NORML E-zine Friday the Thirteenth

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by RMJL, Apr 13, 2001.

  1. NORML E-Zine
    Volume 4
    Issue 16
    April 13, 2001

    The NORML E-Zine is a free weekly compilation of major news
    items regarding marijuana policy. Text of archived stories
    are available
    on NORML's website at:
    http://www.norml.org/news/archives/index2001.shtml

    TOP STORIES

    * Economists Slam War on Drugs: Cost-Effectiveness of
    Incarceration Doubtful,
    National Academy of Sciences Report
    Says

    * NORML Responds to Canadian Plan to License and Regulate
    Medical Marijuana


    ######

    Economists Slam War on Drugs:
    Cost-Effectiveness of Incarceration Doubtful, National Academy
    of Sciences
    Report Says

    Washington, DC: America now spends twice as much money
    annually to
    combat illegal drugs as it spent fighting the
    Persian Gulf War, yet there
    is no evidence indicating that
    existing policies are either working or
    cost-effective, charge
    authors of a newly released study by the National
    Research
    Council.

    "It is unconscionable for this country to continue
    to carry
    out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way

    of knowing whether, and to what extent, it is having the desired
    result,"
    said Charles Manski, chief author of the report, and
    a Board of Trustees
    Professor in Economics at Northwestern
    University. The White House Office
    of National Drug Control
    Policy (ONDCP) commissioned the study in 1998.

    According to the report, drug enforcement activities - which
    comprise
    the bulk of federal and state anti-drug efforts - have
    grown exponentially
    since 1980. Authors note that there are now
    12 times as many drug offenders
    in state prisons than there were
    in 1980, and that police arrest approximately
    1.6 million
    Americans per year on drug charges, three times as many as
    they
    did 20 years ago. Government funding to pay for these activities

    has grown from 1.5 billion in 1980 to nearly 20 billion today.
    Nevertheless, "the nation is in no better position to evaluate
    the effectiveness
    of enforcement than it was 20 years ago, when
    the recent intensification
    of enforcement began," the report said.

    Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation,
    cited
    these conclusions as further evidence that existing anti-drug
    strategies
    - particularly criminal penalties on the use and
    possession of marijuana
    - must be re-evaluated. "Taxpayers
    spend between $7.5 and $10 billion
    annually arresting and
    prosecuting individuals for marijuana violations,"
    St. Pierre
    said. "Almost 90 percent of these arrests are for marijuana

    possession only. This is a clear misapplication of the criminal
    sanction
    and a tremendous waste of fiscal resources."

    Prepublication copies of the report, entitled "Informing
    America's
    Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don't Know Keeps
    Hurting Us," are available
    online from the National Academy
    of Sciences at: http://www.nas.edu. The
    National Research
    Council is a branch of the NAS.

    For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre,
    NORML Foundation
    Executive Director, at (202) 483-8751.


    ######

    NORML Responds to Canadian Plan To License and Regulate
    Medical Marijuana
    -
    U.S. Government Could Learn By Example, NORML Says

    Washington, DC: Canadian regulations issued last week which
    authorize
    the use and cultivation of medical marijuana are a
    positive step for patients
    who need it to relieve their pain
    and suffering, NORML Executive Director
    R. Keith Stroup, Esq.
    said today.

    "This proposal, though far from perfect, is a legitimate
    attempt by
    Parliament to license and regulate the use of medical
    marijuana for seriously
    ill patients," he added. "It is ironic
    that Health Canada issued these
    regulations only days after our
    own government told America's highest court
    that marijuana has
    no acceptable medical value, a position that runs contrary
    not
    only to the scientific evidence, but also to worldwide public
    opinion.
    U.S. officials would be better advised to follow
    Canada's lead and reschedule
    marijuana to permit its licensed
    use and distribution to those patients
    whose doctors recommend
    it."

    According to statements published in Friday's Canada Gazette,
    the proposed
    regulations will "provide seriously ill Canadian
    patients with access to
    marijuana while it is being researched
    as a possible medicine." Health
    Canada issued the regulations
    in response to a recent Ontario Court of
    Appeals ruling that
    found marijuana prohibition to be unconstitutional
    because it
    failed to provide an exception for medical use. The Court

    ordered Parliament to implement rules allowing for patients
    to use marijuana
    by July 31, 2001.

    The proposal authorizes patients to grow and use marijuana
    under "special
    medical circumstances only." Qualifying patients
    must suffer from a terminal
    illness or suffer from symptoms
    associated with a serious medical condition
    such as AIDS or
    multiple sclerosis. Patients who find symptomatic relief
    from
    marijuana, but who are not terminal, must possess the
    recommendation
    of a general practitioner and a medical
    specialist certifying that they
    have found all other alternative
    therapies to be ineffective.

    Stroup said it was unfortunate that Canadian health officials
    were
    holding marijuana up to a higher standard than other
    medications. "The
    traditional yardstick for legal medications
    is that they demonstrate safety
    and medical efficacy. Marijuana
    should not be held up to a different standard."

    Under the guidelines, qualifying patients will be allowed to
    possess
    a 30-day supply of marijuana at one time. Either the
    patients or their
    recognized caregiver will be permitted to
    grow marijuana for medical use.

    In the past year, Canadian officials have implemented
    several policy
    changes to address the medical marijuana issue.
    Last year, Parliament
    issued a contract to a private Saskatoon
    firm to grow marijuana for medical
    research, and began issuing
    legal exemptions to individual patients who
    use marijuana as
    a medicine. Health Canada will no longer issue exemptions

    once the proposed regulations take effect.

    The public has 30 days
    to comment on the proposed rules,
    which appear online at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb-dgps/therapeut/
    zfiles/english/schedule/gazette.i/marihuana_e.pdf.

    For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup
    or Paul Armentano
    of NORML at (202) 483-5500.


    #############################
    Support NORML's efforts to change marijuana policy and educate
    the public
    to alternatives to marijuana prohibition. You can
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    at:
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