NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 10, 2007

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - May 10, 2007
Posted by CN Staff on May 10, 2007 at 13:52:26 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML 
Join NORML In Los Angeles For Our 2007 National Conference -- Sign Up Today To Take Advantage Of NORML’s Limited Discounted RatesMay 10, 2007 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: NORML welcomes you to join us in Los Angeles Friday, October 12, and Saturday, October 13, for the 2007 national NORML Conference. 
This year’s two-day ‘extravaganja’ will take place at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City. Please mark your calendar now and plan to join us as we focus on the latest marijuana policy developments at the state and federal levels, celebrate our victories over the past year, and hear from the world’s leading activists and cannabis law reform organizations.Network with the nation's top advocates, mingle with celebrities and members of High Times Magazine, as well as NORML's staff and board of directors, and enjoy a variety of unique after-hours events. Register early and take advantage of special discounted pricing on both the conference and hotel accommodations. Online registration for NORML’s 36th annual national conference is available now at: For additional details on this year’s conference agenda, business sponsorships, or to find out how to take advantage of our ‘pre-registration’ discount, please visit: or call (202) 483-5500.DL: State’s 13,000 Teachers To Be Subjected To Random Drug TestingMay 10, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, USAHonolulu, HI: Hawaii public school teachers have ratified new contract provisions that include random drug testing for the islands’ 13,000 teachers. Members of the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s Board of Director’s had previously approved the provisions – which state government officials added to the contracts following the recent arrests of a handful of school officials on drug-related charges.It’s been estimated that the new random testing program will cost Hawaii’s taxpayers close to $100,000 annually.Approximately 61 percent of teachers who participated in last week’s vote approved the drug testing measure. The new two-year contracts will also give teachers a pay raise. Officials from the Hawaii Governor’s office strongly pushed for the drug testing provisions, stating that any new contact offered by the state would have to include a clause for testing teachers.Protocols for the drug-testing program have yet to be developed, and still need to be negotiated by the teachers union and the state Department of Education.In 1989, the US Supreme Court determined that randomly drug testing certain federal and/or state employees does not violate the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches. However, in 1998, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that public school teachers, teacher’s aids, and clerical workers cannot be drug tested absent individualized suspicion (United Teachers of New Orleans v. Orleans Parish School Board), though more recent rulings have upheld such testing policies.Hawaii’s policy will likely face a similar legal challenge.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Red Tape Thwarts Patients’ Access To Legal Medi-Pot Supply, Study Says May 10, 2007 - Ottawa, OntarioOttawa, Ontario: Most Canadian patients who use cannabis therapeutically are not registered under the federal medical marijuana access program and continue to acquire their medicine from the black market, according to survey data published in the April issue of the journal AIDS Care.Investigators at the Canadian AIDS Society and British Columbia’s Centre for Addictions Research surveyed 197 volunteers living with HIV/AIDS. Among the respondents surveyed, 61 percent said that they used marijuana therapeutically, but only 36 percent said that they had applied for legal access to use cannabis under Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). Enacted in 2001, the MMAR grants qualified patients a federal exemption to possess and use medicinal marijuana. Registered patients also have the option to purchase government grown pot.Among those respondents who had not registered with the government, most said that they found Health Canada’s regulations to be overly "onerous, complicated, or intimidating." Many also said that they had consistently heard negative feedback about the program and the quality of the government’s medical cannabis. Of those patients surveyed, only two percent said they had purchased government grown medi-pot.On average, HIV/AIDS patients consumed about 66 grams of marijuana per month (2.2 grams per day), the survey reported. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said that their physician supported their marijuana therapy, and 92 percent reported that they had spoken with their doctor about their marijuana use. Most patients surveyed (62 percent) said that they acquired medical cannabis from "a friend or someone they know," while 36 percentage said they purchased cannabis from private cannabis dispensaries. Authors of the study recommended the Canadian government begin formally licensing dispensaries because they provide patients with "a safe supply of cannabis … and offer therapeutic knowledge and [other] social support needs that other supply sources do not." Commenting on this recommendation, Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, said: "Our current federal program is failing to protect critically and chronically ill Canadians. ... [T]he lack of official government and legal support for ... community-based dispensaries means that those who use medical cannabis to treat serious health conditions face unnecessary risk and stigma for making fundamental choices in regards to their healthcare."A 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey reported that approximately four percent of Canadians aged 15 and older self identify as medicinal cannabis patients. However, fewer than 1,400 Canadians are registered to legally use medical marijuana under the MMAR.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at: paul Full text of the study, "Barrier to access to medical cannabis for Canadians living with HIV/AIDS," appears in the April issue of AIDS Care.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 10, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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