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  • 13 May 2014 3:16 PM | Mish (Administrator)
    CHICAGO, May 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medical cannabis is coming to Chicago! The Chicago Cannabis Conference, being held at beautiful Navy Pier, will highlight the efforts being made to bring medical cannabis access to Illinois residents while also showcasing the experts in this expanding field. The event which is scheduled June 7th and 8th will contain a series of speaker panels providing conference goers the unique opportunity to interact with and hear from politicians, medical professionals, patients and activists regarding the newest law changes and research on medical cannabis. The panels will highlight the progress being made by organizations like My Compassion, a 501(c)(3) non-profit aimed at educating the American public about medical cannabis.


    "My Compassion is honored to be hosting the Chicago Cannabis Conference at Navy Pier," says Heidi Parikh, the organization's Founder and President. "We look forward to providing the people and patients of Illinois a weekend packed with education and information from the most trusted resources in the country." The conference programming will include presentations from Illinois State Representative Camille Lilly and UFC fighter Brandon Vera, among other professionals. Panel content will consist of everything from patient testimonies to medical marijuana dispensary best practices along with nutrition and skin care from HempMeds, the Platinum Sponsor of the Conference. This family friendly event is the perfect opportunity for Illinois residents to educate themselves on the reformation of medical cannabis law and application of new medical practices that is sweeping the country. "Whether you're an entrepreneur, physician, patient or person just wanting to learn more, the magnitude of cannabis specialists who will be speaking this weekend has never been assembled before," says Parikh.

    The goal of the Chicago Cannabis Conference is to educate people on medical cannabis practices that have been validated and are increasing quality of life for millions of Americans. The Illinois Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act will create avenues of relief for thousands of patients in the Chicago area alone. This event will focus on many of the issues currently facing patients in Illinois, while outlining the advances in the cannabis industry to address those issues. Join leading professionals in changing the face of medicine in Illinois. For more information on the conference or how to register, visit http://chicagocannabisconference.com or http://mycompassion.org/.

    The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

    Heidi Parikh
    Executive Director, My Compassion
    734-931-0620

  • 29 Jan 2014 5:39 PM | Anonymous

    Pot's tipping point.

    Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

    COURTESY PHOTO


    The public debate over marijuana has finally reached the highest levels in our government. President Obama, in an interview that ran in The New Yorker, said that while he believed marijuana use is a “bad habit and a vice,” he doesn’t “think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

    That was certainly a shot over the bow against the War on Drugs; hopefully it moves us closer to sensible policies about marijuana.

    “We were absolutely delighted that he finally came out with a positive statement, an accurate statement,” says Heidi Parikh, director of Michigan Compassion, a federal nonprofit focused on education about medical marijuana. “We hope he moves forward in the direction, that he’ll reschedule it before the end of his term.”

    Parikh is referring to the single biggest impediment to research on the medical effects of marijuana and reforming laws: That marijuana is listed as a Schedule One drug with “no accepted medical use.” This classification basically keeps medical and scientific research on marijuana from moving forward expeditiously.

    Parikh also admits that Obama’s statement could have been more accurate: “We know it’s actually healthier than alcohol. That statement was a start to at least recognizing that marijuana doesn’t have more danger than alcohol.”

    Of course there was pushback against what Obama said. One of the loudest opposing voices was that of MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews, who generally supports Obama’s political positions. That wasn’t the case on this subject. Matthews did a show featuring guests Patrick Kennedy and his cousin Christopher Kennedy Lawford. Patrick Kennedy directs the anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

    Matthews’ objection is that he thinks “people have addictive personalities and some people react to freedom differently than others, and we better be ready for it because it’s coming now.”

    Whatever that means.

    His second reason is, uh, sort of like the first. “I think dope, marijuana, makes you sort of vague out, and sort of lose interest in tomorrow, two weeks from now, two months from now,” he said.

    Incisive, data-based reasoning like this could lead me to believe that Matthews had been tippling a bit before doing his show. But that is the kind of thinking that the drug war propaganda has encouraged. Matthews is a newsman whose Hardball program is about cutting through the BS and getting the facts. Some people do vegetate while under the influence of the herb. So I guess he wouldn’t consider the evidence of admitted pot users such as Obama, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, John Kerry, George Soros, Bill Gates, George W. Bush, Rand Paul, Sanjay Gupta, Rush Limbaugh (who has apparently also tried other substances recreationally), Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Martha Stewart … you can find the list of the 50 most influential marijuana users on the Marijuana Policy Project’s website. Even Snoop Dogg (aka Lion), a guy who based a large part of his image on being a pot smoker, has a pretty enviable profile. I don’t think these folks just vagued out and lost interest in their futures. The fact that many of them cited their marijuana use was in their past just reinforces the fact that the vast majority of marijuana users do not get dragged into the gutter by their use.

    “I’ve actually seen it make more productive citizens of people,” Parikh says. “I’ve seen people who are alcoholics, people who drink very heavily; I’ve seen it before my eyes that when they start to ingest cannabis, the alcohol use is just reduced to nothing.”

    When the Kennedy cousins appeared on Hardball, they also brought up the argument that today’s marijuana is much more potent than the marijuana folks smoked back in the day. That’s only partially true. In the 1960s there was always a range of potency in marijuana that went from crummy homegrown through Mexican dirt weed and on up to selected niche products, such as Colombian Gold, Panama Red, Hawaiian or Thai Stick.

    By and large most folks were smoking Mexican back in the day. And some marijuana defenders say that today’s claim of more powerful marijuana is based on crummy Mexican tested decades ago. But even then something more potent came down the pike once in a while, or if you had a few extra bucks for a special occasion you might invest in some Hawaiian.

    Selective breeding (not “genetically modified” as Patrick called it) has developed many strains with higher THC levels, and more recently, higher CBD (the cannabinoid for seizure reduction) levels. The high-quality stuff has always been around. It’s just that now there happens to be more of it because indoor growers can control growing conditions. The average for THC levels has moved up, but it’s not the night-and-day scenario that naysayers claim undefined and if it is, well, the better to medicate with.

    There’s a very simple fix for dealing with marijuana that is very potent: use less. I've grown wary of comparing marijuana to alcohol, but since Obama brought it up, I will. In the case of alcohol use, you can drink a lot of beer, which has a low, somewhere around 5-proof, alcohol content. However, when you get 80-proof rum, you drink it a little bit at a time from a tiny glass.

    That’s common-sense dose control.

    As we go along this path, we are learning more about how to deal with marijuana socially. When I was about 19 years old, my father sat me down and talked to me about alcohol. He gave me some pointers on managing it if I was going to get involved with it. That’s one of the things missing when it comes to marijuana use. Society’s official stance has been the ineffective “just say no.” That leaves no space for constructive engagement with the substance.

    It’s the same thing on the medical side of marijuana. Most doctors just have no education about it. That’s one area where Michigan Compassion has stepped into the breach. They recently gave a presentation to nursing and pre-med students at Calvin College.

    “Whether you agree with it or not, people are using it recreationally now in Colorado and Washington,” Parikh says. “As physicians, you are going to be seeing these people. You need to know what it does.”

  • 27 Jan 2014 11:51 PM | Anonymous

    Move will create new opportunity for nonprofit and marijuana business development.

    Royal Oak, MI (PRWEB) January 27, 2014

    The American Cultivator, the first widely distributed business trade journal in the hemp and marijuana industry, starts 2014 in the hands of a new Publisher. Michigan Compassion one of only four cannabis 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the country, became the new owners after receiving the donation from Hilary Dulany, who founded The American Cultivator in the Midwest and expanded to 13 states with a circulation of 50,000 copies per issue.

    Michigan Compassion is known for breaking new ground in the cannabis industry by earning a specialized grant from Google, winning approval to the CFC for Michigan Compassion (Combined Federal Campaign) and their history making presentation just last week before nursing and pre-med students at Calvin College - Grand Rapids, one of the most conservative Christian educational institutions in the State of Michigan. "Our mission is educational in nature and our results have been very impressive. The ability to further that mission will be greatly enhanced because of Hilary's generous donation to Michigan Compassion," said Heidi Parikh, Founder and Executive Director of Michigan Compassion. In addition to The American Cultivator's solid reputation for reporting on trends in the cannabis industry and politics. Parikh also hinted that "readers can now look forward to getting new content about health, investing, technology, and lifestyle from a progressive organization who has built a sterling reputation on accomplishment, truth and transparency.

    The American Cultivator was donated to Michigan Compassion in a stunning move that will expand readership and reach on a national level. "I founded and began publishing the first Cultivator model in September, 2009 - there was no advertising or marijuana business reporting - the law had just passed in Michigan and people were worried the industry had no legs," said Hilary Dulany, founder of The American Cultivator, "As a business person myself, I wanted a foundational tool for start-ups to help grow their concept. I realized the reach and conversation needed to stretch past the Midwest; I wanted states to start talking to each other. I see a national nonprofit as the facilitating factor to furthering that reality," says Dulany.

    Over 20 states have approved the medical use of cannabis with Colorado and Washington State who have legalized marijuana for recreational use. There's a wealth of information that impacts cannabis policy and the people who make cannabis a part of their lives. "Every day there's something new when it comes to cannabis, not only in our country but around the world and I'm excited The American Cultivator will provide that information to our readers," says Parikh. Michigan Compassion plans to release its first nonprofit issue on April 5th, 2014, at the 43rd annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "We will initially publish a new release every quarter then slowly expand to printing more issues into other states with the same purpose and determination that Michigan Compassion approaches every endeavor," explained Brad Forrester, Chairman of Educational Curriculum about the future expansion of the publication.

    Michigan Compassion believes "You must increase awareness to increase acceptance." Their 2014 Awareness programs include high profile educational symposiums, curriculum for expanding knowledge about Cannabis as well as its monthly public meetings in Oakland and Wayne County. Future plans for The American Cultivator will be announced on their website at http://www.mycompassion.org, for news and advertising information visithttp://www.theamericancultivator.com.

  • 24 Jan 2014 5:43 PM | Anonymous


    Heidi Parikh is the executive director of Michigan Compassion. The group will hold its first public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mahany/Meininger Senior Community Center, 3500 Marias, in Royal Oak. 

    Approval for a state charitable gaming license is the next step for the non-profit group Michigan Compassion in order to get its medical marijuana education organization soaring.

    “We are waiting on the approval; everything has been submitted; now we hope to hear back by February,” said Heidi Parikh, executive director of Michigan Compassion, located at 300 E. Fourth St. in Royal Oak.

    “A gaming license allows us to take part in the charitable gaming the state allows for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations to have bingo, charitable raffle tickets, charitable parties undefined to raise funds to help educate the public on the uses of medical cannabis,” Parikh said.

    The group will hold its first public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mahany-Meininger Senior Community Center at 3500 Marias in Royal Oak, where attendees will learn about health and cannabis, as well as legislation information in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

    Thursday’s meeting will cover “chronic pain management and cannabis,” Parikh said.

    “You will hear from top lawyers in the state about cannabis laws and rulings that can have a direct impact on your safety,” she said. “If you are a registered patient, caregiver, or just interested in learning more about medical marijuana, this is the meeting to attend.”

    Michigan Compassion is a group Parikh founded five years ago after the Medical Marihuana Act was passed in 2008.

    “We were known as the Downriver Community Passion Club; we met at Southgate Civic Center and VFWs downriver,” she said. “We are in Royal Oak because the space was donated to us.”

    Once in Royal Oak, the group applied for and was granted to become a federal non-profit organization.

    “Certain specifics you have to follow to be a federal non-profit: you cannot dispense and you cannot educate cultivating cannabis,” Parikh said. “That was easy. We don’t dispense and (provide) no cultivating education.”

    Parikh said she has steadily been “building infrastructure of the organization.”

    “We are the first non-profit where federal government employees can donate to us,” she noted. “We also broke ground last week to be the first to actually educate before a class of nursing and pre-med students for a three-hour course. We are opening doors that haven’t been open before.”

    “Education is our mission,” she continued. “We really reach out to parents and seniors and the public that doesn’t understand cannabis. We provide a place for the public to come and feel comfortable: no medicine is passed out or no people smoking cannabis.”

    Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson said the City Commission approved the group’s non-profit status in September, which allowed them to seek a charitable gaming license.

    “They came to us and met our criteria for non-profit status,” Johnson said. “We have one of the most extensive criteria in the state of Michigan.”

    Johnson said he assumed Michigan Compassion proceeded with its request for a charitable gaming license.

    “They met every criterion we have,” Johnson said as Michigan Compassion prepares for its first meeting on Thursday. “They can do education there. They can educate all they want.”

    Admission to the meeting is a $2 donation. Coffee and dessert will be served.

    Parikh noted all meetings are open to the public and attendees must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent/guardian. For more information, visit mycompassion.org.

  • 21 Oct 2013 4:36 PM | Mish (Administrator)

    Dr. Aggarwal, Rockind and Forrester lend their skills to advocacy organization
    By Rick Thompson

    October 21, 2013

    Royal Oak, MI – Michigan Compassion is pleased to announce a new association with several respected experts on marijuana and the medical, legal and educational fields.

    Michigan Compassion is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Royal Oak, Michigan. The organization’s groundbreaking associations with Google, and their inclusion in the Federal Combined Charities program, have been celebrated across the United States as industry firsts. To better assist in their informational and educational mission, Michigan Compassion announces the following new board-level appointments:

    Dr. Sunil Aggarwal - Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Aggarwal is a leading cannabis researcher who will be featured in upcoming webinars and conferences hosted by Michigan Compassion. "I am grateful to be part of this cutting edge and growing organization's Medical Advisory Board to and hope to provide education to medical professionals and the general public about the medicinal benefits of cannabis," Dr. Aggarwal said.

    Brad Forrester - Chair of the Educational Curriculum Committee. Brad is a longtime cannabis advocate and will be developing materials for Michigan Compassion’s publication “The Guide to Understanding the “MMM ACT” as well as production of Guides for other states, including Illinois, Arizona and New Jersey. "I look forward to collaborating with the most informed minds from across the country to develop a broad range of educational materials designed to separate fact from fiction, and to provide truthful and accurate information about the pros and cons of cannabis consumption for medicinal, homeopathic and recreational purposes."

    Neil Rockind - Legal Advisory Board. Rockind is one of Michigan’s most successful defense attorneys specializing in cannabis law. "I am honored to join the Michigan Compassion Legal Advisory Board,” said Rockind. “For years I have stood at the forefront on behalf of medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Now, I can put my experiences to use helping out Michigan Compassion." Rockind wrote about his appointment to the Michigan Compassion Legal Advisory Board on his website: Legal Advisory Board.

    The first of Michigan Compassion’s webinars is a physician-only session October 26th on the subject of ‘Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System- Part 1’. Future sessions will be held on a monthly basis for larger groups. The Guidebooks, the webinars and seminars, the Combined Federal Charities program and the activities of the Legal Advisory Board will each be the subject of a future press release.

    Michigan Compassion is a 501(c)(3) exempt organization. Their mission is to increase awareness and understanding through education, information and advocacy of all the medical benefits and healing properties of Cannabis. They are the first medical marijuana public charity in Michigan and only 1 of 4 in the United States to have received federal exemption.

    Order the Guidebooks, register for the seminar and find out more on Michigan Compassion’s website at: www.mycompassion.org

    Media Contact:
    Heidi Parikh, Executive Director, Michigan Compassion
    734-931-0620, heidi@mycompassion.org
  • 29 Aug 2013 5:00 PM | Mish (Administrator)

    August 29, 2013 – Royal Oak, MI - The arrest of John Roberts by the St. Clair County Sheriff for manufacturing concentrated forms of medical cannabis is the result of bold overreach by the Michigan Court of Appeals and undermines the intent of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. John Roberts conscientiously serves the sickest patients with his charitable mission through Michigan Cancer Project. His mission upholds the spirit and fundamental intent of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act by assisting the very sick with the compassionate use of medical cannabis.   

      

    The Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in People v Carruthers has had a profound negative impact on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and Michigan Compassion believes the ruling ignores important details about the Act. The prohibition of concentrated forms of medical cannabis is a direct assault on Michigan’s registered patients with the most severe illnesses by stripping their immunity under the Act and forcing a costly legal defense if they are prosecuted. As the world learned in Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN special “Weed,” the ingestion of cannabis in a concentrated form is proven to be the most effective medical application. The program showed that the medical use of cannabis is also proven to be medically effective to alleviate the severest symptoms of disease and the side effects of powerful pharmaceutical drugs used in treatments.


    Michigan Court of Appeals ruling surprised not only the medical marijuana community but also the Prosecutor who publicly questioned the scope of the Court’s ruling, stating in that

    “I was kind of surprised they went that far, actually” (Detroit News, 7/12/2013, Court: Weight of marijuana-laced food can't be counted in possession law.)


    In 2012, the Michigan Legislature passed a package of Public Acts to correct perceived deficiencies in the Act. During the House Judiciary Committee’s year-long fact finding mission, the Committee received public testimony on the common use of medical cannabis by ingestion through prepared foods using extractions made with butter, cooking oil or alcohol. Mr. Carruthers was a registered caregiver arrested for possession of brownies made with a butter extraction. The Committee also received testimony of the use of highly concentrated forms used by the sickest patients often as a narcotic substitute to help with the effects of chemotherapy. This included testimony by members of Michigan Compassion. The 2012 Public Acts made no recognition of deficiencies in section 3(k) of the Act, the definition of “Usable marihuana”, and no legislation was passed to modify it. 


    The Michigan Supreme Court has heavily stressed the “plain language” reading of the Act in its rulings. The Michigan Legislature has demonstrated the same restraint as it addressed the Act in 2012. Michigan Compassion believes that Section 3(k) of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act has sustained the democratic process under Michigan Constitution and remains as voted by the citizens. In July 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals not only ruled on a section 3(k) issue, it rewrote section 3(k) to prohibit concentrated forms of medical marihuana. Michigan Compassion believes this ruling is in error. We stress to the Michigan Courts and Legislative Bodies that standards for concentrated cannabis and food prepared with cannabis have been addressed in great detail by many other State’s governments and widely appear in documented regulations.


    The legacy of the Michigan Court of Appeals rulings on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act have left this citizen passed initiative in shambles. It has resulted in the arrest and prosecution of registered caregivers and patients who operated under the belief that their activity was protected under the Act. Michigan Compassion asks if it is justice to demand compliance with a Law when the compliance rules have become a moving target?     


    Michigan Compassion is a federally recognized 501(c)3 exempt organization. Our Mission is to strive to increase Awareness and Understanding through Education, Information and Advocacy of all of the medical benefits and Healing properties of Cannabis. For more information on Michigan Compassion, a schedule of public meetings and educational materials, visit our website at www.mycompassion.org


    Written by: James Campbell, Board Secretary - Michigan Compassion


    Contact:

    Heidi Parikh, Executive Director, Michigan Compassion

    (734) 931-0620, heidi@mycompassion.org

  • 28 Jun 2013 7:00 AM | Mish (Administrator)
    Somewhere in Pennsylvania - Curtis Kile is a cerebral palsy patient. He is wheelchair bound. He is driven to follow in his father’s footsteps and bring cannabis law reform activism into the mainstream. He is also in Pennsylvania, crossing into Maryland on the 27th or 28th, having ridden his electric wheelchair more than halfway from the Detroit area to Washington, D.C.

    “I lost my father and sister to cancer, 12 days apart, in 2011,” Kile said. “There are people dying of cancer every day that don’t need to.”

    In a June interview on the Michigan-based syndicated radio show The Political Twist-Up Show, Kile credited his father for starting an organization called United Marijuana Smokers of Michigan in the 80′s. He has re-started the group and hopes to use it to increase awareness of cannabis’ healing properties. www.umsom.com

    “I am going to be setting up United Marijuana Smokers of America,” Kile promised. “I intend to get a national movement going so it (marijuana) can just be legalized. We have to make it readily available to those who cannot afford it.” Kile’s concern is the medicinal properties of cannabis are legally available to only a small percent of Americans that could benefit from the herb’s use.

    “If doctors everywhere had access to marijuana there would be more cancer cures discovered and less suffering,” Kile said.

    Kile has used side roads and other surface streets to make the journey; he is accompanied by his support team, in a van equipped with a wheelchair lift. He expects to be in D.C. in time to speak to the human rights protest scheduled for July 4. He’d also like to meet with representatives of the Obama administration.

    It is a superhuman effort from an individual with exceptional challenges.

    “The last few days have been tough on my body,” Kile said in a telephone interview. “I average about 30 miles per day but in this heat I’m barely able to make 23 miles a day.” Cerebral Palsy affects human development and often the ability to move. Kile is scheduled to be interviewed on an Internet-only radio program, The Planet Green Trees Radio Show, at 8:00 PM EST on June 27. 

    “Curtis is a charter member of Michigan Compassion,” said Heidi Parikh, Executive Director of that organization.

    Michigan Compassion is a 501(c)(3) exempt organization who are the first medical marijuana public charity in Michigan and only 1 of 4 in the United States to have received federal exemption. Visit Michigan Compassion’s website at: www.mycompassion.org

    If you can help please send your donation to: Curtis Kile, 6360 Fellrath St. Taylor Michigan 48180 For more info. call 734-752-0118.

  • 18 Jun 2013 12:19 AM | Mish (Administrator)
  • 28 May 2013 11:54 PM | Mish (Administrator)

    May 22, 2013


    SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN- For the first time, employees of the federal government will have the option to choose a payroll deduction benefiting a marijuana-related charity in the government’s annual Combined Federal Campaign Catalog Charity Listing.


    Michigan Compassion, a federally-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit entity, will be included in the catalog that is distributed annually to federal military, postal and civilian employees. The Campaign allows employees to payroll deduct their charitable contribution; other Catalog charities include the Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America and the American Cancer Society.


    None of this would be possible if not for Michigan Compassion’s unique federal non-profit status. Michigan Compassion co-founder Amish Parikh says, “Ultimately what opened the door was providing information about (longtime federal cannabis patient) Irv Rosenfeld to the Executive Director of the CFC Campaign. After a lengthy application process and background checks, Michigan Compassion has been approved to be the first medical cannabis federal non-profit to be approved for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Catalog Charity Listing.”


    The Michigan Compassion listing will appear in the Southeastern Michigan CFC catalog. There are over 200 CFC listings across the USA and worldwide, each offering local non-profits and national charities to the federal employees in the region. The Campaign season runs from September 1 through December 15, 2013.  


    “Once September arrives the hard work begins as we start educating federal employees across southeast Michigan, the Toledo region, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Mid-Michigan,” said Parikh. The Campaign is much more than just a catalog- it includes 175 Fairs in government building all across the region. These Fairs are opportunities for charities to impress potential donors and for Michigan Compassion to introduce people to the concept of alternative uses for the cannabis plant. Michigan Compassion plans to participate in fairs at Selfridge ANG Base, various Post Offices and Veterans Affairs buildings and at the Federal Building in Detroit.


    More information about the CFC Catalog program, and a listing of Fair appearances, will be available on Michigan Compassion’s website in the future. 


    www.mycompassion.org


    Media contacts should use the following email address:


    Communications@mycompassion.org


    http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/05/28/federal-employees-have-new-option-to-support-marijuana-reform-charity/

  • 27 Mar 2013 12:03 PM | Mish (Administrator)
    Source: Michigan Compassion

    TAYLOR, Mich., March 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Patients who might benefit from Medical Marijuana for cancer treatments and other qualifying medical conditions now have a new resource for information and advocacy.

    Michigan Compassion launched in January and is the state's only federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated solely to Medical Cannabis Education and Advocacy. The organization is one of only four in the country to be granted this nonprofit status. Michigan Compassion is different from most Medical marijuana organizations because it does not dispense Cannabis and cannot lobby. Its mission is to help the public, patients and healthcare professionals understand what Medical Cannabis is and what conditions can be helped by it. The organization also helps patients and professionals navigate the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act passed in 2008 along with all the recent related bills and changes to the MMMA.

    Michigan Compassion, formerly known as the Downriver Community Compassion Club, has always considered itself a trusted resource in southern Wayne County for Medical Cannabis education and advocacy. Upon the approval of its 501(c)3, it expanded its name and outreach to help all of Michigan with continuing education about the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and Medical Cannabis.

    Cannabis is the botanical name for marijuana and can be used for pain management, reduction of epileptic seizures, Multiple sclerosis, Crohn's Disease, relief of nausea and vomiting, and killing cancer cells along with many others. The benefits vary by condition and patient, according to clinical studies.

    Michigan Compassion was founded by a Medical Cannabis patient who has experienced first-hand the benefits of its use.

    "Through my own experience using Cannabis and the improvement I saw in my health and that of others, I realized there was a need for a statewide organization dedicated to bringing awareness to those who didn't understand or know about the law or medicinal value of this plant," explains Heidi Parikh, executive director and founder of Michigan Compassion.

    Parikh points out that there are many organizations around the state that support the use of Medical Cannabis, but none are recognized by the federal government as 501(c)3 nonprofit. The political nature of the medical marijuana issue led Parikh and her supporters to differentiate from dispensary-like clubs so they could raise funds for advocacy efforts and be recognized as a vetted charitable organization.

    In December 2012, the Michigan Attorney General's Office granted approval to Michigan Compassion to solicit in the State of Michigan for Cannabis and Cancer awareness. Soon after, the first Cannabis awareness billboards went up on major highways in southeast Michigan with the message, "The Answer to Cancer, Cannabis." Though some may consider this a provocative message, it would only be natural to start with cancer first, states Parikh, considering there is often no time to waste in getting treatment. The billboards will eventually reach throughout the state.

    Michigan Compassion continues to take Medical Cannabis mainstream as it has become the only nonprofit Medical Marijuana organization in the country to receive a "lifetime" grant from Google. Parikh says the yearly $240,000 in-kind donation will be used to heighten Michigan Compassion's profile in search engines and gain it national visibility.

    Michigan Compassion currently operates by a volunteer board of directors and is funded through donations, memberships, and in-kind services. It also has planned giving options and corporate sponsorships. The organization has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating its commitment to transparency. It is currently exploring the possibility of opening chapters in other areas of the state.

    For more information, visit www.mycompassion.org or call 734-931-0620.

    Heidi Parikh
    Executive Director
    734-931-0620 office

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