NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- September 15, 2005

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- September 15, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on September 15, 2005 at 15:54:27 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Health Canada Revisits Proposal To Distribute Medical Cannabis In Licensed PharmaciesSeptember 15, 2005 - Ottawa, ON, CanadaOttawa, Ontario: Health Canada may resurrect a proposal to make government grown medicinal cannabis available in licensed pharmacies, according to Canadian press reports.
The proposal, first announced by the agency in February of last year,allows for select pharmacies to distribute medical cannabis to authorized patients. Plans now call for the pilot program to begin in British Columbia early next year.If Health Canada implements the plan, they will become the second nation to allow for the distribution of federally grown cannabis in licensed pharmacies. The Netherlands instituted a similar plan in 2003, though a recent study published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology Drug Safety notes that more than 80 percent of Dutch patients continue to obtain medical cannabis from the black market and/or coffee shops.Under Canadian law, patients may apply with Health Canada for a federal exemption to possess and cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. Approximately 950 medical marijuana patients are registered with the agency, although less than 250 currently elect to receive government grown cannabis.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Annual Boston Freedom Rally To Take Place This SaturdaySeptember 15, 2005 - Boston, MA, USABoston, MA: Event organizers are expecting nearly 50,000 attendees at this Saturday's 16th annual Boston Freedom Rally, sponsored by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MASS CANN/NORML). The daylong event, which advocates for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults and features dozens of speakers and musical acts, is the largest annual marijuana-law reform rally on the east coast.Speakers scheduled to appear at this year's Freedom Rally include: NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre and NORML Founder Keith Stroup; NORML state chapter coordinators Steve Epstein (MA), Rob Robinson (NY), and Keith Saunders (MA); Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Campaign Director Caren Woodson; POT TV's Loretta Nall; as well as Rick Cusick and Steve Bloom of High Times Magazine.For a complete schedule of this year's Boston Freedom Rally speakers and events, please visit: Propose Cannabis Impairment GuidelinesSeptember 15, 2005 - Hurth, GermanyHurth, Germany: US laws prohibiting motorists from operating a vehicle with any detectable level of cannabis or cannabis metabolites in the driver's blood or urine improperly classify occasional marijuana smokers as impaired, concludes a report issued this month by an international panel of experts."Many recent per se laws for DUID [driving under the influence of drugs] prescribe a zero tolerance for specific drugs, classifying drivers as being under the influence of a drug if any amount of a listed drug or its metabolites can be detected in blood or other body fluids. ... This strict approach facilitates law enforcement, but is not based on science and does not only target impaired drivers," authors state. "Per se laws specifying non-zero limits may offer a fairer and possibly more effective alternative ... than zero tolerance laws, provided these limits are, as for alcohol, derived rationally from scientific evidence."To date, ten states have enacted so-called "zero tolerance" drugged driving laws, making it a criminal offense for an individual to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable level of a Schedule I substance present in his or her bodily fluids. In six of these states, the law also prohibits motorists from operating a motor vehicle if they have trace levels of non-psychoactive marijuana metabolites in their system. Three states - Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - have enacted per se drugged driving standards, prohibiting individuals from operating a motor vehicle if they have levels of Schedule I drugs present in their body above a specific threshold. All other states employ an "effect based" standard for DUID, which penalizes motorists only if their observed impairment may be linked to the recent ingestion of a controlled substance.Authors estimate that a per se threshold for THC in the driver's blood of approximately 5 ng/ml (equal to10 ng/ml as measured in blood serum) may be reasonable for determining relative psychomotor impairment in non-habitual users. "The most meaningful recent culpability studies indicate that drivers with THC concentrations in whole blood of less than 5 ng/ml have a crash risk no higher than that of drug-free users," authors write. "The crash risk apparently begins to exceed that of sober drivers as THC concentrations in whole blood reach 510 ng/ml."THC blood levels typically fall below 5 ng/ml in recreational cannabis users within 60 to 90 minutes after inhalation.Authors add that a driver who tests positive for THC in the blood at levels of 5 ng/ml may suffer from psychomotor impairment comparable to those drivers who have blood alcohol levels of .08%. However, previous studies of on-road accidents indicate that cannabis' impact on actual driving performance appears to be more limited than alcohol because subjects under its influence are generally aware of their impairment and compensate accordingly, such as by slowing down and by focusing their attention when they know a response will be required. This behavior is largely the opposite of that exhibited by drivers under the influence of alcohol, who tend to drive in a more risky manner proportional to their intoxication.Publication of the panel's report comes less than a month after Congress approved legislation authorizing the Department of Transportation and the National Institutes of Health to "submit to Congress a report on the problem of drug-impaired driving," including "an assessment of methodologies and technologies for measuring driver impairment resulting from use of the most common illicit drugs."For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the expert panel's report, "Developing Science-Based Per Se Limits for Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis," is available upon request. A comprehensive breakdown of state drugged driving laws appears in NORML's report, "You Are Going Directly to Jail: DUID Legislation: What It Means, Who's Behind It, and Strategies to Prevent It," available online at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: September 15, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on September 20, 2005 at 19:37:23 PT
News Article from WLUC - TV6
Great Marijuana Debate September 20, 2005Marquette County -- Should the use of marijuana be legal? Students at northern michigan university heard from both sides of the issue. 61 year old Attorney Keith Stroup started smoking marijuana 40 years ago. And in 1970 he founded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws or normal. Stroup says, "its our position that there's nothing wrong with the responsible use of marijuana by adults and its important that those tens of millions of americans that do smoke come out of the closet."However, former U-S Congressman Bob Barr disagrees. He says, "the reason why we need to be careful when moving down the road to drug legalization is because these drugs do alter your mind and that poses danger to other citizens." Stroup says the use of marijuana should be controlled like alcohol by using age and quality controls. He disagrees with using the justice system to punish those who use the drug. But according to barr, alcohol and marijuana are two different substances. He says you can consume modest amounts of alcohol with out altering your mind, but you can't do the same with marijuana. The n-m-u group platform personalities sponsored the great marijuana debate, and over 700 students and residents attended. Copyright 2001 - 2005 WorldNow and WLUC TV6
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on September 16, 2005 at 21:31:21 PT
Surprise Surprise Surprise
Who's Behind the "Zero Tolerance" Campaign?
Michael Walsh & Robert DuPont -- both ex-NIDA directors 
How to Combat "Zero Tolerance" DUID Legislation
"Do drunk driving laws punish drivers for simply consuming alcohol? No. They sanction drivers who are impaired by alcohol to the point that they are no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle. Why not apply this same standard to DUID legislation? Do drunk driving laws target drivers for having previously consumed alcohol some days or weeks earlier? Of course not. They sanction drivers for present intoxication, and only if that intoxication is presently affecting their driving performance. Again, why not apply this same common-sense standard to DUID legislation? Do drunk driving laws set their per se levels at zero? No, they employ scientifically sound cutoff levels that can be correlated to impairment of performance. Once again, why not apply this same standard to DUID laws?"
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Comment #4 posted by mastercy on September 16, 2005 at 05:04:44 PT:
john tyler
I caught only a short amount of that program you were speaking of and that was also my impression. Hookahs in every picture, and yes they most definately would not be smoking tobacco. I must admit, there are few things better than a cup of coffee and a morning toke, they seem to balance each other out in a wonderful way. I used to enjoy (roll your own) cigarettes and coffee, but about a year ago, cigarettes started giving me that terrible nicotine buzz all the time, and it would last like 15 minutes. Yuck, so i gave it up. On a different note, in these troubled times, its good to have a laugh, so here's something i found funny.
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on September 15, 2005 at 20:09:00 PT
a bit of history
The other night on the history channel they had program about the history of coffee. It was very interesting. The most interesting part was about how coffee made itís way from west Africa to Yemen in the fourteen hundreds via the slave trade. Then itís popularity spread north to Turkey and on to Europe by the late fourteen hundreds to early fifteen hundreds.  To illustrate their point of the Arabian contribution to coffeeís proliferation they showed all of these old pictures of Arab guys, at what else, Arabian coffee houses with coffee cups of course but also hookas, lots of hookas. Every picture had hookas in it. Now according to everything I could find, tobacco smoking was not know in Turkey, much less the rest of the Middle East until 1601. So, what could all of these guys be smoking in the fifteen hundreds? Certainly not tobacco. It would seem that coffee houses and cannabis go back a long way. 
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on September 15, 2005 at 18:23:25 PT
Laws For Profit
From the last article on the bulletin..."Many recent per se laws for DUID [driving under the influence of drugs] prescribe a zero tolerance for specific drugs, classifying drivers as being under the influence of a drug if any amount of a listed drug or its metabolites can be detected in blood or other body fluids. ... This strict approach facilitates law enforcement, but is not based on science and does not only target impaired drivers," authors state.It took an international panel of experts to figure that out? I guess it only backs up what we've been saying all along. U.S. laws aren't based on logic,reason or science. They are based on the whims of those who stand to profit from them. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Crossing the Rubicon: An Interview with Michael Ruppert: Hurricane Katrina Raises A Question: LETTER Challenges 9/11 Commissioners to Debate in Public Forum: Veteran and Old Conservative Republican From The Heartland Wants Bush Out Now!
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on September 15, 2005 at 16:04:54 PT
How much does the average medical user have?
If you use cannabis medicially, wouldn't you be walking around with a level higher than 5 ng/ml all the time?
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