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DETROIT – Talk show host Montel Williams was cited and fined $100 Monday night in the Detroit Metro Airport after baggage screeners found paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana related to his Multiple Sclerosis. Mr. Williams suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and has a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana to control his chronic pain. Airport officials decided to cite him only for the paraphernalia possession, saying 'We don't want to damage his reputation. Montel Williams may or may not have broken any law.'
A spokesperson for Mr.Williams released this statement: 'Montel Williams has been very open about his battle with MS in the hope of raising awareness and helping others. He has prescriptions for many different medications for MS, some of which manage his pain, which is constant. One of the medications he has been prescribed to alleviate his chronic pain is medical marijuana. While leaving the Detroit airport last evening, Mr. Williams was stopped and issued a citation for paraphernalia related to his prescription, paid a $100 fine, and boarded his flight home. The fight for compassionate care and medical marijuana is one that Mr. Williams is very passionate about and one that he continues to advocate.'
“The time for Congress to act is now,” according to Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access. “Many states have shown courage in making medical marijuana legally available, but patients should not have to fear travel, or their government, when the issue is the alleviation of suffering.
Americans for Safe Access, a national grassroots coalition of 5,500 patients, doctors and advocates, is helping sufferers of the disease organize a national MS patients’ medical cannabis union to lobby the FDA for rapid approval of the drug. The union was launched last month in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the Cheryl Miller memorial, honoring a deceased MS patient who fought for access to the medicine that helped her.
Medical research showing the effectiveness of marijuana for MS patients is extensive, and research is continuing around the world, but U.S. government officials continue to deny American patients and researchers access to marijuana. Among the reports supporting medical marijuana for MS patients is a 2001 publication by GW Pharmaceuticals in Great Britain, the 1999 U.S. Institutes of Medicine Report, a 1998 report by Britain's House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee, among others. Even the DEA’s Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, stated in a 1988 ruling directing the DEA to make marijuana available as medicine (which was ignored), 'Marijuana 'has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States' for spasticity from MS and other causes. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious to find otherwise.'