------------------------------------------------------------------- Congress should heed pot report (A staff editorial in the Bulletin, in Bend, Oregon, says Congress should take the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine report seriously for two reasons. First, it is wrong to allow politics to stand between sick people and whatever drugs might alleviate their suffering. Second, lifting the federal classification of marijuana as a therapeutically useless drug will preclude "awful ballot initiatives like Oregon's which makes pot available to just about anybody who feels he needs it for medical reasons.") From: email@example.com Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 12:09:17 -0800 (PST) Subject: DPFOR: Editorial: Congress should heed pot report To: firstname.lastname@example.org, DPFOR@drugsense.org Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/ Newshawk: Curt Wagoner Source: the Bulletin (email@example.com) Wesite: http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: March 21, 1999 Section: Editorial Page: E-2 CONGRESS SHOULD HEED POT REPORT A sure sign that the Institute of Medicine's report on the therapeutic value of marijuana should be taken seriously is the fact that it provides neither encouragement to those who consider pot a miricale drug on the order of aspirin and penicillin, nor to those who think smoking a single joint is enough to turn the average, law-abiding American into a deranged junkie snatching purses and mugging schoolchildren to buy his next fix. To be sure, the report, released last week, notes that "marijuana smoke, like tobacco smoke, is associated with increased risk of cancer, lung damage, and poor pregnancy outcomes." However, it also points to an absence of conclusive evidence that pot is a "gateway" drug casually [sic - ed.] linked to the use of other, harder drugs. Marijuana, the report states, is usually the first illicit drug people try merely because it is the easiest to get. If the report pooh-poohs the more extreme claims of pot's perils, it falls short of recommending that people turn their living rooms into hydroponic nurseries. In fact, the authors were less than overwhelmed by the plant's healing qualities. Though evidence indicates that the active ingredients in marijuana - cannabinoids - can help alleviate pain, control nausea, and stimulate appetite, the report notes that the "effects of cannabinoids on the symptoms studied are generally modest, and in most cases there were more effective medications." Marijuana, the report continues, is most likely to be of use to "a subpopulation of patients who do not respond well to other medicines." Miracle drug, indeed. Meanwhile, the Institute of Medicine's chosen delivery system for cannabinoids is not a bong, but an inhaler. Thus can the dose be closely monitored and the unhealthy effects of marijuana smoke be eliminated. Until such a device is created, the report favors distributing smokable marijuana on a short-term basis less than six months to people who cannot be helped by other medications. Congress should take these recommendations seriously for two reasons. First, it is wrong to allow politics to stand between sick people and whatever drugs might alleviate their suffering. The medically significant substances in marijuana should be studied, isolated and prescribed to those who need them. Second, lifting the federal classification of marijuana as a therapeutically useless drug will preclude awful ballot initiatives like Oregon's which makes pot available to just about anybody who feels he needs it for medical reasons.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lockyer stance on pot praised (The San Francisco Examiner gauges local reaction to announcement by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer that he won't intervene if local officials allow medical-marijuana dispensaries to operate.) Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 14:18:01 -0600 From: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Organization: Rx Cannabis Now! http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/7417/ To: DPFCA (email@example.com) Subject: DPFCA: US CA SFX MMJ: Lockyer stance on pot praised Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/dpfca/ Source: San Francisco Examiner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com Pubdate: Sunday, March 21, 1999 (c)1999 San Francisco Examiner LOCKYER STANCE ON POT PRAISED By Craig Marine OF THE EXAMINER STAFF Marijuana providers look to expand patients' access Marijuana providers who quietly continued to dispense medical pot following last year's crackdown, on Saturday applauded Attorney General Bill Lockyer's announcement that he would not interfere with their practice as long as they operated discreetly. "If local law enforcement is supportive of implementation of Proposition 215, and their policies don't provoke outside prosecution, I have no intention of intervening," Lockyer, a Democrat who supported the 1996 ballot initiative to legalize pot for medical use, said Friday in San Francisco following a meeting with City officials. When U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ordered San Francisco's high-profile Cannabis Cultivators Club shut down last year, it raised concerns among those in need of medical marijuana that they would have to wait out court appeals before they could resume receiving pot. In reality, most were not long without a joint. Jane Weirick was one of those who leaped into the void to help those she felt were in need. "We were seeing people who couldn't wait until this was sorted out in court," said Weirick, 39, who had worked with the Cannabis Cultivators Club in The City. "We were seeing people get very sick, even dying, as they waited for their medicine." Weirick helped found Compassion On Wheels, and began distributing marijuana door-to-door to 250 of the neediest patients. "These were the ones that were the sickest, who were the least able to get out of their homes to score pot for themselves," she said. "There was no way they were going to be able to head to Dolores Park without becoming the victims of a crime." Weirick also found that her clientele needed more than just marijuana. "This isn't just about smoking pot. One of the things the club provided was a place where people suffering through similar pain could meet and discuss their illnesses, or just socialize," she said. "Now when we deliver the marijuana, most of the people ask us to stay, have some tea, some conversation, some human contact. That is such an important element of what we do." Rich Evans also barely blinked following the crackdown. With zero publicity, he began providing marijuana to 1,000 patients out of a Mission Street storefront. "We didn't have a Web page or anything like that," said Evans, 35. "This is all strictly word of mouth. That's part of trying to keep things low key, as well as using a smaller building than the old club. But also there's no real need to jump into the media spotlight." One of the main differences between Evans' distribution center and the former Cannabis Cultivators Club is that there is little, if any, smoking on the premises. And while Weirick stressed the social aspects of a marijuana club, Evans was of two minds. "I think that medical marijuana should be fun, that's true," he said. "But I also think that people should become more independent. At the old place, people would just hang around and smoke, and once it closed it was as if they were lost, without a place to go. People should be capable of meeting their own social needs. "And frankly," Evans added with a laugh, "the old atmosphere was getting kind of seedy. I think I'm turning into a Republican or something." As for the future, Weirick has been working with others toward opening the Patients Resource Center, which would not only provide marijuana to those who need it but serve as more of a clinic. "We're trying to get away from that whole "club' identification," admitted Weirick. "The television cameras would come in and focus on the one guy in tie-dye who looked like he was there for a hangnail and just having a blast. The resource center would help patients with other needs and also work closely with doctors and other researchers who wanted to study the effects of marijuana on any number of medical conditions." District Attorney Terence Hallinan said he liked the idea of the resource center, yet didn't offer much hope of The City contributing much funding. "Anything that stresses the medical and research elements of marijuana distribution is on the right track," Hallinan said. "But on the other hand, San Francisco has to be very careful about not putting anything right in the face of the federal government, and contributing city funds to something like this at this time would probably provoke them. "I think that right now people do have access to medical marijuana in San Francisco, but it is all being done underground, and not helping as many people as it ideally should. But I prefer to take the long-range view of things, and unfortunately, they have to keep their heads down right now." Dennis Peron, co-author of Prop. 215 and founder of the Cannabis Cultivators Club, was supportive of Lockyer's statements, as far as they went. "I support the guy," Peron said of Lockyer, "and I hope to work with him. But what good is it if we don't have uniformity throughout the state? Does this mean you're lucky if you get cancer in San Francisco but you're unlucky if you're sick in Orange County?" The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on Lockyer's statement that quiet pot distribution probably would not spark federal prosecution. The Associated Press contributed to this report. (c) 1999 San Francisco Examiner
------------------------------------------------------------------- Let Pot Clubs In City Operate Quietly (The Orange County Register version) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 21:52:38 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US CA: Lockyer: Let Pot Clubs In City Operate Quietly Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: John W. Black Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Source: Orange County Register (CA) Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ LOCKYER: LET POT CLUBS OPERATE QUIETLY Attorney General Bill Lockyer told San Francisco authorities to let pot clubs dispense marijuana for medicinal use if they can do so discreetly. "If local law enforcement is supportive of implementation of Proposition 215 and their policies don't provoke outside prosecution, I have no intention of intervening," said Lockyer, a Democrat who supported the 1996 ballot initiative to legalize pot for medical use. His predecessor, Republican Dan Lungren, was an aggressive opponent of medicinal marijuana who sought repeatedly to shut down San Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators Club.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Libertarian Candidate Pleads Innocent To Pot (UPI notes Steve Kubby, the medical marijuana patient/activist and 1998 candidate for California governor, faces a May 18 trial after pleading not guilty Friday to cultivation charges in Placer County.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 18:26:06 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: MMJ: Wire: Libertarian Candidate Pleads Innocent To Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Source: United Press International Copyright: 1999 United Press International LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE PLEADS INNOCENT TO POT CHARGES AUBURN, March 21 (UPI) - The former Libertarian Party candidate for California governor and his wife face a May 18 trial date after pleading innocent to drug charges in Auburn. Steve Kubby, 52, and his wife, Michele, 32, entered the pleas Friday at their arraignment in Placer County Superior Court to charges of cultivating marijuana for sale, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and possession of an ingestation device. More than 250 marijuana plants were seized at the couple's Olympic Valley home during a Jan. 19 raid. They said they were growing the plants for their own medical use.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Firms Try To Cash In On Pot (A letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury News responds to the Institute of Medicine report by expressing the concern that "the pharmaceutical companies and others who insist that the only way marijuana can become a viable medicine is for some huge company to make it into something that they can sell back to the public for a profit. Marijuana is, and should remain, a free medicine. Anyone can grow it and use it to help with aches and pains.") Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 18:19:54 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Drug Firms Try To Cash In On Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: Marcus/Mermelstein Family (firstname.lastname@example.org) Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Copyright: 1999 Mercury Center Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Author: Jean Hanamoto Section: Letters to the Editor DRUG FIRMS TRY TO CASH IN ON POT THE article headlined "Pot proponents gain a victory" (Page 1A, March 18) was a wonderful piece of news, but we still have a long way to go. My big concern is the pharmaceutical companies and others who insist that the only way marijuana can become a viable medicine is for some huge company to make it into something that they can sell back to the public for a profit. Marijuana is, and should remain, a free medicine. Anyone can grow it and use it to help with aches and pains. The multimillion-dollar industry in legal drugs cannot stand the thought that it's not going to be able to make lots of money on this. It is behind this idea to ``make marijuana safe'' by taking control away from the patient. We can't let this happen. So many people who use this drug cannot afford the prices that they will have to pay to manufacturers. Someone worried about smoking the weed can put it in brownies, muffins, spaghetti and even drink it in a base of soy milk. It isn't right to take a perfectly good, free medicine and make people pay for it. Jean Hanamoto San Martin
------------------------------------------------------------------- Benefits of Medicinal Pot (A staff editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune says the recommendations in the recent report by the Institute of Medicine add to what is becoming a preponderance of evidence that some patients benefit from marijuana and that government has no more right withholding it than it would to refuse penicillin to someone who could benefit from it.) Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 21:52:39 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (MAPNews) To: email@example.com Subject: MN: US: Benefits of Medicinal Pot Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: email@example.com Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: General Pulaski Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT) Copyright: 1999, The Salt Lake Tribune Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://utahonline.sltrib.com/ Forum: http://utahonline.sltrib.com/tribtalk/ BENEFITS OF MEDICINAL POT The recent report of the Institute of Medicine that marijuana be made available for short periods to help cancer and AIDS patients otherwise bereft of relief from severe pain and nausea represents simple common sense. Naturally, bureaucrats with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responded forthwith by saying they would never dispense marijuana to individual patients until more clinical research showed it was safe. Obviously, the richly endowed but mostly ineffectual war on drugs, along with several generations of demonization of marijuana, figure in all this, even though it was the Office of National Drug Control Policy that ponied up the $900,000 for the Institute of Medicine study. The study's recommendations confirm common sense knowledge and the experiences of many cancer patients and others who have found marijuana therapeutic in relieving some of the side effects of chemotherapy. This value has been known for some years. That is why several states -- California, Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Washington -- have legalized its medicinal use. Some mainstream medical organizations also have endorsed its medical use. However, anti-drug warriors, both political and bureaucratic, largely are resistant. Congress last fall approved a resolution condemning the medical use of marijuana and the federal government has threatened doctors if they have the temerity to prescribe it in states where this is legal. Most of those who benefit from its use have terminal illnesses. The chemotherapy in most cases is not aimed at a reversal or cure of cancer, but to postpone death. If a marijuana cigarette provides someone in this situation some solace from the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy, who should object? A government that spends millions and employs thousands to make sure people are kept safe from the vicissitudes of life? It seems strangely disproportionate, perhaps more hypocritical. In times past, others generally felt it their duty to help and provide as much comfort as they could for those with serious and terminal illnesses. The Institute of Medicine's recommendations add to what is becoming a preponderance of evidence that some patients can benefit from marijuana and that government has no more right withholding it than it would to refuse penicillin to someone who could benefit from it.
------------------------------------------------------------------- POWD Alan Carter McClemore's Executioner (A list subscriber forwards an update on the case of the former Texas lawyer who was disbarred and imprisoned four years ago for growing his own medicine to alleviate his debilitating depression, eating disorder and migraine headaches. Two and a half months ago, the prisoner of the war on drugs was allowed to enter a halfway house in Beaumont, Texas. His doctor worked it out with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons so Alan could be put back on Marinol. The transformation in his health has been dramatic. But now Kenneth Laborde, the local head of probation for the B.O.P in Beaumont, allegedly says he will violate McClemore if he takes Marinol and fails his urine tests. So McClemore will soon be very sick again, and when he is put on five years' probation, the person he will report to is Kenneth Laborde.)Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 23:04:00 -0800 To: email@example.com From: "D. Paul Stanford" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "CRRH mailing list" (email@example.com) Subject: PODW McCLEMORE'S EXECUTIONER From: "Joe Hart & Kay Lee" (firstname.lastname@example.org) POWD Alan Carter McClemore's Executioner by Kay Lee Kenneth Laborde takes his job very seriously. He is the local head of probation for the B.O.P in Beaumont, Texas, where Alan McClemore is living in a halfway house. Seems Laborde has taken away Alan's medicine, even though the B.O.P. has said they would have no problem with McClemore's prescription for Marinol, if Mr. Laborde would concur. But, Mr. Laborde has no intention of returning Alan's medicine. He'd rather watch him die first. Alan McClemore was incarcerated for growing marijuana as a replacement for the expensive Marinol his doctor had prescribed for him. Marinol worked wonders for Alan, but due to the expense of the legal form, and the uncertainty of the black market for the illegal plant, Alan had began to grow marijuana for his health. That's when he was busted, four years ago. Alan has been diagnosed by his own doctor, and by B.O.P. doctors with major depression, a serious eating disorder, and severe migraine headaches. He cycles between Anorexia and Bulimia, drastically loosing, then suddenly gaining weight. Without proper medicine, Alan suffers total loss of energy and lives in a constant state of severe depression. When he and his doctor requested the B.O.P. allow him Marinol, he was told off the record by a prison doctor, "We'll never give you Marinol, because that would lend credence to THC, which would in turn lend credence to Marijuana, and we're just not going to do that." The political mandate of the B.O.P. is no Marinol, even though it is a perfectly legal medicine. During his incarceration, Alan was sent back and forth from the federal medical prison in Fort Worth, Texas (better know as the Pine Box Prison) to the federal medical prison in Rochester, Minnesota. His health was in dangerous jeopardy, but he managed to survive three and a half years of living hell. Two and a half months ago, Alan was allowed to enter the halfway house in Beaumont, Texas. His doctor worked it out with the B.O.P. so that Alan could be put back on Marinol. The transformation in his health has been dramatic. The Marinol leveled him out and he began to heal. He began to eat properly, and gain in energy and strength. He got a good job manufacturing golf carts, working 50 hours a week. Before Marinol, the prison had him on non-strenuous status because he was too sick to work. Now he was healthy again. So, everything was getting better for Alan, until he met Mr. Kenneth Laborde (409-839-2558). Mr. Laborde has a problem. How can he catch Alan with dirty urine if he's taking Marinol? This is a serious situation for Kenneth Laborde. He is determined that Alan's health is of no consequence if Alan's medicine is going to complicate Laborde's life. Mr. Laborde feels the end justifies the means, and if he has to kill Alan to prevent him from using marijuana, he will. Yesterday, after sitting on the 'group W' bench for hours, Alan was brought before Kenneth Laborde, so that Laborde could state his position: "Sure," he says, "you can use Marinol. And when I catch you with dirty urine, I'll send you back to prison." Even the Community Corrections Officer with the B.O.P., Mr. Richard Engels (713-718-4781) will confirm that Kenneth Laborde is the problem. Alan is on the Federal Class Action lawsuit for Cannabis Therapeutics, www.fairlaw.org Alan's attorney, Michael Lindsay (409-833-2296) also plans to sue for damages when Alan leaves the halfway house. Trouble is, he will be very sick again soon, and when he is put on five years' probation, the person he will report to is Mr. Kenneth Laborde. Think he'll survive? Alan's number at the halfway house is 409-898-2915, and his wife, Maggie, can be reached at 409-983-2162, or by email at email@example.com Distributed by Kay Lee firstname.lastname@example.org 909 Virginia Street #B Key West, FL 33040 305-293-1865
------------------------------------------------------------------- Prison Policy Is Both Costly And Irrational (A staff editorial in the Capital Times denounces Wisconsin's correctional spending policies - but not the war on some drug users at the heart of the problem. At a time when state officials say they do not have the money to keep tuition at the University of Wisconsin affordable, to provide adequate consumer protection or develop mass transportation, the Department of Corrections has requested an additional $120 million over the next two years to cover the skyrocketing costs of transferring prisoners out of state. At the same time, the department is spending $228 million to open four new prisons over the next two years, while closing down entire units at existing prisons.) Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 10:31:36 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US WI: EDITORIAL: Prison Policy Is Both Costly And Irrational Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Frank S. World) Pubdate: March 21, 1999 Source: Capital Times, The (WI) Copyright: 1999 The Capital Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.thecapitaltimes.com/ PRISON POLICY IS BOTH COSTLY AND IRRATIONAL When he ran for governor last year, Ed Garvey complained that Gov. Tommy Thompson's vision for Wisconsin's future was one of "big highways connecting big prisons.'' What neither Garvey nor anyone else knew at the time was that the most expensive "highway'' was the one being used to ship Wisconsin prisoners -- and tax dollars -- out of state. The state Department of Corrections has requested an additional $120 million over the next two years to cover the skyrocketing costs of transferring prisoners to prisons in states such as Tennessee. At a time when state officials say they do not have the money to keep tuition at the University of Wisconsin affordable, to provide adequate consumer protection services or to develop mass transportation systems, there is enough money to send a steady stream of Wisconsin tax dollars to southern states and private prison corporations. Why does Wisconsin need to ship thousands of prisoners out of state at the same time as the Department of Corrections is spending $228 million to open four new prisons over the next two years? It's not because the crime rate is rising. Since the current economic upturn began in the early 1990s, crime in Wisconsin has declined. It's not because Wisconsinites want prisoners sent out of state. Every indication is that the vast majority of Wisconsinites share the view of state Senate President Fred Risser, D-Madison, who says, "We're in effect sending this (corrections) money out state. We talk about bringing industry to Wisconsin. Well, prisons are a big industry. That money would much better be used in state.'' And it's not because every space in Wisconsin's prison system is filled -- in fact, quite the opposite. The DOC is actually closing down entire units that have been used for housing at existing prisons; since the start of the year, the Oakhill and Columbia correctional institutions have closed whole sections of their facilities. "It certainly isn't good public policy, nor does it make good sense,'' says Risser of the the idea of pouring hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into building and maintaining under-utilized prisons in Wisconsin while spending hundreds of millions more to house prisoners in other states. Risser has asked the DOC to review its policies. If an honest review is conducted, there can be only one logical conclusion: The transfers should stop. The practice of sending convicts to other states is, by any measure, a bad one. Religious leaders, psychiatrists, social workers and academics agree that separating prisoners from links to their families and communities is a bad move -- it makes the rehabilitation process more difficult and virtually ensures that the return to their hometowns will be more turbulent. The practice is also far more costly than keeping prisoners in state. While the department claims that it costs an average of $15 less per day to house Wisconsin prisoners out of state, the reverse is actually true. According to guards in Wisconsin prisons, only the best (read: least expensive to manage) prisoners are shipped out of state. This creates a circumstance where, according to Rick Gondert, president of the guards union at the Racine Correctional Institution, Wisconsin prisons become more violent, more difficult to manage and, yes, more expensive. The only explanation for current corrections policy is that the agency has had access to too much money for too long. With an annual budget of almost $800 million -- which is expected to surpass $1 billion early in the coming century -- the DOC has simply forgotten how to budget responsibly: It spends money to build new prisons, while spending money to shutter functional sections of existing prisons, while spending money to transfer prisoners to other states. The department is spending, spending, spending. And it will keep doing so until legislators impose fiscal restraint -- not to mention common sense.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Support For Marijuana Use Grows In Medical Circles (The Philadelphia Inquirer presents patients' perspectives on Wednesday's Institute of Medicine report.) Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 17:12:36 -0800 From: email@example.com (MAPNews) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: MN: US PA: Support For Marijuana Use Grows In Medical Circles Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org Organization: Media Awareness Project http://www.mapinc.org/lists/ Newshawk: email@example.com (Jean Taddie) Pubdate: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Source: Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Copyright: 1999 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: Inquirer.Opinion@phillynews.com Website: http://www.phillynews.com/ Forum: http://interactive.phillynews.com/talk-show/ Author: Huntly Collins SUPPORT FOR MARIJUANA USE GROWS IN MEDICAL CIRCLES A new Institute of Medicine report sides with those who say it can help the chronically ill. 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 from 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. Besides smoking marijuana himself, Kuromiya supplies it free to about 20 other chronically ill people in the Philadelphia area, from AIDS patients to those suffering from neurological disorders. His underground marijuana "buyer's club," which he calls Transcendental Medication, has been operating since 1994, largely financed by donations. And not just anybody can join. "We ask for a note from the doctor before you can join," Kuromiya said. Last week, the prestigious Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a long-awaited report that lends scientific credence to the potential medical benefits of marijuana that Kuromiya and other activists have touted for many years. In its review of the scientific literature, the 11-member panel of scientific experts found that the active ingredient in marijuana, the chemical known as THC, had "potential therapeutic value" in treating pain, controlling nausea and stimulating appetite. Though there are more effective medicines to treat those symptoms, the panel said that not everybody could tolerate those drugs and that some people -- such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and AIDS patients combating wasting syndrome -- might benefit from marijuana. Significantly, the panel said there was no conclusive evidence that marijuana was a "gateway drug" that inevitably led to the use of harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. It also found that marijuana was not as addictive as other pain medications that doctors can prescribe -- and not as addictive as nicotine. Still, the panel laid out important caveats for the potential use of marijuana as a medicine. The scientists said smoked marijuana posed the risk of lung cancer and other health problems, and they called for developing alternative delivery systems, such as inhalers or skin patches. The panel also said clinical trials were needed to prove the medical efficacy of marijuana. In the meantime, however, doctors might be allowed to prescribe marijuana cigarettes on an experimental basis to people suffering from chronic conditions, as long as the patients were carefully monitored, the panel suggested. Besides cancer and AIDS, the panel cited multiple sclerosis as a condition with symptoms that might be treated with marijuana. It said, though, that there was little to no evidence that the drug would help those suffering from epilepsy, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease or glaucoma. The report, commissioned by the White House, is the latest in a growing movement within the medical community and among patients themselves to decriminalize the medical use of marijuana. Voters in seven states have passed ballot measures permitting the use of medical marijuana, but the legislation has not been fully implemented because of congressional or other governmental opposition and doctors' fear that they will be prosecuted for prescribing marijuana. Last summer, Kuromiya and 164 other chronically ill plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit aimed at forcing the federal government to legalize medical marijuana. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, is expected to go to trial in June. Last week, a number of the plaintiffs hailed the panel's recommendations, saying they put scientific evidence and patient care ahead of politics. "Maybe it will open some eyes to the possibility that we can look at marijuana as a drug that can be used with care, caution and common sense," said Sharon Brown, 35, of South Bend, Ind., who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Brown was forced to quit her job as a medical writer at the South Bend Tribune after the high-dose muscle relaxants prescribed for her MS made doing the investigative reporting for which she had won awards impossible. "It got to the point where I could no longer do an interview," she said. "To work, I would have had to go off the drugs. But without the drugs, I couldn't tolerate the muscle spasms or the pain." Brown, a single mother now living on disability benefits, said she discovered the therapeutic benefits of marijuana several years ago when she took a few puffs from a marijuana cigarette offered by a friend. "At the time, moving my legs was very painful," she said. "It felt like each leg weighed 100 pounds. After I smoked, all of a sudden, I could walk again without any pain. It was like a miracle." Unlike her high-dose muscle relaxants, Brown said, the marijuana didn't interfere with her ability to think and concentrate. Since then, however, she said, she has reluctantly refused to use marijuana. No matter how much it might ease her pain, she said, she didn't want to do something illegal in front of her 12-year-old daughter. "I have had three neurologists telling me to buy it illegally," she said. "I will not posture illegal behavior in front of my daughter." Trent Blood, 37, who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease, said smoking marijuana helps him swallow food by relaxing the muscles in his throat. "Cannabis is my lifesaver," he said through his caretaker, Joan McClain, at his home in Brigham City, Utah. Diagnosed with the devastating neurological disorder in 1992, Blood was told that he would live no more than five years. He credits the marijuana, which he uses once a day, for his longer survival. Blood uses a wheelchair with a brace to support the back of his head. He has no use of his arms or legs. McClain not only feeds him every day but also holds his joint while he inhales what he regards as his medicine. "Just before, he is normally upset," she said. "But when he smokes, he calms right down and eats and drinks." Many patients who are suing the government maintain that Marinol, the synthetic substitute for marijuana, which is prescribed by doctors, is far less effective than smoking marijuana in its natural state. Most shun the laundry list of pain killers and muscle relaxants that doctors usually prescribe, saying the medicines take a while to work and then turn them into zombies. "My doctors prescribe Valium and Darvon," said Carlos Abeta, 43, a quadriplegic who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo. "The problem is that it takes about 20 minutes for them to get absorbed into the bloodstream." Abeta, who lost the use of his limbs in an auto accident, said marijuana provides immediate relief to the rapid and life-threatening rise in his blood pressure, a medical problem known as autonomic hyperdysreflexia, common among quadriplegics. He said that the problem occurs about five or six times a week and that when it does, he takes a few draws of marijuana from a pipe that sits on a desk in the home he shares with his parents in a middle-class neighborhood. "It takes the blood pressure down really fast," Abeta said. "It also relieves the migraine headaches that go along with the problem." He said he worries about getting lung cancer from the marijuana smoke, especially as his nerve damage has greatly diminished his lung capacity. He'd prefer to grow his own marijuana and add it to salads. "But I live in my parents' home," he said, "and I'm not going to risk their getting arrested."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Parents Warned On Drugs (The Sunday Mail, in Adelaide, says Australia's top Scouting organisation has told parents that if they use marijuana, their children should be allowed to smoke it too. The Scout Association's national executive committee also told parents the illegal herb is not addictive and does not cause cancer or birth defects. The new Scouts Australia publication, "Issues in Adolescent Health," which was designed as a "common sense" information guide for parents, says girls and boys have been entering puberty younger and younger over the past 200 years by an average advancing age of three months every decade. Scouts Australia say there is no sign of the phenomenon "flattening," and predicts that in 100 years, girls will be sexually mature at an average age of 8 and boys at 10.) Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 11:53:43 +0930 To: "Pot News from hemp SA" (firstname.lastname@example.org) From: "Cyber Andy" (email@example.com) Subject: [pot-news] Scout Association's views on marijuana use *** Pot News - Hemp SA's On-line News Service *** Sunday Mail, Adelaide SA March 21st 1999 Page 47 PARENTS WARNED ON DRUGS by Michael Owen Australia's peak Scouting body has told parents if they use marijuana their children should be allowed to smoke it too. The Scout Association's national executive committee has also told parents the illegal drug is not addictive and does not cause cancer or birth defects in babies. And they say those promoting marijuana are winning the battle for its widespread use. Statements are made in a new Scouts Australia publication titled Issues in Adolescent Health. Designed as a "common sense" information guide for parents, the free booklet gives advice on smoking, alcohol, sex, hard drugs, sun exposure and marijuana. On alcohol, Scouts Australia tells parents they are handling the threat of alcohol abuse by young people very well, despite figures showing 40% of teenagers drink alcohol regularly. On other adolescent health issues, the booklet states: Marijuana produces a pleasurable mild euphoria and is used by one in five teenagers every week, with 40% having experimented with the drug. At the age of 14 almost a quarter of all males and 16% of females have had sex. Among older teenage girls, 30% smoke cigarettes every week. One in ten teenagers have tried glue sniffing. Only 50% of females use sunscreen when they are at risk of sunburn. Hard drugs such as heroin and amphetamines, are growing in availability. The booklet also claims the average age of onset of adolescence is getting younger. Girls and boys have been entering puberty, younger and younger, over the past 200 years by an average advancing age of three months every decade. And Scouts Australia say there is no sign of this phenomenon "flattening", with a prediction that 100 years from now girls will be sexually mature at an average age of 8 and boys at 10. For now, the booklet says the average age of onset of adolescence in boys is about 12 years and girls about 10 years. *** HEMP SA Inc - Help End Marijuana Prohibition South Australia PO Box 1019 Kent Town South Australia 5071 Email: mailto:hempSA@va.com.au Website: http://www.hemp.on.net.au Check out our on-line news service - Pot News! To subscribe to Pot News send mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org To unsubscribe to Pot News send mailto:email@example.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- ACM-Bulletin of 21 March 1999 (An English-language news summary from the Association for Cannabis as Medicine, in Cologne, Germany, focuses on the U.S. Institute of Medicine report on medical marijuana; new research on the treatment of Tourette's Syndrome with marijuana and THC; and the official response of the House of Lords to the rejection of their recommendations regarding medical marijuana by the British government.) From: "Association for Cannabis as Medicine" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 19:04:20 +0100 Subject: ACM-Bulletin of 21 March 1999 Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org *** ACM-Bulletin of 21 March 1999 *** * USA: Government-funded report proposes access to medical marijuana within clinical trials as interim solution * Science: Treatment of Tourette's syndrome with marijuana and THC * Great Britain: The official comment of the House of Lords on the rejection of their recommendations by the government *** 1. USA: Government-funded report proposes access to medical marijuana within clinical trials as interim solution The long-awaited government-funded report of the Institute of Medicine urges politicians to soften their hard line against the therapeutic use of cannabis. It says marijuana is potentially effective for some symptoms and recommends rigorous clinical trials and development of a delivery system that eliminates the harmful effects of smoking. Beyond the harms of smoking, the range of problems associated with medical marijuana were within the acceptable range of problems associated with other medications. Further, it states that marijuana could be allowed for medical use, without increasing non-medical use. The report tackles the suggestion by opponents of medical use that approving marijuana as a medicine "sends the wrong message." The authors say there is "no convincing data to support this concern," and they note that "this question is beyond the issues normally considered for medical uses of drugs." The 18-month, $1-million IOM study, released on 17 March in Washington, makes six recommendations, including clinical trials allowing patients with chronic conditions or end-stage diseases, who have no other alternative, to use marijuana on an experimental basis for six months. Its conclusions contrast sharply with the views of members of Congress, who have taken a tough line on the issue. Last autumn, the US House adopted by 310 votes to 93 a resolution that said marijuana was a dangerous and addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical use. The report, "Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," was ordered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in January 1997. Reviewing began in August 1997 including several public hearings, site visits to cannabis buyers' clubs and HIV/AIDS clinics and months of examining the existing scientific database. In 1982, the IOM made its first report on medical marijuana, in which it said cannabis and its derivatives had "shown promise" in treating a variety of disorders, including glaucoma, asthma and nausea from chemotherapy treatment. Some excerpts from the executive summary of the new 290-page report: *** Concerning THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL "The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particulary for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation." "The effects of cannabinoids on the symptoms studied are generally modest, and in most cases, there are more effective medications. However, people vary in their responses to medications and there will likely always be a subpopulation of patients who do not respond well to other medications." "(...) in cases where symptoms are multifaced, the combination of THC effects might provide a form of adjunctive therapy; for example, AIDS wasting patients would likely benefit from a medication that simultaneously reduces anxiety, pain, and nausea while stimulating appetite." *** Concerning POTENTIAL HARMS "Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. However, except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications." "The chronic effects of marijuana (...) fall into two categories: the effects of chronic smoking, and the effects of THC." "A distinctive marijuana withdrawal syndrome has been identified, but it is mild and short-lived." "There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." "Present data on drug use progression neither support nor refute the suggestion that medical availability would increase drug abuse." *** Concerning MEDICAL USE and clinical studies "The report concludes that the future of cannabinoid drugs lies not in smoked marijuana, but in chemically-defined drugs (...). Until such drugs can be developed and made available for medical use, the report recommends interim solutions." "Although most scientists who study cannabinoids agree that the pathways to cannabinoid drug development are clearly marked, there is no guarantee that the fruits of scientific research will be made available to the public for medical use. Cannabinoid-based drugs will only become available if public investment in cannabinoid drug research is sustained, and if there is enough incentive for private enterprise to develop and market such drugs." "Because of the health risks associated with smoking, smoked marijuana should generally not be recommended for long-term medical use. Nonetheless, for certain patients, such as the terminally ill or those with debiliating symptoms, the long-term risks are not of great concern." "Clinical trials of marijuana use for medical purposes should (...) involve only short-term marijuana use (less than six months); (...). "Until a non-smoked, rapid onset cannabinoid drug delivery system becomes available, we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting. One possible approach is to treat patients as n-of-1 trials, (...)." The Institute of Medicine was chartered in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences for the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The executive summary of the study is available at the IOM web site: http://www2.nas.edu/medical-mj/index.html (Sources: Joy JE, Watson SJ, Benson JA (eds): Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington DC 1999; Press release of the IOM of 17 March 1999; UPI, Reuters, PR Newswire, AP, PA News of 17 March 1999) *** 2. Science: Treatment of Tourette's syndrome with marijuana and THC A patient with Tourette's syndrome was successfully treated with THC, after he had reported relief from the use of marijuana to his physicians. The Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, briefly: Tourette's syndrome, is a common and complex neuropsychiatric spectrum disorder, that is characterized by sudden spasms especially in the face, the neck and the shoulders, so called "tics". The 25-year-old man developed the disease during his childhood and was diagnosed at age 22. "At age 19, he started smoking marijuana. When using 2-3 g/day he noted a marked improvement of both vocal and motor tics and associated behavioral disorders. Therefore he stopped less effective medical treatment with pimozide," a letter of Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl and colleagues from the University of Hanover to the American Journal of Psychiatry says. He was treated once with 10 mg of delta-9-THC and his symptoms improved markedly according to objective criteria and subjective feeling: His total tic severity score was reduced from 41 to 7 just 2 hours after treatment. Both motor and vocal tics improved. The improvement began 30 minutes after treatment and lasted for about 7 hours. No adverse effects occurred. Even reaction time and sustained attention improved. At the Cologne Meeting on cannabis and cannabinoids as medicine in December 1998 Dr. Mueller-Vahl had presented an impressive video documenting this improvement. As with other indications for THC or dronabinol, the motivation to conduct this study with THC came from the reproducible experience of patients with natural cannabis (Mueller Vahl et al. 1997). A subsequent clinical study of ten patients with Tourette's syndrome treated with THC has been finished in December 1998 and the findings are analysed at present. (Sources: Mueller-Vahl KR, Kolbe H, Dengler R.: Gilles de la Tourette-Syndrom. Einfluß von Nikotin, Alkohol und Marihuana auf die klinische Symptomatik. Nervenarzt 68:985-989, 1997 (published in German); Mueller-Vahl KR, Schneider U, Kolbe H, Emrich HM: Treatment of Tourette's syndrome with delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol. Am J Psychiatry 156:3, 1999.) *** 3. News in brief *** Canada: The husband of a woman who has fought a lengthy court battle to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes faces charges of drug possession and trafficking. Mike Haricky, 47, was arrested after a police raid at the Cannabis Compassion Centre he runs. The centre is owned by his wife, Lynn, who has multiple sclerosis. The centre was opened in 1998 to provide the drug to members who have specific medical conditions such as cancer or to people with a letter from their doctor endorsing marijuana use for other ailments. (Source: Comtex Newswire of 9 March 1999) *** USA: 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. There have been no government funded studies for more than ten years. Physician researchers like Dr. Ethan Russo, of the Western Montana Clinic in Missoula, say government agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Food and Drug Administration, find ways to make sure studies don't happen. (Source: UPI of 12 March 1999) *** USA: On 3 March 1999, Measure 8, Alaska's medical marijuana initiative, passed by nearly 60 percent of voters became law. On 4 March state senator Loren Leman introduced SB 94, which would greatly modify several key provisions of the new law. Two major proposals are seen as very controversial. The first would require patients to register with Alaska's Health and Human Services and allow broad access of that registry to law enforcement agencies. The other key controversial provision is a statement that doctors would have to sign in order to recommend marijuana for patients that states, "There is no other legal treatment that can be tolerated by the patient that is as effective in alleviating the debilitating medical condition." (Source: DRCNet of 12 March 1999) *** Australia: In an Australian study of motorists and mind-altering drugs, Perth researchers found that more people were likely to drink alcohol and drive than take drugs and drive. Professor Tim Stockwell, director of the National Centre for Research into the Prevention of Drug Abuse at Curtin University, said the study showed that pouring money into drug tests for motorists may be misdirecting resources. The survey found that 77 per cent of 800 drivers interviewed in Perth had drunk alcohol in the past year, and 22 per cent admitted driving one hour after having had two or more drinks. Eighteen per cent of drivers had used cannabis, but only six per cent of them admitted driving while affected by the drug. (Source: Australian Associated Press of 16 March 1999) *** 4. THE OFFICIAL COMMENT OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS ... on the rejection of their recommendations of November 1998 to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis by the government: "The Government rejected this recommendation on the day of publication. This was a departure from the usual convention, as the Government conceded. (...) In reporting the Government's response for the information of the House, we would observe that its main arguments against our recommendations are ones which we considered in the course of our inquiry. We continue to find them unpersuasive. The Government argue that prohibition protects patients from taking substances of unproven efficacy, quality and safety. We found enough evidence, albeit largely anecdotal, to convince us that cannabis is efficacious, especially against symptoms of MS and in the control of pain. (...) As for safety, cannabis is well known to be safe in terms of acute toxicity. Nonetheless using it does involve risks, discussed in Chapter 4 of our report, from which people currently using it for medical purposes are unprotected. We recommended that the medical professional bodies should provide guidance on responsible prescribing, to protect at-risk groups and to take account of the dangers of intoxication and addiction. Secondly, the Government argue that permitting prescription now would reduce the momentum of research. On the contrary, we found evidence, set out in Chapter 7, that research has been held back by the stigma and bureaucracy associated with the status of cannabis as an illegal drug. Finally, the Government question the capability of doctors to deal with patients demanding cannabis for improper purposes. In our report, we expressed more confidence in the medical profession and its regulatory bodies (paragraph 8.14). We would observe in addition that cannabis is well known to be readily available to the non-therapeutic user, by means far easier than deceiving a GP [general practitioner]. In conclusion, we regret that the mind of the Government appears to be closed on this issue, and hope that the results of new research now under way may cause them to revisit our recommendations at an early date." The British House of Lords, Second Report of 1999 by the Select Committee appointed to consider Science and Technology, ordered to report "Cannabis: Government Response", 4 March 1999. *** Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM) Maybachstrasse 14 D-50670 Cologne Germany Phone: +49-221-912 30 33 Fax: +49-221-130 05 91 Email: email@example.com Internet: http://www.acmed.org If you want to be deleted from or added to the ACM-Bulletin mailing list please send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org -------------------------------------------------------------------
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