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Kevin Baiko, M.D.
Medical Director of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network
Board Certified Diplomat of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine
  
February 13, 2013
 
To:         Rules Committee Members
From:     Kevin Baiko, M.D.
RE:        HB84 – The North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act
Position: Support

I am testifying today in strong support of HB84 – The North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act.  As you may be aware, this Bill has been referred to the Rules Committee for the third time in four years.  The last two times it was effectively ignored.  I attach the results of a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling just last month, which shows that 58% of our state's population believes that doctors should be allowed to prescribe cannabis for medical use. If the majority of Carolinians are in favor of a well regulated medical cannabis program in North Carolina, don't you think this bill at least deserves a better fate than merely dying again in the Rules Committee? I urge you to give your personal attention to HB84 and forward it along so it can at least receive a floor vote THIS session.
 
As Medical Director of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network, I speak on behalf of thousands of Carolinians who already medicate with cannabis or who would do so if it were allowed.  Unfortunately, current state policy criminalizes these good folks for turning to an ancient herbal remedy whose efficacy and safety are only validated by the most advanced scientific research.   While the mere existence of HB84 offers so much hope to so many, the lack of compassion their representatives have demonstrated in past years by avoidance of its discussion, allowing it to die in the Rules Committee again and again, has driven many remarkable Carolinians to move away to states already authorizing medical cannabis use.  What other choice do they have?
Go directly to jail? Rely on the black market for their medicine? States with medical cannabis programs typically enroll about 1% of their population.  That would translate to nearly 95,000 people in North Carolina!  HB84 offers a safer, more sensible, compassionate choice for the thousands upon thousands here who already regard cannabis as their treatment of choice.  I'm not talking about getting high!  I'm talking about real people with real medical conditions who find that cannabis alleviates their suffering more effectively and with less side effects than the conventional medicines generally available.
 
Many Representatives, including the Democratic Party Chairman, stand in support of this legislation.  Of ourse, this is not really a partisan issue.  This is a patients rights issue. Upon meeting with Representatives and patients who met with their Reps yesterday, the three most common reasons Representatives gave for NOT being in support of HB84 were: 1) “Legalizing cannabis, even if limited to well regulated medical use, violates my religious values.”  2) “Legalizing medical cannabis would be a further risk to public safety.”  3) “Approved alternatives to cannabis, like Marinol, already exist.”  Please allow me to address these three rationales one by one.

Raised in a Christian home and having attended a private Christian school, I was familiarized with the Bible at an early age.  With the exception of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil”, I've yet to find a passage condemning the use of any plant, nor endorsing its state criminalization.  To the contrary, First Timothy 4:4 reads, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving”.  Honestly, I've never been able to understand how Christian values are exemplified by denying people access to medicine that will ease suffering, improve quality of life and function.

While medical cannabis may seem like a risk to public safety, it is in fact a benefit.  First of all, people already are using cannabis here.  Does throwing them in jail make Carolina a safer place to live?  Certainly not for them!  How many cannabis related car accidents have you ever heard of?  Evidence compiled by the National Highway Transportation Administration demonstrates that cannabis users may actually be safer drivers(www.kushmagazine.com/news/2549-auto-insurance-quote-provider-says-marijuana-users-are-safer-drivers?catid=842) and another study indicates that the incidence of deaths attributed of drunk driving decreases after the enactment of medical cannabis legislation (www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2011/11/medical-marijuana-laws-may-lead-fewer-traffic-deaths/609/).  Consider how many public safety resources being directed towards cannabis prohibition could be redirected to actual risks to public safety, like violent crimes and thefts.  Judge Jim Gray has been articulate on this issue: (www.youtu.be/b6t1EM4Onao) If public safety truly is a concern of yours, take a look at this data compiled by the Adverse Events Reporting System managed by the FDA (www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Causes_of_Death).  In 2000, 19,445 deaths were directly attributed to FDA approved drugs. Note how these numbers quadrupled in only 10 years, during which time nearly a half a million deaths were attributed by the FDA to FDA approved medicines!  Compare these numbers to the zero deaths attributed to cannabis  use – throughout recorded history. 
 
Even Marinol (like its synthetic cannabinoid counterparts “Spice”, “K2”, etc.) has been linked to a few deaths.  And Marinol's efficacy doesn't even closely  compare to that of the cannabis, from which over 60 distinct cannabinoids, each with unique medicinal properties, have been isolated.  Cannabis is, in effect many medicines all in one plant.  Our bodies are designed to process substances from the natural world.  Isolating and concentrating substances, particularly synthetic ones risks poisoning, as this chart clearly illustrates. ms of cancer and the horrible effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapies; I've  witnessed my patients effectively cure their cancers with cannabis alone!  I could tell you  success story after success story from the ranks of my Hawaii medical cannabis patients, and will happily do so upon your request.  I know you'd be amazed just how a law like HB84 would literally make Carolina a safer, more healthful, just and prosperous place to live.  Keep in mind – this isn't just a health bill.  It's also a stimulate-the-economy, create-jobs-and-tax-revenue bill.

Please contact me by phone or email if you have any questions.  I'd be happy to meet with you and provide any further documentation you may require.  I plead with you to support HB84 - The North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, and if you don't personally support it, please at least afford it a hearing, giving it and the countless citizens who would benefit from its enactment the attention it deserves.
 
Sincerely,
Kevin Baiko, M.D.,
Board Certified Diplomat of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine,
Medical Director of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network,
North Carolina Resident

Comments  

#8 ckinhim 2014-01-14 18:16
THANK YOU!!!
#7 forkup 2013-04-14 18:24
Wow I can't believe I just noticed this newest (old now) letter. Thanks for your efforts Dr. Baiko!
#6 jeffwlmngtn 2013-04-06 13:01
Thanks for your support, I for one just moved back from Oregon, and now go without due to the stupidity of our politicians, we vote into office,if the untied states would legalize the use of marijuana for medical issues it would see a big cut in foreign imports from Mexico. but with our government it's all about the money, if this petition passes the state of North Carolina would in fact make revenue off of it from the dispensaries that sale it's product to the people. if this petition don't pass due to the politicians we elected it would be in the best interest for the people to force a new petition to cut politicians pay in half to help bring down this country's deficit starting with the president on down .... thanks again for your support.
#5 Rasta Vision 2013-03-20 11:11
Thanks
#4 Bewellfarmer 2013-03-17 16:29
Thanks!
#3 Chaoxheart49 2013-03-15 00:55
Thank you Baiko for being on board for North Carolina. Your testimony is more than enough to motivate and educate anyone who reads/hear it. This plant that grows naturally from our environment has so much to offer.
+1 #2 sydv 2013-03-14 14:08
Thanks doc. I dont get here much. But everytime I do you amase me.
+2 #1 perryp 2013-02-18 17:46
I knew there was some reason for having a doctor on board. Awesome letter that makes our case..Totally

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