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... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.
September 26, 1996
Government Marijuana Researcher Speaks Favorably About Marijuana's Medical Utility
September 21, 1996: In a recent
interview conducted by the Journal of the International Hemp
Association (JIHA) in Amsterdam, Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly -- Director
of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA's) Marijuana
Project at the University of Mississippi and one of the federal
government's premiere marijuana experts -- spoke openly about
marijuana's medical potential.
Specifically, ElSohly discussed the possible medical role of cannabichromene (CBC), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. He also spoke about the limited effectiveness of oral THC.
According to ElSohly, CBC occurs in high portions of certain strains of marijuana, but has been typically overlooked because it is difficult to distinguish from the more familiar property, cannabidiol (CBD), in standard chemical tests. Nonetheless, the pharmaceutical properties of CBC and CBD are quite distinct.
"CBD is famous for [its] anti-convulsant activity ... [and] CBC obviously has good anti-inflammatory activity," remarked ElSohly. "Certainly there is the [anecdotal use of medical marijuana historically] and every day you look at the cannabinoids and activities in the light of today's science and today's pharmacology and so on, and you can really go back and scientifically and legitimately explain the use of cannabis over the years for so many things.
" ... There is no question about the use of cannabis for certain conditions. It does have a history. It does have the utility and so on."
Responding to the issue of smoked inhalation of marijuana versus orally consumed THC, ElSohly commented that THC in oral preparation "doesn't seem to be doing the good job it should." He speculated that this is because oral and smoked THC produce different pharmacological profiles in the body. Because oral doses are processed by the liver before entering the bloodstream, oral THC produces high levels of the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, while smoked marijuana does not. Since 11-hydroxy-THC is four to five times more psychoactive than regular THC, this may explain why some users report a high rate of overdoses and discomfort with Marinol.
"The comments made by Dr. ElSohly indicate that their exists not only anecdotal, but accepted scientific evidence supporting marijuana's medicinal properties," said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "It also specifies that there exists chemical properties in marijuana other than THC that hold medical value, further supporting the argument that marijuana appears superior to synthetic THC as a medicine."
For more information or for a copy of the interview please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.
House Holds Hearing On Adolescent Drug Use
September 26, 1996, Washington D.C.:
Purporting that adolescent drug use has reached "epidemic"
levels, a joint hearing of the House Subcommittee on Early
Childhood, Youth and Families, and the House Government Reform
and Oversight Subcommittee on National Security was held today.
Those testifying before the House included Former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Robert Bonner, Executive Vice President of the Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE) Douglas Hall, Ohio Congressman Rob Portman, and others.
Hall's appearance before the committees coincided with the release of a 1996 PRIDE survey indicating rising levels of adolescent illicit drug use. According to the study, nearly 38 percent of high school seniors reported trying marijuana once within the past year. "Drug use by today's teenagers is not just part of growing up, a youthful indiscretion," said Hall. "More students are using more drugs more frequently, and their use is more hardcore than we have ever seen."
"Ladies and gentleman, drugs kill," announced Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families. "It is more important than ever to be absolutely uncompromising about this message."
"This hearing was nothing other than a pre-election dog and pony show," said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "Despite claims from both parties that spending toward anti-drug efforts have been slashed, federal figures demonstrate that annual federal drug control spending increased from less than five billion in 1988 to more than 15 billion for fiscal year 1997. According to government statistics, illicit drug use during this period of time has remained virtually unchanged among adults and actually risen slightly among adolescents. We cannot continue to keep throwing money at the problem and arresting record numbers of adult users and expect any sort of tangible results."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.
Marijuana Medicine And Hemp Exposition To Take Place This Weekend
September 26, 1996: An exposition to
raise public awareness to the medicinal uses of marijuana will
take place on September 28 and 29 at the Golden Gate Park in San
Francisco, California. The show will include workshops by
both doctors and patients and will include a host of speakers,
including San Francisco Supervisors Angela Alioto and Tom Ammiano
as well as representatives of the Proposition 215 campaign for
Though the focus of the exposition will be on the medical uses of cannabis, the event will also have forty booths relating to hemp's industrial uses. In addition, the Human Rights 95 Exhibit, which poignantly documents the human costs of this nation's "War on Drugs," will also be featured at the show.
"Because of the controversy surrounding this issue, the show promises to be one of the most interesting and well-attended of the fall season," said California Coordinator Dale Gieringer.
Proceeds from the event will go to benefit the medical marijuana movement in California.
For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858. For more information about Proposition 215, please contact Dave Fratello of Californians for Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952.
Mass/Cann NORML Rally Draws At Least 50,000
September 21, 1996, Boston, MA: More
than 50,000 people gathered for a rally in support of ending
federal marijuana prohibition. The event, organized by
Mass/Cann NORML, featured speeches by NORML board member
Richard Evans, Esq., Steve Hager of High Times Magazine,
marijuana activist John Sinclair, Richard Stratton of Prison Life
Magazine, and others and included several musical acts.
There were almost no arrests during the all-day festival.
Although organizers note that media coverage of the event was mixed, Mass/Cann President Bill Downing called the seventh annual event a "success."
"Any time you gather over 50,000 people and have no incidents of violence and virtually no arrests is a success," he commented. Responding to media criticism about the relatively young age of some crowd-goers, Downing said, "Many of the younger attendees were Boston college students -- many of which happen to be voters -- and we want them to be aware that there is a group that represents their interests."
For more information, please contact Bill Downing of NORML Mass/Cann @ (617) 944-CANN.
NOTICE: THERE WILL BE A "RALLY TO END THE DRUG WAR" IN WASHINGTON D.C. AT MERIDIAN HILL PARK THIS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, AT 2 P.M. SPEAKERS FROM THE DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION (DPF), AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU), AND OTHER REFORM ORGANIZATIONS ARE SCHEDULED TO ATTEND. MUSICAL ACT FUGAZI WILL BE ON HAND TO PERFORM. PLEASE CONTACT (703) 276-9768 FOR MORE INFORMATION.
MORE THAN 10 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965 ... ANOTHER EVERY 65 SECONDS!