News Release

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March 9, 2000

Researchers Link Marijuana And The Suppression Of Multiple Sclerosis

        London, England:  Researchers at the University College of London have found a link between marijuana and the suppression of multiple sclerosis.
        The research, led by David Baker, studied mice suffering from chronic allergic encephalomyelitis, an animal autoimmune model for multiple sclerosis, and said a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ameliorated the mice's symptoms by reducing tremors and spasticity.  The compounds injected into the mice stimulated Cannabinoid receptors on the surface of nerve cells.
        Testing on humans has not begun, but the results from this latest study are encouraging.
        "This lends credence to the anecdotal reports that some people with multiple sclerosis have said that cannabis can help control these distressing symptoms," said Lorna Layward, one of the study's authors and head of research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
        "This study is reassuring to anyone who is a recreational user and also has multiple sclerosis," said multiple sclerosis specialist Denis J. Petro, M.D.
        For more information, please contact Denis Petro, M.D. at (703) 528-2647.

Hawaii House and Senate Pass Separate Medical Marijuana Bills

        Honolulu, HI:  Separate medical marijuana bills in the Hawaii Senate and House passed this past Tuesday.  Both bills are now awaiting committee designations in the opposite chambers.
        House Bill 1157 and Senate Bill 862 would both allow for the acquisition, possession, cultivation, distribution, transportation and the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Patients would be allowed to possess up to 10.5 ounces of marijuana.
        The legislation would allow for the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, for patients who suffer from such medical conditions as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis, or any other medical condition approved by the department of health.
        The Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D-District 14) passed by one vote (13-12) and the House bill sponsored by Rep. Calvin Say (D-District 18) passed 32-18.  Gov. Ben Cayetano has said he favors medical marijuana so a veto is unlikely.
        "It is encouraging that state legislatures are beginning to approve the medical use of marijuana," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "With polls showing 73 percent approval nationwide for medical use, elected officials are finally listening to their constituents."
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500; Donald Topping, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii President at (808) 988-4386.  To view SB 862 or HB 1157 visit:

Industrial Hemp Legislation Introduced In Kentucky

        Frankfort, KY:  A bill has been introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives which would legalize industrial hemp cultivation and establish an ongoing study of the crop's potential.
        House Bill 855, sponsored by Rep. Joe Barrows (D-District 56) and Rep. Roger Thomas (D-District 21), is now in the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee.  The bill would require the Kentucky Agricultural Department to license hemp farmers and inspect industrial hemp crops to ensure the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels will be less than one percent.
        Because tobacco acreage has declined by 65 percent over the last two years, supporters of the bill suggest that farmers who grow industrial hemp could benefit tremendously from the crop.  They also look to a 1998 University of Kentucky study that determined a legal hemp industry could reap hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars.
        "We're at a point in time with our agricultural economy that I think it's time for this bill," Barrows said.
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500; Rep. Joe Barrows at (606) 873-9768; or Rep. Roger Thomas at (270) 563-4576.  To view HB 855 visit:

NORML Launches Radio Ad Campaign In New Mexico

        Washington, DC:  NORML launched a radio advertising campaign in Santa Fe and Albuquerque this week, stating "Every 54 seconds another American is arrested for smoking marijuana...Governor Gary Johnson is right; it's time we stopped arresting adults who smoke marijuana responsibly."
        The ad is intended to build support for Gov. Johnson's call to legalize marijuana, citing the failed drug war and the absurdity of arresting otherwise law abiding marijuana smokers.  Listeners are encouraged to visit NORML's website ( where they can contact the governor and state and federal legislators.  They are also referred to NORML's new state affiliate in New Mexico.
        NORML will soon be providing similar public service announcements to radio stations around the country.
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500.

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