------------------------------------------------------------------- Glaring Bias (A letter to the editor of the Bulletin, in Bend, Oregon, says the paper's recent staff editorial about a medical marijuana patient who wanted to light up at a Waldport pizza parlor maligned Oregon voters when it said that "Some laws get the supporters they deserve.") Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 18:19:16 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Glaring Bias Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Bulletin, The (OR) Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com/ Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: 19 Jan 1998 Section: My Nickel's Worth Page: A-6 Author: Curt Wagoner GLARING BIAS It seems apparent that the prohibitionists on the Bulletin's editorial board have been waiting for their opportunity to take a jab at Oregon's new medical marijuana law. Mike Assenberg of Waldport, gave them that opportunity by lighting up in an Abby's Pizza in Newport, on New Years Eve. (Editorial: Making A Hash Of The Law, Jan. 13th, 1999.) In your editorial you were correct in stating that Mr Assenberg was wrong in his assumption that he would be protected under M67 for smoking medical marijuana in a public place. If he had read the measure he would have realized this. With so much mis-information rabidly being spread in an effort to try and defeat this measure, I for one can understand some of the confusion surrounding its implementation. Also, I take offense to your statement that "Some laws, get the supporters they deserve." This implies that 55% of the voters in Deschutes County including myself, are in some way more ignorant than the Bulletin's editorial board when it comes to medical marijuana. By trying to degrade those who voted for M67 you are only degrading yourselves and exposing your own ignorance and intolerance. Try to show some credibility, and report about the good that this measure is doing for those people suffering from debilitating diseases like AIDS and Multiple Sclerosis. I would be happy to put you in contact with as many patients as you would care to interview.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Victim of police shooting led dual lives (The Associated Press describes the curious case of Peter C. Gilbaugh, who held down a $55,000-a-year job, shot the occasional round of golf, and lived in a tiny room in a low-income building with a bathroom down the hall. That's where he was shot to death on Dec. 31 during a late-night struggle with police who were called after he urinated on a neighbor's door. Authorities have not released information about Gilbaugh's blood-alcohol level at the time of the shooting, but his friends say Gilbaugh was a friendly, level-headed man even when he had been drinking.) Associated Press found at: http://www.oregonlive.com/ feedback (letters to the editor): firstname.lastname@example.org Victim of police shooting led dual lives The Associated Press 1/19/99 4:14 AM PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- By day, Peter C. Gilbaugh enjoyed business lunches, held down $55,000-a-year job and shot the occasional round of golf. On his way home, though, he'd dump his clubs at a friend's house, take the light-rail train downtown and return to his tiny room in a low-income housing building with a bathroom down the hall. That's where he was shot to death on Dec. 31 during a late-night struggle with police. About 3 a.m., two officers knocked at Gilbaugh's room, responding to a complaint that he had been urinating on a neighbor's door. Police said the 44-year-old came out fighting and shoved Officer Stephanie D. Rabey into a wall so hard that her head dented the sheetrock. The other officer, William D. Balzer, and Gilbaugh were wrestling on the floor when Balzer's gun fired a shot into Gilbaugh's head, killing him. As Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim McIntyre prepares to present the shooting case to a grand jury for review Thursday, few details have emerged about the encounter, but a picture of the victim has come into light. Gilbaugh died on the last day of a year in which he made $55,000 in the used-car business, but times had not always been that good. Several years before, he bottomed out and had run-ins with police that brought him drunken-driving convictions in 1993 and 1994. Gilbaugh's mother died in 1992, which left him with no place to stay. After living with friends for a short time, he eventually moved into the low-rent building downtown and took up a job selling cars at Rytel Auto Truck Warehouse in Milwaukie. Gilbaugh had worked there for nearly two years. "He was very, very consistent as a salesman," said his sales manager Lee Leslie. "He sold more cars for this company than any salesman in the company's history." Authorities have not released information about Gilbaugh's blood-alcohol level at the time of the shooting, but his friends say Gilbaugh was a friendly, level-headed man even when he had been drinking. "He would come along to the beach with us, and we would have a few cocktails and laugh and have a good time," said Carma Grohs. "Never once in the 10 years that I knew Peter did I ever see him be belligerent or be mean. The only time I've seen him get angry at all is when he duffed a golf ball." Leslie agreed that if Gilbaugh had attacked the two officers, the incident was out of character. "Far from becoming violent, he was a very loving, I-love-you guy after a few drinks," Leslie said. "He was the sort of person who commanded respect. He could talk to the owner of a company or a bum on the street." While Gilbaugh made a name for himself and a sound living in the auto business, he probably earned less than $10,000 when he first moved downtown. That was the income restriction required to live in the Swindells Building where he took up residence. If the housing authority helped Gilbaugh get back on his feet, that was a good result, said housing authority spokeswoman Joleen Colombo. "We would like to see more people do that and become productive," she added. (c)1998 Oregon Live LLC Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Raids on California's medical marijuana outlets eased (The Washington Times, in the District of Columbia, says California's new attorney general, Bill Lockyer, promises that when local law enforcement agents refuse to shut down pot clubs, he will not intervene. Mr. Lockyer also cautioned activists not to expect his office to jump in and help them if and when local district attorneys or federal authorities make arrests. "I'm not interested in frivolous windmill tilting," Mr. Lockyer said. "If I can think of a theory under which I can defend the state law the people passed, I will. But my inclination is toward consensus, not confrontation, with the policy-makers.") Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 09:59:46 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DPFCA (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: DPFCA: US CA WP MMJ: Raids on California's medical marijuana outlets eased Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Source: The Washington Times (DC) Contact: email@example.com Website: www.washtimes.com Pubdate: January 19, 1999 RAIDS ON CALIFORNIA'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA OUTLETS EASED By Thomas D. Elias SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES SAN FRANCISCO - State law enforcement agents will no longer be raiding medical marijuana outlets in California, and the newly installed Democratic state attorney general has been talking to federal officials about changing their laws. Attorney General Bill Lockyer wishes he could do more to make practical reality of his state's 1996 Proposition 215, which authorized use of medical marijuana by patients with a doctor's recommendation. His stance is precisely opposite that of his predecessor, Republican Dan Lungren, whose agents sometimes raided marijuana co-ops that local and federal authorities didn't want to deal with. But Mr. Lockyer made it clear his election does not end this sometimes confusing battle. In fact, the status of Proposition 215 may be more muddled than ever. "I would like to do what the people want, but we can't do it completely by ourselves," he said. "As long as the federal government puts marijuana in the same class as heroin as a dangerous narcotic, 215 will never really be law." But Mr. Lockyer promises that when local law enforcement agents refuse to shut down pot clubs, he will not intervene. That's a sharp contrast to Mr. Lungren, who sent state agents to raid pot co-ops and backed federal prosecutors when they won court orders to close others. "As an example, if the San Francisco club that Lungren raided were to reopen, I would not raid it," Mr. Lockyer said. Since local district attorney Terence Hallinan is a longtime backer of medical pot, the only way that club or another one that still operates quietly in the city could be shut down would be for federal agents to move in. Mr. Lockyer said he is frustrated by federal laws that now make it illegal to grow or sell marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. He's already lobbying federal officials to change the status of pot. "The best suggestion for solving this problem is a two-parter," Mr. Lockyer said. "First, we need to find ways to tighten our law to make sure that medical marijuana doesn't become a vehicle for overall legalization. And second, the federal government needs to make it a Schedule 2 drug that can be prescribed. If we can give people morphine, why can't we give them this?" Mr. Lockyer said the roots of his support for medical marijuana are highly personal. "I watched my mother and sister die of leukemia and I know they could have used this to ease their pain," he says. "People like Lungren say medical marijuana will lead to overall legalization. But we've used morphine and other opiates for many years, and no one except strict libertarians has ever seriously suggested legalizing them for recreation." Mr. Lockyer envisions a series of medical marijuana clinics around his state, each carefully screening all customers to make sure their use of the weed is strictly according to instructions from a physician. "But these should be clinics, not cults, the way some of the marijuana clubs have seemed to be at times. "I've had talks already with the top federal law enforcement people on this, and they seem fairly receptive," he said. "They know that Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and Colorado have all passed their own medical marijuana initiatives since we passed 215. In fact, wherever it's been voted on and the ballots counted, it has passed. So it's not just crazy California by itself any more." But Mr. Lockyer realizes changing the status of marijuana for medical purposes would be a dicey political move for the Clinton administration. Noting that President Clinton has admitted smoking the weed as a youth but claimed not to have inhaled, Mr. Lockyer said "that might make it politically impossible for him to make the change." Mr. Lockyer also cautioned activists not to expect his office to jump in and help them if and when local district attorneys or federal authorities make arrests. "I'm not interested in frivolous windmill tilting," Mr. Lockyer said. "If I can think of a theory under which I can defend the state law the people passed, I will. But my inclination is toward consensus, not confrontation, with the policy-makers."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Richard Evans re-arrested in San Francisco (A list subscriber forwards a disturbing message from the medical marijuana activist about strange and frightening police activity in San Francisco. Prohibition agents raided his home again late at night a week ago and held him incommunicado for five days.) Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 21:20:45 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Tom O'Connell" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: Richard Evans re-arrested in SF Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Most readers of DPFCA will recall that Richard Evans, well known medical mj activist was arrested with some fanfare by the SFPD over Christmas week-end. Hew was then released without being charged some 20 hrs later. What has just been learned is that he was quietly re-arrested by the SFPD one week ago and held incommunicado for 5 days until he could make bail. He has a hearing scheduled for Jan. 27. At the moment, he is not seeking media publicity, but agrees that members of the reform movement should be made aware of the strange and frightening police activity in SF. Richard is not online, so I am forwarding his statement about what has just transpired. His phome # is (415) 863-2726. Tom O'Connell You can read about his first arrest at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n1202/a10.html [A Silent Alarm Prompts The Search Of Robert Evans' San Francisco Apartment] http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n1203/a05.html [S.F. DA Drops Charges Against Medical Marijuana Backer] http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98/n1206/a05.html [Medical Pot Advocate Has Charges Dropped] Dear DPFCA Members: As many of you already know, I was arrested by the SFPD on December 26 after they invaded my apartment on the pretext that my silent burglar alarm went off and they were forced to investigate. Upon arrival, they performed a hostile and destructive search of my premises which was clearly not motivated by any desire to check on my welfare, or see if a burglary had occurred. The details of that "search" are covered in the a press conference help by the police at the time of my arrest. My version of the facts was also made public following my release some 20 hours later. By way of background, let me say that I've been an activist on behalf of medical marijuana for 12 years. Prior to this arrest, and after the election of November, 1998, I'd been in close contact with the DA's office and members of the SF City Administration who were aware of my project to grow cannabis for distribution to patients under the provisions of Proposition 215. Following my release, I was given two somewhat conflicting verbal interpretations of my status in terms of any charges pending against me. One, from the police, was that they were still "open." The other from another official, were that they had been "dropped." The main purpose of this communication is to bring you up to date on the further activities of the SFPD in my case: I was re-arrested either the late evening of January 11, or early morning of January 12 (I don't know which). I was awakened from a sound sleep sometime around midnight to find between 5 & 10 uniformed officers of the SFPD actively ransacking my apartment. As before, they used the excuse that a silent alarm had gone off and they were responding to it. This time, in contrast to their first visit, they pretended to be very friendly and were, if any thing, excessively polite. They again found cannabis and the same graphic material they had characterized as "pornography" on their first raid. I was returned to City Jail, where I was held for a bail hearing. The final charges were apparently limited to marijuana violations, but my bail was set at $25,000 forcing me to raise (and ultimately forfeit) 10%, or $2500. I ended up being held under frightening conditions in the jail for a total of 5 days, and was not released until Friday, Jan 15. Several thing the sheriff's deputies said to me made me fear for my personal safety at the hands of other jail prisoners. I now face arraignment on charges of growing and selling marijuana on January 27.. My assigned counsel advised me to leave all the talking to her, even though she appeared to know nothing about the case and hadn't even met me until 5 minutes before my appearance. I haven't seen or heard from her since then. The fact of my advocacy for medical marijuana and that I was growing cannabis for that purpose was never communicated to the judge. As noted, my first arrest was attended by press publicity, clearly requested by the police (They clearly couldn't have liked the press attention which attended my release) This time around, the press wasn't involved; clearly that was by police choice. I'm frankly uncertain as to whether to involve the press, but I do want to make some public notification of my second arrest, for self-protection, if nothing else. Hence this communication to DPFCA. I will keep you abreast of new developments as they occur. Sincerely, Richard Evans *** Tom O'Connell, MD 195 Warren Road San Mateo, CA 94401 (650) 348-6841
------------------------------------------------------------------- Helicopters In Pot Raids Kill Birds, Spook Stock, Residents Say (An Associated Press story in the San Jose Mercury News says residents of California's rugged north country testified Monday in Redway that prohibition agents hunting for marijuana in low-flying helicopters routinely kill birds, stampede farm animals, violate environmental laws and terrify innocent homeowners. The public hearing where more than two dozen people testified was ordered as part of a settlement in a lawsuit challenging Operation Greensweep, an August 1990 drug raid.)Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 16:50:53 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: Helicopters In Pot Raids Kill Birds, Spook Stock, Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center HELICOPTERS IN POT RAIDS KILL BIRDS, SPOOK STOCK, RESIDENTS SAY Hearing elicits comment for BLM handbook REDWAY (AP) -- Drug agents hunting for marijuana in low-flying helicopters routinely kill birds, stampede farm animals, violate environmental laws and terrify innocent homeowners, residents of California's rugged north country testified Monday. ``You have to be here to see what it is like -- from the first of August through September, it's like a war zone,'' Dan Weaver said. Weaver and two dozen others testified at a public hearing ordered as part of a settlement in a lawsuit challenging Operation Greensweep, an August 1990 drug raid. ``The big problem is these helicopters,'' Weaver said. ``This whole thing would be calmed down significantly by getting those guys up higher.'' Residents complained that their privacy and property were violated and said the rotor wash from the helicopters killed birds and spooked livestock. Last June, the settlement called on the federal Bureau of Land Management to create a handbook for its drug raiders. The guidelines are expected to be released in June. Ed Denson said helicopters buzzed his barn and frightened his workers. ``They say they fly at 500 feet, but actually they're coming in at 200 feet. We're saying the handbook should require them to fly at least 1,000 to 1,500 feet,'' said Denson, who lives in Redway in Humboldt County. Redway is within the so-called ``Emerald Triangle'' made up of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. The region is known for its lush wilderness and is the richest marijuana-growing area in the nation. Last year, authorities reportedly seized 1,100 marijuana plants and more than eight tons of cultivation gear there. The many local, state and federal agencies that typically participate in the raids will not be directly affected by the BLM handbook, but as the first of its kind, it could influence how other agencies operate. Monday's hearing was intended to take public comment for that book. The BLM declined to take part in the meeting, citing security concerns.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Maine Doctor Should Look At The Facts Of Marijuana (A letter to the editor of Foster's Daily Democrat, in Dover, New Hampshire, from a woman with glaucoma, responds to some questionable comments about marijuana and glaucoma by Dr. Dora Ann Mills, director of Maine's Health Bureau.) Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 09:42:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US ME: MMJ: PUB LTE: Maine Doctor Should Look At The Facts Of Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (Dover, NH) Copyright: 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.fosters.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 19 Jan 1999 Author: Gary Storck Note: The related article is at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n054.a07.html MAINE DOCTOR SHOULD LOOK AT THE FACTS OF MARIJUANA To the editor: Your 1/11/99 article "Mainers likely to vote on medical use of marijuana" included some very questionable comments about marijuana and glaucoma by Dr. Dora Ann Mills, director of Maine's Health Bureau, that require a response. Dr. Mills claims that the research on how much marijuana helps glaucoma is "very weak," and "There is no medical efficacy in marijuana for treating glaucoma." She also quotes the American Academy of Ophthalmology as saying that although it appears marijuana can provide possibly short-term relief of intraocular pressure from glaucoma, there are no long-term benefits. In a chronic illness like glaucoma, all medication-derived relief is short-term. There is no medication that will cure glaucoma. Once the effects wear off, symptoms return. In my case, the long-term benefit is that I can still see after a lifetime of glaucoma. I was born with glaucoma nearly 44 years ago. I have been using marijuana medicinally to treat my glaucoma for over 25 years, ever since my doctor noted a significant reduction in my eye pressure after I smoked marijuana. I am currently on four prescription medications for glaucoma that, like marijuana, only provide short-term relief. If marijuana has no medical efficacy in treating glaucoma, why does the federal government provide three of the eight surviving patients in the discontinued Compassionate IND Program with 300 joints per month to treat their glaucoma? When one is faced with serious illness, shouldn't every option be available? I suggest Dr. Smith investigate the facts instead of spouting disinformation that can only deceive and confuse sick people already dealing with the pain and stress of ill health. More information and studies detailing marijuana's medical efficacy can be found at on the Internet at: http://www.lindesmith.org/mmjcsdp.html . Gary Storck Madison, Wis.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hunt For Cannabis Cure (The Daily Mail, in Britain, says two separate research initiatives this year will try to establish if cannabis has medicinal properties. The one carried out by a private company, GW Pharmaceuticals, will involve an "aerosol mixture of pure cannabis." The second, organised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, will examine whether the active ingredients in cannabis can be extracted and formulated into a new medication somebody can make a lot of money off of.) Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 03:31:21 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: MMJ: Hunt For Cannabis Cure Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (CLCIA) Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 Source: Daily Mail (UK) Copyright: 1999 Associated Newspapers Ltd Website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ Contact: email@example.com HUNT FOR CANNABIS CURE THIS year will see two separate research initiatives which aim to establish if cannabis does have medicinal properties. One carried out by a private company, GW Pharmaceuticals, will involve an aerosol mixture of pure cannabis. The second, organised by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, will examine whether the active ingredients in cannabis can be extracted and formulated into a new medication. If the research results are accepted as valid by the World Health Organisation, then other pain sufferers will be able to use cannabis on an individual 'named patient' basis until the law can be changed. GW Pharmaceuticals spokesman, Mark Rogerson explains: "We are producing an extract from the whole plants, which is a bit like syrup. It will be delivered to the patient in the form of a heated vapour because cannabis needs heat to work. "Patients will use a very clever device rather similar to the nebulisers used by people with asthma." In about six months time, two trials will be carried out, overseen by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. One, involving 300 volunteers, will establish whether cannabis can relieve post-operative pain (pain following surgery). The other, with 600 volunteers, will check if the drug can relieve muscle spasms in people with multiple sclerosis. It has been estimated that 1000 people with MS already use cannabis illegally to relieve muscle spasm.
------------------------------------------------------------------- These Women Could Be The First To Take Cannabis Legally - But Should They Be Allowed? (The Daily Mail interviews several British patients and "pillars of the community" who currently break the law by using marijuana as medicine. Each could be among the first Britons who will inhale cannabis legally as part of a unique and controversial new study trying to establish if the herb has medicinal effects. Why the women would break the law now in order to purchase cannabis from street dealers if it didn't alleviate excruciating pain and muscle spasms isn't explained.) Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 19:41:18 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: UK: These Women Could Be The First To Take Cannabis Legally - But Should They Be Allowed? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (CLCIA) Pubdate: Tues, 19 Jan 1999 Source: Daily Mail (UK) Copyright: 1999 Associated Newspapers Ltd Website: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ Contact: email@example.com Author: Ann Kent THESE WOMEN COULD BE THE FIRST TO TAKE CANNABIS LEGALLY - BUT SHOULD THEY BE ALLOWED? These women are pillars of the community, the kind of people who always turn up at school parents' evenings. Yet they also habitually break the law - by smoking cannabis as a painkiller. Now they could be among the first Britons to be administered the drug legally. As part of a unique and controversial new study, they will inhale cannabis to try to establish if it really does have medicinal effects. They already take the illegal drug to alleviate excruciating pain and muscle spasms, buying it from street dealers. At least now they will be able to obtain it in a safe, standardised form. DIANA BEEDLE, 44, from Torquay has been disabled with chronic back pain for 13 years. She says: "I tripped on the stairs when I was rushing to answer the door and fell all the way down. It caused sever damage to discs, vertebrae and nerves. I was on my back in hospital for three months, and was left with severe pain and a leg that went into spasms. "I stuck to prescription drugs for nearly three years and also tried TENS machine and chiropractic. But nothing worked as well as cannabis - something I tried, reluctantly, after a friend suggested it and bought some for me. I smoked it first thing in the morning. If I didn't, my muscles would go into spasms and I would barely be able to move. I also smoke in the evening to help me sleep. I see myself as a totally law-abiding citizen and would hate anyone to think of me as a criminal. You see MPs interviewed with a scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other. They're taking much more dangerous drugs than I am. There has never been a death attributed to cannabis alone." SYBIL LUCAS-BREWER, 43, of Preston was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis ten years ago, and is registered as disabled. She says: "I don't feel comfortable about taking an illegal drug, and using it is the most illegal thing I have ever done. Unfortunately, with painkillers you get immune to the effects. "When my arthritis flares up, the pain is soul-destroying - life-sapping. If you take too many painkillers, you just sit in a chair and dribble. You want to go to sleep and not wake up. "I try to relieve my pain by meditating, and use cannabis as a last resort. It was something a friend told me about. "If I am chosen for the trials there is a chance I will get a placebo, which will do nothing for my pain. But it is worth the risk. I want the authorities to realise how effective cannabis is, because even when I get hold of it, I can't really afford it on my disability benefit. "It is expensive because it is illegal. Cannabis would be cheap to manufacture if legalised. If it could be made available as an aerosol medicine, that would be ideal. It would hit the bloodstream instantly and give maximum pain relief. "An awful lot of people take cannabis, but you don't hear about them. When I was in hospital a while ago, an old lady on the ward, who also had arthritis, took me into the grounds and rolled me a joint. She was in her 70's and she was perfectly matter-of-fact about it." CLARE HODGES, 41, a house-wife and mother from Leeds, has multiple sclerosis. Seven years ago she set up the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT) to campaign to have cannabis made available on prescription. She says: "I am a nice, middle-class mother of two, and I belong to our local Crimebusters Group. Until recently, the supporters of Act have been lone voices. Now e have support in the House of Lords. I had Ms for nine years before I tried cannabis. I found it stops muscle spasms and helps against nausea. It also relieves bladder problems, so I don't have to constantly get up in the night to go to the loo. "I hope something is sorted out because thousands of people with medical problems use cannabis in a potentially dangerous way. You don't know the quality or the strength of what you are taking, and forced to break the law. "I don't feel as if I am a threat to society. Nor are we a crowd of dope-smokers - most people don't take enough to get high. We take cannabis because we need to." VOLUNTEERS for research should contact Disability Now, 6 Market Road, London, N7 9PW -------------------------------------------------------------------
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