Friday, March 27, 2015

A Walk in the Woods...With a Rope and a Joint

My name is Luke, I am a life long resident born and raised in southwest PA and I owe my life to the wonderful plant that is cannabis. It was approximately 5 years ago now when I was just 24 years old, I fell into a slump of depression. A depression that consumed me in a world of dark ugly chaos, to the point I wanted to opt-out on life all together. Friends and classmates were passing away one after another, I lost my job of nearly 7 years due to a failing economy, struggling to keep a roof over my head and food on my table and my relationship with my then fiancée was crumbling before my very eyes.

I felt alone and did not seek treatment for myself, I felt as though nobody cared. Instead I found a rope and took a walk into the woods, though it wasn't all I took on my walk. I also took with me a "joint" or a marijuana cigarette. Thinking it would relax me and make what I was planning easier, but I was wrong, it ultimately saved me.

I sat down on a log and smoked that "joint" by myself a top that wooded hill side and something unexpected happened. The dark storm cloud of emotions and thoughts consuming me in chaos and despair began to clear. I was able to think straight and find a resolve within myself. I was able to see the simplified beauty in the complex world around me for what it was, shear undeniable beauty. The birds chirping, wild flowers blooming, the cool brisk mountain air making the tree tops sway, I was filled not only with a new found desire to live but an understanding for what really matters in life, I found my inner peace, my tranquility, my light through the darkness. Cannabis helped me to see that light, it aided me to save my own life from my inner demons and it could do the same for others who battle with their own depression.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Day to Remember...We Are Their Voices

Today is Epilepsy Awareness Day...A day to remember that WE are their voices!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Adrienne...Inspired to Change Our World

My name is Adrienne. I’m 37 years old. I’ve lived most of my life in Chester and Lancaster Counties. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 2011. I had been having intractable headaches and nausea for months and was finally diagnosed with cryptococcal meningitis and a CD4 count of 7. I was told that I had most likely contracted the HIV virus up to 10 years prior. I am fortunate to have antiretroviral medications that have reduced my viral load to an undetectable level with the help of cannabis in less than one year. During the ten years that my disease was progressing, unbeknownst to me, I was using cannabis for Major Depressive Disorder that I’ve suffered from since adolescence and I believe it thoroughly mitigated symptoms and inhibited progression of my disease, to a degree until I had virtually no immune system left to fight off cryptococcal meningitis which is an opportunistic infection that only effects people with a compromised immune system.

I lost my father in 2009 to a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumor. I worked for 8 years at a local hospital on an oncology unit. After I learned about the healing powers of cannabis oil I left my job in pursuit of further education in cannabinoid therapy. Since 2012 I have been independently studying cannabis cultivation, processing it into many forms of medicine, and the application of this medicine to every aspect of human suffering. Knowing that I could have helped my father during the most traumatic, sad, and painful moments of his life is excruciating and has inspired me to change our world into one where people with terminal as well as non-life-threatening illnesses can use the medicine that has been put on this earth to ease their suffering. In dealing with my own illnesses I have come to realize that without cannabis medicine in my daily life I simply feel sick and cannot be productive or enjoy life much at all. I ask the people and legislators of Pennsylvania to allow me to live my life the way I see fit and to provide medicine for my community. There is hope for all of us.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Governor...New Hope

Pennsylvania patients, parents and activists received a warm welcome from Governor Wolf and his top aids.

On March 19, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf, sat down with a group of twenty or so patients, parents and activists working to bring a medicinal cannabis program to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Members of Campaign for Compassion, Pittsburgh NORML, and Keystone Cannabis Coalition had the opportunity to sit down with Wolf, Policy Director John Hanger, and Chief of Staff Kathleen McGinty. They listened to concerns that the current legislation being considered by the Senate would be too limited. The Governor and his staff demonstrated a clear understanding of trusting Pennsylvania physicians to make treatment suggestions and to not arbitrarily restrict treatable conditions or delivery methods.

“We’re so thankful the Governor sat down to talk with us. He has been very vocal in his support for medicinal cannabis,” said Lolly Bentch, one of the parents fighting for medicinal cannabis for her child with a severe seizure disorder. “More than once throughout this gathering, many of us felt the overwhelming urge to burst into cheers, simply for having a Governor who is so willing to join in a conversation about Medical Cannabis.” Activists’ countless requests for a meeting with the prior Administration fell on deaf ears despite a threatened sit-in.

“To listen to the Governor talk about the need for vaporization as an effective delivery method, showed us that he understands the issues facing Pennsylvania patients,” said Patrick K. Nightingale of Pittsburgh NORML. “He understands that this is an issue that should be between a patient and their physician.” Nightingale said.

The Governor made clear to everyone in attendance that they had a friend and ally in Harrisburg. “Remember, all three of us (Wolf, Hanger & McGinty) ran on this issue,” he said drawing laughs and applause from the group. But as much as he would like to implement a medicinal cannabis program immediately, his hands are tied until the Senate and the House of Representatives act on this time-sensitive matter. 

Everyone in attendance acknowledged the challenges in moving forward. While there is broad public support in Pennsylvania for a medicinal Cannabis program, there remain concerns that it would be too limited by restricting treatable conditions and restricting delivery methods. A medicinal marijuana bill seems assured of passing the Senate, like it did last session, but its future in the House is less certain. For his part, the Governor offered unwavering support, heartfelt encouragement, sound advice, and common sense solutions to many of the obstacles facing medicinal cannabis advocates.

Campaign for Compassion Administrator, Lolly Bentch, said “As we move forward, we continue to hope that members of the General Assembly will remember one thing, good health is promised to no one. Disease affects young and old, rich or poor. Disease HAS NO BOUNDARIES. So why should compassion have boundaries? There is no better time to extend our hearts and help one another. We must communicate the urgency of this matter to our legislature.”

Activists urge all who support medicinal cannabis to “Please call your Senator and Representative and tell them to support Medical Cannabis in the Commonwealth NOW!"

For more information:
      Lolly Bentch -
      Dana Ulrich -
      Patrick K. Nightingale -
      Les Stark -