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

October 26,1995

Marijuana Smoke Study Demonstrates Waterpipes To Be Ineffective

        October 24, 1995, San Francisco, CA:  Preliminary findings from a recent study on marijuana smoke indicate that waterpipes offer smokers little protection against the harmful tars found in cannabis. The study was sponsored by California NORML and MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and its findings were released in a California NORML press release.
        According to the release, "The reason [for this startling result] appears to be that waterpipes filter out more of marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), than they do other, non-psychoactive, harmful tars.  [Hence] users [of waterpipes are required] to consume more noxious smoke in order to reach their desired high."
        The study, which was supported by the Drug Policy Foundation and private donors, carefully analyzed the solid tar and THC content of marijuana smoke from six separate devices.  These devices included a regular joint, a cigarette filter, three different waterpipes, and two vaporizers (devices designed to evaporate the THC from the marijuana with minimal smoke.)  The performance of each device was rated according to how effectively it reduced the concentration of tar relative to THC.  (THC, unlike the tars in marijuana, is not carcinogenic.)
        Surprisingly, the unfiltered joint yielded less tar per THC than did either the cigarette filter or any of the waterpipes that were tested.  Results regarding the performance of the vaporizers were mixed.
        "While the study results suggest waterpipes may be counterproductive, sponsors caution that it is still premature to conclude that they are actually harmful to health," California NORML summarizes.  "This is because the study did not analyze the non-solid vapor phase of marijuana smoke, which contains a number of gasses known to be harmful to health.  If waterpipes help screen out these gasses, they might be beneficial to health."
        For more information, please contact Date Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or Rick Doblin of MAPS @ (704) 358-9830.

Drug Czar Urges High School Coaches To Drug Test Student Athletes

        October 20, 1995, Washington, DC:  Speaking before both national and DC area middle and high school coaches, Drug Czar Lee Brown once again called for the drug testing of high school athletes.  Proclaiming that school athletes are both "role models" and "trend setters" for the student body, Brown encouraged schools and coaches across the country to institute programs that would subject athletes to random drug testing.  "If we can make real headway in turning student athletes away from drugs, I believe we can succeed with the entire population of young people," Brown explained.
        Ironically, Brown admitted during Friday's speech that, "There is no reason to think that drug use is any more prevalent among student athletes than among young people generally."  Nevertheless, Brown wholeheartedly spoke out in favor of policies that encourage student athletes to be tested.  "My message for coaches and all school administrators and teachers is this," Brown concluded, "You have important tools available to you, but first you've got to get off the sidelines and into the game."
        In a decision advocated and publicly embraced by the Clinton Administration, the Supreme Court this past June upheld a Washington state middle school policy that authorized the random testing of student athletes, without cause or suspicion of drug use.  At that time, Brown called the Court's ruling a "victory for kids."
        For more information about the student drug testing, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Magazine Just Says "No" To NORML, Yes To Mark Fuhrman

        October 19, 1995:  A national calling card magazine has refused to allow NORML to advertise its calling card, but has agreed to publish a press release for a card honoring former LAPD police officer Mark Fuhrman.
        The press release, featured in the October edition of TeleCard World, states that: "The Mark Fuhrman 'Justice' Fund is using prepaid calling cards to raise money to cover the detective's legal expenses for the O.J. Simpson murder trial."  The limited edition cards are being produced by HT Technologies Inc. of San Francisco.  During the Simpson trial, transcripts surfaced of Fuhrman proudly admitting that he often planted evidence, used excessive force, and repeatedly uttered racial epithets while serving on the LAPD police force.
        TeleCard World is believed to have rejected NORML's advertisement because the calling card displays a picture of a marijuana plant.
        For more information on NORML's prepaid calling cards, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500 or Mike Philbeck of Pre-Tel @ (818) 563-9334.

Newspaper Runs Special Feature Analyzing The Drug War

        October 1995:  Great Events Monthly, a bi-monthly newspaper edited by Jack Anderson, has devoted its September/October edition to analyzing the pros and cons of the "War On Drugs."
        Posing the question of whether to "legalize" drugs or "escalate" enforcement, the special issue explores both sides of the drug issue and features articles by a variety of authors including syndicated columnist Doug Bandow and DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine.  The issue also includes two feature articles on the subject of medical marijuana.  The first, written by the Oklahoma City chapter of NORML describes the plight of Jimmy Montgomery, the paraplegic medical marijuana user who was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for less than two ounces of cannabis.  (Thanks in large part to hundreds of phone calls and letters from the media and NORML activists, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating signed for Montgomery's medical release in late July.)  The second article focuses on both medical marijuana user Todd McCormick and the ongoing legal battle for federal rescheduling reforms.
        NORML's contribution to the publication includes a full page chart outlining the responses of two widely respected doctors when asked to rank drugs on the basis of five problem areas.  (These areas are withdrawal, reinforcement, tolerance, dependence, and intoxication.)  Both Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of The University of California at San Francisco ranked marijuana as the least serious drug.  Both doctors determined marijuana to be less serious than caffeine.
        Great Events Weekly can be contacted @ (703) 764-0496.