------------------------------------------------------------------- Time doesn't fit the crime (A letter to the editor of the Oregonian contrasts two recent news articles to illustrate the injustice of the war on some drug users. A Portland bus driver who raped a mentally disabled passenger was previously released from prison after serving nine years for a 1973 murder, while a young woman with a cocaine habit is still serving a life sentence for cocaine possession.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, Mar 19 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: Lynn De La Torre, Southwest Portland LTE: Time doesn't fit the crime What we learned from the March 6 article about Daniel Richard Robertson, a driver for a Tri-Met subcontractor who pleaded guilty to raping a mentally disabled woman, are two things: First, that a dangerous man convicted of murder (in 1973) was released after only about nine years, instead of serving his original sentence of life in prison. Second, that this same person, Robertson, has committed a second offense and will again be in prison for a maximum of eight years and four months, potentially endangering society again. On the other hand, we read about a young woman with a cocaine habit in the two-part article on the "war on drugs" (March 2). She is still serving a life sentence for cocaine possession. In all likelihood, unless our laws change, the convicted murderer will be released before the woman serving time for her drug habit. Is this really justice? Many of us have known for quite some time that the laws are inconsistent, but here is a concrete example that is hard to ignore. We can see from this example that law-enforcement resources applied to victimless crimes could be better focused on violent crime.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Restaurant owners fight smoking ban in Corvallis bars (The Associated Press says the Oregon Restaurant Association urged the Oregon Court of Appeals Wednesday to overturn a Corvallis ordinance that bans smoking in drinking places, citing a state law that exempts taverns. The restaurant association says the issue is whether cities are free to make choices of policy that go beyond what the legislature decides, and is appealing a decision by Benton County Circuit Judge Robert Gardner last April that local governments can establish smoking restrictions that are more strict than the state's. This would seem to be a case to watch for marijuana-law reformers in Portland and elsewhere in Oregon who want to sponsor local reform initiatives.) Newshawk: Portland NORML (http://www.pdxnorml.org/) Pubdate: Fri, Mar 19 1999 Source: The Associated Press (OR) Copyright: Associated Press Website: http://www.oregonlive.com/ Forum: http://forums.oregonlive.com/ Author: Charles E. Beggs of The Associated Press Restaurant owners fight smoking ban in Corvallis bars * The Oregon Restaurant Association points to the state law that requires separate smoking areas and exempts taverns SALEM -- Restaurant owners defending what may be the last public indoor refuge for smokers -- bars -- urged a state court Wednesday to overturn a Corvallis ordinance that bans smoking in drinking places. Last July 1, the university town became the first city in Oregon to go beyond the state's indoor smoking restrictions and outlaw the practice in bars along with all other "enclosed public places." The Oregon Restaurant Association is fighting the ordinance, arguing that it's invalid because it conflicts with the state no-smoking law. State law requires restaurants to provide no-smoking areas and can forbid smoking in the entire restaurant, but it exempts their bar portions and taverns. In arguments before the Oregon Court of Appeals, an attorney representing the restaurant industry said the issue is whether cities are free to make choices of policy that go beyond what the Legislature decides. "The state law was trumped by the city ordinance," Salem lawyer Jim Brown told the court. Brown also contends the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague because of confusing wording about also forbidding smoking near entrances to nonsmoking places. The restaurant association is appealing a decision issued by Benton County Circuit Judge Robert Gardner last April that local governments can establish smoking restrictions that are more strict than the state's. Corvallis voters last November decided to keep the bar smoking ban after foes of the ordinance referred the measure to the ballot by petition. Richard Wasserman, an assistant attorney general, said there is no clear evidence the Legislature intended to pre-empt local governments on the smoking ban issue. Opponents of the ordinance, in their written brief filed with the court, conceded that they face an uphill fight. The appeals court took the case under advisement.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lawmaker held in DUI investigation (The Seattle Times says Washington state representative Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, was arrested early Friday on a drunken driving charge.) From: "Bob Owen@W.H.E.N." (email@example.com) To: "HempTalkNW" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: Lawmaker held in DUI investigation Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 20:01:27 -0800 Sender: email@example.com Posted at 10:54 a.m. PST; Friday, March 19, 1999 Lawmaker held in DUI investigation by Seattle Times news services OLYMPIA - State Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, was arrested early today for investigation of drunken driving, Olympia police said. Officer Tim Bronson said Linville was given a breath test and showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent, above the 0.08 level at which motorists in Washington are considered to be driving under the influence. Linville did not immediately return telephone calls. She was arrested after a security guard told police he was nearly struck by a car being driven erratically. Linville was booked into the Olympia Jail and identified herself as a state lawmaker from Bellingham. She was released on her own recognizance, police said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Study: Marijuana Not A 'Gateway' Drug (The Arizona Republic summarizes the Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 12:21:02 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AZ: Study: Marijuana Not A 'Gateway' Drug Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 19 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 STUDY: MARIJUANA NOT A 'GATEWAY' DRUG REPORT URGES CLOSER LOOK AT PAIN, NAUSEA TREATMENT A scientific study commissioned by the U.S. drug czar Wednesday found marijuana can be useful in treating people with AIDS, cancer and other diseases, adding fire to the politically charged issue of whether to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes. At the same time, the Institute of Medicine report found no evidence to support the theory that marijuana is a "gateway" to harder drugs of abuse, and urged further study of marijuana's active ingredients in treating pain, nausea and other symptoms. The $896,000 study was commissioned in 1997 by retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Clinton's anti-drug policy adviser, after he and other federal officials criticized state ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana as "hoax initiatives," and dismissed claims for the drug's benefits as a "Cheech & Chong show," referring to comedians who have glamorized drug use. The Institute of Medicine is a private non-profit organization that provides health policy advice under a congressional charter. Its report concludes that the future of the drug's medicinal use lies not in lighting up joints, since smoking can lead to lung damage and low-birthweight babies, but in the development of pharmaceuticals or other drug delivery systems, like a vaporizer, that would be based on marijuana's active ingredients. In the meantime, the report did support interim solutions for some sick and dying patients who do not benefit from approved painkillers and anti-nausea drugs. "There are limited circumstances in which we see recommending smoked marijuana for medical uses," said Dr. John Benson Jr., former dean of Oregon Health Sciences Unversity and one of the two principal investigators for the report. But he said this would be only in the context of a carefully controlled study in which patients are told of the potential harmful effects. Thousands of patients with nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, for example, could be among those who could benefit from smoked marijuana in carefully controlled trials, Benson said during a news conference. In a statement, McCaffrey highlighted the report's conclusion that, "the future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically defined drugs that act on . . . human physiology." He doubted the findings are likely to send pharmaceutical companies scrambling to do research on marijuana. "Our experience is there is little market interest."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana As Medicine (A staff editorial in the Arizona Daily Star says the Institute of Medicine assessment of marijuana as medicine was "measured and responsible," in contrast to the Arizona legislature, which as recently as September passed a resolution declaring marijuana addictive and opposing its medical use.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:07:52 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US AZ: Marijuana As Medicine Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Friday, 19 March 1999 Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.azstarnet.com/ MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE The use of marijuana as medicine, a right Arizonans approved in November, 1996, could be closer thanks to a new government study of the plant. The study linked marijuana use to relief for AIDS patients and showed it does not prompt patients to use harder drugs. After Arizona voters approved more than two years ago the medicinal use through Proposition 200, the Legislature set aside the measure awaiting Food and Drug Administration studies. The FDA is doing its own studies and hasn't changed its position, yet the new study comes from a panel of independent experts at the prestigious Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences. It found that the active ingredients in marijuana appear to be useful for treating pain, nausea and severe weight loss associated with AIDS. It's the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical literature on marijuana. Particularly interesting is its finding that giving the drug to sick people showed no evidence that it would increase illicit use in the general population - it is not a ``gateway drug.'' As recently as last September, the Legislature passed a resolution declaring marijuana addictive and opposing its medical use. Morality was likely the driving influence on these ``medical experts.'' By contrast, the new report was measured and responsible, simply stating what had been found. It cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because the smoke itself is so toxic. Yet giving marijuana on a short-term basis under close supervision could give relief to patients who didn't respond to other therapies. Marijuana's smoke is more toxic than tobacco smoke, said the study, but it can be given in capsules, patches and bronchial inhalers. The study also found that contrary to popular belief, marijuana is not useful in treating glaucoma and there was little evidence of a use in treating Parkinson's or Huntington's diseases. It can help by combating muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. People undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from marijuana's ability to ease anxiety, stimulate the appetite, ease pain and reduce nausea and vomiting. Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy which requested the study, praised the report and said he'll take the recommendations under advisement. He still worries about confusion in law enforcement issues. He's suspicious about ``people with mischievous agendas at work.'' Nothing yet leans toward allowing widespread smoking of marijuana as a result of medical studies. There's no hidden, evil agenda here, only a sincere scientific effort to establish reasonable treatment for suffering human beings. The study offers hope for needed therapy. *** [ed. note - the IOM's claim that cannabis smoke is more toxic than cigarette smoke shows what happens when "scientists" exclude the epidemiological evidence. Not a single case of lung cancer or other serious lung disease has ever been attributed to the smoking of cannabis, even in U.S. government studies of lifelong smokers in Costa Rica, Greece and Jamaica. But 400,000 Americans die from tobacco smoking every year. The IOM's failure to discuss the possible reasons for the epidemiological discrepancy is just one reason Portland NORML considers the IOM report to be the work of politically motivated amateurs, not real scientists.]
------------------------------------------------------------------- McCaffrey Opposes Use Of Marijuana, Even For Medical Reasons (A staff editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Institute of Medicine report says the White House drug czar's continued opposition to marijuana as medicine shows General Barry McCaffrey is apparently in search of a yes man - or at least a group of scientists who sees things his way. Why bother ordering studies if they are to be disregarded? The medical community should be the one to determine what are appropriate medications to grant relief for patients suffering terrible diseases.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:14:28 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US IL: Editorial: Mccaffrey Opposes Use Of Marijuana For Even Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Goochi1 Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Copyright: 1999 The Sun-Times Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.suntimes.com/index/ Link: http://www.suntimes.com/output/commentary/edits19.html Note: Headline by MAP editor MCCAFFREY OPPOSES USE OF MARIJUANA FOR EVEN MEDICAL REASONS Apparently White House drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey is in search of a yes man--or at least a group of scientists who see things his way. Two years ago, McCaffrey ordered a study by a federal advisory panel after the National Institutes of Health concluded some AIDS and cancer sufferers could be helped by marijuana. McCaffrey opposes use of marijuana for even medical reasons because he sees it as legitimizing drug use to American youth. The new report from the federal panel of scientists is even less to McCaffrey's liking. The Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science found there is no evidence marijuana use leads to use of other drugs, or that legalizing marijuana for medical use would result in increased drug use in the general population. But McCaffrey is not quite ready to give up his own conclusion that marijuana use under any circumstance is detrimental to society. "The study concludes there's little future in smoked marijuana as medically approved medication," he said. In other words, here is another group of experts who do not know what they are talking about. Why bother ordering studies if they are to be disregarded? This latest study supports use of marijuana as a way to help relieve pain and suffering accompanying devastating diseases, which is not quite the same as backing legalization. It also suggests, probably in an effort to make the report more palatable to McCaffrey, that the drug be administered in an institutional setting, and raises the safety concerns of delivering a drug through smoking. This report should remove politics from what is a medical issue. The medical community should be the one to determine what are appropriate medications to grant relief for patients suffering terrible diseases.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Politics And Marijuana's Promise (A staff editorial in the Chicago Tribune says the Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday will likely be ignored and the federal ban on medical marijuana will probably continue due to politicians' fear of appearing "soft on drugs.") Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 16:46:26 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US IL: MMJ: Editorial: Politics And Marijuana's Promise Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Steve Young (email@example.com) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Chicago Tribune (IL) Section: Sec. 1 Copyright: 1999 Chicago Tribune Company Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/ Forum: http://www.chicagotribune.com/interact/boards/ POLITICS AND MARIJUANA'S PROMISE "AIDS Wasting Syndrome," a particularly gruesome symptom of the disease, destroys the appetite or prevents the absorption of nutrients, so that victims appear to be starving to death. Smoking marijuana, though hardly a miracle cure, can provide some relief, mainly by boosting appetite. Yet an irrational and inhumane federal prohibition prevents those afflicted with AIDS and other devastating chronic diseases from availing themselves of the relief marijuana might bring. A carefully worded report released Wednesday by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences endorsed the use of marijuana for treating the pain and nausea associated with some serious ailments, including AIDS Wasting Syndrome. This comprehensive study was commissioned by federal drug czar Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who so far has committed only to take its recommendations "under advisement." A likely translation of that is that the federal ban will stay in place--and to hell with data, researchers and, apparently, the thousands of suffering people who could benefit from prescribed use of marijuana. Aware of the political static surrounding the topic, the NAS researchers stressed that legalizing marijuana for medical purposes would not increase its use among the general population, and that it is not a gateway drug that leads to addiction to harder and more dangerous substances. There is no doubt that marijuana can be addictive, but so can a number of medications--such as morphine--which are nevertheless prescribed and administered routinely in cases of extreme pain or suffering. What is so specifically menacing about marijuana, except politicians' fears that any support for lifting the ban might be perceived as being "soft on drugs"? Voters in seven states have approved the medical use of marijuana, but doctors still won't prescribe it for fear of federal prosecution. Last November voters in the District of Columbia attempted to express their views in a referendum, but Congress intervened and prevented even a vote count. The legalization of controlled, medical use of marijuana calls for courageous political leadership, above the din of anti-drug demagoguery. Is there such a leader in Washington?
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Growing (Foster's Daily Democrat says the New Hampshire House on Thursday voted 183-174 to defeat a bill that would have made it legal to grow hemp in New Hampshire. Supporters asked that the bill be returned to committee for reworking since the vote was so close.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:13:21 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NH: Hemp Growing 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: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Foster's Daily Democrat (NH) Copyright: 1999 Geo. J. Foster Co. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.fosters.com/ HEMP GROWING CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The House narrowly defeated and returned to committee Thursday a bill that would have made it legal to grow hemp in New Hampshire. The bill would let farmers grow the hemp, which is related to marijuana but contains little of the high-inducing substance in it. It lost 183-174. But supporters asked that the measure be sent back to committee for reworking since the vote was so close. That passed 195-163. John Stephen, deputy safety commissioner, said he was pleased but surprised by the vote, since a House committee had recommended passing the bill. "We don't want to send a message to our young kids that we are even trying to legalize marijuana," he said. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Derek Owen, D-Hopkinton, who in September 1998 lost a claim in federal court to grow hemp. Hemp can be grown only with permission from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. Opponents argued the measure would make drug enforcement measures more difficult because the hemp plant closely resembles marijuana plants. Supporters said hemp was an agricultural crop with little relation to drugs. The uses of industrial grade hemp include fabrics, oils and paper. "It's about rope; it's not about dope," said Hobart Harmon, R-Bristol.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Case Shows Legal Problems With 'Zero Tolerence' (The Standard-Times, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, says the "zero tolerance" drug policy enacted by school officials in Easthampton led to the town paying undisclosed settlements to four students who sued after being expelled for marijuana possession.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 18:34:03 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US MA: Case Shows Legal Problems With 'Zero Tolerence' Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Standard-Times (MA) Copyright: 1999 The Standard-Times Contact: YourView@S-T.com Website: http://www.s-t.com/ Author: Robin Estrin CASE SHOWS LEGAL PROBLEMS WITH 'ZERO TOLERENCE' BOSTON -- Like their counterparts in many other school districts, officials in Easthampton wanted to show local students that they wouldn't take drug use lightly. So several years ago, they enacted a "zero tolerance" policy. Those caught with drugs would be kicked out. It didn't quite work as planned. Now, the town is paying undisclosed settlements to four students who sued after being expelled for marijuana possession. The case raises questions about the conflicts between schools' desire to be tough, and students' rights to education and due process. Under the 1993 Education Reform Act, drug use and possession is one of several serious offenses for which students can be expelled from school. The law, however, requires that students be allowed to have their say. Expulsion can range from 11 days to banishment from school for good. "You can't say expelled automatically. That's an oxymoron," said Peter Sack, principal of Swampscott High School. "Expulsion by definition requires a hearing." The problem in Easthampton dates back to April 1997, when five students -- three seniors and two juniors -- were expelled for alleged marijuana possession during a school trip to Canada. A school policy called for automatic dismissal for drug possession at school or school-related functions. Four of the students sued, in two different courts. Hampshire Superior Court Judge Wendie Gershengorn reinstated the students and later ruled that the school committee did not have the authority to draft a policy calling for automatic expulsion. She said the Education Reform Act was designed to have school principals dole out punishments on a case-by-case basis. If the settlements had not been made, the courts would have had to decide whether the students' civil rights had been violated. "Unfortunately schools tend to be run by educators and not by lawyers, so chances are we are going to make mistakes with that judicial process," said John Cullinan, who took over as Easthampton's superintendent last summer. The town must now pay undisclosed amounts to the four students who sued. "Zero tolerance policies strike me as being completely absurd," said Holyoke lawyer Geri Laventis, who represented one of the juniors. "To me, what it does is it just says that you're not going to get a chance at all." More and more districts are enacting such policies, although it's unclear how many, said Peter Finn, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. For school administrators, it isn't an easy decision to expel a child caught with drugs. On the one hand, principals and superintendents want to protect the other children from a student who is using or distributing illegal substances. On the other hand, said Wayne Ogden, principal of Duxbury High School, "If I expel a kid, and especially in a case of a student without financial means, I may have given him an educational death sentence in the commonwealth of Massachusetts." Under state law, a public school may refuse to admit a student who has been expelled from another school or district. There is a loophole, however. A suspended student who is facing expulsion can withdraw from school before a more severe punishment is administered and enroll elsewhere.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana Rx: Legalize Pot to Treat Cancer, AIDS (A staff editorial in Newsday, in New York, says the Institute of Medicine's carefully nuanced assessment of medical marijuana ought to end the arguments over the principle of using marijuana to treat the sick.) Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 11:09:40 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US NY: Editorial: Marijuana Rx: Legalize Pot to Treat Cancer, AIDS Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Newsday (NY) Copyright: 1999, Newsday Inc. Contact: email@example.com Fax: (516)843-2986 Website: http://www.newsday.com/ MARIJUANA RX: LEGALIZE POT TO TREAT CANCER, AIDS Let's start with the sensible bottom line from the latest government- sponsored report on marijuana: It says pot ought to be legally available, under medical supervision, for use against the intractable pain, nausea and weight loss suffered by many AIDS and cancer patients. The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine found convincing evidence of marijuana's palliative effects, and recommended it in such cases despite its "potential for dependence" and the distinct possibility that its smoke is itself carcinogenic. Sometimes, the institute concluded, nothing else works nearly as well, especially when immediate relief is needed. The institute's carefully nuanced document ought to end the arguments over the principle of using marijuana to treat the sick. Someone who is deathly ill shouldn't be denied relief just because a drug's use for that legitimate purpose might conceivably encourage its abuse by someone else. After all, we don't treat controlled drugs like morphine and Valium as we do cocaine and heroin. But don't expect the arguing to stop. Advocates for legalizing marijuana will point to its benign effects in a narrow range of cases and press for self-medication on demand. Resisters will suggest that prescribing it to relieve nausea in chemotherapy is tantamount to lighting up a joint for a 12-year-old. The institute is worried enough about the toxicity of marijuana smoke to urge more research on how to deliver its active ingredient, THC, and related cannabinoids to patients without "burning plant material and contaminants." There's one prescription capsule on the market now, but the future may lie with patches and inhalers. Meanwhile, a last-resort treatment for patients won't create a gateway drug for teenagers.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Report On Medical Use Of Marijuana Brings New Fight (A New York Times analysis of the Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday says the study ostensibly concerned the herb's medicinal uses, but has opened a debate into marijuana's longstanding role as a linchpin to the national policy of zero tolerance toward illicit drugs.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:14:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: MMJ: Report On Medical Use Of Marijuana Brings New Fight Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Christopher S. Wren REPORT ON MEDICAL USE OF MARIJUANA BRINGS NEW FIGHT ON ZERO TOLERANCE The long-awaited Government-commissioned report on marijuana that was issued on Wednesday may have concerned the drug's medicinal uses, but it has also opened a debate into marijuana's longstanding role as linchpin of a national policy of zero tolerance toward illicit drugs. In addressing issues like whether marijuana was a gateway to the use of harder drugs (the researchers found no convincing evidence that it was), the report used language calculated not to overstep the bounds of scientific inquiry into the arena of political argument. But the very nature of the report was contrary to the Government's usual inclination against acknowledging any merit at all in marijuana use, and advocates on both sides of the issue seized on it. The authors -- 11 independent experts at the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences -- found that marijuana smoke was even more toxic than tobacco smoke and could cause cancer, lung damage and pregnancy complications. As a result, they said, marijuana should be smoked only by those patients in whom long-term effects are not of great concern, like the terminally ill, and even then under tight control. Nonetheless, they said, marijuana's active ingredients appear to be effective for treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with AIDS. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which ordered and financed the two-year study after voters in California and Arizona endorsed medicinal use of marijuana in 1996 referendums, has had little comment on the report beyond endorsing its call for further research, saying science alone should determine what is safe and effective medicine. But other marijuana opponents have been more outspoken. "The only issue from a policy point of view is whether smoked marijuana is a viable medicine for the treatment for anything, and the report virtually says no, which is very important," said Dr. Robert DuPont, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School. "People don't go to their pharmacy and get a prescription for burning leaves." On the other hand, advocates of a more liberal approach to drugs see the report as a catalyst to force the Government to rethink its zero-tolerance policy. "The release of this report is the beginning of a process, not the end," said Bill Zimmerman, executive director of Americans for Medical Rights, which has sponsored medicinal-marijuana initiatives in a dozen states. "It will provoke all kinds of activity across the country." The Government's longtime position -- that marijuana is a dangerous drug that cannot be tolerated any more than cocaine or heroin -- has not been helped by the fact that as many as 60 million Americans, including Bill Clinton, have tried it, most with no significant aftereffect. Further, the Government's policy has been predicated on the assumption that smoking marijuana can lead nowhere but to the abuse of harder drugs, an outlook that the authors contradicted. Medical marijuana was chosen as a wedge issue several years ago by people who wanted to move drug policy in a softer direction, said Mark A. R. Kleiman, professor of public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles. Government officials could have neutralized the issue, Professor Kleiman said, by agreeing to strictly medical use of the drug, but instead "they had to be against marijuana for any use, and as a result they handed a wonderful issue to their opponents." In fact, the Government's opposition to medicinal use "is one of the most readily comprehensible excesses of the war on drugs," said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, which promotes liberalized alternatives to current drug policy. "It's one that most Americans understand: that arresting patients is not right." Others, though, see a freewheeling public debate about medicinal marijuana as a slippery slope that can only lead to acceptance of the drug's recreational use. "Anything that is going to make marijuana use by adolescents a more likely event is going to be a terrible blow to the efforts we are making to remedy the problem of raising children in America," said Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal, president of Phoenix House, the nationwide network of drug treatment centers. Dr. Herbert D. Kleber, one of 13 experts who reviewed the report for the Institute of Medicine before its release, said it set high standards for justifying the medicinal use of marijuana. But Dr. Kleber, medical director of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, also called the report "that kind of thing where people can take sound bites to bolster whatever position they want."
------------------------------------------------------------------- For A Very Few Patients, U.S. Provides Free Marijuana (The New York Times describes the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program, sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Eight patients still receive 300 mediocre but efficacious joints every month under the federal program. A trial scheduled for June will challenge the Bush administration's arbitrary and unilateral 1992 decision to close the door to new patients.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 07:11:45 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: MMJ: For A Very Few Patients, U.S. Provides Free Marijuana Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Paul Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: New York Times (NY) Copyright: 1999 The New York Times Company Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Forum: http://forums.nytimes.com/comment/ Author: Sheryl Gay Stolberg FOR A VERY FEW PATIENTS, U.S. PROVIDES FREE MARIJUANA WASHINGTON - Every weekday morning around 11 o'clock, a middle-aged stockbroker named Irvin Rosenfeld gets up from his desk and walks to a breezeway outside his office in Boca Raton, Fla. There, alongside the potted palms and smokers taking their breaks, he lights up a cigarette of his own -- not tobacco, but marijuana, sent to him by the Federal Government. The arrangement is 16 years old and perfectly legal. Rosenfeld, who suffers from a rare bone disorder and smokes to relieve his pain, is part of an exclusive club of Americans who receive a free can of marijuana cigarettes each month under a "compassionate use" program sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. There are only eight participants in the program. "I'm one of the fortunate people," Rosenfeld said. Or at least, blessed with good timing. Since 1992 the door has been shut on the little-known program, which began in 1978 and at its height had no more than about 20 patients. Now, however, the question of whether the Government should be providing an illegal drug to a chosen few has been thrust into the spotlight by a new study showing that marijuana is beneficial for certain conditions, including pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with AIDS. The study, the most comprehensive review of the literature about medical marijuana to date, was commissioned by the White House and conducted by a committee of 11 scientists appointed by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences. A report on the study concluded that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited by the toxic effects of the smoke, but nonetheless recommended that the drug be given under close supervision to patients who do not respond to other therapies. Yet, it does not appear likely that the list of Government-approved marijuana smokers will grow any time soon. Indeed, that the program continues to exist at all is testimony to the Government's schizophrenic approach to one of the thorniest questions in law and medicine: whether doctors should be able to write prescriptions for marijuana. On the one hand, the Institute on Drug Abuse pays the University of Mississippi to grow what a spokeswoman called a "consistent, reliable source of research-grade cannabis" for Rosenfeld and the others. A North Carolina manufacturer receives $62,000 a year from the Government to roll the cigarettes and ship them Federal Express, in sealed tins of 300 each, to the patients' doctors and pharmacists. Rosenfeld, who is 46, carries a folded letter in his wallet, dated March 17, 1983, from the Food and Drug Administration, authorizing him to use a substance that might otherwise bring a Federal prison term of up to five years. Most days, he smokes in his car while driving to work; "I get no euphoric effect," he said. The F.D.A. letter, he added, has been helpful on those rare occasions that the police have pulled him over. On the other hand, Congress has prevented the District of Columbia from releasing the results of a recent ballot question that asked voters to decide if marijuana should be made legal for medical purposes. And the Clinton Administration has moved to shut down marijuana buyers' clubs in California and has threatened to prosecute doctors who write prescriptions for the drug. "Why allow eight patients to have legal access to marijuana but criminalize thousands of other patients in very similar circumstances who have the same conditions, virtually identical medical histories?" asked Chuck Thomas, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group in Washington that lobbies to make the drug legal for medical use. "Why deny them legal access?" That question is now before a Federal judge in Philadelphia, where 165 patients have filed a lawsuit seeking to force the F.D.A. to grant wider access to the drug. The case is scheduled for trial in June. "The compassionate access program is an acknowledgment by the Government of the United States that marijuana has medicinal value," said Lawrence Hirsch, the lawyer for the patients. "It is fundamentally unfair for the Government to supply marijuana for medical necessity to eight people in the United States, when the rest of the potential candidates for therapeutic cannabis are excluded." In response, a spokesman for the Department of Justice argues that Congress has made the possession and distribution of marijuana illegal and that the F.D.A. has no obligation to make further exceptions. The Government hopes the program will eventually become extinct through attrition; some of the patients who were enrolled have died. Those who remain owe their precious exceptions to a 51-year-old glaucoma patient, Robert Randall of Sarasota, Fla. While the Institute of Medicine has found marijuana is not particularly useful for glaucoma, Randall begs to differ. In 1973, when he was a college student in Washington, Randall said, he found that smoking marijuana helped ease the pressure on his eyes. "So I grew four little marijuana plants on my sun deck on Capitol Hill, to make up for those times that I couldn't afford to buy it," he said. "Then I got arrested." As his case worked its way through the legal system, Randall sued the Federal Government, contending that his smoking was a "medical necessity." In 1976 a judge agreed, he said, and he began receiving marijuana under the supervision of a doctor at Howard University. But that arrangement unraveled in 1978, and he sued again. The Government settled the case through the compassionate use program, under which the F.D.A. gives patients access to unapproved drugs if no other therapies will help them. "The marijuana is mediocre," said Randall, who was the first enrollee. "It's what you would expect from a Government-controlled monopoly. But it works." Randall later helped others apply, among them Rosenfeld and two Iowa patients, Barbara Douglass and Ladd Huffman. Both have multiple sclerosis, a condition for which the Institute of Medicine found marijuana beneficial. They met in 1990 after a local newspaper published an article about Huffman, who had been arrested for growing the drug in a shed behind his home. In 1991 they applied for Federal marijuana together. Both received F.D.A. approval. Ms. Douglass began receiving the drug shortly therafter. "It relaxes the muscle spasms," she said. But the program was shut down before the final paperwork was finished for Huffman. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said today that the department determined that the marijuana was no longer necessary because of the advent of the drug Marinol, a capsule containing marijuana's active ingredient that was approved by the F.D.A. in 1985. Huffman says Marinol does not work. "With these capsules, you take them and about an hour later you get so stoned you can hardly function," he said. But, having been sentenced to two years' probation for his marijuana offense, he is afraid to smoke the drug again. As for Rosenfeld, he has pangs of conscience, knowing that people like Huffman have been prosecuted for buying a drug he gets courtesy of the taxpayers. And he worries that his supply could be cut off at any time, particularly if the Government loses the lawsuit in Philadelphia. "I'm not against the Government," he said. "I appreciate what they do for me."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Patients Using Marijuana As Medicine Hail Report Backing Claims (Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service notes the Institute of Medicine issued its long-awaited report last week lending scientific credence to the potential medical benefits of marijuana touted by AIDS patient Kiyoshi Kuromiya of Philadelphia and other activists.) Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 04:51:09 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Wire: MMJ: Patients Using Marijuana As Medicine Hail Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Frank S. World) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Copyright: 1999 Knight Ridder Author: Huntly Collins in Philadelphia TOP STORIES PATIENTS USING MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE HAIL REPORT BACKING CLAIMS MARIJUANA--In the eyes of the law, they are criminals who could go to prison for what they do every day. But across the country, many chronically ill people say that smoking marijuana provides significant relief for their often debilitating symptoms. ``I can smoke a joint and five minutes later I can eat every last drop of food,'' said Kiyoshi Kuromiya, 55, a Philadelphia AIDS activist who uses marijuana to combat the nausea, appetite loss and wasting syndrome common to AIDS patients. Last week, the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a long-awaited report that lends scientific credence to the potential medical benefits of marijuana touted by Kuromiya and other activists for many years.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Debate Heats Up Study: Marijuana Has Medical Uses (The Virginian-Pilot version) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 06:05:41 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: Debate Heats Up Study: Marijuana Has 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: 19 Mar 1999 Source: Virginian-Pilot (VA) Copyright: 1999, The Virginian-Pilot Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.pilotonline.com Forum: http://www.pilotonline.com/webx/cgi-bin/WebX DEBATE HEATS UP STUDY: MARIJUANA HAS MEDICAL USES The most comprehensive medical study of marijuana yet makes a case for the drug's limited use in treating patient. The active ingredients in marijuana can be useful for treating pain, nausea and the severe weight loss associated with cancer and AIDS, according to a new study commissioned by the government. The study's results are intensifying the contentious debate over whether doctors should be permitted to prescribe the drug. The report, the most comprehensive analysis to date of the medical literature about marijuana, said there was no evidence that giving the drug to sick people would increase illicit use in the general population. Nor is marijuana a "gateway drug" that prompts patients to use harder drugs like cocaine and heroin, the study said. The authors of the study, a panel of 11 independent experts at the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, cautioned that the benefits of smoking marijuana were limited because the smoke itself was so toxic. But they recommended that the drug be given, on a short-term basis under close supervision, to patients who did not respond to other therapies. The authors recommended that researchers study alternative delivery methods - such as pills, patches or inhalers - for the drug. The release of the delicately worded report, at a morning news conference in Washington, prompted a flurry of political maneuvering. Proponents of state initiatives to legalize marijuana for medical purposes seized upon the findings as long-awaited evidence that it had therapeutic value. They called on the Clinton administration, and in particular the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which requested the study, to ease its steadfast opposition to the initiatives. But the study is unlikely to change the administration's position. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is already financing some research involving medical marijuana, issued a written statement noting simply that it would continue to fund the work. While the study's authors said they had been surprised to discover "an explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the active components of marijuana affect the body," they added that the future of marijuana as a medicine does not lie in smoking it. Marijuana smoke, they said, is even more toxic than tobacco smoke, and can cause cancer, lung damage and complications during pregnancy. The true benefits of marijuana, the experts said, would only be realized when alternative methods, such as capsules, patches and bronchial inhalers, were developed to deliver its active components, called cannabinoids, to the body without the harmful effects of smoke. So far, there is only one cannabinoid-based drug on the market, Marinol, manufactured by Unimed of Somerville, N.J. It comes in pill form and was approved in May 1985 by the Food and Drug Administration for nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, as well as for anorexia and weight loss associated with AIDS. Some patients have complained that marinol is more expensive than marijuana and that they do not feel its effects as quickly. The researchers recommended that the government pay for research that would speed up the development of more cannabinoid drugs, and were particularly keen on the promise of inhalers. But recognizing that such methods might take years to perfect, they also recommended that people who did not respond to other therapy be permitted to smoke marijuana in the interim. "Marijuana should only be smoked in circumstances where the long-term risks are not of great concern, such as for terminally ill patients or those with debilitating symptoms that do not respond to approved medications," said Dr. John A. Benson Jr., former dean of Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine and one of the study's two lead authors. "Even in these cases, smoking should be limited to carefully controlled situations." Benson and his co-author, Dr. Stanley J. Watson Jr. of the Mental Health Research Institute of the University of Michigan, unveiled their findings Wednesday at the Institute of Medicine. As the two scientists spoke, a handful of people sat quietly in the audience, wearing fire-engine red T-shirts with white block lettering that blared: "Medical Marijuana Patient." Among them was Jim Hardin, a 48-year-old Virginia man who testified before the panel and whose story was among several personal anecdotes included in the report. Hardin suffers from Hepatitis C, a disease that is destroying his liver, and he uses a wheelchair. He said smoking marijuana helps him cope with the intense nausea and rapid weight loss the disease has caused. "I lost 95 pounds," Hardin said. "I tried everything: 35 different pills. Finally doctors told me to go to Europe and try marijuana." He did that, in November 1997, visiting the Netherlands, where a doctor prescribed one to 2 grams of marijuana per day. A Virginia law passed in 1979 allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients. But physicians would still break federal law if they prescribed it. The report contained some surprising findings. It concluded that, despite popular belief, marijuana was not useful in treating glaucoma. While the drug can reduce some of the eye pressure associated with glaucoma, the effects were short-lived. In addition, the study found that there was little evidence for marijuana's potential in treating movement disorders like Parkinson's disease or Huntington's disease, but that it was effective in combating the muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis. In addition to the Virginia law, voters in seven states - California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington - have approved initiatives intended to make marijuana legal for medical purposes. But the federal government has threatened to prosecute doctors, and patients often have difficulty obtaining the drug.
------------------------------------------------------------------- For The Record (The Washington Post interviews an assiduously ignorant U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno about the Institute of Medicine report she still hasn't read.) Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 16:44:34 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US DC: For The Record Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Evans) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Washington Post (DC) Page: A28 Copyright: 1999 The Washington Post Company Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071 Feedback: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ FOR THE RECORD >From remarks by Attorney General Janet Reno at a press conference in Washington yesterday: Q: In light of the government-ordered study that was released yesterday on the medical uses of marijuana, should federal law, which criminalizes medical use of marijuana, be amended? Janet Reno: I think what that study -- and I have not had a chance to read it completely, but what it indicates is that there should be tests, that we cannot tell from anecdotal information about the true circumstances regarding the medical use of marijuana, and that it's important that tests be done in an appropriate manner. Q: But in the meantime, thousands of terminally ill people are technically felons, because they use what they believe is a substance that helps relieve their pain or alleviate some of their symptoms, simply because of the federal law. A: We have a number of situations involving medical crises where decisions have to be made. And in those situations, the testing can give the information that provides the medically sound approach. Q: .. . Pending any change in the law . . . has there been any thought to how the administration enforces the law, especially in those states that have already enacted medical marijuana laws? A: As I indicated, I have not had a chance to read it. I'm looking forward to a discussion concerning what the next step should be. And I think this is an important report for us to focus on and to figure what is the next step, what's the appropriate step.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy (Jon Gettman, the former director of NORML who for the last five years has been petitioning the DEA to get it to admit that the science shows marijuana does not belong in the Controlled Substances Act's list of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 drugs, announces his related library on cannabis, science, medicine and the law has been reposted at the High Times web site after disappearing from NORML's site more than a year ago.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 21:05:03 -0500 To: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) From: Jon Gettman (Gettman_J@mediasoft.net) From: "CRRH mailing list" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy Returns Marijuana, Science, and Public Policy by Jon Gettman http://www.hightimes.com/ht/new/petition/JonGettman/AA/aamspp.htm This is a very extensive collection of material I have prepared over the years about my rescheduling petition. High Times joined me in this endeavor at its very start, and now we're providing this material at the High Times web site. The recent Institute of Medicine report clarifies many of the issues discussed in the petition, and while some of the material in this presentation has been around for awhile the IOM report indicates that its relevance is only going to increase in the near future. The rescheduling petition has been on-line for several years at NORML's web site, however the way I have presented the material there it is difficult for people to gain access to the many different topics it maintains. Soon a new presentation version of the petition will go on line at this site that will be subdivided into dozens of specific research topics. Meanwhile the full text of the petition is available through this site by a link to the NORML edition. Other features of Marijuana, Science and Public Policy: The Cybersense Series - 4 pamphlets with simple presentations on the Controlled Substances Act and how to put the arguments of the petition to work in basic advocacy. Marijuana, What the Law Says - a hypertext exhibit explaining the important fine print of the national marijuana laws. Marijuana, What the Experts Say -- a hypertext exhibit consisting of simple statements about marijuana's effect on the human body with links to documentation from scientific and medical journals. This exhibit has been updated to include several comments from the new Institute of Medicine report. Reference Materials - links to the full text of two important reports from the Office of Technology Assessment, and to several articles I've written about the petition material or updating some of the scientific findings it discusses. The High Times Marijuana Policy Research Page - These are the links I use to stay on top of drug policy. Each source is described, and these links will get you the official policy data - including the National Household Survey, county level UCR arrest statistics, Supreme Court decisions, the DEA, the Drug Czar's press releases, the European Community and more. Additional Background Materials - This links to other petition-related materials,such as press releases and correspondence with the DEA, that are available at the High Times web site. This exhibit also contains the full text of the comments High Times and I have filed to request a hearing in the rescheduling of Marinol, the synthetic THC pill. *** To subscribe, unsubscribe or switch to immediate or digest mode, please send your instructions to email@example.com. *** Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp CRRH P.O. Box 86741 Portland, OR 97286 Phone: (503) 235-4606 Fax:(503) 235-0120 Web: http://www.crrh.org/
------------------------------------------------------------------- Heroin Users' Starting-Up Age Plummets Into Teens (The Age, in Melbourne, Australia, says the Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997-98, prepared by the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and released yesterday, reveals a continued fall in the age of first-time heroin users - now on average just 17.5 years old - an alarming increase in multiple drug use among injecting drug users, and a gradual increase in heroin purity. The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, yesterday refined his "zero tolerance" message on drugs. Announcing $20 million in new funding for rehabilitation programs, he said he had compassion for drug users and their families but contempt for traffickers.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 00:45:38 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: Australia: Heroin Users' Starting-Up Age Plummets Into Teens Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Russell.Ken.KW@bhp.com.au (Russell, Ken KW) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: Age, The (Australia) Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.theage.com.au/ Author: Darren Gray HEROIN USERS' STARTING-UP AGE PLUMMETS INTO TEENS A national report into illicit drug use has revealed a continued fall in the age of first-time heroin users - now on average just 17.5 years old - an alarming increase in multiple drug use among injecting drug users and a gradual increase in heroin purity. The report warned that despite 300kilograms of heroin being seized in 1997-98, the seizures had no real impact on the drug's availability. In fact, many Victorian police districts reported that heroin availability had increased. The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, yesterday refined his ``zero tolerance'' message on drugs. Announcing $20million in new funding to drug rehabilitation programs, he said he had compassion for drug users and their families but contempt for traffickers. According to the Australian Illicit Drug Report 1997-98, prepared by the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence and released yesterday, illegal drugs cost the Australian community an estimated $1.68billion a year. Drug prevention and treatment efforts, lost productivity, crime, law enforcement and accidents make up the bulk of the cost. Other key findings include: One in five deaths in Australia is drug-related (all drugs). Cannabis-related offences accounted for 76.9per cent of all illicit drug offences nation-wide in 1997-98. 10.5per cent more heroin was picked up at the Victorian border in 1997-98. A disturbing trend for Sydney cocaine users to inject it. Domestic production of cannabis is rising. Amphetamine production has increased substantially in Queensland and NSW. Cannabis offences in Victoria dropped by 53.1per cent in the two years to 1997-98, to 9034. The report, launched in Melbourne by the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, and Victoria's chief police commissioner, Mr Neil Comrie, found the amount of heroin and cocaine seized in Australia jumped by more than 26per cent in 1997-98, while the number of amphetamine/ecstasy seizures jumped 30per cent to 4544 (excluding South Australia). Senator Vanstone said she was pleased that in the first seven months of 1998-99 authorities had captured 565kilograms of heroin and 274kilograms of cocaine, a substantial increase on recent years. Senator Vanstone strongly defended the Government's approach to drug issues and detection, saying it had the balance ``fairly right''. Mr Comrie said it was a ``terrible tragedy'' that the average age of first-time heroin users had fallen to 17.5. ``It's a sign of a problem that we are, I think, needing to come to grips with very urgently,'' he said. Mr Comrie also repeated his call for a small-scale heroin trial for long-term heroin addicts. ``I obviously have a philosophical disagreement with the Federal Government's position on this,'' he said. The community had nothing to lose by conducting a small, highly managed and scientifically sound heroin trial involving about a dozen long-term addicts, he said. ``The reality is, that if we don't try something like that, these are the people who are going to add to the overdose statistics,'' he said. ``I think we have got to do everything we can to intervene into the cycle of drug abuse as early as we can.'' But Senator Vanstone strongly repeated the Federal Government's opposition to such trials. ``The Commonwealth Government has made its decision.'' Drug experts said yesterday they were concerned that the age of first-time heroin users was falling. The age was 26 in 1996. Mr David Crosbie, the chief executive officer of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, said many of today's fatal overdose victims were long-term users aged in their early 30s, he said. ``If the patterns repeat themselves in 10 years ... we are going to have even more people dying of overdoses.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Lights Up Marijuana Controversy (The New Zealand Herald summarizes Wednesday's U.S. Institute of Medicine report on the efficacy of medical marijuana.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:29:34 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US: MMJ: US Lights Up Marijuana Controversy Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: David Hadorn (email@example.com) Pubdate: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 Source: New Zealand Herald (New Zealand) Page: B1 Copyright: New Zealand Herald Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.herald.co.nz/nzherald/index.html US LIGHTS UP MARIJUANA CONTROVERSY WASHINGTON - A report commissioned by the White House strongly backs certain medical uses of marijuana, declaring that for some people with serious diseases such as Aids and cancer, it may be one of the most effective treatments available. The report by the independent Institute of Medicine and anticipated in the NZ Herald on Wednesday, was commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and could spark a reassessment of the decades-long US drive to ban almost all marijuana use. "We uncovered an explosion of new scientific knowledge about how the active components in marijuana affect the body and in how they might be used in a medical context," Dr John Benson, one of the principal investigators for the report, said. The institute's study, the product of more than 18 months of research, highlighted continued concerns over marijuana, noting that the common practice of smoking the drug was medically dangerous. But it also declared that marijuana was not particularly addictive and did not appear to be a "gateway" to the use of harder drugs such as heroin. For some patients with severe Aids or cancer symptoms such as nausea, wasting and lack of appetite, marijuana - even in its smoked form - appeared to have benefits that outweigh its risks, the investigators said. The report stressed new research should aim to design a "non-smoked, rapid onset" delivery system which could mimic the speedy action of a smoked marijuana cigarette. The increasingly bitter US debate over medical marijuana was sparked in 1996 when California became the first state to pass a local initiative aimed at allowing patients with Aids, cancer, and other serious diseases to use the drug. Six other states have passed similar laws. Barry McCaffrey, President Bill Clinton's anti-drug "tsar" and long an outspoken opponent of relaxing anti-marijuana laws, ordered the report in 1997. His office responded to the report's findings with a call for more research. "We will carefully study the recommendations and conclusions contained in this report," the Office of National Drug Control Policy said. Supporters of the medical marijuana movement declared the institute's report an unequivocal victory. Bill Zimmerman, director of Americans for Medical Rights, the sponsor of six 1998 state marijuana initiatives, said the institute's findings would radically rework the public image of what has long been one of the United States' most demonised drugs. "They are in effect saying that most of what the Government has told us about marijuana is false. "It's not addictive, it's not a gateway to heroin and cocaine, it has legitimate medical use, and it's not as dangerous as common drugs like Prozac and Viagra," he said. "This is about as positive as you can get."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug syndicates (The Kyodo News Service, in Japan, says Congressman Roilo Golez has identified 285 drug syndicates and gangs operating in the country, 61 of which have connections to military and police officials. Golez added the illegal drug trade rakes in $6.6 billion annually and about 1.8 million Filipinos are using illegal drugs. The congressman said he decided to reveal the list to generate public support for the government's antidrug campaign.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 12:39:07 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Philippines: Wire: Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: DRUGNEWS@aol.com Pubdate: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 Source: Kyodo News Service (Japan) Philippine congressman identifies 285 drug syndicates MANILA, March 19 (Kyodo) -- A Philippine congressman has identified 285 drug syndicates and gangs operating in the country, but admitted Friday the police are having a hard time neutralizing these groups because of lack of funds. ''The problem for the police today is lack of funds...you have to understand these drug networks have very extensive networks and financial resources,'' Congressman Roilo Golez said during a radio interview. Golez added the illegal drug trade rakes in 250 billion pesos (6.6 billion dollars) annually and about 1.8 million Filipinos are using illegal drugs. He also revealed 61 of the syndicates have connections with military and police officials, adding his information indicates the highest law enforcement official involved in the illicit drug trade is an army major. Among the more prominent syndicates in the list are the Taiwan-based 14-K Gang and the Hong Kong-based Bamboo Gang. The congressman said he decided to reveal the list to generate public support for the government's antidrug campaign. ''We must first know our enemies before the community can take action,'' Golez said. Gen. Jewel Canson, head of the Philippine National Police anti-drug campaign, confirmed the police have about the same count of drug syndicates and gangs. ''The gang members and the names of the gangs coincides with the listing of our target groups, which are now being monitored by different law enforcement units,'' Canson said. Canson clarified, however, some of the leaders of the gangs are already in jail, but new leaders take over and the syndicate operations continue. Anticrime watch groups said most heinous crimes in the Philippines are committed by people under the influence of drugs.
------------------------------------------------------------------- RCMP Drug Raid Was Dopey (A staff editorial in the Ottawa Citizen says the sight of AIDS victim Jean-Charles Pariseau crying as he watched Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers smash marijuana-growing equipment outside a Vanier home this week brought the issue of medical marijuana home with a thud. That is the real face of the debate over medical marijuana, a debate that is slowly beginning to make official waves in Canada.) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:09:54 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: Canada: RCMP Drug Raid Was Dopey Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Michael Foster Pubdate: Friday 19 March 1999 Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada) Copyright: 1999 The Ottawa Citizen Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/ RCMP DRUG RAID WAS DOPEY The sight of AIDS victim Jean-Charles Pariseau crying as he watched RCMP officers smash marijuana-growing equipment outside a Vanier home this week brought the issue of medical marijuana home with a thud. For people like Mr. Pariseau, whose weight dropped to nearly 70 pounds before he began using marijuana to stimulate his appetite and help him gain pounds, the issue is neither political nor ethical. It is simply necessary. That is the real face of the debate over medical marijuana, a debate that is slowly beginning to make official waves in Canada. Just two weeks ago, Health Minister Allan Rock announced plans to conduct clinical trials to see if marijuana can reduce pain in terminally ill patients. But Canada is far from leading the way in rethinking marijuana. Wednesday, just about the time RCMP officers staged a raid on the Vanier basement apartment, an advisory panel to the U.S. government said marijuana can help fight pain and nausea and should be tested. People like Mr. Pariseau have already found that out through sheer desperation. They have set up an informal network so that there is a safe supply of the marijuana they need and use. That is what the St-Denis Street apartment, where police seized 178 plants and growing equipment, was known as to a number of local AIDS and cancer patients who use marijuana: a place where they could get a steady discount supply of the drug. Mr. Pariseau and others say the RCMP raid means they will now be forced to buy drugs on the street. All of which raises a number of questions. Why, two weeks after the federal government has given the official green light to studying medicinal marijuana, was it necessary to swoop down on one of the biggest local suppliers of the drug to the sick and dying? Why not wait until the federal government position on medical marijuana becomes clear? Why make it harder for sick and dying people to get some brief relief? What purpose did the raid serve? Do we want to protect people like Mr. Pariseau, who is dying, from some adverse health effects? Don't our police officers have better things to do? The RCMP was, of course, just doing its job. "It's not a debate for us," said Cpl. Marc Richer. "The legislation is still there for us to enforce." Which is technically correct. But, in fact, laws governing marijuana are interpreted to varying degrees. In some parts of the country people are commonly arrested and some jailed for possessing a small amount of marijuana. In other areas charges are seldom laid for possession. Many police and justice officials, including Ottawa-Carleton Chief Brian Ford, are among those who support the decriminalization of marijuana laws. And there are good reasons why police and justice officials would do so. Enforcing marijuana laws is costly at a time when there are seldom enough resources to go around, and there is a growing body of evidence that raises questions about what good, if any, comes from such zealous enforcement. Even so, according to Stats Canada, nearly half of the 66,000 drug charges laid in Canada in 1997 were for simple possession of marijuana. So police forces are still stuck with legislation that is enforced with relish in some parts of the country and seldom enforced in others. That is a problem, one that elected officials will have to deal with sooner, rather than later. Meanwhile, we have a recognition at many levels that marijuana is valuable for many sick and dying people. This growing awareness is underlined by the federal government, which announces plans to study the medical uses of marijuana. What a strange time for the RCMP to become zealous about cracking down on marijuana grown for medical purposes, even if they suspect some of the marijuana they seized might be used for non-medicinal purposes. People like Mr. Pariseau can't wait for the clinical tests to be completed and evaluated. They can't wait for the debate about medicinal marijuana to work its way into policy. They will die before there is an official answer to what is, after all, a pretty straightforward question. Shouldn't people in pain be allowed some relief?
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue No. 83 (The Drug Reform Coordination Network's original publication featuring drug policy news and calls to action includes - Institute of Medicine report confirms marijuana's medicinal value; Higher Education Act reform bill introduced in Congress; Rep. Rangel seeks end to cocaine sentencing disparities; Canada: Husband of medical marijuana user arrested as government announces clinical trials, possible medical exemption; Minnesota hemp bill progressing; DPF grant deadline coming up; and an editorial: IOM report leaves only one thing left to say) Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 01:18:34 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet (email@example.com) Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #83 The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #83 - March 19, 1999 A Publication of the Drug Reform Coordination Network -------- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -------- (To sign off this list, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:email@example.com for assistance. To subscribe to this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.) This issue can be also be read on our web site at http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html. Check out the DRCNN weekly radio segment at http://www.drcnet.org/drcnn/. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Institute of Medicine Report Confirms Marijuana's Medicinal Value http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#iom 2. HEA Reform Bill Introduced in Congress http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#frankbill 3. Rep. Rangel Seeks End to Cocaine Sentencing Disparities http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#rangel 4. Canada: Husband of Medical Marijuana User Arrested as Government Announces Clinical Trials, Possible Medical Exemption http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#harichy 5. Minnesota Hemp Bill Progressing http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#minnesota 6. DPF Grant Deadline Coming Up http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#dpfgrants 7. EDITORIAL: IOM Report Leaves Only One Thing Left to Say http://www.drcnet.org/wol/083.html#editorial *** 1. Institute of Medicine Report Confirms Marijuana's Medicinal Value More than two years after it was commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a long-awaited report from the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine (IOM) has confirmed much of what thousands of doctors and seriously ill patients have contended for years: marijuana provides effective relief for a variety of symptoms and ailments. Further, the report concluded that there is no scientific basis for the oft repeated claims that marijuana use acts as a "gateway" to harder drugs, nor that the medicinal use of marijuana is likely to encourage its abuse either among patients or the public at large. The reaction among patients who gathered at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington for the report's release was jubilant. "I feel vindicated, absolutely vindicated," said Greg Scott, who suffers from AIDS and smokes marijuana to combat nausea and loss of appetite caused both by the disease and by the medications used to treat it. "After years of risking arrest, property forfeiture, fines, and imprisonment, the findings of this report demonstrate that clearly enough evidence already exists to permit people who need this as medicine to smoke it legally." Scott's and the other patients' presence represented the culmination of a two-year advocacy effort coordinated by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP -- http://www.mpp.org), and their testimony before the IOM investigators is included in the report. The sense of victory among the patients and their supporters was sweetened by the circumstances under which the report was commissioned. Furious with voters in the wake of the passage of medical marijuana initiatives in California and Arizona in 1996, ONDCP chief Barry McCaffrey had ordered the report to settle the question of what he mockingly called "Cheech and Chong medicine" for which "not a shred of evidence exists" to prove its efficacy. In comments to the press this week, McCaffrey ignored the report's finding that smoked marijuana has legitimate therapeutic value, and focused instead on the recommendation that alternative delivery devices such as inhalers be developed to eliminate the need for smoking the drug. The IOM report notes that such a device will likely take years, and hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Scott said that's fine for the future, but what about right now? "I have to deal with taking my medications twice a day, today, tomorrow, and all next week. And the inhaler is not going to help me for years to come. So I would ask (McCaffrey), what should be done with people like me? Does he advocate that he continues to arrest us? I have long been amazed by McCaffrey's ability to spin things in his own direction. But he has never satisfactorily answered how he would handle all the patients who need this medicine. He refuses to say what alternative there is to arresting us." The IOM report does recommend alternatives to arrest, though as co-principal investigator Stanley J. Watson noted in response to a reporter's question on the matter, the scientists impaneled on the report were "specifically not asked" to consider questions related to marijuana's illicit status. Instead, the panel suggests the development of a program similar to the now-defunct government compassionate use program, in which patients for whom already approved treatments failed would obtain permission to use marijuana under strict medical supervision. But Harvard professor of psychiatric medicine Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who was one of the report's reviewers, told DRCNet he is concerned that the onerous bureaucratic requirements involved in such a program hamper its effectiveness. "The old IND (compassionate use) program started in 1976, and by the time it was closed down in 1992 only about three dozen people had passed the hurdles to receive legal access to marijuana. Why? Because physicians just couldn't take the time to do all the paperwork that was involved. And physicians are a lot busier now with managed care, with paperwork. I just don't see how that's going to provide a solution." Given McCaffrey's indication that he has not been swayed by the scientific evidence, however, such concerns may be moot. MPP co-director Chuck Thomas said he doubts the ONDCP will follow the report's recommendations, noting McCaffrey's comment to the press that he didn't expect to see patients in the Intensive Care Unit "with blunts stuck in their faces." Thomas said that as long as official government policy puts patients at risk of arrest, MPP's advocacy will continue unabated. "The IOM recommended one way for patients to have legal access," he said. "We support that, and we support all of the other ways for people to have legal access as well." The full text of the IOM report is available online at http://www.nas.edu. *** 2. HEA Reform Bill Introduced in Congress The Higher Education Act reform campaign cleared a hurdle last week with the introduction of H.R. 1053, which will repeal the provision in the HEA delaying or denying federal financial aid for any student with a drug conviction. The bill, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), will need a significant number of cosponsors to get to the floor, given Republican leadership's support of the provision that it would repeal. But despite powerful supporters, the HEA provision has formidable opponents as well. The Department of Education, in a letter dated August 7, 1998, outlining its positions on the various amendments then being considered by the Education Committee, stated that it "oppose(s) the language in both versions of the bill suspending aid eligibility for students who have been convicted of any drug offense under Federal or State law." The Department of Education pointed to the fact that current law already allows judges to strip eligibility for all federal aid if they feel that an individual case warrants such an action. The HEA, as passed last fall, eliminates that discretion. Peder Nelson, a student at Western Colorado State College, where the HEA Reform Resolution has already been endorsed by the student government, told The Week Online that the Frank bill will give a dramatic boost to the campaign. "I think that this makes (the campaign for reform) more real in the eyes of students," he said. "I have been dealing with student leaders at other schools in Colorado on this issue, and having our bill introduced has immediately added an urgency and a sense of legitimacy to what we're trying to accomplish." Nelson continued, "One of the problems with student activism is that it tends to be somewhat diffuse. It's difficult, sometimes, for less politically active students to differentiate between a legitimate political effort and a lost cause, and so many of them don't get involved in anything, even if they believe in the principles behind the effort. From what I can tell, I think that we're going to see a flurry of activity on a lot of campuses between now and the end of the school year." Nelson understands, however, that there are more hurdles to overcome on the road to success. "No one involved in this effort is operating under the illusion that we're going to get this bill passed by finals. This is an effort that will have to continue into the fall semester and probably beyond. But we're preparing for that, and in talking with the other student organizers as well as the DRCNet staff over the Internet, we have an opportunity not only to build momentum now, but to make sure that when the students return, we'll be able to pick up where we left off." And they won't be alone. With the bill introduced, it is expected that numerous organizations will be joining the effort in the coming weeks. Jamie Pueschel, legislative director of the United States Student Association, which lobbied against the provision last year, told The Week Online, "The new law (denying aid) is just about as discriminatory as it gets." There are numerous concerns over the impact of the new HEA provision. These include the fact that such sanctions will only affect students of low to moderate income, and the fact that non-white communities are targeted for drug law enforcement more vigorously than white communities. "When African Americans make up 13% of drug users, but 55% of those convicted for drug offenses, something is definitely wrong," said Shawn Heller, spokesperson for Students for a Sensible Drug Policy at George Washington University. "The bottom line is that kids are not getting stopped and frisked on the streets in white, middle class communities. This law cannot help but have a discriminatory impact." Heller believes that the HEA Reform Campaign will get more students involved in the larger issues of drug policy. "In highlighting the absurdity of this law, and getting students involved in an effort to have it overturned, we have a great opportunity to get them thinking. Why are states increasing prison budgets while they're cutting budgets for higher education? It's the same age cohort that are entering prisons and universities. Why, if drug use rates are steady across most ethnic lines, are we convicting and incarcerating such outrageous percentages of African Americans and Latinos? Why, for all the money spent, and all the people imprisoned, and all the fried egg commercials, can the government not point to a single drug free community, or even a single drug free high school? Today's college students know first-hand that our policies don't work. This campaign, while focused on a particularly egregious example of stupidity, really underscores the problems with the drug war as a whole." Read about the Higher Education Act reform campaign at http://www.u-net.org. *** 3. Rep. Rangel Seeks End to Cocaine Sentencing Disparities (reprinted from the Drug Policy Foundation's Network News, http://www.dpf.org) Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 939, the "Crack Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 1999" on March 2, along with 25 Democratic cosponsors. Rangel introduced a similar bill in 1997, but did not get a hearing in the Republican- controlled Congress. The bill would eliminate the distinction between powder cocaine and crack cocaine, treating both substances equally under federal law. Right now, possession of five grams of crack cocaine carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, while 500 grams of powder cocaine receives the same sentence. Possession of 50 grams of crack cocaine results in a 10-year mandatory minimum, but it takes five kilograms of powder cocaine to receive a comparable sentence. This difference in penalties is commonly referred to as the "100-to-1 sentencing disparity," and it has disproportionately impacted African-American defendants who are often targeted by drug law enforcement. Rep. Rangel's bill is not the first attempt to equalize crack and powder cocaine sentences. In April 1995, the US Sentencing Commission recommended that the 100-to-1 ratio be abandoned in favor of equal penalties for both forms of cocaine. On October 30, 1995, Congress passed, and the President signed, a law (PL 104-38) overturning that decision, which resulted in the largest prison riots in the history of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Learn more about mandatory minimum sentencing from Families Against Mandatory Minimums, http://www.famm.org. *** 4. Canada: Husband of Medical Marijuana User Arrested as Government Announces Clinical Trials, Possible Medical Exemption - Marc Brandl, firstname.lastname@example.org Several days before the London (Ontario) based Cannabis Compassion Centre (CCC) was scheduled to close, center manager Mike Harichy was arrested and charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking and two counts of trafficking. His wife, Lynn Harichy, uses marijuana for her multiple sclerosis and also helps run the center. She created headlines in Canada in 1997 when she was arrested trying to light up a joint in front of a police headquarters (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/013.html#canada). Allegedly Mr. Harichy sold to an undercover officer wanting to buy marijuana for recreational purposes. Medical marijuana advocates were anxious to keep the medical and recreational issues separate. Prof. Alan Young, an attorney who defends medical marijuana patients in court, and a professor at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, said, if it was a straight sale to an undercover officer, I don't want much to do with the case because unfortunately it could be used to discredit the movement." Hillary Black, who founded and helps run the Compassion Club in Vancouver was not worried about police raids on her establishment after this high profile arrest. Said Black, "We run a very tight organization here. We've been here for two years and have developed a good relationship with the community and with the different HIV and cancer groups in Vancouver. We have a good reputation for being an upstanding organization." The London CCC had operated with police knowledge since July 1998 (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/038.html#canada). The decision to close the club came when the federal government announced recently it would start clinical studies exploring the medical utility of the plant. Health Minister Allan Rock announced on March 3rd to the House of Commons that Health Canada would soon undertake such studies. "Minister Rock has been discussing the issue of medicinal use for over a year now." Derek Kent, a spokesperson for the Minister, told the WOL, "Two events have paved the way for this announcement. First, health officials went to Great Britain to examine the clinical trials that are taking place. Second, there was an announcement by an office of the UN that encouraged research into the medical use of marijuana which removed potential hurdles in terms of our international [treaty] obligations." Medicinal marijuana activists were less than impressed, however. "The problem I have is that immediate concerns need to be addressed," said Prof. Young. "Unfortunately patients don't have the luxury of waiting while the government figures out what to do." Eugene Oscapella, also a lawyer and one of the founding members of Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy (http://fox.nstn.ca/~eoscapel/cfdp/cfdp.html) told the WOL of his impression of the announcement, "In theory it is a step forward -- in fact there is a lot of politics involved. Minister Rock made this announcement the day before a motion was to be debated about legalizing medical marijuana. It was a bit of political gamesmanship, unfortunately. The minister also worded his statement very carefully. He's asked his officials to develop a plan for clinical trials, not start trials immediately. There is always a danger that the plan will take forever to develop." Currently, only one person in Canada, Terry Parker, an epileptic, is allowed to smoke cannabis legally, after a 1997 court decision granted him a legal exemption (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/022.html#canada). Minister Rock is also considering exempting medical marijuana patients who aren't part of the clinical trials. "We understand some of the people really need access to marijuana. What we want to do is develop the evidence while still developing a plan that is flexible enough not to be too restrictive to those who cannot get access through the trials." Professor Young helped a patient afflicted with AIDS apply for the legal exemption but remains skeptical. "I applied September 15th, it's now the end of March and I have not been able to receive any clarification of the process. So even though Mr. Rock seems to have promised that exemptions will be forthcoming, my question to him is what has happened in the last eight months?" Ms. Black was more optimistic about the trials and has a plan to make the exemption process move ahead. "I think the trials are a good idea, but its been a long time coming. It's important that advocates of medicinal marijuana not back off at this point. This is a time to be applying more pressure rather than less. Any patient that has been given a prescription from their physician for the medical use of cannabis should be given an exemption so they are free to cultivate, carry and consume cannabis." *** 5. Minnesota Hemp Bill Progressing - Marc Brandl, email@example.com In issue 76, the Week Online reported that a bill had been introduced in the Minnesota legislature that would allow experimental industrial hemp plots to be grown. On March 9th, the Senate passed SF0122 by a vote of 54-4. Some daunting hurdles remain before the bill can become law, however. The Minnesota house is controlled by Republicans who voted against favorable hemp legislation in their party caucus earlier this year. The bill also must be heard by the House Crime Prevention Committee. The committee is headed by former police officer Rep. Rich Stanek (R), who has voiced his strong opposition to hemp in the past and who has the power to stall the bill indefinitely. Chris Radatz, director of governmental affairs for the Minnesota Farm Bureau told the WOL, "We support research into both the harvesting and marketing aspects of hemp. We had some concerns that this bill went beyond research and we expressed those concerns but didn't lobby the bill directly." *** 6. DPF Grant Deadline Coming Up A reminder to organizations that were considering applying for funding from the Drug Policy Foundation's grant program: The next deadline is April 1, 1999. Proposals must be in the format outlined in the grant guidelines last revised August 1998 and be postmarked by April 1 to be considered for funding. The guidelines are located online at http://www.dpf.org/html/guidelines.html. For further information, please contact Kerry Hopkins or Ruth Lampi in the DPF Grant Program at (202) 537-5005 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. *** 7. EDITORIAL: IOM Report Leaves Only One Thing Left to Say by Adam J. Smith, Associate Director, email@example.com The Institute of Medicine this week confirmed what patients from around the country have been telling the government for years: marijuana relieves their pain, their spasms and their nausea. The report, commissioned by ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey, left the much-decorated drug czar nearly speechless. McCaffrey's assertions over the past three years -- that the medicinal use of marijuana is "hooey" and "a sham" and "Cheech and Chong medicine" and that there is "not a shred of scientific evidence" to support it -- didn't leave him much wiggling room when the truth, paid for out of his own budget, hit him like a truckload of Acapulco Gold that just got waved through customs. True to form, however, the good General didn't let the truth dissuade him from his mission as chief apologist for the drug war. Instead, McCaffrey focused on the fact that the report recommended alternative methods of administration due to the health risks of smoking. Even there, of course, the scientists noted that for many patients, the benefits of marijuana use outweighed the long-term risk from inhaling burning vegetable matter. "I would note that the report points out that the future of marijuana as medicine lies in things like inhalers" and drugs extracted from the plant, he said, not in the use of the raw vegetation itself. What McCaffrey did not say, and the question that has been central all along, is whether he still believes that patients, many of whom believe that this plant has saved their lives, ought to be arrested for using or possessing it in the meantime. The report, however, went beyond the medical use of the plant and, with a casualness that belied the real-world implications of their findings, managed to debunk two of the most important underpinnings of the prohibitionist argument. The first is the gateway theory, which states that the use of marijuana somehow "leads" to the use of harder drugs. The second is that marijuana is addictive. On the gateway theory, the report indicated that whatever impact marijuana had on the use of harder drugs was a function not of the substance, but of the criminal market, which brings users into contact with those who would rather sell them the big ticket items. As to addiction, the report noted that whatever withdrawal was experienced by regular users upon cessation was short-lived and extremely mild. This is not the first time the US government has commissioned a report on marijuana that it later wished it had not. The 1972 Shafer Commission report, authorized by President Nixon, recommended the outright decriminalization of the stuff -- and not just for medicinal purposes. That report was ignored. The IOM Report will be more difficult to ignore, what with state after state casting ballots to relieve the sick and the dying of the fear of imprisonment. On Wednesday, March 17, the government got answers that it didn't want -- to questions that it didn't necessarily want to ask -- and found, in the midst of the resultant media crush, that it had very little to say in defense of its own policy. Sure, smoking is bad. But AIDS and MS and chemotherapy-induced nausea are undoubtedly worse. Worse still is a government's refusal to allow people suffering so to choose their method of relief, now that there can be no argument that the relief that they feel is much more than a buzz in their heads. If there is an ounce of integrity, a gram of compassion, or a bud of humanity in the drug czar's office or in the administration itself, the next thing they say on the matter will be the only thing that counts. They will promise that the disgraceful days of arresting the sick and the dying for choosing to gain relief through a naturally occurring herb, are over forever. *** DRCNet needs your support! 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------------------------------------------------------------------- DrugSense Weekly, No. 90 (The original summary of drug policy news from DrugSense opens with the weekly Feature Article - Spinning the IOM report: what policy changes can we expect? by Tom O'Connell M.D. The Weekly News in Review features several articles about Drug War Policy, including - Nightline: getting straight; The wrong way to fight drug war; The drug war has failed; Customs Service reworks controversial airport drug searches; Gramm and Boxer sponsor legislation that would alter the US drug-certification process; and, Suit blames CIA for crack epidemic. Law Enforcement & Prisons articles include - Americans now the most jailed people on earth; Two million prisoners are enough; Stop the prison madness and build schools; and, Incarcerated by illusions? Articles about Medical Marijuana include - Judge denies AIDS patient's request for marijuana; Libertarian Party vows to fight marijuana case; Feds rebuff marijuana researchers; and, The latest buzz on hemp. International News includes - Pot charges on the rise; Cabinet rules out legalising cannabis; Financial notes - the buying power of illegal narcotics; and, The changing face of the drug trade. The weekly Hot Off The 'Net lets you point your browser to read worldwide media coverage of the IOM report; Volunteer of the month - Ashley H. Clements. The Quote of the week cites Rodney S. Quinn.) From: email@example.com (DrugSense) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: DrugSense Weekly, March 19, 1999 #90 Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:15:32 -0800 Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Lines: 911 Sender: email@example.com *** DRUGSENSE WEEKLY *** DrugSense Weekly, March 19, 1999 #90 A DrugSense publication http://www.drugsense.org This Publication May Be Read On-line at: http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/1999/ds99.n90.html TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, DONATE OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS NEWSLETTER Please consider writing a letter to the editor using the email addresses on any of the articles below. Send a copy of your LTE to MGreer@mapinc.org. *** TABLE OF CONTENTS: * Feature Article Spinning the IOM Report: What Policy Changes Can We Expect? By Tom O'Connell M.D. * Weekly News in Review Drug War Policy- (1) Nightline, Getting Straight (2) The Wrong Way to Fight Drug War (3) The Drug War Has Failed (4) Customs Service Reworks Controversial Airport Drug Searches (5) Gramm and Boxer Sponsor Legislation that Would Alter the US Drug-Certification Process (6) Suit Blames CIA for Crack Epidemic Law Enforcement & Prisons- (7) Americans Now the Most Jailed People on Earth (8) Two Million Prisoners Are Enough (9) Stop the Prison Madness and Build Schools (10) Incarcerated by Illusions? Medical Marijuana- (11) Judge Denies Aids Patient's Request for Marijuana (12) Libertarian Party Vows to Fight Marijuana Case (13) Feds Rebuff Marijuana Researchers (14) The Latest Buzz on Hemp International News- (15) Pot Charges on the Rise (16) Cabinet Rules Out Legalising Cannabis (17) Financial Notes - The Buying Power of Illegal Narcotics (18) The Changing Face of the Drug Trade * Hot Off The 'Net IOM Report Gains Worldwide Media Coverage * Volunteer of the Month Ashley H. Clements * Quote of the Week Rodney S. Quinn *** FEATURE ARTICLE Spinning the IOM Report: What Policy Changes Can We Expect? Although the IOM report on medical MJ was predictably pusillanimous and deferential toward the irrational federal policy which has prohibited Cannabis for 62 years, the good news is that it acknowledged that cannabinoids have legitimate and important therapeutic applications- essentially the same (predictable) conclusions the IOM reached in 1982. The difference is that both the political climate and the research background have changed significantly since 1982, so their recommendation for "more research" won't be as easy for NIDA to sweep under the rug and ignore now as it was then. Our madcap drug czar, who has mastered the dubious skill of embracing opposite poles of the same controversy in a single sentence- even while speaking on national television, was at it again. While there wasn't time for an exhaustive review of all the news articles, I believe important clues to the direction of future policy can be found in a relatively brief Reuters wire item which originated in LA on March 17: Wire: Medical Marijuana Smoking To Remain Illegal In part: "Smokable marijuana is not the answer," McCaffrey said, adding the federal government would continue to arrest those smoking marijuana for medical reasons, including people in the seven states where voter initiatives have made its medical use legal. But he welcomed the report, which he said took the discussion over the medical use of marijuana away from politicians and put it "firmly in the context of science, where it belongs." McCaffrey said while cannabinoids held no promise of cure, they could be useful in pain management, which he said was a much neglected field in modern medicine. "Everyone is looking for a cure these days and pain is seen as a sort of blurry background. There needs to be more pain management," he said. McCaffrey said the government would continue to support bona fide research into medical uses for marijuana, and he called for more research into delivering THC, one of the medically beneficial ingredients of marijuana that has been isolated by scientists. "In particular, I would support deep-lung delivery vehicles such as aerosols," he said. He also supported controlled delivery by patches similar to those used to deliver nicotine. On a cautionary note, McCaffrey highlighted the report's finding that developing pain killing drugs from marijuana could cost between $200 million and $300 million and said he did not think there was "any commercial interest in the (pharmaceutical) market for the development of such drugs." Quick translation: The federal government will continue to discourage, or even block, human cannabinoid research in the US. If Geoffrey Guy, or some other (non-US) commercial interest comes up with a patentable aerosol delivery system (as now seems likely) the US will grudgingly accord it the same (Sched 2) status as marinol. The feds will NEVER legalize "smoked marijuana," but will continue to treat it as the demon variant, just as heroin is the designated demon variant of morphine and other therapeutically allowed opioids. Any patients discomfited by this policy, even if denied life-preserving therapy between now and development of a scientifically acceptable cannabinoid delivery system are out of luck. They'd certainly better not break the law- they will be thrown in jail. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n305.a01.html Tom O'Connell M.D. *** WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW *** Drug Policy- *** COMMENT: (1-6) Last week US drug policy's historically bad press not only continued; it intensified: McCaffrey was self-contradictory on Nightline and pilloried for inconsistency by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe. By the end of the week, an IHT headline implied (erroneously) that he was ready to concede defeat. In other venues, the Customs service sought to repair a tarnished image and the Senate was offered a band-aid solution to the annual certification fiasco. Finally, class action suits generated by the 1996 San Jose Mercury News revelations guarantee more bad press in the future. *** (1) NIGHTLINE, GETTING STRAIGHT, PART I COKIE ROBERTS This country's been waging a war on drugs for decades now and so far we don't seem to be winning it. Over the next three nights, Nightline will be examining the nation's drug policy based on a critical assessment by Michael Massing..... [snip] COKIE ROBERTS Well, then why are the numbers so lopsided? Why is it two thirds money for enforcement, interdiction, etc., and one third for treatment and treatment of demand? GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY Well, it's sort of a screwy way of counting it, to be honest. The drug budget has gone from $13.5 billion in FY'96 to $17.8 billion in the year 2000 and that has disproportionately been invested in treatment and prevention. I think the bigger problem, Cokie, is we simply lack health parity for drug treatment in the private sector. And in addition, we've done an inadequate job of providing drug treatment for those behind bars, ..... [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 Source: ABC News - Nightline Contact: http://188.8.131.52/onair/nightline/email.html Website: http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/nightline/transcripts/nl990310_trans.html Copyright: 1998 ABCNEWS and Starwave Corporation. Note: This is an unedited, uncorrected transcript. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n282.a03.html (Pt 1) URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n281.a07.html (Pt 2) URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n282.a04.html (Pt 3) *** (2) THE WRONG WAY TO FIGHT DRUG WAR Drug czar Barry McCaffrey talks as if he gets it. This is what he is saying about the so-called war on drugs: ''We have a failed social policy and it has to be re-evaluated. Otherwise, we're going to bankrupt ourselves. Because we can't incarcerate our way out of this problem.'' ''Demand must be the priority. People's desire for drugs is what sets the drug abuse cycle in motion ... [snip] McCaffrey's failed budgets and plays to hysteria are generating high-profile criticism. A series of statements where he denounced needle exchange and medical marijuana and badly exaggerated drug crime in Holland sparked a recent open letter that included signatures from Harvard University professors Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alvin Poussaint, Orlando Patterson and William Julius Wilson, and Boston University professor Glenn Loury. [snip] Pubdate: Pubdate: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 Source: Boston Globe (MA) Copyright: 1999 Globe Newspaper Company. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.boston.com/globe/ Author: Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n267.a06.html *** (3) THE DRUG WAR HAS FAILED Almost 70 years after the failure of Prohibition, the much-trumpeted "war on drugs," begun more than a decade ago, has itself hugely misfired. "We have a failed social policy and it has to be re-evaluated," says Barry R. McCaffrey, the four-star general in charge of national drug control policy. [snip] Pubdate: 15 March 1999 Source: International Herald-Tribune Page: OPED Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.iht.com/ Copyright: International Herald Tribune 1999 Author: NY Times URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n297.a06.html *** (4) CUSTOMS SERVICE REWORKS CONTROVERSIAL AIRPORT DRUG SEARCHES Beset by investigations and lawsuits alleging abusive tactics, the Customs Service is retraining officers who check airline passengers for drugs and trying new technology to reduce the need for invasive body searches. The changes come as new statistics show the number of cocaine and heroin smugglers caught at airports dropped by one-fourth in 1998. That poses a two-pronged problem for Customs officials eager to reverse the decline while tempering public anger over the way travelers are searched. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 Source: Florida Today (FL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Feedback: http://www.flatoday.com/letters.htm Website: http://www.flatoday.com/ Copyright: 1999 FLORIDA TODAY URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n284.a01.html *** (5) GRAMM AND BOXER SPONSOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALTER THE U.S. DRUG-CERTIFICATION PROCESS Washington-A political odd couple, conservative Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and liberal Sen. Babara Boxer of California, introduced legislation Thursday that would overhaul the controversial process of certifying other nations as drug-fighting allies. The senators are heading a bipartisan drive to revamp the current process that causes an annual rift between the United States, Mexico and other countries battling narcotics cartels. [snip] Pubdate: 12 March 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Section: News,page 7 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Author: Gary Martin-San Antonio Express-News URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n283.a11.html *** (6) SUIT BLAMES CIA FOR CRACK EPIDEMIC OAKLAND - Two class action lawsuits filed Monday allege the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Justice played a major role in the 1980s crack epidemic in California. The suits seek billions in damages for poor inter-cities neighborhoods, including several on Oakland, which suffered from both drug abuse and the violence associated with it. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 Source: Oakland Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607 Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/ URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n295.a08.html *** Law Enforcement & Prisons *** COMMENT: (7-10) The press, already aware of a huge US gulag from the spate of forceful op-eds triggered by Eric Schlosser's December article in Atlantic, reacted on cue to the last week's release of statistics from the DOJ. Even so, it was an Irish newspaper that came up with the best summation. An academic criminologist who is also a drug war hawk tacitly admitted that imprisonment for "drug crime" will eventually be the straw that breaks drug war camel's back. Drug-related imprisonment was assailed by two syndicated op-ed writers who are also black; typically, their reasons are different. Older, more conservative Carl Rowan is offended that prisons are built at the expense of schools; younger, more liberal Sean Gonsalves is upset by the overt racism. (7) AMERICANS NOW THE MOST JAILED PEOPLE ON EARTH THE United States, which already has the largest prison population in the world, may soon surpass Russia as the nation with the highest rate of incarceration, a report showed yesterday. The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit group that advocates sentencing reform, said the United States, with a record 1.8m inmates, was followed by China at an estimated 1.2m and Russia at one million. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 Source: Irish Independent (Ireland) Copyright: Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.ie/ Author: James Vicini in Washington URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n299.a08.html *** (8) TWO MILLION PRISONERS ARE ENOUGH Violent crime has dropped 21% since 1993, and property crime is at a postl973 low. No one really knows which demographic economic or other factors explain what fraction of the decrease in crime. But recent studies confirm that increased incarceration has helped to cut crime. Yet the same research also suggests that the nation has "maxed out" on the public safety value of incarceration. Until recently, increased incarceration has improved public safety. But as America's incarcerated population approaches two million the value of imprisonment is a portrait in the law of rapidly diminishing returns. The Justice system is becoming less capable of distributing sanctions and supervision rationally., especially where drug offenders are concerned. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Copyright: 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.wsj.com/ Author: John J. DiIulio Jr. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n276.a01.html *** (9) STOP THE PRISON MADNESS AND BUILD SCHOOLS Every now and then the best of societies goes a little crazy and embraces monstrous social policies that become almost impossible to reverse. The United States has done that regarding crime, especially drug abuse. I doubt that one American out of 10 is aware that you and I are spending $20,000 a year to keep in prison every single kid caught with a couple of ounces of marijuana -- a per inmate expense equal to what millions of people are paid for a whole year's work, or a cost well beyond anything we taxpayers shell out to keep a child in public school or a kid in college. Are you aware that our states are now spending almost $30 billion every year to keep locked up triple the number of inmates they had just 20 years ago? Or that we are incarcerating our people at a rate never known in any civilized society? [snip] Source: Grand Rapids Press (MI) Copyright: 1999 Grand Rapids Press Pubdate: Fri, 12 Mar 1990 Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.gr.mlive.com/ Author: Carl Rowan Note: Carl Rowan is a columnist for the North America Syndicate. This item appeared in a large number of newspapers. The titles may not be the same in all newspapers. URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n284.a09.html *** (10) INCARCERATED BY ILLUSIONS? I think it was the great American philosopher and psychologist William James who said (and I'm paraphrasing): some people think they are thinking when really they are only re-arranging their prejudices. Such "thinking" colors the popular "debate" on race and the American criminal justice system. Whenever I write a column that highlights the numerous studies, indicating that anti-black racism is part and parcel of our criminal "Justice" system, some self-proclaimed "conservative" writes me to point out the "obvious" reason there are a disproportionate number of blacks behind bars: blacks commit more crime than white people do! (Is that so? How enlightening). [snip] Imagine if a white South African, during Apartheid, said the reason there were so many blacks in prison in their country is because the custodians of their legal system were simply doing their job: locking up criminals. [snip] Any outside observer, with even a slight sense of history, would at least raise a skeptical eyebrow, understanding that there is a high probability that the numbers are skewed because of a thing called white-skin privilege. [snip] Pubdate: 14 Mar 1999 Source: Oakland Tribune (CA) Copyright: 1999 MediaNews Group, Inc. and ANG Newspapers Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 66 Jack London Sq., Oakland, CA 94607 Website: http://www.newschoice.com/newspapers/alameda/tribune/ Author: Sean Gonsalves Page: 10, Local News URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n287.a06.html *** Medical Marijuana *** COMMENT: (11-14) In Southern California, a federal judge agreed that Peter McWilliams' claim that marijuana is essential to his survival might be correct; however, since it's also illegal McWilliams can't use it. So much for compassion in our Department of "Justice." In Northern California, the Libertarian Party continued its unequivocal support of recent gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and his wife Michele. As this is written, the IOM report on medical marijuana is due. No one familiar with the federal stance on marijuana research expects a vigorous challenge to existing policy; for those interested in language the wording should be an prime example of equivocation under pressure. The proximity on Minnesota and North Dakota to Canadian hemp agriculture will make it increasingly difficult for DEA lobbyists to lie to those state legislatures. Look for the first hemp challenge to come from Minnesota. *** (11) JUDGE DENIES AIDS PATIENT'S REQUEST FOR MARIJUANA While sympathetic to his medical plight, a federal judge has denied Peter McWilliams' request for permission to smoke pot while awaiting trial on marijuana conspiracy charges. McWilliams, a writer and publisher who has AIDS, says that he needs marijuana to keep from vomiting the powerful antiviral drugs he must take each day. Last year, a federal magistrate forbade him to smoke pot as a condition of his bail, an order that McWilliams calls a virtual death decree. [snip] Pubdate: March 10, 1999 Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times. Contact: email@example.com Fax: (213) 237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Forum: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/DISCUSS/ URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n266.a09.html *** (12) LIBERTARIAN PARTY VOWS TO FIGHT MARIJUANA CASE SACRAMENTO, March 9 (UPI) - The Libertarian Party of California says it has "not yet begun to fight" in the case of 1998 gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby and his wife, Michele, who are charged with marijuana possession. The couple maintains that they were legitimate medical marijuana patients protected under the voter-approved Proposition 215 and that they grew the drug solely for personal medicinal use. Libertarian State Chairman Mark Hinkle says the case "either demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the law by the judge and prosecutors or a willingness to ignore the law." Pubdate: 9 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n268.a02.html *** (13) FEDS REBUFF MARIJUANA RESEARCHERS WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) - Researchers who want to conduct clinical trials on the efficacy of medical marijuana say while the government publicly invites such studies, privately it works to quash the proposals. [snip] Pubdate: 12 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International Feedback: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_forms/sn_ctact.htm Author: Ellen Beck URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n294.a11.html *** (14) THE LATEST BUZZ ON HEMP U.S. Farmers Want The Ban On Cultivating The Plant Lifted Times sure are tough for North Dakota farmers like David Monson. First there were floods, then heavy snow, pelting rains, and disease that devastated the crops. Last summer, Monson grimly tended his wheat, barley, and canola fields in Osnabrock and watched neighboring farms go bust. In the fall, his profit was a paltry $25 an acre. Meanwhile, 20 miles away, across the border in Canada, Brian McElroy had cut back on wheat and planted his first crop of industrial hemp. He earned $225 an acre. [snip] Source: U.S. News & World Report Copyright: 1999 U.S. News & World Report Pubdate: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Webform: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/usinfo/infomain.htm FAX: (202) 955-2685 Mail: 1050 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007-3871 Forum: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/forum.htm Website: http://www.usnews.com/ Author: Elise Ackerman URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n286.a02.html *** International News *** COMMENT: (15-18) Despite our policy's pummeling in the American press, it's holding the line overseas. Canadian law enforcement is driving Canada into a short term imitation of the US model - whether that can be sustained remains to be seen. Same story in New Zealand; the government refused to accept the diplomatically worded challenge of its own commission. Sound familiar? A novel perspective on the financial dimensions of the monster created by American policy was offered by the Independent. Meanwhile, in South America, Peru declined to become Panama's substitute as a site for a US air base, ostensibly to fight drugs. The remaining possibilities are as interesting as they are problematic. *** (15) POT CHARGES ON THE RISE Law professor wants to legalize cannabis use Despite growing cries to decriminalize it, more young people continue to be charged with marijuana offences. More than seven out of every 10 drug offences in Canada were related to marijuana in 1997 and two-thirds of them were for simple possession, Statistics Canada said yesterday. Among those charged, 86 per cent were under the age of 25. [snip] Pubdate: 10 Mar 1999 Source: Toronto Star (Canada) Copyright: 1999, The Toronto Star Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thestar.com/ Page: A2 Author: Elaine Carey, Toronto Star Demographics Reporter URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n267.a09.html *** (16) CABINET RULES OUT LEGALISING CANNABIS The Government has ruled out decriminalising cannabis, saying that making the drug legal would send confusing messages to young people. Parliament's health select committee conducted an inquiry last year into the mental health effects of cannabis and recommended that the Government review the legal status of the drug. The Government's response to the committee's report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, says it does not intend to revisit the legal status of cannabis. [snip] Pubdate: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 Source: Dominion, The (New Zealand) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.inl.co.nz/wnl/dominion/index.html Author: Helen Bain - Political Reporter URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n265.a09.html *** (17) FINANCIAL NOTES - THE BUYING POWER OF ILLEGAL NARCOTICS IMAGINE A multi-national company so big and powerful that its annual turnover is equal in size to China's gross national product, making that company 11th in the world rankings ahead of the Netherlands, Australia, Russia and India. A company whose gross turnover for just one financial year is sufficient to buy at current market value the world's three largest public companies, General Electric, Royal Dutch Shell and Microsoft. A company that if it dipped into its petty cash could in the same year buy Coca-Cola. A company where just 10 days turnover is in excess of the combined assets of the world's top 50 banks. Its current annual turn-over is $500bn. The cash mountain is derived from just three assets. People, paper and product - illegal drugs. [snip] Source: Independent, The (UK) Pubdate: March 15, 1999 Copyright: Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd. Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Author: David Yallop URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n296.a13.html *** (18) THE CHANGING FACE OF THE DRUG TRADE LIMA, Mar 5 (IPS) - The Peruvian government has officially notified Washington that it will not allow the United States to set up an anti-drug military airbase here, said Public Affairs Officer John Dickson at the US embassy in Lima. [snip] Pubdate: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 Source: Inter Press Service Copyright: IPS-Inter Press Service Author: Abraham Lama URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n287.a01.html *** HOT OFF THE 'NET *** The IOM report is generating a massive amount of media coverage. While this event really occurred after our weekly cut off for news, it's simply too big an issue to ignore. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has generated interviews from NBC, MSNBC, CNN and numerous other nationally broadcast shows. Both Rob Kampia and Chuck Thomas have been very busy at generating positive spin off this important report. MPP On-line coverage includes: CNN - "Federal report reignites medical marijuana debate: Panel finds therapeutic benefits" http://cnn.com/HEALTH/9903/17/medical.marijuana/ MSNBC - "Federal report backs medical pot" http://www.msnbc.com/news/250878.asp *** Here's ABC's website & story on the IOM. Includes a link to AMR's new medmjscience site as a resource, right under IOM! http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/living/DailyNews/medmj990317.html AMR also announced a new web compilation of scientific and medical information about the medical uses of marijuana. http://medmjscience.org/ And even notified us of a link to a snazzy CNN graphic on MMJ initiative states at: http://cnn.com/HEALTH/9903/17/medical. marijuana/us.west.jpg *** From the DrugNews archive we find the following articles just one day after the release of the report: Institute Of Medicine Issues Report Strongly Supporting Medical Use Of Marijuana http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n302.a03.html Official U.S. Report Backs Medical Use Of Marijuana http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n301.a01.html Marijuana May Have Medical Uses http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n302.a02.html Feds Rebuff Medical Marijuana Researchers http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n281.a06.html Reefer Madness or Reefer Medicine? http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n303.a01.html Executive Summary, Marijuana And Medicine http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99.n302.a04.html Kevin Zeese Reports: The full IOM report is available on line at: http://www.nas.edu/ *** VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH *** Ashley H. Clements - DrugSense Volunteer of the Month This month it gives us considerable pleasure to recognize a volunteer who has worked with MAP/DrugSense since its very earliest days, contributing in many ways. Ashley was contributing to MAP when it was simply a mailing list, contributing news and LTEs. He got the Published Letters archive going on our website (http://www.mapinc.org/lte/) as well as the Drug Policy Forum of Texas website (http://www.mapinc.org/DPFT/). Today Ashley helps by being the listmaster or backup listmaster for many of the 40 some email lists that MAP/Drugsense hosts, one of those not so fun tasks needs doing, and that he does so well. Many, but not all, of the lists are shown at these two pages: http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ http://www.drugsense.org/lists/ We asked Ashley a few questions: DS: How did you get into being drug policy reform, and being a MAP volunteer? What projects have you worked on? I am a native Atlantan, went to GA Tech (information & computer science) and started NORML at GA Tech as an official campus "org" in '75-'76. At the same time, I also registered a large block of voters, mostly Tech students, eligible to vote through a Supreme Court decision. I was an educational consultant for Honeywell Information Systems, inc. in Atlanta) 'till my retirement in '88 due to bone disease. I discovered the 'net in 95, met Mark Greer through DRCTalk & was in the initial crew formed on DRCTalk in '96. In fact, I had introduced Mark & Matt. MAP is helping Americans to speak out effectively against the War on Drugs, and that is what will free the many prisoners of War on Drugs. To that end I maintain the MAP mailing lists, giving y'all many easy targets for your LTEs and all the DrugNews you ever wanted. DS: What is your favorite website, besides the MAP/DrugSense sites? The November Coalition website http://www.november.org/ and the FEAR website at http://www.fear.org/ DS: Thank you, Ashley, for all that you do! Note: DrugSense is pleased to send each Volunteer of the Month their choice of an autographed copy of either 'Drug Crazy' by Mike Gray or 'Shattered Lives' by Chris Conrad, Mikki Norris and Virginia Resner. *** QUOTE OF THE WEEK *** "In the 1920s, we thought the problems associated with alcohol could be solved by police and jails. Prohibition taught us we were wrong. The strategy of the present drug war is Prohibition redux." - Rodney S. Quinn (Secretary of State of Maine for five terms and retired Air Force officer) *** DS Weekly is one of the many free educational services DrugSense offers our members. Watch this feature to learn more about what DrugSense can do for you. TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS: Please utilize the following URLs http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm News/COMMENTS-Editor: Tom O'Connell (firstname.lastname@example.org) Senior-Editor: Mark Greer (email@example.com) We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter writing activists. NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. REMINDER: Please help us help reform. Send any news articles you find on any drug related issue to firstname.lastname@example.org *** NOW YOU CAN DONATE TO DRUGSENSE ONLINE AND IT'S TAX DEDUCTIBLE DrugSense provides many services to at no charge BUT THEY ARE NOT FREE TO PRODUCE. We incur many costs in creating our many and varied services. If you are able to help by contributing to the DrugSense effort visit our convenient donation web site at http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm -OR- Mail in your contribution. Make checks payable to MAP Inc. send your contribution to: The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. d/b/a DrugSense PO Box 651 Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759 MGreer@mapinc.org http://www.mapinc.org/ http://www.drugsense.org/ -------------------------------------------------------------------
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