------------------------------------------------------------------- 60 Oregonians declare intent to use marijuana (The Oregonian says the Oregon Health Division won't issue registration cards for patients protected by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act until May 1. But Dr. Grant Higginson, state health officer, says 60 people have sent in the paperwork needed to get the cards.) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Wednesday March 17, 1999 60 Oregonians declare intent to use marijuana *As a result of a public vote, state law permits use of the drug to relieve symptoms of a number of diseases By Patrick O'Neill of The Oregonian staff National medical experts are prepared to release a landmark scientific review of the medical effects of marijuana today. But Oregon voters decided for themselves in November that marijuana is good medicine, passing a law that permits some sick people to use the drug. So far, 60 Oregonians have formally declared their intent to use marijuana for medical purposes under the law. The Oregon Health Division won't issue registration cards, as required by the new law, until May 1. But Dr. Grant Higginson, state health officer, says 60 people have sent in the paperwork needed to get the cards. "I'm not sure whether that represents anything close to the number we're going to get when the registration system goes into effect," he said. In July, Higginson estimated that 500 people would register to use marijuana to relieve symptoms of such debilitating diseases as cancer and AIDS and to alleviate the nausea of chemotherapy. Under the law, sick Oregonians could begin using marijuana on Dec. 3, 1998, even though the Oregon Health Division's regulatory machinery wasn't scheduled to begin running until May 1. The law provides a legal loophole for users of medicinal marijuana who are arrested and charged with drug law violations. As of Dec. 3, the law provided an "affirmative defense" to criminal charges brought against anyone who otherwise qualified to receive a state registration card. Higginson has recommended that medicinal marijuana users send his office the necessary paperwork so that it would be on file in case they were arrested. To be eligible for medicinal marijuana, a patient must supply documentation from an attending physician stating that he or she has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition and that marijuana might mitigate the symptoms. The documentation must include the name, address and birthdate of the patient and the name, address and telephone number of the attending physician. The law permits the patient to designate a caregiver, an assistant who will help with marijuana cultivation. The name and address of the caregiver must be included with the information sent to the Health Division. The law requires the Health Division to keep the information confidential. Specifically, the law permits marijuana to be used for cancer, glaucoma, HIV infection, severe weight loss, pain, nausea, seizures and muscle spasms. Higginson says there's a lot of confusion about what the law allows. Although it permits certain people to use medicinal marijuana, it doesn't answer two of the most important questions. He said the most frequent questions he's asked are: Where can I get medicinal marijuana? What if my doctor doesn't believe in using marijuana for medical purposes? Under the law, it's still a crime to buy or sell marijuana. The only way for medicinal marijuana users to obtain the drug is for someone to give it to them for free. Supporters of the measure have said that over time, the number of medicinal marijuana users will grow and that they will be able to share their plants and seeds with others. Higginson said the Health Division can't give prospective medical marijuana users guidance in finding supplies of the drug. Nor will the agency maintain a list of physicians who will endorse the use of marijuana for medical purposes, he said. Geoff Sugerman, a spokesman for Oregonians for Medical Rights, said both state and federal laws prevent his organization from helping patients connect with sources of marijuana. And, like the Health Division, the organization doesn't keep a list of doctors who will recommend marijuana. But patients can call the organization's toll-free telephone number to ask for help in persuading their physicians to recommend the drug. The number is 877-600-6767. The organization was the principal supporter of the medical marijuana measure. Today, the Institute of Medicine will issue a long-awaited report on hundreds of marijuana studies. The review is expected to assess what is known and not known about the medical applications of marijuana and to give recommendations. The institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide independent advice to the federal government. A news report about the study will be included in Thursday's newspaper. You can reach Patrick O'Neill at 503-221-8233 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dope Meddlers (Willamette Week, in Portland, describes the attempt by state representative Kevin Mannix to nullify the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, incorrectly asserting that "even proponents" of Measure 67 "conceded that it needed some fine-tuning.") Willamette Week 822 SW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97205 Tel. (503) 243-2122 Fax (503) 243-1115 Letters to the Editor: Mark Zusman - email@example.com Web: http://www.wweek.com/ Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or fax. Letters must be signed by the author and include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Preference will be given to letters of 250 words or less. pubdate: March 17, 1999 Dope Meddlers: After Oregon's medical-marijuana law passed, even proponents conceded that it needed some fine-tuning. But now they're worried that the Legislature's proposed overhaul goes too far. BY MAUREEN O'HAGAN firstname.lastname@example.org When Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved November's medical-marijuana initiative, the message was clear: Sick people shouldn't be prosecuted for puffing. But that hasn't prevented a couple of high-profile elected officials from trying to tinker with the new law in rather dramatic ways. Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle and state lawmaker Kevin Mannix are proposing modifications to the law, including one that would treat card-carrying marijuana users like suspected criminals. Last year's initiative allows people with certain debilitating medical conditions--such as AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis--to use marijuana as a form of treatment. In order to do so, they must first have a doctor's note describing their condition and stating that pot may help alleviate some of the symptoms. They must also apply to the state Health Division for an ID card. The idea is that if police show up at the door, patients can simply show their ID cards to avoid prosecution, as long as they aren't growing more than seven plants. Noelle, who played a key role in the campaign against the initiative, has put forward what is arguably the most troubling of the proposals to change the voter-approved law. The sheriff hopes to allow police to make up to three unannounced visits per year to the homes of people who have obtained ID cards. "That's to make sure they're staying within the quantity guidelines," he says, reasoning that someone should enforce the seven-plant limit. Geoff Sugerman calls the proposal outrageous. "That amounts to, basically, permission to conduct unwarranted searches with no probable cause and no indication that the law is being abused," says Sugerman, of Oregonians for Medical Rights, the group that bankrolled the initiative. "That's an intrusion into the private lives of dying and suffering patients." Noelle, whose proposal is yet to be drafted in bill form, says he's willing to consider having another agency do the spot checks. But the question is: who? "I don't know who watches growing marijuana," he says. "The Agriculture Department? The state Forestry Department? Somebody needs to figure out how to try and have a regulatory agency deal with this."Meanwhile, Mannix has devised House Bill 3052, which he claims merely tightens loopholes in the initiative. "I'm not convinced it [marijuana] has the therapeutic value that has been ascribed to it, but it passed," says the Democrat-turned-Republican. "I really respect the will of the voters on this topic, but I think there are some imprecise words in the measure that need to be clarified." Sugerman, however, says Mannix's three-part bill would do far more than clarify language. First, and most troubling to Sugerman, it would eliminate the so-called "affirmative defense" from the law. This allows people who violate the law to avoid conviction under certain circumstances. For example, people without ID cards could qualify for protection under the law if they convince authorities that they are seriously ill but for some valid reason were unable to get ID cards. Mannix says he wants to maintain the rights of seriously ill people but adds, "You should not be able to use it as an excuse: 'I had a headache last week so that's why I have an ounce with me.'" The law would also restrict the use of medical marijuana by minors by requiring that they seek permission from a parent or legal guardian. Sugerman and his group are not opposed to this aspect of the bill. The third part of Mannix's bill would eliminate the requirement that police return pot seized from people who turn out to be medical users. This has been a big concern to officers, who say they shouldn't be expected to become marijuana gardeners. Mannix says his bill is just a "talking piece" that will be adjusted after public hearings, which he expects to be held within the next month. Meanwhile, the Health Division has been busy working on rules for obtaining ID cards, which should be ready by May 1. Initial estimates suggested that about 500 people would apply for the cards each year. [sidebar notes:]Sheriff Dan Noelle (above), who has worked against medical-marijuana legislation, says he's become "the sheriff of pot." Earlier this month, a judge in Philadelphia allowed a class-action suit filed by medical-marijuana proponents to proceed. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is expected to release a study this week on whether marijuana should be reclassified as a drug with legitimate medical uses. State Rep. Kevin Mannix (above) says he want to tighten the medical-marijuana law: "I don't want to become the growing capitol of the world."
------------------------------------------------------------------- City must explain 'trap and trace' or concede it's illegal, judge says (The Oregonian says Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael Marcus yesterday gave Portland until March 29 to either disclose how its Marijuana Task Force used a "trap and trace" telephone tap at the American Agriculture hydroponics store to identify 20 defendants now charged with growing the herb - or to concede that the practice was illegal. If the city refuses to reveal the phone-tapping information and will not concede the practice is illegal, it also could dismiss the cases or seek an immediate appeal of Marcus' ruling that would take the proceedings to the Court of Appeals before the cases proceed.) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Wednesday March 17, 1999 City must explain 'trap and trace' or concede it's illegal, judge says * Portland has to decide whether to disclose how its marijuana force traced calls to identify 20 defendants now facing charges By Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff Portland must either disclose how its Marijuana Task Force used a "trap and trace" procedure to identify 20 defendants now charged with manufacturing the drug or it must concede that the practice was illegal, a judge ruled Tuesday. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael Marcus decided the defendants facing marijuana charges that resulted from a police trap and trace method have the right to examine the information that led officers to them and use it in their defense. Marcus gave the city until March 29 to announce how it will proceed. Deputy City Attorney David N. Lesh and Deputy District Attorney Jason Feldman said they needed time to consult with their bosses. Marcus, who has seen the police documents on the phone tapping used to track down suspected marijuana growers, said it was plausible that the actions were legal, but he said the defendants have a right to challenge them. "The trap and trace materials the defense seeks to obtain and the city seeks to protect are clearly necessary to determine the lawfulness of trap and trace evidence," Marcus said. "The defendants who are in fact here because of a trap and trace lead are entitled to have that litigated." According to documents the city provided the court, Portland's Marijuana Task Force has been trapping the phone of a Portland indoor-growing supply store, American Agriculture, since at least 1995. Police used the business' phone records to track down suspected marijuana growers by using callers' phone numbers to obtain their addresses. Two additional defendants joined the case Tuesday, bringing the total to 20 who are demanding to review police and court documents to determine if the trap and trace procedure is legal. Defense lawyer Philip A. Lewis, who represents two of the defendants, said he thought Marcus' decision was fair. Feldman, after court, stood by the legality of the trap and trace procedure and said he was not surprised by Marcus' ruling. "Ultimately, I think it's going to be proved to be legal," he said. If the city refuses to reveal the phone-trapping information and will not concede the practice is illegal, it also could dismiss the cases or seek an immediate appeal of Marcus' ruling that would take the proceedings to the Court of Appeals before the cases proceed. You can reach Maxine Bernstein at 503-221-8212 or by e-mail at Maxinebernstein@news.oregonian.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge orders city to explain pot-tracking method or admit it's illegal (The Associated Press version) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "_Drug Policy --" (email@example.com) Subject: Judge orders city to explain pot-tracking method or admit it's illegal Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 19:28:53 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Judge orders city to explain pot-tracking method or admit it's illegal The Associated Press 03/17/99 4:40 PM Eastern PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A judge has ordered police to disclose how its Marijuana Task Force has used "trap and trace" phone taps to nab 20 suspects or admit that the practice is illegal. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Michael Marcus decided the defendants facing marijuana charges have the right to examine the information that led officers to them and use it in their defense. Marcus, who has seen the police documents on the phone tapping used to track down suspected marijuana growers, said it was possible the taps were legal, but he said the defendants have a right to challenge them. "The trap and trace materials the defense seeks to obtain and the city seeks to protect are clearly necessary to determine the lawfulness of trap and trace evidence," Marcus said. "The defendants who are in fact here because of a trap and trace lead are entitled to have that litigated." The city has until March 29 to announce how it will proceed. According to court documents, the city's Marijuana Task Force has been trapping the phone of a Portland indoor-growing supply store, American Agriculture, since at least 1995. Police used the business' phone records to track down suspected marijuana growers by matching callers' phone numbers with addresses. Police checked with the utility company to see if the caller was using enough electricity to sustain a grow operation, then knocked on the suspect's door to gain consent to search the property, according to court documents. Two additional defendants joined the case Tuesday, bringing the total to 20 who are demanding to review police and court documents to determine if the procedure is legal. Deputy District Attorney Jason Feldman stood by the legality of the trap and trace procedure and said he was not surprised by Marcus' ruling. "Ultimately, I think it's going to be proven to be legal," he said. If the city will neither reveal the phone-trapping information nor concede the practice is illegal, it could dismiss the cases or seek an immediate appeal of Marcus' ruling. That would take the proceedings to the Court of Appeals before the cases proceed. *** When away, you can STOP and RESTART W.H.E.N.'s news clippings by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. Ignore the Subject: line. In the body put "unsubscribe when" to STOP. To RESTART, put "subscribe when" in the e-mail instead (No quotation marks.)
------------------------------------------------------------------- NewsBuzz: Passing the Sniff Test (The Willamette Week version) Willamette Week 822 SW 10th Ave. Portland, OR 97205 Tel. (503) 243-2122 Fax (503) 243-1115 Letters to the Editor: Mark Zusman - firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.wweek.com/ Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or fax. Letters must be signed by the author and include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Preference will be given to letters of 250 words or less. pubdate: March 17, 1999 Passing the Sniff Test Accused pot growers scored a minor victory Tuesday, March 16, when a Multnomah County judge ordered the Portland city attorney to reveal the details of secret police surveillance of a Southeast Portland business. Circuit Court Judge Michael Marcus' decision came in response to motions filed by 16 defense lawyers who say their clients were illegally investigated by the Portland Police Bureau's Marijuana Task Force. Police used a trap-and-trace device for at least three years to record the numbers of all incoming calls to American Agriculture, which sells indoor growing equipment. Police used those phone numbers to target potential suspects for investigations ("Knock, Knock, You're Busted," WW, March 10, 1999). Defense lawyers contended that the trap and trace was illegal--an argument Judge Marcus wasn't ready to buy. "It is perfectly plausible that all of the trap-and-trace evidence was lawfully obtained," Marcus said. Nonetheless, he agreed that in order to properly represent their clients, the lawyers are entitled to see the evidence they seek to challenge. Defense lawyers were pleased with the decision. "The camel's nose is under the tent," defense lawyer Philip Lewis said after the hearing, noting that Tuesday's ruling was the first step in getting charges against their clients dismissed. But it's not time to light a celebratory joint yet. The city, which is fighting the release of the documents, was given a March 29 deadline to decide what to do. City officials have four options, none of which is any guarantee of victory for the defense. First, the city can appeal the ruling directly to the state Supreme Court. Second, it can comply with the order and release the documents. But even if the defense lawyers can prove the trap and trace was illegal, the law doesn't necessarily require that the illegally seized evidence be thrown out. Third, the city can concede, for argument's sake, that the trap and trace was illegal. Again, the defense lawyers would still have to convince a judge that their clients' cases should be thrown out. Finally, the city can ask the district attorney to dismiss the cases against the defendants. This seems unlikely because the police have been using the device for at least three years, so other marijuana defendants are likely to make similar arguments. "I imagine if this is successful, people would come out of the woodwork," says Deputy District Attorney Mark McDonnell. -- Maureen O'Hagan
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police volunteer goes to prison for illegal immigration (The Oregonian says Louie Lira Jr., a former employee of the Portland Youth Gang Outreach program and a volunteer with the Portland Police Bureau, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Tuesday for entering the country as an illegal immigrant twice in the past 15 years. The newspaper fails to mention Lira was deported the first time partly because of a drug offense. The Mexican national still faces a trial over an accusation that he used his police-issued scanner to assist a Nov. 4 bank robbery in Southeast Portland.) The Oregonian Contact: email@example.com 1320 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Police volunteer goes to prison for illegal immigration * Louie Lira Jr., who gets 30 months in federal custody for this offense, also could be indicted as a lookout in an armed bank robbery Wednesday March 17, 1999 By Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian staff Louie Lira Jr., who will face a federal indictment in a bank robbery case within weeks, was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to entering the country as an illegal immigrant twice in the past 15 years. Lira, a Mexican citizen whose real name is Gerardo Morales-Alejo, admitted in U.S. District Court that he eluded immigration officials in August 1984 in California, and he re-entered the country illegally after he was deported to Mexico in 1985. Most recently, Lira had been a gang outreach worker in Portland and a volunteer with the Portland Police Bureau. He was taken into federal custody Jan. 8. "You still are going to be facing another charge," U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones told Lira Tuesday. "If you get convicted of armed bank robbery, that's going to take a ton of time." Lira's lawyer, Robert A. Goffredi, said his client intends to contest the bank robbery indictment when it arrives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mosman said an indictment is expected within weeks. Federal authorities say they have linked Lira to a Nov. 4 bank robbery in Southeast Portland. They suspect Lira acted as a lookout, monitoring a Portland police scanner, as his brother and several acquaintances burst into a Wells Fargo Bank branch with guns drawn. Lira's brother, Marcos A. Morales, and four other suspects have been indicted in connection with the robbery. Lira, 33, will be deported after he completes his federal sentence. If he receives additional prison time in connection with the robbery, he would have to serve that before being deported, the judge said. "You can't re-enter the U.S. again," Jones told Lira, warning him that he could face a sentence of at least 80 months if he returned illegally. The judge inquired about Lira's family, and Lira said his parents, grandmother and children live in Oregon. "How are you going to handle this?" Jones asked. "I guess I got to go day by day," Lira answered. Goffredi asked the court to send Lira to the federal prison in Sheridan so he could maintain ties with his family. The judge said he would recommend it but could not promise his request would be granted. In the wake of Lira's arrest and the federal allegations, Portland Police Chief Charles Moose this month posted a reminder to staff that background investigations must be conducted on all civilian volunteers before they are allowed to work for the bureau. You can reach Maxine Bernstein at 503-221-8212 or by e-mail at Maxinebernstein@news.oregonian.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Facts (Another letter to the editor of the Hood River News, in Hood River, Oregon, debunks recent assertions about marijuana by Maija Yasui of the state Commission on Children and Families, and recounts a few more government lies that led to or have perpetuated pot prohibition.) From: "sburbank" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "DPFOR" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFOR: Hood River News - Marijuana Facts Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 16:39:07 -0800 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Source: Hood River News Date: Wednesday, March 17, 1999 Page: A-4 Contact: HRNews@eaglenewspapers.com Marijuana Facts In reporting the school drug survey, Maija Yasui stated that marijuana has "over 4,000 chemicals with negative impacts." She got the zeros wrong - about 400 chemicals have been identified in marijuana. But what's a zero when you're making it all up anyway. After all, apparently we are to believe that every single chemical in the plant has "negative impacts." Let's go over the facts one more time. When the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937, the American Medical Association opposed prohibition because the plant was not considered harmful and in fact had some medical uses. The doctors were ignored. When Nixon created the War on Drugs, he appointed a commission led by the governor of Pennsylvania to study marijuana. The commission concluded that it was not harmful and should be legal. The commission was ignored. When the Drug Enforcement Agency was legally forced to review the law, their administrative law judge ruled "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." That is an official finding of the DEA, but they ignore their own findings. The politicians do not care about the medical evidence - in fact they have passed laws to prevent the evidence from being collected. There are 700,000 people in jail over this drug war, many of them women whose children are in foster care. In America today, children grow up as orphans because the government doesn't like what the parents smoke. Wayne Haythorn Mosier, OR Haythorn@gorge.net
------------------------------------------------------------------- Scientific Report Says Marijuana May Be Medically Useful (An Associated Press article in the Argus Observer, in Oregon, summarizes the report on medical marijuana released today by the Institute of Medicine.) Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 23:30:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Scientific Report Says Marijuana May Be Medically Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Stormy Ray Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: Argus Observer (Oregon) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: Argus Observer Website: http://www.argusobserver.com Author: AP SCIENTIFIC REPORT SAYS MARIJUANA MAY BE MEDICALLY USEFUL WASHINGTON (AP) -- The active ingredients in marijuana can help fight pain and nausea and thus deserves to be tested in scientific trials, a federal advisory panel said in a report sure to reignite the debate over whether marijuana is a helpful or harmful drug. The Institute of Medicine also said there was no conclusive evidence that marijuana use leads to harder drugs. In the past few years, voters in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have approved measures in support of the medical marijuana, even through critics believe such measures send the wrong message to youth. Congress has taken a hard line on the issue, with the House last fall adopting by 310-93 vote a resolution that said marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use. Asked to examine the issue by the White House drug policy office, the institute,which is an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences, said that because the chemicals in marijuana ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce nausea and vomiting, they can be helpful for people with AIDS. The panel warned, through, that smoking marijuana can cause respiratory disease and called for the development of standardized forms of the drug, called cannabinoids, that can be taken, for example, by inhaler. "Marijuana has potential as medicine, but it is undermined by the fact that patients must inhale harmful smoke," Stanley Watson of the Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan, one of the study's principal investigators said. Even so, the panel said, there may be cases where patients could in the meantime get relief from smoked marihuana, especially since it might take years to develop an inhaler. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would carefully study the recommendations. "We note in the report's conclusion that the future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoking marijuana, but in chemically defined drugs" delivered by other means, the office headed by retired General Barry McCaffrey said in a statement. One patient called the findings long overdue. "It's taken a long time, but I feel like now, people will stand up and listen," Irvin Rosenfeld, a Boca Raton, Fla., stockbroker who has smoked marijuana supplied by the federal government for 27 years because of a rare medical condition said. "When you have a devastating disease, all you care about is getting the right medicine ... and not having to worry about being made a criminal," Rosenfeld said. He suffers from tumors that press into the muscles at the end of long bones. The marijuana relaxes those muscles, keeping them from being torn by the tumors and allowing him to move with less pain. Rosenfeld is one of just eight people in the country receiving marijuana from the government because of unusual diseases. The panel urged clinical trials to determine the usefulness of marijuana in treating muscle spasms. While it has also been promoted as a treatment for glaucoma, the panel said smoking marijuana only temporarily reduces some of the eye pressure associated with that disease. Daniel Zingale of AIDS Action said he is "pleased that the study validates the benefits of medical marijuana." Chuck Thomas of the Marijuana Policy Project said the report "shoots down" claims that marijuana has no medical benefits. Opponents of allowing medical use of marijuana long have claimed that it is a "gateway" drug, giving people a start on the road to more dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The report concludes there is "no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are casually linked to subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." In fact, the report concludes, most drug users did not begin with marijuana but rather started by using tobacco and alcohol while they were underage. The New England Journal of Medicine has editorialized in favor of medical marijuana and the American Medical Association has urged the National Institutes of Health to support more research on the subject. An expert panel formed by NIH found in 1997 that existing research showed some patients could be helped by the drug, principally to relieve nausea after cancer chemotherapy or to increase AIDS patients' appetites. The drug also has helped some patients control glaucoma, that panel found.
------------------------------------------------------------------- New Government Study Vindicates People's Vote on Medical Marijuana (A press release on PR Newswire from Washington Citizens for Medical Rights summarizes the Institute of Medicine report released today. Dr. Rob Killian, sponsor of Washington state's successful 1998 state ballot proposal on medical marijuana, says "The Federal Government can no longer make the claim that marijuana has no medical value. The only issue that remains is for our political leaders to find a way to provide this safe and effective medicine to our patients who need it.") Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 11:57:30 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WA: Wire: MMJ: New Government Study Vindicates People's Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: PR Newswire Copyright: 1999 PR Newswire NEW GOVERNMENT STUDY VINDICATES PEOPLE'S VOTE ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA SEATTLE - "This report all but ends the debate on Medical Marijuana," states the sponsor of Washington's Initiative 692 in reaction to the release of the long-awaited study on Medical Marijuana by the Institutes of Medicine. "The Federal Government can no longer make the claim that marijuana has no medical value." "This report vindicates what we have known for years -- that marijuana has medical value for certain patients. The only issue that remains is for our political leaders to find a way to provide this safe and effective medicine to our patients who need it, " states Dr. Rob Killian. The report, which was commissioned by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, refutes much of what he and other opponents of medical marijuana have been saying for years. It clearly states that it is a useful medicine, specifically for reduction of nausea and pain, and increase of appetite -- all important uses for cancer patients and people with AIDS. Moreover, the authors state, "basic biology indicates a role for cannabinoids in pain and control of movement," and "some of the 'side-effects' [of marijuana], such as anxiety reduction and sedation, might be desirable for certain patients." Further, the study states that marijuana could be allowed for medical use, without increasing non-medical use. The report tackles the suggestion by opponents of medical use that approving marijuana as a medicine "sends the wrong message." The authors say there is "no convincing data to support this concern," and they note that "this question is beyond the issues normally considered for medical uses of drugs." "This report shows that until now, the federal government's position has been too extreme -- officials claimed there was 'no' medical use for marijuana; they've called it a 'joke' and a 'hoax' -- that kind of denial is going to be impossible now," says Killian. "I am proud that Washington voters were able to see through the rhetoric and illogic of our government's treatment of seriously ill patients." Federal law still says there is "no" medical use for marijuana, which is the only reason it remains classed with heroin and LSD, instead of prescribable drugs like morphine and valium. "We are calling for the immediate reclassification of medical marijuana which will allow patients access to safe and legal forms of marijuana. It is time for politics to get out of the way of medicine and good science," says Killian. For more information on the scientific background of medical marijuana, visit the newly released website "The Science of Medical Marijuana" at http://www.medmjscience.org. SOURCE Washington Citizens for Medical Rights Web Site: http://www.medmjscience.org
------------------------------------------------------------------- Campus Crime Stoppers conjures visions of Big Brother (A letter to the editor of the Oregonian from a Grant High School junior criticizes the Campus Crime Stoppers program that pays up to $1,000 to student informers in Portland whose tips lead to the arrests, but not necessarily the convictions of other students for such crimes as smoking marijuana off campus after school. "The use of monetary incentives makes a commodity of citizenship and corrupts our sense of community responsibility. Instead of teaching students how to think about right and wrong, these programs teach that everything is for sale.") Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Wed, Mar 17 1999 Source: Oregonian, The (OR) Copyright: 1999 The Oregonian Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201 Fax: 503-294-4193 Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Caley Haaken-Heymann. Caley Haaken-Heymann of Northeast Portland is a junior at Grant High School. Op-Ed: Campus Crime Stoppers conjures visions of Big Brother "Turn in those who are preventing you from getting a solid education in a safe environment. Do not let someone interrupt your opportunity for a successful future." This Web site tip represents the Campus Crime Stoppers' philosophy recently adopted by the Portland, David Douglas and Parkrose school districts. Campus Crime Stoppers, a privately funded, international organization, offers cash rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrests (not convictions) of perpetrators. In buying into this program, Oregon is part of a controversial trend in which monetary incentives are offered to students for reporting crimes. Oregon has already been criticized for paying parents of students with tardiness problems a reward of $3 for every full day of class attendance by their child, and $1 per half day. Health clinics in some counties pay high-risk teen-age girls to not get pregnant. I believe the use of monetary incentives makes a commodity of citizenship and corrupts our sense of community responsibility. Instead of teaching students how to think about right and wrong, these programs teach that everything is for sale. Cash rewards are playing an increasing role in law enforcement in schools in California, Colorado, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, New Mexico and now Oregon. Police officer Bobby Rachel of Mesquite, Texas, says, "Of the kids at this school, 95 percent are good kids, and of the 5 percent that aren't so good, only 1 percent cause any trouble." In their efforts to create safe learning environments, are schools instead instilling paranoia, conflict and distrust? In Charlotte, N.C., tens of thousands of posters showing piercing eyes and the ominous phrase, "Who's Watching?" are on display in schools. How close have we come to George Orwell's Big Brother campaign? In fact, seventh-graders at a Texas middle school have turned in fellow students for doodling on desks, and on several occasions, for drug trafficking after witnessing the exchange of Tic Tac mints. Campus Crime Stoppers asks students to separate themselves from their so-called criminal peers. But thus far, a reduction in crime has yet to be shown. Apparently such programs serve another purpose: to reassure the public that law enforcement agencies are on top of the situation, that a "smoke-free class of 2000" is on the horizon. Increasing "crime fighting" activities, however, fails to get at the true causes of crime. The real contributors to society's problems are poverty, racism, alienation and hopelessness.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Socal Group Expects Good News From Drug Report (According to UPI, Americans for Medical Rights, in Southern California, says it's expecting good news from the report to be issued this morning by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:02:16 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: Socal Group Expects Good News From Drug Report Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International SOCAL GROUP EXPECTS GOOD NEWS FROM DRUG REPORT SANTA MONICA, - The group Americans for Medical Rights, which advocates the medical use of marijuana, says it's expecting good news from a report to be issued this morning by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The group says the report was ordered in 1997 and will base its conclusions about marijuana's medical value and its future on scientific studies and testimonials. AMR officials say they hope today's report will help the ``overdue process of change'' in federal government policy regarding medical marijuana.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Institute of Medicine Confirms Medical Value of Marijuana, Sidesteps Critical Drug Policy Concerns (California NORML says the $1.1 million review of the scientific literature on medical marijuana commissioned by the White House drug czar in 1997 confirms the herb offers potential therapeutic benefits for a broad range of symptoms, including pain relief, nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. While dismissing the notion that marijuana is a gateway to drug abuse, or that its medical use sends a dangerous message to children, it refrains from judgments about current marijuana laws. The full report is online at http://www2.nas.edu/medical-mj/index.html.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 00:19:30 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Subject: DPFCA: Re: IOM Report - A Small Step Forward Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dale Gieringer) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Institute of Medicine Confirms Medical Value of Marijuana, Sidesteps Critical Drug Policy Concerns March 17, 1999: In a report released today, the national Institute of Medicine confirms that medical marijuana offers potential therapeutic benefits for a broad range of symptoms, including pain relief, nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. While cautioning against the hazards of smoked marijuana and urging development of safer delivery forms, the report acknowledges that smoked marijuana can be the only alternative for patients suffering chronic complaints such as pain, nausea and AIDS wasting syndrome. "The IOM report vindicates the judgment of California voters that marijuana is medicine," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, "The federal government has no choice but to revise its policy." The report, commissioned by Drug Czar McCaffery following passage of Prop. 215, focuses narrowly on research issues and avoids broader drug policy concerns. While dismissing the notion that marijuana is a gateway to drug abuse, or that its medical use sends a dangerous message to children, it refrains from judgments about current marijuana laws. Instead, it calls for research and development of non-smoked cannabis derivatives, a project that is sure to require several years. California NORML called the IOM's recommendations a welcome, but timid step forward. "Unfortunately, the report says nothing about those patients who need medical marijuana now," says Gieringer. "Despite passage of Prop. 215, countless patients continue to be arrested for medical marijuana. The sad fact is that we are currently spending more to imprison medical marijuana offenders than to implement Prop. 215. "California already has a record number of marijuana prisoners. We don't need any more. If marijuana makes patients feel better - even if they aren't on death's doorstep - they should be allowed to use it, just like tobacco or alcohol." The IOM report is posted at http://www2.nas.edu/medical-mj/index.html. *** Dale Gieringer (415) 563-5858 // email@example.com 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114
------------------------------------------------------------------- Data Supports Medical Pot Argument (The Oakland Tribune summarizes the Institute of Medicine report released today.) Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 18:54:47 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Data Supports Medical Pot Argument Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Gerald Sutliff (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: Oakland Tribune (CA) Page: 1 Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers Contact: email@example.com Address: 66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607 Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/ Author: Matthew B. Stannard DATA SUPPORTS MEDICAL POT ARGUMENT High-Level Report A 'Sane Step Forward' A long-awaited report to be released today supports the contention of medicinal marijuana advocates that the controversial drug may be an effective pain reliever, nausea suppressant and appetite stimulant. The Institute of Medicine came to that conclusion after spending more than a year analyzing past studies and talking with patients, prescribers and physicians on both sides of the medicinal marijuana debate. That debate could be reshaped after the institute's report lands on the desks of legislators caught between a public that favors medicinal marijuana and a federal government that continues to ban the drug. The report deals only with scientific data, and does not make any policy recommendations. But as the most thorough synthesis of data on medicinal marijuana to date -- the institute last studied marijuana in 1982 -- the report tops the reading list for policy-makers such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which sponsored the study. In a prepared statement, the office promised to study the institute's conclusions carefully and seek responses from the nation's health officials. The Food and Drug Administration, which is doing its own report on medicinal marijuana, would decide whether cannabis could be used as a prescription drug. FDA officials could not be reached for comment. Still, advocates of medicinal marijuana cheered the new report, saying it's a vindication of their position and a rejection of government policies that list cannabis among drugs with no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. "I think the IOM report is going to be hailed as a sane step forward when it comes to national policies for dealing with patients," said Jeff Jones, director of the defunct Oakland Cannabis Buyers Collective. "It's over. The federal government lost." Cannabis researchers, while not as effusive as Jones, agreed the new report could be helpful -- assuming it helps smooth the way for additional research. The report calls for further study of the physiological and psychological effects of cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana. It also calls for more research into possible dangers of marijuana smoke -- including cancer and pregnancy complications -- and recommends limiting tests in which marijuana is smoked to short-term trials involving terminally ill patients who do not respond to other medications. "It's exactly what we're trying to do, is provide some more scientific rigor to the potential benefits -- if there are any -- of smoking marijuana," said Dr. Scott Morrow, public health officer for San Mateo County, which has applied to the National Institute of Drug Abuse for permission to conduct its own $500,000 study of marijuana's effectiveness. "Maybe it has no benefits. Maybe everything we hear is all anecdote and it doesn't benefit people. Or maybe it does. We should answer that question." That perspective resonates on the other side of the fence, among health professionals who have opposed the medicinal use of marijuana. Dr. Eric A. Voth, director of the International Drug Strategy Institute and co-author of one of the ballot arguments against California's 1996 medicinal marijuana initiative, said he hopes the new report will help separate cannabis science from the politics of smoking pot. But Voth also predicted the report could signal the beginning of a new war, between those who feel marijuana should be broken down into its individual components and reformulated as pills or sprays, and those who insist the plant be made freely available for smoking -- regardless of the risks. "I think that the proponents of marijuana will continue to push for legalization," he said. "But what I really hope that this report does is clearly paint in the mind of the public that (raw) pot is not medicine. You don't smoke medicine." SIDEBAR - Findings and recommendations included in the Institute of Medicine report on marijuana and medicine: CANNABINOID drugs may relieve pain, control nausea and vomiting, and stimulate appetite. Other medications are usually more effective, but cannabinoids may be better treatment for certain conditions, such as nausea caused by chemotherapy and appetite loss in AIDS patients. THE RISKS of regular marijuana smoking include respiratory tract damage and increased exposure to cancer, lung damage and low fetal birth weight. SOME MARIJUANA smokers experience mild and short-lived withdrawal symptoms, including restlessness, irritability, insomnia, nausea and cramping. There is no conclusive evidence that marijuana leads to other drug abuse. THE GOAL OF of clinical trials should be to learn more about how its cannabinoid ingredients work and how best to provide them to patients without smoking. Because that could take several years, however, clinical trials should be designed to last six months or less for patients with debilitating symptoms who could get some relief from smoking marijuana.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical pot gets cautious kudos (The San Francisco Examiner version) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 21:21:15 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DPFCA (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: US CA SFX MMJ: Medical pot gets cautious kudos Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Source: San Francisco Examiner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com Pubdate: March 17, 1999 (c)1999 San Francisco Examiner MEDICAL POT GETS CAUTIOUS KUDOS Ulysses Torassa EXAMINER MEDICAL WRITER Elite panel finds marijuana helpful but smoking it harmful In what amounts to a consensus of scientific opinion, a prestigious panel has found that marijuana probably helps a number of ailments, but because smoking it is also hazardous, it should be used sparingly. At the same time, research on marijuana should get under way to isolate compounds that could eventually be given to patients via inhalers or other fast-acting delivery systems, the National Academy of Sciences said in a report released Wednesday. The long-awaited review was done by the academy's Institute of Medicine at the request of White House drug czar Barry McCaffrey, who has been under pressure to reverse the federal government's opposition to medical use of marijuana. Advocates have pinned their hopes on the report, expecting it would show that the drug has enough promise to persuade McCaffrey and others to loosen regulations. Among the report's findings: *It makes sense to let patients with severe symptoms, such as intractable pain or vomiting, smoke marijuana for short periods - less than six months. But it should be a last resort after other medications fail, patients should be informed of the risks, and data should be collected from their experiences to gain more insights into marijuana's effects. *Marijuana should not be used to treat glaucoma, its most frequently cited medical application. Although it can reduce some of the eye pressure, it works for only a short time, and the limited benefits don't outweigh the hazards. There also is not enough evidence to support its use for migraine headaches or for movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease. *Studies show marijuana smoke is an important risk factor for the development of respiratory disease. *Cannabinoids, the class of compounds that includes marijuana's active ingredient, most likely have a role in pain modulation, control of movement and memory. *The brain develops a tolerance for cannabinoids, and there is a potential for dependence. However, it is less powerful than nicotine, cocaine, opiates or the class of sedatives that includes drugs such as Valium. Withdrawal also is less intense than with opiates and Valium-like drugs. *There is no conclusive evidence that marijuana is a "gateway" to harder drugs. The concern that allowing marijuana for medical treatment will induce more people in the general population to use it also appears unfounded. Synthetic future The report's principal investigators wrote that while cannabinoids showed promise, their future as a medicine was in a synthesized form, not in smoked marijuana. "For patients, such as those with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might offer broad-spectrum relief not found in any other single medication," they wrote. However, smoking marijuana exposes users to more tar than tobacco, as well as to cancer-causing compounds similar to ones found in cigarettes. Furthermore, deeply inhaling and holding in the smoke tends to concentrate harmful substances in the lungs, John A. Benson, one of the report's principal investigators, said Wednesday. "While we see a future in the development of chemically defined cannabinoid drugs, we see little future in smoked marijuana," he said. Not surprisingly, both sides in the medical marijuana debate are claiming victory. "The report gives clear support to the claim that marijuana is medically useful," said David Zimmerman, director of Americans for Medical Rights, which sponsored successful ballot initiatives in California and several other states to allow medical use of the drug. But Terry Hensley of the Drug Free America Foundation said the report supported his group's position that "crude, smoked marijuana" wasn't a real treatment. "What they endorse is research, which is what we've been endorsing," Hensley said. Meanwhile, McCaffrey isn't ready to budge just yet. He issued a statement saying he awaited further responses from public health officials. Howard L. Fields, a UC-San Francisco researcher and director of the Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction, was one of the 11 scientists who produced the report. While on the one hand their conclusions probably won't satisfy those who think the drug should be available as the equivalent of an "herbal remedy for pain," they did find enough evidence to justify using it in some circumstances, he said. "At least people can't say, "This is all baloney, there is no medical uses for marijuana, and it shouldn't be available at all,' " Fields said. Treats nausea Fields, who has studied cannabinoids in animals, said it showed real promise for treating pain. For one thing, it tends to alleviate nausea, a common side effect of other painkillers such as morphine. McCaffrey and other federal officials have been under increasing pressure to ease up on the medical use of marijuana since 1996 when California passed Proposition 215, the nation's first initiative to make it possible for sick people with a doctor's recommendation to use it. In November, well-funded advocates managed to win all six similar initiatives on ballots in Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, Washington and the District of Columbia. And last month, 20 AIDS groups wrote to McCaffrey, calling on him to allow HIV-positive patients access to the drug. State marijuana advocates have been cheered by the election of Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is reversing his predecessor's adamant opposition to Prop. 215. Lockyer has convened a task force to help figure out how to construct a system so patients can get access to the drug. Meanwhile, a few marijuana clubs are operating openly in such places as Santa Cruz and Los Angeles. Clubs in Northern California were shut down by federal prosecutors. However, well-known marijuana activist Dennis Peron has been operating a marijuana farm in Lake County, where he grows plants for 200 members of a cooperative who have doctors' recommendations and pay $20 per month. They either come to the farm to collect their plants, or Peron delivers them to their Bay Area homes. Farm raided Twice last year, federal agents raided the farm and made off with the plants, but no one was arrested, Peron said. He expects the report's findings to persuade the government to reclassify marijuana from Schedule 1, which means it has no medical use, to Schedule 2, which would allow it to be dispensed with a prescription. Getting access to marijuana, even for legitimate scientific research, has been an arduous process. The only government-funded clinical trial under way in the United States using smoked marijuana is at UCSF, where the effects on HIV-positive patients are being investigated. It took principal investigator Donald Abrams six years to get approval from the federal government for his study, which began last year and is still seeking volunteers. Abrams' study compares the effects of smoked marijuana with that of Marinol, an FDA-approved drug that contains THC, marijuana's active ingredient. Many people continue to resort to smoked marijuana because they say Marinol takes too long to become active and has unwanted side effects, including an excessively intense "high." Abrams said it had long been known that marijuana contains enough potentially useful ingredients to warrant further study. He said he hoped the climate for conducting medical research on it would improve from having yet another prestigious scientific body call for investigation. "I know of a few investigators who have submitted proposals to the government. I don't know how they've fared," he said. "I hope the Institute of Medicine report would stimulate more people to investigate." (c)1999 San Francisco Examiner Page A 1
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lockyer on medical marijuana (A list subscriber forwards a press release about the IOM report from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 23:54:06 -0800 To: "email@example.com" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "Jeff W. Jones" (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: Fwd: Lockyer on medical marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ *** Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 23:07:28 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Lara Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Lockyer on medical marijuana *** From: William Maile (MaileW@hdcdojnet.state.ca.us) Subject: [PRESSLIST] ATTORNEY GENERAL LOCKYER ISSUES STATEMENT ON INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE REPORT ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 1999 Contact: Nathan Barankin (916)324-5500 (Sacramento)-- Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued the following statement in response to the Institute of Medicine*s report titled, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base": "The Institute of Medicine report takes an important step toward answering questions about the medical benefits of marijuana. The report suggests that there is scientific evidence to support its use and encourages further research. Current federal law prohibits doctors from prescribing marijuana and has made medical research difficult. We look forward to the federal government building on this report*s findings so that we can wisely implement Proposition 215." *** Jeff W. Jones Officer of the City of Oakland for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative P.O. Box 70401, Oakland, CA 94612-0401 (510) 832-5346 Fax (510) 986-0534 Web: http//:www.rxcbc.org Email: email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- Institute of Medicine Report on Medicinal Cannabis to Be Released March 17, 1999 (The Colorado Hemp Initiative Project forwards a summary of the IOM report by Jeff Jones of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, who asks you to call today requesting the resignation of the White House drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, based on his statement in 1996 to the effect that "marijuana has no shred of medical evidence to show it has therapeutic qualities." Plus, a request from the Marijuana Policy Project, in Washington, D.C., asking you to call your U.S. seantor and representative, seeking support for H.R. 912, the medical-marijuana bill recently introduced by Rep. Barney Frank.) Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:22:56 -0700 (MST) From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (email@example.com) Subject: IOM Cannabis Study Released (3/17/99) National Academy of Sciences Institue of Medicine Report on Medicinal Cannabis to Be Released March 17, 1999 (This was the organization conducting an 18-month study designed to evaluate the therapeutic value of marijuana and its chemical components, particularly cannabinoids such as THC) *** Subject: Lets all do just one thing on St. Patricks Day From: Jeff Jones, Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative Hello Everyone: I am writing to let everyone know that the IOM report is going to be released on March 17th at 11:00 EST, at the IOM web site http://www2.nas.edu/medical-mj/index.html Please check out this report and find out for yourself how inhuman the government has been acting with respect to allowing patients safe access to medical cannabis. I ask for one action to be taken on March 17th and that is for everyone and their friends to call Barry Macaffrey's office at (202) 514-2000 (I spoke with Wanda) and ask for his resignation to be turn in IMMEDIATELY. This is based on his outright lie to the American public in 1996 when he made statements to the effect that "marijuana has no shred of medical evidence to show it has therapeutic qualities" (LIE, LIE, LIE LIE). Some of the items covered summarized: - No major know effect with Immune suppression - Social concern that changing federal policy would increase illicit cannabis use, no data to support this claim - Recommendation to do more research, clinical trials short term less than six months, with patients only that shown efficacy to help their condition, all research should be approved by FDA and Peer Review committees - Smoking to be the only major health risk associated with cannabis use, all other risks mirror those of other medicines given out by Doctors. "We know what we need to do. Let's get out there and change the world!" Jeff W. Jones Officer of the City of Oakland for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative P.O. Box 70401, Oakland, CA 94612-0401 (510) 832-5346 Fax (510) 986-0534 Web: http//:www.rxcbc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *** Marijuana Policy Project Alert Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced TO: Interested persons FROM: Robert D. Kampia, MPP director of government relations DATE: Friday, March 5, 1999 SUBJECT: Please ask your U.S. representative to co-sponsor H.R. 912 *** This alert is available at http://www.mpp.org/912alert.html On March 2, 1999, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced H.R. 912 which -- if enacted -- would allow states to determine their own medicinal marijuana policies without federal interference. This bill is nearly identical to the medicinal marijuana bill that Rep. Frank introduced in the 1997-98 Congress, which the Marijuana Policy Project helped draft. MPP is encouraging its members and other allies to do the following: 1. Please write to your U.S. representative, asking him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 912. For help writing the letter, please click here. http://www.mpp.org/912ltrs.html 2. Please submit a supportive letter-to-the-editor to your local newspapers. If you need help writing this letter, please click here. http://www.mpp.org/912lte.html 3. Please distribute this message widely to your friends, family, and colleagues. 4. If you have extra time, please write a letter to each of your two U.S. senators asking them to "introduce legislation similar to H.R. 912, the medicinal marijuana bill." H.R. 912 is currently pending in the House Commerce Committee. In the short run, MPP has two goals: (1) persuade the U.S. representatives who sit on this committee to voice their support for holding a hearing on medicinal marijuana; and (2) persuade as many U.S. representatives as possible -- whether or not they sit on this committee -- to co-sponsor H.R. 912. *** Resources - list of U.S. representatives and U.S. senators who have supported medicinal marijuana http://www.mpp.org/mmj-supp.html - how House members voted on the anti-medicinal marijuana resolution http://www.mpp.org/117votes.html - list of U.S. representatives on the House Commerce Committee http://www.mpp.org/hcomsub.html - full text of H.R. 912 http://www.mpp.org/hr912.html *** To find out the name of your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators: - First, find out your ZIP+4: http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/lookups/lookup_zip+4.html - then, use it to get the name of your U.S. representative: http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html - and finally, get the names of your two U.S. senators: http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm U.S. Rep. [name] U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515 U.S. Senator [name] U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510 TO CALL: To call your U.S. representative's office, please call the congressional switchboard operator at 202-225-3121. The operator will ask you for your zip code if you do not know who your U.S. representative is TO FAX:To fax your U.S. representative, please call your U.S. representative's office for his or her fax number. TO E-MAIL:Please do not e-mail your U.S. representative unless you have already called, faxed, or written. *** Marijuana Policy Project P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 Email: email@example.com Web: www.mpp.org *** Re-distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Vmail: (303) 448-5640 Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE??? *** To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Backers Call Medical Marijuana Report a Victory (The Arizona Daily Star interviews several locals who offer "pro" and "con" views about today's release of the Institute of Medicine report, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.") Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:02:12 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: MMJ: Backers Call Medical Marijuana Report A Victory Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: March 17, 1999 Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ Author: Christina Leonard, The Arizona Republic BACKERS CALL MEDICAL MARIJUANA REPORT A VICTORY Valley medical marijuana proponents are calling today's federal report on pot's positive effects for pain relief, nausea control and appetite stimulation a victory. "This is just one more push - one more bit of pressure on the feds in Washington," said Dr. Jeffrey Singer, spokesman for Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform. "This is exactly what we've been saying all along. It's a shame the government has spent millions and millions of dollars on a literary search." The study's release comes months after voters in Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and the District of Columbia approved initiatives allowing doctors to prescribe pot for sick people. However, ever since California and Arizona voters first approved the measure in 1996, federal authorities have threatened to yank the federal licenses of any doctors who prescribed marijuana. After Arizona passed a second medical marijuana initiative in November, drug policy director Barry McCaffrey, the nation's most visible opponent of such initiatives, said he would not try to overturn such laws but wait for results of a Food and Drug Administration study and research from the National Institutes of Health. The Institute of Medicine report, titled, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," concludes that although cannabinoid drugs may offer therapeutic relief not found in other medications, smoking marijuana delivers "harmful substances." It suggests the development of alternative means of ingestion. "Until such drugs can be developed and made available for medical use, the report recommends interim solutions," it says. Singer doesn't buy it. "They said that marijuana is medicine, and smoking marijuana works," he said. "They just have a problem recommending people smoke it. Maybe they should get over that problem, because these are people suffering from terminal diseases. "Smoking marijuana gets relief to these people. Are you saying these people can't get relief until somebody comes up with an invention for another way to administer it?" But Dr. Philip Kanof, medical director of the substance-abuse program at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tucson and an associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, said the active ingredient of marijuana - THC - has been approved by the FDA for years. "What are the advantages of smoking it over using the oral form?" he asked. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy ordered the report in January 1997 to review the scientific evident and assess potential health risks and benefits. Information was gathered through scientific literature, workshops, site visits to cannabis buyers' clubs and HIV/AIDS clinics, and consultation with biomedical and social scientists.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Backers Praise Report On Pot Medical Uses Cited By Federal Study (The Arizona Republic summarizes the Institute of Medicine study on medical marijuana.) Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:09:15 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US AZ: Wire: Backers Praise Report On Pot Medical Uses Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: Arizona Republic (AZ) Copyright: 1999, The Arizona Republic. Contact: Opinions@pni.com Website: http://www.azcentral.com/news/ Forum: http://www.azcentral.com/pni-bin/WebX?azc BACKERS PRAISE REPORT ON POT MEDICAL USES CITED BY FEDERAL STUDY A federal report on the medical uses of marijuana recognizes pot's positive effects for pain relief, nausea control and appetite stimulation but falls short of recommending that it be smoked. The report, to be released early today, may help remove obstacles to medicinal marijuana initiatives approved by voters in Arizona and elsewhere. Valley medical marijuana proponents call the report a victory. "This is just one more push - one more bit of pressure on the feds in Washington," said Dr. Jeffrey Singer, spokesman for Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform. "This is exactly what we've been saying all along. It's a shame the government has spent millions and millions of dollars on a literary search." The study's release comes months after voters in Arizona, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and the District of Columbia approved initiatives allowing doctors to prescribe pot for sick people. However, ever since California and Arizona voters first approved the measure in 1996, federal authorities have threatened to yank the federal licenses of any doctors who prescribed marijuana. After Arizona passed a second medical marijuana initiative in November, drug policy director Barry McCaffrey, the nation's most visible opponent of such initiatives, said he would not try to overturn such laws, but wait for results of a Food and Drug Administration study and research from the National Institutes of Health. A spokeswoman for McCaffrey's office declined to comment Tuesday night until the report's official release. White House spokesman Mike Hammer said late Tuesday that the White House will carefully review the report. "Our primary focus in this area must be to prevent youth use of marijuana by ensuring that youth know about this drug's dangers," he said. "We will continue our youth drug-prevention efforts including the anti-drug media campaign and continue to send the clear message to kids that drugs are wrong, dangerous and can kill you." The Institute of Medicine report, titled, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," concludes that although cannabinoid drugs may offer therapeutic relief not found in other medications, smoking marijuana delivers "harmful substances." It suggests the development of alternative means of ingestion. "Until such drugs can be developed and made available for medical use, the report recommends interim solutions," it says. Singer doesn't buy it. "They said that marijuana is medicine, and smoking marijuana works," he said. "They just have a problem recommending people smoke it. Maybe they should get over that problem, because these are people suffering from terminal diseases. "Smoking marijuana gets relief to these people. Are you saying these people can't get relief until somebody comes up with an invention for another way to administer it?" But Dr. Philip Kanof, medical director of the substance-abuse program at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Tucson and an associate professor of pharmacology at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona, said the active ingredient of marijuana - THC - has been approved by the FDA for years. "What are the advantages of smoking it over using the oral form?" he asked. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy ordered the report in January 1997 to review the scientific evident and assess potential health risks and benefits. Information was gathered through scientific literature, workshops, site visits to cannabis buyers' clubs and HIV/AIDS clinics, and consultation with biomedical and social scientists
------------------------------------------------------------------- School Drug Testing Proposal Moves Through Senate (The Tulsa World says Oklahoma House Bill 1289, sponsored by state Rep. Dale Smith, D-St. Louis, and state Sen. Brad Henry, D-Shawnee, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. For the first time, the bill would give schools legal authority to drug test tens of thousands of students who engage in extracurricular activities, including sports, band, debate, choir or any other school-connected activity. The House has already approved the bill. Apparently everyone knows whether the governor will sign it.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:25:43 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US OK: School Drug Testing Proposal Moves Through Senate Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 Source: Tulsa World (OK) Copyright: 1999, World Publishing Co. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.tulsaworld.com/ SCHOOL DRUG TESTING PROPOSAL MOVES THROUGH SENATE PANEL OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill approved by a Senate panel Tuesday would give schools legal authority for the first time to administer random drug and alcohol tests to tens of thousands of students. House Bill 1289 by Rep. Dale Smith, D-St. Louis, and Sen. Brad Henry, D- Shawnee, authorizes schools to conduct drug and alcohol tests on students who engage in extracurricular activities. That would include such things as sports, band, debate, choir or any other school-connected activity. Henry told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that some schools already conduct drug testing, primarily on athletes. However, he said, nothing in the law allows such tests. Sen. Ben Brown, D-Oklahoma City, offered an amendment to permit random drug- and alcohol-testing of all students. Brown said Oklahoma ranks high among the states for drug and alcohol abuse by students. "We need zero tolerance and treatment for drug and alcohol abuse," said Brown, who operates a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Oklahoma City. His amendment sparked heated debate. "The reality is, kids don't get much help from schools," said Sen. Bernest Cain, D-Oklahoma City. "They just get kicked out of school. "What are you going to do -- kick kids out of school and let them run on the streets?" The amendment failed on a 4-4 vote. The panel approved the bill 8-0. Brown said later that he hadn't decided whether to try to insert the amendment in the bill on the Senate floor. The bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives. Brandy Thurman bill: The Senate Public Safety Committee approved 8-0 a bill spawned by last May's shooting of Brandy Thurman, a Broken Arrow teen-ager. House Bill 1013 by Rep. Scott Adkins and Sen. Scott Pruitt, both Broken Arrow Republicans, would add at least 10 years to the prison sentence of anyone convicted of a violent crime that involves the use or threatened use of any type of weapon. The bill, which the House passed earlier, now goes to the full Senate. A Tulsa jury acquitted Jason "Casper" Filion last week of shooting with intent to kill in the attack on Thurman, but it convicted him of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a lesser offense. He received the maximum sentence, 10 years. Undercover police cars: The Senate Deregulation Committee voted to prohibit police from using unmarked cars for routine traffic stops. House Bill 1212 by Rep. Richard Phillips, R-Warr Acres, and Sen. Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, would allow unmarked cars in drug interdiction and other police work, however. The proposal is opposed by Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage and several police departments, including those in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It is supported by the Oklahoma Municipal League, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers and the American Automobile Association of Oklahoma. Coffee referred to several recent incidents in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in which a police impersonator in a car with flashing lights has tried to stop women drivers. He said many women are frightened of being stopped by someone in an unmarked car. The panel approved the proposal 4-1 and sent it to the full Senate. It previously passed the House. Marriage licenses: The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved 8- 1 a bill by Rep. Ray Vaughn, R-Oklahoma City, that would reduce the cost of a marriage license to $5 from the present $25 for couples who get marriage counseling before marriage. Coffee is the Senate author of the bill, which the House passed earlier. The measure now goes to the full Senate.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical marijuana bill hits snag (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says a state senate committee held a hearing Tuesday on a medical-marijuana bill introduced by Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, which would allow adults with a physician's recommendation to possess 1 ounce of marijuana. The committee meets again tonight to try to reconcile differences.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:13:42 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: US MN MMJ: Medical marijuana bill hits snag Sender: email@example.com Minneapolis Star-Tribune Website http://www.startribune.com/ Feedback http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Forum http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Published Wednesday, March 17, 1999 MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL HITS SNAG Bill McAuliffe / Star Tribune Marijuana helps relieve pain, stress, nausea and numerous other discomforts of cancer and other debilitating diseases, patients and doctors told a Senate committee Tuesday. But it's also illegal for doctors to prescribe it and for anyone to possess or use it. A Senate committee may look for a way to reconcile those factors today when it revisits a bill that would protect patients and doctors from criminal and civil penalties in connection with the medical use of marijuana. The bill was tabled Tuesday for more research. It's at least the third time since 1993 that the Legislature has addressed the issue. Previous attempts to provide for the medical use of marijuana failed because they established a system of production and prescription that relied on a federal change in the substance's drug classification, which hasn't occurred yet. A bill in Congress seeks to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, meaning it could be prescribed by doctors under certain conditions. The Minnesota bill, sponsored by Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, would allow adults with a proven malady and a physician's recommendation -- not a prescription -- to possess 1 ounce of marijuana. Under the plan, patients under 18 would need a parent's consent. Possession is still a felony under federal law; the bill relies on federal authorities not prosecuting cases involving amounts of that size, which is generally the case now. Two cancer patients and two physicians, one a University of Minnesota professor, told members of the Senate Health and Family Security Committee that marijuana often makes it easier to live with a range of debilitating diseases, as well as with the discomfort of chemotherapy and other treatments. Marsha Tollefson, 47, a grandmother from St. Peter, Minn., told of how marijuana helped her endure cancer treatment and the effects of systemic scleroderma, in which excess collagen stiffens her skin, muscles and organs. "I don't want to be forced to choose between leaving Minnesota to reside in a state that recognizes the benefits of medical marijuana or stay here and be considered a criminal for taking care of my health," she said in a statement. Dr. Dennis Dykstra, a University of Minnesota professor of physical medicine, said he has noted that marijuana also relieves spasticity in palsy patients. He said current law unfairly restricts physicians from helping ease their patients' conditions. Five states -- California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington and Alaska -- have varying provisions for medical use of marijuana. But for it to occur in Minnesota, an authorized system of experimental research and distribution, under the auspices of the state Board of Pharmacy and the University of Minnesota, would have to be established, said state Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver. That would allow physicians to prescribe marijuana legally under federal permits, he said. Gov. Jesse Ventura supports medical marijuana use, Weaver said, but only under a workable system. Weaver said he opposed the bill because it didn't allow for the state-authorized research and distribution. "We wouldn't support anything that decriminalizes marijuana," he said. Sen. Dan Stevens, R-Mora, opposed the bill, saying it would send the wrong message to the public about smoking in general. And an ophthalmologist testified that there is no scientific evidence that marijuana relieves the discomforts of glaucoma, despite broad claims to the contrary. The bill may return to the same Senate committee for a hearing scheduled at 6:30 tonight. (c) Copyright 1999 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Panel delays decision on medical marijuana (The St. Paul Pioneer Press version says the Minnesota Senate Health and Family Security Committee postponed a vote on the medical marijuana bill in order to allow the bill's sponsor and top officials in Gov. Jesse Ventura's administration to try to negotiate compromise amendments addressing the concerns that Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver said Governor Ventura has with the bill. The committee is tentatively scheduled to resume debate on the bill 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Capitol.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 15:10:40 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: restore (email@example.com) Subject: US MN MMJ: Panel delays decision on medical marijuana Source: PioneerPlanet / St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press Contact: http://web-db.pioneerpress.com/feedback/editor.cfm Website: http://www.pioneerplanet.com/ Published: Wednesday, March 17, 1999 PANEL DELAYS DECISION ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA Senate sponsor, Ventura may re-tool over distribution, enforcement issues PATRICK SWEENEY STAFF WRITER (Patrick Sweeney, who covers state government and politics, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651) 228-5253.) In less than one minute of testimony to a state Senate committee Tuesday, Nancy Briggs argued an emotional case for allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions to smoke marijuana. Briggs, who calls herself a ``cancer survivor,'' described suffering intense nausea and severe headaches that accompanied chemotherapy and radiation treatments she underwent after breast surgery last spring. ``I tried a dozen different prescription medicines to combat the side effects,'' said Briggs, 44, of Golden Valley. ``Nothing worked, nothing even came close. . . . Someone then gave me a marijuana cigarette. It stopped the nausea, it stopped the headaches. The relief was thorough, immediate and quite extraordinary.'' Briggs was one of string of witnesses who testified for and against a bill that would allow a patient -- with a note from his or her physician -- to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana without having to worry about facing state criminal charges. The Senate Health and Family Security Committee postponed a vote on the bill to allow the Senate sponsor and top officials in Gov. Jesse Ventura's administration to try to negotiate compromise amendments addressing concerns Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver said Ventura has with the bill. The committee tentatively is scheduled to resume debate on the bill at 7:30 tonight in Room 15 of the Capitol. As the bill stands, its chances of passage are not good in the Democrat-dominated Senate, and even weaker in the Republican-controlled House. Sen. Dan Stevens, R-Mora, a committee member and opponent of the bill, said it would send a ``terrible message'' to children that recreational, as well as medical, use of marijuana is acceptable. But the bill's prospects will improve significantly if it's endorsed by Ventura and Weaver, a respected former Republican House member who was a law-and-order candidate for attorney general. ``What the governor supports,'' Weaver said, ``is figuring out a way to allow people who are terminally ill, or seriously ill, access to marijuana without creating a nightmare for law enforcement.'' Weaver said he envisioned amendments that would allow the state Health Department or the University of Minnesota to seek federal permission for marijuana to be tested in a strictly controlled research project. Weaver said he and Ventura also want to tighten the bill's language about who could qualify to use marijuana. ``The governor doesn't want this to apply to just anybody with a bad back,'' Weaver said. The bill's author, Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, and an official of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were expected to resume meeting today to try to negotiate acceptable language. Darrell Paulsen of South St. Paul, who has cerebral palsy and attended the hearing Tuesday to support passage of the bill, said he thought the changes proposed by Weaver would gut Piper's bill. Paulsen said he met briefly with Ventura after the hearing and urged him to overrule the position Weaver took in the hearing. ``I think he is missing the boat when he thinks we can design a pilot project so these people can get it,'' Paulsen said of Weaver. As originally drafted, the bill would remove the already-small state criminal penalties for use and possession of less than 1.5 grams of marijuana by people who have demonstrated to their doctors they need the drug for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, Crohn's disease, scleroderma, chronic pain or similar ailments. The bill also would protect doctors from any criminal penalties for prescribing marijuana. But the legislation would not have created a mechanism for anyone legally to sell the marijuana. And, according to Weaver, the bill would have done nothing to protect patients from federal anti-drug laws. People selling the marijuana would be committing felonies, Weaver said. He said he and Ventura do not want patients seeking marijuana for medicinal purposes to have to rely on street purchases of marijuana of widely varying potency. The committee Tuesday approved an amendment that calls for the state Health and Public Safety departments to create a system for the distribution of marijuana under the auspices of the state Board of Pharmacy. But Weaver said that amendment would not fix the problem of patients potentially facing federal charges. Two physicians testified in favor of the bill on Tuesday; one opposed it. Dr. Dennis Dykstra, a University of Minnesota Medical School professor, said the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydro-cannabinol or THC, helps reduce spasticity in patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries or who have cerebral palsy. He said he thinks that for many patients, smoking marijuana produces better results than taking an oral version of the drug. ``Some of my patients are smoking cannabis -- marijuana -- and they're getting far better results than with the oral medicine,'' Dykstra said. A psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Willenbring, who directs an addiction treatment program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Fort Snelling, said smoking marijuana can help patients suffering from nausea and vomiting. ``There is more evidence for medical marijuana than for many other medicines we use,'' he said. But a third doctor, Dr. Mary Bhvsar, an ophthalmologist, urged the committee members not to believe that marijuana is the only, or best, treatment for patients suffering from glaucoma. Some new medicines work better, she said. Briggs, the breast cancer survivor from Golden Valley, said she tried marijuana several times two decades ago when she was in college, but did not use the drug again until a friend offered it as an antidote to the side effects of her chemotherapy, which included loss of appetite and open sores in her mouth. After she tried the marijuana, it never occurred to her let the law deter her from using it, she said. ``It never concerned me,'' she said. ``My relief was so extreme that I would have been willing to do anything.'
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical marijuana use still mired in politics (Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Doug Grow describes the hearing Tuesday for a medical-marijuana bill before a Minnesota senate committee. The witnesses poured out their pain. They explained that marijuana had comforted them when other drugs had failed. They were passionate and powerful. But the unhearing drug warriors mouthed the same old canards. The people who testified about their horrific pains only could shake their heads at the old, cold words they were hearing. It's 1999 in most of the world, but in government, we're still in dense, dark times whenever the subject is medicinal use of marijuana. Even Gov. Jesse Ventura's cabinet was sending mixed messages.) Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:11:41 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DRCNet Medical Marijuana Forum (email@example.com) Subject: US MN MMJ OPED: Doug Grow: Medical marijuana use still mired in politics Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Minneapolis Star-Tribune Website http://www.startribune.com/ Feedback http://www.startribune.com/stonline/html/userguide/letform.html Forum http://talk.startribune.com/cgi-bin/WebX.cgi Published Wednesday, March 17, 1999 DOUG GROW: MEDICAL MARIJUANA USE STILL MIRED IN POLITICS Doug Grow / Star Tribune The witnesses poured out their pain for a Minnesota Senate committee. They explained that marijuana had comforted them when other drugs had failed. They were passionate and powerful. Then it was time to hear from those opposing a bill that would allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes. There was a spokesman for the Minnesota Family Council, Aaron Frederickson, who acted as if he hadn't heard the pained people who'd just spoken. "Now is the time to enforce drug laws, not soften them," Frederickson read, monotone, from a prepared statement. And there was the wit and wisdom of Sen. Dan Stevens, R-Mora. Stevens said if the Legislature passed a bill allowing marijuana to be used to comfort the afflicted, some Minnesotans would think legislators must be using marijuana themselves. Chuckle, chuckle. "I'll vote against this," Sen. Wit said after his little laugh. The people who testified about their horrific pains only could shake their heads at the old, cold words they were hearing. It's 1999 in most of the world, but in government, we're still in dense, dark times whenever the subject is medicinal use of marijuana. Even Gov. Jesse Ventura's cabinet was sending mixed messages at Tuesday's hearing. Ventura supposedly supports legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. But at Tuesday's hearing, Charlie Weaver, commissioner of public safety and presumably Ventura's voice on the issue, filled the air with "ummmms" and "buts" and "maybes" on the subject of legalization. (What do we have here, Jesse [the Vacillator] Ventura?) So, for purely political reasons, good people continue to suffer more than they need to. Darryl Paulsen, who is in a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy, was at the hearing to tell how marijuana has helped him control his spasms; how marijuana gives him some control over his body that no other drug does. But there's a tough price to pay for his medicine. Three years ago, Paulsen, who lives in South St. Paul, was busted for possessing that which he needs to live decently. He says that 14 police officers from the East Metro Drug Task Force busted into his one-room apartment, guns drawn. "They came in yelling, 'Where is it? Where is it?' " Paulsen recalled. He was charged with possession of marijuana, found guilty and put on probation. To find the drug he needs, he must associate with dealers, who sometimes frighten him, and he must keep looking over his shoulder to see if he's being tracked by police or task force members. "Absurd," he said, sadly, after the meeting. This is how absurd it is: Two physicians who testified Tuesday were ever-so-careful to say that they were speaking as individuals, not for their employers. Despite the fact that each has patients who have had positive results from marijuana, they were cautious, lest some crusading politician get the idea their institutions were soft on drugs. After the hearing, Dennis Dykstra, a University of Minnesota physician who helps patients who have physical disabilities, said he is often frustrated working with people who have run out of hope, because there seem to be no medications that work. "I see people who are at the end," he said. "They come to me and say, 'I've gone everywhere. I've tried everything. Can't I sign up for research? Isn't there something I can do?' " Dykstra said that a law allowing physicians at least to discuss marijuana as an option would give him the chance to be honest with desperate patients. "This would be a choice that would be far down on a list," Dykstra said. "I would be able to say, 'Here's something that has worked for some people.' " Now what happens between a doctor and patient when all the mainstream medicines have failed and the doctor knows that some have been helped by marijuana? What happens when doctors know of patients who have relieved their pains, increased their appetites, finally been able to sleep because of marijuana? Dystra said he can't legally discuss the marijuana option with patients. Sometimes, though, he suggested that physicians go to quiet corners with their patients and speak in vague terms. Supporters of legalization say they think there's a chance that some watered-down version of the bill will pass this session. Sen. Pat Piper, DFL-Austin, is leading the push for legalization in the Senate. (Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, is her counterpart in the House.) After Tuesday's hearings before the Senate's Health and Family Security Committee, she walked into the hallway and nodded toward the witnesses who had shared their stories. "How can we deny them?" she wondered. Simple. If it's expedient politics to deny them, they will be denied. (c) Copyright 1999 Star Tribune. All rights reserved. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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