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Information on Lawyers and Named Patients in the Data Quality Act Lawsuit
Joe D. Elford, ASA Chief Counsel:
After graduating from Yale Law School in 1996, Joe served as a law clerk for the Honorable Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California before working in criminal defense. In 2003, after assisting in all facets of the highly publicized prosecution of Edward Rosenthal and, later, his appeal, Joe joined ASA as the organization's attorney. In addition to compelling the California Highway Patrol revise its policy regarding the seizure of medical marijuana from qualified patients through a civil action in 2005, Joe has served as counsel for Gary Ross in his challenge to the indiscriminate firing of medical marijuana patients by private employers, which is pending before the California Supreme Court. Joe has also trained public defenders throughout the state how to defend medical marijuana patients.
Steph Sherer, ASA Executive Director & Named Patient in the DQA Lawsuit:
Steph Sherer is a medical marijuana patient, as well as the founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. Steph suffers from a condition known as torticollis, which causes her to experience inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain throughout her body. Until November of 2001, Steph did not believe that marijuana had medical use, due to statements on federal websites. However, after the large amounts of pain killers she used to treat her symptoms caused her to suffer kidney damage, Steph’s physician recommended that she try marijuana instead. Steph heeded her doctor’s advice and has successfully used marijuana since November of 2001 to reduce her inflammation, muscle spasms, and pain. Steph founded ASA in April 2002 to share this important medical information with others. ASA has been instrumental in educating thousands of patients, doctors, and the general public, as well as in winning several legal victories protecting patients’ rights.
Alan B. Morrison, Senior Lecturer in Law at Stanford University & Co-counsel in the DQA Lawsuit:
Regarded as one of the most respected lawyers to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court, Alan Morrison focuses his scholarship on separation-of-powers issues, administrative law, and public interest law. He worked for over 30 years in the public interest engaging in a wide range of law reform litigation and brought cases to trial in areas affecting the separation of powers, the legal profession, and the control of federal regulatory agencies, among others. He is a member and past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and an elected member of the American Law Institute. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 2004, Professor Morrison was the director of Public Citizen Litigation Group, the Washington, D.C.-based consumer rights advocacy group he cofounded with Ralph Nader in 1972, and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He has taught at New York University Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Hawaii.
Jacqueline Patterson, Named Patient in the DQA Lawsuit:
Jacqueline is a medical marijuana patient who has had cerebral palsy since the age of two, and is now 28 years-old. Jacqueline is also a mother of four children. While she was in public school, Jacqueline was taught with government drug education programs that explicitly stated marijuana was not medicine. In June 2001, after talking with her husband about cannabis and reading up on the issue, Jacqueline began experimenting with marijuana to treat her medical condition. Jacqueline had nearly flunked out of college because of being in too much pain to write term papers. But, after starting to smoke cannabis, her speech improved, she had a greater range of limb motion, and her grades went up, all as a result. Other medication she has taken never had this dramatic effect. Jacqueline moved recently from Kansas City, Missouri, to Bolinas, California in order to take advantage of the state’s medical marijuana law.
Victoria Lansford, Named Patient in the DQA Lawsuit:
Victoria is a 54-year old medical marijuana patient living in Blackfoot, Idaho, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (muscle, nervous system disorder). As a result, she rarely ever gets REM sleep, suffers severe chronic pain, and experiences muscle spasms in her legs and feet. For the pain, doctors had prescribed morphine patches, oxycontin, and oxy-codone. After seeing Victoria suffering the effects of pharmaceutical drugs, her sister who is a nurse in Seattle, recommended in 2002 that Victoria try marijuana to ease pain. Victoria did not think marijuana was medicine, but she started to do her own research, and found evidence that cannabis might be beneficial for pain control. In 2002, Victoria tried cannabis. It took her a few months, but once she got the correct dosing figured out, she began to detox herself off the morphine and other pain control drugs. Since beginning her medical cannabis therapy, Victoria’s mobility has returned. She now uses only cannabis to control the symptoms of her disease and lives virtually pain free even though she no longer takes any pharmaceutical medication.
Shayne Kintzel, Named Patient in the DQA Lawsuit:
Shane is a 41-year old medical marijuana patient living in Golden, Colorado working as a Respiratory Therapist. He is also a deacon and an ordained minister. Shane has had four surgeries on his back and, as a result, suffers severe and chronic pain, often experiencing tremors and spasms. To control these conditions, Shane was taking a “truckload of pills” and was a candidate for a morphine pump. Shane had no idea that cannabis could help him until he saw a commercial for Colorado’s ballot question. Although Shane’s physicians had concerns about cannabis, Shane started to do more research. As part of the research, Shane reviewed federal government websites regarding marijuana. In 2002, Shane finally tried cannabis and immediately felt better. Currently, Shane is off all pharmaceutical pain medications and uses cannabis to control pain, tremors and spasticity. He lives an active lifestyle, has lost the weight gained from taking large amounts of morphine, is completely mobile, and works 2-full time jobs.