Joel Warner | International Business Times | Raw Story | July 2, 2015
CASCADE, Colorado — Matt Stys funnels a mound of finely ground God?s Gift, a sativa strain of marijuana, into his multicolored glass bowl and takes a hit. ?It allows the images and all the things in your head to lose focus and drift away for a while,? says Stys as wisps of smoke curl from his mouth. For Stys, the images of being a noncommissioned officer running an entry control point in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 can fade away with the smoke: recollections of struggling to differentiate potential combatants from Iraqi citizens, of watching the wounded and dead flowing through his security checkpoint. Other demons in his head can waft away too, like the memories of spending his teenage years in foster care, and the moral ache of questioning the war in which he fought.
?I had this misconception that we were over here to help Iraq,? he says. ?But we were just there to destroy a nation.?
These images and anguish caused the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to diagnose Stys, 43, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with service-related shoulder, knee and ankle injuries this past March, six years after getting out of the Army. Stys sees a VA therapist, but he?s not taking drugs for his condition — that is, except for cannabis, for which he has a Colorado medical marijuana card. He says the marijuana helps him sleep, manage anxiety and avoid succumbing to road rage. And cannabis helps Stys avoid the other substance he?s used to keep the images away: alcohol, which led him to fall asleep behind the wheel in 2009. He somehow managed to avoid ending up dead or in jail.
Gary Page crime scene in Harmony, Indiana. (photo: Indiana State Police)
Wesley Lowery, Kimberly Kindy and Keith Alexander | The Washington Post | Reader Supported News | July 1, 2015
It was not yet 9 a.m., and Gary Page was drunk. The disabled handyman had a long history of schizophrenia and depression and, since his wife died in February, he had been struggling to hold his life together.
That bright Saturday morning in March, something snapped. Page, 60, slit his wrists, grabbed a gun and climbed the stairs to his stepdaughter’s place in the Pines Apartments in Harmony, Ind. He said he wanted to die. And then he called 911.
“I want to shoot the cops,” Page slurred to the dispatcher, prodding his stepdaughter to confirm that, yes, he had a gun. “I want them to shoot me.”
NORML | May 28, 2015
Washington, DC: Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week in favor of expanding medical cannabis access to United States veterans. The vote marks the first time that a majority of any body of the US Senate has ever decided in favor of increased cannabis access.
Committee members decided 18 to 12 in favor of The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. Sponsors added the provision in committee to a must-pass military construction and veterans’ affairs spending bill (the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act). The full Senate is expected to approve the language imminently.
Weeks ago, House members narrowly killed a similar amendment in the House version of the Military Appropriations Act by a floor vote of 210 to 213. Once the Senate passes its version on the floor, House and Senate leaders will reconcile the two versions.
The Daines/Merkley amendment permits physicians affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend cannabis therapy to veterans in states that allow for its therapeutic use. Under federal law, VA doctors are not permitted to fill out written documentation forms authorizing their patients to participate in state-sanctioned medical cannabis programs.
Stand-alone legislation (HR 667) to permit VA physicians to recommend cannabis therapy is pending in the US House of Representatives, Committee on Veterans Affairs: Health Subcommittee. A similar provision is also included in Senate Bill 683/HR 1538, The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.
| Truth Wins Out | May 19, 2015
Conversion (aka reparative) therapy is on the long, arduous road to extinction in America because to label it “therapy” is a misnomer.
All leading mental health associations have emphatically declared that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people are mentally sound. Yet, conversion therapists brazenly, and without evidence or peer reviewed studies, claim that homosexuality and transgenderism are pathologies that can be treated – for a substantial fee.
With no basis in science, the goal of conversion therapy isn’t to change one’s sexual orientation, which is not possible. Its real purpose is to co-opt medical language to offer a psychotherapeutic veneer to theologically based animus. The raw hatred is evident when conversion therapists talk about their clients.
Nick Duffy | Pink News | May 11, 2015
One of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and one of the world’s leading universities have teamed up to research a cure for HIV/AIDS.
The mammoth British drugs company GlaxoSmithKline has formed a new first-of-its-kind venture as part of a 50/50 partnership with University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The ambitious project – to which GSK will provide a team of top scientists and $20 million over five years – aims not to just prevent or treat HIV, but to actually cure it.
UNC-Chapel Hill will provide a team of 40 researchers to the project, to work alongside GSK’s team of scientists in perfecting the research.