NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 8, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 8, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on October 09, 2003 at 11:00:53 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Ontario Court Of Appeals Finds Canadian Medical Marijuana Policy Unconstitutional -- Amends Medi-Pot Regulations To Allow "Compassion Clubs" For The Sick, Reinstates Prohibitions On Recreational UseOctober 8, 2003 - Ottawa, ON, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario: The Ontario Court of Appeals this week upheld a lower court decision finding that the nation's medicinal marijuana regulations were unconstitutional because they failed to offer authorized patients access to a legal source of medical cannabis. However, rather than strike down the regulations entirely, the court chose to modify them in such a way that paves the way for licensed, large-scale medical marijuana cultivation and distribution by private individuals."This case is not about the social and recreational use of marijuana, but is about those with the medical need to use marijuana to treat symptoms of serious medical conditions," Ontario's highest appeals court decided in a 3-0 ruling. "Exposing these individuals to the risks [of the black market] does not advance the objective of public health and safety."In its ruling, the court ordered Health Canada to immediately amend the nation's medical marijuana regulations by eliminating provisions that prohibited licensed growers from receiving compensation for their product, from growing cannabis for more than one patient at a time, and from pooling their resources with other growers. By doing so, the decision grants apparent legal protection to third parties and medical marijuana cooperatives (so-called "compassion clubs") that grow and supply medicinal cannabis to seriously ill patients."As the record makes clear, there are a number of people who already have a source of marijuana and wish to engage in compassionate supply of it to those in medical need," the court determined. "It may be that not all of these people would satisfy the requirements to become [federally licensed cultivators]. However, we are satisfied that, on this record, enough would do so that taken together with existing DPL holders (persons with a designated production license), the DPL mechanism as modified could then provide a licit source of supply to [qualified patients.] Once this modification is implemented, [authorized patients] would therefore no longer need to access the black market to get the marijuana they need."It remains unclear precisely how this ruling impacts an interim policy enacted by Health Canada in July that mandated the agency to supply government-grown marijuana and seeds to patients. Health Canada had reluctantly begun distributing medicinal pot to a handful of qualified patients in August, but had appealed to the court to intervene. "Provided that the regulation of July 8, 2003 remains in place and is acted upon, there is no need to declare that the Government has a constitutional obligation to provide the first seed to those DPL holders who do not have one," the court found.The court also struck down a provision requiring patients to receive recommendations from two physicians before being admitted to the program, calling the policy "redundant."Ramifications of the court's ruling impacts both medical marijuana users and recreational smokers. By striking down aspects of the regulations the court found to be unconstitutional, the court reinstated federal laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana by non-medical users. The lower court had previously determined that all Canadian laws prohibiting the possession of personal use amounts of marijuana were unconstitutional because the government had failed to comply with a 2000 Ontario Court of Appeals order mandating Health Canada to provide patients with legal access to the drug."This narrow remedy would create a constitutionally valid medical exemption, making marijuana prohibition ... immediately constitutionally valid and of full force and effect and removing any uncertainty concerning the validity of the prohibition," the court concluded. To date, approximately 650 patients have government authorization to use and possess medicinal cannabis.Canada's Supreme Court is expected to rule later this year on a separate constitutional challenge arguing that national laws prohibiting the non-medical use of marijuana violate Canadian's guaranteed rights to life, liberty and personal security.For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or John Conroy, Esq., Director of Canada NORML, at (604) 852-5110.DL: Sadness as Pot Law Valid Again Eases Medical Marijuana Rules Ruling a Victory For The Ill Chemical Significantly Reduces Chronic Pain In Humans, Study SaysOctober 8, 2003 - Hannover, GermanyHannover, Germany: Administration of the CT-3 cannabinoid significantly reduces chronic pain in humans compared to placebo, according to the results of clinical trial data published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).The results of the study indicate that "CT-3 may be an effective analgesic for poorly controlled resistant neuropathic pain," researchers at the Hannover Medical School in Germany concluded. Neuropathic pain is often resistant to standard pain medications, including opioids.Twenty-four patients with chronic neurpoathic pain in places such as the foot, arm, face and head participated in the randomized, placebo controlled trial. Volunteers were administered two daily doses of either CT-3, a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that has previously demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in animals, or placebo. Researchers found CT-3 to be more effective than placebo at diminishing pain, and noted "no major adverse side effects" of the drug.Although anecdotal reports regarding marijuana's pain-mitigating effects are abundant, few clinical human trails have been conducted. Nevertheless, after reviewing a series of animal trails on cannabinoids in pain in 1997, the US Society for Neuroscience concluded that "substances similar to or derived from marijuana ... could benefit the more than 97 million Americans who experience some form of pain each year."For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of the study, entitled "Analgesic effect of the synthetic cannabinoid CT-3 on chronic neuropathic pain: randomized controlled trial," are available online at: Rep Finishes Eleventh In California Governor's RaceOctober 8, 2003 - Los Angeles, CA, USALos Angeles, CA: Democratic candidate Bruce Margolin finished eleventh out of 135 candidates in California's highly publicized gubernatorial recall race. Margolin, a noted attorney and the director of NORML's Los Angeles affiliate, L.A. NORML, campaigned on a platform that included legalizing and taxing marijuana, as well as pardoning all non-violent marijuana offenders.Margolin was defeated by Republican front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has endorsed the use of medicinal marijuana by qualified patients under the state's Proposition 215 law. Green Party candidate Peter Camejo, who also backed taxing and regulating marijuana as a cash crop, finished fourth in the race.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: October 8, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Oct. 2, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Sept. 23, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Sept. 18, 2003
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 14, 2003 at 12:13:43 PT
Welcome Back!!!! It sure is good to see you. I'm sorry about what's happening up in Canada. PS: What do you think about Al Gore and others buying News World International? We probably won't see Marc Emery down here if they buy it. They've featured him a few times.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on October 14, 2003 at 12:10:12 PT:
Ontario's Summer of Legalization Officially Ends
Boo-Hoo. But it was fun while it lasted. The legal right to social/recreational toking is suspended for now, but Marc Emery's Summer of Legalization 2003 t-shirts are still available. email for details. I guess the self-medicators in the cannabist community don't rate the same protection from black market pot as the medical users. Sounds like a Charter of Rights and Freedoms issue to me.Reporting from deep inside the evil empire of john p.,afterburner
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