Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time for the City of Santa Cruz to enact its Office of Compassionate Use

NOTE TO READER: With President Barack Obama making good on his campaign promise to end DEA and FBI operations to arrest and remove medical marijuana patients, their caregivers, and dispensaries operating in States which have passed medical marijuana legislation, it's time for the City of Santa Cruz to implement its "Office of Compassionate Use".

Here is the full text of the ordinance:

Chapter 6.92

* Editor’s Note Regarding Effective Date of Ordinance Codified in this Chapter. Section 3 of Ordinance 2005-28 states: “This ordinance shall take effect thirty days after the date of its adoption, but the OCU shall not cultivate, obtain, possess or distribute any marijuana pursuant to this ordinance until such time as a court of competent jurisdiction has issued a final order finding such activity to be permissible under federal law. As used herein, the term ‘final order’ shall not include a court order which has been appealed or is under review or appeal.”


6.92.010 Definitions.

6.92.020 Creating an office of compassionate use to provide marijuana to seriously ill patients.

6.92.030 Creating an OCU commission to advise the OCU in implementing this chapter.

6.92.040 Compassionate provision of medical marijuana to qualified patients.

6.92.050 Patient records.

6.92.060 Possession, transportation and storage of medical marijuana.

6.92.070 Prior investigation by law enforcement.

6.92.080 Miscellaneous applications.

6.92.090 Review of medical literature to ensure necessity of medical use.

6.92.100 Revenue neutral.


1. Qualified Patients. A “qualified patient” is one that is entitled to possess medical marijuana pursuant to Health and Safety Code section 11362.5. There are two categories of qualified patients:

A. Critical-Use Patient. A “critical-use patient” is a qualified patient who (a) obtains a recommendation to use marijuana for medical purposes from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of California and (b) for whom there is no comparable or satisfactory alternative drug available.

B. Compassionate-Use Patient. A “compassionate-use patient” is a qualified patient who obtains a recommendation to use marijuana for medical purposes from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of California.

2. Primary Caregiver. “Primary caregiver” means the individual designated by a qualified patient who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety of the patient, or who has consistently assumed responsibility for the provision of medical marijuana to the qualified patient.

3. Marijuana. “Marijuana” means all parts of Cannabis plants, whether growing or not; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seed or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.

4. Legal Source. A “legal source” refers to marijuana obtained or cultivated legally under current law or court order, organically grown in accordance with California certified organic farmers certification standards.

5. Medical Review Officer. A “medical review officer” is a physician with expertise concerning the medical use of marijuana.

6. California State Medical Marijuana Provisions. California state medical marijuana provisions refers to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, codified as Health and Safety Code section 11362.5, and the Medical Marijuana Program, codified as Health and Safety Code Sections 11362.7 et seq.

(Ord. 2005-32 § 1, 2005: Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


The city of Santa Cruz hereby establishes an Office of Compassionate Use (“OCU”). The OCU shall be responsible for:

1. Providing medical marijuana to qualified patients in accord with this chapter. The OCU shall utilize medical marijuana from a legal source and store it in a secure location. If marijuana from a legal source is not available in sufficient amounts to care for all qualified patients who are residents of Santa Cruz county, the OCU shall so notify the Santa Cruz city council.

2. Associating with a medical review officer to serve the functions set forth in this chapter.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


The city of Santa Cruz further hereby establishes an OCU commission to advise and assist the OCU in carrying out the duties specified in Section 6.92.020 of this chapter and in further implementing this chapter. The OCU commission shall be comprised of five (5) persons appointed by the Santa Cruz city council, of whom at least two (2) shall be qualified patients or caregivers and at least two (2) others shall be health care professionals. The OCU commission shall issue regular reports to the Santa Cruz city council concerning the implementation of this chapter.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


When presented with a valid compassionate-use identification card issued by the health services agency of Santa Cruz County pursuant to Chapter 7.124 of the county code, the OCU shall provide the patient, or the primary caregiver, with the amount of marijuana recommended by the physician for use over a one-month period. If the physician has not recommended a specific amount of marijuana, the OCU shall consult with and provide the amount of marijuana recommended by the medical review officer for use over a one-month period, taking into account the potency of the marijuana to be provided, the severity of the patient’s symptoms, the patient’s physiology, the patient’s familiarity with medical marijuana, and the anticipated mode of ingestion. In no event shall the amount of marijuana provided for any patient over a one-year period be more than permitted under the California state medical marijuana provisions and Santa Cruz County ordinances. If there is insufficient marijuana available to treat all qualified patients, critical-use patients shall have priority in the receipt of medical marijuana.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


The OCU will maintain a record of the patients who have been provided medical marijuana pursuant to this chapter. These records shall contain (1) the serial number provided to each patient by the health services agency of Santa Cruz County pursuant to Chapter 7.124 of the county code, (2) the amount of marijuana recommended by either the patient’s physician or the medical review officer and (3) the amount of marijuana provided to each patient. These records shall not contain the names or other identifying information of any patients or primary caregivers.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


The possession, transportation or storage of medical marijuana by the OCU or its employees in accord with the California state medical marijuana law provisions and this chapter shall be lawful.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


When an alleged marijuana possession is discovered by law enforcement personnel, all reasonable efforts shall be made to investigate and determine whether or not the possession is for medical purposes in accord with the California state medical marijuana law provisions and this chapter. Such investigation shall be conducted prior to any seizure or arrest.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


Possession, transportation and use of the following items shall be lawful when used in accord with the California state medical marijuana law provisions and this chapter:

(1) Pipes, papers, water pipes, vaporizers and other related paraphernalia;

(2) Marijuana, marijuana seeds and marijuana products (such as baked goods, tinctures, infusions, oils, salves and any other marijuana derivatives).

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


Every two years, the OCU shall conduct a review of the current scientific research into the status of medical marijuana. The OCU shall promptly prepare a report and provide it to the city council summarizing the status of research into medical marijuana.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).


The city of Santa Cruz shall enact administrative regulations governing the imposition of fees for participation in the compassionate use program, to ensure that the OCU is revenue neutral. Notwithstanding this section, no resident of Santa Cruz county will be refused the compassionate use of marijuana under this chapter because of indigence.

(Ord. 2005-28 § 1 (part), 2005).

Find this online at:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Asthmatic Against the Smoking Ban

Linda Lemaster August 1, 2008 Photo by Becky Johnson

by Lighthouse Linda
October 20, 2009

Last Chance Road, Santa Cruz County, Ca. -- The issue Becky Johnson is educating us about is a very important one, to me. A person's sovereignty is more crucial than the ever-widening freeway of dependency by decree under the state (and "popular opinion, as well, but at least opinion is a more enlivening phenomenon to alter). The other concern is that I/ME, personally, would like to walk where the townspeople can walk, drink from their fountains, stand in their regular queues instead of needing the oft-demeaning "special attention" to get any social, chore, or bureaucratic trafficking done. Two things at odds: why has this frustration "silenced" me?

I am impressed by Becky Johnson's information. She has convinced me that the phenomenon of "secondhand smoke" is one of those mostly-conjured public policies.

This happens. People in positions of power try to oversimplify things and so end up lying to the rest of us. Then there's the other 25% (guessing) of people who are just so fixated on their own trip they care little about integrity or how their words or work affects others. I was glad to see Becky's example of Johnson & Johnson's. They are some of the criminal exploiters who could care LESS about the rest of us as also-human but rather see us as consuming carriers of credit cards - a resource to be had, like aluminum ore or coke for making steel. It leads to THIS: we who prefer to actually be able to think for ourselves (and our families and loved ones, perhaps?) and to take some responsibility -- as best we can -- for our knowledge and our actions are up against such deceit.

I am an asthmatic, now with COPD. I can't even be near some Huffsters who I care deeply about without asthma reactions and risk of immunological breakdowns. I can't breathe at all in many downtown locations. Not even with all the drugs money can buy (or, the state is willing to buy, at any rate, but that's a whole other story!). I am banished in effect because to stay alive, to breathe, I have to avoid toxified air and poisons in many forms.

I have learned much, but the asthma and lungs continue to get worse because we all live in such a cesspool. Granted, less of one in Santa Cruz than most citified places (unless you're on the edge of our otherwise beautiful San Lorenzo River for too long, or hovering over the grease and nitrites of hot dogs at the Boardwalk in order to work, or .....) I mean, it's nicer here than any place I've ever lived, except
Seattle. So there! Make of this what you will.

I'm one hundred percent against the new Smoking Ban! The "smoking" gun seems to be just another way to "blame the victim" while the rivers and, in industrial areas and big commuting zones, the air, gets tox'ed to death. I just know that having lived with a husband for seven years who chain smoked, my lungs were not helped a bit. Yet what "did me in," from the best research and study I can manage, is OTHER poisons! Examples follow.

1. The job I had when 1 was 19, 20, and beyond, where I had to inhale the fumes of photo lithography in order to set headlines for daily and weekly newspapers and "trucks" (ad papers) that sold things for supermarkets. "When the red light is on, do not enter." I was too ignorant to realize I needed ventilation (or more) and the only air I could get while at that work station was opening the door, spoiling the work. I was the "bottom man" on the workplace totem pole, not because I was new, but because I was a female. This was a "real" job, before PC's.

2. While I lived with said husband for 7 years, we moved to
Santa Cruz and a year later, I had my first asthma attack. But it wasn't his cig habit, it was the illegal (perhaps underground?) business across the generally quiet street. They were spray-painting cars, and refurbishing them. On the curb, two doors from my place. Averaging two cars a week, sometimes more, and doing this work evenings, when everybody in the neighborhood was around. It is possible that the train (two doors going the other direction) contributed too to my lungs' weakening and illness, but it didn't seem apparent at the time. Twice a day trains. I did not realize the car-painting operation was hurting me until I was forced to move for being politically active while parenting (oh! the audacity!). After I moved, I was off the asthma drugs within three days despite other stress-stuff. I was busy and it didn't occur to me that people ran their illegal businesses right out in front of everybody. Never realized I could "turn in" this culprit. By the time I moved, apparently there had been horribly permanent damage in my lungs.

3. Later, the most comfy-cottage home I ever rented in the City of
Santa Cruz (was also a homeowner once) turned out to be a Black Mold stronghold. The mold wasn't discovered until a new owner evicted my family and tore the place apart. What a shocking sight! Yet I didn't realize at the time it was extremely toxic for many people. The mold was in only one room, but it caused serious health damage to my daughter and myself, and for all I know, to my younger son who was born while I was living there. Once my doctor asked me, at the emergency room, "How can you get SO sick, yet heal SO fast in here?" He also predicted I'd die, but that was long ago and luckily I got evicted first.

So this is just a little "tip of the iceberg" true story about serious toxic environments that go way beyond "second hand smoke" and its ability to irritate. For me, it means somehow avoiding, perhaps forever: people who wear perfume n cologne, roof tarring, auto diesel exhaust, ammonia products, and all kinds of food additives, and growing. Not an easy task for anyone.

I believe people should do all they can to avoid breathing in poisons, regardless of degree, since we can't really know. We each have a unique pair of lungs and other equipment (hearts, for starters) to sustain them. I am less angry about the lives I got cheated out of because of our collective ignorance and other people's greed or neglect, when I think maybe some people can see my loss as their opportunity to protect and enjoy their own lungs (a “canary”).

My heart is still broken for my son who started smoking young (school culture cinched it), tho' he's quit finally, well into adulthood. I pray for cigarette addicts, that they may recover from the consumer exploitation that's defining much of their lives. All their senses can recover.

Nonetheless, I cannot take sides with those who would conform us all into pigeonholes because they don't know how to do anything socially, community-wise, besides make more laws and further force and predetermine our lives, our behaviors, or our shared destiny. Over-regulation feels just as pre-emptive to me as having to avoid public places and restaurants during mealtimes and happy hour -- finding when they are nearly empty is critical if I go out.

After much internal turmoil, having read Becky's information and arguments on second-hand smoke, and trying to sort my way through my own difficult conflicted feelings, I'm leaning way towards less regulation of public cigarette smoking. Or at the very least, regulate something fair instead of always creating adversarial solutions.

In addition, as one of the people who worked to help pass Prop 215 (which became SB 420 when it passed) I am simply distraught about the fact that cities are over-regulating the use of public marijuana smoking for disabled people. Those folks, because they need nontoxic help, are getting pushed into the paranoid field of an existing "underground" mentality.

It's hard enough to be a crip (disabled, different, etc) without the extra handicap of having to worry about where you can take the one medicine that makes it possible for your system to handle the other more radical drugs (the ones from the pharmaceutical industry) which are perhaps keeping you alive or giving you back some of your mobility or breath etc. My doctor tells me that many people have been able to cut back and even quit some of their drugs with harsh side effects on account of using pot. (I'm not yet one.)

Smokers need to have places they are safe and comfortable, other than in the doorways of "no smoking" buildings (my pet peeve). And if cigarette butts are an issue, put in ashtrays and a sign that EDUCATES people to not litter because of the inevitable pollution our waterways suffer in our blasé ignorance. It doesn't feel good that smokers can't go where other people go. It doesn't feel good that I can't go where others go. And it doesn't feel right that we join those who would punish the victim instead of taking up arms against the more obvious polluters – commercial corporations which seem to pervert or avoid regulatory systems built to protect us. We need a LOUD VOICE, but not to niggle with each other


originally published on Jan 1 2008 on the HUFF yahoo groups list


by Becky Johnson

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- The average age of death of a homeless person in Santa Cruz County is 48 yrs old. There is no doubt that exposure to the cold, the rain, the dark, and the added stress contributes to mortality rates. These numbers are disturbing and should be triggering bells and whistles at the SC County Dept. of Health. They are not.

But who is to blame?

-- City leaders for failing to provide sufficient shelter
-- Dept of Health for failure to house indigents who are conservable
-- greed in the real estate market, including the practice of evicting tenants in order to sell the house empty
-- low wages offered by employers
-- service providers for failing to raise the alarm due to fear of losing funding
-- local 'family-owned' businesses who urge a policy of police sweeps and criminalization of homelessness
-- landlords who raise their rents precipitously
-- media who ignore the problem or add to the problem by their unsympathetic attitudes towards those suffering from homelessness
-- the Federal govt. for cutting HUD funding
-- The State of California for failing to provide health care for all
-- Churches who have the means, the mission, and the tax advantage to help, but don't

In a way, all the citizenry of Santa Cruz are to blame for allowing homelessness to continue year after year without putting our resources towards solving it.

Becky Johnson is a member of HUFF, a not-for-profit, all-volunteer, peer-advocacy organization which advocates for the rights of poor and homeless people and works for social justice located in Santa Cruz, California. HUFF meetings are every WED. from 10:30AM to Noon at the Subrosa Café on Pacific Ave. Free coffee if you're homeless.

Snail-mail us at:
Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom
309 Cedar St. PMB 14B -- Santa Cruz, Ca. 95060

Monday, October 19, 2009

Victory for Common Sense, defeat for the DEA

by Becky Johnson
October 19, 2009

Santa Cruz, CA. -- They're cheering in Mudville today! President Barack Obama's campaign promise has been delivered with the statement this morning from Federal Attorney General, Eric Holder, that the FBI and the DEA will no longer interfere with patients, their care-givers, or dispensaries which are not breaking any State law in states in which marijuana for medical uses has been legalised. Below is the letter I received this morning from Rob Kampia, the Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project which has been following legislation regarding marijuana use. In Santa Cruz County, any bona fide medical marijuana patient can grow up to 100 square feet of canopy, and possess up to three pounds of dried, cured marijuana flowers-- the part of the plant that is considered medicinal. This is a sea tide change in policy for the Federal Government which will have far-reaching ramifications most of which are positive. Congratulations to President Obama for delivering on this campaign promise which will provide tremendous widespread relief for patients suffering from pain, tremors, glaucoma, cataracts, cancer, and seizures. This ruling now allows the City of Santa Cruz to go ahead and provide services under the Compassionate Use Act which they passed a few years ago.


Dear Becky Johnson:

Ready for some great news?

The Obama administration is directing federal prosecutors not

to arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers who are

complying with state laws.

On Monday, federal prosecutors, as well as top officials at the

FBI and DEA, will reportedly be told that it isn’t a good use of

their time to arrest people who use or provide medical

marijuana, if they are complying with state law. This is the most

significant, positive policy development on the federal level for

medical marijuana since 1978.

Under the Bush administration, the feds had continued to raid,

arrest, and otherwise terrorize medical marijuana and their

caregivers in the 13 states that have passed medical marijuana

laws. This new policy is a major change.

MPP was instrumental in obtaining a promise from President

Obama during the presidential campaign that, if elected, he

would halt these arrests. MPP was the only reform organization

to testify on Capitol Hill urging the issuance of the guidelines

and, later, was the only group to work with leaders in Congress

to get a House committee to urge the administration to adopt the

written guidelines. Our lobbyists have also been in contact with

top officials at the Justice Department about the guidelines.

(In fact, you can watch a one-minute video clip of Obama

responding to one of our campaign volunteers in New Hampshire

on August 21, 2007, in the heat of the presidential primary campaign

here, and a clip of MPP's lobbyist following his testimony on the Hill here.)

We're thrilled to see this promise come to fruition, and I hope you’ll

join me in celebrating this news -- some of the best we’ve had for

medical marijuana patients in years.

Thank you for helping to make this momentous change happen.

And if you’d like to help keep pushing, please:

1. Use MPP's easy online action center to tell your members of

Congress that you support this new policy.

2. Donate to MPP’s federal lobbying work here.


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major

philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35

million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet

in 2009. This means that your donation today will be


P.P.S. You can opt out of receiving fundraising

mentions in the e-mail alerts I send you in 2009

by visiting

at your convenience.

We are required by federal law to tell you that any donations you make to MPP may be used for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates for federal office.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

When the Lie's so big...

Graph: Total number of hospital admissions in Scotland for heart attack admissions before and after smoking bans were passed in those localities.

NOTE TO READER: Christopher Snowden has been battling for personal freedoms for a long time. Here Snowden addresses a recent report which supposedly shows a dramatic drop in heart attacks since smoking bans have been implemented in Scotland and England. This underscores the hazard of taking our health information from mainstream news. This claim cannot be substantiated with examining hospital admissions during the time period following enactment of the ban. Even worse, the "study" the reporters are quoting from doesn't appear to exist. So the report is false, AND the study non-existent---but it's international news!! ---Becky Johnson, editor

When the Lie's so big...

Oct 16, 2009

by Christopher Snowden
author of: "Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Anti-Smoking" (published 2009)

found online at:

I think I'm starting to know how Bill Murray felt in Groundhog Day...

Bans on smoking in restaurants and bars reduces [sic] the risk of heart attacks among non smokers, according to [sic] hard hitting report.

The research, by the U.S. Institute of Medicine reviewed 11 key studies of smoking bans in Scotland, Italy, the U.S and Canada.

They [sic] found drops in the number of heart attacks across the board, ranging from six per cent to an impressive 47 per cent.

Since the idea of smoking bans dramatically reducing the heart attack rate is yet again being circulated by lazy (and illiterate) journalists, I don't feel so bad about publishing yet again the facts which show this to be complete and utter rhubarb. Not only has it not happened, but it could never happen. The smoking bans of England, Scotland and Wales had no effect whatsoever on Britain's heart attack rate.

And no, before you ask, the figures shown below have not been peer-reviewed. There is no need to peer-review complete hospital admissions statistics. They represent the complete data set. They are painstakingly reviewed by professional statisticians before they are published. These statisticians have no agenda and no a priori hypothesis to support. These are the facts.

Epidemiological studies require peer-review because they use a sample of the population to make claims about the entire population. They could, and do, get it wrong. The hospital data of England, Scotland and Wales are the whole data. Complaining that it is not peer-reviewed is like MORI complaining about an election result because they failed to predict the result.

And, unlike Jill Pell, Stan Glantz and all the other authors of the heart attack miracles, I can show you the raw data behind the facts. They are here, here and here.

The myth of the smoking ban ‘miracle’

‘Heart attacks plummet after smoking ban’ declared The Sunday Times earlier this month, as it reported that England’s smoking ban has ‘caused a fall in heart attack rates of about 10 per cent’ (1). A few days later, The Scotsman upped the ante, informing its readers that ‘Smoking ban slashes heart attacks by up to a third across world’ (2).

Tales of heart attacks being ‘slashed’ by smoking bans have appeared with such regularity in recent years that it is easy to forget that there is a conspicuous lack of reliable evidence to support them. It is almost as if the sheer number of column inches is a substitute for proof.

The most recent reports are a case in point. Although The Sunday Times claimed a 10 per cent drop in heart attacks, nowhere in the 500 word article was a source mentioned and no one was quoted giving this figure. The ‘study’ the newspaper referred to does not exist, and the anti-smoking pressure group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) – not renowned for downplaying the risks of passive smoking – went to the unusual lengths of posting a notice on its website the following day to point out that ‘the figures reported in The Sunday Times yesterday (and now circulating elsewhere) are not based on any research conducted to date’ (3).

Although the story quickly went around the globe, no one seems to know where the figure came from. It’s all rather strange. Basing journalism on anonymous sources is commonplace in the world of politics, but it is surely not necessary in the realms of science.

The second story – reported by a host of news organisations, including the BBC – also had no new data to report. Instead, it took its cue from an article in the journal Circulation which examined previous smoking ban/heart attack studies. If nothing else, the Circulation paper offers an opportunity to reflect on just how feeble the collected evidence is on this issue (4).

The first study to make the claim that smoking bans ‘slash’ heart attacks was met with howls of derision when it was published in the British Medical Journal in 2004 (5). Studying the modest population of Helena, Montana – where the number of monthly heart attacks seldom strayed into double digits – the study’s authors made the astounding claim that the town’s smoking ban had led to the rate of acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks) plummeting by 40 per cent.

Dubbed the ‘Helena miracle’ by a legion of sceptics, the 40 per cent finding was damned by its very enormity. Since the authors were adamant that the drop was due to secondhand smoke (rather than smokers quitting), the finding required the reader to believe that 40 per cent of heart attacks in pre-ban Helena had been solely caused by passive smoking in bars and restaurants. To understand quite how miraculous the Helena miracle was, one must bear in mind that around 10 to 15 per cent of coronary heart disease cases are attributed to active smoking. That passive smoking could be responsible for a further 40 per cent strains all credibility.

Despite the inherent implausibility of the hypothesis, further studies were swiftly commissioned. If smoking bans could be shown to immediately save lives, it would be a compelling reason to implement bans elsewhere and expand those already in place. And since all that was required to ‘prove’ the hypothesis was a rough correlation between a declining heart attack rate and the start of a smoking ban, the prospects were good. Heart attack rates had been falling for years in most countries and there were plenty of smoking bans to choose from. The law of averages dictated that another heart miracle would soon come to light.

Flawed though it may have been, the Helena research was followed by several studies that displayed such a cavalier approach to the scientific process that they bordered on the comical. Researchers in Bowling Green, Ohio, for example, saw a large rise in heart attacks during the first year of the smoking ban. Side-stepping this awkward fact, they simply redefined year two of the ban as the ‘real’ post-ban period and, since that year followed an abnormal peak, there was naturally a decline in the heart attack rate. As a consequence, the researchers could triumphantly declare that the smoking ban had led to a 47 per cent reduction in heart attacks (6).

In the Piedmont region of Italy, there was an inconvenient rise in heart attacks amongst those over the age of 60 after the ban, and so those people were simply ignored. In a study that was trailed by the BBC (‘Smoking ban reduces heart risk’), the researchers focused entirely on those under 60, thereby recording an 11 per cent drop in cases (7).

Studies such as these form the basis for the recent reports of smoking bans slashing heart attacks by ‘up to a third’. The Circulation paper gathers them together and concludes that, on average, smoking bans cause rates of acute myocardial infarction to fall by 17 per cent. It includes the studies from Ohio and Italy, as well as three studies that have never been published and have only been ‘reported at meetings’.

The paper does not, however, include a mammoth (published) study of the entire United States, which concluded: ‘In contrast with smaller regional studies, we find that workplace bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases.’ (8)

Nor does it include an (unpublished) paper which found no statistically significant fall in heart attacks amongst the entire populations of California, Florida, New York and Oregon (9).

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the ongoing heart-miracle farrago is the eagerness to focus on small studies when complete hospital data is so freely available. It is extraordinary that no BBC journalist, for example, has thought of taking a few minutes to see how many people were rushed to hospital with acute myocardial infarction before and after the smoking bans of England, Scotland and Wales. If they did so, they would see that smokefree legislation has had no tangible influence on heart attack rates at all.

The graphs below show the number of emergency admissions for acute myocardial infarction, with the arrow indicating the start of the smoking ban. What is abundantly clear in each case is that the number of heart attack admissions has been falling for some time. Far from causing further dramatic cuts in heart attack rates, the bans had no discernible effect.

(see chart showing ALL heart attack admissions in the entire country of Scotland before and after smoking bans were instituted in bars and restaurants at top of page.)

The press said: ‘Heart attacks drop by 17 per cent after smoking ban’ ( Telegraph)

The press said: ‘The number of patients suffering a heart attack in Wales has fallen dramatically following the ban on smoking. (Wales Online)


The press said: ‘Heart attacks plummet after smoking ban’ (The Sunday Times).

Publicly accessible hospital admissions data is like kryptonite to those who are so eager to believe in miracles. In most epidemiological studies pertaining to secondhand smoke, the raw data is not published. Here, it is open to all and shows quite clearly that the long-term downward trend in heart attacks has not been affected in any way by the implementation of smoking bans. It provides such a simple and straightforward rebuttal to the heart attack ‘slashing’ hypothesis that one wonders what level of hubris drives those who still espouse it.

The three graphs cover a population larger than the sample groups in all the studies reviewed in Circulation combined, but no matter how much empirical evidence exposes the fantasy of the Helena miracle, it may be too late for the anti-smoking lobby to back down on this issue. Too many reputations are at stake.

After five years of covering these stories so uncritically, the same may be true of the media. One can scarcely blame newspapers for covering stories that offer such dramatic conclusions as the heart miracles. The irony is that if they dug just a little deeper, they might find a more interesting, and more believable, tale of human folly.


(1) Heart attacks plummet after smoking ban, The Sunday Times, 13 September 2009

(2) Smoking ban slashes heart attacks by up to a third across world, Scotsman, 22 September 2009

(3) ASH Daily News for 15 September 2009, Action on Smoking and Health, 15 September 2009

(4) Declines in Acute Myocardial Infarction After Smoke-Free Laws and Individual Risk Attributable to Secondhand Smoke, Circulation, 21 September 2009

(5) Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban: before and after study, British Medical Journal, 2004;328:977-980

(6) The impact of a smoking ban on hospital admissions for coronary heart disease, Preventative Medicine, 2007 Jul;45(1):3-8. Epub 2007 Apr 4

(7) Short-term effects of Italian smoking regulation on rates of hospital admission for acute myocardial infarction, 29 August 2006

(8) Changes in U.S. Hospitalization and Mortality Rates Following Smoking Bans, National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2009

(9) Do Smoking Bans cause a 27 to 40% drop in admissions for myocardial infarction in hospitals?, The Smoker’s Club

(10) Coronary heart disease: hospital activity, ISD Scotland

(11) Hospital admissions date online, Health Solutions Wales

(12) Hospital Episode Statistics, HES Online

Originally published by Spiked (24/9/09)

And all they wanted was non-smoking sections on aeroplanes...

Earthquake in Santa Cruz Oct 17 1989

by Becky Johnson
Oct 17, 2009

Santa Cruz, CA. -- I experienced the 1989 Loma Prieta Quake. I was cleaning houses in those days, and I had just finished cleaning a house up on Western Drive. The owner wrote me a check for $50 at 4:45PM. The house stayed clean for 19 minutes. The fireplace I had just dusted, collapsed into a heap. But I was not there.

I was eager to get back home because the San Francisco Giants were playing against the Oakland A's in the World Series. The "Bay Bridge Series" had crazed baseball fans and few could talk of anything else. My neighbors had left their three daughters with a babysitter and were at Candlestick Park.

As I drove down Laurel St, I drove past Fords Department Store for the last time. I had bought my son, Alex' cub scout uniform there. I was eager to pick up my two children at my Ex's house on Clay Street, before going home to watch the game.

Don invited me into the duplex, and my daughter, Rachel greeted me cheerfully. Alex was upstairs watching one of his favorite television shows. Don asked if I'd like to have some spagetti, and I accepted. I sat down at the tiny kitchen table on Clay Street when suddenly the room began to rumble and shudder loudly. I was immediately aware that it was an earthquake. Seconds after it started I thought "Wow, this is the biggest earthquake I've ever been in!"

I climbed under the kitchen table, and pulled my 4-yr-old daughter tight against me. Don tried to crowd under the table as well as the lights went out and the kitchen cupboards opened. Dishes started falling out and the sounds of breaking glass were evident. My daughter whimpered in my arms. And then it stopped.

I was three months pregnant at the time with my youngest son. I got out from under the table and was suddenly struck with terror at the fate of my oldest son, who was seven at the time. He had jumped into the doorway of the upstairs bedroom when the quake started. The big television in front of him swayed and then fell forward, but the only injury he got was a pinched finger in the doorjam.

He came downstairs and we all exited the building. Outside, the Clay Street neighbors were streaming out of their houses. The utility poles swayed as a second quake hit. I rushed to my car and put my daughter in her carseat. My son jumped in the front seat and I started the car up to drive to my house on Frederick Street.

I turned the radio on and only heard static. I started to spin the dial, and each station I encountered was static. At this time I realized the quake had been massive and that a wide area had been affected. I drove up Broadway and suddenly it was very slow going. At each corner I saw broken windows, toppled chimneys, and dazed people standing on their front lawns. The cars inched forward.

When I finally made it to my Frederick Street house, it was quite a sight when I opened my front door!! Furniture was everywhere, broken dishes, and everything on my mantel had been knocked to the floor. Even worse, in my bedroom, my huge round mirror on my dresser had been smashed to smithereens which now filled most of my shoes. The kitchen floor was covered with spilled food and broken dishes.

We had no power,but oddly we still had phone service. It's just you'd have to wait about a full minute before you got a dial tone! Aftershocks were happening every five minutes so we decided to not stay in the house. I moved all the kids out into my Toyota station wagon where I was able to dial in a radio BAKERSFIELD!! The announcers there said "Oh, wow, that was a big quake." I heard that the Bay Bridge had collapsed. And I heard the epicenter was in Santa Cruz.

The babysitter came over, and said she was terrified and wanted to go home. She asked if I'd watch the girls. I said "sure" and we made a picnic out of it, in my car and outside in the parking lot. The kids took turns sitting in my lap. It was almost eleven o'clock before their parents were able to make it back from Candlestick Park.

My husband was not home when I arrived. He had been at his job at Borland Software in Scotts Valley and had just begun his "swing" shift as the computer operations AP/AR technician. He had heroically re-entered the building to look for victims trapped in the badly damaged building and to shut off the main power switch to the company's mainframe so that the data would be safe.

"When I went into CEO Philippe Kahn's office on the third floor, it looked like a bomb had gone off. The main girder just below Kahn's desk had snapped. He was in Australia at the time. Had he been at his desk working, he would have been killed. His office was just destroyed."

After he had done what he could on site, he headed back to Santa Cruz by way of Granite Creek Road. When he hit Branciforte Creek Road, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic. As he entered Santa Cruz, he saw three dark smoke plumes rising from Santa Cruz.

He arrived at least two hours after the quake in his white, "hippie" van. Our family spent the night in that van, rocking and shaking every twenty minutes.

Our house was structurally sound, but an upstairs apartment shook a hot water heater line loose and the water flooded the floor. The family was not home, and when they returned two days later, they were greeted to a flood.

Later when I was able to travel around a bit, there were missing chimneys all over town. The Cooperhouse was said to be damaged beyond repair. I have my doubts. They took that building down so fast and it was a real hard demolition job. The demolition of the Casa del Rey retirement home by Seaside Company, CEO Charles Canfield is another dubious act that occurred. One of the most telling places was that section of Capitola Rd. extension where it curls up the hill towards 7th Ave. A HUGE section of pavement had slid almost 20 ft down the hill leaving dirt and gravel underneath it. Closer to Soquel Ave, right in front of where Jefferey's Restaurant is now, was a ridge or bump, like a natural speed bump, where the pavement had buckled.

We got out power back in less than 24 hours. I don't know how they did it. People were ecstatically happy to get their lights back on. PG & E workers were heroes! People were giving them the thumbs up, and shouting "Thank-you" all week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Old and the Worthless Oct 16 2009

by Becky Johnson
OCT 16 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Today's update: On Young and the Restless today, Victor perks up, fresh from his heart transplant, ready to rein in young, nearly-blind, maybe-gay Victor Newman Jr. a.k.a. "Adam". But while he and Nikki are reconnecting during her ever-present vigil by his side, wife Ashley (Victor's 3rd and 9th wife)is talking to lawyers about keeping the Newman Ranch in her division of property. "After all," reasons Ashley, no longer plagued with pregnancy-hysteria, "When Victor and Nikki divorced, Nikki and the children got to stay in the Ranch while Victor and I were forced to move into the Executive suite of the Newman Corporation."

Ah, those rich people. They have SOOOO many problems! And if I didn't faithfully watch Young and the Restless every day at 11 am on my local CBS affiliate, how would I know?

Ashley also had the best line of the day when she confronted her feuding brother, Jack Abbott who would likely do handsprings at the news that Ashley was finally divorcing "the mustache". Ashley said, "The war is over, Jack. We all lost. Time to move on." You know, I think Obama might want to apply that to Afghanistan, as an exit strategy.

Victor is only alive because Tracey Abbot, Colleen Carton's mother, allowed her daughter's heart to be transplanted to save Victor. Victor would certainly die in days from the bullet wound to his heart when facially-reconstructed Patty Williams shot him, after having in her crazed state held Colleen hostage. Victor stepped in front of Jack, taking the bullet meant for him, thus saving HIS life.

However, it's all too late for Ashley.

She was sickened to find out that Victor's attempts to get revenge against her brother, Jack, had ultimately ended up by taking the life of young Colleen, who hovered in a brain-dead coma until last week's sob-fest when they wheeled her still functioning body into surgery to cut her heart out and Tracy had to say a tearful goodbye to her only daughter.

Colleen, good to the end, had managed to accidentally drown herself while going for help to save the woman who had been holding her hostage at gunpoint, and who she had already escaped from, but who needed medical attention due to a bite from a NORTHERN WIDOW. Hmmmm. Strange things happen in Genoa City, Wisconsin. At least among the arachnoid life. Colleens final act appears to be to have gone through Young and the Restless script-writer's "spirit world" where during bff Lily's nap whilst recovering from a complete hysterectomy and the effects of chemotherapy, Colleen appeared, soaking wet, to give Lily a peppy "girl" talk!.

I know that's what I hope to be doing while I'm dying. Visiting my old girlfriend in Rochester, Michigan and cheering her up with plans to go wig shopping.

So now "good" Colleen's heart is alive and living inside "Ruthless" Victor Newman himself. What a heyday for the script writers this will be. That is, if Eric Bergman signs a new contract. The scoop fairy has it that he's been offered a lot less money and may not resign. If he doesn't, I doubt his heart transplant will take. Colleen wasn't THAT good!

Victor Newman's wives: Julia, Nikki Reed , Ashley Abbott, Leanna Love, Hope Adams, Dianne Jenkins, Nikki Reed again, Sabrina Costelanos, and now Ashley Abbott again

Legalize Hemp!!!

by Becky Johnson
September 16, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. --- Every hemp product is legal in the United States. Hemp soap. Hemp paper. Hemp fiber and fabric. Hemp flour. Hemp oil. Yet every bit of fiber has to be imported from Canada, China, or one of several European countries which have legalized the extremely useful fiber. President George Washington grew hemp. The first draft of the Constitution was written on hemp paper. Hemp contains little or no THC, so no one can get "high" on it. Both the Senate and the State Assembly passed a bill legalizing hemp in California, only to get vetoed by our pot-smoking Governor Schwarzenegger. Obama took office and made a statement about respecting State's Rights, yet eight states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have attempted to implement programs for either research or production but have been stopped by the DEA.

President Obama needs to rein in the DEA. The recent raid on marijuana dispensaries in San Diego violates our States rights to regulate medical marijuana. Obama promised not to interfere in medical marijuana states, but failed with this recent raid. He has not moved towards legalization of hemp either. Hemp farmers are not happy.

On Tuesday, Oct 13th, six hemp farmers arrived at the DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia and with shovels, and hemp seeds in hand, planted hemp on the lawn of the DEA headquarters. All six were arrested and charged with trespassing. Here is a video of their protest and arrest.

(see video just below)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Myth of Second Hand Smoke

PHOTO: from

NOTE TO READER: With the sweeping new ban against outdoor smoking days away from implementation in Santa Cruz, I found this article particularly relevant. The negative health effects from tobacco smoke have been overstated by the Surgeon General. This surgeon explains why. ---Becky Johnson, editor

The Myth of Second Hand Smoke

First published January 27th, 2009

Second Hand Smoke and Health By Terry Simpson, M.D., F.A.C.S.

found online at:

The 1964 Surgeon General Report, which declared that the inhalation of cigarettes would likely cause lung cancer and heart disease, had a profound impact in the United States. This report started America thinking that the practice of inhaling cigarette smoke was unhealthy and began a long series of studies, lawsuits, and laws, that changed the face of America from a primary smoking society—where over 60 percent of adults in the U.S. smoked—to a number that is now about 30 percent.

On June 27, 2006, long after the first Report and yet likely based on its long-lasting impact, Surgeon General Richard Carmona issued the following statements regarding second hand smoke:

(a) The scientific evidence is now indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults.
(b) Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals, and is itself a known human carcinogen
(c) There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 40 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

The Surgeon General also stated that 49,000 deaths per year were caused by second hand smoke. As a surgeon, I was stunned, because I had never seen an autopsy report listing second hand smoke as the cause of death. Nor had I seen this as a secondary cause of death. So I asked six pathologists if they had ever listed second hand smoke as a cause of death – not one had. In my years of clinical practice, I have seen patients die from many devastating diseases, and yet I have never seen anyone who has been disabled by, or has died as a result of, second hand smoke.

This was my first clue that perhaps there was more hyperbole than science involved in the reports issuing from the Surgeon General’s Office. To give a contrast: 33,000 people die per year of pancreatic cancer – all of the pathologists have listed pancreatic cancer as a cause of death.

Composition of Smoke

Second hand smoke, also called Environmental Tobacco Smoke, is a combination of Mainstream Smoke, which is exhaled by smokers and Sidestream Smoke, which is released directly from the burning tip of cigarettes or cigars. Sidestream smoke is the primary constituent of environmental tobacco smoke, providing most of the vapor phase and over half the particles. Hence, at events such as “The Big Smoke”, the majority of particulate matter comes from sidestream smoke. Exhaled mainstream smoke contributes between 15 and 43 percent of the particulate matter in environmental tobacco smoke. Sidestream smoke is generated at lower temperatures and a higher alkalinity than mainstream smoke, and as a result has a different chemical composition.

During environmental tobacco smoke formation, both sidestream smoke and exhaled mainstream smoke are diluted by many orders of magnitude and subsequently undergo physical transformation and alterations in chemical composition. For example, nicotine and many other semi-volatile compounds of tobacco smoke tend to be present in the particle phase of inhaled mainstream smoke, but evaporate into the vapor phase as exhaled mainstream smoke is rapidly diluted during the formation of environmental tobacco smoke.

Second Hand Smoke and Lung Cancer

If second hand smoke exposure is a significant risk factor for developing lung cancer, then we should expect to see increased numbers of cancer cases in non-smokers who are exposed to regular doses of second hand smoke. Has there been an increase in the incidence of lung cancer among nonsmokers over the last 40 years? The answer is quite simply… No.

Data from national mortality studies show that rates of lung cancer among non-smoking women remained stable between the 1950’s to the 1980’s (very few women smoked during those years) and didn’t rise until substantial numbers of women started smoking in more recent years. These non-smoking women were included in numerous studies as control groups for examining lung cancer rates in their smoking spouses. As anti-smoking logic would dictate, the longer one is exposed to second hand smoke the more we should see a rise in lung cancer. However, when we examine the data from the studies noted above, we do not see such a rise in cancer rates for these non-smoking women.

In 1992, second hand smoke was labeled a Class A carcinogen: one that causes lung cancer and is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans annually (U.S. EPA, 1993). However, there were no autopsies, no bodies, nor one person that could be claimed as a victim. The EPA did not base their classification on their own independent study but examined over thirty epidemiological studies (i.e., studies that attempt to correlate various risk factors with early death in different populations). Eleven of those studies were done in the United States, and of those eight found a positive risk, three found a negative risk but none of them were statistically significant (that is, none of the U.S. studies could make the statement that there was a causal relationship between second hand smoke and cancer).

In medical research, a statistical confidence level of 95% means that there is only a five percent chance that a significant finding could be due to chance (i.e., a random result). In their interpretation of the epidemiological studies, the EPA made a critical procedural statistical alteration. They changed the confidence level to 90%. This statistical manipulation made it more likely that their findings would show significant negative health effects of second hand smoke, but also made more likely the potential for erroneous conclusions. Furthermore, the EPA did not take into consideration the factors independently associated with both the development of lung cancer and exposure to second hand smoke, factors that certainly could account for the purported relationship between second hand smoke and early death. Finally, they did not attempt to assure that the subjects were properly identified into the correct experimental group. The EPA left several important questions unanswered such as: Were the exposed cases truly ill with primary lung cancer? Had the subjects been smokers previously? Were they truly exposed to second hand smoke? And, did the subjects accurately report their exposure levels?

The EPA also classified second hand smoke as a carcinogen based on chemical “similarities” between inhaled mainstream smoke and environmental tobacco smoke. Their logic was that since inhaled tobacco smoke is a carcinogen, environmental tobacco smoke must also be. Inhaled mainstream smoke, however, contains chemicals at concentrations of up to one million times those found in environmental tobacco smoke (which is a combination of exhaled mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke). Further, deep inhalation affects the degree of exposure to those chemicals, as well as the deposition of those chemicals into the respiratory passages of the smoker. One of the frustrating issues is we do not know the chemical, or chemical compounds responsible for the link to lung cancer and/or heart disease. This leads to another difficult issue – the length of exposure to the chemical might not yield a linear relationship to the formation of cancer (also known as the exposure-risk relationship). Single dose exposure likely does not yield 100 percent incidence of carcinoma. For example, low exposures of materials in drinking water does not yield disease, but higher and longer exposures of materials – such as arsenic, certainly produce disease. Much as a single aspirin may produce the effect of headache relief, a large dose of aspirin will be toxic. What was not evident in many of these studies was a dose-response curve to second hand (passive) smoking and disease.

At the behest of Congressman Henry Waxman (D-Ca), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) spent two years examining reports and came up with the following conclusions regarding second hand smoke and lung cancer (Redhead and Rowberg, 1995):
(a) The statistical evidence does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking.
(b) It is possible that very few or even no deaths can be attributed to second hand smoke.
(c) If there are any lung cancer deaths from second hand smoke, they are likely to be concentrated among those subjected to the highest exposure levels (e.g., spouses).
(d) The absolute risk, even to those with the greatest exposure levels, is uncertain.

The CRS found that, what was considered an “obvious” conclusion by the EPA was, in fact, flawed. The EPA reasoned that if the smoke inhaled by a smoker was close enough in composition to that which is exhaled, then if one was carcinogenic the other must also be carcinogenic. This assumption is chemically incorrect and was rejected. The CRS examination of the various studies concluded that someone exposed to significant second hand smoke—a spouse for example—might increase their risk of dying from lung cancer to 2/10 of one percent, while those who are exposed on the job would have less risk: 7/100 of one percent.

The most devastating opinion about the EPA’s decision to classify second hand smoke as a class A carcinogen, came from Federal Judge William Osteen who interviewed scientists for four years and in 1998 opined,

The Agency disregarded information and made findings based on selective information… [The EPA] deviated from its risk assessment guidelines; failed to disclose important (opposing) findings and reasons; and left significant questions without answers… Gathering all relevant information, researching and disseminating findings, were subordinate to EPA’s [goal of] demonstrating [that] ETS was a Group A carcinogen… In this case, the EPA publicly committed to a conclusion before research had begun; adjusted established procedure and scientific norms to validate the Agency’s public conclusion, and aggressively utilized the Act’s authority to disseminate findings to establish a de facto regulatory scheme…and to influence public opinion… While doing so, [the EPA] produced limited evidence, then claimed the weight of the Agency’s researched evidence demonstrated ETS causes cancer. (Osteen, 1998)

Because the EPA report was “advisory” and not “regulatory,” Judge Osteen’s indictment was reversed. However, it is important to note that the decision was reversed on a technical distinction, not the merits of the EPA’s report.

In another large-scale study, and in contradistinction to the EPA conclusions, the World Health Organization International Agency on Cancer published a report concluding that there was no statistically significant risk of lung cancer in non-smokers who lived or worked with smokers (Boffetta, et al, 1998). This study was the product of ten years of data gathered from seven European countries.

Health Risks of Second Hand Smoke

In a study spanning 16 U.S. cities, the U.S. Department of Energy researchers placed monitors on nonsmoking bartenders and waiters who worked in smoke-filled bars and restaurants to measure the amount of environmental tobacco. The conclusion was that the monitors detected minuscule amounts of tobacco products. (Jenkins, et al, 1999) The harm that might come from such minuscule amounts of exposure was calculated as “none” to “improbable harm”. The anti-tobacco forces have condemned this study because it was partly funded by the R.J. Reynolds Company. Later, a group of individuals visited the establishments and concluded that since they saw few individuals smoking, the study was flawed. In spite of this study being done by Oak Ridge National Laboratories, it was painted with a broad brush because of the funding from the tobacco industry.

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is considered by many authorities to be an important component of indoor air pollution in part because it is often viewed as being equivalent to mainstream cigarette smoke (MS). It has been clearly demonstrated that ETS is not the same as MS. Side stream cigarette smoke (SS) is a major contributor to ETS. Side-stream smoke is generated under different conditions than MS, and as a result, has a different relative chemical composition. Exhaled MS, the second primary contributor to ETS, is a different material from that which leaves the cigarette butt and enters the lungs. Exhaled MS has been substantially depleted in vapor-phase constituents, and the particulate matter is likely to have increased its water content in the high-humidity environment of the respiratory tract. As the cigarette smoke, both SS and exhaled MS, enters the atmosphere, it is diluted by many orders of magnitude and subsequently undergoes both physical transformation and alterations in its chemical composition. Upon standing, or during air exchange from other sources, ETS continues to change… (Guerin, et al, 2000)

The science and chemistry of this field of research are complex, and if the conclusions reached do not meet with current public policy, the research scientist is often stereotyped as being “pro-tobacco”. Because these studies are expensive, and because tobacco companies often supply the grant funds to purchase the supplies, anti-tobacco advocates will often say this is equivalent to bribing the researchers. They sometimes fail to mention, however, the anti-tobacco-funded individuals who personally receive thousands of dollars to vent anti-tobacco research and lend their name to the anti-tobacco movement. One of those individuals, Stanton Glantz, a Ph.D. whose field of expertise is aerospace engineering, attempted to convince the EPA to accept that there were over 50,000 deaths a year, from cardiac events, attributed to second hand smoke. The Congressional Research office examined the statistics related to second hand smoke and cardiac events and determined that those numbers were implausible (Gravelle and Redhead, 1994)

And yet, the anti-smoking advocates continue to march their cause…

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew a 12-year-old petition that smoking be banned from all indoor workplaces. The withdrawal was based on a lack of evidence. The decision was taken to court in an attempt to force OSHA to reverse its decision. OSHA stated that it would regulate based on permissible levels of the various ingredients in environmental tobacco smoke, and the lawsuit was withdrawn on the grounds that OSHA would do nothing. (Henshaw, 2001)

It’s no wonder OSHA decided to withdraw its complaint, since even its own people couldn’t agree on a position. In 1997, Acting Assistant Secretary of OSHA, Greg Watchman aired his own view:

"Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000). It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." (Letter from Greg Watchman, 1997)

As with arsenic content in drinking water, for example, setting scientific numbers to permissible levels would compel the scientific community to make real statements as to levels that are acceptable. Given that science had already answered the question with a number of chemicals in tobacco, such a regulation would be a blow to all anti-smoking advocates and their contention that there is no “safe” level of second hand smoke.

With no scientific evidence to back his statement, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City proclaimed that bartenders inhale the equivalent of half a pack of cigarettes a day. In fact, a study from the U.K. showed that the average London bartender inhaled the equivalent of six cigarettes annually (about one quarter of a pack). (Matthews and MacDonald, 1998)

Perhaps one of the better studies was published in the British Medical Journal by epidemiologist James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat (2003). Their study of 35,000 Californians showed that lifelong exposure to a husband or wife’s smoke produced no increased risk of coronary heart disease or lung cancer among the non-smoking spouses. As with most who oppose the anti-tobacco lobby, Enstrom was forced to defend his study on the basis that it had received funding from a tobacco company. The study was condemned as biased, even though it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, the statistics were not flawed, and the conclusions were sound.

When the cigar lounge at Seattle’s El Gaucho restaurant was closed because smoking in public places in the state of Washington became illegal, one of the reasons cited was to “protect the workers”. The premise of this law has no evidence. Suffice it to say, there is far more evidence to ban the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants than cigar smoking. Every day in every major city there are deaths from people who have consumed alcohol and driven. Alcohol is directly responsible for about 100,000 deaths a year and an estimated 2.3 million years of lost life. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work. So why attempt to prohibit tobacco?

The press frequently overlooks inconsistent data when reporting about environmental tobacco smoke. The most recent example was when a group of radiologists noted that one-third of patients who had never smoked, but were exposed to “high levels” of second hand smoke, showed MRI changes in their lungs similar to the changes seen in smokers. What failed to make the mainstream news was that two-thirds of the patients who were listed as non-smokers, but exposed to “high levels” of second hand smoke, paradoxically, had lower diffusion through the lungs than the “low exposure” group. That is, they showed the opposite of changes seen with heavy smokers. Again, what made the news in most circles was that this was more proof about the negative effects of environmental tobacco smoke. What did not make the news was that the paradoxical report might prove the opposite of their conclusion. (Science Daily, 2007)

The Surgeon General was incorrect. Second hand smoke may be an irritant and an annoyance, but it’s not a cause of death. There are no body bags filled with those who have developed tumors or heart disease as a result of second-hand smoke. The body bags are filled, however, with scientists and physicians who dare go against the anti-smoking lobby and state the obvious—the science isn’t there. As much as they want to ban all smoking in all places, the health risk is grossly overstated. Whenever someone dies of lung cancer, such as Diane Reeves, the late wife of Christopher Reeves, the anti-smoking lobby uses the news as a media circus. They want to relate the unfortunate death to something… even if such a relationship has no basis in solid scientific research.

In 1633, the Catholic church condemned Galileo for asserting that the Earth revolves around the sun. Galileo was forced to recant his scientific findings to avoid being burned at the stake. This was a clear conflict between faith and science.


Boffetta, P., Agudo, A., Ahrens, W., et al. (1998). “Multicenter Case-Control Study of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer in Europe.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Vol. 90, No. 19:1440–50.

Enstrom, J. E. and Kabat, G. C. (2003, May 17) “Environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality in a prospective study of Californians, 1960-98.” British Medical Journal, 326(7398): 1057. Available:
id=”d11j90″> Gravelle, J. G., and Redhead, C. S. (1994, March 23). Congressional Research Office Memorandum “Discussion of Source of Claims of 50,000 Deaths from Passive Smoking.” “in response to request for information on the possible source of an estimated premature 50,000 deaths from passive smoking effects.” Available:

Guerin, M. R., Jenkins, R. A., Tomkins, B. A. (2000). “The Chemistry of Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Composition and Measurement.” (Second Ed.) CRC Press.

Henshaw, J. L. (2001). “Withdrawal of Proposal.” U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Notice, Indoor Air Quality - Federal Register #66:64946. Available:

Jenkins, R. A., Palausky, A., Counts, R. W., Bayne, C. K., Dindal, A. B., and Guerin, M. R. (1999). “Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Sixteen Cities in the United States as Determined by Personal Breathing Zone Air Sampling.” Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology. Oct-Dec;6(4):473-502.

Letter from Greg Watchman, Acting Ass’t Sec’y, OSHA, to Leroy J Pletten, PhD, July 8, 1997.

Matthews, R., and MacDonald, V. (1998). “Passive Smokers Inhale Six Cigarettes a Year.” UK News Electronic Telegraph, Issue 1178. Available

Osteen, W. L., United States District Judge (1998). “Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation, et al v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al.” United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Winston-Salem Division, 6:93CV00370, 89-90. Available:

Redhead, C. S. and Rowberg, R. E. (1995, November 14) CRS Report for Congress. “Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer Risk.” Retrieved November 2007 from the WWW. Available:

Science Daily. (November 27, 2007). “Second hand smoke damages lung, MRIs show.”
id=”d11j110″> U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (1993) “Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. ” National Institutes of Health. Monograph 4, NIH Publication No. 93-3605, August 1993.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jack Herer: Initiative for California's Future in peril

NOTE TO READER: I just learned that Jack Herer, author of the ground-breaking book "The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana" has suffered a major stroke. Jack broke new ground on both exposing the underlying fraud with the prohibition against cannabis and promising research on the value of pot for relief of symptoms, for nutrition, and for paper and building materials. He was poised to launch a signature-gathering effort for the California Cannabis Hemp and Health Initiative, to amend the State's Health and Safety Code. Herer had just finished delivering a fiery speech in which he decried taxing marijuana as funding those who had waged war against those who use it. However, in the text of his initiative, he doesn't rule out taxation. Just any tax that is "excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive." The full text of the Jack Herer Initiative is posted below. Craig Canada has said it "appears to be far superior to any of the measures purporting to legalize marijuana likely to come before the people of California." ---Becky Johnson, editor

California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative


I. Add Section 11362.6 to the Health and Safety Code of California, any laws or policies to the contrary notwithstanding:

1. No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, including:

(a) Cannabis hemp industrial products.

(b) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.

(c) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(d) Cannabis hemp religious and spiritual products.

(e) Cannabis hemp recreational and euphoric use and products.

2. Definition of terms:

(a) The terms "cannabis hemp" and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(b) The term "cannabis hemp industrial products" means all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feed, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the reversal of the Greenhouse Effect and toxic soil reclamation.

(c) The term "cannabis hemp medicinal preparations" means all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment or relief of: Alzheimer's and pre-Alzheimer's disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDS or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use.

(d) The term "cannabis hemp nutritional products" means cannabis hemp for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof.

(e) The term "cannabis hemp euphoric products" means cannabis hemp intended for personal recreational or religious use, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(f) The term "personal use" means the internal consumption of cannabis hemp by people 21 years of age or older for any relaxational, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purpose other than sale.

(g) The term "commercial production" means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.

3. Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, or tax that is excessive, discriminatory, or prohibitive.

4. Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby restored to the list of available medicines in California. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from, prescribing or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to prescribed cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Medical research shall be encouraged. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana.

5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

(a) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.

(b) Testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites shall not be required for employment or insurance, nor be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication.

(c) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.

6. Use of cannabis hemp products for religious or spiritual purposes shall be considered an inalienable right; and shall be protected by the full force of the State and Federal Constitutions.

7. Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 21 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous to California's wine industry model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, bud, not leaf, produced per adult, 21 years of age and older, per year shall be considered as being for personal use.

8. The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales between adults of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited.

9. No California law enforcement personnel or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California.

10. Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.

II. Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.

1. Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

2. Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in California for any such offense covered by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city attorneys and made available at all police departments in the State to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court's ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the State of California. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under California Penal Code Section 851.8 et seq.

III. The legislature is authorized upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards to:

1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to California's wine industry model. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the State for commercial production, distribution or use shall not exceed $1,000.00.

2. Place an excise tax on commercial sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to California's wine industry model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce.

3. Determine an acceptable and uniform standard of impairment based on performance testing, to restrict persons impaired by cannabis hemp euphoric products from operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may affect public safety.

4. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.

IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of California hereby repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that conflict with this Act.

V. Severability: If any provision of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.

VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the State for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the State, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the State and of all its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: to respect human rights, to promote tolerance, and to end cannabis hemp prohibition.