NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - February 14, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - February 14, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on February 14, 2008 at 14:07:21 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML
  NORML Responds To Media Claim: “Pot As Addictive As Tobacco” -- Widely Reported Study Based Its Findings On Only 12 Subjects, Is Contradicted By The Institute Of Medicine  February 14, 2008 - Baltimore, MD, USABaltimore, MD: The results of a recent study from Johns Hopkins University suggesting that quitting cannabis can trigger withdrawal symptoms as severe as those associated with quitting cigarettes are based on subjective reports from only twelve individuals, and are in sharp contrast to findings reported previously by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM).
The widely reported study, published last week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, evaluated the behavior patterns of twelve participants selected at random to cease their use of marijuana and tobacco for five days. Participants reported their symptoms using a checklist that indicated scores for anger, aggression, anxiety, appetite change, irritability, restlessness, sleep difficulty, and other common withdrawal symptoms. Investigators found that subjects reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms of a similar nature and magnitude regardless of whether they were abstaining from tobacco or cannabis. "These results … suggest [that] cannabis withdrawal is clinically important," researchers concluded.By contrast, previous studies published by the Institute of Medicine and others have consistently reported that cannabis lacks the severe physical and psychological dependence liability associated with other common intoxicants, such as alcohol, cocaine, and tobacco. According to the IOM, among those individuals who use tobacco, 32 percent at some point in their lives meet the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of "drug dependence." By comparison, 23 percent of heroin users, 17 percent of cocaine users, and 15 percent of alcohol users meet the criteria for drug dependence. Fewer than ten percent of cannabis users ever meet these criteria, the IOM found."Millions of Americans have tried marijuana, but most are not regular users … [and] few marijuana users become dependent on it," the IOM concluded. "[A]though [some] marijuana users [do] develop dependence, … they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs."NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that symptoms of so-called ‘marijuana withdrawal’ are typically infrequent, mild, and short-lived. "These are not the sort of symptoms that threaten one’s physical health, such as those associated with alcohol, nor are they the sort of symptoms that are severe enough to persuade most individuals to reinitiate their behavior, such as those commonly associated with nicotine," he said. "Furthermore, according to the federal government, most cannabis consumers voluntarily cease their pot use by age thirty. Compare this pattern of use to that of cigarette smokers, who typically begin their habit in adolescence and continue it unabated for the rest of their lives."For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul norml.orgDL:   NORML Announces Third Annual Aspen Legal Seminar  February 14, 2008 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: NORML is now accepting registrations from criminal defense attorneys and the general public for its third annual Aspen Legal Seminar. This year’s event will take place on Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7 at the Gant Hotel in downtown Aspen – one of the nation's most marijuana-friendly cities.Speakers at this year’s event include John Wesley Hall, president elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Jeralyn Merritt, television legal analyst for MSNBC and host of the popular website; Gerald Goldstein, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and legal counsel for the late-Hunter S. Thompson; and Paul Wright, editor and co-founder of Prison Legal News, the longest publishing independent prisoner rights magazine in US history.Social events at this year's conference include an opening night reception, a benefit dinner catered by Aspen chef Chris Lanter of Cache Cache, and an afternoon cookout at the fabled Owl Farm, the legendary Woody Creek home of the late Hunter S. Thompson."This is the one NORML legal seminar each year to which we welcome both lawyers and non-lawyers, and our experience with this model has been very positive," said NORML founder and Legal Director Keith Stroup. "Please mark you calendar and join us this June."Conference agenda and registration information for the 2007 Aspen Legal Seminar is now available online at:  Vermont: Senate Backs Pot Decriminalization Proposal   February 14, 2008 - Montpelier, VT, USAMontpelier, VT: Members of the Vermont Senate voted 22-7 Wednesday to give preliminary approval to legislation seeking to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.As amended, Senate Bill 238 would replace existing criminal penalties outlawing the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis with civil sanctions, punishable by a fine and no criminal record.Under current state law, the possession or cultivation of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail.The bill is expected to receive final approval from the Senate imminently before going to the Vermont House.Currently, twelve states have enacted similar versions of marijuana decriminalization – replacing criminal sanctions with the imposition of fine-only penalties for minor pot violators.If passed, Vermont would be the first state to enact marijuana decriminalization since Nevada's legislature did so in 2001.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup at (202) 483-5500. Additional information on SB 238 is available from NORML’s "Take Action" Center at: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: February 14, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by user123 on February 16, 2008 at 12:20:09 PT:
Stacking the Deck
"...twelve participants selected at random to cease their use of marijuana and tobacco for five days." So they picked 12 random people who smoke marijuana & tobacco, & then they proceed to list symtoms that are associated with tobacco? Yep, that's a valid study - of tobacco withdrawl. People will do and say anything to pay the mortgage.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on February 15, 2008 at 11:11:22 PT
Not true; cannabis is less addictive than cigs.
In fact, cannabis is less addictive than coffee. (see ).
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