GOP Senate Candidate Ridicules Marijuana Pain Study

GOP Senate Candidate Dino Rossi: "This bill isn't going to stimulate anything other than sales of Cheetos"

Just one day after sending out a news release making pot jokes about a Washington State University study on marijuana’s effect on pain, Republican Dino Rossi’s U.S. Senate campaign is claiming he “intended no disrespect to medical marijuana research.”

On Thursday, Rossi released a statement ridiculing the two-year, $148,000 project by psychology professor Michael Morgan, whose study involves injecting synthetic cannabinoids (the active chemicals found in marijuana) along with opiates in rats to study how to improve treatments for people with chronic pain.

Rossi said taxpayers “are tired of their money going up in smoke,” and that instead of creating jobs, the money isn’t “going to stimulate anything other than the sale of Cheetos.”

Courtesy Seattle Weekly

Rossi thought it would make an easy target, after all: Talk about “wasteful” federal stimulus spending to rile up the Tea Party faithful, and then drag in a tired old stoner stereotype for good measure.

“This is one of those boondoggle projects that forces you to set aside the serious economic consequences of this so-called stimulus for a moment and just laugh at how out of touch Washington, D.C., really is,” Rossi said.

The GOP senatorial hopeful really couldn’t be blamed for seeking a diversion to distract voters from the fact that he was recently named to a list of the 11 Most Crooked Candidates running for national office by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Cannabinoid researcher Michael Morgan in his lab at Washington State University's Vancouver campus

But even this cheap shot at medical marijuana patients didn’t work for Rossi’s campaign, as the medical marijuana researcher in question quickly hit back, calling the gubernatorial candidate’s hyperbole “the most misleading press release possible.”

Morgan said his grant was reviewed by three top scientists and got one of the top scores. He said nobody from Rossi’s campaign contacted him to discuss the research.

“It is odd that Rossi thinks he knows more about good research than these neuroscientists,” Morgan said.

According to Morgan, he is “dumbfounded” that he is being attacked for a $150,000 study aimed at making progress in the management of pain, which one study estimates costs U.S. employers $80 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity.

Researchers say the findings could ultimately help reduce business costs for worker health problems tied to chronic pain.

“This suggests, in effect, that Rossi must be against productivity gains for businesses, which even a very stoned Dino Rossi is unlikely ever to claim,” pointed out The Bellingham Herald.

“What we proposed has nothing to do with smoking marijuana or what Rossi implies,” Morgan said. “It would have been nice if Rossi had checked his facts before trashing research that could be very beneficial.”

“There are millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain,” Morgan said. “Is Rossi arguing that we should not to research to find better ways to reduce this suffering?”

One of the favorite campaign themes of conservative darling Rossi, a hard-right candidate who is challenging Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, is to rail against federal spending.

Rossi has come forward in the past few weeks with increasingly conservative positions and endorsements in an apparent shift even farther to the right, reports Curt Woodward of The Associated Press.

Democrats are pouncing on those positions, saying Rossi is clearly too conservative for a state that leans Democratic.

Rossi has met privately with Tea Party groups around the state, and has signed the Tea Party’s “Contract From America,” reports Jonathan Martin at the Seattle Times.

Since Rossi has given up trying to pretend he isn’t a radical right winger, it’s at least obvious now exactly where he stands on the “marijuana question.”

Steve Elliott, a working journalist since 1982, is editor of Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media’s site of cannabis news, views, rumor and humor.


5 Responses to GOP Senate Candidate Ridicules Marijuana Pain Study

  1. Political Observer August 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    How many so-called fiscal conservatives are in favor of ending the War on Drugs? It’s been going on for almost 100 years with no signs of progress. We’re spending $70 billion a year and the result is that cannabis is easier for teenagers to buy than beer. Why is he picking on a $150K grant for scientific research, which can benefit society? If he’s really for fiscal responsibility, he should oppose the War on Drugs. He should also oppose renewing the Bush tax cuts.

  2. Drifter August 15, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Just Say No to their incessant attempts at guilt control and all their negative efforts to socially engineer the larger portion of our society known as silent majority.

  3. Jose Melendez August 15, 2010 at 6:34 am

    It’s easy to dismiss the concept of medical marijuana use because so many seem to enjoy it’s effects.

    But dozens of references were used by the US Department of Health and Human Services in it’s April 21, 1999 application for 2003 US Patent No. 6630507, entitled, “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”.

    Millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are falsely arrested on the basis of this claim in US law: “Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, based on its high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and no accepted safety for use in medically supervised treatment”.

    Reparations are long past due.

    Contact DHHS directly and challenge cannabis’ classification from the link at the top of
    – – –
    Google Marc Emery. Free us all.

  4. Vape it August 15, 2010 at 7:45 am

    I get so tired of this crap. I’m a conservative, but this is one area most conservatives need to wake up. We waste billions criminalizing people for something that grows naturally. I can’t take any prescription pain-killers without sever abdominal pain and other less enjoyable side effects I won’t mention.

    The crap we make and force people to take kills them, Pot doesn’t kill anyone. Wake up, get your facts straight instead of from the talking heads and poor informaiton. Stop wasting my damned tax money. legalize and move, go after the manufactured crap.

  5. ryan August 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

    “Rossi has come forward in the past few weeks with increasingly conservative positions and endorsements in an apparent shift even farther to the right, ”

    -its comical that the GOP has to stoop down to a third grade level to appear better qualified to the voter.

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