NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - February 15, 2007

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - February 15, 2007
Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2007 at 13:09:08 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML 
 Colorado: Judge Resigns Rather Than Impose New Pot PenaltiesFebruary 15, 2007 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: A Boulder County Municipal Court Judge has resigned from his position to protest a pending ordinance that would enact new citywide pot penalties.
Lafayette Municipal Court Associate Judge Lenny Frieling resigned from the bench after eight years following the city council's interim approval of an ordinance to make minor marijuana possession offenses punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Under Colorado law, minor pot violations are punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time."Since you have seen fit to increase the penalty for cannabis possession, ... I find that I am morally and ethically unable to sit as a judge for the city," Frieling wrote in his resignation letter. Frieling is a lifetime member of NORML and serves on the organization's legal committee.The Lafayette City Council is scheduled to hold a final hearing on the proposed ordinance next week.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit: DL: Minor Respiratory Complications, No Decrease In Pulmonary Function Associated With Long-Term Marijuana Smoking, Study SaysFebruary 15, 2007 - West Haven, CT, USAWest Haven, CT: Long-term smoking of cannabis is associated with an elevated risk of respiratory complications, including an increase in cough, sputum production, and wheezing, but not a decline in pulmonary function, according to a review published in the February issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.Investigators at the Yale University School of Medicine conducted a systematic review of studies published between 1966 and 2005 that assessed the effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications. The data failed to show an association between long-term marijuana smoking and airflow obstruction (emphysema), as measured by airway hyperreactivity, forced expiratory volume (FEV), and other measures, investigators reported. Short-term use of cannabis was associated with bronchodilation.Investigators did find that long-term marijuana smoking was associated with an increased risk of certain respiratory complications -- including cough, bronchitis, phlegm, and wheezing. Most of these complications persisted even after researchers adjusted for tobacco smoking.Previous reviews of long-term cannabis smoking have noted similar respiratory complications, though an association between cannabis use and lung and/or upper aerodigestive tract (UAT) cancers has not been found.Authors suggested that cannabis inhalation via specialized delivery systems such as vaporizers would likely yield different results.Cannabis vaporization limits users' intake of respiratory toxins by heating cannabis to a temperature where cannabinoid vapors form (typically around 180-190 degrees Celsius), but below the point of combustion where noxious smoke and associated toxins (e.g., carcinogenic hydrocarbons) are produced (near 230 degrees Celsius). According to clinical trial data published last year in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vaporization is a "safe and effective" cannabinoid delivery system for individuals desiring the rapid onset associated with inhalation, but who wish to avoid the respiratory risks of smoking."The final pulmonal uptake of THC is comparable to the smoking of cannabis, while avoiding the respiratory disadvantages of smoking," investigators in that study reported.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary functions and respiratory complications: a systemic review" appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.DL:"Industrial Hemp Farming Act" Reintroduced In CongressFebruary 15, 2007 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), along with nine Democrat co-sponsors, reintroduced legislation in Congress this week to authorize the state-sanctioned cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial purposes. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana.House Bill 1009, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, seeks to amend the federal Controlled Substances Act so that cannabis containing only trace amounts of THC is no longer defined as "marihuana" [sic] under the statute. The act grants states the "exclusive authority" to license and regulate the commercial production of industrial hemp.Currently, several US states have laws authorizing hemp production by licensed cultivators. However, farmers in these states may not produce hemp without federal permission.According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, "The DEA has been unwilling to grant licenses for growing small plots of hemp for research purposes," even when such research is authorized by state law, because the agency believes that doing so would "send the wrong message to the American public concerning the government's position on drugs."Passage of HR 1009 would remove this federal barrier and defer exclusive regulatory authority over hemp production to state statutes."It is indefensible that the United States government prevents American farmers from growing this crop," Congressman Paul said. "By passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act the House of Representatives can help American farmers and reduce the trade deficit all without spending a single taxpayer dollar."According to the CRS, "The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop." Farmers in Canada and the European Union grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food.Hemp fiber and hemp-based products may be legally imported to the United States in compliance with several economic treaties, including NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).For more information, please visit: or Cannabis Significantly Reduces HIV-Associated NeuropathyFebruary 12, 2007 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: Cannabis significantly reduces HIV-associated neuropathic pain compared to placebo, and possesses an acceptable margin of safety for use, according to clinical trial data to be published in the journal Neurology. Investigators at San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California's Pain Clinical Research Center assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis on HIV-associated sensory neuropathy in 50 volunteers participating in a five-day double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Researchers reported that smoking low-grade cannabis (3.56 percent THC) three times daily reduced patients' pain by 34 percent. "Thirteen of 25 patients randomized to cannabis cigarettes had >30 percent reduction in pain from baseline to end of treatment versus 6 of 25 patients receiving placebo cigarettes," authors wrote. A 30 percent reduction in pain is considered to be a clinically significant amount of pain relief. Investigators added: "Smoking the first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain ratings by a median of 72 percent versus a reduction of 15 percent with placebo [zero THC] cigarettes. On day five, just prior to smoking the last cigarette, median ratings of current chronic pain intensity were lower in the cannabis group than in the placebo group. Smoking the last cigarette further reduced chronic pain ratings 51 percent in the cannabis group versus five percent in the placebo group." They concluded: "Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated neuropathy [in a manner] similar to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain." The lead investigator of the study, Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital, initially sought federal approval to assess the potential medical efficacy of cannabis in HIV patients in 1994, but was repeatedly denied access to the US governmentıs supply of research-grade marijuana. Today's study is one of the first US-led clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of smoked cannabis to take place in nearly two decades. The University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research sponsored the trial. Previous clinical trials assessing the use of cannabinoids as analgesics have demonstrated that they can significantly reduce the neuropathy associated with multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Neuropathic pain affects an estimated one percent of the world's population and is typically unresponsive to both opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500, or California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer at (415) 563-5858. Full text of the study, "Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy," appears in the forthcoming issue of Neurology. Additional information about the study is available at: and on today's edition of NORML's daily AudioStash at: http://normlaudiostash.comDL: Administrative Law Judge Rules Against US Government's Monopoly On Pot ProductionFebruary 12, 2007 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner ruled Monday that the private production of cannabis for research purposes is "in the public interest." Her ruling affirms that the DEA in 2004 improperly rejected an application from the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst to manufacture cannabis for FDA-approved research. Bittner opined: "I conclude that granting Respondent's application would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention, that there would be minimal risk of diversion of marijuana resulting from Respondent's registration, that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances. I therefore find that Respondent's registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest." Currently, all federally approved research on marijuana must utilize cannabis supplied by and grown under contract with the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The UMass-Amherst proposal sought to provide clinical investigators with an alternative, independent source of cannabis for FDA-approved clinical trials. NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre praised the decision. "Judge Bittner's ruling is an important first step toward breaking the US government's long-standing monopoly regarding the cultivation of research-grade cannabis. Clinical investigators and drug development researchers who no longer wish to conduct trials using NIDA's inferior strains of cannabis may one day have access to other, legal alternatives." In recent years, several US researchers have criticized NIDA's unwillingness to provide cannabis for clinical protocols seeking to investigate the drug's medical uses. In 2004, the agency's director Nora Volkow stated that it is "not NIDA's mission to study the medical uses of marijuana." NORML Board Member Rick Doblin --­ Executive Director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) ­-- one of the respondents in the case, said: "This is a major step to getting us to do the scientific research that the government has been blocking for the past 30 years. If the government says no [to the judge's ruling,] the hypocrisy of their approach will help fuel efforts for [additional] state medical marijuana reforms." The DEA has 20 days to challenge Judge Bittner's decision. The decision then goes before DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart, who can still elect to set aside the ruling. A spokesman for the agency told the Associated Press that they are reviewing the opinion. For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Text of Judge Bittner's ruling is available online at: Additional information is available on today's edition of NORML's daily AudioStash at: http://www.normlaudiostash.comDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: February 15, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by goneposthole on February 17, 2007 at 05:24:57 PT
A reminder' Children's Encounters with Marijuana ProhibitionGet the PDF Version of this DocumentPOLITICAL FAMILY BUSTS (A.K.A. 'HYPOCRISY 101')Randall Todd CunninghamThe son of Duke "Death Penalty for Drug Kingpins" Cunningham (R-CA) was convicted for possession of 400 pounds of marijuana. In court, the congressman cried and pleaded for mercy, explaining that his son "has a good heart. He works hard. He's expressed to me he wants to go back to school." While out on bail, the hard working son tested positive for cocaine three times; when an officer tried to apprehend him following the third positive test, Randy hurled himself out a window and broke his leg. Still, the congressman--who has denounced Clinton's "soft-on-crime liberal judges" and railed against "reduced mandatory-minimum sentences for drug trafficking"--won for his son the mercy denied so many others. Randy got 30 months--half the federal "mandatory" minimum sentence.Source: Mother Jones, May/June 2000Morgan Grams (21), son of Senator Rod Grams (R-MN). "was stopped in July in a borrowed rental vehicle after his father called the Anoka County sheriff for help finding his son. A deputy found 10 bags of marijuana and the beer cans in the Isuzu Rodeo,"Source: Associated Press 1/12/00. Grams had been previously jailed twice on drug-related offenses. Chief Deputy Peter Beberg "found Grams driving a sport utility truck with 10 bags of marijuana inside-an unspecified amount. A 17-year-old passenger was charged with possession of nine of the bags and later spent time at a juvenile detention center. The 10th bag was found under Gram's seat, according to a report by deputy Todd Diegnau,"Source: Associated Press 11/14/99.Sara Kenney (19), daughter of New York Lt. Governor Mary Donohue (R), was stopped for speeding when troopers spotted marijuana in the vehicle. Kenny wad charged for speeding and possession of less than 25 grams.Source: Associated Press 8/26/98Richard Riley, Jr., son of Education Secretary Richard Riley (D), was sentenced to six months' house arrest in June of 1993 for conspiring to sell up to 25 grams of cocaine and 100 grams of marijuana in South Carolina. The initial charges carried a penalty of ten years to life in prison. Riley's light sentence allowed him to continue his work at an environmental consulting firm. Source: James Bovard, "Prison Sentences of the Politically Connected," Playboy; July 1999.Gayle Rosten, daughter of former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL), was charged with possession of 29 grams of cocaine with intent to deliver in June of 1990. Rosten, facing up to 15 years in prison, plead guilty to a lesser charge and received three years probation and 20 hours of public service, paid a fine of $2800, and forfeited the car in which the cocaine was found. Three years later, Rosten was found with a gram of cocaine in her possession. In violation of her probation, Rosten could have faced up to three years in prison. However, the charge was dismissed by one judge, then reinstated after Rosten was indicted by a county grand jury. On April 12, 1994 Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin ruled that the search of Rosten had been illegal. Ironically, Judge Toomin ruled that the packets of cocaine were admissible evidence against the two passengers that supposedly "dropped" the packets in Rosten's car.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Cindy McCain, wife of former Presidential candidate John McCain (R-AZ), "admitted stealing Percocet and Vicodin from the American Voluntary Medical Team, an organization that aids Third World countries. Percocet and Vicodin are schedule 2 drugs, in the same legal category as opium. Each pill theft carries a penalty of one year in prison and a monetary fine." However, McCain did not face prosecution. She was allowed to enter a pretrial diversion program and escaped with no blemish to her record.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Dan Burton, II (18), son of Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), was busted in January of 1994 on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Allegedly, Burton II was transporting seven pounds of marijuana in a car from Texas to Indiana when he was caught in Louisiana. Burton II plead guilty to felony charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Rather than face ten to sixteen months in federal prison, Burton was sentenced to five years probation, 2000 hours of community service, three years of house arrest and random drug screening. Five month later police found 30 marijuana plants and a shotgun in Burton's apartment in Indianapolis. Under federal mandatory minimum rules, Burton should have received at least five years in federal prison, plus a year or more for arrest while on probation. State prosecutors decided that the total weight of marijuana from the 30 plants was 25 grams (about one ounce), thus reducing the charge to a misdemeanor. The Indiana prosecutor threw out all the charges against him saying, "I didn't see any sense in putting him on probation a second time."Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999John Murtha (35), son of Representative John Murtha (D-PA), received a sentence of 11 to 23 months in jail after pleading guilty to selling a gram of cocaine to an informant. Murtha has been busted for two burglaries in 1980 and for armed robbery in 1985. Murtha was on parole at the time of his arrest and could have faced more than ten years in prison if he'd been prosecuted under federal guidelines. The judge hearing Murtha's case allowed him to temporarily withdraw a plea bargain and resubmit it at later date so he could enter the jail's school-release program and continue his education.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Susan Gallo (33), daughter of former Representative Dean Gallo (R-NJ), was charged with five counts of cocaine possession, five counts of intent to distribute, five counts of distribution, and five counts of conspiracy. Facing five to ten years in prison for each charge, Gallo plead guilty to one count of distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Gallo was sentenced to five years' probation in 1992.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Warren Bachus (19), son of Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), was busted in 1993 for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bachus was not convicted and in a "pretrial diversion remedy," he was set free. Bachus paid $56 in court expenses and was required to submit to drug testing twice in the following six months.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Josef Hinchey (26), son of Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), was charged with intent to distribute individual cocaine doses. Hinchey could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison. He plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and received a sentence of 13 months in prison. The prison term was suspended until Hinchey completed a drug-treatment program.Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Al Gore III (13), son of Vice President Al Gore (D), was caught smoking what appeared to be marijuana by school authorities at St. Alban's School. Al III was suspended as a result of the incident. While the story appeared in the foreign press, the story was suppressed in the US media. London's Daily Telegraph charged, "The crusading American media and Washington's political elite have closed ranks to protect Vice President Gore from embarrassment over his teenage son's indiscretion."Source: James Bovard, Playboy; July 1999Claude Shelby (32), youngest son of Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), was arrested at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport on drug charges, where a US Custom's drug-sniffing dog found 13.8 grams of hashish in his possession. Shelby was given a $500 administrative penalty and turned over to Clayton County Sheriff's Department for prosecution.Source: USA Today; 7/29/98Robert Lugar (40), son of Richard Lugar (R-IN), the town manager of McCordsville, IN, was pulled over for expired plates and a sheriff's deputy claimed to smell marijuana. The deputy found a plastic bag with marijuana under a floor mat of the jeep.Lugar denied the marijuana was his but was arrested and made to post a $200 bail.Source: Associated Press, 7/6/00
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on February 16, 2007 at 10:45:58 PT
I found a link about the Live Earth Concert. I am looking forward to seeing this. I hope Neil will be there like at Live 8.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on February 16, 2007 at 10:24:13 PT
American Knighting
"So if Geldof can become a knight for working to ease suffering on one continent, what can Al Gore expect now that he is organizing a concert to save the entire planet from a global warming disaster?"A pat on the back, and some easing of the guilt he must bear for all the backs he trode on to get to where he is, and an offering to his fellow polits to look as if they are really concerned, and 'doing their job.' Lets declare a WAR ON GLOBAL WARMING!
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on February 15, 2007 at 20:07:57 PT
Boulder Weekly 
US CO: Judge protests Lafayette's new marijuana law  Viewed at: CO: Colorado: not exactly fashion forward   Viewed at: 15 Feb. 2007 Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 15, 2007 at 16:49:14 PT
Future Event: Gore's Live Earth Concert
February 16, 2007 The former vice president will team up with Kevin Wall, Pharrell Williams and Cameron Diaz to launch a 24-hour worldwide concert on July 7.Queen Elizabeth II made Bob Geldof an honorary knight for his continuing efforts to eradicate hunger in Africa, including his organization of 1985's Live Aid concert.So if Geldof can become a knight for working to ease suffering on one continent, what can Al Gore expect now that he is organizing a concert to save the entire planet from a global warming disaster?Complete Article:,0,2842998.story?coll=cl-music-top-right
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Comment #3 posted by Toker00 on February 15, 2007 at 16:11:06 PT
March on the Pentagon!
Please sign and support the March.!Toke.
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Comment #2 posted by ChristenMitchell on February 15, 2007 at 14:53:37 PT:
Leonard Frieling for Congress
   Despite teenage temperatures and heavy snowfall, Boulder's 3rd Anti-DrugWar Candlelight Vigil scored as a spirited success. 
   Signs among the crowd of up to 50 anti-freeze smoking anti-prohibitionists encouraged passer-byes to 'End Prohibition Again' and elect Judge Frieling to Congress. Others proclaimed that 2.3 Million prisoners were to many and one clarified that 'Pot is an Herb, Bush is a Dope'.
   Believers in ending the tragic DrugWar will continue each year to mark the madness of demonizing Life's Greatest Gift to Mankind through criminally unjust color of law.
Hemptopia - Our Greener Future
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 15, 2007 at 13:23:32 PT
Go figure
"No Decrease In Pulmonary Function Associated With Long-Term Marijuana Smoking"Marijuana does not cause COPD.Tobacco causes COPD and other problems, and is legal.
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