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

August 24, 1995

Update: Judge Considers Permitting Medical Marijuana User To Smoke Cannabis
While In Jail

        August 24, 1995, Bryan, OH:  In what may end up being a precedent-setting decision, a Williams County Judge is considering allowing marijuana activist Todd McCormick to have legal access to medical cannabis while in jail.  McCormick is a medical marijuana user and co-founder of the San Diego Compassionate Use Club--a facility in California that supplies free marijuana to seriously ill patients based upon a doctor's recommendation.  He is currently awaiting trial in Ohio where he faces four felony charges resulting from the discovery of 31 pounds of cannabis in his vehicle by Ohio State Highway Patrolmen.  The marijuana was marked "for medicinal use only" and McCormick maintains that it was intended to be used to establish a Compassionate Use Club in his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
        At an arraignment last Thursday, Williams County Court of Common Pleas Judge Anthony L. Gretick suggested that he might order the Sheriff to allow McCormick to use cannabis while in jail if McCormick could provide the court with written support by an American physician.  McCormick possesses a prescription from a physician in the Netherlands that advises for the consumption of ten grams of cannabis per day.
        Responding to Gretick's suggestion, three prominent U.S. doctors (NORML Board Chairman Lester Grinspoon M.D., NORML Board member John Morgan, M.D., and Tod H. Mikuriya, M.D.) wrote letters supporting McCormick's need for medical marijuana.  However, according to a Toledo Blade reporter covering the court proceedings, the judge is now also requesting that a local doctor be summoned to endorse and administer the prescription to McCormick.  As this report goes to press, no official action has yet to be taken by Gretick.
        McCormick's case gained national exposure this week when it was mentioned in an August 21 USA Today editorial endorsing the use of marijuana as a medicine for seriously sick patients.  NORML had a letter supporting marijuana's medical utility printed in USA Today the following day.
        For more information on Todd McCormick's case, please contact the Todd McCormick Alliance @ (619) 582-7303.  For more information on medical marijuana, please contact NORML.

California Residents Favor Access To Medical Marijuana
According To Recent Health Poll

        August 21, 1995, Sacramento, CA:  A recent poll by Mervin Field for the California Center for Health Improvement indicates that although many Californians still remain concerned about illicit drug use, the majority of the state still support the medicinal use of marijuana.  This conclusion directly contradicts earlier statements made by Dr. Andy Mecca, director of the state Department on Alcohol and Drug Programs.
        According to the California Health Poll, 57 percent of the respondents stated that they favored granting doctors the ability to legally prescribe marijuana to their patients.  By comparison, only 22 percent favored similar prescriptions for cocaine.  Ironically, cocaine is currently classified as a Schedule II drug which allows for its medical use in certain instances while marijuana remains classified by the federal government as having "no medical use."
        For a copy of the California Center for Health Improvement report, please contact the center @ (916) 646-2149.

New York City Buyers Club Busted
Apparent Nationwide Crackdown On Medical Marijuana Clubs Continues

        August 21, 1995, New York, NY:  New York City activists have reported that law enforcement officials recently busted New York City's underground cannabis buyers club.  The New York club was one of over thirty such clubs that currently operate and distribute medical marijuana to seriously ill patients.  Longtime AIDS and drug reform activist Johann Moore was arrested at the scene and held overnight.  He is reportedly charged with one count of felony sales.
        The bust of the New York City Medical Buyers Club--a small buyers club that had consciously maintained a relatively low profile--seems to support the notion that law enforcement agencies across the country are beginning a concerted effort to crackdown on medical marijuana clubs.  In the past few months, both Todd McCormick (San Diego Compassionate Use Club) and Joanna McCkee (Green Cross Patient Co-op of Washington) have been arrested and had their marijuana seized by law enforcement officials.
        For more information on this incident, please contact the Free Johann Moore Support Committee of Cures Not Wars @ (212) 677-7180.