Pubdate: Thu, 11 Aug 2011 Source: Eufaula Tribune, The (AL) Copyright: Eufaula Tribune 2011 Contact: http://www.eufaulatribune.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1921 Author: Anastasia Scarborough MEDICAL MARIJUANA SUPPORTERS WILL GATHER AT BLUE SPRINGS PARK Ron Crumpton, executive director of Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition (AMMJC), says he has used marijuana since 2005 to treat his spinal stenosis, a condition caused by abnormal narrowing of the spinal column. Crumpton's group believes marijuana should be used in Alabama as treatment for ailments that cause severe pain and discomfort. He hopes to convince others to support the use of medical marijuana at a public picnic tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 13) at Blue Springs State Park in west Barbour County. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the third such event in Alabama AMMJC has sponsored since its inception 2= months ago. Using marijuana for medical purposes is currently illegal in Alabama. But Crumpton believes the drug could help Alabamians suffering from illnesses such as cancer, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, multiple sclerosis and even post traumatic stress disorder. He says marijuana can treat these and many other ailments and is less harmful than some drugs prescribed by doctors. "For nausea, there's nothing better, so it often helps cancer patients suffering from the nausea associated with chemotherapy treatments," said Crumpton. "For those with epilepsy, it could reduce the frequency of seizures. (Marijuana's) uses seem limitless." Crumpton has been using the drug for six years to treat his condition. "At one point, I was taking 28 pills a day - many to combat the side-effects of the 13 pills that actually treated my condition. Yet I was still in pain and clinically depressed," he said. "But when I began using marijuana as my primary form of pain management, I became the person I once was. I wasn't suicidal or depressed." Crumpton says using marijuana helps ease pain in patients, but can also help treat mental disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder. At the Saturday picnic, AMMJC will garner public support for the Alabama Medical Marijuana Patients Rights Act, which will be presented to the Alabama Legislature during the 2012 session. If passed, Alabama patients of 24 conditions and ailments including anorexia, cerebral palsy and bipolar disorder, would be able to possess and use marijuana under a doctor's recommendation. The act would also allow a limited number of dispensaries in Alabama, created for the sole purpose of producing medical marijuana. Crumpton says public support in the state is high for the use of medical marijuana. He references a recent survey by the University of South Alabama in which 74 percent of state residents surveyed approved the use of physician-recommended marijuana. "A couple years ago, you got funny looks if you walked around with a t-shirt that said anything about medical marijuana. Now, when I'm out in public, people are approaching me with legitimate questions," said Crumpton. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.