Marijuana as medicine

August 09, 2005

Wes Woods II , Press Enterprise (CA)



Lanny Swerdlow, the spokesman for the Palm Springs-based Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project, has been a longtime advocate to get medical-marijuana cards for patients in Riverside County.

He's now trying to help San Bernardino County patients get the cards.

At today's Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project meeting, Swerdlow will discuss the medical-marijuana card effort in both counties and a recent UCLA study explaining how marijuana doesn't cause lung cancer.

"It's education about the law and education about what's going on and what to do to change things," Swerdlow said.

The meeting is free and takes place at Joshua Tree Inn, 61259 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree.

Senate Bill 420, which legalized medical-marijuana cards in California, was passed in January 2004. The bill helps the state Health Department determine rules usage and give medical-marijuana users a way to register anonymously.

Swerdlow will encourage members to attend the Riverside County Community Health Agency's SB 420 Implementation Committee meeting to discuss the identification-card program. The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 15 in the Breckenridge Room at the Sherman Building Conference Center, located at 3900 Sherman Ave. in Riverside.

Riverside and San Bernardino counties do not have programs in place for the cards.

"We're in the process of contacting the Department of Health in San Bernardino County so patients can get a medical ID card," said Alfred Laue, who's a member of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project.

Laue's wife, Linda, uses prescription marijuana for her fibromyalgia, a chronic-pain illness.

Linda Laue said she experiences extreme joint and muscle pain, headaches, and colon troubles, among other ailments.

"I bake with it," said Laue, who first used marijuana in 1972 after suffering a massive stroke that required 12 hours of brain surgery. She said she died twice on the operating table at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey before being revived.

"A lot of people say, 'You use marijuana, you're getting stoned,' " Laue said in a phone interview. "I'm not -- I'm getting normal. I get, at least, comfort in that I don't hurt as much."

Also discussed will be UCLA physician Donald Tashkin's study on heavy, long-term marijuana use and whether it's connected to lung cancer.

"People who smoked marijuana, they didn't have a higher rate of lung cancer than those who didn't smoke,"Swerdlow said of the report. "In certain aspects of the study, using marijuana might protect you against lung cancer."

Reach Wes Woods II at (760) 837-4405 or

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