News Release
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September 6, 2001

Marijuana Activists Killed by Police in Standoff Over Pot Plants, Rally

Vandalia, MI: Federal and state law enforcement agents shot and killed a pair of outspoken marijuana-law reform advocates on their property this week, violently ending a multi-day standoff with authorities. The shooting victims, Rainbow Farm owner Grover "Tom" Crosslin and partner Rolland Rohm, were well known locally for their support of the "medical, spiritual and responsible recreational uses of marijuana," and were described by friends and neighbors as caring individuals who often staged charity events for the community.

Rainbow Farm hosted several annual music festivals to raise awareness about marijuana prohibition, including HempAid and RoachRoast.  Authorities claimed that Crosslin violated a court order by holding a recent festival in August. Crosslin and five others had been charged by police in May with manufacturing marijuana and maintaining a drug house after undercover officers allegedly observed marijuana and other drug use by festival attendees. Authorities descended on Rainbow Farm Friday, after Crosslin set fire to several buildings on his property that had been targeted for civil forfeiture and missed a scheduled bond revocation hearing.

NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup called the fatal outcome a needless tragedy. "Law enforcement should never cause greater harm than the alleged criminal activity they are entrusted to investigate," he said. "Crosslin and Rohm were charged with non-violent, marijuana-related offenses and paid for it with their lives. If authorities can use tranquilizer guns to still wild animals and rubber bullets against large crowds of WTO protesters, it's inexcusable that they used deadly force against these two men."

Both the Justice Department and the Michigan State Police will commence full investigations into the shootings, the Associated Press reported.

For more information, please contact Keith Stroup or Donna Shea, NORML Litigation Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Marijuana Spray Arrests Pain in MS, Spinal Cord Patients, Study Says

Glasgow, Scotland: Marijuana extracts administered under the tongue dramatically reduce chronic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and spinal injuries, according to preliminary findings from a recent clinical trial on marijuana and pain management.

"We've had some patients say: 'This is brilliant; it stopped my pain in its tracks,'" said lead researcher Dr. William Notcutt of James Paget Hospital in eastern England. "Several patients experienced a dramatic improvement in the pain they were experiencing." Notcutt said he hoped to publish final conclusions of the trial next year.

Of the 23 patients participating in the study, 20 experienced significant benefits, including pain relief and sleep enhancement. Patients self-administered marijuana extracts via a sublingual spray. The extracts used in the study were taken from medical marijuana plants specially grown by GW Pharmaceuticals, a London company licensed to cultivate and test medical marijuana in clinical trials.

Results of a previous UK trial of 75 patients conducted this year found that marijuana extracts greatly reduced pain, muscle spasms and bladder dysfunction in patients with MS. Similar studies are scheduled to begin in Canada later this year.

"I hope it will not be long before this new medicine can be used much more widely," Norcott said.

"Evidence indicates that marijuana and its derivatives are suitable for patients suffering from various types of chronic pain, especially those unresponsive to traditional analgesics," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "In addition, cannabis may offer fewer negative side-effects than opioids - which can be highly addictive - and NSAIDS, which can induce stomach ulcers, bleeding, and kidney failure."

This Friday, the American Academy of Pain Management will host a daylong seminar on the role of cannabis and pain management at its 12th Annual Clinical Meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.

Marijuana Is Neuroprotective, Journal Says

Utrecht, The Netherlands:Compounds in marijuana dramatically protect brain cells during acute head trauma, according to research findings published in this week's Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers reported that THC injected intracerebrally in rats significantly "reduce[d] neuronal injury ... compared with control animals."

Scientists concluded, "These results provide evidence that the cannabinoid system can serve to protect the brain against neurodegeneration."

NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said that the findings should dispel myths that marijuana is toxic to the brain. "This research indicates that just the opposite is true" he said.

Former NORML Foundation Chairman Dr. Lester Grinspoon, author of Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine, said the study confirms earlier research performed in Israel and the US showing cannabinoids to be potent anti-oxidants. He added that smoked marijuana likely also possesses the same neuroprotective properties.

In their 1999 report Marijuana as Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, authors at the Institute of Medicine noted, "One of the most prominent new applications for cannabinoids is for 'neuroprotection,' the rescue of neurons from cell death associated with trauma ... and neurological diseases."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.

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