North Dakota Medical Marijuana Advocate Speaks Out

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
A Crosby man who has founded the Medical Cannabis Association of North Dakota would like the state to allow marijuana as a prescription medicine.

Del Snavely, who has used medical marijuana in the past, hopes to eventually circulate petitions for a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for medical use.

"I would like to see doctors and lawyers and politicians come out of the woodwork to support this, but I do believe it's going to be an uphill grind," he said. "I had to quit my medicine just to be able to open my mouth about it and share what I feel,"

Snavely had a doctor's prescription for marijuana to treat his debilitating back pain when he lived in Washington state, where medical marijuana is legal. He just uses over-the-counter pain relievers now but believes North Dakota shouldn't make criminals out of people treating chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy side effects or other medical ailments.

"These are not people who deserve to go to jail," he said. "They are not criminals by any other sense of the word."

Snavely has been circulating petitions for the Americans for Safe Access Foundation. The petitions request Congress to hold hearings on the use of medical marijuana.

However, he said state support might easier to obtain than federal support, as has been evident on the hemp issue. North Dakota and several other states have legalized the planting of hemp, a form of cannabis that has many industrial uses. Still, farmers have been unable to grow it because of restrictions by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

Snavely said marijuana has been thoroughly scrutinized over the years. The information is there to make sound medical decisions about marijuana, he said.

Marijuana has been used for a range of conditions, including epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and attention deficit/hyperactivity.

A native of Watford City, Snavely, 47, moved to Washington at age 10 but relocated to Dickinson in 1997 after becoming disabled. In 2004, he returned to Washington. It was then that his doctor, who formerly practiced in Bismarck, prescribed marijuana.

For him, the marijuana was more effective than pharmaceutical medicine, Snavely said.

Twelve states have legalized medical marijuana, including Montana. Legislation to do so is pending in Minnesota. South Dakota voters narrowly rejected the idea last November.

In most states where medical marijuana is legal, patients or their caregivers are permitted to grow restricted quantities of the plant and harvest it for medicine. Dispensaries that have cropped up to provide the marijuana to patients try to stay under the federal law enforcement's radar.

New Mexico, which legalized medical marijuana this month, includes provisions in its law for the government to set up a dispensary to grow, process and dispense marijuana.

Snavely said marijuana's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, can be ingested by various methods. Smoking is most common but it can be cooked into fatty foods, vaporized and inhaled or dissolved in an alcohol base to be taken as tincture.

Snavely is polling North Dakotans for their views on legalized medical marijuana through the "Educating North Dakotans" link on his Web site at ( The site includes videos and information about medical marijuana and lists the religious and medical groups that support the practice.

The American Medical Association favors more research and supports the physician's right to discussion with patients. Some state nurses associations are on record in support of medical marijuana. Neither the North Dakota Medical Association nor North Dakota Nurses Association have taken positions.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Minot Daily News
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