Veterans Protest for Legalization of Medical Marijuana


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This Veterans Day, dozens of servicemen marched from McPherson Square, to the Department of Veterans Affairs, onward to the White House. This was not a parade or celebration. Rather, it was a protest, as veterans and marijuana advocacy associates dumped hundreds of empty pill bottles on the President’s front lawn.

The veterans argue that Veterans Affairs hospitals are over-medicating them by prescribing them a large amounts of psychoactive medications to treat PTSD and neglecting their demands to consider medical marijuana as a realistic recovery option.

“I was getting really addicted to Hydrocodone,” veteran David Bass told ThinkProgress in a recent article. He was dealing with side effects such as sexual impotence and thoughts of suicide and was, “feeling really drugged out like a zombie.” Despite these complaints, his doctor at the VA hospital assured him that he needed to stay on the drugs for at least another two years.

Medical marijuana needs to be seriously considered as an alternate for these veterans. However, because it is classified as an illegal substance, their doctors cannot even approach the subject. They are strictly limited to an arsenal of FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.

Marijuana is classified in the Schedule 1 category of drugs that are purported to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse, categorizing marijuana on the same level as cocaine and heroine. Why is it then that prescription painkillers are so widely available, when they cause so many harmful side effects and debilitating addictions? The protestors this Veterans Day showed their anger over these medications by trashing them in front of the White House. They are over-medicated and upset, restricted from treatments that would suit them better.

At McPherson Park, protesters camped overnight and planted 22 small American flags, in regards to the statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Empty prescription bottles and glow sticks, symbolizing syringes, morosely decorated the base of the flags.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment is a proposed bill that would allow doctors to provide recommendations about participating in legal medical marijuana programs. Veterans represent the best values of the United States. They are proud, patriotic, law-abiding citizens who have put their lives on the line for our country.  Don’t they deserve a chance to be treated equally in their medical treatment?

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Marijuana Can Replace these 3 Prescription Drugs

William Panzer’s latest law blog post.

Panic attacks? Stress? Anxiety? Chronic pain? If you’re like most of us, your medicine cabinet is overflowing with prescription drugs that you turn to for a variety of reasons. Doctors offer a variety of remedies the complaints such as pain, anxiety, depression. Often, the Rx pills prescribed come with unpleasant side effects. Many pills out there are new and the long-term side effects have only been moderately researched.


The exciting field of medical cannabis offers a non-toxic alternative for a multitude of drugs. According to a recent Canadian study, more than 86 percent of respondents reported giving up one or more of the substances they were used to taking for marijuana.

Those suffering from chronic pain have responded especially well to the effects of cannabis. Compared to so many prescription drugs, it has no serious risks.  Studies show how effective marijuana is at treating pain and improving quality of life. It is safe, effective, and non-addictive.  Soon, marijuana could replace these drugs and many more.

1. Xanax

Cannabis naturally helps anxiety. The parts of our brain associated with pain management, mood, and anxiety react with the cannabinoids activated with marijuana. With approximately 3.3 million people suffering from anxiety in America, we ought to consider cannabis as an alternative to some of the more serious, harmful drugs on the market

2. Zoloft

Similar with Xanax, zoloft helps with anxiety and depression disorders.  However, Zoloft often does not work, instead causing paradoxical effects. Sometimes its symptoms are more panic attacks and depression. While cannabis doesn’t work for everyone, it would be a beneficial option to explore in the mental health community.

3.  Vicodin

The FDA recently approved a dangerous drug called Zohydro, an opioid known as “Super-Vicodin.”  Unlike most forms of the drug, it is not mixed with ibuprofen. It is manufactured in a way that patients are capable of crushing it and snorting it if their addiction gets bad enough. Hopefully, the FDA will recognize marijuana as a healthy alternative to these types of dangerous painkillers.

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William Panzer’s latest music blog post.

Dark Star Orchestra, Half Step, The Grass is Dead, Shady Groove, Zen Tricksters and the Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Into The Now… there are dozens of cover bands. Some of these bands perform a whole show from start to finish and some perform only a few songs. Dark Star Orchestra is considered to be one of the best Dead cover bands. Every living member of the Dead except for Phil Lesh has played with Dark Star Orchestra. DSO has even toured with the Dead soundman Dan Healy. It’s true that they put on a wonderful show creating the environment for a great experience; however, so does another cover band called Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.


Joe Russo rocks the drums. Marco Benevento dominates the keyboard. Dave Dreiwitz, the bassist, also plays with Ween and Bustle in Your Hedgerow, a well known Led Zeppelin cover band. Guitarist Scott Metzger has played with Phil & Friends among many other musicians. Tommy Hamilton, who has dappled with songwriting, producing, singing, and the guitar, started playing guitar with the rest of the crew in 2013. This quintet seems to bring back that raw energy created long ago by the Dead members themselves. They are able to play tight versions of some of the most complex original Dead songs while still taking the audience on a wild, adventurous jam-ride.

Joe Russo is in the peak of his career. Metzger has been referred to as a chameleon, with the ability to compliment any situation. Dreiwitz contributes a wonderful kind of intensity. And Marco fingers produce layers of sound, compiling the best sounds from all the keyboardists in the Grateful Dead history. Hamilton’s voice and guitar playing adds the cherry on top this grateful sundae. After seeing Bustle in your Hedgerow and then Joe Russo’s Almost Dead it is clear that these characters have something wonderful is happening among them. I strongly recommend Joe Russo’s Almost Dead to any music lover, especially those of the Dead elk.

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Florida Law Firm: Medical Marijuana Is Already A Reality

William Panzer’s latest law blog post.

Reading news from across the country about the ongoing battle to legalize medical marijuana has caused me to research further into specific states that are moving towards possible legalization. I read an article about Jacksonville, located in northern Florida, which recently experienced controversy over a law firm arguing that medical marijuana legalization is already in effect in the state due to Florida’s Doctrine of Medical Necessity.


Soon enough voters in Jacksonville, Florida will have to decide on approving Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana, but a local firm has stated that the drug is already legal for medical use in the state. In fact, Ian Christensen, who is an attorney with the practice Health Law Services currently assists with patients obtaining ID cards.

Christensen claims that if a doctor approves of a patient’s use of medical marijuana than it is legal for that person to use. This law falls under Doctrine of Medical Necessity. The law also derives from the case law precedent of Jenks vs. Florida.

Health Law Services charges around 800 dollars and this fee covers legal services, gathering medical records and setting up the patient with a physician who will decide if the patient qualifies.

On the other side, Dale Carson, a Law and Safety Expert, expressed that although a citizen has the card, he or she still legally cannot possess marijuana. This might be a setback for proponents such as Ian Christensen who is currently pushing for the id cards to be legal means of possessing marijuana.

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Latest Grateful Dead Updates

William Panzer’s latest music blog post.

So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead, A Conference and Symposium

Apparently at the upcoming Grateful Dead Conference and Symposium this November, taking place at San Jose State University, many Grateful Dead scholars, participants and enthusiasts. These attendees will discuss and explore how the Grateful Dead music and musicians shaped a generation and began a documented BobWeirmovement. The lucky attendees will also be in the company of one famous member, Bill Kreutzmann, who will be discussing his autobiography.Fans and scholars alike will be presumably excited to heat from the singer and guitarist.

Video coverage and interviews are surfacing which feature the Grateful Dead members including a Philadelphia TV Feature 1979 as well as when Weir and Garcia sat down and were interviewed for ABC Good Morning America.

In 1980, the Grateful Dead were celebrating their 15th anniversary while in the middle of performing numerous shows at Radio Music Hall in New York City and other venues. Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia discuss their years together playing in the band.

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Thoughts on “Touch of Grey” by Grateful Dead

William Panzer’s latest music blog post.

The great and sort of ironic thing about being at a Grateful Dead concert is that is made you grateful to be alive. I watched a great video of a live performance of the Grateful Dead at Golden Gate Park. They were playing “Touch of Grey” in 1991 when Jerry Garcia had a little bit more than a touch of grey in his hair and beard.

This is one of the Dead’s best known songs, but it is often the case with songs that are really well know that people don’t listen to or think about the words. And that’s a shame if that is the case with this song because there is an honest sentiment about life in it.

Touch of Grey is filled with pessimistic lyrics, like “I know the rent is in arrears, the dog has not been fed in years.” But always after the somewhat cynical verses, Jerry tells us, “It’s all right.” And I think that this is why the song is called Touch of Grey – as you get older, and maybe get that touch of grey in your hair as a sign of it, you realize there is a lot over which you can despair, but instead you may as well say, “It’s all right,” and, even if it is with a touch of melancholy, accept the world and life for what it is. Just an interpretation.

What’s great about watching the video is seeing what people were like at these types of concert. There were many types of reactions represented in this video. They ranged from hilarious fun, to kids dancing and jamming to the music, to audience members looking on in a thoughtful, pensive manner, really letting the music and lyrics wash over them.

One more great lyric to share from this song that I think really sums up its essence: “Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey.”

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Event in the Lower Keys Aimed to Recreate Grateful Dead Concert Environment

William Panzer’s latest music blog post.

The Grateful Dead, considered by many to be the premiere rock band of the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and even into the mid-‘90s, often draws attention, not for their singles or the sales in albums, but for their concerts. The events grew to develop a sort of community of their own, as, with time, venders started setting up hours before the concert was scheduled to commence. These communities would sell merchandise for the band in general or even items of their own creation. Eventually, artwork came to be placed on display at these events, always involving the traditional skeletons, roses and dancing bears.


The oddities didn’t end once the fans entered the arena; the Grateful Dead were known for making their concerts an item of extremity, even amongst the already extreme society of rock and roll bands. The concerts would frequently last four hours or longer, in an already existing cycle of seemingly endless touring. Unlike most other bands, the Grateful Dead would even allow their fans to record their concerts; most bands were dead-set against this, as it would undoubtedly cut back on record sales. However, the Dead were more than happy to allow their fans this opportunity, going so far as to even set up specific areas to provide more room for those who brought complex and elaborate recording materials.

According to an article recently completed by Keys Info Net, an event held recently in the Lower Keys of Florida aimed to recreate this experience, from top to bottom. The event, held on the twenty-first and the twenty-second of June at Boondocks Grille and Drafthouse on Ramrod Key, mile marker twenty-seven, tried to implement every facet of a traditional Grateful Dead concert experience. Venders were invited to sell merchandise and an artist village could be experienced, in which pieces were brought to display, just as it was in the old days. Two tribute bands were invited; Unlimited Devotion, hailing from Miami, focused on the content of the Grateful Dead’s career, and the other band provided a Pink Floyd tribute show. Admission was free to the event, which included two days filled with music and festivities.

New Speedway Boogie – Grateful Dead from Marc Borins on Vimeo.

Grateful Dead~Eyes Of The World from Mongacuca on Vimeo.

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