NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 29, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 29, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on May 29, 2003 at 15:30:27 PT
Press Release
Source: NORML
Marijuana Decrim Proposal Finally Introduced In Canada -- Pot Smokers Would Face Ticket - No Arrest - Under Chretien ProposalMay 29, 2003 - Ottawa, ON, CanadaOttawa, Ontario: The Chretien government introduced legislation in the House of Commons on Tuesday amending federal marijuana enforcement policies, and appropriating some $245 million for drug education and research. 
The legislation follows a pair of Parliamentary reports released last year urging the government to significantly liberalize the nation's pot laws.The most notable provision in the legislation (Bill C-38) would reduce penalties on the possession and use of up to 15 grams (about half an ounce) of marijuana and/or one gram of cannabis resin to a ticketable, fine-only offense. In cases involving larger amounts of marijuana (up to 30 grams), police will have the discretion to either issue the defendant a ticket or a summons to appear in criminal court.Failure to pay the fine will not result in a criminal conviction, under the proposed law. In addition, individuals who challenge their ticket in court will not face any criminal penalty, even if they are found guilty of pot possession.NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre applauded the decriminalization provisions in C-38, noting, "Criminal consequences for the possession of marijuana by adults are disproportionate to any potential harms associated with the responsible use of the drug. The introduction of this legislation is an acknowledgment from the Canadian government that greater harm is caused by marijuana prohibition than by marijuana itself."Twelve US states have enacted similar marijuana decriminalization laws, making possession of anywhere from 28 to 100 grams (about 3 ounces) of marijuana a fine-only offense. According to a 1999 report by the US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM), adolescents in decriminalized states report "using no more marijuana than ... their counterparts in states where marijuana [is] not decriminalized."Other provisions in the legislation call for an increase in penalties on marijuana cultivation, including doubling the maximum penalty for cultivating 50 plants or more from 7 to 14 years in prison. In cases involving the cultivation of more than three plants, a judge would have to provide reasons why imprisonment was not imposed if so-called "aggravating factors" (i.e. cultivation in a facility where children were present) were involved.St. Pierre warned that any significant crackdown on personal cultivation could have a negative impact on patients who grow marijuana for medical use, and also needlessly force many users to obtain marijuana from the black market.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Text of C-38 is available online at: Offers Help with Anti-Drug Campaign Vows To Smoke Out Stoned Drivers Altered State The Rock: 100,000 Plus Expected For Massive New York Rally To Repeal State's Rockefeller LawsMay 29, 2003 - New York, NY, USANew York, NY: A national coalition of more than 100,000 celebrities, civil rights leaders, activists and members of Congress will converge on City Hall in New York City next week on Wednesday, June 4, to argue for the repeal of the state's Rockefeller Drug Laws, which are regarded as the most punitive drug laws in the nation. Recording mogul Russell Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network are coordinating the event in conjunction with reform group Mothers of the New York Disappeared.Earlier this week, Simmons, recording artist Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, and former gubernatorial candidate and US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Andrew Cuomo released a series of celebrity video ads calling for the repeal of the Rockefeller laws, which were enacted in 1973.Under the laws, defendants face mandatory minimum sentences of up to 15 years in prison for the possession and sale of even minor amounts of drugs."Our leaders in Albany have talked about reform for years while thousands of low-level, nonviolent drug offenders remain in jail without good reason," Cuomo said. "At a time when we need to focus our limited resources on educating our children, caring for those who are sick, and punishing those who present true threats to our safety, we must reject these inhumane and wasteful laws."For more information, please visit the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network online at or contact Kris Krane, NORML Associate Director, at (202) 483-5500. An activist training summit is also scheduled for Sunday, May 31, at the Public Theater in New York City.DL: Drop The Rock Will New York Correct Its Mistake? Compound Effective In Alzheimer's Treatment, Study SaysMay 29, 2003 - Baltimore, MD, USABaltimore, MD: A synthetic version of the marijuana compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) appears to reduce agitation and stimulate weight gain in patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to clinical trial data presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society.Nine patients suffering from Alzheimer's-related dementia participated in the trial. Treatment with up to 10 mg of synthetic THC for one month resulted in significantly reduced agitation in six patients, and all patients gained weight. Prior to the treatment, all patients had experienced weight loss due to anorexia. Weight loss, a common symptom associated with Alzheimer's disease, is a predictive factor of mortality.No adverse side effects to the THC treatment were reported.A previous trial of 12 Alzheimer patients in 1997 also found that THC significantly decreased negative feelings and induced weight gain. A 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that between 5 and 10 percent of patients prescribed Marinol (synthetic THC) use it to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Times for Alzheimers NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 29, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- May 22, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 15, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 1, 2003
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