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. . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana prohibition.

September 11, 1997

Definitive Book On Marijuana Research And Public Policy Hits Stores This Month

          September 11, 1997, New York, NY:  One of the first books to examine the scientific evidence regarding marijuana in over ten years arrives in bookstores later this month.  Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts by Drs. John Morgan of City University of New York (CUNY) Medical School and Lynn Zimmer of Queens College offers an exhaustive critique of the available scientific research pertaining to marijuana and health as well as public policy.  The book is extensively footnoted and has been endorsed by scholars nationwide as a critical investigation of marijuana policy.
          "This is the most accurate book on the effects of marijuana that has appeared to date," explained Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona College of Medicine and best-selling author of Spontaneous Healing. "[Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts is] an invaluable resource for anyone interested in this popular drug and the question of how society should regulate it."
          Medical journalist and national talk show host Dr. Dean Edell agreed.  "This is a must read for anyone who wants an objective analysis of current research on marijuana.  [This book is] the definitive manual on the current state of objective knowledge on marijuana.
          Dr. Louis Lasagna of Tufts University School of Medicine and author of the 1982 National Academy of Sciences report "Marijuana and Health" also voiced his strong support for the Morgan and Zimmer book.   "This, the first comprehensive review of marijuana to appear in more than a decade, is accurate, timely, and impressive.  Most importantly, it is clearly written and accessible for those interested individuals who do not have scientific or technical training."
          Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts is published by The Lindesnuth Center, a New York research institute dedicated to broadening and informing the debate on drug policy and related issues.  Both Morgan and Zimmer serve on the board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in Washington, D.C.
          Copies of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts may be purchased from NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  Bulk orders may be purchased from Bookworld Companies @ (800) 444-2524.

Second Medical Marijuana Wheelchair Trek Begins Today In Wisconsin

          September 11, 1997, Modovi, WI:   A seven-day, 210-mile wheelchair protest march for seriously ill patients who require medicinal marijuana but are legally denied access to it, begins today in Wisconsin.  The demonstration, known as the "Journey for Justice II" will originate in Modovi and culminate at the state capitol.  The inaugural journey took place in Ohio this past May.
          The tour begins from the hometown of patient Jackie Rickert, who helped to organize the rally.  Rickert, who suffers from Ehlors Danlos Syndrome, was approved by the federal government in 1990 to receive marijuana, but has never had her prescription honored.  Thirteen additional patients will join Rickert on the eight town journey that concludes in Madison on September 18.  Upon arrival, Rep. Frank Boyle (D-Superior), along with co-sponsor Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison), will introduce legislation to protect patients who use marijuana under a physician's supervision from state criminal charges.
          Event coordinator Kay Lee, who uses marijuana medicinally to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis, said that she hopes the second "Joumey for Justice" sends a strong message to state and federal politicians that there are thousands of seriously ill patients who benefit from the medicinal use of marijuana.  Lee also intends to drum up support for H.R. 1782, a federal bill in Congress that would remove federal restrictions that currently prevent physicians from legally prescribing marijuana.  "When common sense and compassion are in conflict with the law, then the law is wrong and must be changed," she said.
          Similar events are anticipated to take place this fall in Texas, North Carolina, and Florida.
          The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is the chief sponsor of the Wisconsin event.
          For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.

Percentage Of Workers Testing Positive For Drugs Drops Overall,
Rises For Marijuana

          September 11, 1997, Collegeville, PA:  Less than six percent of employees screened for drugs during the first six months of 1997 tested positive, according to a bi-yearly report issued by SmithKline Beecham.  Of those employees who tested positive, nearly 60 percent registered positive for marijuana -- up from 52 percent in 1996.
          The overall drug positivity rate has declined by 70 percent since the company began tracking the results of its workplace drug testing more than ten years ago.  However, Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, speculates that this dramatic drop does not necessarily indicate that drug use among employees has significantly declined.  "As employers widen the pool of individuals subjected to drug screens from those primarily tested 'for cause' or 'post-accident' to virtually anyone employed or applying for a job, it is natural for the percentage of positive test results to decline," St. Pierre said.  He noted that the percentage of major U.S. firms that test for drugs rose from 21.5 percent in 1987 to 81 percent in 1996.
          St. Pierre further speculated that many employees are now aware of techniques or products that enable them to beat most types of drug testing.   "Employees now have access to a plethora of information explaining to them how to prepare for a drug screen," St. Pierre added.  "Many employees are now armed and ready to face a drug test."
          St. Pierre explained that marijuana metabolites are fat soluble, thereby lingering in the body longer than other drugs commonly screened for.   "In addition to being the third most widely used drug in America, marijuana has a longer detection time in the body than other drugs.  The overwhelming majority of positive drug tests are for marijuana only, and do not give an employer any indication whether an employee is impaired while at work."
          The NORML Foundation opposes suspicionless drug testing in the workplace.
          For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.

8th Annual Mass/Cann NORML Rally Expected To Draw More Than 70,000

          September 11, 1997, Boston, MA:   The Massachusetts affiliate of NORML will hold its eighth annual "Freedom Rally" at Boston Commons on Saturday, September 20.  Organizers anticipate over 70,000 attendees.  Last year's event drew nearly 60,000 people and was the largest marijuana reform rally held in 1996.
          Musical guest at this year's rally include Tree, The Beatmen, Clutch, David Peel, and others.  Scheduled speakers include Chris Conrad, author of Hemp: Lifeline to the Future and NORML board member Don Wirtshafter.
          For more information, please contact Bill Downing of Mass/Cann NORML @ (617) 944-CANN.