May 9, 2002
Canada: Government Study Blows Lid Off U.S. Pot Propaganda
Marijuana Not A Gateway, Effects "Relatively Benign," Senate Report Finds
Ottawa, Ontario: Marijuana is a relatively harmless drug that has little impact on public safety, according to the findings of a preliminary government report from the Canadian Senate's Special Committee on Illegal Drugs. Among the Senate's findings:
The committee's full report, which is expected to recommend decriminalizing marijuana, will be released in August. The preliminary report is available online at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/illegal-drugs.asp.
For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. A summary of previous federally commissioned reports is available at: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3382.
Government Approval For Medical Pot Spray One Year Away
Portland, OR: Non-smoked, cannabis-based medicines could receive British regulatory approval as early as next year, GW Pharmaceuticals President Geoffrey Guy announced at the Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in Oregon last week. The London company is currently testing the efficacy of various marijuana extracts for analgesia and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis in Phase III patient trials. Trial subjects administer the extracts via a sublingual spray.
GW expects to submit their results for government approval as early as this fall, Guy said at the conference, which was sponsored by Patients Out of Time. If the British government licenses the drugs, it is expected that other Western European nations and Canada will do the same.
In previous Phase II trials, nearly 80 percent of patients sustained "clinically significant therapeutic benefit" from cannabis - including relief from pain, bladder-related symptoms and tremor, as well as a 50 percent average reduction in their use of opiates.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Additional information on GW Pharmaceuticals' clinical patient trials is available at: http://www.gwpharm.com.
Patient's Hunger Strike For Medical Cannabis Enters Fourth Week
Missoula, MT: Sunday will mark the fourth week of a hunger strike by a seriously ill Missoula woman fighting for the right to use medical marijuana legally. Robin Prosser, who uses marijuana medicinally to treat pain and spasmodic symptoms from a lupus-related immunosuppressive disorder, began her strike on April 20th. Prosser has vowed to continue her hunger strike until the federal government allows her legal access to government-grown marijuana or grants her legal protection to cultivate her own.
"I want to grow my own personal supply of medicine or be allowed access [to] ... the same 300 joints monthly that the remaining patients in the [federal] Compassionate IND Program receive," Prosser said, referring to a U.S. government health program that grows and supplies medical cannabis to a handful of seriously ill patients. That program has been closed to new applicants since 1992. "I [should] not be treated differently because of where I live," she added.
Prosser says she is violently allergic to most conventional medications, and maintains that cannabis provides the most effective relief for her medical symptoms.
To date, local law enforcement officials appear unmoved by Prosser's struggle. Missoula Police Chief Bob Weaver recently told The Missoulian that Prosser would "be busted if she grows pot and we learn about it," despite her medical condition or hunger strike.
Nevertheless, Prosser remains undaunted, despite having already lost more than 30 pounds and temporarily requiring hospitalization. "I have decided that I need to do something to stand up for the medicine I and so many others must have," she said. "I'd rather die deliberately under the eye of the public and put a name on my executioners than just fade off under the persecution of my homeland."
For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Robin Prosser may be contacted directly at KeltikMoon@ganga.com. Additional information about Prosser is available online at: http://www.cannabisnow.org.
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