Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 2010
Source: Salisbury Post (NC)
Copyright: 2010 Post Publishing Co.
Author: Shavonne Potts


Since the early 1990s, Jean Marlowe has smoked marijuana. She's been
arrested four times and spent time in federal prison. It's something
she doesn't mind people knowing.

Marlowe, executive director of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients
Network, a licensed nonprofit organization based in Mill Spring,
advocates for legislation to allow people to use marijuana for medical
purposes. The organization's goal is to educate the public about
medical marijuana legislation in North Carolina.

Marlowe spoke about the issue Thursday at a Civitan Club of Salisbury
meeting. Along with Marlowe, club members also heard from Perry Parks,
the veterans outreach director for the Network.

Marlowe has had health issues including muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid
arthritis and degenerative disc disease, for years. She is allergic to
synthetic prescription medications and cannot take any of the doctor
prescribed medications to alleviate her pain.

In 1991, a nurse suggested Marlowe look into using marijuana to combat
her extreme pain. Marlowe began ordering cannabis from a farm in
Switzerland. But, when U.S. Customs agents intercepted her package,
she was arrested.

She was given probation and house arrest, but violated her probation
because she continued to use marijuana. Marlowe spent 10 months in a
federal prison camp.

"The same one Martha Stewart went to," Marlowe said.

She since has documentation to prove that she can consume between five
and seven grams of medicinal marijuana a day to alleviate medical conditions.

Marlowe became emotional when talking to the Civitans about how people
who need to take marijuana or die are made to feel like criminals.

"We are not criminals, we are sick people," Marlowe

She feels if it can ease someone's pain then it should be prescribed
and be legal for medical use.

Marlowe said she's not advocating people just go out and purchase
marijuana off the street.

"I'd prefer it come from a lab," she said.

In the first year, medicinal marijuana could generate $67 million in
tax revenue, she said.

There are 13 states that have legalized the cultivation and use of
marijuana for medical purposes. She urged people to speak to their
representatives and other legislators to support a bill to legalize

Parks is a proponent of House Bill 1380, listed as the Medical
Marijuana Act. In April 2009, the bill was filed with the N.C. General
Assembly to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. The bill says
medical research has "discovered beneficial uses for marijuana in
treating or alleviating pain, nausea and other symptoms associated
with certain debilitating medical conditions...."

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the
Compassionate Investigational New Drug (IND) program, provides
marijuana by prescription to a number of people for use as medicine,
the bill says. This marijuana is grown at a federal marijuana research
garden at the University of Mississippi and is processed and
distributed by the Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle
Park, North Carolina.

The bill has been referred to the health committee.

Parks said being a Christian, he's had people question how he could
support something that is illegal.

"It's not like I'm saying cut loose on drugs. I'm saying quit
arresting me," he said.

There are people who are using it for medical reasons, but won't say
anything, Parks said.

He also encouraged people to support the bill.

For more information about the North Carolina Cannabis Patients
Network, visit
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