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April 25, 1996

Medical Marijuana Initiative Heads For California Ballot

April 23, 1996, Santa Monica, CA: Proponents of a state-wide initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use report that they have collected over 750,000 signatures, well over the number necessary to place it on the November 1996 California ballot.

Supporters were elated by the success of the signature-gathering drive and noted that a last week blitz of over 140,000 signatures virtually guaranteed that Californians will have an opportunity to vote on the issue this year. A final validation of the estimated 750,000 signatures is expected in five to eight weeks. The number of signatures required to qualify the initiative for the 1996 ballot is 433,269.

California's medical marijuana initiative came about in response to Governor Pete Wilson's decision to veto legislation passed by the California Legislature in 1995 that would have allowed for the controlled compassionate use of marijuana for those diagnosed by a physician to be suffering from the diseases of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. The 1996 initiative maintains that any patient who possesses a valid doctor's recommendation should be allowed to use marijuana as a therapeutic agent without fear or risk of prosecution. If the initiative is passed by California voters this fall, the measure will become law immediately and cannot be vetoed.

"The issue here is simple: sick people should not be arrested for using medicine that their physicians recommend to them," said California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer.

For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858 or Dennis Peron of Californians for Compassionate Use at (415) 621-3986.

Vermont Senate Approves Hemp Legislation
However, State Still A Long Ways Away From Cultivation

April 18, 1996, Montpelier, VT: An amended version of legislation that had been previously approved by the House to permit the development of a domestic hemp industry in Vermont was passed by the Senate by a 15-10 vote. The amended measure reportedly "narrows the focus" of the bill (H.783) and now must be re-approved by the House before being sent to the governor. Because the measure failed to receive two-thirds majority support in the Senate, it is expected be vetoed by Gov. Howard Dean who remains opposed to any efforts to legalize industrial hemp. "It is a terrible message to send to children," wrote Dean in an April 8 letter to hemp-activist, Colorado Sen. Lloyd Casey (D-Northglenn).

Rep. Fred Maslack (R-Poultney), a chief proponent of the legislation, told NORML that the House is going to take its time and "let things develop" before rushing to approve the amended legislation. Maslack stated that House backers are considering several options at this time, including trying to override Dean's expected veto of the bill and/or tacking the controversial legislation onto an economic development bill considered sacred to the governor. "It's not over 'til it's over," Maslack told the Associated Press.

Kathleen Keenan, chairwoman of the House Commerce Committee, told the AP that she sees hemp as an "economic development issue," but noted that "it has enough merit to stand alone." Keenan further added that she was uncertain how committed Dean was to the economic development bill and cautioned that he may, in fact, veto it with the hemp provision included.

Keenan's warning has little affect on the bill's proponents, however, who consider the latest round of political one-upmanship a "positive" note. The approval from the Senate was "one more step in the process," said Maslack. "[It's] not the first step [and it's certainly] not the last step," but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

For more information on the latest status of the Vermont hemp bill, please contact the House Clerk's Office at (802) 828-2247. Rep. Fed Maslack may be contacted via e-mail at:

Cincinnati Buyers Club Founder To Face Felony Drug Charges

April 19, 1996, Covington, KY: Richard Evans, founder of the Greater Cincinnati Buyers Club - one of an estimated 30 underground clubs located across the country that supply marijuana as a therapeutic agent to seriously ill patients who possess a physician's recommendation - has been charged with three felony counts of trafficking marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school in connection with a February raid by law enforcement officers on the club's headquarters. Evans' home, which is located in close proximity of a school, served as the headquarters for the Cincinnati club. Evans informed NORML last February that he had two marijuana seedlings growing at the time of the bust.

Evans was subpoenaed to testify before the Kenton County Grand Jury on April 19 and questioned about his involvement in the buyer's club. Evan's plead the Fifth Amendment and was later taken to Kenton County Jail. He was released on $5,000 bond and will be arraigned on Monday.

"I am sick of living in a country where I can't be free," Evans adamantly summarized at a press conference following the raid last February. "Give me liberty or give me death. We are going to have a cannabis buyer's club."

For more information, please contact Richard Evans of Americans for Compassionate Use at (606) 431-8719 or Attorney Gatewood Galbraith at (606) 281-6909.

Woody Harrelson Withholds Taxes To Protest Industrial Hemp Prohibition

April 17, 1996, Denver, CO: Appalled at the recent defeat of a bill that would have allowed Colorado to become the first state to legally grow industrial hemp since World War II, Hollywood actor and hemp activist Woody Harrelson has withheld $10,000 of his taxes to protest the government.

"I know I'm only a pampered actor with no room to complain, ... but the fact is I care," Harrelson wrote in a two page proclamation. Previously Harrelson, who has commercial interests in a hemp clothing company, had pledged his support for the Colorado hemp bill by affirming that he "will personally guarantee that all hemp produced in Colorado will be purchased at fair market prices." The legislation was recently killed by the House Agriculture Committee by a 8-5 vote.

According to a story that ran in USA Today, Harrelson said that he's been quietly fighting on behalf of industrial hemp and other environmental causes for years. He even slipped president Clinton a letter regarding hemp cultivation while they both attended actor Ted Danson's wedding, the feature noted.

In response to Harrelson's action and to commemorate his efforts on behalf of the Colorado Hemp Production Act of 1996, the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (CO-HIP) has declared July 23 to be Woody Harrelson Appreciation Day. "Mr. Harrelson has shown great courage and integrity in speaking out in the name of the [environment,] said CO-HIP's Laura Kriho. "As a well known and talented actor, his fame has brought media attention to issues like the salvage logging rider and the industrial hemp movement. ... We hope he continues to be a vocal supporter."

For more information, please contact CO-HIP at (303) 784-5632.



Regional and other news

Body Count

The "Portland" zoned edition in Thursday's
Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area, shows that 12 of the 14 felons who received jail or prison terms from Multnomah County courts in the most recent week were sentenced for controlled-substance offenses. (April 25, 1996, p. 8, 3M-MP-SE). That brings the total so far this year to 119 of 200, or 59.5 percent. Unfortunately, The Oregonian summaries do not say what other statistics repeatedly show - that the vast majority of drug felons are first-time offenders. By way of contrast, Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix, D-Lake Oswego, was heard on cable-access Wednesday evening, April 24, saying that burglars, car thieves, and violent criminals routinely get away with repeated offenses before actually going to jail or prison. Rep. Mannix said that car thieves currently average eight arrests before finally being sentenced to jail or prison. (He may have said "burglars" instead of car thieves - sorry - the tape wasn't running.)

According to Harry Anslinger's testimony to Congress in 1937, which led to the federal prohibition of pot:

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Philipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.
Let's see. The latest National Household Survey on Drug Abuse states "10 million Americans (four-fifths of current illicit drug users) used marijuana, making it the most commonly used illicit drug" ( That means consumption of marijuana has increased under prohibition at least 10,000 percent between 1937 and 1994. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel yet?

The Oregonian - 'Illegal Drug Use Increasing Significantly'

The Oregonian continues its leading role in promoting public misunderstanding. "Numbers are in: Crime stabilizes," in the April 25 "MetroEast Neighbors" section, is a classic of its kind (p. 1 3M ME). It asserts that illegal-drug use is increasing in east Multnomah County because arrests for drugs increased there in 1995. Every reporter and editor knows such a claim is likely to inspire knee-jerk reactions in readers that, if a particular type of crime is increasing, by golly, yet more law-enforcement efforts must be needed. The effect is to promote a vicious cycle in which illegal-drug users fill up ever more jail cells while real criminals go free because of overcrowding, causing the public to support ever-harsher and more expensive penalties for controlled-substance violators because the mass media and government keep saying that illegal drugs are the primary cause of crime and violence.

"Numbers are in: Crime stabilizes" opens with a blood-curdling account of two April 1996 fatal knifings before the reporter apparently realizes her topic is 1995 crime statistics. Oops. Then she goes on to assert that "The statistics released by the state for Gresham, Troutdale, Sandy and mid-Multnomah County show that crime - except for forgeries, illegal drug use and rape - is not increasing significantly." The assertion that illegal drug use is increasing significantly is based on a graph (p. 6 3M-ME) showing the number of such arrests in 1995 increased to 508 in Gresham (from 331 in 1994, up from 181 in 1993); increased to 34 in Troutdale (up from 29 in 1994 and 18 in 1993); and doubled to 22 in Sandy (from 11 in 1994, but down from 16 in 1993). For the entire east Multnomah County area (population 221,766), drug arrests rose to 564 in 1995 from 371 in 1994 and from 215 in 1993. The "MetroEast Neighbors" article and its false conclusions were also summarized in similar crime stories that ran in other editions of the April 25 'Oregonian.'

Even if illegal-drug use were increasing - and the federal government says it's not - it should be apparent to everyone that such use is not increasing at the rate indicated by the arrests in east Multnomah County, which rose from 371 in 1994 to 564 in 1995, or 65.78 percent in one year. The most current standard reference, the federally funded National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, posted on the World Wide Web at, says "The number of illicit drug users has not changed since 1992. This follows more than a decade of decline since the peak year for illicit drug use, which was 1979."

Although there is no credible evidence yet that usage is increasing, arrests for illegal drugs nationwide have escalated to record numbers under the Clinton administration. As William F. Buckley Jr. wrote in his Feb. 26, 1996, National Review column:

"In 1985, 811,000 arrests were made for drug offenses. In 1994, 1.35 million arrests were made for drug offenses. Does that mean that the war on drugs is effective? Well, no. An effective law diminishes, rather than increases, the number of violators who have to be arrested. ... If something is illegal, then the law that makes it so is effective to the extent that it imprisons those who violate it, thereby hypothetically reducing the number of lawbreakers" (p. 70).

Here are the arrest tallies just for marijuana nationwide from 1991 to 1994, the period in which the federal government says that illegal-drug use was declining or stable:

Of course, if illegal drug use were in fact increasing at a time when real-crime rates are decreasing, that would belie the oft-asserted claim that illegal-drug use increases real crime and violence. The U.S. Department of Justice's own report, "Psychoactive Substances and Violence," published in February 1994 and posted at, contradicts this common media-generated myth, stating that "Of all psychoactive substances, alcohol is the only one whose consumption has been shown to commonly increase aggression."

As detailed in the April 4 Portland NORML news release, there are currently at least 23 substance offenders in Multnomah County for every jail cell, so local police have no hope of locking up more than a tiny percentage of illegal-drug violators. Instead, just as in Portland, increasing drug arrests in east Multnomah County probably indicate a dysfunctional police department that has abdicated its public safety role in order to boost its arrest record by rounding up relatively nonviolent, harmless drug offenders. Most street cops ignore more drug crimes than they bother to make arrests for, otherwise the situation would be even worse. For more details see the article "1 in 3 violent crimes gets resolved" [in Portland], from the The Sunday Oregonian of Feb. 25, 1996, p. D4; as well as "What's with Gresham police?" an Oregonian staff editorial of April 22, 1996, p. B6.

If the voters understood that mostly first-time drug offenders were taking up about 60 percent of all county jail cells in order that burglars, car thieves, drunk drivers and wife-beaters could be arrested time after time after time before being sentenced to jail, there seems little doubt that political heads would roll. The only problem is, the region's mass media continue to misrepresent those facts.

Drug Policy Reform On The Table In Oregon?

"We all know the drug war has failed" said Bend businessman Harry Lonsdale. Lane County Commissioner Jerry Rust also reportedly spoke in opposition to the drug war during an April 21 primary debate broadcast on statewide network television. The debate, featuring Oregon Democratic Party contenders for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Republican Mark O. Hatfield, provided some refreshing new evidence that the public is ready for an open and honest discussion about drug policy. It would seem apparent that both candidates sense a growing dissatisfaction with current policies.

Two Local Candidates Seek Portland NORML Endorsement

From: Paul Shene
Subject: Re: Portland NORML 4/18/96 Weekly News Release
X-UIDL: e852e3a56b5f887cfbc55fca6a2530de

Having read you newsletter, I have to get slightly stronger in my viewpoints about drugs and prohibition.

Obviously, the present policy is a monumental failure, basically because it does not keep perspective. The police are being used outside of their natural function of serving and protecting, because of these policies.

With that in mind, it is time to end that policy now, with de-criminalization. Jaywalking is a bigger threat to public safety than cannibis use, so the penalties are out of proper proportion. As candidate for mayor, I propose to return some rationality in the regulatory code.

If the anti-prohibiton league and NORML decide to endorse me, I will accept said endorsement, but this slight shift in attitude about the marijuana laws is more on a personal level, because of the obvious injustices with the present policy.

Paul Shene III
Paul Shene for Mayor
3630 SE 39th #16
Portland Oregon 97202
(503) 235-2853

[End of e-mail]

Dale E. Sherbourne (, a candidate for Portland city commissioner, also e-mailed us a statement that:

phil i would like your endorsement from the portland norml chapter for the city commisioner position 1 the utilies comm. i supporrt the legalizztion of additive drugs to bee distributed via prescription so the addicted will no longer need to resort to criminal activities to support there habits and can recieve treatment rather than abuse by the law or there dealers and to reduce the financial burden of society of having to arrest,try,and warehouse thanks

[End of e-mail]

The editor is, of course, unable to endorse candidates on behalf of Portland NORML. Candidates who would like an endorsement from the local chapter should arrange to make a pitch at the next Portland NORML meeting and should call Director T.D. Miller at (503) 777-9088 for details. It's probably safe to say, however, that most Portland NORML members greatly appreciate the statements of Paul Shene and Dale E. Sherbourne favoring drug policy reform. The weekly Portland NORML news release will try to print, verbatim, any other statements from other candidates about their specific positions on marijuana-law reform or drug policy. Although it is late in the game for 1996, the consensus at the Portland NORML meeting April 24 was that the group would like to sponsor or co-sponsor a forum where candidates could discuss drug-policy issues exclusively. Look for such an event in the next round of elections.

Driving More Risky Than Drugs, Guns

Cars make suburban life riskier than urban
by James Gerstenzang
Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1996

Washington - the automobile, long considered the ticket to freedom in suburbia, is instead turning suburban life into a territory of destruction more dangerous than urban communities, according to a study being released today.

The study of the long-reaching impact of cars, trucks and suburban sprawl on the qualify of life in the Pacific Northwest found that the prevalence of automobiles and auto accidents has led to more deaths and injuries in suburbs than have guns and drugs in urban settings.

"People dramatically underestimate the risks of driving and overestimate the risks of crime," the study's author, Alen Thein During, said.

FDA Loosens Rules On New Cancer Drugs

Medicinal marijuana reformers may have a new window of opportunity, thanks to a policy change just announced by the government, which still won't acknowledge its own research suggesting that cannabis effectively reduces cancer tumors (as well as quelling nausea like no other drug).

According to an Associated Press story titled "FDA will allow cancer patients to get new drugs faster," published in the March 30, 1996 Oregonian (p. A15):

Cancer patients will get quicker access to promising new drugs, much as AIDS patients already do, under a program announced Friday by President Clinton.
Since 1991, the FDA has offered special "accelerated approval" to drugs promising hope for treatment of any life-threatening disease. Instead of proving that a drug has prolonged life in hundreds of patients, medicines could be sold after studies of smaller groups of people showed they helped a vital symptom.
Only one cancer drug is in the group, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals' Casodex for advanced prostate cancer. Most makers of cancer drugs were afraid to try accelerated approval without specific FDA guidelines on what was acceptable, said Eli Lilly Vice President Homer Pearce.

So the FDA on Friday provided guidelines: Simply show in Phase II trials that the medicine makes a tumor shrink. Expensive final testing in many more patients still must prove the drug's long-term effectiveness, but those Phase III studies can run while the drug is being sold.

While drug warriors often assert that marijuana smoke contains carcinogenic chemicals, not a single case of cancer has ever been attributed to smoking marijuana. (You would have seen the posthumous "poster children.")

In fact, two studies cited below, sponsored by and then suppressed by the federal government, show that cannabis reduces the size of tumors. The ensuing information has not been collected in one place before:

Dr. Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar of Harvard Medical School write in their book, "Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine" (1993, Harvard University Press, available quick and cheap from FS Book Company, Sacramento, 1-800-635-8883 credit cards, 916-771-4203 customer service):

Antitumoral Effects

The relief of nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy is not the only proposed use of cannabis in cancer treatment. In the 1970s an experiment was conducted in which the lungs of mice were injected with cancer cells and delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, or cannabinol was applied; the size of the tumors dropped 25 to 82 percent, depending on dose and duration of treatment, with a corresponding increase in survival time. (41) Other animal studies also suggest that some cannabinoids have tumor-reducing properties. Although there is no human and little other research in the field, cannabinoids may prove to be useful as adjuncts to other chemotherapeutic agents. (p. 132)


41: L.S. Harris, A.E. Munson, and R.A. Carchman, "Antitumor Properties of Cannabinoids," in The Pharmacology of Marihuana, ed. M.C. Braude and S. Szara, 2 vols. (New York: Raven, 1976), 2:773-776.

A second credible piece of research that turned up similar results is "The Anti-Cancer Effect of Cannabinoids," published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Sept.1975 pages 597-602).

In addition, Jack Herer writes in his book, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes," that:

Researchers at the Medical College of Virginia discovered that cannabis is an incredibly successful herb for reducing many types of tumors, both benign and malignant (cancerous).

The DEA and other federal agencies had ordered these tumor studies done after hearing of erroneous reports of possible immunicological problems associated with cannabis smoke. When, instead of health problems, an apparent medical breakthrough occurred in 1975 and successful tumor reductions were recorded, orders were handed down by the DEA and the National Institute of Health (NIH) to defund all further cannabis/tumor research and testing. (p. 37, 10th edition, 1995. Prove him wrong and collect $30,000. Cost: $19 from FS Book Company, ibid.)

Although Herer copiously footnotes his research, his source for the claim that NIH suppressed this research, on page 97, seems to be "personal interviews with researchers, Washington, DC, November 1982." While that may understandably seem insufficient, it's worth noting that NIH and the DEA have never tried to collect Herer's $30,000 bounty from its escrow account.

The mass media did not report this research but it's reasonable to assume that most of the oncologists in North America read it.

Nobody has attempted to survey scientifically what oncologists think about the antitumoral effects of cannabis. However, the medical literature on cannabis' efficacy at quelling nausea is so extensive that a scientific 1990 survey of American oncologists found that almost two-thirds of respondents considered it effective for that purpose. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would prescribe it if it were legal, and 44 percent said they had in fact already recommended it to at least one patient for that purpose, despite the possibility of prosecution.

The study, Marijuana as Antiemetic Medicine: A Survey of Oncologists' Experiences and Attitudes, is the work of Rick Doblin and Mark Kleiman, two researchers at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Kleiman and Doblin conducted a random survey of members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Some 1,035 responded, about nine percent of America's oncologists at the time. The results were published in the July 1, 1991 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Volume 9, No. 7, pp. 1314-1319. The survey also reported that 30 percent of respondents said they would need more information. Only 22 percent said they would not prescribe it. Nearly two-thirds of the oncologists who responded, 63 percent, agreed that marijuana was an effective antiemetic. Only 8 percent disagreed. Twenty-nine percent had no opinion. Kleiman and Doblin reported that 89 percent of the respondents with an opinion thought marijuana was an effective antiemetic. Of the 277 respondents who felt they had enough information to compare smoked marijuana to oral THC, 44 percent said that marijuana was more effective, contrasted with 13 percent who believed oral THC was more effective and 43 percent who thought both forms were equally effective. Of the 609 respondents with opinions, 79 percent also believed marijuana could be used safely to control nausea.

Aside from its anti-tumoral properties, marijuana may also serve as a useful adjunct to cancer treatment because of its role in reducing stress and anxiety, as these two disparate quotes suggest:

"You all know I have terminal cancer - and I have a lot of it. But what you may not know is that stress induces its spread and induces its activity. Stress may even bring it on." -- Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, quoted in Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story, by Brent Walth (Oregon Historical Society Press, 1994).

"The biggest killer on the planet is stress and I still think the best medicine is and always has been cannabis." -- Willie Nelson, High Times, January 1991

(The government has never allowed any research on marijuana and stress or anxiety.)

Cannabis' anti-tumoral properties also extend to its seed-oil and possibly its roots. The article, Hempseed: Nature's Perfect Food? in the April 1992 High Times, cites authoritative research showing that the essential fatty acids in hemp (cannabis) seeds are likely to protect the immune system and ward off cancer. "In the old country the peasants ate hemp butter. They were more resistant to disease than the nobility. The higher classes wouldn't eat hemp porridge because the poor ate it. To them hemp was low-class food. ... Hemp is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids. ..." There's much more - it's really an excellent and amazing article. Check it out.

The New English Dispensatory of 1764 recommends boiled cannabis roots for the elimination of tumors, as noted in Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years, Plenum Press (1980).

In response to this post:

Let's assume that this "ionizing radiation" causes some of the cancers connected with cigarette consumption. Some, however, are caused by the other five "cancer causing nitrosamines" and other carcinogens also found in marijuana. Why, sir, would those same agents magically be incapable of causing cancer in a marijuana smoker?
R. Givens wrote:
OK. How do these carcinogens react in the presence of THC and other cannabis compounds? Has this ever been tested? Surely you are aware that the presence or absence of certain compounds can completely change a chemical reaction. (HS Chem 101)

At least three distinct cannabis compounds are known to have strong anti-tumor activity: delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC and cannabinol. Delta-9-THC, by itself, extended survival time of cancerous rats 36%. Delta-9-THC caused no weight loss as is the case with most standard anti-tumor agents. Delta-9-THC also had the distinct advantage of not damaging healthy tissue. At the time of this research, delta-9-THC was the only known chemotherapy agent that could distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells. It may still be so. It is worth mentioning that some studies indicate that marijuana compounds increase the effectiveness of standard anti-cancer agents. This is important because of the unquestioned toxicity of many chemotherapy agents. Using less chemotherapy and getting the same result would improve survival chances.


Analgesic & Anti-Tumor potential of The Cannabinoids
Louis S. Harris, Dept of Pharmacology
Medical College of Virginia
Health Sciences Div.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA
(US Dept Health & Ed. partial sponsor) (circa 1973)

[Postscript - ] According to a news report, "Study may undercut marijuana opponents - Report says THC did not cause cancer," in the January 30, 1997 Boston Globe, a federal study left on the shelf for two-and-a-half years showed the main active ingredient in marijuana did not cause cancer when fed in huge doses to laboratory animals over long periods, and "may even have protected against malignancies." The 126-page draft study, which undercuts federal officials' contention that marijuana is carcinogenic, had never been published, though a panel of expert reviewers found in June 1994 that its scientific methods and conclusions were sound.

The ensuing comes from the pages of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics at

Medical Use of Marijuana by Patients Undergoing Cancer Chemotherapy & with AIDS

Cancer chemotherapy can often prolong the patient's life by several years. In some instances, a complete "cure" can be obtained. Unfortunately, these drugs also have severe side-effects, most notably nausea and vomiting. Patients sometimes find these effects so distressing they abandon chemotherapy entirely.

People with AIDS (Acquired Immune Disease) also experience these problems. Powerful anti-viral drugs such as AZT and the new protease inhibitors can induce severe nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal effects. Similarly, AIDS "wasting syndrome" can literally starve an individual to death.

Investigations with cannabis have revealed its ability to reduce (or eliminate) the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy while also providing an appetite stimulus. The benefits are thus twofold: 1) the patient is able to retain food and maintain body strength, and 2) he or she can tolerate the life-prolonging chemotherapy treatments.

At least eight published studies have confirmed the ability of cannabis and its psychoactive ingredient delta-9-THC to reduce nausea and vomiting. The first appeared in 1975 in The New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded, "THC is an effective anti-emetic for patients receiving cancer chemotherapy."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in February, 1980 listed 33 studies of cannabis and nausea and vomiting. Most of these experiments involve efforts to determine the proper dosage of THC and several are comparative studies with other standard anti-emetics.

In New Mexico, a state sponsored study has shown the cannabis cigarette to be 30% more effective than THC in relieving nausea and vomiting. Another study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), discovered that inhaled cannabis resulted in a 71% efficacy rate, as opposed to 44% with oral delta-9-THC. These controlled studies have been fortified by "anecdotal" accounts from individuals who have abandoned legal access to THC because they prefer marijuana obtained illegally. These patients report that smoking marijuana seems to bring an almost instantaneous relief.

This is not a new finding. As early as May 1978, researches at a symposium sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) concluded, "All in all, the cigarette may be the best means of administering the drug."

In September 1988 the chief administrative law judge of the Drug Enforcement Administration ruled that marijuana has medical value in the treatment of side-effects caused by cancer chemotherapy. His decision was over-ruled by the administrator of the DEA and marijuana remains illegal for medical purposes.

Cancer Bibliography Books

Marijuana Medical Papers, Tod Mikuriya, M.D. (ed.) Medi-Comp Press, (1972).

Cannabinoids as Therapeutic Agents, Raphael Mechoulam (ed.) CRC Press, (1986).

Cancer Treatment & Marijuana Therapy, Robert C. Randall (ed.), Galen Press, (1990).

Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine, Lester Grinspoon, M.D. and James B. Bakalar, Yale University Press, (1993).

Marijuana and AIDS: Pot, Politics & PWAs in America, Robert C. Randall, Galen Press, (1991).

Journal Articles

Cancer Treatment Reports, 566, 589-592 (1982).

"Cannabinoids for Nausea," Lancet, January 31, 1981.

Carey, M.P., Burish, T.G., & Brenner, D.E., "Delta-9-THC in Cancer Chemotherapy: Research Problems and Issues," Annals of Internal Medicine, 99, 106-114 (1983).

Chang, A.E. et al. "Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol as an Antiemetic in Cancer Patients Receiving High-dose Methotrexate," Annals of Internal Medicine, 91, 819-824 (1979).

Frytek, S. & Moertel, C.G. "Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients," Journal of the American Medical Association, 245:4, 393-396 (1981).

Harris, L., "Analgesic and Antitumor Potential of the Cannabinoids," The Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana, Cohen & Stillman (eds.), 299-305 (1976).

Harris, L., Munson, A. & Carchman, R "Anti-tumor Properties of Cannabinoids," The Pharmacology of Marihuana, Braude & Szara (eds.), 749-762 (1976).

Neidhart, J., Gagen, M., Wilson, H. & Young, D. "Comparative Trial of the Antiemetic Effects of THC and Haloperidol," Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 21, 385-425 (1981).

Sallan, S.E., Zinberg, N., & Frei, E. "Antiemetic Effect of Delta-9-THC in Patients Receiving Cancer Chemotherapy," New England Journal of Medicine, 293:16, 795-797 (1975).

Sensky, T., Baldwin, A., & Pettingale, K. "Cannabinoids as Antiemetics," British Medical Journal, 286, 802 (1983).

Ungerleider, J., Andrysiak, T., et. al. "Cannabis and Cancer Chemotherapy: A Comparison of Oral Delta-9-THC and Prochlorperazine," Cancer, 50, 636-645 (1982).

Vinciguerra, V., "Inhalation Marijuana as an Antiemetic of Cancer Chemotherapy," New York State Journal of Medicine, 525-527, (October 1988).

Washington Residents Favor Medical Marijuana

According to a report issued by the Washington State Senate on March 8, 1996, titled "Funding for study on medical marijuana in budget," posted on the World Wide Web at

Preliminary results of a statewide poll conducted by EvansMcDonough the weekend of March 2nd-3rd indicates a public willing to allow marijuana to be used for strictly medicinal purposes. The statewide survey of 400 voters found that 78 percent favored making marijuana available for patients if prescribed by a doctor.

Sharon Gilpin, who worked with EvansMcDonough in conducting the survey, said the results were a complete surprise. "I know the people in the Northwest tend to be compassionate, but the high number was totally unexpected," she said. Gilpin said people who are concerned about the rising cost of health care are willing to look at alternatives to the high cost of fighting diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

Repeated scientific polls have shown about 70 percent of the public nationwide supports medical marijuana under such conditions.

Scott Imler Responds to 48 Hours

Although Portland NORML helped publicize the 48 Hours news feature on the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club April 11, no commentary on the report has been made until now. Although the first part of the report was generally accurate and favorable, Scott Imler, Treasurer of Southern Californians for Compassionate Use, issued a response to the CBS production, excerpted here:
The CBS 48 Hours program which aired last Thursday evening was factually inaccurate, misrepresented the efforts by so many to help thousands of seriously ill people and was an ill deserved character assassination of Dennis Peron, the acknowledged leader of a grass roots movement. Finally, the 48 Hours segment was a journalistically dishonest and unfair view of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club.

This program aired in California just days before a deadline for gathering signatures which would place the issue of medical marijuana on the November ballot. A flood of calls from our supporters across California suggest the numerous distortions and the effort to present what is basically propaganda against the initiative is no accident. A significant number of people appear to believe the decision by CBS to air the show at this time is a very specific attempt to sabotage the signature gathering effort for this initiative.

The program was journalistically dishonest for several reasons:

1. The program reports San Francisco Proposition P, a resolution supporting medical marijuana failed. That is false. It passed with 80% of the vote. The method of presenting this false information created a perception that Mr. Peron operates without the blessing, support and encouragement of the surrounding community. When anyone or anything gets 80% of the vote, they have support.

3. In the attempt to smear Mr. Peron, his incredible leadership of a six year effort to gain passage of legislation at the state level was not mentioned. Instead, the choice was made to create the image of Mr. Peron as a self-centered profiteer. That distortion was cruel, mean spirited and unfair.

4. The fact that the Cannabis Buyer's Club provides effective medicine at one seventh the month cost of ineffective pharmaceutical alternatives, a key reason this projects exists, was not deemed important to the producers of the segment. We believe any fair portrayal of the financial implications of the medical marijuana problem would, in our opinion, include such a comparison.

5. CBS chose not to give focus to the fact that doctors prescribe it, patients use it and grow it, and clinics, Co-Ops and Cannabis Buyer's Club distribute it.

6. CBS ignored the simple conclusion that now only one question is remaining. That is how to provide legal, safe and affordable prescriptive medical access to marijuana with the least possibility of diversion for non-medical purposes.

In summary, we believe it is a tragedy CBS chose not to track the genesis of the buyer's clubs, the principles on which they are founded or the doctrine of law that provides for their activities. Instead CBS chose to focus on gossip, spite and scandal.

We want America to know the Cannabis Buyers Clubs are not a perfect system. Nobody ever wrote a book on how to provide medical marijuana to over 8,000 seriously ill people in the midst of an absolute prohibition. We've had to make it up as we go along and there have been plenty of mistakes. We've tried our best to confront them honestly and directly, learn from them, make the needed modifications, and move on.

Dutch Dilemma - Drugs 'R' Us?

Time International
April 29, 1996 Volume 147, No. 18
Holland is being blamed by neighbors for abetting Europe's narcotics habit.
That may not be fair
Jay Branegan, Amsterdam
Since Chirac took office last year, France, never happy with Holland's long-standing permissive policy on "soft" drugs like marijuana, has gone into full-attack mode. In September the President stood on the Franco-Belgian border (the best he could do, since France doesn't brush against Holland) to decry "massive importation of narcotics" into Europe, for which he holds the Dutch partly responsible.
France's own figures, based on illegal drug seizures, would seem to undermine claims that Holland is the source of the French drug problem. These statistics show that France's biggest sources of hashish are Morocco, Spain (with which France has nonetheless agreed to drop border controls) and Pakistan, with Holland accounting for a trifling 1.5% of the imported cannabis. They also show that the lion's share of cannabis seized in France is destined for Holland--in other words, France could well be the drug-smuggling channel into the Netherlands.
"We have broken the link between soft and hard drugs," says [Ton] Cramer [a senior addiction-policy staff member in the Dutch health ministry]. "The large majority of people who experiment with cannabis don't go on to harder drugs." Perhaps most remarkably, according to last year's government policy paper, "There are virtually no young people under 20 using heroin or cocaine in the Netherlands," a far cry from the zonked-out youths seen in the depressed housing projects circling Paris and other big French cities. Although the Netherlands does have about 25,000 hard-drug addicts, the figure is stable and relatively smaller than in many other countries. Moreover, the addicts are comparatively healthy--infection by HIV, the AIDS virus, is low thanks to free access to clean needles, and about 75% of the heroin addicts in government treatment programs regularly use methadone, which cuts the craving for heroin and enables the user to live a more normal life. The average age of heroin addicts is over 30 and rising steadily.
"We don't solve a problem by making it taboo and pushing it underground. Our traditional enemy is water. We know you can't stop it from rising; you have to channel it" [said Frits Ruter, a criminologist at the University of Amsterdam].
As tough as it is, the French policy is failing. "The situation in our suburbs is catastrophic today, and it is only getting worse," admits an Elysee official. HIV infection has reached epidemic proportions among addicts, who, most experts say, probably number far more than the E.U.-estimated 150,000, already a higher proportion of the population than in Holland.

Unlike the Dutch, many French believe cannabis is as evil as any other drug, a view encouraged by the country's leading antidrug crusader, Gabriel Nahas, author of the book "Soft Drugs Don't Exist." When a blue-ribbon government panel, headed by Dr. Roger Henrion, unexpectedly concluded last year that soft drugs did not lead to hard drugs and should be decriminalized, the report was quietly shelved. Yet the scare tactics and penalties aren't working. Although comparable figures are hard to come by, French researcher Koutouzis says 8.6% of his countrymen use cannabis, as opposed to 4.5% of the Dutch.

DEA Chief's Comments Spark Uproar

Mexicans angered by his views on drug problems
By Tracey Eaton
Mexico City Bureau of The Dallas Morning News

MEXICO CITY - It's no secret that Mexico is the preeminent pipeline for hundreds of tons of US.-bound cocaine every year. And drug agents have known for years that some traffickers launder their dirty cash in Mexico.

But when Thomas Constantine, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, spoke openly about the subject at an international conference earlier this week, the Mexican news media blasted him with both barrels.

How dare an American antidrug official suggest that drug money is laundered in Mexico, indignant reporters asked. And how dare he say that Mexico ought to capture some of the country's fugitive cocaine barons?

Mexican diplomats quickly joined the fray, calling the DEA chiefs comments "offensive." Banking and finance officials protested. The controversy snowballed. And by midweek, Mexico City's Excelsior newspaper was claiming the incredible: That Mr. Constantine had engineered the capture - some Mexicans called it a kidnapping - of a Mexican doctor then believed to have been involved in the 1985 murder and former of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in Guadalajara.

It didn't seem to matter that Mr. Constantine, a former New York state police superintendent, wasn't even pointed DEA chief until January 1994. The feeding frenzy was on, and Mr. Constantine and the DEA were the targets.

[Rest of article omitted]


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