Monthly Archives: September 2012

Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers

A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever.

“It took us about 20 years of research to figure this out, but we are very excited,” said Pierre Desprez, one of the scientists behind the discovery, to The Huffington Post. “We want to get started with trials as soon as possible.”

The Daily Beast first reported on the finding, which has already undergone both laboratory and animal testing, and is awaiting permission for clinical trials in humans.

Desprez, a molecular biologist, spent decades studying ID-1, the gene that causes cancer to spread. Meanwhile, fellow researcher Sean McAllister was studying the effects of Cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-toxic, non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Finally, the pair collaborated, combining CBD and cells containing high levels of ID-1 in a petri dish.

“What we found was that his Cannabidiol could essentially ‘turn off’ the ID-1,” Desprez told HuffPost. The cells stopped spreading and returned to normal.

“We likely would not have found this on our own,” he added. “That’s why collaboration is so essential to scientific discovery.”

Desprez and McAllister first published a paper about the finding in 2007. Since then, their team has found that CBD works both in the lab and in animals. And now, they’ve found even more good news.

“We started by researching breast cancer,” said Desprez. “But now we’ve found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers–brain, prostate–any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.”

Desprez hopes that clinical trials will begin immediately.

“We’ve found no toxicity in the animals we’ve tested, and Cannabidiol is already used in humans for a variety of other ailments,” he said. Indeed, the compound is used to relieve anxiety and nausea, and, since it is non-psychoactive, does not cause the “high” associated with THC.

While marijuana advocates will surely praise the discovery, Desprez explained that it’s not so easy as just lighting up.

“We used injections in the animal testing and are also testing pills,” he said. “But you could never get enough Cannabidiol for it to be effective just from smoking.”

Furthermore, the team has started synthesizing the compound in the lab instead of using the plant in an effort to make it more potent.

“It’s a common practice,” explained Desprez. “But hopefully it will also keep us clear of any obstacles while seeking approval.”

via Huffington Post

Sixth Circuit Rules A Private Employer Can Fire You For Using Medical Marijuana

Unfortunately many of us believed that this opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was imminent. Pursuant to the opinion, if your private employer finds out that you are a valid medical marijuana patient, there is nothing that prevents them from terminating your employment. This is definitely a step-back for medical marijuana patients.

As an aside, it is quite possible that the court’s reasoning would not apply to people employed by the government of the State of Michigan. However, that issue is still yet to be litigated.

Check out the opinion here:

Casias v. Walmart

New Hampshire Jury Nullifies its First Felony Marijuana Case

A major victory is scored for jury nullification with the acquittal of felony marijuana charges – and it’s all thanks to a “straight-laced little old lady” juror and participant of the Free State Project

Barnstead, NH (PRWEB) September 16, 2012

Doug Darrell beat the odds and walked home from his trial as a free man on Friday, a major win for the state’s new jury nullification law. Facing felony drug cultivation charges for growing marijuana plants behind his house, the 59-year-old Rastafarian saw all of the charges against him dropped after jurors in his trial successfully convinced their peers to nullify the case on the grounds that Darrell was simply trying to obey the customs of his religion.

“Many of us wondered what kind of precedent this would set,” said juror and FSP participantCathleen Converse in an exclusive interview with Free Talk Live. “But after chewing on all of the possibilities and re-reading the definition of nullification, we all decided that the only fair thing to do was to vote with our consciences and acquit the defendant of all charges.”

Doug Darrell never had any run-ins with the law until 2009, when a National Guard helicopter flyingbelow legal altitude while looking for drugs noticed that Darrell was growing marijuana in the back yard of his Barnstead home. Though the sighting could legally have been considered an invasion of privacy, federal drug authorities were notified anyway. Shortly thereafter, Darrell’s home was raided and the Rastafarian found himself staring down the barrel of a police assault rifle and facing multiple counts of felony possession of marijuana.

Darrell was offered several plea deals, including a final one that offered no jail time or fine in exchange for a guilty plea, but he refused to accept them on the grounds that doing so would be a sacrament of his religion.

Under the policy known as HB 146, the defense has a right to instruct the jury to nullify a guilty verdict if they conscientiously object to the punishment. Darrell’s attorney, Mark Sisti, based his defense around this new rule and, after the trial went to deliberation, persuaded the presiding judge to inform jurors of this power not once but twice. Given the circumstances of Darrell’s case, it took less than six hours for them to reach a unanimous verdict – not guilty on all counts.

“Mr. Darrell is a peaceful man,” said Converse, “he never deals with the darker elements of society and he grows for his own personal religious and medicinal use. I knew that my community would be poorer rather than better off had he been convicted.”

Converse describes herself as a “straight-laced, little old lady” who moved to New Hampshire from South Carolina in June of 2004. In 2003 she joined the Free State Project because she felt that her family’s future “would be better spent among those who don’t think we’re strange for wanting to rely on ourselves, and to work together to bring more liberty into our lives sooner rather than later.”

It’s a groundbreaking win for the participants of the Free State Project who helped get HB 146 signed into law. As an organization, the Free State Project does not back any political candidates nor specific legislation. Founded in 2001 with the intent to attract 20,000 liberty-loving individuals to New Hampshire in order to restore the Constitutional principles of personal responsibility and freedom, members of the Free State Project have quickly grown into the most significant liberty-based activist group in the country.

“So far, over 12,750 participants have pledged to relocate to the state, and more than 1,000 have already moved, over a dozen of which are currently elected members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives,” said Free State Project President Carla Gericke. “Once here, participants are free to pursue their own causes and I’m excited to see that progress is being made.”

via Yahoo

Poll: Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative Leads 51-40

For the first time since polling on the issue began, Colorado’s Amendment 64, the ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol, is polling over 50 percent. The Denver Post reports:

The poll found that the measure, Amendment 64, has the support of 51 percent of likely voters surveyed, compared with 40 percent opposed. Men favor the measure more than women, a common gender spliton the issue. But 49 percent of women polled said they support the measure, compared with 39 percent who said they are opposed.

Across every income bracket and in every age group except those 65 and older, more voters told pollsters they support the measure than oppose it, though some of the leads fall within the 4-percentage-point margin of error. Voters younger than 35 support the measure by a margin of 30 percentage points, 61 percent to 31 percent, according to the poll.

The automated telephone poll was conducted Sept. 9-12 for The Post by New Jersey-based SurveyUSA. About 26 percent of those questioned were cellphone-only users, who were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Of voters included in the sample, 34 percent said they are Republicans, 34 percent said they are Democrats, and 30 percent identified as unaffiliated voters.

While that sounds like good news, the Post notes that California’s prop 9 “polled at 52 percent three months before the election, while the measure ultimately failed with 54 percent opposition.”

via Reason

Wyoming Mayor: City will appeal medical marijuana ruling to Michigan Supreme Court

WYOMING, MI — The City of Wyoming will appeal a Michigan Court of Appeals decision that voided the city’s ordinance regulating the use of marijuana.

Mayor Jack Poll announced the council’s intent to appeal by reading a prepared statement following the public comment portion at the end of a council meeting Tuesday night.

“We feel that the Michigan law, as written, is very unclear,” Poll said, reading the statement. “Unlike regulations for drunk driving, this law does not establish standards or tests for marijuana consumption.”

“The law has the potential to create unsafe conditions on our roads. Without definite guidelines, it is impossible for our already busy police department to enforce.”

Last year, the council initiated a ban on marijuana in Wyoming, saying that it can only be distributed safely by pharmacists – not by licensed marijuana caregivers, as allowed by Michigan law.

Attorney John Ter Beek, an attorney and medical marijuana patient, filed suit in Kent County Circuit Court against the city in November 2010, saying that the council’s decision trampled the rights of state voters who approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The suit also said the decision violated the second article of the state constitution, which guarantees citizens’ rights to pass initiatives that amend state law.

Kent County Circuit Judge Dennis B. Leiber ruled in 2011 that the federal law against marijuana use trumps the state’s medical marijuana act. Ter Beek appealed, and the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with him about a month ago.

Now Wyoming said it will file an appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court by a deadline of Sept. 11. City Manager Curtis Holt estimated the cost of filing the appeal will be about $5,000.

“We certainly hope that the Supreme Court will hear the case,” said Poll. “That’s the first step.

“If they won’t hear the case, then it’s over.”

Contacted by phone after the board meeting, Ter Beek said he had not yet heard of Wyoming’s decision and was disappointed that the pending announcement hadn’t been made public before the meeting.

“I wish they would have put it on the agenda so I could have been there,” he said. “This is typical of the Wyoming City Council, doing things backhanded and sneakily so the public doesn’t really get a chance to say their piece.”

Ter Beek plans to watch for what comes next.

“I don’t think it’s going to be successful and I think that if they want to continue their political careers by being defined as a failure, then that’s fine, especially in light of the fact that they’re spitting on 63 percent of the voters,” Ter Beek said, referring to the number of voters statewide who supported the medical marijuana initiative; 59 percent of Wyoming voters also approved it.

“I’ll just wait and see what the Michigan Supreme Court does. I’ll be surprised if they even accept it for appeal.”

via MLive

Troy judge in murder case rejects bid for mental exam

I would like to preface this article with a statement: The Prosecutor’s Office’s argument is incorrect and the Judge’s decision is wrong. We at Neil Rockind, P.C. have litigated this issue extensively before a Circuit Court Judge in Oakland County and we prevailed in obtaining an order to allow our experts to visit our client in the jail BEFORE the referral to the forensic center. It is a shame that this defendant is being denied the same opportunity, especially given the fact that the law is on his side.

Troy — A Troy District Court judge denied a defense attorney’s request Wednesday that a man charged with the beating death of his father be examined inside the Oakland County Jail by a doctor and psychiatrist.

Patrick Mikes Jr., 22, of Troy is charged with open murder in the death of his father, Patrick Mikes Sr., 55, whose body was found dumped in a Genesee County cornfield. The victim’s body was found in Montrose Township following two days of searching by police and volunteers.

The request on behalf of Mikes Jr., who remains in the Oakland County Jail without bond, went before Judge William Bolle on Wednesday.

Defense attorney David Williams, standing in for attorney Christopher Andreoff, said in court filings that a court order is needed so two defense experts can meet with Mikes and assist in his defense. Oakland County Jail administrators would not permit the visit without a court order.

Such meetings are sometimes a prelude to advancing an insanity defense. That has not been done in this case, Bolle noted.

“We are simply trying to explore all options and the defendant’s possible options,” Williams told Bolle, adding that Mikes may need prescription medicine that is not being provided to him in the Oakland County Jail.

Bolle denied the request after brief presentations by the attorneys.

“The issue is at what point in the process a defendant has the right to a private visit and review with a psychiatrist at the jail,” the judge said before making his decision. “… There is no request or suggestion or proposal that the defendant intends to assert insanity.

“If the defense intends to assert insanity, they can do it now, they can do it 30 days before trial,” Bolle said. “I’m not going to grant the request.”

Assistant Oakland County prosecutor Ken Frazee had asked Bolle to deny the request because state case law requires a defendant to be examined at the state forensic center before any meeting with a privately retained expert.

“We are asking this court to follow the law,” said Frazee, noting the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled there are no exceptions to the court rule and it applies to all cases.

“If defense counsel wishes to have him examined at the (state) forensic center, we can issue the proper paperwork,” said Frazee. “It is unbiased.”

It is not unusual for defense attorneys to request forensic examinations of their clients to determine whether they are mentally competent to stand trial, whether they realize the wrongfulness of the act they are charged with committing, or to determine if they have the capacity and ability to assist in their own defense.

Investigators have theorized Mikes Jr. and his father argued inside their home on Homewood on or before July 27, and, during the dispute, the son beat the father to death and took his body to the cornfield.

Efforts had been made to clean up the blooded-soaked basement carpeting and Mikes Jr. was videotaped buying cleaning supplies at an area store on July 27, police said.

Police because suspicious because Mikes Jr. and a teenage brother waited two days before reporting their father’s disappearance, saying he had left on a bicycle ride and never returned.

In addition, there was evidence a “violent encounter” had taken place inside the home, and investigators found special riding apparel always used by Mikes, an avid cyclist.

A Sept. 24 preliminary exam is scheduled in the case.

via The Detroit News