A CONSPIRACY TO SILENCE
DR. TOD MIKURIYA, ONE DOCTORS’ EXPERIENCE 
[ Sept. 20, 1933 - May 20, 2007 ]
Following the passage of California's Prop-215, people all over the state were calling cannabis clubs to report that their doctors—many of whom had expressed their approval of marijuana previously—would not give them a written “letter of diagnosis” entitling them to join a club. These people would very often be given the name and phone number of Tod Mikuriya. Thus Mikuriya became the doctor of last resort for thousands of California patients.
DR. TOD MIKURIYA, THE CONSPIRACY TO SILENCE
Unfortunately, not all harassment of physicians, by the narcotics police, is general in nature; SOME DOCTORS are selected for “Extra Special Treatment"; Probably the best known example being that of Dr. Tod Mikuriya.
[ In the interest of not re-inventing the wheel, the following wording has been taken almost exclusively from a series of articles written by Peter Gorman  and Fred Garnder,   used here with their permission. For the sake of brevity, bit’s and pieces from the two authors have been mixed together and heavily edited. Note that there was good reason for the narc’s to go after him. ]As one can tell the Drug czar didn’t like Dr. Mikuriya that much and once more with good reason. His whole life seems to have been one of opposition to (what he and many of us considered) a great injustice.
ABOUT DR. MIKURIYA
. . After getting his medical degree [Temple U.] and internship, he went on to specialize in psychiatry. In 1967 he became director of non-classified marijuana research for the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse. He left the position after several months, he said, “When it became clear they only wanted research into damaging effects, not helpful ones.”
. . For decades Mikuriya was the only M.D. among the small group of activists and scholars who collected the bottles and labels and sought to unearth and publicize the history that our educational system had erased so systematically.  Mikuriya lamented to a UCSF medical student interviewing him in 1996.
“Western medicine has forgotten almost all it once knew about the therapeutic properties of marijuana,” “Hemp-based tinctures and preparations were prescribed for myriad purposes—analgesic and hypnotic; appetite stimulant; anti-epileptic and antispasmodic; for the prevention and treatment of the neuralgias, including migraine and tic doloreux; antidepressant and tranquilizer; oxytocic (to induce uterine contractions); topical anesthetic; withdrawal agent for opiate, chloral and alcohol addiction; intraocular hypotensive; childbirth analgesic; hypothermogenic.”When the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club (was launched) at the start of the ‘90s, Mikuriya saw “a unique research opportunity.” He began interviewing club members in an attempt to confirm or add to descriptions in the pre-prohibition literature. When Prop 215 was being drafted, Mikuriya contributed to it’s wording, his face also (through the pro-Prop 215 TV Ad’s) soon became the public face of the Medical community. ---- ALL OF WHICH, obviously did not go unnoticed by the narcotics police, who were now beginning to see him as a threat to their very jobs.
THE POLITICAL HARASSMENT BEGINS
– Chinese proverb
With Dr. Mikuriya’s background, it becomes apparent why the Drug Czar’s Office chose him for (extra special) ridicule during the Dec. 1996 press conference. But soon even more sinister actions were in the works--- Dr. Mikuriya was to be targeted directly.
It took them over six years and who knows how many millions of the taxpayers dollars to do it, but in 2003 they finally got him. Here are the facts the way we see them:
“The Feds finally got their pound of flesh, when Dr. Mikuria began serving a 5-year period of medical practice probation ordered by Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Lew, in an action brought by the Medical Board of California before it’s Administrative Court. The terms of Mikuriya’s probation include paying $75,000 for the cost of his prosecution, no longer being able to see patients in his home—something he’d been doing for 30 years—paying a second doctor to review his patient records, having his records spot checked by the California Medical Board, not being able to do telephone follow-ups with patients, and requires that he disclose his medical marijuana recommendations to his patients’ primary physicians.”
– Ancient Roman Proverb
But for the narc’s, it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory. The whole idea of targeting selected doctors was to spread fear and send a clear message to the medical community. Recommend Medical Cannabis to your patients and we will go after you. And to some extent it did work, no doubt many physicians (in fear of losing their medical licenses) did indeed STOP. But by adapting the tactics of Ancient Rome the Narc’s also greatly damage their own cause by showing everyone in the medical community just how shallow their case against Medical Cannabis really was.
------------------ Dr. Mikuriya
Reflections on Moral Courage:
All of the above begs a question – Why did Dr. Mikuryia do it. Why didn’t he do like most of us and take the road of least resistance --- the answer is somewhat complex, and subject to various interpretations. In one person’s opinion, he was greatly affected by what was happening around him. Perhaps the Peter McWilliams case serves as a good example: Here was a case where someone literally lost his life because of court ordered, “Lack of Access to Medical Cannabis.” Tod, was not about to allow this to happen again. To quote a popular expression at the time; “Not on my Watch Its Not”.
But even before the murder of Peter McWilliams at the hands of the Narc’s, he was active in correcting such injustices. One can only wonder how many people would now be dead were it not for him. Example: Within a period of five years (1997-2002) following the passage of California’s Prop-215 (legalizing Medical Cannabis). Dr. Tod Mikuriya was reported to have written around 7,000 prescriptions for Medical Cannabis. Which begs the question -- WHY SO MANY?
The answer is very simply, because so many of the other physicians were under extreme duress at the time. At a press conference (held by then Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey) in response to the passage of Prop-215: -- the drug czar also made it clear that ANYONE writing a physical prescription will AUTOMATICALLY LOSE their federal license to write ALL prescriptions. In addition, then H.H.S. Secretary Donna Shalala announced that doctors who recommended marijuana risked having their Federal DEA licenses to prescribe controlled drugs revoked. More than that, Ms. Shalala also stated, “they (also) risked criminal prosecution and being excluded from Medicare” Etc. During his trial in (2002) Dr. Mikuriya stated,
“I write a lot of recommendations because I have a lot of patients,” . . . “About 40% of them are recommended to me by their primary physicians, who either know nothing about the benefits of medical marijuana, or are too scared to write recommendations themselves.”In addition, it must be taken into account that Dr. Mikuria (while a regular physician), did specialize in and was well known for his knowledge of Medical Cannabis. He had even appeared on numerous television ad’s in favor of Prop-215. Thus (for good or for bad), in the early days after Prop-215, he became a magnet for patients throughout California who needed Medical Cannabis.
NOTE: TECHNICALLY they were Medical Recommendations (not prescriptions) – this was done as a way to get around the fact that ACTUAL PRESCRIPTIONS were still licensed and under the control of the Federal Government.MARINOL PRESCRIPTIONS:
Then there were his prescriptions for Marinol (a synthetic form of Cannabis) an FDA approved drug. Thus any physician is allowed to prescribe it for any of their patients who has a medical need. BULL, if you believe that one, you believe in the man on the moon; Just ask Dr. Mikuiya? Below are just a couple of case examples:
Case: [name withheld] Six years before the passage of California’s Prop-215., the patient had just gotten out of jail (on a Medical Cannabis charge) and was now on probation. Problem, she had a medical need for Cannabis, but Cannabis was illegal. Solution, Dr. Mikuiya prescribed Marinol for the patient. Problem, she was on probation and had to undergo mandatory drug testing at the time. As Marinol acts as a masking agent for Medical Cannabis, she did not have to undergo testing for it. Which did not make the narc’s all that happy. --- It is believed that this is how he first got on the radar scope of the narcotics police.
Case: [Steve kubby] – Mr. Kubby who worked tirelessly to pass Prop-215 and (who believe it or not) for a time was in political asylum in Canada for his activities). But at the time he was in jail and was in very bad shape --- Solution, although Medical Cannabis would have been ideal, due to jail regulations that would have been impossible. Thus Dr. Mikuiya not only prescribed Marinol but personally hand delivered it to the inmate. Boy did the narc’s get mad about that.
But Dr. Mikuriya DID come under scrutiny for his actions. Prescribing MARINOL to his patients (who were obviously in a medical need) was at this point only second nature to him. After all, wasn’t he a doctor, weren’t doctors suppose to treat their patients? And Damn the consequences.
Dr. Mikuriya died in 2007, but he left a legacy
. . . Mikuriya liked to use the slogans “Grandfather it in!” and “Back to the future!” in discussing the legalization of cannabis for medical use. The generations of Americans who discovered cannabis in social settings in the 1960s and the decades that followed had no idea that it had been widely used in this country between the Civil War and the Great Depression, with tinctures manufactured by Eli Lilly, Parke, Davis and other major pharmaceutical companies available by prescription.
“Then they ridicule you”,
“Then they fight you,”
“Then you win."
--- Mahatma Gandhi
- In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Mikuriya donated (more than just a little bit of) money to this museum. In addition he was also the originator of the museums FDA Grandfather Clause petition, which at this time is still circulating somewhere within the hulls of the FDA. And yes, the author did know him personally.
—“Oakland Hearing to Decide Fate of Pot-Prescribing Doc” By FRED GARDNER
-- “Oakland Hearing to Decide Fate of Pot-Prescribing Doc” By FRED GARDNER
—“Dr. Tod Mikuriya: Shrink Rapped” by: Peter Gorman
— MUSEUM NOTE: Some of the original Cannabis Bottle pictures shown on the museums website [www.AntiqueCannabisBook.com] were from Dr. Mikuriya’s collection. In addition we must concur in sadness that the History of Medical Cannabis has been scrubbed clean by the Reefer Madness era and it’s aftermath – see our sister museum -- www.ReeferMadnessMuseum.org .
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