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  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 9, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on June 09, 2005 at 15:47:29 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML 

NORML Supreme Court Ruling Spurs US Congress Vote To Bar Feds From Targeting Medi-Pot Patients

June 9, 2005 - Washington, DC, USA

Washington, DC: Members of the US Congress House of Representatives may vote as early as next week on an amendment to bar the US Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting patients who use medical cannabis in accordance with state laws.

The bi-partisan provision, to be introduced by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) as an amendment to the 2005 Justice Department appropriations bill, would prohibit the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from spending taxpayers' dollars for the purpose of pursuing any criminal or civil penalty against patients who comply with the medical cannabis laws of their state.

The announcement of the amendment's introduction comes just days after the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Justice Department has the authority to prosecute state-authorized medicinal cannabis patients for violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

"Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said that he longs for the day when medicinal cannabis advocates 'may be heard in the halls of Congress,'" NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "The 2005 Hinchey/Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment does just that -- giving Congress the authority to go on record to protect and support the health and safety of patients who use cannabis therapeutically in compliance with the laws of their state."

The House of Representatives struck down a similar proposal last year by a vote of 286 to 148, with 70 percent of Democrats and 19 Republicans supporting the measure.

Said St. Pierre: "With the Supreme Court's ruling, Congress and the Justice Department have a choice. They can waste taxpayers' dollars and undermine states' rights by arresting and prosecuting seriously ill patients, or they can choose more worthwhile priorities, like protecting national security. In light of the Court's decision, we urge Congress to stand up for the rights of seriously ill patients by voting in favor of the Hinchey/Rohrabacher amendment."

For more information on the Hinchey/Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, please visit:

http://capwiz.com/norml2/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7309441

Additional information about the Supreme Court's decision is available online: http://norml.org//index.cfm?Group_ID=6550

DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6558


Canada Should Establish "Regulatory Framework" For Cannabis, Study Says

June 9, 2005 - Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia: Canadian law should be amended to allow for the taxation and regulation of cannabis, according to the conclusions of a City of Vancouver report released this week and endorsed by the city's mayor.

"The Federal Government should take a leadership role at the national and international levels to initiate reform of current drug laws and move toward creating regulatory frameworks for psychoactive substances that will allow municipalities to better address the harms associated with the trade and use of these substances at the local level," states the report, entitled" A Plan to Prevent Harm from Psychoactive Substance Use."

It continues, "The Federal Government [should] implement further legislative changes to create a legal regulatory framework for cannabis in order to enable municipalities to develop comprehensive cannabis strategies that promote public health objectives, including appropriate regulatory controls for cannabis-related products, and support the development of public education approaches to cannabis use and related harms based on best evidence."

The Canadian government is presently considering legislation to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, while increasing penalties on commercial cultivation.

A study published last year by the Vancouver economic think-tank The Fraser Institute also recommended that cannabis be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco.

A 2002 Canadian Senate Committee report recommended Parliament "amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to create a criminal exemption scheme, under which the production and sale of cannabis would be licensed, [and] to permit persons over the age of 16 to procure cannabis and its derivatives at duly licensed distribution centers."

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6560


British Regulators Likely To Uphold Delay Of Medical Cannabis Spray

June 9, 2005 - London, UK

London, United Kingdom: The federal regulatory agency that oversees the licensing of prescription medications in the UK has rejected an appeal by biotechnology company GW Pharmaceuticals to market its cannabis extract spray Sativex, according to a Reuters News Wire report. In December, Britain's Committee on the Safety of Medicines informed the company that Sativex would have to undergo additional clinical trials before it could be licensed in the UK. GW Pharmaceuticals had appealed that decision.

The Reuters story cited an "unidentified government source" affirming that Britain's Medicines Commission had recently heard GW's appeal and rejected it. A prepared statement on GW's website confirms that their appeal was considered by the agency, but states that "GW has yet to be informed of any recommendation made by the Commission."

Sativex is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract containing precise doses of the cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as naturally existing terpenoids (oils) and flavonoids (antioxidants). In clinical trials, Sativex has been demonstrated to alleviate numerous MS-associated symptoms compared to placebo, including pain, muscle spasms, and bladder incontinence.

In April, Health Canada granted regulatory approval to Sativex for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis. The spray is expected to be available to the Canadian public by prescription later this spring.

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6559

Source: NORML Foundation (DC)
Published: June 9, 2005
Copyright: 2005 NORML
Contact: norml@norml.org
Website: http://www.norml.org/

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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on June 10, 2005 at 12:45:18 PT
Meanwhile back at the Ranch
Bush to Congress: Renew Patriot Act - CNN - 9 Jun 2005 http://tinyurl.com/cdtmo

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #3 posted by jose melendez on June 10, 2005 at 03:58:21 PT
US: SUE THEM
U.S. v Randall (1976) Randall v. U.S.  (1978)

While federal agencies adamantly maintain marijuana has "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," the medical prohibition has come under strong legal challenge from seriously ill Americans who have been arrested on marijuana-related charges. U.S. v. Randall In 1976, a Washington, D.C. man afflicted by glaucoma employed the little-used Common Law doctrine of necessity to defend himself against criminal charges of marijuana cultivation.

On November 24, 1976, federal Judge James Washington ruled Randall's use of marijuana constituted a "medical necessity." In part, Judge Washington ruled: While blindness was shown by competent medical testimony to be the otherwise inevitable result of defendant's disease, no adverse effects from the smoking of marijuana have been demonstrated.... Medical evidence suggests that the medical prohibition is not well-founded. Judge Washington dismissed criminal charges against Randall.

Concurrent with this judicial determination, federal agencies responding to a May, 1976 petition filed by Randall, began providing this patient with licit, FDA-approved access to government supplies of medical marijuana. Randall was the first American to receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder.

Randall v. U.S. In 1978, federal agencies, disquieted by Randall's outspoken opposition to the medical prohibition, sought to silence him by disrupting his legal access to marijuana.

In response, Randall, represented pro bono publico by the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, brought suit against FDA, DEA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health, Education & Welfare. Twenty-four hours after the suit was filed, federal agencies requested an out-of-court settlement.

The resulting settlement provided Randall with prescriptive access to marijuana through a federal pharmacy located near his home. The settlement in Randall v. U.S. became the legal basis for FDA's Compassionate IND program. Initially, this program was limited to patients afflicted by marijuana-responsive disorders and some orphan drugs. In the mid-1980's however, the Compassionate IND concept was expanded to include HIV-positive people seeking legal access to drugs which had not yet received final FDA marketing approval.

http://www.marijuana-as-medicine.org/Alliance/legal.html#U.S.%20v.%20Randall

see also: http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/2005/week07.html

- - -

COMPARE:

http://www.usdoj.gov/osg/briefs/2003/2pet/7pet/2003-0040.pet.aa.html

"evaluations of the medical usefulness of any controlled substance should be conducted through the Congressionally established research and approval process managed by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration"

and

"Federal law establishes specific criteria that every potential medication must meet before it can be sold to the public or prescribed by doctors. For decades, this process of federal drug approval has protected the American public from dangerous drugs and ineffective treatments, and has helped provide the public with a medical care system that is the envy of the world. This process must be preserved."

COMPARE TO:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4074398.stm

Research has suggested all painkillers in a class of drugs, including ibuprofen and naproxen, could be linked to an increased risk of heart attack.



[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by jose melendez on June 10, 2005 at 03:35:11 PT
Think baseball. Now think home run.
"Sativex is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract containing precise doses of the cannabinoids THC and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as naturally existing terpenoids (oils) and flavonoids (antioxidants). "

http://www.chemie.fu-berlin.de/chemistry/oc/terpene/terpene_en.html

http://www.friedli.com/herbs/phytochem/flavonoids.html

http://www.chem.qmul.ac.uk/iupac/class/terp.html

- - -

http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/11/thread11573.shtml#14

http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/12/thread12141.shtml#6

http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/12/thread12294.shtml#6

http://www.cannabisnews.com/news/12/thread12436.shtml#22

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on June 10, 2005 at 03:09:19 PT:

This must be brought up at every opportunity
*Sativex is a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract*

In other words, 'liquid marijuana'. (Note: we need to keep correcting the antis at every turn, pointing out that 'mair-ee-wah-nah' is itself a slang term; the proper name is cannabis.)

Then ask why someone should be forced to wait while the SAFE 'crude drug' is available now; perhaps it's because those who want the suffering and dying to hold on just long enough to pay for their high priced alternative? So that Big Pharma can reap even more obscene profits? Big Pharma is held in near universal public distrust, thanks to the Vioxx and Celebrex debacles. And, like that guy who wrote last week about the connection between Barthwell and GWP, it really stings them where they sit to have these sweet revolving-door, influence peddling deals exposed.

The ball is in our court; this hasn't faded from public view yet, and until the next national crisis comes along to distract America's notoriously short attention span, we have an opportunity.

[ Post Comment ]


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