Commenting on a piece in vtdigger.org reporting a Federalist Society forum on “pot” and the conflict of Vermont’s legalization efforts with Medical Marijuana and now Recreational Marijuana, Bob Orleck commented:
An event to benefit Vermont Veterans causes.
“Veterans helping Veterans”
Here is how to support our Vermont Veterans
- If you have a motorcycle and want to ride, come to St. Albans. Ride registration is 9 AM-10:45 AM this Saturday and the ride starts at 11 AM sharp!
- Even if you don’t come to ride you can come to watch the ride begin or come after the ride to enjoy the fellowship and there will be a cash grill.
- If you can’t be there, check out the route map of their ride and put out a welcoming sign to show your appreciation for their service as they ride by. Wave an American Flag!
- Donation form (The purpose of the ride is to raise funds for Veteran causes.)
- Share this email with others in your address book. Help get the word out.
This is a perfect opportunity to say “Thank You” for protecting our freedoms and “Welcome Home” and at the same time help in “raising funds for non-drug assisted rehab programs for veterans, their families and the Vermont communities in which they live.” Drug addiction and PTSD are of national concern and our Vermont Vets are not immune from them.
Guy Page is a good friend and an honorable guy who brings news in a nutshell through (State House Headliners. Your Advocate in the Vermont Statehouse 802-505-0448 email@example.com Facebook: Page Communications) Below is an example and those of you who are interested in the marijuana issue in Vermont would do well to subscribe to his service. He is generally the first to get the real news out there on the issue and it is news that can be trusted. In the report below, he addresses “saliva testing” for marijuana and gives a warning that the pro-pot legislators believe they will get a bill passed next year to legalize marijuana.
We have been successful the last two years warding off this evil for Vermont but what we are facing this next year is different. While Governor Scott did veto the marijuana legalization bill (S.22), at the veto override session in June, he did come to an agreement with the pro-pot legislators to include language that he felt would meet his concerns. Thanks to the Republicans in the House, the bill did not move to a vote because they refused to allow suspension of the rules that would have been required in the abbreviated special session. Next January though, that bill will be on the desks of the House members for action. We need to keep informed and not let up. Most of you should have the contact information for the House members. Please keep contacting them over the next six months and telling them how you feel about legalization. Do the same for the Governor. If you would like me to send you a contact list just ask by return email.
If you wish to be on a special mailing list that is being put together to keep you informed of Alerts that require action and other Vermont marijuana related issues, please email Bob Orleck at this email address or preferably at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to change minds of the Governor, the legislators and the public and show them the dangers that legalization of marijuana will bring to Vermont.
Please pass this on to others who would be interested and might want to join in this effort to save our state from this dangerous, addicting drug.
Bob Orleck, email@example.com
S.16 bill expands medical marijuana use
A critical analysis of S.16 and
by Bob Orleck is a retired Vermont Pharmacist and a former Vermont Assistant Attorney General Contact: P.O. Box 174, Randolph, VT 05060. firstname.lastname@example.org 802-728-9806
There are so many things wrong with S.16 that even a child should be able to see. The bill has been presented as a “health bill” but nothing could be further from the truth. I have tried by focusing on parts of the bill, to make it clear to anyone really interested in analyzing its contents, that this bill is nothing more than an attempt to further the introduction of an addicting drug to Vermont. A review of even a few of the balloon comments next to the bill’s provisions should reveal the truth of what I have just pointed out. Passage of this bill will be one of the worse cases of legislative malpractice every done by a Vermont legislature.
The document may seem long but that is because it incorporates the language of S.16 so that comments could be put next to a specific section of the bill. With your computer mouse hover over the comment to read it.
Before you get to that, however, you will find some initial numbered comments that it seemed better to list at the beginning.
- One important point that should control is that no matter what “marijuana legalization bill” has or will be passed by the Vermont legislature and signed by the Governor, that act will be in direct conflict with the federal 1970 Controlled Substances Act. 16 is a bill that is expanding what was passed in years past and referred to as our “medical marijuana law”. The only reason that the law has been allowed to function is because Obama administration had chosen to not enforce the law in this area. Under the new federal administration that non-enforcement policy could soon be changing. As the dangers become more visible there will come a time when the law in this area will be enforced. http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/sessions-marijuana-policy-review/2017/04/06/id/782942/
- Marijuana is illegal to possess according to the 1970 federal “Controlled Substances Act” and that law has been constitutionally upheld. Any legalization by Vermont, be it for recreational or medical, would violate that law and would be violative of the United States Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
- The proper way for well-controlled, trustworthy, authoritative studies to be done is to enable legitimate medical researchers to be able to possess marijuana for such test. If that enabling were possible, studies using double-blind, placebo controlled study for a particular medical treatment could be done. That is impossible now since under federal law, marijuana is a classified as a Schedule I drug and the active psychoactive ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is illegal to possess and has no recognized medical use. Efforts should be made to convince the federal administration to reclassify marijuana to Schedule II that would allow possession by those capable of doing those well-controlled clinical trials. It will be then and only then when there will be credible determinations of what value marijuana has for treatment for certain medical conditions.
A few other comments are offered to put the document into the proper perspective.
- Lawmakers are not educationally on informationally equipped to make decisions on medical conditions and their proper treatment choices. Such decisions cannot be left to the state. For uniformity and safety the Food and Drug Administration is the sole agency who can and should perform this role.
- As a pharmacist who practiced for over 50 years, I cannot tell you if marijuana has any value or what the value is in the treatment of the diseases listed in this bill. If I can’t do that, how can untrained legislators do that? I have an opinion but that is all it is, an opinion! That is all we could hope for from a legislator and for them not being trained even to the degree that I am, that is not a way to make a law.
- The bill is presented as a health bill but the medical community believes that healthcare should benefit a person’s health and not damage it. Much of the language is just cosmetic window dressing in order to paint this as responsible legislating. There can be no responsible legislating on this matter until proper risk/benefit and efficacy studies are done.
- The language regarding the conditions qualifying a person is specific in some respects but deteriorates into anything that a healthcare provider wants to certify a patient for. One can’t help but think of the old days when flim-flam men in horse drawn carts sold “snake oil” during their medicine shows as a cure for any and all diseases. The difference in the “fake medicine” then probably was some harmless substance but and now with marijuana, this fake medicine will have many casualties.
- In addition to the above, there are no provisions for standardization of the marijuana product so it is a consistent dosing. There are so many variations of marijuana that it needs to be specifically known what the active ingredients are each and every time a person doses. Science has been left out of this matter.
- Under this bill, all that seems necessary to be shown is that the patient has one of these conditions or other medical problems as well that are debilitating and they qualify for treatment with marijuana. One clause allows for qualification for “other diseases, conditions, or treatment as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s health care professional.” How broad and vague is that? Such broad permission seems so inappropriate for a drug that has addicting qualities.
- 16 makes it easier for people to get marijuana by expanding the conditions that qualify a patient and the bill also makes the procedure for qualifying easier. With the expansion of the numbers of dispensaries, the advertising and provision for being a “for profit” dispensary, the result will be more availability of marijuana and more people using and being able to gain availability to the drug.
- Depending on what state you travel to, your treatment options with this drug will be different. The FDA provides the uniformity needed. Say you have been treated for PTSD or any condition permitted in Vermont and for long enough to be addicted to the marijuana and then you move to a state that respects the rule of law and has not legalized marijuana for any reason. Consider the dilemma that person is in now.
Click on this link to get the language of the bill and next to many of the provisions are simple, common sense, plain-talk comments on that provision. Put together they show that this bill has not been adequately vetted and passage as is would be a major case of medical malpractice!
Not sure if folks outside the independent country of Vermont can understand this, but when you have been represented (I use that term questionably) by the likes of Senator Patrick Leahy, it makes you wonder if the cold weather doesn’t have some sort of negative effect on rational thinking when we go to the polls in November. Where are term limits when you need them? 42 years for this man who is now incoherent most of the time and asleep the rest.There are times I think our brains are as frozen as our roads are in the winter and as muddy as they are right now in the spring. I even wonder why we go to the polls up here anyway. Maybe we should just appoint the Democrat Party to rule for life They are doing that anyway. Feel sorry for us up here. We desserve it. So I say:
Why even bother to elect a Democrat candidate? Why not just run the “Democrat Party” because their candidates vote the party line no matter what?
The Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings are very telling on this point and Senator Leahy’s change of mind tells us that it is true. Leahy, more than others should be able to exercise independence on positions and votes, especially when they are guided by what the constitution expects when confirming a Supreme Court nominee. While it is hard to honestly question the qualifications of Judge Gorsuch, that is not really the issue here and we can give Leahy the benefit of the doubt in choosing to vote “no” to confirm.
The telling issue is his opposition to the never before used filibuster to block the nominee, that is, until he heard from “the party” As reported in the digger article: “Leahy’s comments sparked backlash from the left wing of the party, a bloc demanding universal opposition to President Donald Trump’s actions.” So, our independent Senator changed his mind in accord with the “demand” from “the party!
Wouldn’t you think our “Dean of the Senate” with his 42 years there would possess the strength enabling him to stand his ground on this position considering that “advice and consent” by the Senate was not to be given or withheld for political whim? The constitutional provision was there to keep the checks and balances strong and to prevent an unqualified candidate from being placed in a lifetime position without some way to prevent that. It was not to be used as a political tool against a President that ‘the party” hated and was hell bent on opposing no matter the cost to the Senate or the Nation.
While not perfect, the Republicans are not as talented in lock-stepping as the Democrats who do it so well both at the state and national level. If Leahy cannot buck “the party” on something so clear as this, then who can?
31 Reason List
For why H.170 (an act relating to possession and cultivation of marijuana by a person 21 years of age or older) should be rejected.
March 15, 2017
Contact Bob Orleck at email@example.com or P.O. Box 174, Randolph, VT 05060.
Phone 802-728-9806. (The items are offered as my personal view only)
31 items to think about before voting on H.170.
- What is driving the rush to get this so called legalization of marijuana bill passed this session? We must slow this down and not rush it. With the change in the administration there is the very real possibility of resolving the legalities of marijuana use medically and open the avenue of clinical study to determine who is right on the issue of safe recreational use.
- Marijuana is illegal to possess under federal law and the federal law that makes it illegal has been upheld constitutionally and state law cannot supersede it. What that means is that, while it has been overlooked in the past by the United States Justice Department and the Obama Administration, the medical marijuana clinics are illegal and if Vermont passes legalization of any kind for recreational use that will also be illegal. Vermont has no power to change that.
- Pursuant to the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) there are classes of drugs based on various criteria such as addictiveness, acceptable medical use, and others. Those definitions range from Schedule I to Schedule V with Schedule I being drugs that have no accepted medical use as determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and are illegal to possess. Heroin is a Schedule I drug and so is marijuana. Right now Vermont has decriminalized marijuana and that does not run afoul of this act. If Vermont “legalizes” marijuana, it will be running directly counter to the ACA and will violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI, clause 2).
- The Trump administration will be more likely to enforce the law against possession of marijuana That evaluation is based on statements that the Attorney General has made about his perception of the law being to enforce the laws that Congress has passed and not “pick and choose” just those he likes.
- There is also the real possibility that a reasonable approach could be taken by the new administration to move marijuana to the status of a Schedule II drug and that would allow possession by medical researchers to do well-controlled medical studies on risk/benefit, safety and efficacy of the drug. That being so the claims by both side of the marijuana issue can be tested and decisions could be made on the use of the drug based on scientific facts and not emotion and old worn-out clichés. For a discussion of this idea for Vermont to be the first to do, see my op-ed piece at https://vtdigger.org/2017/03/03/bob-orleck-marijuana-debate-needs-legal-way-get-clinical-information/
- If H.170 is passed in the House it will for certain be changed by the Senate into an even stronger legalization bill and most likely a “commercialization bill” similar to that which originated in the Senate last year. Such a bill would put Vermont in the cross-hairs of federal law enforcement and would be an extreme black-eye for Vermont.
- The current federal legal atmosphere no longer allows Vermont to ignore the law and go its own way on this. Vermont could lead the way in our legislature by offering a joint House/Senate resolution calling for the federal government to change the classification of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II which would allow legal possession and the gaining of valuable well-controlled studies that would determine once and for all the possible legal uses of marijuana.
- Any other way that Vermont goes will cause major problems for our state. The mnemonic I use for “illegal legalization legislation” which is exactly what H.170 or any legalization bill would be, is “ILL”. ILL will make Vermont sick in many ways which will be explained in points below.
- Marijuana negatively affects brain development in children and young adults. There is little doubt that marijuana is harmful to some brains, especially developing ones, and the human brain is developing up to age 25.
- Student use will cause short term memory and motivation loss.
- Legalization is a bad signal to send to our youth about drug use.
- Second-hand pot smoke is more harmful than second-hand cigarette smoke.
- Legalization sends a message that implies safety when even the proponents tell us there are dangers from marijuana. Their suggestion that legalization and regulation will reduce those dangers is not borne out by the facts.
- Drug impaired drivers will kill and maim more Vermont citizens. Last year 5 teen-age students were hit head-on by a driver, reportedly under the influence of marijuana, going in the wrong direction on the Interstate at a high rate of speed, causing their horrible deaths in a fiery crash.
- How many have to die before we realize the cost of pleasure, indulgence and money is not acceptable?
- Marijuana is proven to worsen mental illness in mentally ill people who use marijuana. How can one additional young person suffering from schizophrenia be worth such permissive a law that allow use for pleasure recreationally?
- Mental health workers issue: Where are we going to find enough qualified mental health workers to fill the openings? Trained practitioners have not been applying for jobs in Vermont. The state hospital and our regional mental health centers are understaffed and overloaded already, while many beds remain empty because there is no one to provide the necessary care to one more patient. We can’t even fill the positions that are already open. This law will lead to more need for mental health services.
- High THC marijuana can lead to an increased incidence of, earlier and more severe psychosis, and actual schizophrenia in youth who are already predisposed due to genetic and sometimes other risk factors.
- It will lead to the message of hypocrisy to youth that drugs are OK for adults over 21 but not for us. “Sure!” they will say!
- If marijuana is legalized it will be commercialized, advertised, and normalized like the tobacco and alcohol industry has done. Both of these substances are very dangerous so what makes us believe the same process won’t be applied to marijuana who the proponents claim is not as dangerous? Right now Vermont has decriminalized some use of marijuana but has not legalized it for recreational use. To legalize it will bring problems with controlling such advertising due to the legal rights this will bring to the big pot industry who will exploit it. Issues surrounding the First Amendment, zoning laws and the like will bring a nightmare to Vermont once the genie is let out of the bottle.
- Legalizing marijuana (ILL) will lead to commercialism and that will make Vermont a sick place. Establishing Vermont as a “drug mecca” will discourage some industry that is looking for a state to locate their business. This will have a negative connotation to many who might look to establish a business here or to bring their family here.
- Last year when the bill that came right out of the Senate was “commercialism”, I did a 53 reasons to oppose the bill. Those reasons are still applicable if and when any legalization bill passed in the House gets to the Senate for the morphing into the big commercialization bill that puts illusory tax revenue visions before certain of our legislators at the expense of our children and other citizens. You can review those reasons by going to that article by clicking here. http://www.randolphvtplaintalk.com/2016/04/17/747/
- Top Vermont Doctors warn against legalizing marijuana: http://vtdigger.org/2016/01/29/top-vermont-doctors-warn-lawmakers-about-legal-pot/ Nationally, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have all made public statements opposing the legalization of marijuana.
- Does marijuana put people in risk of other addictions? A prestigious report shows dire relationships of marijuana to other addictions: JAMA Comprehensive study showing marijuana use is tied to nicotine, alcohol and drug dependence. Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA) on Feb 17, 2016, reported on a study of close to 35,000 people (approximately half men and half women) that shows marijuana use is tied to nicotine, alcohol and drug dependence. The study is mentioned in this link at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/tjnj-wir021516.php and there is a link to the JAMA abstract regarding the study. What is sad about this is that this is a very definitive broad based study that will be ignored by the deniers that marijuana puts people at risk of other addictions.
- Much of what drives the public discussion is “self-indulgence and personal gain”. A careful review of the comments to articles in digger.orgshows this very thing. Just look at the comments after an opinion piece by a mother who had lost a child to drugs. One very insensitive comment was even deleted by the publisher because it was so insensitive. http://vtdigger.org/2016/03/10/linda-mulley-reconsider-marijuana-legalization/?utm_source=VTDigger+Subscribers+and+Donors&utm_campaign=26538bcef0-Weekly+Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc3c5486db-26538bcef0-405544681 A review of the comments and the thumbs down and up will show the mind-set of many of those advocating for legalizing of marijuana.
- Proponents say it is hard to die from marijuana overdose. If the only measure of a drug’s safety was it having a LD (lethal dose), then any side effect short of death would be an invalid consideration in whether a drug should be legalized. It is significant enough that mental health conditions are worsened, children suffer brain development problems and people do die on the road as the result of drug impaired driving. There are many other reasons why marijuana should be and is at presently illegal to possess and sell according to federal law.
- Prohibition argument is phony. To say not allowing legal pot for all “adults” is prohibition is analogous to saying we have antibiotic, chemotherapy, narcotic and all prescription drugs prohibition. So what is the difference making a medicinal substance that has a side effect of causing schizophrenia non-prescription and making all medications non-prescription for those considered “adults”?
- More on prohibition: We are talking about allowance of marijuana by the state here not prohibition. Recognizing that all the dangers are real the bill proponents think that this bill will reduce them. If we were talking about a simple decriminalization for individuals to grow and use a small amount for personal use, while not ideal, would be better than state legalized use. Prohibition prohibits those without connections from getting something. Legalization opens access. Throwing your hands up in “failure” is a horribly weak argument.
- Drug impaired driving in Colorado- In 2014, the first year that marijuana stores were open in Colorado, the state suffered a 32% increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year; marijuana-related traffic deaths made up 20% of all traffic deaths that year, while the number of THC-impaired drivers, as determined by active marijuana blood tests, increased by 45%. Washington State reported almost a doubling of active marijuana blood tests in impaired drivers since they legalized recreational marijuana. Our state police are already shorthanded – by as many as 16 troopers – due to budget cuts and age attrition. The state cannot afford the added troopers that legal recreational marijuana would require.
- Proponents say that it is easier for children to get marijuana than alcohol. Marijuana is not easier for kids to get than alcohol, and our high school use rates reflect this: according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 30% of Vermont high school students report drinking, while only 22% report using marijuana. Why the difference? Alcohol is legal, thus more available and perceived as less risky. In Colorado, in the first two years of legalization, high school use rates went up by 20% and college-age rates went up 17%.
- Personal liberty and privacy. The argument goes something like this: “No one, no government, no ruler, or authority should have the right to tell me what I can and cannot put in my body if I am not hurting another living being by doing it. It’s really very simple. We have no freedom if we have no choice.” The response: Not every action that a person wants to do or substance that he wants to ingest is covered by freedom under our system of laws. A person cannot go into a theater and yell “fire” and rely on the 1st Amendment freedom of speech to do so. With freedom comes responsibility. Fundamental liberty is not freedom to do whatever one wants without regard to the destructiveness of that behavior. What about “child pornography”. Surely no one would argue that this is a protected free speech freedom. Government’s main role is to protect citizens and in order to do that certain acts have to be prevented. The public good requires the limitation on what people “want to do”. If it is detrimental to the public the government has a legitimate role to play to prevent that act. There are no Constitutional limitations on the federal government restricting harmful chemicals and exercising its role in determining if a drug is safe and effective and allowed for public consumption.
Did you ever stop and think about how courageous President Donald Trump really is?
Have you ever tried to swim against the current? It’s much easier to be just gently pulled along by the flow. The liberal-progressive waters he has entered are those very waters he has voluntarily chosen to enter each and every day for the next four and maybe eight years.
This flow, if not controlled, will overflow its banks and drown us all. Anyone who tries to go against that current will be constantly beaten and battered by relentless mindless waves of opposition and the flood will continue until it takes you down or until you decide to give up and float over on your back and become a part of the movement. Those that have done that are the likes of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Schumer, Al Frankin and most other politicians today who would sell their soul for the temporary power they will gain here on earth.
President Trump is using every ounce of muscle and strength in each swim stroke in order to make even tiny progress toward getting us back to calmer and safer waters.
We need to pray for him and cheer him on and even help him not only drain the swamp but somehow change that dirty old water in the river.
Genesis 9:6King James Version (KJV) Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
Talking about Physician Assisted Suicide from a Christian perspective. There is nowhere in scripture where there is a justification for premeditated killing of an innocent person and that is what PAS is about. The above verse reveals that following the flood, the penalty for taking a life in a premeditated manner (murder) carried a death sentence. That was later codified in the 6th Commandment. There is no question but the entire Bible comes down on the side of life.
Being pro-life is a worldview based on faith in Jesus Christ and the understanding of His word that we are made in the image of God. The term is not limited to just abortion, for being prolife means one recognizes that all “human life is inherently valuable”. The application will show in many areas where humans interact. Our faith affects how we see God, the world and each other.
This being so we treat people with dignity no matter their gender, race, age, nationality or economic status. We care for those in prison, the sick, the elderly, disabled, immigrants, those without families and we stand for marriage. What’s more we fight the culture of death no matter how it shows.
In Vermont it showed its ugly head by the legislature passing and Governor Shumlin signing into law the physician assisted suicide law (act 39) in 2013. Many fought it then and are still fighting it now. There is currently a case filed on behalf of healthcare providers who under the law are required to advise a person with a terminal illness that they have the option of killing themselves under this law by prescription from a physician. Those providers have refused as a matter of conscience and Alliance Defending Freedom has filed an action in Federal Court to fight that provision. It is still pending. There will be other attempts to undermine and hopefully at some point repeal the law.
Christians realize by faith and trusting the Word of God that physician assisted suicide is wrong because God says that is so. Others though, might say it is the compassionate thing to do and cruel not to allow. They will argue that the patient wants it done! You will come up against those who believe that losses of autonomy or severe pain are justifications for this killing. They will probably not listen to your understanding of the Biblical prohibition, so you need to be prepared to deal with those kinds of individuals as well.
If you have your facts together, you can reason with them and possibly at some point even witness to them. Only a naïve person would miss the abuse possibilities in this law and even the murder possibility. Beyond those dangers there are many others and the law and its application have no protections. Suffice it to say that many knowledgeable people have defined this law as an exercise in “legislative malpractice.”
There are other ways to deal with end of life situations through hospice and palliative care and showing love and understanding to the patient. When patient’s physical needs are met along with their spiritual ones, requests to end their life are few and far between.
I have experienced two wonderful deaths. One was Marge Hart, a prayer warrior in our church that so many of you knew and loved. I also recently experienced the death of my sister, Shirley. Though I hated to see her in the state she was in and I miss her a lot, it still was one of the most wonderful things I have ever experienced to see how she reached out for the Lord and even though she could not speak, her witness to the doctors and nurses was tremendous. I know her actions had to have had lasting impacts on those lives who were with her. I can’t believe such experiences could ever be witnessed when someone dies taking a handful of lethal pills..
We read in Deuteronomy 30:19 that the choise is given to us and we have to make it. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”