Category Archives: Rant

Cannabis in the Keystone State

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The state of cannabis in the Keystone State is in flux.  Cannabis remains illegal and punishable with jail time for even minor offenses.  Some cities have decriminalized it, Philly, Pittsburgh, State College, Harrisburg to name a few.  Medical marijuana is legal, but unavailable as of yet.  Over a year after Act 16 legalizing MMJ was passed, there is still no way to access the medicine.  It remains an illusive promise dangling on the end of a very long stick.

On June 20, 2017 the PA Department of Health announced 12  permits for marijuana grower/processors statewide.  The PA D.O.H. divided the 46,055 sq mile, 67 county, state into 6 massive regions and awarded two permits in each region.  Berks county got two.  Several of the business are owned by out of state entities.

I’m a little peeved up here in the Great Lakes region of PA.  Erie county is two hours away from the closest grower.  We are the fourth largest city in the state.

I often feel we are left out of important state matters up here in the far right corner of the state.  I thought we were an excellent town for a growhouse.  On the day after the presidential election day when my children and I stayed home sick and mourned the results, I attended a community meeting about MMJ in Erie county.

Local businessman Sam Black III, heir to Erie Insurance, laid out his specific plans to turn his empty building and lot into a growhouse.  He was just the man we needed.  An Erie native, he believes in the value of our rust-belt, fished-out, lake community.  Erie Insurance is one of the largest and best paying employers in Erie.  He wanted to bring MMJ to our shores ASAP.  

He looked me in the eye and told me “Let me be clear, I have a family member who’s intractable nerve pain is only treatable with cannabis.”  His intentions were believable and he had the necessary capital needed.

PA isn’t going to let just anyone grow pot.  You have to have $500,000 in the bank to start.  It’s $10K,  non-refundable to apply.  $200,000 for the permit and you must have $2 million assets available.  It’s a lot.

Sam Black has a lot.  He remains committed to our community.  He wants to get MMJ to his loved one.  He had already contracted with companies in Colorado and the local osteopathic college, LECOM.  It was the only thing that made me feel better in the days that followed the Trumpening.

I was convinced.  His new company, Calypso was going to be great for Erie.  Not a single person spoke out against the plan.  Multiple people asked about jobs.  Mr Black promised 40 jobs to start.  The meeting was held in a hollowed out former office building for the closed International Paper Mill.  The loss of the plant was a blow to the neighborhood.  The smell cleared up but the jobs went away.  The lot has been sitting empty since the mill closed in 2001.

Mr. Black had the building stripped and was ready to be outfitted with the latest grow lights and processing materials.  I could envision the green plants growing already, gently waving in the well circulated air.  Our precious lake, a great source of fresh water, is only yards away.  It was a winning plan.

But we got stiffed.  Calypso scored 575.78 out of 1000 on their very important rubric.  I don’t know how they determined that score.  But I do know that 12 permits for a state of 12.8 million people isn’t enough.

My advocate friends reassure me that it doesn’t matter where the cannabis is grown in the state.  The dispensaries are the important part for patients like me, who are impatient at our twenty+ year wait for safe medicine. I was first diagnosed with epilepsy 20 years ago. I’ve wanted MMJ since then and have been advocating and protesting for it.  Now the end is in sight, I hope.  I presume that the 12 lucky winners are already working around the clock to get seeds in the dirt or growing medium of choice.  They must be ready in 6 months.  Merry Christmas PA!  

I was sure that the largest city in this region dominated by The Allegheny National Forest would get a grower permit.  The entire process has been so protracted and onerous.  My hope grows dim.  I still don’t have my card.  I could have had one when I lived in California in 2003.  14 years later and I am still high and dry in my home state.

They dispensaries were announced yesterday.  Although Erie county thankfully received ONE, it’s not in Erie.  It’s on the far west side of the county, in an affluent suburb of the city.  Fairview.  Fairview is close, but completely across town.  It’s so far across the city, I hardly visit.  We need a dispensary in the city, and one on the East side.  I find it hard to believe we have only one.  But at least we weren’t snubbed completely.  I’ll make the long drive across town.  Or rather, someone else will drive me across town.  I have seizures and can’t drive.  It’s a long drive when you can’t drive.  I am salty about it all.   The sick people of Erie County can’t all afford to live in Fairview.  I’m glad I’m not in the south part of Erie county or the many small forest counties that got none.  But one is not enough.  We should have growhouses and dispensaries for all, already! 

There aren’t even any doctors registered yet.  Epilepsy AND seizures are both listed as permittable conditions.  Everyday we wait is a day that could hold one, two, three, four or more seizures for me.  I try so hard to stay positive, but it’s hard when the permits go to out of state businesses.  It doesn’t seem fair and is certainly against the meaning of the bill.  But PA is known as Pennsyltucky to those in the know.  We’re still a backwater state, that swung red due to the massive amounts of rural districts.  Our state government is in a constant deadlock and has a crushing deficit looming.  

Of course, legal cannabis sales are solving tax problems in Colorado and Washington…

Meanwhile in the PA, we wait.

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Sick Pennsylvanians Hope Up In Smoke

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The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has failed me yet again.  The PA Senate took pity on me and a few of my sick friends.  The Pennsylvania Senate voted 43 to 7 to approve the Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Senate Bill 1182.  It passed!  43 to 7 is a wide margin.  It represents Pennsylvanians’ beliefs.  We want medical marijuana.  But the House won’t put it on the docket.  They are stingy like that.  They want to wait until after the election.  Because they should.  Because this is a voting issue.  People’s votes will depend on the politicians’ stance on medical marijuana.  They might be able to keep their jobs if the House doesn’t vote first.  My Republican relative just switched his vote for the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate after watching the debates.  He switched because of Tom Wolf’s stance on medical marijuana.  We care!  We want our sick, loved ones to have access to medicine.  Marijuana is an herb, more natural than the grass that grows on your lawn.

This might be a minor midterm election for the rest of the country, but not in Pennsylvania.  It’s a high voter turnout year.  Our state government is up for grabs.  People are passionate about this election.  We all hate Governor Tom Corbett.  There are so many reasons why Pennsylvanians are united against him.  Number One: Education.  Number Two: Fracking.  Number Three: Medical Marijuana.  Number Four: Jobs.  I could go on.  Corbett has the lowest approval rating of all US Governors, wallowing in the mud at only 24%.

Let’s not forget the pending charges against our “Notorious G.O.V.” from his previous term as Attorney General.  Tommy chose not to prosecute Jerry Sandusky: The Rapist of Penn State.  Voting is essential.

I’ve been hearing a lot about reaching out to the millennials, getting them out to vote.  I wholeheartedly support it!  I wish Gen X would vote, but we’ve long since given up.  Thanks, Florida.  Thanks, Ohio.  When Bush stole the presidency, an entire generation of voters fell off.  I try to convince my friends to vote, but many, many, of them will not.  It always comes back to Bush.  We were bright eyed voters, and suddenly our vote did not matter.  Then the rest of Bush’s term happened.  Gen X doesn’t vote.  They aren’t even targeting us with Rock The Vote.  I am a poll worker.  I see the age gap.  The older citizens vote the most.  I thanked the few first time voters.  There were only two.

One vote does count.  I have my position at the polls due to one vote.  My husband wrote me in.  I’m elected!  Four more years, Baby!  We don’t have to let Bush happen again.  We can vote in other people, we can control our government on a local level.  We can vote out Tom Corbett and legalize medicinal marijuana ASAP.  I don’t want to wait until Tom Wolf is sworn-in.  Perhaps the Lame Duck Congress will see which way the smoke blows.  They won’t vote before the election.  There is one day of session scheduled between now and the election.  I like to pretend, but I know they won’t.  I watch them Live on TV.  The House of Representatives is a circus.  My Representative claims to support me.  Since they won’t vote on it, I can’t really know.  People are dying while the House does nothing.

I wish they could see me have a seizure.  Or at least ask my children.  THEY know how I suffer.  They have to take care of me sometimes.  They are the ones who tell me that I had a seizure.  There are safer medicines I could be taking.  I’m not making this up.  I dare you to do a Google search about Clinical Cannabis Studies.  There is plenty of scientific evidence.  I do my internet research, not just wikipedia.  I read the scientific journals online.  The good stuff might not be found until you dig through 20 or 21 pages of a Google search.  I check them all.  This is not new information.  These are reputable scientific publications.  Marijuana is found in Chinese medical texts from long Before Christ.

I had to defend my seizure meds to my insurance company.  They didn’t want to give me such a high dosage.  I don’t want to take it either.  I’m not okay.  It’s been a  week since I had a seizure, that I know of.  But deep bruises are still emerging.  Could these bruises still be from last week?  Have I had another seizure that I didn’t know about?  My ribs have not stopped hurting yet.  Apparently bruised/cracked ribs take a long time to heal. The last time, before this seizure, I gave myself a concussion.  I was glad that I didn’t break my nose.  This time I’m extra happy that I didn’t fall down the stairs.  I did run up and down the stairs to vomit a few times before I was fully conscious.  It is as scary as it sounds.  My laptop didn’t survive the seizure.  I found it on the floor, covered in coffee, much like myself.

So I’m voting for compassion.  It’s my issue.  It is not just my issue, 86% of Pennsylvanians agree!  We need medical marijuana!  Right after we re-fund the public schools and tax the oil and gas companies.  That oil is NOT going anywhere and neither is medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.  The only question is how long will be have to wait?  How many will have to die?  Any single seizure is a chance to die.

The Speaker of The House likes to mute his microphone.  Sam Smith doesn’t want to address the dying people who are waiting for medicine.  He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.  He doesn’t want us to know what he says either.

Dear PA~ Rock The Vote!  Take Back The House!

I’m voting for Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.  I’m on the border of two districts, so I support House Representatives Pat Harkins and Curt Smith; US House Reps Karith Strano Taylor and Dan LaValle.

I sure hope you vote out Sam Smith, Jefferson County!   #turnoutforwhat

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Filed under Current News, Living w/ Epilepsy, Living with Epilepsy, News, Non-fiction, Rant

House Party

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I am glad to eat my words.  I would happily roll them up and smoke them.  I didn’t think it was going to happen.  The Pennsylvania Senate actually passed a medical marijuana bill!  We are on our  way!  FINALLY!  Onto the House!  The House Representatives aren’t as hot about this bill as I am, but they have to deal with it now.  And I don’t mean next year.

The Mommy Lobby that got this passed in the Senate has now turned our full attention onto the House.  We cannot wait.  I emailed my House Representative, who I have emailed many, many times before.  I reminded him that I expect the House to act. They only have 3 scheduled session days for the REST OF THE YEAR.  That includes today.

The law that passed the Senate is not even on the House schedule.  I hate the House of Representatives.  It is my least favorite branch of the government.  I’ve taken to watching my General Assembly on TV.  It makes me crazy.  The House is wayyyyy worse than the Senate.  There are too many of them never doing any actual work.  They can never agree. They want to end out the year without discussing it at all.

The bill is in no way perfect.  Some of it is laughable, since you can’t smoke OR vaporize marijuana.  But that’s okay with me.  The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and a marijuana brownie.  Any baby-step forward is a win for me.  I long ago adopted that self-sustaining idea: 1% better is better.

Eighty-six percent of Pennsylvanians want legal medical marijuana.  We are the 86%!  The Senate passed the Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act 43 to 7.  I would have been there, but Harrisburg is 300 miles away and I don’t drive.  (Thanks, epilepsy!)

I’m always outspoken and I don’t have much of a filter. I ask everything of everybody.  I asked just about all the Pennsylvanians I know (it’s a lot) what they think.  The overwhelming majority of people I polled said Yes.  Even those stringently anti-pothead people agree.  If their loved ones were suffering, they’d want them to try marijuana if their doctor prescribed it.

I am selfishly happy that epilepsy made it through.  MY disease didn’t get struck when they whittled down the treatable conditions.  I have the Mommy Lobby to thank for that.  The moms of children with epilepsy pushed this bill through.  If you’ve ever see somebody have a convulsion you will agree.  It’s one of the worst things in the world.  And any possible treatment is worth a try, especially something natural with centuries of medical evidence.  43 Senators agree.

My current neurologist didn’t tell me that he would prescribe it, but he didn’t say that he wouldn’t.  He was just covering his ass since cannabis remains illegal in the Commonwealth.  He told me to bring him any studies I could find on it and he would be happy to read them.  And yea, he believes marijuana can treat glaucoma in Colorado, so…

Speaker of the House, Please put Senate Bill 1182 on the docket.  People are DYING while we wait.  I fell off my bed and bruised my ribs on Friday.  I’m always glad when I don’t hit my head.

Honorable House Representatives, Vote YES on the Amendment to SB 405.  You can save lives TODAY.  Please.

My ribs really hurt.  Marijuana could help me.

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The Pennsylvania Senate is Just a Tease

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I may have been one of the first people to hear the news.  I checked the web to confirm.  Nobody had yet written about it. But since the news was posted by the sponsoring Pennsylvania State Senator, I’ll take his word on it.  It was a very recent post on his official FB account.

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee sent SB 1182 to the floor for a vote.  The Raymond Shafer Bill for Compassionate Use of Cannabis is going to the PA Senate. Supposedly,  the PA Senate will vote on it today.  I won’t hold my breath.  (Cough, cough.)

I was told the bill was going to pass the Senate by the end of the LAST session of General Assembly.  That was back in June.  But Hope springs eternal…  I have nothing to lose but Hope…  Eventually, we will be the last in the nation and we will have to submit.  The green tide has turned.  How long will it take is the only question. Today would be a good day to start.

The General Assembly is only working until the first week of October, so everyone can go and get re-elected.  It’s now or never.  Vote now or nothing will happen until next year, after the new General Assembly is sworn in.  I’m sure many people are stalling until after the elections.  They don’t want to make the wrong decision so close to an election.  But 86% of Pennsylvanians want medicinal cannabis.  And hundreds of people will lose their lives in the meantime.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I just had to defend my anti-seizures meds to an insurance company doctor.  I cried the entire time.  I told him that I was not speaking in hyperbole when I said that I am afraid that my epilepsy will kill me, every day.  Every day.  That’s not a joke, that’s my life.  There are a million deadly things when you lose consciousness at the drop of a hat, and then drop like a hat to the floor.

I just want a chance to take the meds my doctor prescribes and try the medicinal herbs that they will also prescribe.  I’m honest about it to all my doctors, even the random ones in the hospital who don’t even know me.  I just want to have less seizures.

I promise to vote for all my Senators and House Reps who do support it.  I will vote against all those who don’t.  I will also vote against those who won’t say how they feel.

I am not a criminal.  Philly just decriminalize marijuana.  If you have a small amount of pot on you, you are not a criminal.  Thanks Philly.  The signers of our State Constitution (1801) would be proud.  They wanted us to grow hemp.

I am debating how to address this with my kids.  They will want to know why I’m watching the General Assembly Live on TV.  I can’t explain it to myself.  I know nothing is getting done today and most likely not tomorrow or the day after that either.  But I can Hope.

Will you vote for me today, Senators?

When you pray for the Senate, will you pray for me?

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FIRE CONGRESS

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I am so angry about my so-called government today.  I want to tamp down the rage, but it’s been boiling over for two weeks already.  For TWO weeks our government has stopped working, ground to a crushing stop by a bunch of whiny-ass white men.  Congress has but one job, TO RUN THE GOVERNMENT.  They are not doing their jobs.  We need to fire them.  Any other employee would get fired if they tried to shut their business down for no reason.  You have to pay your bills or suffer the consequences.  At least I do.

My aunt is working for FREE because she works for the VA.  Her mentally ill vets still need care.  That’s right, mental health care for our Veterans is considered non-essential.  That’s how mass murders happen; when sick people who have access to weapons go off their meds.  She has to go to work, paid or not.  I hope she’s got all her hay already.  She also has a farm, cows and horses that need to be fed.  That is EXPENSIVE.  I hope she’s all stocked up now.  Her animals could starve if she runs out of food and hasn’t been paid.  Seriously, think of that: horses starving because of the government shutdown.  Because that is happening right now and worse…

Children are going hungry because their Head Start programs are deemed unnecessary.  Head Start! Our most vulnerable citizens, CHILDREN are suffering because Congress is playing chicken with our country.  Childcare is non-essential?  Ask any parent what they think about that.  Without childcare people can’t go to work.

My cousin is furloughed without pay.  She can’t even check her work email.  She got half a paycheck last week from the time she worked before the shutdown.  She probably won’t get another paycheck.  October is half over; November’s mortgage will be due soon.  This is happening to millions of hard working Americans who just want to go to work.  It’s damaging to think of oneself as non-essential.  And we are finding out more and more every day that the people who are not are work, are missed.  There are thousands of government programs that have been taken for granted.  You only miss something once it’s gone.

We are missing USDA inspectors who inspect our food and who can access the damage to farmers in the mid-west that just suffered massive losses due to a harsh early snowfall.  Cows suffocated under the snow and the government officials that need to deal with it are at home, unpaid.  Thousands of people’s futures wait in the balance.  I hope our Pistachios are clean.

The entire fleet of Alaska Crab Fishing Boats is currently waiting, only half afloat.  The King Crab season is about to open and nobody has the permits to fish.  If they don’t fish, millions of dollars of income will be lost.  That is money that cannot be recouped.   The Russian Fleet will catch all the crab and all the sales to Asia and the US.  Thousands of people’s fortunes rely on this King Crab fishing season.  They are all ready to go, just say the word.  Let them do their job.  Captain Keith Colburn of Deadliest Catch fame was in DC begging Congress to just let them fish.

Meanwhile, it’s still Hurricane season.  The Gulf Coast isn’t going to be spared from inclement weather just because it is an inconvenient time.  Federal Emergency workers were considered non-essential.  They are not essential until there is an EMERGENCY.  Unfortunately emergencies are not something you can predict.  You need to be ready to react instantly, not a few weeks after the shutdown damage has been undone.  Because the shutdown is damaging everything that works on a time table and requires supplies.

I’m worried about our Astronauts in space right now.  NASA is unnecessary.  Thankfully they are on an INTERNATIONAL space station, I’m sure the Japanese and Italian astronauts will share their oxygen and water if it comes to that.  I hope that no meteorites enter our atmosphere though.  NASA usually checks on that for us.  Or rather, they used to.

All science is non-essential.  Even the Center for Disease Control is shutdown.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel the need to risk people’s lives just because Congress can’t agree.  I hope we don’t have an epidemic.

Our government research base at the South Pole is non-essential.  People could FREEZE if supplies don’t make it to the South Pole.  Seriously, FREEZE.  If you leave all that equipment unattended through an Antarctic winter, it will ALL be lost.  Millions of dollars have already been spent getting everything there, we can’t just abandon it!  The South Pole will take it ALL.  It makes me sick.  The House Gym is open, but we are shutting down the South Pole.  Which is more important to you, American Citizen?  Is it really more important for Paul Ryan to lift weights or to allow the SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN APPROVED CONTINUE?

I’m voting with science every time.  I will never vote for the abs.  Let Paul Ryan work out in his own private gym that he most likely already has.  Or let him pay for a membership at a public gym like the rest of us.  By the way, he’s still getting paid.  Meanwhile, people could FREEZE and all of our scientific equipment could be lost.  Congress might not care about the South Pole, but I do!

I care about the cows and the vets and the crabbers and astronauts and the MILLIONS of Americans who are out of a job right now. The people being hurt by Congress aren’t rich people, they are the hard working Americans who voted those clowns in.  Congress doesn’t have to suffer.  They get paid and have health care and a private gym.  Well, the rest of us are drowning here.

We need to fire Congress!  I have always been an advocate for voting, but I am ready to explode now.  They can’t be allowed to run our country into the ground like this!  We need to FIRE CONGRESS, each and EVERY one of them!

America PLEASE! I know none of us are happy now.  This government shutdown is hurting us ALL.  Remember this.  Remember who did this to our country.  VOTE.

Pennsylvania House Representative Mike Kelley and Senator Pat Toomey, consider yourselves fired.

Now open up my government and let my kids watch the Panda Cam!

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