Cannabis Health News Magazine by patients for patients

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Yesterday, we told you about several folks featured in a Colorado-centric issue of High Times, who'll be autographing copies of the mag at the Cannabis Therapy Institute's Cannabis Holiday Health Fair, slated for Sunday, December 13, at the Holiday Inn, 4849 Bannock Street.

But that's not the only magazine news at the event. Also scheduled to attend is Jason Lauve, who'll be debuting a new homegrown publication, Cannabis Health News Magazine, a bi-monthly (probably) that will be available for free at places where medical marijuana patients gather. "The purpose behind it is a magazine by patients for patients," he says.

If Lauve's name sounds familiar, it should.

Lauve, who broke his back in 2004 after being hit by a snowboarder, is a medical marijuana patient who was arrested in Boulder County for allegedly having too much weed -- two pounds, two ounces, he says. But earlier this year, he was acquitted in a decision described in an August letter to Colorado officials by the Cannabis Therapy Institute:

Recently, our advocates helped secure a victory for Jason Lauve, a Boulder County Medical patient who was being prosecuted for having 'too much' medical cannabis. The jury acquitted him on the grounds that the language in Article 18, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution was vague in regards to how much medicine is 'medically necessary' and that a patient was allowed to decide whatever amount they needed.

The positive judgment was accompanied by bad news: On the day of the verdict, Lauve was dismissed from his job at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. But while he's currently unemployed, he's hardly been idle. The process of going through the trial gave him a new mission.

"I started to engage in a lot of conversations with patients, lawyers, caregivers and dispensaries," he says, "and I really became adamant about education -- making sure people are talking from a basis of knowledge and science, and not from stereotype and misinformation."

The easiest way to spread the word these days is online -- but Lauve decided to go with old-fashioned print. Why?

"I have a really specific target audience in mind -- the patients who go to dispensaries, wellness centers, acupuncturists, doctors offices. A lot of patients may be indigent or not have access to the Internet, to a cell phone or an iPhone or whatever. And a lot of them are older and have sight problems. That's why I've enlarged the text in the magazine, and people who've seen it so far really seem to like it. They're finding that they can read it without having to dig up their spectacles."

His approach, meanwhile, will be to deal with questions like safety, quality, consistency and cost from a patient's perspective, in part because he feels such data is a lot harder to find than articles about the political or regulatory issues surrounding medical marijuana. An example:

"I spoke to a patient who has bladder cancer that's given her an immune deficiency," he notes. "At one point, her doctor said, 'You should try medical marijuana, because you're going to die from all these other medications.' So she goes to a dispensary and someone hands her a bong thinking she knows how to use it -- and it was filthy. That could have really made her sick, so she said, 'Can you offer me something else?' And they roll her a cigarette and lick it. And when she said she that was a problem, too, because of her immune deficiency, they actually got upset at her and asked her to leave.

"I've heard stories like these over and over again -- people in their forties and fifties and sixties with anal cancer, bladder cancer, muscle spasticity, who can really benefit from medical marijuana but may not know anything about it. And I didn't see anything out there in terms of finding information for people like them."

Because his background is in animation, Lauve has been learning about the business of publishing as he goes along. For instance, he says that once he secured enough advertising to cover the cost of printing 15,000 copies of his inaugural edition, he pretty much stopped soliciting for more. But he's pleased by the response thus far -- so much so that he's looking at putting out copies every other month instead of quarterly, as he'd originally planned.

"I have big goals," he says -- including perhaps putting out similar magazines in other areas, but with a focus specific to the locale. Right now, however, he's concentrating on getting Cannabis Health News Magazine up and running here.

"It's very exciting," he says. "I feel like I'm really helping people."

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