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Michigan Panel Votes 4-2 In Support Of Cannabis Use For Children With Autism, LARA Director Denies Petition

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Mike Zimmer, the Director of LARA in Michigan, has taken the futures of children and their families into his hands, only to crush them, insult them, and put all of their lives in danger. I was in attendance on July 31st 2015 at the last autism hearing in Lansing when the panel was finally given the chance to make an informed vote of 4-2 in favor of Autism being added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

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I held our 4-year-old son Emery affectionately in my arms as I spoke in front of the panel of our experience over the last year and how it has changed us. We are able to give Emery cannabis because of his epilepsy diagnosis. I explained what it has done to reverse his autism impairment, to help him grow and to be happy, and for us to be able to live together in the same home. Before cannabis, we were going to have to live in separate homes on the same farmland together. Emery could not help but attack everyone around him constantly, including his younger siblings. Now, we happily spend entire days together and can hardly imagine the road we were headed down before Emery’s brain was allowed to work the way it is meant to because of cannabis.

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We were at the hearing with other friends as well. These friends have been fighting this for over two years. They are parents, family, friends, attorneys, doctors, experts, and other activists. Parents with adult autistic children spoke to the panel as well. These parents have spent decades watching their children suffer as they refill endless bottles of dangerous pharmaceutical medications. They explained that from all of their research and everything they have seen, they believe that cannabis will work. They want to try it. Parents like Dwight Zahringer have seen that other children using cannabis are not only experiencing changes in behavior and sleep patterns, but are also becoming verbal for the first time. Like every parent, these are things that he wants deeply for his own son, who is mostly non-verbal at the age of three. The original petitioner Lisa Smith’s son Noah, who has been non-verbal his whole life, has just recently started talking at the age of six because of cannabis. Parents caring for children with an autism diagnosis shouldn’t have to wait another day to try a proven safe and effective medicine that is non-toxic and has never caused a death. This is especially true when it’s helping so many people already.

Mike Zimmer denied the petition despite the panel’s recommendation to add it to the qualifying list of conditions.

The panel is specifically designated by LARA to make the decisions regarding new conditions that should qualify for protection under the MMMA. They reviewed over seventy-five peer-reviewed articles with over eight hundred pages of scientific information relating to the paediatric use of cannabis for autism. Parents should be able to choose this medicine for their autistic children. Adults who are suffering should be able to qualify as well. But instead of passing this decision through so that families can finally find relief, healing, and new positive experiences, Mike Zimmer denied it. From the decision:

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“This lack of scientific evidence is concerning … the petition fails to acknowledge the direct impact on children… .”

And Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who has an autistic child of his own, weighed in by saying “there are neither sufficient studies nor scientific trials demonstrating its clinical impact to justify approval at this time.”

Maybe what these guys need is over eight hundred pages of information on the dangers of using anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-insomnia, and anti-anxiety medications on children just to help them cope or to control dangerous behaviors.

Mike Zimmer image

Zimmer writes that children with autism “without associated seizure disorders” are already eligible under the language of the MMMA. He implies that if there are no seizures, then the autism is not severe, with no clear definition for what severe autism is.

Let’s help him with that: autism is a word with six letters. That’s it. But children with an autism diagnosis, whether it is considered severe or not, have to see doctors to get that diagnosis. And there are reasons for seeing the doctors. Parents can’t just walk into a dispensary and get an autism diagnosis and a medical card. Children with these conditions have a neurologist and sometimes many other doctors that they see regularly to monitor their growth, behaviors, and intelligence. It feels like what Mike Zimmer is really saying is that he doesn’t trust the many compassionate doctors, attorneys, parents, experts, social workers and other professionals who work in this field. These are the people who spend time with autistic children and their families. They support this petition. Yet, he feels he has the right to make this decision for all of us.

He does not have that right.

He does not have the right to put a time limit on the lives of people or to force parents to separate siblings from each other when they can grow up together as friends, happily and peacefully. He doesn’t have the right to choose the number of children that are allowed to thrive and succeed in this world. In his Final Determination letter, he even makes it a point to rebut the claims that adding autism would cause a minimal increase in participation among minors.

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Attorney Michael Komorn suggests:

This guy is the head of LARA, the agency that licenses these physicians, and he relies upon the argument that the doctors that we license can’t be trusted and will abuse the system. To follow his logic, his licensed physicians will treat autistic patients who they are not qualified to treat … The solution is that he can regulate this through the physicians and lay down rules and regulations. Instead he shuts it down.

None of this matters, of course. Every child with an autism diagnosis will benefit from using cannabis. This is clearly outlined in all of the peer-reviewed information that was included with the petition even aside from the hundreds, if not thousands, of miraculous stories from all across the country. These are stories of autism impairment being reversed, sometimes seemingly overnight, just from using low doses of cannabis oil or other forms of cannabis. Let’s make sure these people have all the information they need to make this right for us!

THIS IS A CALL FOR ACTION!

California and D.C parents can already treat their children with cannabis for autism. This fight has been going on in Michigan for long enough now that a lot of people far and away are paying attention. When autism is added to the list of qualifying conditions in Michigan, our children will literally become the long-term studies that Mike Zimmer and other opponents of the petition claim that we need to have first.

Please take a few minutes out of your day and call LARA and the Governor’s office, or send out some emails or faxes. It really does mean a lot to everyone who works hard on this. It could make a huge difference in the outcome and aftermath of Zimmer’s final determination letter, which is included in the article. If you have any creative ideas or information that you feel could help, please tell us about it. Some websites that you can contact are listed below. If you have a success story you want to share, feel free to share in the comments below as well. This might be a game to these politicians and profiteers, but these are our lives! We deserve to create them ourselves!

Websites:

www.CannabisFamilySeeds.org

www.HeartsAndStars.org

www.TheWholePlantCannabis.com

http://www.mp4c.net

Here is the contact information for Mike Zimmer, Brian Calley, and the Governor’s Office. Please help these guys understand!

Brian Calley

https://www.facebook.com/briancalley

(Governor’s Office)

PHONE: (517) 373-3400

PHONE: (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services

FAX:(517) 335-6863

Mike Zimmer

Phone: (517) 373-3286

Email: zimmerm@michigan.gov

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

P.O. Box 30004

Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 373-1820

Fax: (517) 373-2129

This is a link to “The Endocannabinoid System as it Relates to Autism” – Joe Stone; Christian Bogner, M.D. Its references list the peer-reviewed scientific articles relating to cannabis in the treatment of autism that were included in the petition to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions to use cannabis in Michigan:

Sources:

1. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2015/08/28/agency-rejects-marijuana-autistic-kids/32486185/

2. Final Determination on Medical Marijuana Use for Autism

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

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We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

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We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Awareness

WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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