Illinois, Medical Marijuana, and Andrea Barthwell

Medical Marijuana is back in the Legislature in Illinois. HB 407 has been introduced in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Representative Larry McKeon.

Creates the Medical Cannabis Act. Provides that a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition and the person’s primary caregiver may be issued a registry identification card by the Department of Human Services that permits the person or the person’s primary caregiver to legally possess no more than 12 cannabis plants and two and one-half ounces of usable cannabis. Provides that a person who possesses a registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denial of any right or privilege, including civil penalty or disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for the medical use of cannabis; provided that the qualifying patient or primary caregiver possesses an amount of cannabis that does not exceed 12 cannabis plants and two and one-half ounces of usable cannabis. Amends the Cannabis Control Act to make conforming changes consistent with the Medical Cannabis Act. Effective immediately.

Illinois Drug Education and Legislative [IDEAL] Reform is working on the push to get Illinois as the next state with legal medical marijuana.
Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have, in the past, run editorials supporting medical marijuana and reprimanding the federal government for trying to interfere.
The Tribune even noted that:

A 1998 poll by the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University found 67 percent of Illinois residents believe “doctors should be allowed to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients.”

I’ll be following this closely.
“bullet” Now, the story shifts direction slightly.
Remember Andrea Barthwell? Former Deputy Drug Czar. She was, according to her accounts, a recovering alcohol and drug addict, who became a treatment specialist and went on to the Drug Czar’s office where she focused on using tax dollars to lobby against medical marijuana in particular. Then she left the ONDCP to take a stab at becoming the Republican candidate for Senate. The Illinois Republican party decided to go with Maryland’s Alan Keyes, instead.
So what’s she up to now?
It turns out, she has created an organization that involves having her travel around the State of Illinois lecturing about the evils of marijuana!
Check it out at: Illinois Marijuana Lectures. The web site was just created a week ago, in time for a tour of lectures tied to the new medical marijuana bill.
I missed her lectures in Peoria, Bloomington, and Decatur, but there’s more to come. Her next set of lectures:

February 8, 2005
9:30 – 12:30 Marijuana Lecture (Alton)
St. Clare’s Hospital, Professional Office Building, Auditorium B. 915 E. 5th St.

February 8, 2005
3:00 – 5:30 Marijuana Lecture (Belleville)
Chestnut Health Systems, 12 N. 64th Street

February 9, 2005
10:00 – 12:30 Marijuana Lecture (Mt. Vernon)
Rolland Lewis Building, Veteran‰s Park

Each of these will involve a lecture, followed by a “strategic planning session.”
If anyone is able to attend one or more of these to pass out some fact sheets with the real truth about medical marijuana, let me know. If you want to see what’s included in the lectures, you can view the powerpoint presentation in various formats here.
It’s very clinically detailed and Andrea is very smooth and professional. Her lies aren’t nearly as blatant as the drug czars.’ She adapts to criticism from drug reformers and addresses those points — always with a little mis-direction. She’s a formidable foe, which makes her even more dangerous. She says what people want to hear, and surrounds it in scientific sounding descriptions. But basically it’s the same lies dressed in a pretty gown:

  1. Marijuana is more dangerous because it’s more potent
  2. Medical Marijuana is nothing more than a “Trojan horse designed to lead to the legalization of a dangerous drug.”
  3. Marijuana is somehow filling treatment centers with marijuana addicts, more than any other drug, including alcohol, and despite all scientific evidence, it’s because they’re addicted, not because they were forced to attend treatment.
  4. Smoked marijuana can’t be medicine, and we should reject it and trust to the government’s drug approval systems (the same one that’s been blocking marijuana research, while fast-tracking Vioxx).

More lectures are promised, including the Chicago suburbs.
One thing that is clear. This is specifically a matter of lobbying, despite any claims that they are merely informing people about dangers of marijuana. The brochure for Illinois Marijuana Lectures includes as part of the agenda:

The Illinois situation
The Illinois strategic plan.
The Illinois Legislative threat assessment.
How you can make a difference.

Where’s the funding coming from?
This part requires lots more questioning. It’s particularly interesting on the heels of all the illegal government covert propaganda that’s surfaced.
So let’s look at the sponsors. There are two (in addition to Andrea). Educating Voices is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that cannot, by law, lobby. It’s headed up by Judy Kreamer from Naperville.
The other sponsor is very interesting: Great Lakes Addition Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network. This organization, housed in the Jane Addams College of University of Illinois at Chicago, is funded by taxpayer dollars through SAMHSA. Why are they funding a series of lectures designed to derail medical marijuana legislation? Is there a connection to Andrea’s old job with the ONDCP (which has authority over SAMHSA)?
Andrea’s son David (a recent Yale graduate working in Arlington, VA) has designed the Illinois Marijuana Lectures website. Interestingly, it appears that he is also working on in Intranet site for… Great Lakes ATTC. Wonder how he got that gig?
While the information is incomplete, I think further investigation is in order as to who is funding this anti-medical marijuana effort by the former deputy drug czar.
Update: Good news. The medical marijuana bill was referred to Human Services Committee today.

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