NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 25, 2005

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 25, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on August 25, 2005 at 15:09:09 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Legal Proceedings Begin Challenging NIDA's Monopoly Of US Cannabis SupplyAugust 25, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Administrative hearings began this week at the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to determine if the agency improperly denied a request from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to cultivate cannabis for private, federally approved clinical research.
The application - filed with the DEA in June of 2001 by Lyle Craker, director of the UMass-Amherst Medicinal Plant Program, in association with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) - requested a federal license to cultivate cannabis at the University for FDA-approved research. Currently, all federally approved research on marijuana mustutilize 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. In recent years, several US researchers have complained that the low quality of NIDA-grown marijuana is insufficient to use in clinical studies evaluating cannabis' therapeutic potential. Others have questioned NIDA's willingness 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."The DEA rejected Craker's application in December of 2004, stating that the establishment of such a production facility "would not be consistent with public interest."In testimony this week before DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Brittner, legal counsel for the respondents argued that the establishment of the proposed UMass-Amherst cannabis production facility is in the public interest because it would encourage competition in the marketplace and promote technological and scientific advancement in the field of medicine. "The DEA's refusal to permit me to grow marijuana for research necessarily prevents an accurate assessment of this plant's potential medical properties," Craker said.NORML Board Member Rick Doblin, head of MAPS, testified that the establishment of an independent provider of medical cannabis is necessary in order to conduct the clinical trials required to establish cannabis as an FDA-approved drug. "This lawsuit is really our last hope for trying to take marijuana - whether it's smoked or vaporized - through the FDA regulatory system," he said.Doblin, who described MAPS as a "non-profit pharmaceutical company," said that his organization's goal was to bring natural cannabis to market as a FDA-approved medicine. MAPS has previously received an "orphan drug" designation from the FDA for marijuana for the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome. Orphan drug status is a designation granted by the FDA to facilitate the development of a prescription drug for rare diseases.Lawyers for the DEA said that they were unaware of complaints regarding the quality and availability of NIDA-grown marijuana.Testimony in the case will continue the week of September 26, 2005.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: (202) 483-5500 or visit: http://www.maps.orgAdditional background on the case is available online from the American Civil Liberties Union Drug Litigation Project at: Marijuana Arrests Rates Not Associated With Reduced Marijuana Use, Study SaysAugust 25, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Increased federal spending on marijuana law enforcement has not been associated with a reduction in marijuana use, according to a report released today by the Washington DC think-tank, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI).The report, entitled "Efficacy and Impact: The Criminal Justice Response to Marijuana Policy in the United States," concludes that marijuana usage in the US has been relatively unaffected by increases in federal anti-drug spending and arrests for marijuana-related violations. For example, the report found that reported marijuana usage rose 22 percent during the 1990s, despite a 127 percent increase in marijuana arrests.In 2003, the most recent year for which data is available, law enforcement arrested an estimated 755,000 Americans for marijuana violations - the highest total ever recorded in a single year. In 7 out of 10 states, marijuana arrests now comprise over half of all drug arrests, JPI reported. "Despite billions in new spending and hundreds of thousands of new arrests, marijuana use seems unaffected by the huge criminal justice response to this drug," said JPI Executive Director Jason Ziedenberg, who co-authored the report. "As law enforcement focuses on marijuana, a significant number of people are suffering from the impact of policies that do not seem to be deterring drug use."A previous report published by the NORML Foundation in March concluded that rising marijuana arrest rates have not been associated with a reduction in marijuana use, reduced marijuana availability, a reduction in the number of new marijuana users, reduced treatment admissions, reduced emergency room mentions of marijuana, any reduction in marijuana potency, or any increases in the price of marijuana.Most recently, an economic report released by the Washington, DC think-tank Taxpayers for Common Sense estimated that the federal government annually spends more than $3.6 billion dollars on anti-marijuana related activities, "yet little evidence indicates this spending accomplishes the government's stated goal of reducing marijuana use." Previous economic reports analyzing the cost of marijuana arrest expenditures at the state and local level have estimated these costs to be between $5 and $7 billion per year.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the report, "Efficacy and Impact: The Criminal Justice Response to Marijuana Policy in the United States," is available online at: http://www.justicepolicy.orgDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: August 25, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives
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Comment #13 posted by boballen1313 on August 26, 2005 at 23:55:20 PT
All the fuss about smoked medicine
Back in the day children, before we found we could make choke hazards of medicine (pills) we took our medicine in tea, food, rubs, lozenges, suppositories, creams, inhalers, syringe, or god knows how! HEY MORONS! THINGS HAVEN'T CHANGED!! My mum would much rather have a puff of cannabis twenty minutes before eating than be forced to take a needle or try to hold down a bloody pill!!! She can't take your pills!!! I am not trying to mock John P. Walters but maybe the smoking of medicine could JUST BE THE BLOODY FUTURE!!
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Comment #12 posted by potpal on August 26, 2005 at 14:57:18 PT
how much?
I'd like to see a number for how much is fleeced from cannabis users annually. Like in fines, property confiscations, lawyer fees, court costs, probation maintenance etc. What is the cost compound to for 755,000 now criminals over the years. That money is removed from communities and businesses until Uncle Sam once again doles the booty out usually for SWAT gear.Anyway, cannabis prohibition must be a plank on the Skulls and Bones charter itself, I'd betcha.
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Comment #11 posted by kaptinemo on August 26, 2005 at 12:52:23 PT:
And they say WE have short term memory 
problems?The issue of those researchers who complained privately about the quality of the UMiss schwag but were afraid to speak publicy, fearing this Administration's documented tendency towards retaliation against those critical of it (Valerie Plame, anyone?), was brought up in the first day of the hearing. And since, according to the rules of this hearing, hearsay can constitute evidence regardless of formal declarations or accusations, then those complaints should have been considered as *de facto* evidence. Yet Mr. Bayly is plowing ahead as if the complaints had not been made. I am reminded of an old line from the Beattles song about the Nowhere Man: *...He's as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see...* That's Uncle's position on cannabis, in a nutshell.
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Comment #10 posted by mamawillie on August 26, 2005 at 09:56:04 PT
OOh, another one
I just had to add this.. this will be the last:"12       The witnesses from NIDA will also testify
13  that--from HHS--that the complaints that they've
14  received about the University of Mississippi
15  marijuana have been virtually nonexistent."
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Comment #9 posted by mamawillie on August 26, 2005 at 09:54:30 PT
DEA's opening remarks: Thursday
I just had to copy this one: This is from Mr. Bayly's opening remarks on Thursday, August 25th:"Now, not too surprisingly, Judge Bittner,
 5  you'll also hear from Dr. ElSohly, and he is the
 6  head of the--the Director of the University of
 7  Mississippi project to cultivate marijuana, and he
 8  will testify how the process works, what they can
 9  do, how they can adjust the levels of THC, how they
10  can destem and deseed the marijuana, what they've
11  done to address that issue."You know how to deseed a plant? You don't allow it to get fertilized in the first place. That's high school botany.
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on August 26, 2005 at 09:34:40 PT:
I really like this one
because it shows exactly how they lie-by-ommission:*Lawyers for the DEA said that they were unaware of complaints regarding the quality and availability of NIDA-grown marijuana.*They read us here every day. They know an extensive archive of everything ever written here is loaded on the server. They know those complaints have been made, both here and publicly. They know of brave George McMahon, who showed publicly beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Gub'mint supplied weed was *scheisse* by allowing inspection of his own Compassionate Use program supply. According to the testimony, UMiss, in response to those complaints, is working to improve both THC content and basic quality of the product.Like flippin' 8 year old kids caught with their pants down. So, they try, as usual, to deflect and divert attention by getting personal. But they've cried wolf (and lied about how much of a threat it is, when the poor critter is toothless) too often to distract the public from noticing what a crappy job they do. Slowly, slowly but inexorably the country is realizing it can't (fiscally) afford the DrugWar any longer...or it's high-priced hucksters. Seeping up from the local level, budgets are being slashed, programs like DARE either mothballed or jettisoned outright, and now the States are doing the same. Like a rock thrown in a pond, the ripples have reached the shore, and are doubling back. The fight for budgetary dollars amongst .gov agencies will intensify, and no amount of shell-gaming (like hiding the ONDCP budget under Homeland Security) will change that, as the squeeze shows no sign of stopping. I say this next with no joy of anticipation, for despite what it would mean to reformers to see it happen as far as social justice is concerned, it presages what may be the end of America as we know it: The US faces an energy crisis far worse than anything it has ever faced before, and resources not immediately necessary for national survival will be increasingly re-allocated towards that which is. Needless, to say, funding a DrugWar that has proven an outright fraud and waste would be one such axed policy. Or, to use a favorite saying of mine from the original Star Trek series: Old Klingon proverb: "Only a *fool* fights in a burning house!" The US's house is on fire, and these idiots want to spend money for more matches and gasoline instead of water hoses? Enough, already! 
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on August 26, 2005 at 09:22:09 PT
Even the lawyers are investigators.
Wonder if they crave to go undercover or be on the jumpout team? Are they wearing armor? Do they have on black dea t-shirts for undershirts and black shorts to match? Are they wearing jackboots disguised as shoes? Do their fingers itch and flinch automatically? Are they armed? Are they wired?
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on August 26, 2005 at 08:51:35 PT
The DEA are a bunch of goons, aren't they?
Government run amok.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 26, 2005 at 08:51:03 PT
It's ugly head.
It really is ugly. It really is fierce. It really does drool blood.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on August 26, 2005 at 08:43:47 PT
It raises it's ugly head.
Their fears were highlighted by a nasty turn in the DEA's tactics during the third day of the hearings, which had hitherto been marked by a degree of informal cordiality under the good humored guidance of Judge Bittner.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 26, 2005 at 06:34:08 PT
DPFCA: NIDA Blocks Vaporization Study
DPFCA: NIDA Blocks Marijuana Vaporization Study as Research Advocates Appeal to DEA California NORML Press Release - August 25, 2005 NIDA Blocks Marijuana Vaporization Study Medical Marijuana Research Advocates Appeal for Redress from DEA Administrative Law Judge After 18 months of regulatory delay, a laboratory study of marijuana vaporization sponsored by MAPS and California NORML has been blocked by the US Public Health Service/ National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA made it known that it was rejecting the laboratory's application to buy 10 grams of research marijuana just days before the opening of DEA hearings on an application by Prof. Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts to license an independent marijuana production facility for use in FDA-approved medical marijuana R&D sponsored by MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). Because NIDA controls the only legal supplies of marijuana in the U.S., its refusal effectively prevents the vaporizer study from proceeding. For purposes of comparison, the laboratory had also sought a DEA permit to import a few more grams of marijuana from a government-licensed manufacturer in the Netherlands, the only other legal foreign supplier available. The DEA has never approved importation of foreign medical marijuana. After 18 months of delay, the DEA has yet to make its decision known, but it is now expected to follow NIDA's lead and deny the import permit. The vaporization study is aimed at developing a smokeless delivery system for medical marijuana patients. Previous studies have indicated that vaporization can deliver medically active cannabinoids while eliminating the toxic byproducts of smoke by heating marijuana to a temperature just short of combustion. Because of concern over the dangers of smoked medicine, the development of vaporization is viewed as an essential step to obtaining FDA approval of marijuana as medicine. In its 1999 report, "Marijuana and Medicine," the Institute of Medicine concluded that there was little future in smoked marijuana and so recommended that research be conducted into "developing rapid-onset, reliable, and safe delivery systems." "Once again, the government has displayed its bad faith by creating a Catch-22 for medical marijuana," said California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, one of the sponsors of the study. "First, it claimed that marijuana couldn't be used as a medicine because there weren't sufficient FDA studies of safety and efficacy. Then it refused to provide marijuana to conduct the studies. Next it contended that marijuana was inappropriate for FDA approval in the first place due to the dangers of smoking. Now it is blocking the very studies called for by the IOM to develop non-smoked alternatives to smoking." In its rejection letter, NIDA indicated that the proposed vaporization study lacked scientific merit. Researchers reply that NIDA's reasons are bogus and display a basic misunderstanding of the study. "NIDA could have easily cleared up any questions they had with a simple phone call, rather than sitting on the application a year and a half and issuing a politically motivated rejection letter," says Gieringer. At the DEA hearings, a former Office of National Drug Control Policy deputy, Dr. Barbara Roberts, testified that NIDA had been under orders from the drug czar's office not to allow approval of smoked marijuana. Roberts said she originally proposed the IOM study as a way of giving then-Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey "a way out" of the increasingly heated public controversy over medical marijuana. She said the IOM's conclusions were not what the agency had expected, and nothing was done to follow up and implement them.Hearings at DEA HeadquartersThe hearings are being held this week at the DEA's headquarters in Pentagon City, Virginia, before administrative law judge Mary Ellen Bittner. Bittner is the successor and former protege of the late Francis Young, who presided over the marijuana rescheduling hearings in 1988. Young ruled that marijuana clearly had "accepted medical use" and should accordingly be reclassified as a Schedule II prescription drug. The DEA administrator subsequently overruled Young's decision by issuing new regulations redefining accepted medical use to require prior FDA approval. Bittner's task is to decide whether granting Prof. Craker's application for a DEA license to manufacture marijuana would be in the public interest as specified in 21 USC 823(a). (It remains to be seen whether DEA can concoct a new way to define public interest in the event Judge Bittner rules against it.) Prof. Craker, a professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at U Mass Amherst, is an expert on the cultivation of medicinal plants. Prof. Craker testified that he had no prior experience with marijuana, but had been contacted by Rick Doblin to apply for a DEA license to manufacture it legally for use in approved FDA research sponsored by MAPS. MAPS has obtained an FDA orphan drug designation to develop marijuana as a prescription drug for AIDS wasting syndrome. However, NIDA has repeatedly refused to allow its marijuana to be used by MAPS and other researchers, effectively blocking medical marijuana research For this reason, advocates contend that an independent, non-NIDA source of supply is needed to break the government stranglehold on research. At the hearings, advocates countered the government's claim that it has already made adequate provision for medical marijuana research by allowing marijuana to be provided to a series of studies at the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. Speaking as a member of the CMCR's advisory council, Dale Gieringer testified that the CMCR's studies were neither designed nor intended to advance FDA approval of marijuana, but simply to answer basic questions about safety and efficacy outlined in its implementing legislation. He explained that it would be necessary for the state to establish its own source of marijuana independent of NIDA in order to pursue new drug approval, and that there were no plans or resources to do so. The CMCR has some 15 clinical studies currently in progress, two of which are finally nearing publication. However, even if all were complete, they would not constitute the kind of evidence necessary to win FDA approval. Former state Sen. John Vasconcellos, the author of the legislation establishing CMCR, noted that $9 million had been appropriated to the CMCR's research budget, and that money had already been fully committed to ongoing studies. He opined that further appropriations were highly unlikely in light of the state's massive $40 billion budget deficit. DEA attorney Imelda Paredes tried to smear Vaconcellos with an ad hominem attack. She noted that he is listed in a recent (right-wing) best seller, "One Hundred People Who Are Screwing Up America," and ridiculed his famous California panel for self-esteem, which she claimed had been scientifically discredited. Vasconcellos forcefully repelled the attack, saying he was proud to be listed in the book along with President Jimmy Carter, and berating Paredes' evident ignorance of the scientific literature on self-esteem. 	Petitioners presented evidence that NIDA's marijuana was of inferior quality for medical purposes. They cited reports that NIDA's pot was contaminated by stems and seeds, harsh to smoke, and of much lower potency than the medical sinsemilla commonly sold at cannabis clubs, so that subjects had to inhale more smoke to obtain the same effective dose. Doblin cited the experience of an AIDS patient, Philip Alden, who had enlisted in a CMCR study using NIDA pot after several years' experience smoking marijuana from California's cannabis clubs. Alden found that smoking NIDA's pot caused him to develop bronchitis for the first time in his life. The bronchitis disappeared after he dropped out of the study and returned to smoking the clubs' marijuana. 	Alden was one of several witnesses who had originally been scheduled to testify, but withdrew out of fear of possible legal repercussions. Another medical marijuana patient, Irv Rosenfeld, also dropped out on advice of his attorney. Patients were apparently concerned about being forced to testify about use of non-NIDA medical marijuana, which, though legal in many states, remains illegal under federal law. Numerous other scientific witnesses declined to testify publicly out of concern that their research activities might be imperiled by DEA or NIDA. 	Their fears were highlighted by a nasty turn in the DEA's tactics during the third day of the hearings, which had hitherto been marked by a degree of informal cordiality under the good humored guidance of Judge Bittner. However, DEA attorneys bore down on Doblin in the cross-examination, trying unsuccessfully to get him to disclose the names of patients who had been involved in research projects that had skirted DEA regulatory restrictions. Finally, DEA attorney Brian Bayly zeroed in on Doblin himself, asking whether he had ever smoked marijuana for recreational use. Over the strenuous objection of Doblin's attorney, Judge Bittner ruled that she would admit the question and decide later whether it was relevant. Doblin answered with a forthright "Yes." Bayly bore down further, asking Doblin to tell when, how often, and how recently he had smoked marijuana. He replied that he used it weekly. The judge finally halted the inquisition when Bayly asked Doblin to tell the source of his marijuana. Doblin says he is glad to have answered honestly and hopes that it will not prejudice the judge's decision. Doblin was ably represented by attorney Julie Carpenter of Jenner and Block with assistance by Allen Hopper of the ACLU. A 	second round of hearings is scheduled the week of Sept. 26th. Full transcript of the DEA hearings may be found at: by Dale Gieringer, California NORML 8/25/05:
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on August 25, 2005 at 18:21:18 PT
Off Topic
On "Coast to Coast AM" tonight...Author Eric Hufschmid, whose material has been the source for many in the 9-11 truth movement, will offer a scientific analysis of events related to 9-11:'m not too familiar with this guy but anyone raising questions about 9/11 is likely good news. 
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 25, 2005 at 18:07:25 PT
Connected Conspiracies
From the last article on the bulletin...For example, the report found that reported marijuana usage rose 22 percent during the 1990s, despite a 127 percent increase in marijuana arrests.Why continue a policy that is so obviously,insanely flawed? It's certainly not to protect us from ourselves!!! Imho, the hidden powers decided long ago that the prohibition of the cannabis plant would be the very foundation of the U.S. economy as it would keep the power from the people. Look at the most powerful industries in America. Would they have survived and thrived if cannabis was never banned? I believe those hidden powers formed a long-term agenda in which cannabis(recreational,medicinal,industrial) would never be recognized by the federal government and that the world would be brought to the brink of annihilation before the people were ever given access to "the plant". Remember the momentum we had just before 9/11? The greatest conspiracies in American history are most definitely connected! This plant is more powerful than even we can imagine. If only it was unchained!!!THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...William Rodriguez, a 9/11 Survivor: Atta Senior in U.S. Two Weeks Before 9/11 Attack: The spinning of the smoking guns: the Release of the CIA Inspector General's Report post- 9/11: 9/11 Omission Commission & the Lapdog Press: BROADCAST OF CONGRESSWOMAN'S BRIEFING ON 9/11:
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