Colorado: Moms, Cops, Nurses and Docs Stand Together To Reform Marijuana Laws

MomsUnitedToEndTheWarOnDrugs

Groups Come Together to End Marijuana Prohibition, Increase Cannabis Research and Promote a Compassionate Health Care Response to Drug Use and Addiction

Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs Present a Panel Discussion at the Marijuana for Medical Professionals Conference in Denver, Colorado on Sept. 11

Moms United to End the War on Drugs is bringing together a coalition of family members, health care professionals and criminal justice professionals to end cannabis prohibition that has been so destructive to our families and communities.

Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs will be holding a panel discussion at the Sherman Street Event Center in Denver, Colorado (1770 Sherman Street) on Thursday, September 11, at the Exhibit Hall Stage at 12:30 pm. Speakers include Mary Lynn Mathre from American Cannabis Nurses Association; Dr. Jeff Hergenrather from the Society of Cannabis Clinicians; Theresa Daniello from Moms United to End the War on Drugs; and Leonard Frieling from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

In 1937, laws were put into place prohibiting the use of cannabis in the United States. In the past decade, more than six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges. For several decades, people who use drugs and people with addictive illness have been banished to the criminal justice system.

Nearly half of all prisoners in state prisons are locked up for a non-violent offense. Every year 750,000 people are arrested for marijuana, wasting law enforcement resources and throwing non-violent offenders into the criminal justice system.

This is not just about lives interrupted, but lives destroyed. Incarceration can leave children without a parent in the home, and often leads to life-long exclusion from housing, employment and educational opportunities.

“For too many years people who use cannabis have been banished to the criminal justice system due to ignorance, fear, and stigma," said Greetchen Burns Bergman, executive director and co-founder of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and lead organizer of PATH’s national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign.

Marijuana prohibition has prevented valuable research in the United States to discover the most effective uses for medicinal marijuana. Many seriously ill people can’t access the medicine that works best to relieve pain and alleviate symptoms of serious medical conditions.

For a doctor, the first principle of the Hippocratic Oath is to “do no harm,” yet we’ve seen so much harm done to individuals and families due to misguided drug policies. The key role of a nurse is to act as a patient advocate, but current policies prevent a full range of therapeutic options.

Because the duty of law enforcement should be to “protect and serve,” many law enforcement professionals believe that adult drug use or abuse is a health issue and not a law enforcement matter, provided it doesn’t harm other people.

The major role of mothers is to protect and nurture their offspring, yet we've stood by as our basic rights as mothers have been eroded because of overzealous policing policies that abandon core health issues.

Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs stand together in demanding science-based, health-oriented strategies that reduce the harm of drug use and addiction, rather than fanning the flames of stigma and discrimination with a failed war on drugs. They are speaking out in a unified voice to replace punitive drug policies with compassion, science, education and tolerance.

"The addition of nurses, social workers and other health care professionals to this coalition demonstrates the rapidly growing support for drug policy reform, and how those on the front lines understand that prohibition doesn't prevent drug use, it just makes its consequences so much worse,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of police, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials opposed to the War On Drugs.

Mothers from the Moms United to End the War on Drugs national campaign are taking a leading position to end the violence, mass arrests and incarceration that are the results of the war on drugs. They are building a movement to stop the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs, because they have witnessed too many lives lost and liberties removed because of devastating and discriminatory drug policies.

The health care community is also becoming more vocal in challenging systems that are so damaging to families. The mission of the American Cannabis Nurses Association is to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development. The ACNA is proud to join moms, cops and docs in recognizing drug abuse/addiction as a health problem and cannabis may be a therapeutic option.

The Society of Cannabis Clinicians / American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine is an educational and scientific society of qualified physicians and allied health professionals dedicated to physician education, supporting good practice standards for doctors recommending cannabis, carrying out high quality medical cannabis research, and promoting lab tested whole plant medicine. SCC/AACM is standing with Moms United, LEAP and ACNA in calling for an end to cannabis prohibition, which directly prevents medical professionals from researching and providing cannabis medicine to sick patients who would benefit, many of whom are young children and elders.

The tide is turning. We are seeing many marijuana reform efforts across the country. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize the use of medical marijuana, and in 2012 Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

President Obama has stated that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, and his administration appears to be allowing Colorado and Washington State to regulate marijuana responsibly.

More reforms are needed so that we can indeed live in a compassionate society, where all human life is valued and basic human rights are protected. “Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs” are united in demanding an end to prohibition of marijuana and the War On Drugs.