NORML Weekly News Bulletin -- September 21, 2006

  NORML Weekly News Bulletin -- September 21, 2006

Posted by CN Staff on September 21, 2006 at 15:16:53 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML  

Arkansas: Municipal Pot Initiative Certified For November Ballot September 21, 2006 - Eureka Springs, AR, USAEureka Springs, AR: Eureka Springs city election officials confirmed this week that a municipal initiative that seeks to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses has been certified to appear on the November 2006 ballot.
Sponsored by the Fayetteville/University of Arkansas chapter of NORML, the proposal direct local law enforcement to issue a summons in lieu of a criminal arrest for adults found to be in possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and or marijuana paraphernalia.Several municipalities - including most notably Ann Arbor, Michigan and Madison, Wisconsin - have enacted local decriminalization laws. Voters in Columbia, Missouri passed a similar ballot initiative in 2004 amending the city criminal code to depenalize the possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia to a fine-only offense.Voters in several cities - including Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica, California, as well as Missoula, Montana - will also decide on municipal ballot measures to liberalize marijuana possession laws this fall.A summary of this November's 'pot-friendly' state and local ballot initiatives is available at: Deterrent Effect Of Workplace Drug Testing Overstated, Study SaysSeptember 21, 2006 - Irvine, CA, USAIrvine, CA: Claims that workplace drug testing programs can dramatically reduce employee drug use are overstated, according to the findings of a study to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Health Services Research."Previous studies have interpreted the large negative correlation between workplace drug testing and employee substance use as representing a causal deterrent effect of drug testing," the study says. "Our results using more comprehensive data suggest that these estimates have been slightly overstated due to omitted variable bias" such as failure to account for other workplace programs (e.g., employee assistance programs) and/or whether employees who do not consume illicit drugs are more likely to work in environments that mandate drug testing.Though the study did report a negative correlation between workplace drug testing and self reported monthly use of marijuana, the study did not conclude that workplace drug testing was necessarily associated with increased employee productivity or decreased accidents.The study reported that US businesses spend an estimated $6 billion per year on employee drug testing programs.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Workplace drug testing and worker drug use," will appear in Health Services Research. Additional information on the costs of workplace drug testing is available online at: DL: Experts Call For Legal Cannabis To Treat Hep C VirusSeptember 21, 2006 - Toronto, OntarioToronto, Ontario: Patients afflicted with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) should be legally permitted to use cannabis to combat treatment-related side effects of the disease, advises an international team of investigators writing in the October issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.The researchers issued their recommendation following the results of an observational study by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) that found that HCV patients who used cannabis were significantly more likely to adhere to their treatment regimen than patients who didn't use it. Patients on HCV therapy medications typically report numerous adverse side effects - including fatigue, headaches, nausea, anorexia, depression, and insomnia that cause many of them to prematurely discontinue treatment.Commenting on the study, investigators from Canada and Germany wrote that cannabis' "potential benefits of a higher likelihood of treatment success [for HCV patients] appear to outweigh [its] risks. ... Even before such effects are conclusively established, HCV treatment patients ... desiring to aid their treatment adherence by cannabis use should be legally permitted in doing so."Though survey data indicates that many HCV patients use cannabis therapeutically to treat both symptoms of the disease as well as the side effects of HCV therapy, no clinical studies have been performed to assess the safety or efficacy of cannabinoids for hepatitis C treatment. In addition, a 2005 retrospective study of untreated HCV patients reported that daily cannabis smoking was associated with hepatic fibrosis. However, UCSF investigators found "no significant difference in liver fibrosis" between moderate cannabis smokers and non-users in their observational study.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of studies, "Treatment for hepatitis C virus and cannabis use in illicit drug user patients: implications and questions" and "Cannabis use improves retention and virological outcomes in patients treated for hepatitis C," are available in the October issue of the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.Additional information on cannabinoids and hepatitis C is available in NORML's new report, "Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis," online at: Arrests For Year 2005 -- 786,545 Tops Record High... Pot Smokers Arrested In America At A Rate Of One Every 40 SecondsSeptember 18, 2006 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Police arrested an estimated 786,545 persons for marijuana violations in 2005, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprised 42.6 percent of all drug arrests in the United States."These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre, who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 40 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that diverts law enforcement personnel away from focusing on serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent some 696,074 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 90,471 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. In past years, roughly 30 percent of those arrested were age 19 or younger."Present policies have done little if anything to decrease marijuana's availability or dissuade youth from trying it," St. Pierre said, noting young people in the U.S. now frequently report that they have easier access to pot than alcohol or tobacco.The total number of marijuana arrests in the U.S. for 2005 far exceeded the total number of arrests in the U.S. for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.Annual marijuana arrests have more than doubled since the early 1990s."Arresting hundreds of thousands of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly needlessly destroys the lives of otherwise law abiding citizens," St. Pierre said, adding that over 8 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges in the past decade. During this same time, arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, implying that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs.St. Pierre concluded: "Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 18 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater - and arguably far fewer - health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco."            YEAR     --      MARIJUANA ARRESTS            2005          --        786,545            2004            --     771,608            2003             --     755,187            2002             --     697,082            2001            --     723,627            2000           --       734,498            1999               --  704,812            1998                --  682,885            1997               --   695,200            1996               --   641,642            1995                 -- 588,963            1994                 -- 499,122            1993                 -- 380,689            1992                 -- 342,314            1991                 -- 287,850            1990                 -- 326,850For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500. For a comprehensive breakdown and analysis of US marijuana arrests, please see NORML's report: "Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States," at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: September 21, 2006Copyright: 2006 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 

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Comment #17 posted by Wayne on September 22, 2006 at 20:32:14 PT
f***in' Congress
They don't have time to argue about protecting our borders, but they have time for THIS SH*T?? I think this is a blatant example of where their priorities lie. If this can't wake the American people up, then God help us all.
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Comment #16 posted by Had Enough on September 22, 2006 at 13:32:36 PT
Hey!!! "Congress"
Leave those Kids alone!!!
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on September 22, 2006 at 12:58:59 PT
“Our House” re: #11
Congratulations to “The House”.  What in the world are they thinking. They want to open up the door for those sick whacko perverted child molesters. I wonder how many new applications for employment will be presented so these deviants can do their thing. Oh let’s not forget all the “volunteer” workers that will be signing up and that undergo less scrutiny.Child sex offenders will thank you.Strip-searching kids!!! A ‘creeps’ dream comes true. Good thing this might die in the Senate, but it will pop up again in the future. Thanks for the post unkat.
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Comment #14 posted by potpal on September 22, 2006 at 07:32:56 PT
Picked this out via SAFER blog... a revolting development this is...let the truth be told.
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Comment #13 posted by global_warming on September 22, 2006 at 03:28:30 PT
Back in Nevada
Drug czar attacks marijuana initiative 22, 2006By Neal LevineJohn P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) -- our nation's so-called drug czar -- made appearances in Reno last week to attack Question 7, the initiative to tax and regulate marijuana. This is just the first round in the federal government's coordinated campaign to influence the voters of Nevada on a state issue.Many Nevadans will remember that then-Attorney General Brian Sandoval referred to the federal government's intervention in the 2002 marijuana initiative as "excessive" and "disturbing." Sandoval stated in an official opinion that it was "unfortunate that a representative of the federal government substantially intervened in a matter that was clearly a State of Nevada issue."Nevadans should expect more anti-marijuana commercials and a number of visits by federal officials to influence the outcome of our election.The federal government will be fighting the marijuana initiative this year with an unlimited source of campaign funds: the wallets of every American taxpayer. This year, the drug czar has at least $100 million in taxpayer funds at his disposal to spend on television, radio and newspaper ads. In all, the government spends about $7.7 billion enforcing marijuana prohibition annually, yet the U.S. Department of Justice reports "marijuana availability is high and stable or increasing slightly." In essence, our marijuana laws do not work.Congress, to its credit, is starting to scrutinize the failures of the drug czar. On Aug. 25, the Government Accountability Office -- Congress' investigating arm and auditing agency -- issued a report finding that ONDCP's anti-drug advertising campaign has not been effective at deterring youth drug use, and that Congress should consider slashing their budget until ONDCP is able to "provide credible evidence of the effectiveness of exposure to the campaign on youth drug use." And the Des Moines Register reported on April 26 that U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, believes President George W. Bush should fire Walters for spending too much time on marijuana and not enough on the rising use of hard drugs like methamphetamine.Our current marijuana laws have given violent gangs and criminals an exclusive business franchise in Nevada. In contrast, we support taking marijuana out of the hands of criminals and placing it into a tightly controlled and regulated market. Our initiative creates a statewide system for the legal cultivation, distribution, sale, and taxation of a maximum of one ounce of marijuana to adults aged 21 and older.Earlier this year, Walters admitted that Mexican drug cartels are currently making $8.5 billion off of marijuana sales. Instead of funding the violent activities of street gangs and drug dealers, our initiative will levy a tax on marijuana -- generating millions of dollars for our state.As Nevadans, we have an important choice to make this year. We can continue to support our broken marijuana laws, or we can take marijuana out of the hands of criminals and create a system of taxation and regulation. We urge the people of Nevada to vote "yes" on Question 7 on Nov. 7.Neal Levine is campaign manager for the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, which supports Question 7.
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Comment #12 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on September 22, 2006 at 03:21:22 PT
Saw this cartoon this morning, thought it was appropriate; if only someone had said something similar to the prohibitionists, we wouldn't be in this mess.
The Buckets - 9/22/06
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Comment #11 posted by unkat27 on September 22, 2006 at 02:16:34 PT
This Just In: House Passes Strip Search Bill
WASHINGTON - September 21 - A bill approved by the U.S. House yesterday would require school districts around the country to establish policies making it easier for teachers and school officials to conduct wide scale searches of students. These searches could take the form of pat-downs, bag searches, or strip searches depending on how administrators interpret the law.The Student Teacher Safety Act of 2006 (HR 5295) would require any school receiving federal funding--essentially every public school--to adopt policies allowing teachers and school officials to conduct random, warrantless searches of every student, at any time, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Saying they suspect that one student might have drugs could give officials the authority to search every student in the building.DPA supporters and others who opposed this outrageous bill called their members of Congress this week to express their disapproval. However, House leaders circumvented the usual legislative procedure to bring the bill to a quick vote. It did not pass through the committee process, but went straight to the House floor. There, it was passed by a simple voice vote, so constituents cannot even find out how their Representative voted.The bill moves next to the Senate, but it is unlikely to be considered there this session.Bill Piper, DPA's director of national affairs, said, "It looks like this bill was rushed to the House floor to help out the sponsor, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY/4th), who is in a tight re-election race. This vote lets him say he's getting things done in Washington. But I would be surprised to see a similar push in the Senate."HR 5295 is opposed in its current form by several groups, including the Drug Policy Alliance, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the ACLU, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Parent Teacher Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the National School Boards Association.DPA will be watching the bill so that if and when it does come up again, this wide array of opponents can mobilize to stop it.
House Approves Strip Search Bill
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Comment #10 posted by Telarus on September 21, 2006 at 20:41:59 PT:
Excellent, thanks for the reference.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on September 21, 2006 at 19:19:38 PT
I never liked Clinton. He is good at being diplomatic but I always thought he was what I call a want to be Republican. He never was like Jimmy Carter or JFK. That's the kind of Democrat I like.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on September 21, 2006 at 19:16:31 PT
I do have a few articles related to Alzheimers posted.Marijuana Ingredient May Help Alzheimer's May Block Alzheimer's Times for Alzheimers 
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Comment #7 posted by whig on September 21, 2006 at 19:15:22 PT
What's really offensive is how those numbers went up during the Clinton years, too.
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Comment #6 posted by whig on September 21, 2006 at 19:13:04 PT
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Comment #5 posted by lombar on September 21, 2006 at 18:49:32 PT
Numbers don't lie
It is sickening to note that proponents of the war on drugs claim its a success yet more and more people are being arrested. Logic dictates that if arresting people reduced the numbers of people using drugs, there would be fewer drug users to arrest. It is also interesting to note that some peoples anti-drug zealotry is only out matched by religous extremists, but since they are often the same group, used to ignoring reality in favor of belief, it comes as no surprise.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on September 21, 2006 at 18:23:09 PT
Land Of The Free?
From the last article on the bulletin...YEAR -- MARIJUANA ARRESTS2005 -- 786,5452004 -- 771,6082003 -- 755,1872002 -- 697,0822001 -- 723,6272000 -- 734,4981999 -- 704,8121998 -- 682,8851997 -- 695,2001996 -- 641,6421995 -- 588,9631994 -- 499,1221993 -- 380,6891992 -- 342,3141991 -- 287,8501990 -- 326,850Never mind the rapists,child-molesters,murderers,
thieves,terrorists,etc.The land of the free?THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Barrie Zwicker Video - 9/11 Truth: Everybody Knows (except the mainstream media!): Gordon's affadavit on the demolition of the WTC: Graphic Novel - The Real Version: Dollar$ & $en$e Of 911:
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Comment #3 posted by Telarus on September 21, 2006 at 18:13:58 PT:
"No medical value" myth DESTROYED
So, through a friend on Livejournal, I found this absolutely cool, amazing news release. FoM, should this go on the front page? Marijuana's Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer's Disease LA JOLLA, CA, August 9, 2006 - Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found that the active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, the primary pathological marker for Alzheimer's disease. In fact, the study said, THC is "a considerably superior inhibitor of [amyloid plaque] aggregation" to several currently approved drugs for treating the disease.The study was published online August 9 in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, a publication of the American Chemical Society. ....."While we are certainly not advocating the use of illegal drugs, these findings offer convincing evidence that THC possesses remarkable inhibitory qualities, especially when compared to AChE inhibitors currently available to patients," said Kim Janda, Ph.D., who is Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research, a member of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and director of the Worm Institute of Research and Medicine. "In a test against propidium, one of the most effective inhibitors reported to date, THC blocked AChE-induced aggregation completely, while the propidium did not. Although our study is far from final, it does show that there is a previously unrecognized molecular mechanism through which THC may directly affect the progression of Alzheimer's disease."As the new study points out, any new treatment that could halt or even slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease would have a major impact on the quality of life for patients, as well as reducing the staggering health care costs associated with the disease. .....The cholinergic system - the nerve cell system in the brain that uses acetylcholine (Ach) as a neurotransmitter - is the most dramatic of the neurotransmitter systems affected by Alzheimer's disease. Levels of acetylcholine, which was first identified in 1914, are abnormally low in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Currently, there are four FDA-approved drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease by inhibiting the active site of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme responsible for the degradation of acetylcholine."When we investigated the power of THC to inhibit the aggregation of beta-amyloid," Janda said, "we found that THC was a very effective inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. In addition to propidium, we also found that THC was considerably more effective than two of the approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease treatment, donepezil (Aricept ®) and tacrine (Cognex ®), which reduced amyloid aggregation by only 22 percent and 7 percent, respectively, at twice the concentration used in our studies. Our results are conclusive enough to warrant further investigation." 
Scripps Research Institute Press Release -Cannabis and Alzheimer's Disease-
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Comment #2 posted by whig on September 21, 2006 at 17:37:58 PT
Keith Richards
He still sounds like a heroin addict to me.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on September 21, 2006 at 17:27:35 PT
OT: Keith Richards: Today’s Drugs Are Rubbish
September 21, 2006Keith Richards has claimed that he no longer takes drugs – because their quality just isn’t what it used to be.
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