The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More on the NAU forum

Wednesday evening at NAU, Democracy in Action and Peace and Justice jointly presented a forum at which proponents for Referred Law 12 (smoking ban) and Initiated Measure 13 (medical marijuana), as well as several legislative candidates, traded jabs and dodged roundhouses.

Indoor smoking at private businesses is toast.

David Lust and Mark Kirkeby endorsed arresting seriously ill people for using cannabis to alleviate their suffering. Mat Murray, Jay Pond, Sharon Green and John Willman supported the rights of patients to use medicine that works for them.

In the face-off between Bob Newland and Jo Prang, Prang continued with her practice of citing statistics that do not exist. For example, she said that a cannabis plant yields between 7 and 14 pounds of usable marijuana per year. Newland suggested that if she could get yields like that, she should go into agriculture. That would translate into corn yields of 2500-5000 bushels per acre. Hunger would no longer exist in the world.

Newland says he can’t remember the questions posed to him by Prang, except that she asked why the IM13 supporters were campaigning on college campuses. Newland said, "Often, in political campaigns, advocates try to go where votes are."

Other than that, Newland stayed focused on the point of his campaign, that it is inhumane to arrest seriously ill people for attempting to alleviate their own suffering.

Prang came up with some fascinating answers to the questions Newland submitted.

Question: Do you think that people who are trying to alleviate their own suffering with cannabis should be put in jail?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Which of the dangerous drugs that you currently dispense would you recommend being prohibited because they might find their way to someone not authorized to use them?

Answer: The Yankees will win the World Series. In Serbia, they don’t wear argyle socks.
(Seriously, her answer was actually more off-point than the satirical sentences above. She obviously did not want to answer that question.)

Question: What, exactly, are the dangerous effects of cannabis on people? How many people have died from cannabis ingestion, either smoked or eaten?

Answer: We don’t know, but it’s a large number.
(Newland said, correctly, that there is no record in 6000 years of medical history that ties a death to cannabis ingestion. However, cops have shot lots of people whom they believed had cannabis.)

Question: A Rapid City internal medicine specialist, Dr. Doug Traub, has testified in court -- on behalf of a patient being sentenced for possession of cannabis -- that “smoked cannabis is essential to my patient’s therapy.”

Was Dr. Traub lying, or was he just demonstrating professional incompetence?

Answer: Dr. Traub made me cry once. [insert one minute and 50 seconds of irrelevant blabber here, then...] Yes, he was exhibiting unprofessional behavior.

Newland forwarded Prang’s accusation to Dr. Traub. This is what Dr. Traub had to say about that:

“Jo is a very energetic pharmacist and businesswoman, whom I respect. She is entitled to her opinions. However, holding an opinion different than hers is not tantamount to exhibiting unprofessional behavior. Neither is it unprofessional behavior to be a patient advocate and recommend treatments to facilitate appetite, weight gain and comfort that she doesn't sell at her pharmacy. As far as her losing her emotional control, I no longer have a lower lip from the times I have had to bite my lip when pharmacists side regularly with greedy insurance companies and do not serve as patient advocates."

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