By Don Bessee, Published: March 17, 2016

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a national anti-legalization organization that takes a science-based approach to medical marijuana legislation.

SAM was founded by Congressmen Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Dr. Kevin Sabet. Sabet, our national president, is the only person to have served in the White House Office of Drug Control Policy under Democratic and Republican administrations.

In the past, there has been a complaint that the feds are blocking research on medical marijuana by marijuana being a Schedule 1 drug.

In 2015 SAM put forth a path to expanded scientific study of the components of marijuana. The FDA and the DEA listened to SAM and changed certain key rules that enabled a fast track expansion of live clinical trials. You can see the proposal on www.learnaboutsam.org. The result is that, as of today, there are now 93 live clinical trials in the U.S. There are a significant number of applications for additional studies under current review and we could see the total by the end of the year reach 200.

The real world benefit of this is that the very few children afflicted with extremely rare syndromes can get immediate benefit from the best science can offer in the way of marijuana components. Products with FDA purity and dosing standards and clinical record keeping that will be the basis for improving the products efficacy and the lives of that population across the country.

Marijuana was not going to be rescheduled, as for the pot industry advocated, because everyone knows how many profiteers are hiding behind the skirts of sick people. It took a new way to approach the problem. It was from a practical legal and medical standpoint and that is exactly what SAM did to help all the afflicted people, especially children in the United States.

Some of these studies have already shown significant results with Epodiolex for seizures. It’s likely to be the next marijuana component based drug approved for general use joining a drug approved for MS.

In Nevada County, we are hearing a call for a so called “carve out” from the land-use regulations regarding medical marijuana for a specific individual.

This is very confusing to a lot of people because nationally we have only seen “carve outs” in states that did not have medical marijuana regimes, unlike California. In a way, Proposition 215 was the original carve out from criminal prosecution for AIDS, cancer and other serious afflictions. SAM has been involved in developing legislative “carve outs” in many states, but it is always a state level issue.

The reason it’s a state level conversation is because the state makes and amends criminal law, not municipalities. It’s also a very complex discussion that requires the involvement of public health, a significant number of medical specialties related to specific maladies as well as pharmacologists and prevention and addiction communities to protect at-risk populations.

People in studies and trials, are not given something that is cooked up in the kitchen or garage; they are provided purity controlled and dose-controlled products.

What is also confusing people about all the local “carve out” talk is that Prop 215, and now AB 266, are the state standard for special status for legitimately sick people, a “carve out” if you will. A decision for access to this special class of carve out is now with the recommending physician of the individual sick person. That is a great improvement on our states’ carve out, so that it will carve out the abusers who were enabled by unscrupulous “pot docs” who ran recommendation mills.

I have listened to claims that 12 plants is not sufficient for an individual’s needs. If you look at the pot mags they say three or four crops a year indoors is not at all uncommon. So how is 36 to 48 plants worth of product not enough for one?

I would remind people that Measure S had 12 plants indoor for “R” zones as a personal base standard. So why are 12 now not enough?

I hear that sick people can’t grow, but caregivers can still grow for someone who can’t.

There has been a charge that this was suddenly rushed into effect. Suddenly? Rushed? That is either badly uninformed or disingenuous.

In April 2015, there was a front page article in The Union about a delegation coming to the board warning what was happening because of other counties’ outdoor bans and asking for relief.

This conversation has been going on for a year, while the neighborhoods suffered.