NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 2, 2004

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 2, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on April 02, 2004 at 21:04:56 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Congressional Hearing Debates Medical Marijuana Issue April 2, 2004 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: At least 17 federally approved clinical and preclinical studies exploring the medical utility of smoked marijuana and/or cannabinoids are ongoing, testified National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow at a Congressional hearing yesterday before the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources.
The hearing, entitled "Marijuana and Medicine: The Need For a Science-Based Approach," was called by Subcommittee Chair Mark Souder (R-IN), an opponent of the use of marijuana as a medicine.Witnesses at the hearing included representatives from the state medical boards of California and Oregon, two states that have legalized the use of medical cannabis under a physician's supervision. Both witnesses testified that because their state laws allow for physicians to recommend - not prescribe - marijuana therapy to qualified patients, the policies are not in violation of federal law. "Our Board's role is to ensure that marijuana is recommended for medicinal uses through the same practice of medicine as any other controlled substance," said James Scott of the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners.They also noted that their state medical boards have had exceptionally few complaints regarding the practices of physicians who recommend marijuana as a medicine. "Since 1997, the Board has investigated a small number of physicians who have had complaints filed against them questioning their recommendation for medicinal marijuana," explained Joan Jerzak, chief of enforcement for the Medical Board of California. "To put this into perspective, the California Board receives approximately 12,000 complaints from health care consumers each year. Of the California physicians the Board has investigated for medicinal marijuana related issues, four cases were closed; one case is still in the investigation stage; and the other four cases resulted in charges being filed."Only a handful of members of Congress attended the hearing, including Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who advocated decriminalizing marijuana for non-medical purposes."While this is an important hearing, there are far more serious matters that deserve our attention," Norton said. "We ought not ruin a kids life by giving them a criminal record for smoking pot."For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: & Medicine: Science-Based Approach Defend Medical Marijuana Policies Trouble with Marijuana and Legislators Critical of Medical Marijuana Cannabis Relieves Symptoms Of Lou Gehrig's Disease, Study Says April 2, 2004 - Seattle, WA, USASeattle, WA: Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) experience symptom relief after smoking cannabis, according to a study published in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Palliative Care.According to the study's findings, based on an anonymous survey of ALS patients conducted by the MDA/ALS Center at the University of Washington, respondents found marijuana to be "moderately effective at reducing symptoms of appetite loss, depression, pain, spasticity, and drooling." Cannabis' depression-relieving effects lasted two to three hours, patients reported.The survey is the first ever conducted regarding use of medicinal cannabis among patients with ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a chronic, often fatal condition marked by a gradual degeneration of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.Respondents said that cannabis was ineffective in reducing difficulties with speech and swallowing, and sexual dysfunction.A previous clinical trial examining the effectiveness of Marinol (synthetic THC) on patients with ALS found it to improve appetite, sleep, and muscle tightness.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Abstracts of the study, entitled "Survey of cannabis use in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis," are available online at: Pan Drug War, Favor Liberalization, Study SaysApril 2, 2004 - Auburn, AL, USAAuburn, AL: Most American economists believe that current drug prohibition strategies are ineffective, and favor liberalizing American drug policies, according to a study published in the April issue of the journal Econ Journal Watch.The study's author writes: "There does seem to be broad ... consensus on three general matters. First, most economists found the current policy to be somewhat ineffective, very ineffective, or harmful. Second, most economists agree that the current policy should be changed. Third, most economists agree that the policy should be changed in the general direction of liberalization. Disagreement is generally based on the direction and degree of liberalization, [including] ... downsizing of the drug war, decriminalization, reallocation from criminal prosecution to treatment, qualified or limited legalization, sin taxes, and outright legalization."A previous opinion survey of economists in 1995 found 58 percent to be in favor of changing policy in the general direction of decriminalization.A 2001 economic analysis of American drug policy by the National Resource Council determined that America spends twice as much money annually to combat illegal drugs as it spent fighting the Persian Gulf War, yet there is no evidence indicating that existing policies are either working or cost-effective. "It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether, and to what extent, it is having the desired result," the study's author concluded.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, entitled "Prohibition vs. Legalization: Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Drug Policy?" is available online at: http://www.econjournalwatch.orgDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: April 02, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 25, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 18, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 11, 2004
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Comment #6 posted by rchandar on April 05, 2004 at 08:40:43 PT:
re: souder
well, let's see--politicians have a hard, hard time admitting their policies don't work. they have trouble admitting they were wrong, that they're, well, sorry about it. they would rather lie to you and smile.politicians, beside that, are all gutless bastards who don't have the strength to vote their convictions. they're much, much, much too paranoid about losing their power--it's the only thing they care about, besides money.politicians have a lot to lose if marijuana becomes legal. all of that tough talk would die out, and we'd see them for what they really are--wimps, essentially.politicians have to conform to the "international treaties"--meaning, "i can't legalize pot, it's illegal."plus, remember this one--much harder to free a society than to enslave it. much easier to enact law after law, prison after prison, character assassination after character assassination--than it is to restore, modify, liberate, empower. when a democracy goes bad like this one has, takes lots of work to restore it to what it could have been or should be. every time a new drug policy--or a new twist or memo about the Drug War--it becomes etched in a kind of stone; they can never dismiss it, even with evidence.that's my take. but then, i grew up in the Reagan years. Maybe, for arguments sake, times have changed and people are willing to listen.But I doubt it. Sorry, that's all I see these days in our country.--rchandar
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Comment #5 posted by E_Johnson on April 03, 2004 at 08:24:54 PT
A way to PROVE to Democrats that we DO vote
If we all voted for Nader in 2004.That would prove to them that we DO vote.They could count our votes and see what they lost in an easily measurable way.They could count the cost of their hatred and dehumanization in actual votes that they lost by.
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Comment #4 posted by E_Johnson on April 03, 2004 at 08:06:50 PT
I am not laughing sorry
The weed vote could actually keep Kerry out of office, if enough people feel angry and powerless enough to vote for Nader.So this is not funny at all, not by a long shot, not to me.People in the pot community don't forget to vote. We remember because so many of us have a friend in prison as a reminder of the importance of voting.750,000 arrested per year -- that's another reminder to vote.Being kicked out of school while rapists get to stay and be funded by the taxpayers -- that's another reminder to vote.The 2000+ drug users murdered in cold blood by Thai police -- another reason to vote.The conmgratulations Bush had for the Thai drug war success -- another reason to vote.The 100 felony drug trafficking and weapons convictions in Los Angeles that had to be overturned because it was discovered that the narcs were shooting people in cold blood and planting drugs and guns on them -- that's another reminder to vote.The Barretts trial on Aug. 31 -- a good reminder to vote. coming right in the middle of the Republican Convention.But for whom should we remember to vote?Ahhh, that's the toughie.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 03, 2004 at 07:53:57 PT
Article from The Spoof 
Marijuana Party Candidate Drops Out, Endorses Kerry, As Does Hasselhoff
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Comment #2 posted by mamawillie on April 03, 2004 at 07:29:30 PT
This is from his 2002 reelection web page:
Illegal Drugs Every day seems to hold another headline: Meth Lab Found. Drug Dealer Shot. Drug Induced Domestic Violence. Mark Souder wants to stop those headlines. He has devoted part of his entire career in public office to fighting the scourge of illegal drugs, which is why the Republican leadership in the House chose him to chair the powerful Government Reform Subcommittee that oversees the federal war on drugs. As chairman, Souder has begun comprehensive studies into the best combination of prevention, interdiction, and education to combat illegal drugs. He has held hearings with witnesses from the Drug Czar to Sheriff Doug Dukes of Noble County. He has traveled to border crossings, to Drug Enforcement Agency Field Offices, to Europe and South America to meet with those on the front lines of our defense. Souder does this because he sees the headlines right here in northeast Indiana. He knows that the drug problem cannot be dismissed as a “big city” problem any longer. Meth labs are sprouting up all across northeast Indiana. Our state has become a major supplier of marijuana. And with these drugs comes crime, violence, poverty and despair. Last year, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert named Souder co-chairman of the Speaker’s Task Force for a Drug Free America. From that additional leadership position he will continue his fight against illegal narcotics. On November 5, vote for someone who is one of the House’s most recognized experts on the war on drugs, and who is chairman of two powerful anti-drug bodies. Vote for Mark Souder. Conservative values, tested leadership. *******I guess we have to hear him for several more years, but that's o.k. Let this idiot evangelical spew his lies because when the drug war crumbles around his feet, that will be the greatest disaster for his career.  
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on April 03, 2004 at 00:17:49 PT
NORML is a comfort in rough times
It really rattles me to think a rapist can get student aid when a marijuana convict can't.How can the world be that screwed up?But there's always the NORML report to shine some hope on the situation.
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