From: Charles Jay Riffenburg III
To: House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs
I am writing this letter in hopes that you will support the Medical Cannabis Bill – H.B. 573. Recently I attended the Legalize Cannabis bills HB-492 and HB-337 where I testified before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. During my testimony I explained to them why I am in favor of legalization and why everyone should be in favor of this plant.
I am academically trained as a philosopher and my professional career is in the Natural Products Industry. I am quite familiar with several hundred medicinal herb species. In the past I have managed two separate herb shops in St. Augustine, FL. Today, I work for one of the largest supplement and natural product companies in the U.S. and I continue to study herbs for a living. I am constantly reading the most cutting-edge science that pertains to health, herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc. I am here to tell you that Cannabis is the most useful, important plant in the entire world.
Obviously this bill is focused on the question of Medical Marijuana. No one should still be questioning the fact that marijuana is incredibly useful as a medicine. This is mainline science, from all around the world, proving to us that Marijuana is medicine. Not only is marijuana an excellent nervine (beneficial for the nervous system), it is a powerful antioxidant that we are just beginning to learn about. According to the PDR for Herbal Medicines, Cannabis possesses the following medicinal actions: Anticonvulsive action, Analgesic characteristics, Respiratory (bronchial dilation), Reduces intra-occular pressure (why it is useful for Glaucoma), Antimicrobial action, and Tumor inhibiting effect among others. It is indeed powerful medicine.
From the entirety of human history we have found evidence of people using Cannabis as medicine in multiple forms. Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that the resin of the flowers as well as the seeds have been used for thousands of years, some sources say up to 7,000 years and possibly older. Indian Sadhus smoke Cannabis as part of their meditation and spiritual practices. The recreational use of Cannabis became popular after its initial discovery and application as a medicine. Today Cannabis is happily grown and consumed around the world, despite the horrible failure that is the American War on Drugs.
The plant itself is incredibly useful to humanity, providing an abundant source of fibers and polymers that enables us to build anything from shoes and pants to cars and houses. It also provides us with the nutritionally dense, complete protein hemp seed that is currently used in numerous protein powder supplements in the Natural Products Industry. Hempseed oil can be taken as a nutritional supplement internally, but also externally where it is not only an excellent moisturizer, but it can be used to soften skin, heal wounds, delivering antioxidants through the skin and hastening repair of tissues. It can also be used as healthy cooking oil or for machine oil.
Please do not take seriously the arguments that say Cannabis can cause mental illness. Millions and millions of people around the globe use Cannabis, often daily, and they get along just fine. The real threat to mental health in our society is the overprescribing of pharmaceutical psychiatric medications, especially to children or teenagers. This much is evident with nearly all of school shootings in recent history having featured a common SSRI or MAOI-style pharmaceutical prescription “medicine”. These drugs are notorious for inducing violent, bizarre behavior, as well as suicides (our soldiers are now more medicated than ever before and are killing themselves in greater number than ever before). Even worse, it is well known that many of these pharmaceutical drugs are rushed through the approval process and remain on the market for years until they have harmed enough people that they must be recalled. This happens all the time with these so-called medicines. I would encourage you to look at the listed side-effects of these psychiatric medicines and then compare them to the known effects of Cannabis. There has never been a recorded death from Cannabis use ever. Typically, the only problem you will have if you are taking an herbal medicine is if you are combining it with a pharmaceutical drug. Herbal medicines are so much safer than common allopathic medicines that it is no wonder that the Natural Products Industry continues to grow exponentially around the world.
Lastly, everyone has a right to use this plant. The issue fundamentally comes down to individual health freedom. This is as basic of a right as the right to free speech or the right to defend oneself. As independent human beings we have the right to pursue the health care of our choosing. No one can force you to take a medicine that you do not wish to take. We all have the right to use whatever form of medicine we see fit, whether it be pharmaceutical drugs or natural substances. Sometimes it is necessary to use emergency, technological medicines, but for the most part, the body responds best to natural therapies. Please understand that patients who use Cannabis as a medicine are simply doing so because they find that the natural approach is what works best for them. The Law is ideally supposed to protect people’s rights and for far too long the rights of patients have been trampled upon. Please do whatever is in your power to make Medical Marijuana a reality in New Hampshire.
In Good Health,
Charles Riffenburg III
P.S. I have enclosed a copy of Cannabis Distribution Operations, that was just released last month from the American Herbal Products Association, a highly respected organization in the field of medicinal plant research. This is the draft recommendations on the regulation of distribution (dispensing) of medical marijuana to regulators in three states that allow such practice. If you have not done so already, please examine this document closely and apply it to your understanding of Medical Cannabis.
Click here to read the AHPA Draft Recommendations-> http://www.ahpa.org/Default.aspx?tabid=69&aId=880