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... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.

August 10, 1995

Medical Marijuana Resolution To Be Unveiled At Upcoming Conference

        August 9, 1995, San Diego, CA:  A resolution calling for governments everywhere to "immediately rescind their policies of arresting ... marijuana consumers who currently possess and/or cultivate cannabis for their own medical use" will be introduced by Dr. Erik Fromberg at the 37th International Congress on Drugs and Alcohol Dependency.  The resolution further demands that governments start separating the medical issue "from the recreational drug issue and begin actively studying cannabis' use as a therapeutic agent."  Dr. Fromberg is a representative from the Netherlands Institute on Alcohol and Drugs (NIAD).  The international conference is scheduled to be held August 20-25 in San Diego, California.
        Also attending the Congress will be the Todd McCormick Alliance.  The Alliance has declared an "international state of emergency on medical cannabis" and is embarking on an "information blitz" to raise public awareness.  The organization will be holding a round table discussion on the medical use of cannabis on August 22 and is planning to hold a public rally on August 25.  The group is named after San Diego Compassionate Use Club founder and medical marijuana user, Todd McCormick.  McCormick was arrested in Ohio on July 18 when State Highway Patrolmen discovered in excess of thirty pounds of marijuana in his van.  McCormick maintains that the cannabis was intended to be used to establish a Compassionate Use Club in his home state of Rhode Island.
        For more information about the medical marijuana resolution, please contact Richard Cowan @ (202) 483-5500 or the Todd McCormick Alliance @ (619) 582-7303.

Registered Nurse Contacts NORML In An Appeal To Save The Life Of Her Patient

        August 4, 1995, Phoenix, AZ:  In an attempt to stimulate national attention and awareness to the plight of her patient, Richard G. Martinez, neuro-rehabilitation nurse and Martinez's legal guardian, Constance Theis, has contacted NORML with a story of unparalleled injustice.
        After having been shot through the left eye in 1991, Richard Martinez was left with an excruciatingly painful nerve disorder known as trigeminal neuralgia.  In addition, many fragments from the bullet could not be removed during surgery and still remain lodged in Martinez's brain.  The presence of these fragments induces cognitive deficits and seizure disorders and also gives rise to frequent bouts of intense nausea and severe depression.  To help alleviate Martinez's daily pain, he was granted a legal prescription for Marinol -- a federally approved THC synthetic drug.  The Marinol, however, ended up being far too expensive ($636.00 per month) for Martinez to afford on his social security disability-based income.  As a result, Martinez turned to the next logical substitute, natural cannabis.
        Martinez was turned in to authorities for possessing marijuana by a relative in exchange for a small financial reward.  He now sits in Durango County Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is forced to sleep on a dirty floor and is prevented from taking his proper medication.  While in jail, Martinez has suffered numerous staph infections in the eye socket and ear.  Staph infections put tremendous pressure on the heart and, if left untreated, can be fatal.  The tremendous swelling from these infections is causing green pus to flow from Martinez's right nostril.  In addition, Martinez's serious infections are destroying valuable tissue and bone in his face.  This deterioration has gotten so extreme that Martinez now believes that his eye may actually be "rotting."
        Martinez is also experiencing critically high blood pressure and is now at risk of suffering a stroke.  This occurrence is a natural physical result of untreated pain and infection.  The threat of a severe stroke -- in addition to his constant fevers, infections, tissue deterioration, and ear aches -- makes Martinez's incarceration highly life threatening.
        According to the reports of three separate physicians, Martinez's head wound seriously damaged his right frontal lobe and has rendered him mentally incompetent.  Therefore, he can not legally stand trial.  The state, however, wants Martinez to appear in court regardless.  Consequently, psychologists at the Durango County Jail are working round the clock to have Martinez declared mentally competent.  Ms. Theis maintains that this process can last as long a seven or eight months -- a time frame that she believes Martinez will not survive.  The bitter irony is that the state is trying to legally rehabilitate a man with braln damage solely for the purpose of throwing him back in jail.  All this because Martinez was trying to alleviate daily pain, nausea, and seizures with the only effective therapeutic agent he could financially afford -- marijuana.
        Constance Theis maintains that her patient's life is in danger every additional day he stays in the Durango County Jail.  She can be contacted at the following numbers: (602) 790-1595 (home) or (602) 325-1300 EXT 4435 (work).