon White our Vice President has been a tireless worker since the I signed the Articles of Incorporation for AMMJC two years ago this June 3rd. Cristie Clark our Communications Director has been busting her rear end for well over a year for AMMJC, as has her husband Eric Clark our District 2 Coordinator. Joe Rogers our District 1 Coordinator has been with the AMMJC staff for almost a year. Jim Dement our Treasurer has been spending weekends pushing the AMMJC message for almost 2 years now. And finally my wife, who despite having an illness that can flare up at anytime (Lupus SLE) has been giving up most of her weekends for almost 2 years.
None of the AMMJC staff get payed for what they do, or the time and work they put into what this organization has accomplished over the past couple of years. The fact is, that on many occasions the AMMJC staff reach into their own pockets to pay operational costs to keep the organization afloat. I want to say, I love you guys and I can’t think of a better group of people to have leading the charge for medical marijuana in Alabama.

Mon, May 20 2013 » Chris' Blogs, Marijuana News » No Comments