News Release

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March 2, 2000

Study Indicates THC May Eradicate Brain Tumors

        Madrid, Spain:  Scientists at Complutense University and Autonoma University have discovered that compounds acting at cannabinoid receptors eradicate brain tumors (gliomas) in one third of rats treated, and prolong the survival of another third.
        The experiments led by Manuel Guzman suggest that cannabinoids kill glioma cells by inducing a programmed cell death (apoptosis) by a second messenger protein called ceramide and an intracellular signaling cascade.
        Guzman said about the experiment published in the March issue of Nature Medicine, that they tested tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) at very low doses and at a stage when the rats were already starting to die.  He predicts that the THC would be more effective if given earlier.
        Guzman said he hopes to start studies in humans in about a year.  "We observed a very remarkable growth inhibiting effect," he said.
        "It's very exciting if it makes a dent in the treatment of glioma," said Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon, MD.  "If there is truly some promise to it, that would really be quite phenomenal.  However, we have to be very cautious before we jump to any conclusions on how it effects humans."
        For more information, please contact Lester Grinspoon, MD, at (617)277-3621.

Illinois Senate Approves Industrial Hemp Study;
Bill Now In House Despite Attacks From Federal Drug Czar

        Springfield, IL:  The Illinois State Senate approved legislation last Thursday that will authorize the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University to plant and study industrial hemp.
        Senate Bill 1397 passed by a vote of 49-9. The bill, now in the Illinois House of Representatives (House Bill 3559), is currently in the Rules Committee.
        The bill requires the two universities to, "[O]btain all federal and state permits needed to legally grow industrial hemp for fiber or seed production before importing any non-sterilized industrial hemp seeds capable of germination into the state."  The universities will then report their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2002.
        Earlier this week, drug czar Barry McCaffrey attacked the legislation claiming it "may be a stalking horse for the legalization of marijuana."
        One of the House Bill's co-sponsors, Rep. Judy Erwin (D-Chicago), fired back at McCaffrey's flawed reasoning.
        "No one is suggesting the legalization of marijuana," Erwin said.  "It really obfuscates the purpose of this argument, which is to improve a seriously failing farm economy."
        Last December, Hawaii was the first state to legally plant industrial hemp.  Earlier in the year North Dakota and Minnesota also approved legislation to allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp.  Since then, other states, such as California, have approved legislation to explore the possibilities of growing industrial hemp.
        For more information, please contact Rep. Judy Erwin at (217) 782-8404 or Rep. I. Ronald Lawfer (co-sponsor) (R-Stockton) at (217)782-8186.

Industrial Hemp Bill Introduced In Maryland House Of Delegates

        Annapolis, MD:  A bill has been introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates that would establish a four-year pilot program to study the growth and market potential of industrial hemp.
        If approved, House Bill 1250, sponsored by Del. Ronald Guns (D-District 36) and Del. Dan Morhaim (D-District 11) would take effect on July 1, 2000.  The legislation requires that the state's secretary of agriculture administer the pilot program in consultation with state and federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, which would have to approve any cultivation plots as it has done in Hawaii.  According to the legislation, only state property may be used to cultivate industrial hemp during the duration of the study.
        "We are seeing an increasing number of states considering industrial hemp study legislation this year, which will hopefully lead to a greater understanding among legislators of hemp's utility," said Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director.
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.  HB 1250 can be viewed at

Judge Orders Narcotics Officers To Replace Patient's Marijuana

        Santa Rosa, CA:  A Superior Court Judge in Sonoma County ordered narcotics officers to return 1 1/4 pounds of marijuana to a patient who twice survived breaking his neck, and suffers from chronic pain.
        This is the first time in Sonoma County that a judge has ruled that marijuana be returned to a patient.  On Oct. 1, 1998, Scott Teeter's home was raided despite his status as a medical marijuana patient.  Fifty marijuana plants and a quantity of marijuana were seized.
        Teeter was cited for misdemeanor possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, but those charges were dropped in July of 1999.  Last week Judge Gayle Guynup ruled that the narcotics officers must reimburse his marijuana loss.
        For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, State Coordinator for California NORML at (415) 563-5858.

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