NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- November 26, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- November 26, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on November 27, 2003 at 14:42:35 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 Federal Judge Blasts Prosecution Of L.A. Medical Marijuana Club's Proprietors, Sentences Defendants To Probation And Community Service November 26, 2003 - Los Angeles, CA, USALos Angeles, CA: A federal judge this week sentenced the three founders of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (LACRC) to probation and community service for their roles as officers of the club, which distributed marijuana to some 960 patients at the time of its closure in 2001. The sentence was a dramatic downward departure from the federal sentencing guidelines that called for the defendants to each face up to 30 months in prison.
United States District Judge A. Howard Matz said that the standard federal sentence did not apply in this case because the defendants - Scott Imler, Jeff Yablan and Jeffrey Farrington - were distributing marijuana solely for medicinal purposes, and had adhered to statewide parameters established under Proposition 215. "To allocate the resources of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the US attorney's office in this case baffles [and] disturbs me," the judge said.During its five years of operation, the LACRC was regarded as one of the state's most strictly regulated medical marijuana dispensaries."This sentence, coupled with a similar outcome just six months ago in the Ed Rosenthal trial, is a strong rebuttal to the government's claim that there's no such thing as medicinal marijuana," said NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre. "If a federal judge can readily distinguish between medical cannabis and the use of marijuana for other purposes, then so should our federal lawmakers and the law."Rather than face a jury trial, all three defendants had each previously accepted a "pre-indictment" plea agreement with the US Department of Justice in March to one federal count of maintaining a drug establishment.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751 or California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer at (415) 563-5858.DL:'s a Word for People Who Try to Assist Sick Granted to 3 Who Grew Pot as Medicine Rules No Prison for Three MMJ Workers Nearly One Out Of Three HIV Patients Use Marijuana Medicinally, Study Says November 26, 2003 - Toronto, ON, CanadaToronto, Ontario: Approximately one in three HIV patients in Ontario uses marijuana for medicinal purposes, according to the results of a study presented this week at the 2003 Ontario HIV Treatment Network research conference.Among HIV-positive Ontarians, 29 percent use cannabis therapeutically, study presenter Michelle Furler of the University of Toronto said. Respondents explained that they used marijuana to stimulate appetite, aid sleep, and alleviate nausea and vomiting. A higher percentage of female respondents noted that they used marijuana for pain management.Almost half of those who used cannabis medicinally said they used it daily.According to a recently published study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, use of inhaled marijuana demonstrates "no major, short-term harmful effects and possibly some beneficial effects ... in HIV-infected patients taking protease inhibitors."Presently, clinical trials examining the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in HIV patient populations are ongoing at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.DL: Pot Used by One Third of Ont. HIV Patients Court Eases Medical Marijuana Rule Eases Rules on Growing Medical Marijuana NORML Testifies In Jamaica In Support Of Marijuana Law Reform Proposal November 26, 2003 - Kingston, Jamaica"Responsible adult marijuana smokers present no legitimate threat or danger to society, and must not be treated as criminals"Kingston, Jamaica: NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup testified before members of Parliament on Wednesday in favor of recommendations by the Jamaican National Commission on Ganja to decriminalize the use of marijuana by adults."Responsible adult marijuana smokers present no legitimate threat or danger to society, and must not be treated as criminals," Stroup said before the Joint Select Committee on the Report of the National Commission on Ganja. Jamaica NORML President Paul Chang and Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann also testified at the hearing.Stroup said, "By stubbornly defining all marijuana smoking as criminal, including that which involves adults smoking within the privacy of their own homes, Jamaica is wasting precious police and prosecutorial resources; clogging the courts; filling costly and scarce jail and prison space that would otherwise house violent offenders; undermining drug education efforts; acting against the best interests of public health and safety; engendering disrespect for the rule of law; and needlessly wrecking the lives and careers of tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year."Stroup also stressed the fact that governments' may liberalize their marijuana laws without running afoul of international anti-drug treaties. "In recent years, many European nations have replaced criminal penalties for minor drug crimes with 'administrative sanctions' by calling on constitutional principles, or by arguing that strict enforcement of criminal prohibition was not in the public interest."In 2001, the Report of the National Commission on Ganja recommended Parliament decriminalize marijuana for adults for personal and religious purposes, and partner with other countries to elicit support for a worldwide re-examination of marijuana policies. Parliament has expressed interest in enacting the recommendations by March 2004."Jamaica seems committed to the process of decriminalization," Stroup said.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Text of NORML's written testimony is available online at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: November 26, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Nov. 20, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Nov. 13, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- Nov. 5, 2003
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Comment #1 posted by 13th step on November 27, 2003 at 20:30:38 PT
Blow for GW Pharma cannabis remedy for GW Pharma cannabis remedy
By Stephen Foley28 November 2003GW Pharmaceuticals, the company developing a painkilling spray from cannabis, is braced to miss its end-of-year deadline for gaining approval to launch the drug.The company is also growing less confident that the Government's medicines regulator will approve the drug, to be called Sativex, for all the uses it originally requested. At briefings with City analysts, GW has been saying it expects approval "from the end of the year", while its broker, Collins Stewart, has warned its clients that a decision could take until next autumn.In an investment note, Collins Stewart analyst Jonathan Kwok wrote: "We expect to hear the final decision from the end of 2003 onwards."With barely a month to go, sources at the MHRA believe it is unlikely an announcement would now be ready this year. Multiple sclerosis patient groups have long campaigned to be allowed to use a cannabis drug to relieve their symptoms, and GW believes it has trial data which shows Sativex is an effective treatment for muscle stiffness and bladder problems.It has also requested that it be approved for use to relieve neuropathic pain, pain caused by a diseased or damaged nervous system. This would be a breakthrough treatment since neuropathic pain is viewed as difficult or impossible to treat.People close to the company now believe the regulator, the MHRA, could reject the application to launch Sativex for neuropathic pain until more trial results are available later next year.The likely delays will dismay investors who bought into a fund raising by the company after its interim results in June. At the time, the company said it was confident Sativex would be available on prescription in the UK by the end of 2003. Geoffrey Guy, the founder and chairman, sold 5m of shares at 200p at that time.The company itself yesterday insisted nothing had changed since the start of the year. A spokesman said: "The process is continuing as expected. There is a month to go and we are confident of getting approval. We have always said the timing was going to be in the hands of the regulator".The launch of Sativex will require a change in the law to reschedule cannabis, which the Government has promised on MHRA approval. GW shares were off 5p at 189.5p yesterday on fading hopes that the drug can be made available this year.
	 	27 November 2003 23:37
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