Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Source: Richmond County Daily Journal (NC)
Page: Front Page
Copyright: 2009 Richmond County Daily Journal
Author: Philip D. Brown, Richmond County Daily Journal
Cited: North Carolina Cannabis Patients' Network
Referenced: House Bill 1380 - Medical Marijuana Act
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


Rockingham native and activist Perry Parks was recently appointed to 
an official position with the North Carolina Cannabis Patients' 
Network (NCCPN).

He will serve the non-profit as its Veterans Outreach Specialist.

"First of all, I want to fight to get the same rights for veterans in 
this state that veterans who live in other states already have," 
Parks said. "We are still being penalized, and this is an injustice 
to veterans everywhere that we are still being denied the same 
benefits veterans in other states enjoy."

He pointed out Veterans Affairs has amended its policy to withhold 
medications from veterans who test positive for marijuana in states 
where it has been approved for medical use. The legislatures of 14 
U.S. states have approved the use of the natural product for medicinal use.

"I am being denied the use of what I feel to be the best medication, 
the least destructive to my health, not because of who I am, but 
because of where I live," Parks said.

The organization's director called attention to the state legislation 
that would provide for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal 
purposes in welcoming Parks on board.

It is named House Bill 1380, and is now in the House's Health Committee.

"We are pleased and honored to have Mr. Perry Parks join our team as 
Veterans Outreach Director," NCCPN Executive Director Jean Marlowe 
said in a release. "Opposition to this bill is dwindling as our 
lawmakers educate themselves to the science and research now 
available, and we are feeling a true desire in the General Assembly 
to pass this bill for the patients who need it."

With over 385 members/patients from each of the state's 100 counties, 
NCCPN is the largest and fastest growing medical marijuana 
organization in the state, the release said.

The organization believes providing safe, legal access for medical 
marijuana patients would benefit the state, the patients, the 
healthcare community and society.

She said many of the nearly 400 members and patients have a military 

"We have a lot of Vietnam veterans and veterans of the Iraq War," she 
said. "We don't have as many World War II veterans, but there are some."

She said many of the Vietnam veterans, especially, have long 
recognized the benefits of using the plant, but didn't necessarily 
consider it medication.

"It's only after research started coming out, and states started to 
legalize it for medicinal purposes that they realized it is a 
medicine," she said. "They were just using it to go to sleep without 
the painful and disturbing dreams. Many of them also suffer from 
nerve damage and muscle spasms, and they report that it's the only 
medicine that gives them any relief at all."

Marlowe also said she recently received a phone call from a veteran 
who is from North Carolina but currently living in California, 
thanking her for her work.

"There are many veterans who want to come home, but they can't 
because their medicine is illegal here and they open themselves up to 
not being protected equally under the law," she said. "These men's 
dignity and rights are being held hostage by our state legislators. 
They know the state of North Carolina distributes medical marijuana 
to four people in the United States, but they are not being afforded 
the equal protection and treatment under the law they deserve and 
were given in the Constitution."

On June 18, Parks testified before the House Health Committee that 
the use of marijuana has allowed him to cope with a degenerative disc 
condition in his back more effectively than any opiate-based or 
synthetic pain medication he's been prescribed by a doctor.

He has appeared in news articles from the Daily Journal and 
Associated Press, as well as multiple radio spots including an 
interview on Charlotte Talks advocating medical marijuana.

Parks was a highly decorated soldier during his 28 years of military 
service, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars and 
four awards of the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device.

He also served as a safety professional with the National Guard, 
Federal Aviation Administration and Murphy Farms. 
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