HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Protesters Want Pot Legal
Pubdate: Sun, 08 May 2005
Source: News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Copyright: 2005 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Thomasi McDonald, Staff Writer
Cited: Americans for Safe Access ( )
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


March at Capitol Promotes Medical Uses for Marijuana

Manning Kimmel, a bulky 27-year-old warehouse worker, slouched up to a
microphone shortly after the annual marijuana march began around noon
saturday on the capitol lawn.--"You know what's funny?" Kimmel asked
the crowd gathered on the lawn. "I can go to the liquor store and buy
a big old bottle of Everclear, drink it all and die. But I can't smoke
one joint."

For the past four years, the Raleigh-based N.C. Cannabis Association
has sponsored the rally and march. Other organizations in attendance
at Saturday's event, which drew about 75 people at one point, included
Americans For Safe Access, which advocates the medical use of the drug.

"We are here to promote decriminalization and legalization," said Jeff
Badalucco, parade organizer and head of the cannabis

More than a dozen bands were scheduled to perform at the event, which
also featured speakers and a brief study on counterculture, as people
sporting tie-dyed T-shirts, posters and garlands of plastic cannabis
leaves greeted motorists along Morgan and Salisbury streets. About a
half-dozen motorcycle officers with the Raleigh Police Department and
half that number of State Capitol police monitored the rally.

No lime-green buds of marijuana, water bongs or rolling papers were
evident at the rally. Plainly in evidence however, was the passion
supporters have for the medical use of the drug.

For Safe Access Now, which claims endorsements from the American
Academy of Family Physicians, the Lymphoma Foundation of America and
the N.C. Nurse's Association, the medical use of marijuana is vital.

Ken Locke, the North Carolina spokesman for Safe Access Now and a
39-year-old landscaper who lives in the western part of the state,
said he attended the parade to "share medical testimony."

On Nov. 13, 2001, Locke was cutting trees in Highlands.

"See this tree limb here?" he asked, pointing to a smooth branch in
front of his information table. "It fell and hit me right here," Locke
said as he pointed to his forehead. "The force of it blew my skull

Locke's doctor prescribed Oxycontin for pain and Dilantin for seizures
after the accident. The drugs helped. But Locke said the medicine
nauseated him. He lost weight and endured seizures.

Locke finally told his doctor he wanted to try marijuana after reading
up on the medical benefits of the drug. "He basically told me his
hands were tied," said Locke, who nevertheless dumped the pills in
favor of cannabis.

"I have not had a seizure in two years, six weeks and three days as of
today," Locke said.

The medical establishment isn't sold yet.

In 2001 during an annual meeting, the American Medical Asociation
rejected a report urging the compassionate use of marijuana for cancer
patients and others. However, the organization adopted a position
supporting continued research of medical marijuana. The AMA also
stated that doctors and patients should not be punished for discussing
the treatment option

Dianne Davis, the South Carolina representative of Safe Access Now,
suffers from multiple sclerosis. She started using medical marijuana
in 1998.

"I was diagnosed in 1996. I lost the use of my right hand and my right
shoulder," said Davis, 38, who attended the parade with her husband,

"I heard about medical marijuana in an MS Foundation brochure," Davis
said. "I decided to try it and I haven't lost the function of my body
in seven years."

Davis' use of the drug had unforeseen consequences. The Department of
Social Services in her hometown of Walhalla, S.C., took the couple's
children after learning about her illegal treatment.

"Eddie's ex-wife decided to turn us in to DSS," Davis said. "I see
them every Sunday, but I'm not allowed to take them to my home." 
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