NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 3, 2007

††NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 3, 2007

Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2007 at 14:18:00 PT
Weekly Press Release †
Source: NORML †

State Legislatures Move Forward With Medi-Pot ProposalsMay 3, 2007 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Legislative chambers in Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Vermont approved medical cannabis legislation this week.
In Vermont, the House approved Senate Bill 7, which expands the list of qualifying conditions that may be legally treated with cannabis under state law. The bill must now go to conference committee before being sent to the Governorís desk.In Minnesota, the Senate gave preliminary approval to Senate File 345, which would allow state-authorized patients, under a physician's supervision, to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. The proposal also allows for private nonprofit dispensaries to register with the state to grow and dispense medicinal cannabis for registered patients. The House is expected to vote on a companion bill, House File 655, next week. In Rhode Island, lawmakers in the House voted 49-12 this week to repeal the sunset clause to the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act. Under the law, which is set to expire later this year without action from the legislature, authorized patients may possess and grow cannabis for therapeutic purposes. More than 260 patients and 270 caregivers are currently licensed to possess cannabis under the state program. The Rhode Island Senate is expected to vote on the measure later this week.For more information on these or other state legislative efforts, please visit NORMLís "Take Action Center" online at: Than 230 Cities, 35 Countries To Hold Marijuana Rallies This WeekendMay 3, 2007 - New York, NY, USANew York City, NY: Marijuana law reform activists in over 230 cities across the globe will hold marches this weekend to protest the criminal prohibition of cannabis. The worldwide event, known as the "Global Marijuana March," will be held on Saturday, May 5. Over 400 cities since 1999 have participated in the event, which is coordinated by Cures-Not-Wars in New York City and Cannabis Culture Magazine in Vancouver. The following NORML affiliates are participating in this year's marches: University of Arkansas NORML, Arizona NORML, Bakersfield NORML (CA), Humbolt State University NORML (CA), University of Central Florida (UCF) NORML, Maui NORML (HI), Illinois NORML, Maine-ly NORML, MassCann NORML (MA), Missouri NORML, Greater St. Louis NORML, Willamette Valley NORML (OR), Nevada NORML, Houston NORML (TX), Vermont NORML, and Norway NORML (Norway). A list of cities participating in this yearís event is available online at: DL: Pot Use Doesnít Exacerbate Symptoms Of Schizophrenia, Study SaysMay 3, 2007 - London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom: Marijuana use is not associated with heightened symptoms of schizophrenia, according to data to be published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.Investigators at Londonís Institute of Psychiatry assessed whether the prior use of cannabis in patients with schizophrenia was associated with appreciable changes in schizophrenic symptoms compared with patients who had no history of marijuana use. Researchers performed logistic regression analysis on 757 volunteers with cases of first onset schizophrenia. Of these, 182 (24 percent) had reportedly used cannabis in the year prior to diagnosis, while 552 (73 percent) had not. (The remaining three percent had no data available.) Investigators reported no statistically significant "differences in syptomatology between schizophrenic patients who were or were not cannabis users" after controlling for patientsí age, sex, and ethnicity. Researchers also failed to find "any evidence that cannabis users with schizophrenia were more likely to have a family member with the disorder."These findings "argue against a distinct schizophrenic-like psychosis caused by cannabis," authors concluded. The study is the largest trial ever conducted to compare cannabis using and non-using schizophrenic patients, investigators said.Although investigators did not assess whether cannabis consumers had greater odds of contracting schizophrenia compared to those who did not have a history of smoking pot, prior reviews have downplayed such an association. Most recently, Britain's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) concluded in 2006, "For individuals, the current evidence suggests, at worst, that using cannabis increases lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia by one percent."A separate 2006 report by Britainís Beckley Foundation speculated that cannabis may "precipitate schizophrenia in people who are already vulnerable" to the disease, but it also acknowledged that the "increased rates of cannabis use in the last thirty years have not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in the rate of psychosis in the population."NORML Advisory Board Member Mitch Earleywine, author of the book Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence (Oxford University Press), said: "Schizophrenia is a rare and heterogenous disorder that requires both biological and environmental contributors. I hope this latest work helps to counter the idea that there exists a distinct psychotic disorder related to cannabis as well as other equally simplistic, and often inaccurate, notions regarding the use of cannabis and mental illness."A study co-authored by Earleywine and published in the journal Psychiatry Research in 2005 reported that cannabis use typically follows rather than precedes behavior suggestive of schizophrenia. "These findings do not support a causal link between cannabis use and schizotypal traits," the study concluded.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: paul Full text of the study, "A comparison of symptoms and family history in schizophrenia with and without prior cannabis use: Implications for the concept of cannabis psychosis," will appear in the journal Schizophrenia Research. A discussion of this study may be downloaded from the May 2, 2007 edition of the NORML Daily AudioStash at: Additional information may be found in the NORML paper, "Cannabis, Mental Health and Context," available online at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 3, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 

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Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 04, 2007 at 09:45:24 PT

You are out in California now right? If so here's a song for you and your family.California Dreaming
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Comment #3 posted by paul armentano on May 04, 2007 at 09:41:05 PT

Audio commentary on pot and schizophrenia story
The Wednesday edition of NORML's daily podcast has about 30 minutes devoted to responding to the latest UK headlines re: cannabis and schizophrenia, and the suggested association between cannabis use and mental health. You can download todays' show by logging onto to:http://www.normlaudiostash.comor by going to:
Dr. Mitch Earleywine -- whose conducted and published research on cannabis use and schizophrenia -- and I discuss this issue in depth with AudioStash host Chris Goldstein in a separate special report available for download here: additional background and perspective (something all of the media reports seem to be sorely lacking) on this issue, I've also updated my report, "Cannabis, Mental Health & Context," which you can read online here:
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Comment #2 posted by whig on May 03, 2007 at 20:47:57 PT

That was the last straw
If anyone thought that cannabis could possibly be harmful to anyone it was in the alleged precipitation or worsening of schizophrenia. This has now been disproven.Who is cannabis harmful to? Cannabis seems to be harmful to nobody.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on May 03, 2007 at 18:27:52 PT

I'm not Schizo...
and I'm not either. Just kidding!From the last article on the bulletin...London, United Kingdom: Marijuana use is not associated with heightened symptoms of schizophrenia, according to data to be published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.Where are all of the articles touting this study? Nevermind, the mainstream media only runs articles that bash cannabis! It's no wonder they are going down the tubes real friggin' fast. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Potential terror jurors cite 9/11 doubts: to Confront Steve Nass, Announce Morocco "Hijacker" Search: Baskerville (CBS) learns of both plane crashes in New York before President Bush? and Psychologists: Government's 9/11 Story is Crazy:

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