Medical Marijuana

The Secret History of Southern Medical Marijuana

The "lost" medical cannabis laws of the '70s and early '80s


Here's a fascinating piece of recovered history:

"Yes, officer, we found fifty of these in Willie Nelson's basement."

Between 1978 and 1982, 25 states set up similar medical marijuana research programs, designed mainly to treat cancer and glaucoma patients. To receive the marijuana, states were supposed to contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which cultivated cannabis at a federally funded farm at the University of Mississippi.

Louisiana became the third to pass legislation in July 1978. Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina quickly followed, signing laws in a seven-month span between 1979 and 1980.

That's from a story by Quint Forgey of News21. If you're wondering why you never heard about medical marijuana taking root more than three decades ago in a group of conservative Southern states, it's because it didn't take root, despite those statutes. Forgey explains:

Like most other state programs at the time, [Louisiana state Rep. Tony] Guarisco's bill provided for the establishment of a state medical board to certify participating patients, physicians and pharmacies. Only chemotherapy and glaucoma patients were eligible for treatment.

He thought his work was finished.

"I mean, I'm in there two years. I thought when you passed something, the people that needed to take action after that, to make it operative, would do what they needed to do," Guarisco said. "Unfortunately, they never did."

In the nearly four decades since its signing, Louisiana's medical marijuana research program has treated not a single patient.

Similar programs around the country also slowly evaporated. Either they were never approved by the necessary federal agencies or their funds were never appropriated by legislatures. Some state medical boards were simply not established.

Today, not many know the programs ever existed.

Activists are now trying to revive and revise those old laws to clear the way for medical marijuana today, with mixed results. "Taking that 1980 law as a jumping-off point and amending it really got us halfway there," one South Carolina lawmaker told Forgey. "It was a good icebreaker." The result in South Carolina last year was a bill that allowed epilepsy patients to use CBD oil, a cannabis extract—but did not make any arrangements for anyone to legally cultivate the plant or distribute the medicine. We'll see if it takes another 34 years to fix that hole.

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  1. “Wow, man, we seceded from the *what* last night? We must have been *sooo* wasted.”

  2. The South will rise get high again!

    1. It’s Like, I don’t care about nothin man,
      roll another blunt, Yea (ohh ohh ohh),

      La da da da da da La, Da Daaa,
      La da da da, La da da da, La da da daaa

      I was gonna leave the Union until I got high
      I was gonna get up and secede but then I got high
      my state is still in the US and I know why (why man?) yea heyy,
      – cause I got high [repeat 3X]

  3. Since this is Jesse Mr. Paranoid Conspiracist Walker, I have no qualms OT’ing his story with this:…..1723917237

    Gawker wrote a positive piece on the Oath Keepers. The comments are a mixed bag.

    Resolute Blue
    Assholes like these don’t like being reminded that minorities can also buy the same weapons they do. You’re not the only ones armed, you fucks. “Libtards” also have guns!

    AJackRose Resolute Blue
    In the article they literally advocate for minorities buying weapons….

    Resolute Blue AJackRose
    You believed that statement to be genuine?

    CleganeBowlConfirmed Resolute Blue
    Yes. It serves no purpose otherwise. They are already out in Ferguson. Advocating for more minority gun ownership does not do anything meaningful for them. So, genuine.

    EvanrudeJohnson Resolute Blue
    Did you read the entire article? One of the oath keepers said he wants to have minorities in a march to have guns, even saying he would provide the weapons.

    1. The disconnect is massive. It must be like meeting with an alien culture. “They want people to own guns? But nobody *I* know wants people to own guns.”

    2. They don’t want minorities to have guns. Gun owners are racist. How can you know that they’re racist? Because they own guns. Jesus, it’s like I’m talking to a 5-year-old.

    3. Since this is Jesse Mr. Paranoid Conspiracist Walker, I have no qualms OT’ing his story with this:

      That’s cool, but y’know, you could have put it in my post about the Oath Keepers story

      1. Oh man the paranoia will annoy ya.

        My head is spinning.

      2. Jesse, that story is SO yesterday!

      3. Nobody reads the comments more than two posts down. And nobody reads the AM/PM Links comments after two hours. My OT was perfectly in keeping with OT etiquette except for prefacing it with “Sorry about the OT” which you’re allowed to do if your story quotes the SPLC and you’re OT’ing a Jesse Walker post. DO YOU NEED ME TO QUOTE THE BYLAWS??

    4. Resolute Blue probably thinks he’s the smartest mofo commenting on Gawker.

      1. Heh. I suspect that if Resolute Blue ever touched a gun in real life, he’d burst into tears.

    5. arichshea is listening to: Arctic16
      8/18/15 10:26am
      “I’ll soon be packing for the left, because liberals need some firepower, too”

      If you carry a gun to support your political alignment then you are packing for the right. Packing for the left is an oxymoron.


      1. “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

        -George Orwell



        1. I think i understand the reasons behind the second amendment and i think people who want to own guns should be able to buy them legally JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE (I don’t have any desire to own one personally; it would mostly just be a danger to myself), but im not sure guns mean what they used to. you’re not gonna get very far taking on the government with just a rifle or pistol or whatever.

      2. If you are packing for a political team, you are probably an asshole in any case.

    6. It’s like the Salem Witch Trials, but somehow stupider. “You’re guilty because I say that you’re guilty!”

  4. The North needs to put its foot down on this and tell those southerners no way.

    1. It won’t be quite the same. In the 1860s, the North could send down a bunch of Indiana farm boys, German artisans and Irish laborers to do the fighting. Now they’ll be sending a bunch of hipsters.

      1. Where is my artesinal mayonnaise ration sir?

      2. But it would cure us of our hipster infestation.

        Would you southerners be willing to do that for us?

        1. If the hipsters were dumb enough to go down there, I am sure they would. I doubt, however, the Southerners would come to us to deal with our hipster infestation.

          1. We need to convince the hipsters it’s ‘ironic’.

            1. Hipsters leading an invasion of the South to prevent the spread of Southern “medical” marijuana.

              That’s like irony squared!

              1. Sounds like the sort of thing that a hipster would enjoy.

      3. Yes, the entire north is New York city and everyone who lives there is a hipster.

        1. Lighten up, Francis.

  5. If southerners allow this they’ll have meth labs and unlicensed distilleries in the hills before they know it.

    1. Unlicensed?!!???!!!!

      Someone ought to firebomb the whole damn place!

    1. What the hell? Obama is such a massive piece of shit.


        1. It just proves he is an asshole.

      2. I honestly think he just likes to troll people. Making people angry gives him a sense of power. It is like when he refused to put the flags at the White House at half staff after the Chattanooga shootings. He waited until people were angry about it and then relented. Not doing it was clearly intentional and he immediately rolled over when called on it. He just did it to make people angry. I think this is the same. I don’t think the intervention will change anything. It is just his way of spitting in people’s faces. Piece of shit is an understatement.

        1. That’s a good point. He is massively petulant. I wonder if this is a way of spitting in Schumer’s face for not supporting the Iran deal.

          1. I wonder if this is a way of spitting in Schumer’s face

            Except he missed an hit a kid with no legs.

            1. Like that matters to him.

              1. #Likethatmatterstohim

        2. I think this is a bipartisan thing, shielding foreign states from legal accountability in U.S. courts. The only partisan division would be whether the PA is a state. If it is, the State Department traditionally doesn’t like foreign countries getting sued in U.S. courts, it interferes with the department’s control over foreign relations. It also risks retaliation against the U.S. in foreign courts. Diplomats actually worry about this more than they worry about getting damages from terror victims. And this goes for Republicans and Democrats.

          1. damages *for* terror victims.

            The victims of course don’t share this perspective.

    2. I absolutely love when this dumbshit motherfucker does everything he can to prop up the “secret Muslim” fuckheads.

      1. THAT’S WUT I SED!!

      2. 90 days 90 reasons man!

      3. Who needs secret Muslim when you have Obama’s petulant reaction to anyone who doesn’t kiss his ass 3 times a day and tells him how good it felt (See: Ben Netanyahu)

        1. If he were a Muslim he would have become one in Indonesia and would have been a Sunni. If he were a Sunni, no way in hell would he be signing a deal that effectively gives Iran the bomb.

          Obama is not a Muslim. He is a leftist asshole.

    3. So how’s the wound? Can you move yet?

      1. “And I’ll appreciate your vote in November!”

        *slaps leg in cast*

      2. I am moving….slowly. I will need some advice, when I can start lifting again in 4 weeks. And by advice, I mean dire threats if I overdo it when I restart, and any hints, pointer, etc.

    4. The administration’s affidavit, including a statement by Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, claimed the Palestinians’ ability to govern would be “severely compromised” by such a substantial bond.

      Obviously the solution is for the US to borrow the money from China and loan it to them.

      A “Palestinian Liberation Front”, as it were.

      1. I think the Palestinians’ ability to ‘govern’ is compromised by the people they have in authority.

        1. But compromise is a good thing, right? RIGHT?!

          1. No.

            Especially not by the definition being used in politics today.

            1. It’s almost like you just don’t want to get *something* done!

  6. Is that a confederate flag I see? So the history of southern weed is one of racism, exclusion and hate.

    1. And murder/death/kills.

      1. So that’s what a 187 is! Thanks central.

  7. The result in South Carolina last year was a bill that allowed epilepsy patients to use CBD oil, a cannabis extract?but did not make any arrangements for anyone to legally cultivate the plant or distribute the medicine.

    Good thing that MJ is “legal”, huh?


    Turns out the Paleo diet is made up bullshit with no basis in either archeology or dietary science. Who could have seen that coming?

    1. Since I didn’t pay any attention to what a ‘paleo’ diet was, I didn’t see this coming.

      1. It was a fashionable repackaging of eating low carb. A bunch of people ate raw meat and vegetables and pretended they were cave men to make it more fun really was all it ever was.

        1. But it only takes a moment’s reflection to realize carbs had to be part of the diet of these groups. If they didn’t already consume them, why would they suddenly start planting grains at the dawn of agriculture?

          1. Exactly. And they were also living on the edge of starvation most of the time. The reason why carbs make us fat is because they are easy to digest and contain a ton of energy. That is not such a good thing when you have access to an endless supply of food and are sitting on your ass all day. If you however are active all day and are constantly insecure about your food supply, that is a very good thing. Primitive man would have had to have been stupid not to eat carbs wherever and whenever they were available. And primitive man was not stupid or he would not have survived.

            1. Have you seen that show “alone”? It’s a perfect example of how hard it is to survive without modern society. A couple of the guys were pretty fat, but after a few weeks of hunting/gathering they are pretty trim.

          2. Actually, to make beer.

        2. But what about the health benefits of not bathing, saying “oog,” and dragging women by their hair?

    2. “Eating meat may have kick-started the evolution of bigger brains, but cooked starchy foods together with more salivary amylase genes made us smarter still.”

      “And frying those starches in trans-fats just put the icing on the cake.”

      1. You don’t ice a cake by frying starch in trans-fat, dumbass. Do you even heft, bro? You ice a cake by mixing trans-fat with sugar and just spreading it on. Frying starch in trans-fat, on the other hand, gives you Cheetos. And the invention of Cheetos didn’t just make us smart, it made us Gods.

    3. It was a noble attempt to provide ammunition in the war against Big Anemia.

      1. Big Anemia

        LOL haha

    4. The low-carbohydrate Paleo diet

      Paleo is super silly, but this article starts off being embarrassingly fucking stupid. None of the Paleotards think they’re eating low-carb. They eat tons of sweet potatoes and shit.

      But experts are now debating whether or not people in the Paleolithic Era did actually eat carbs.

      No. Everyone knows they ate whatever carbs they could get. This is in no way controversial.

        1. I think Paleotards avoid them and grains and beans and sugar. As far as I can tell, that and some handwavy bullshit about grass-fed beef is a good first approximation of the fad. It’s not the worst heuristic for a diet, but the benefits of it probably come entirely from avoiding sugar and eating more vegetables.

    5. The whole premise for the diet is stupid anyways. No matter your belief in creation or evolution, mankind did not flourish until we learned how to cultivate crops and increase food production. Being a hunter gatherer basically means that we are in fact animals using most of our food energy to find more food.

      Farming allowed us to feed more, fuck more, give birth more, and develop complex societies. The whole nation that we should be eating like a “caveman” (who is presumed to have a lower functioning brain) is retarded.

      1. That’s a non-sequitur. I think the claim is that while farming allowed for more reliable calories and the start of civilization, the food itself is not totally fit for our genetic make up. As with the market, our bodies can endure a lot of shit and still function well enough, but it can function even better with a more appropriate diet (or more appropriate laws and regulations as in the case of the market).

        I don’t really buy it, but it is an interesting idea.

        1. That squares with the fact that humans are still adapting to digest lactose as adults – once you can herd dairy animals, it’s an advantage – but in much of the world, most adults are lactose intolerant.

          Northern Europeans are largely tolerant of it, though – allows the French to be the cheese eaters they are.

          Maybe we are unknowingly selecting for humans that process carbs better.

      2. a “caveman” (who is presumed to have a lower functioning brain)

        What? That’s retarded. Modern hunter-gatherers most certainly do not have lower functioning brains.

        The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race is an interesting perspective. According to his argument, farming made individual humans weaker and sicker but increased the fitness of societies as a whole.

        1. Cripes, Warty, are you trying to summon White Indian. Last I heard he was gamboling on the prairies.

          1. The thing about white Indian is that he might not be completely wrong. It’s just irrelevant as you can’t put that particular toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak. We are what we are because people developed agricultural societies, with all the good and bad things that entails.

    6. So the article is really just another iteration of “your diet is bad and you should feel bad”.

    7. Well, considering that pretty much most of the fruits and meats we eat are essentially different plants and animals from what existed in paleolithic times, that should hardly be surprising.

      1. This too. Ever eat any wild carrots or wild cherries? Slightly different from what we’re used to.

  9. Lazy southerners

  10. That is some right prime alt-text there, Mistah Walker, suh.

  11. I remember years ago – mid-’70’s – my sister had gone to the University of Michigan medical center for some experimental laser eye surgery for her glaucoma that burned the shit out of her eyes and she got medical marijuana for it. (Not like they paid her in weed for allowing them to shoot her in the eye with a laser, she was given mmj to deal with the pain.) UM is in southern Michigan, but it’s hardly the South, so there’s that.

  12. Speaking of “hit & run”, what should the penalty be for driving while impaired by Cannabis?
    Or for being in an auto accident while under the influence?

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