Correspondence re Ragland

From Steve Robinson, MD: Racism or Coincidence?

 I learned about this case when Michelle Sexton distributed the news article at the last SCC board meeting… My concern, as expressed earlier, is this: With all the medical cannabis prosecutions given high profile in the media, with the doctors (all black) being confronted by journalists camped out in front of clinics, or being marched away in handcuffs, is state law enforcement again playing the “Race Card?”   A “Reefer Madness” redux?

From Hanya Barth, MD: Does MJ Use ‘Mask’ Serious Illnesses?

The medical board statements about marijuana are without factual basis.  For example:

 “Marijuana is a potent centrally-acting drug with negative effects on concentration and memory and a sometimes-potent analgesic effect, capable of masking the symptoms of serious illnesses, for example, tuberculosis, meningitis, or untreated extreme hypertension, until it results in catastrophic brain damage.”

Is there any case of a patient experiencing the above illnesses that were “masked by marijuana?” Is there even one case, with the millions of people using mj every single day, where they can tie mj use to masking of a serious illness?  

So much here….Who is going to argue with the board and find out what really happened? 

From the managing editor

To Dr. Barth:

You ask two good questions. Regarding the allegation that marijuana use can mask serious illnesses —leading to “catastrophic brain damage!”— perhaps the SCC should send a letter to the board requesting documentation.

A spokesperson for the Tulare County sheriff told me today (5/5) she had no idea if there were precedents in other counties for the arrest of Dr. Howard Ragdale, Jr., by Sheriff Boudreaux. She did not know Ragland’s arraignment date. I contacted the district attorney’s public information officer, a young Mr. Anderson. Everybody’s young to me. I told him I’d been the PIO in the San Francisco DA’s office many moons ago.

Anderson had not heard about the arrest of Dr. Ragland and didn’t know who in the office would be charging the case. More TK when I hear from him.

To Dr. Robinson:

I think your suspicions are justified —that the med board’s Enforcement Division has plenty of racist investigators. I also suspect that if and when we protest, they’ll haul in a few Caucasians to prove their commitment to equality.  Bear in mind the Shelley Mandel principle: pointing out that others are treated better may get the others treated worse.

Fact: In the early 1970s a young clerical worker named Shelley Mandel sued to make Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, a paid holiday for California state, county and municipal employees. Her lawyers argued that Catholics got paid when they took off Good Friday, and Jewish employees deserved equal treatment. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Bostic said he agreed with their premise and ruled that henceforth Good Friday would not be a paid holiday.

Fact: When drug policy reformers pointed out that sentences for possession of cocaine in its rock form (favored by black folks) were five times harsher than sentences for possession of cocaine in powder form (favored by whites), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (Republican from North Carolina) proposed ending the disparity by legislating harsher penalties for cocaine powder.  That’s Shelley Mandel principle for you.