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NORML Canada Home Page
Wait Patiently for the 1998/99 NEWS STORIES FILE
Important News Items Emailed to NORML Canada Late February 1999
- (1 March 1999 ?)Suppressed Study Leaked to Cannabis Media : A.I.D.'s Patients News Item : Rats with cancer given THC lived longer. Jack Herer was right.
- (21 January 1999 ?)Steve Kubby, Major Player in Legalizing Marijuana in California, and the Libertarian Party's Candidate for Governor, Arrested. Three Articles.
- (??? Nov. 1998 ???)Randy Caine, in British Columbia, denied his appeal. click here.
On January 9, 1997, I, William Carroll, web maintainer for N.O.R.M.L. Canada, predicted the following :A few months ago, High Times ran an article about a company selling police hats made out of hemp. The hats were "smokey the bear" style, RCMP type, wide brim hats, and are still available.
Ninth Article Prediction : Someday police wearing hemp uniforms, and prison guards wearing hemp uniforms, will be arresting and imprisoning ordinary non-criminal marijuana smokers.
If the human rights violation, which marijuana prohibition represents, is not addressed on a world wide scale, soon, the above prediction may become a reality.
Human rights, constitutional rights, civil rights, and patients' rights, ALL refer to human beings, not plants, animals, or objects.
We all love hemp, but the central point in the marijuana issue is as follows : Umberto's lastest message, which will remain exactly the same until hell freezes over.
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USA Today Friday, Feb. 19, 1999 (weekend issue, U. S. Domestic edition.)
Front Page Article
by Gary Fields(N.O.R.M.L. Canada comments :) Harm Reduction focuses on the solutions, rather than the problem ; therefore, I disagree with his statement. We can win easily by winning at life itself. Thus, drug use becomes a minor and irrelevant issue in the broader context of "successful life" for most people. We become victims of drugs through 1) inappropriate prescriptions 2) bad luck, 3) law enforcement overzeal, 4) "bad laws", or 5) by our own choice to be victims.
DEA Chief : Drug Fight Lacks Desire
WASHINGTON - The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration says the nation has neither the will nor the resources to win the drug war.
DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, in an interview Thursday, said that curbing drug use is not a high enough priority with the American people. He also said the nation has not made the financial commitment to curb the flow of illegal drugs into the USA.
"The use of drugs is really a prevention issue, and the long term solution for this nation is when our citizens, families, teachers, and employers take this as seriously as they do the Y2K (year 2000 computer) problem", he said.
Click Here to See Entire Article.
WARNING : I wouldn't recommend open discussion of any illicit drug use until the laws have actually changed. Don't risk it !
Regarding those who implement our laws, Mr. Constantine's frankness and honesty here are actually quite refreshing. I wish Congress and the President could speak so clearly. Winning the drug war means not diverting precious human resources into the so-` +- ed under-world.;
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"Mr. X", like many other Americans, related that he was bothered mostly by tobacco smoke in the coffeeshops which is difficult to avoid everywhere in Europe. He continued :
Commentary on An Article Concerning the RCMP's Supposed Use of Teddy Bears During Marijuana Raids (and Other Drug Raids)NORML Canada makes no apologies to anyone on our previous critisism of the effects of the narcotics squads on children during marijuana and drug raids in our society. Quite frankly , we are not the only ones that have expressed this observation about the damage done to civil society by the counterproductive "War on Drugs" approach.
In the new "Project Comfort," Canadian Mounties will be armed with teddy bears to distract children terrorized by drug raids. "Every time we do a bust, the kids are traumatized with police running in with their guns drawn," Const. Jean-Louis Rompre said. Wal-Mart will be providing the teddy bears. Ottawa Sun, Oct. 21, 1998
The "Harm Reduction" policies and societal acceptance of these policies, which are prevalent in Holland, and very increasingly in the rest of Europe also, is evidence that the removal of criminal penalties on the possession of marijuana for personal use, whether in prepared form or in growing form, has resulted in a better relationship between the public (including and especially children), and the police.
Education, medical sciences, and agricultural economics, have all benefited from the 25 year global experiment on the "Use of Non Prescription Drugs and its Effects on Society", as pointed out and recommended in Canada's own Commission Report on Drugs (The Le Dain Commission , 1972).
In a society of democratic peoples such as Canada, the Constitution provides safe and protected rights to democratic process. This includes the right to participate in and effect changes in legal policy which better fit the needs of Canada as it heads into the 3rd millennium (year 2000).
N.O.R.M.L. Canada has provided 25 years of service to Canadians in spearheading law reform regarding cannabis policy, and continues now with its efforts aimed at cleaning up the effects of the "Drug War" as the global drive toward the end of prohibition of cannabis nears.
Umberto Iorfida, pres.
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NOTE: The Herbalist Charter of King Henry VIII is mentioned below by Michael Moran (Mr. X) at the 1996 High Times Cannabis Cup 4:20PM afternoon council. He mentions it as the "herbalist decree of the 1500's" (it's 1542 to be precise). Michael's reasoning is very simple: government involvement in pot is actually ILLEGAL, un-American, and tyrannical. They should just get out of it altogether and start following their sweared-to Constitution! If they would do that, the world might respect us more. Here's the actual text from the 16th century. (Are those who meddle with ancient rights stupid idiots or what?)
Incidentally, a few years ago, I did a google search for "michael moran", and on July 15, 2002, I found this article from a small newspaper in Little Rock, AR. Michael wants illicit drugs legalized; especially in terms of the situation in Portugal where the P.M.'s daughter had reportedly died of an overdose of heroin. Imagine how American drug policy would be affected if the daughter or son of the President had died of "hard drugs"? The media today seem to be trying to erase any difference between relatively harmless ("soft drugs"), and relatively deadly ("hard") drugs. This is not only stupid, it's tragic and deadly.
Here's an item from an herbal society in the U.K. concerning Henry VIII's charter of 1542.
This is apparently an old universal belief among educated English speaking persons throughout the entire world after Henry VIII made and then canceled bad laws concerning herbal medicine.
Mike was a bit cynical about the only-weeks-old California and Arizona voter initiatives for medical marijuana which had just been approved by the voters in November '96. Many people had been informed that the two initiatives were intended to virtually end the anti-American gulag industry (concentration camps for herbalists).
More Ancient Stories from November 1996.
Preface : The following transcript is reflective of the viewpoint of the speaker, and does not reflect the official views of NORML Canada, except in so far as the speaker does not believe that the use or possession of cannabis, in any form, should be considered a crime.
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NOTE : The only way I can fully understand the viewpoint of "Mr. X" is to realize that the laws regulating and restricting cannabis, or causing the quality, or choices of available marijuana varieties, to be less in the available marketplace, have always been damaging to many areas of life.
NOTE: on June 8, 2011, I finally removed the mention of U.S. Federal law having made marihuana simple possession a felony offense. I don't know why NORML used to have that at their website, which is where I found it back in the 1996-2004 era. Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn't. Most people today state that possession of tiny amounts had never been a felony offense at the Federal level. But I think that's not true. It was a felony offense for many decades. (Simple posssession of very small amounts.) Today, the number of offenses seems to be the criteria in order to become a felon, more than the quantity. Actually, it is not clear just what the law is at the federal level from looking at the NORML website. I mean, it states it could be a felony or it might not be a felony. These aren't the sorts of things ever reported by the media - changes in felony vs. misdemeanor status for weed at the Federal level.
The near complete absense of marijuana used legally as a medicine for well over 60 years, despite the historical record and evidently good results obtained with it, is shocking enough without even considering the near demise of hemp industrial products despite the nearly unlimited potential.
"Mr. X" is saying that governments have no moral right to deign to "regulate and tax" this long suppressed and multi-functional "green commodity". Our attempt to suppress it so far is perverse enough.
On the other hand, everything (all commodities) in Europe is somewhat regulated already, anyway. Simply adding "hemp", and "marijuana" to the existing list is not difficult for Europeans to implement. They are very regulated and orderly people, perhaps too much so.
In Europe the general message is : "Everyman can grow his own cabbage here, in his own garden, as long as he doesn't grow 'too much'. They who want to grow a lot of cabbage have to register and join the 'cabbage growers guild', and pay dues, taxes, workers, insurance, retirement, medical, etc. All cabbages sent to market are graded according to quality, etc. Cabbages which do not meet the official standard often cannot be sold."
Most Europeans expect large scale marijuana cultivation to ultimately become like any other commodity there.
"Mr. X" speaks from the point of view of "an old trafficker", connected to marijuana activities since the 1940's, having spent some time in the U. S. armed forces just after WWII, and later, in prison at least twice, presumably for marijuana. His father was a journalist in NYC (?), and he knows a lot of journalists.
"Mr. X" mingles with practically everybody in the "marijuana" movement, and often served as a sort of "central switchboard" between various parties : Jack Herer, Amsterdam seed breeders, misc. traffickers and growers worldwide, as well as Drug Policy Foundation members, journalists, web-people, volunteers, Ethan Nadelman, and those of unknown background, etc., etc. Sometimes I felt that only "Mr. X" could be so multi-dimensionally connected, yet so "behind the scenes".
"Mr. X" could easily make a living as a journalist, writer, professor, or any other field requiring wit and writing ability. Considering his age, there is less and less competition. What he needs is a good retirement fund, somehow.
He believes completely in "karma" and "justice" and made friends with everybody he met, like a wandering sanyassi. Was he a beggar (I never called him that.) or a priest ? Let the results of your communication with him, point out to you which name he deserves.
For many weeks, without my prior knowledge, he set up numerous meetings, interviews, and other valuable journalistic contacts that resulted in hours of relevant material toward many of the goals of NORML Canada, especially decriminalization, per se.
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With a pass obtained for me by "Mr. X" (without my even asking him to get me one), I passed easily into all areas of the Cannabis Cup on those last few days of the event. I showed the High Times people my video camera and assured them the material was strictly for the purposes of NORML Canada as a "not-for-profit" institution. Many other people also had video camera's and High Times didn't seem to mind all the taping, even at the final culminating Awards Ceremony.
"Mr. X" Doesn't Want Regulated Pot
(More Ancient Stories from November 1996, High Times Cannabis Cup, Amsterdam, Netherlands.)
One Afternoon at the 4:20 Council Session.
On the Way Home In Pennsylvania from President Clinton's January 1993 Inauguration, An Accident Occurred on the Highway.
NOTE : Anybody can stand in line for the microphone, and speak his opinions to the crowd. Many prominent people are speaking today, some of whom will be on the podium at the awards ceremony, some merely as spectators. (Note : This is a direct transcript of a public meeting. The name of "Mr. X" is known by the author.)
Hospital, Jury Trial, and Success. Decriminalize, Don't Legalize/Regulate Marijuana.A mother from N. Carolina had just been speaking about how she was against the imprisoning of marijuana users, and how she had never seen problems with the widespread use of marijuana, even among young people. She advocated "legalization", freedom with responsibility, and decriminalization.
"Mr. X" Speaks. I have to thank modern medicine, right away. All this tobacco smoke (over here in Europe and at the cup, etc. nearly kills me). A couple of brothers here had their (asthsma inhalant devices) automatic sprayers, and I've been able to keep on going (breathing).
One time coming back from Clinton's inaugural last time, I hit a patch of ice in Pennsylvania, went across the center line. Hit a pickup truck (a small truck, or lorry, about the size of a car.) on the other side, and a semi (very large tractor truck (lorry) & trailer rig) plowed all of us onto the side of the road on both sides.
I see things through a cracked lens, a hairline cracked lens in my right eye. And I had three spots bleeding on the brain.
I was damned glad on that night that there were emergency nurses, doctors on duty. State highway patrol took me into the hospital.
For the first time in my life, I was knocked out. From Thursday night at 7:31 until Saturday at 10 o'clock in the morning. Waking up on a steel gurney with my butt hanging out of one of those familiar cotton things. Yea ?
And nurses screaming at me, "If you'll just do it, you can be out of here .... ".
And I looked at the clock and said, "... At what time ???"
And they said, "You can be out of here by noon if you behave." And they told me I had been throwing people right and left, screaming, tossing people around, screaming about this and that."
They found 1.5 grams of grass in my sock. The D.A. decided that he was going to make a test case in Pennsylvania out of this as "driving under the influence".
With a good public defender, and some good luck, I was acquitted by a jury of my peers. (loud applause from the audience, about 100 - 150 people.) College students, professors ...
I heard our sister from North Carolina talking, and that's why I came up."Mr. X" Speaks. I don't want to knock anybody. The time for knocking things is over (chorus of "right on's" from the crowd). We're all in this soup together.(NOTE : Aren't all politicians and businessmen "opportunists" ? Journalistically, and politically, "Mr. X" is also a good opportunist.)
And the world is slowly coming to the realization that they made some mistakes in the '30's and '40's when they went heavy with petro-chemicals. And high government bodies are now studying ways that they can change that.
Hemp is one of those plants that can leach heavy metals, and all the other stuff, reduce pesticides, and so-on and so-forth.
And so it (hemp) has lept to the fore. Al Gore knows about it. It's mentioned several times in his book. It is on the charts in the center of his book.
We know we got a "four puffer White House" (laughter from crowd).
Now's that a different thing that we have ever had in my life time. Those of you who are political enthusiasts and all that, we've only had three Democratic presidents that ever served two terms in the 20th century : Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and now, Bill Clinton. He's walking in a big shadow. And he's an opportunist and has been all along.
(The origin of the "Bill of Rights".) The idea that I was getting at is that when Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, and the other states decided that unionizing (forming the United States) was better than sovereign states, individuals, and ratified the constitution (of the United States), Pennsylvania brought the first seven amendments in.
Virginia quickly said, "Without them, there's no going along." And New York said the same thing. And all of those are the ones that say you have 'constitutional rights'. Rights are limited by your constitution, liberties are not. Individual liberties.
That's why you heard one lone "no" ; I don't want it legalized. It's liberalize it, liberate it. It's liberated the minute you take it as medicine, sacrement, herb, whatever, and it's their problem to deal with it. How you live your life. It's their problem.
And under that ray, I don't care if it's legalize it, smegalize it. What are you talking about ? Local options, home rule ? Cafe shops. Buyer's clubs, this and that.
Another commercial venture like Holland ? Where you can go everywhere and buy anything that you want ? (chorus of disagreement from the audience.)
Bullshit ! Bullshit ! Total Bullshit ! We do not want, and a lot of us don't want, the commercialization of the marijuana sacrement, herb, and medicine.Top of article.If someone wants to pay their doctor to get a prescription, that's fine. If they want to take a seed from my backyard and plant it in theirs, fine. There's no registration, no license, no nothing !"Mr. X" here gives cool acceptance to legalization, but he hates the idea of regulation and taxation. Very American, actually.
And that's my liberated right. As an individual. Under common law. The herbalist decree in the 1500's ! And a number of other things that were predecessors to the signature at Philadelphia, and the constitution which was ratified later.
And anybody that twists you around to say that your rights are limited when you want to use this as medicine, sacrement, and herb, are absolutely wrong.
And evidence of it, is "White Dog" was standing here the other day, and telling you exactly how it is in Arizona. So in that sense, I don't care if it is ever legalized.
Legalizing means government taxation, registration, controls. It means more than just opening a place where the health and safety codes are followed when you want to serve vegetarian food. Now it will be, "Yes, you can serve alcohol, no you can't." You'll be in same f____ng switch as we are in here in Amsterdam. And we don't like it anymore than the Dutch coffeeshop owners, or the Dutch citizens like it.
So when you say you want it legalized, you'd better know what you're talking about, and what you're legalizing.Note : "Mr. X" then believes that governments had no right to regulate or prohibit marijuana in the first place. Therefore, he feels no compulsion to "work within the system" in order to mend our flawed laws.
And in your state, go home and do that whereever that may be. But you have an individual right, as a human being, to alter your consciousness, using any substance that you choose, at any point in your life. And no government has the right to take that away from you.
Don't be brainwashed in thinking that we have to "legalize" it. We already have the "right" to use these things.
Since "Mr. X" is already a "felon" under law, he is generally not allowed to take part in the American political system anyway, neither as a voter nor as a member of a jury.
My main complaint against his reasoning is that there are plenty of non-felon American and Canadian citizens left to vote for a restoration of our legal rights. Simply ignoring the law may have its place in dissent, but it's not enough.
He see's the "cannabis coffeeshop", but not the corner drug dealer, as an example of the commercialization of marijuana. Is $200 an ounce marijuana, bought on the street, "non-commercial" ? "Mr. X" never explained how the current "street dealer" system of marijuana distribution, is less commerical than the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system.
Also, when I recollect our conversations, I remember that "Mr. X" had little or no complaints against the so called, "prison culture". Prison, for him, was part of the program, so to speak. He liked to quote Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau wound up in jail. (It was part of his program.)
Mass production versus home growers. Even with wine and beer universally available at low cost, produced by large regulated companies, a person can legally make his own wine or beer, up to 400 gallons a year, without a license.
The wine and beer industries have never been threatened in the least by this "personal home production" exclusion from the law. Likewise, if marijuana were generally mass produced, the occasional individual could still grow his own if he were so inclined. Home growing is not a threat to mass produced licensed marijuana production, assuming that the retail cost is allowed to gravitate downward.
"Mr. X", although probably well into his '70's, is probably not eligible for U. S. Social Security, even if it does survive, due to unknown reasons.
Guest Opinion Page
by Michael Moran
[Editor's Note: The Guest Opinion Page is a new feature that will appear in the Free Press from time to time. It allows for the publication of lengthy opinion pieces by a variety of guest writers. The following is two-part communique to Free Press publisher Dotty Oliver from Michael Moran, a gentleman whom she met while visiting Amersterdam in November 1998. The first part is an e-mail letter to Dotty and the second, which also appears on this page, is an opinion piece written by Moran. The two pieces have been lightly edited.]
Lisboa, Portugal - As a freelance journalist with more than 30 years of "activism" in America and four years here in Europe, and having met Ms. Oliver at the ELF, where she was introduced to me by another American expatriate for whom I have much respect and with whom I had squatted several buildings in Amsterdam since my arrival, my request for a copy of Sam's letter-to-editors that contained a couple of really pertinent phrases regarding your President, I had figured my offer to respond and continue filing columns as your European Desk would enhance the accuracy and timeliness of the Free Press, as well as be sufficient proof for application to the Hanover, Germany, EXPO-2000 officials for press credentials to cover that event for the FREEP; it opens next 1 May and [will run] until 1 October as the first WORLD EXPOSITION of the 21st century.
To never have received a copy of Sam's letter, to be given an expensive multi-phone call "run around" for $100 (which I was trying to keep a phone line operating with), and then after finally (two months) [being contacted] by my new mobile only to be told that Ms. Oliver's "busy and hectic life and the fact that news in Portugal was not one of her top priorities" has, to say the least, stretched any credibility I harboured for your operation there and has dampened whatever were my lofty probabilities for working out a regular assignment with your Publication.
Given all that, there is no fool quite like an old one, when it's experience that really counts. So I will file this one story and hope that I can receive a copy of Sam's letter as it still offers a couple of chides at the "Man who gave us so much Hope" before he enters his final year in the White House by email ASAP. (Ed.Note: referring here to Pres. Bill Clinton)
Ms. Oliver's offer to send/lend me $100 for "writing" was needed at the time, to try to keep a phone line operating from which to remain "on line," reporting to American & European alternative outlets on "the European Front" that is changing and taking a different tact than the US' failed "Drugs War" policies as the EU searches for a uniform policy by 31 December this year. Needless to say, but I have lost my place, my phone line, and I am scrambling to just survive where being a "dope smoking" broke American "retired hippie" is no advantage. I do have a mobile phone, and occasionally it has some money on it so that I can call out, but it is with me 24-hours daily should anyone ever want to actually "talk" to me, or verify copy I have emailed through friends here. The number is (from the States: 011) 351-931-454-4433.I am available and still interested in serving your readers and working out some arrangement for EXPO next year.
My email address has changed: uncleghee @Hotmail.com and my surface mail address now is Michael Moran - Quinta Sta. Micaela - Bairro Novo, 2710 Sintra, Portugal. A few back copies of FREEP would be helpful if I am to function in the near future as your European Desk.
I hope this finds Dotty's foot is better, the step fixed, and you all in good health and a good holiday mood. I look forward to any reply or compensation I might earn. Say hello to Dick and Big Al. Best to Sam wherever he is now.
(This is appently from 1999, no date is shown.)
PORTUGAL breaks rank with EU "drug policy;" Parliament "decriminalizes" personal possessions
Lisboa, Portugal - Four years ago when the Portuguese Communist Party called for legalizing "cannabis," most here tossed it off as another wild idea from the radical left.
Last year, just before EXPO-98 opened in May, both the President of the Republic, who has lost a daughter three years ago in a "hard drug" overdose, and the President of the Parlimaent called for "legalizing" all Drugs, making the Government the main source of supplies. After a couple of weeks of wrangling by the Press & Media, most just figured this was a "trial balloon" and would fade in a short time.
This year, however, many more in high government positions have called for "legalizing" either "all drugs" or following the Dutch "koffie shop" model for separating "soft" and "hard" drug consumption. In late March, the brother of the President of the Republic, himself the leading psychiatrist in the Drug Rehab field here, said "something had to be done soon." And it was.
In April, without much debate at all, after public comments by Pres. Sampao, the Prime Minister Dr. Guterres, the Pres. of the Assembly Dr. Santos, the Minister of Justice Dr. Socrates, the Minister of Internal Affairs Dr. Coehlo, the Pres. of the Supreme Tribunal Dr. Ferreira, the Director of the National Police (like [the American] FBI) Dr. Negrao and the Minister of Commerce, and leading medical and rehab professionals in the Press and on tv, the Parliament has "decriminalized" personal possession of marijuana and hashish. No longer will you have to go to jail for simple possessions. A fine will be levied instead. And if young people pay any more attention to these summons than they now do to traffic fines, it'll be a real miracle.
Lisboa must be the most scofflawed City in Europe, where periodically the government gives broad Amnesties to thousands for the billions of escudos that people have accumulated and ignored. What is news, is that the Portuguese government seems ready to bite the bullet on "hard drugs" and begin furnishing "treatment on demand" and a social net that assists these young people as they break away from their addictions.
As the EU [grapples] with how to come to an equitable and uniform "drug policy" by year's end, the Portuguese and Dutch have offered a more humane and pragmatic approach, like 500 years ago when these two seafaring nations took a different tack and discovered a sea route to the Spice Trades and India, than the American "drugs war" mind-set that the Clinton-Gore team seems destined to impale itself on.
Here in Portugal, with 11-month-long growing seasons, grapes and palm trees everywhere and a large annual tourist industry, a fledgling koffie shop/sidewalk cafe ambiance can be seen to be rising slowly. None to soon for this old psychedelic reprobate enjoying this warm climate after 3-1/2 years in Holland.
Queries about submissions to the Guest Opinion Page should be made to JoBeth Briton, Editor, Little Rock Free Press, 165117, Little Rock, Arkansas 72206. Or email to Attention of Editor at FREEP@aristotle.net. Or fax by calling 501-372-4769. All queries must be signed and include a phone number.
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USA Today (newspaper), endorses Medical Marijuana.Courtesy of NORML (USA), and signatory.>>>NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE REFORM OF MARIJUANA LAWS
>>>1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW
>>>WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
>>>T 202-483-5500 * F 202-483-0057
>>>.. a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana
>>> July 18, 1996
>>>   ; USA Today Endorses Access To Medical Marijuana
>>> July 18, 1996, Arlington, VA: USA Today, the nation's most widely read
>>>daily newspaper, has endorsed access to medical marijuana. The endorsement
>>>stemmed from a USA Today editorial entitled "Anti-drug focus keeps marijuana
>>>from the ill" and came just two days after the newspaper featured a major
>>>article on a California ballot initiative that would allow seriously ill
>>>patients to use marijuana as a therapeutic agent with a doctor's
>>> Calling marijuana "one of the least toxic medical compounds in the
>>>world," the editorial cited both marijuana's relative safety when compared
>>>to other legal drugs and medicines and decades of scientific and anecdotal
>>>research maintaining its medical efficacy.
>>> "It is entirely possible to fight the drug war without harming innocent
>>>civilians in the process," concluded the USA Today. "But lawmakers must be
>>>careful to choose the right battles. Therapeutic marijuana isn't one of
>>> "The statements made by USA Today in support of medical access to
>>>therapeutic marijuana should have a positive impact on America's views
>>>toward this issue and may translate into a significant number of votes among
>>>California citizens in favor of the Medical Marijuana Initiative," stated
>>>NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.
>>> For more information, please contact Dave Fratello of Californians for
>>>Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952.
(16 November 1998) From telephone conversation with James Burton. An Amsterdam newspaper article recently pointed out that the lowest price in Holland for medical marijuana is being offered by the Institute of Medical Marijuana in Rotterdam at about 6 guilders per gram. The profit from operations is modest, so James still works full time.
Without official approval, a handful of Dutch doctors continue to discreetly prescribe marijuana, and a handful of renegade pharmacists continue to fill prescriptions. It appears that coffeeshop prices for marijuana and hashish have risen lately as imports are curtailed.
Switzerland. Pharmacies are now routinely supplying marijuana only by prescription.
Marijuana and Driving. A few months ago, a driver in the Netherlands was ticketed for "driving under the influence" of marijuana. He was stopped in traffic a few days previous under suspicion, so a blood sample was taken. The blood was sent off for analysis and returned a "positive" indication, so the driver was ticketed. It is not known if he will appeal.
Ben and Alan Dronkers of Sensi-Seed are trying to re-open some of their Rotterdam coffeeshop locations which had been closed in the past, but this time they want to sell beer as well. They have told city officials that it isn't possible to make a profit with cannabis coffeeshops in Holland unless things besides cannabis, like beer, cigarettes, food, snacks, etc., are also sold.
Back in the early '70's, the first marijuana coffeeshops made it a special point to not sell alcohol, since marijuana was considered less harmful. The decline in the number of "drug tourists" is forcing a reconsideration of this "purist" philosophy as some coffeeshops close.
As the rest of Europe decriminalizes, "drug tourists" simply stay home rather than travel to Amsterdam. Amsterdam will always attract visitors though, and the Cannabis Cup is worth attending.
Medical marijuana and the disease, multiple sclerosis. James says that he has been extremely disappointed lately by statements made recently in the Dutch press by licensed doctors stating that "marijuana cures M.S." James even suspects deliberate "sabatoge" by the doctor who made the statement, considering that no such case has ever been reported to him by any patients.
James said that for M.S., the best results for many patients occurs when they use cannabis in edible form. Some patients, however, have reported good results with smoked marijuana. Many M.S. patients have not had good results with marijuana, though, according to James.
December 30, 1998 From telephone conversation with James Burton. It appears that marijuana has been decriminalized pretty much everywhere in Europe, including Switzerland, where people are reportedly smoking it on the street in some cities without any hassles.
The recent referendum vote this fall in Switzerland was not a loss for decriminalized marijuana ; it was a loss for legalizing "all drugs". At the moment, marijuana is decriminalized in Switzerland, while "hard drugs" are available by prescription to addicts. Marijuana is also available by prescription from pharmacies.
Heroin distribution by medical authorities continues in a few places in Holland, including Rotterdam.
Bars or Coffeeshops ? In Rotterdam, the proliferation of too many cannabis coffeeshops (some which sell beer and wine along with cannabis) and bars, in one area near the centrum, on the "nieuwe binnenweg" street, and the resultant increases in crime there, has resulted in a new policy where the cannabis coffeeshops in particular will be relocated, one by one, to individual neighborhoods.
Away from the busy centrum, and with their alcohol content removed, the coffeeshops can be expected to help reduce neighborhood "hard drug" street dealing, juvenile delinquency, and even alcoholism.
It appears that the separation of alcohol and cannabis is re-emerging in Dutch cannabis coffeeshop policy, although this policy may vary from locale to locale.
Top of Article.
MARIJUANA AND GLAUCOMA COMMENTS(From '93, '94, '96, and 1998 converations with James Burton, glaucoma/marijuana patient.)
It's true that some glaucoma sufferers smoke more marijuana than regular non-medical users. James Burton smokes more marijuana per day than most other users. He's been doing that ever since his own doctor told him back in the 80's that marijuana was the best thing for his glaucoma at that time.
Many medical marijuana users will have to use more marijuana per week than non-medical leisure-time users.
James told me, in answer to the question, "Have you tried the latest conventional medications for glaucoma ?"
He said that no, he didn't plan to switch any time soon since the published and admitted "side effects" of the conventional medicines he knew about were worse than anything he had experienced from marijuana (1996 conversation). Perhaps new things have come out since then that James is not aware of. Perhaps not.
He's too busy to visit the doctor often, and he doesn't need to visit often for his condition.
Not many people in Holland have the time, nor inclination, to smoke a great deal of marijuana every day. They're too busy with other interesting things, just like James, who still works full time at a regular 9 - 5 job.
Maybe, James should immediately stop using marijuana, shut down the Stichting, and move back to the United States, seeking whatever pills good doctors want to prescribe for Glaucoma. He can probably get the same pills in Holland, though.
James has already told me that he happens to like marijuana, even if it didn't help his glaucoma.
(November 24, 1998) How much marijuana does James use per day ususally ? He says he always smokes immediately upon waking in the morning, and just before sleep, about 10 PM ; and one or two other joints in between, for a grand total per day of 3 - 5 joints.
NORML Canada Announces Historic Event in Jurisprudence as "War on Drugs" Winds Down.
(11 November, 1998 NORML Canada News Release via internet.) When Gary Mowat of Toronto reported back to court on Nov. 3rd, he had good news for the Judge. He informed the court that he had fulfilled his 40 hours of mandated community service by acting as a security guard at the NORML Canada/B-Net Campout held in Umberto Iorfida's backyard in King City, Ontario September 11 - 13, 1998.
Arrested in his Toronto home after a police visit unrelated to marijuana, Mowat was charged with simple possession which in Canada these days is usually handled by fines and community service sentencing.
Mowat's attorney, Law Professor Alan Young, upon hearing the news congratulated Gary and exclaimed, "That's Great !"
Iorfida issues the following statement, "As the "war on drugs" winds down, the goals of NORML will expand to include goals in addition to decriminalizing all aspects of marijuna and hemp. Those main objectives remain to be fulfilled completely, but we will be shifting our activities more in the direction of "community service", rather than just protest and criticism."
"Community service, integrated into the tradition of drug policy reform, should be widely recognized as a proper and constructive orientation for groups like NORML Canada."
"I encourage all marijuana simple possession convictee's, or any other drug law convictee sentenced to community service, to choose to do work for chartered or judicially approved groups, like NORML, whenever that is an option."
Umberto remarked that he was not at all happy with the fact that Gary was arrested for something NORML does not consider criminal. "NORML will continue to fight for the complete elimination of all penalties and stigma's assocated with all marijuana use, dealing, seed production, and cultivation."
"In some areas, Canadians using marijuana are not very oppressed by current marijuana law policy. In other areas, arrests are common, though jail for simple possession is rare. Mostly, dealers and growers are experiencing really harsh judicial treatment, so we still have work to do. The informant system is destructive of the fabric of society."
The Dutch Cannabis Coffee shop Model Brings People in from the Cold.
Take the Heat Off Vancouver's Cannabis Cafe ; It's Part of the Local Hospitality Industry
NORML Canada's Official Position on "Semi-Public Marijuana Usage".
At the moment, marijuana smokers in Canada are considerably more secure in their jobs and careers than their American counterparts, but not as secure as the Dutch. I'm not talking about traffickers, necessarily.
Although secure in most respects, Canadians cannot generally smoke marijuana in public, except perhaps at times at the "Cannabis Cafe" in Vancouver. Marc Emery and Sister Icee are usually given credit for that innovation, but at the moment, the cafe is being "bashed" by city hall. Whether or not the cafe will be allowed to stay open is anyone's guess. We hope so, because the people of Vancouver, and Canada perhaps, don't consider it to be criminal.
Regardless of our support for some restrictions on marijuana use in public, marijuana should have a secure place somewhere, other than back alleys. In reality, marijuana usage in Canada (simple possession) is in a "semi-legal" or "semi-illegal" gray area, depending on location. It isn't legal, but you probably won't go to jail for it. You will probably pay a fine if caught with it.
Amazingly, there is also a "Bulldog Cafe" in Vancouver, just like the famous hashish coffee shop in Amsterdam. But the cafe in Vancouver does not presently allow patrons to smoke marijuana. At least that's what the manager told me once by phone a few years ago.
Anyone who has ever visited Amsterdam will usually get a good impression of the cannabis coffee shops there. How much discussion can there be about coffee shops ? It's just a simple civilized thing, like cafe's, restaurants, and yes, pubs.
Note : Persons not smoking marijuana are just as welcome in a Dutch cannabis coffee shop as smokers. Also served are : coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pastries, toasted cheese sandwiches, fresh squeezed orange juice, and sometimes beer, and other things. Tobacco and cigarettes are also sold, and cigarette smoking is always present. Many Americans have been complaining about the tobacco smoking in cannabis coffee shops there for years, but most Europeans still like tobacco, and there are no serious plans to ban it any time soon.
Here are some random coffee shop links :
- Amsterdam pages : click. This person's review of coffe shops in Amsterdam : click.
- CNN and other major TV networks have aired some really excellent news specials for TV about the Dutch coffee shop approach to "controlling marijuana". Hemp BC has had a lot of these programs available to view at the following site : TV Programs, or click here.
- Web maintainer's 1993 low budget video effort : click. Slightly outdated, but basically accurate.
Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Society
The CTCS is a new organization designed to unite and mobilize people with a common interest in the medical potential and use of marijuana and to promote the intelligent, effective use of cannabis in medicine.
The Canadian Alliance of Medical Marijuana Advocates
The organizational structure of the CTCS is similar to that of most special interest non-profit organizations. From the general public, we invite medical marijuana advocates to become members of the Society. Members benefit by being recognized as supporters and being kept informed about the progress of the Society. They are also given the opportunity to vote on certain Society actions. Being a general member requires no cost or obligation. Members are invited to attend the few general meetings we hold per year, and are given the opportunity to donate a few dollars in lieu of membership dues. This pool of members is then divided into two parts.
General members are those who are happy with the above-mentioned perks and involvement while active members are those who would like to be more of an integral part of the organization. Active members are divided into two parts; those who are willing to be volunteers, meaning that they can offer certain services once in a while, and those who are able to serve on the Society's various sub- committees, attending monthly sub-committee meetings and thus taking part in the actual running of the organization. Active members can choose to be a part of as many of the sub-committees as they like. For example, some of the committees are: membership, finance and funding, volunteer coordination, research and special projects. Read farther down for a more detailed list. Each of these sub-committees is headed by an elected "chair." A separate executive committee, consisting of the Society's president, vice president, secretary and treasurer is the group that manages the day-to-day operation of the society, planning agendas and otherwise acting on behalf of the Society's board of directors, which is made up of the executives and the chairs of each sub- committee. This board of directors is the group that controls the overall direction of the Society, including policy-making and maintaining standards. Shortly after the sub-committee meetings, which occur in the first week of each month, the sub-committee chairs provide the executive committee with summaries (minutes) of these meetings which the executives use during their meeting in the second week of each month to plan for the board of directors meeting which is held in the fourth week of each month. .
Here is a brief list of the sub-committees that are currently in place and their function :
Membership - Headed by the Society's secretary, who also maintains the files of the society and takes minutes for the executive, board of directors and general meetings. Maintains membership records and recruits new members.
Finance and Funding - Headed by the Society's treasurer, is in charge of the earning and distribution of the Society's capital - budgeting, record-keeping, accounting and fundraising.
Volunteer - Organizes those members of the Society who would like to help when they can at CTCS functions - recruitment, training and job descriptions.
Public Relations - Acts as liaison to the general public, media and police. Ensures attendance at, for example, relevant government meetings.
Research - Keeps the Society up-to-date on the news front, maintains the society's library/resource centre and performs laboratory and statistical experimentation.
Special Projects - Organizes special events and occasional tasks such as renovations. Sets up task-forces and temporary (ad-hoc) committees for certain projects.
Legal - Keeps us up-to-date on legal issues, works with such entities as lawmakers and law enforcers. Prepares for potential legal situations.
Suppliers - Represents the interests of medical cannabis dispensaries, growers, processors and distributors.
Patients - Represents the interests of medical cannabis users. Participates in research projects, etc.
Medical - Represents the interests of doctors and scientists.
We are also now setting up regional offices, each headed by a Society director with a proven track record in their community and the cannabis movement. Within a short while, we'd like to at least have a small committee in each major city across Canada.
So please consider the part that you can play in such an interesting and important organization and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your interest and best regards,
Director and President, Toronto Hemp Collective - THC, 667 Yonge Street 2nd Floor (416) 923-3556 www.interlog.com/~thcdom
Director and CEO, Medical Marijuana Resource Centre - MMRC, 517 College Street # 335 (416) 961-6672
Director and President, Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Society - CTCS, 517 College Street # 335 (416) 961-6672
NOTE: this is an un-altered text from 1998.
Around this period, there were three other big events in Canada relating to marijuana law reform that I recall: David Malmo-Levine opened the Harm Reduction Club. Also, Ross Regabliati being allowed to keep his Olympic Gold Medal after admitting recent marijuana usage. And Terry Parker getting legal permission to use medical marijuana in Canada.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT NEWS REPORT PRESS RELEASE
DOCUMENT DATE: NOVEMBER 5, 1997
Soft drugs should be legalised. Hard drugs should be
available on prescription
The Committee on Civil Liberties adopted the report of its
chairwoman, Hedy d'ANCONA (PES, NL), on harmonisation of the Member
States' drug laws, by 17 votes to 11, with 4 abstentions, the votes on
many of the amendments being extremely close. The report, drawn up at
Parliament's initiative, contains a recommendation to the Council.
As Mrs d'ANCONA emphasised, the aim is not to harmonise the fine
detail of the Member States' regulations on drugs but to grant
national, regional and local authorities the freedom to carry out
their own policies. She said that legislation must be take account of
the realities, as indicated in an amendment tabled by Sir Jack
STEWART-CLARK which was accepted by the committee. In practice, it was
impossible to imprison every drug addict and in any case prison did
not solve the problem of drug addiction.
The committee's recommendation calls for the right to receive
appropriate medical treatment to apply to drug addicts. It says that
Article 129 of the EC Treaty (as amended at Amsterdam), which is the
legal basis for EU public health policy, should be taken to mean that
support may be given to treatment programmes under which hard drugs
are supplied on medical prescription and subject to the necessary
checks. The EU institutions will have greater freedom of manoeuvre
after the new treaty has entered into force. The recommendation also
argues that repression should concentrate on illegal drug trafficking,
while penalties for those who are simply users of illegal drugs should
The committee believes that the UN drug conventions of 1961, 1971
and 1988 have led to policies in the Member States which need to be
looked at carefully. It urges the Council to call, at the UN General
Assembly on Drugs to be held next June, for these conventions to be
reviewed, the consumption of illegal drugs decriminalised, the trade
in cannabis and its derivatives regulated and methadone and heroin
allowed under medical prescription.
In addition, the recommendation urges the Council to make more
funds available to help reduce demand for drugs and also fund
information and education measures, a harm-reduction policy and
improvements to health and care facilities for drug addicts.
The committee calls on Member States to cooperate to a greater
degree over drug-related matters at national, regional and local
levels and for the powers of local and regional authorities to be
extended in accordance with the Community action programme on the
prevention of drug dependence (1996-2000). Lastly, it stresses the
importance of pilot projects in urban areas aimed at reducing demand
and preventing crime, as well as the value of involving local
communities in developing countries.
Further information: Etienne BASSOT - +011-32-2-284-4741 - EuroParliament - Brussels, Belgium
END OF DOCUMENT
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