TX NORML open meeting notes, February 2nd, 2011
During last month’s meeting we covered these stories:
– Café Press makes significant donation to National NORML over holidays
– Obama Administration & Justice Dept Threaten Oakland about their plan for industrial size marijuana grows, and the plan gets scrapped
– Oral THC Reduces Aggressive Behavior in patients with refractory psychosis (psychosis that encompasses multiple symptoms and is difficult to treat)
– CBD can help to ease diabetic cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle)
– LA County Superior Court Judge rules against local dispensary ban
– EU Court rules that tourists can be legally barred from coffeeshops, if local governments choose to do that
– New Orleans City Council Votes in Favor of Depenalizing marijuana possession
– California law takes effect, making possession of up to 1 ounce a fine only offense
– Televangelist, Pat Robertson, says on 700 Club he supports ending marijuana prohibition
– New Jersey medical marijuana fight gets messy, and is still dragging on
– Arizona’s new medical marijuana law gets new draft regulations, 1 dispensary for every 10 pharmacy, no self-cultivation w/in 25 miles of dispensary
– New Mexico updates MMJ regulations to allow for licensed production of up to 150 plants, up from 95
– Legislation updates, and we’ll be talking about that in just a few minutes, but first,
Now for the news from the past month:
Updated NORML Report Reviews Nearly 200 Studies On The Therapeutic Use of Cannabis
National NORML releases newly updated “Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis and Cannabinoids” booklet. It is available online, and we have copies available with our literature, for $5 each
National NORML Announces 2011 Convention, April 21-23rd, in Denver, Colorado
Wish we could go but have many other things going on, so we’ll be there in spirit.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Regulations are STILL being debated, so stay tuned
Cincinnati City Council Agrees To Suspend Municipal Marijuana Recriminalization Ordinance
Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati city council members have agreed to a 2011 fiscal budget plan that repeals the city’s four-year-old marijuana recriminalization law, The Cincinnati Enquirer has reported.
Under Ohio state law, the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana (approximately three ounces) is classified as a ‘minor misdemeanor’ punishable by a $150 fine and no criminal record. In 2006, Cincinnati council members enacted a separate, more stringent citywide marijuana ordinance making minor marijuana possession offenses punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $250 fine, and a criminal record. According to statistics published online by the group Prioritize Cincinnati, implementation of the local ordinance increased municipal marijuana law enforcement costs by $181,000, but was not associated with a reduction in overall criminal activity.
Marijuana Compound Induces Cell Death In Hard-To-Treat Brain Cancer
Investigators at Complutense University in Spain assessed the anti-tumor activity of the cannabinoids THC and CBD (cannabidiol) in glioma xenografts (tissue grafts).
The combined administration of THC and the pharmaceutical agent temozolomide (TMZ) demonstrates strong anti-cancer activity in brain tumors resistant to conventional anti-cancer treatments, according to preclinical data published online in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
Authors reported that the administration of THC in combination with TMZ (the benchmark agent for the management of glioblastoma) “enhanced autophagy” (programmed cell death) in malignant tissue. The combined administration of THC, CBD, and TMZ “remarkably reduce[d] the growth of glioma xenografts … [and] produced a strong antitumoral action in both TMZ-sensitive and TMZ-resistant tumors.”
A 2006 pilot study published in the British Journal of Cancer reported that the intratumoral administration of THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in two of nine human subjects with GBM, which is highly resistant to conventional anti-cancer treatments.
Separate preclinical studies assessing the anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids indicate that the substances can inhibit the proliferation of various types of cancerous cells, including breast carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, gastric adenocarcinoma, skin carcinoma, leukemia cells, neuroblastoma, lung carcinoma, uterus carcinoma, thyroid epithelioma, pancreatic adenocarcinoma, cervical carcinoma, oral cancerbiliary tract cancer (cholangiocarcinoma), and lymphoma.
Pot Compound Exerts Anticonvulsant Effects In Animal Models Of Epilepsy
Reading, United Kingdom: Investigators at the University of Reading, School of Pharmacy, in the United Kingdom assessed the anticonvulsant activity of CBD (administered in 1, 10, and 100mg/kg doses) in two established rodent seizure models.
The administration of the nonpsychotropic cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) significantly reduces the incidences and severity of seizures, according to preclinical data published online inSeizure: The Journal of the British Epilepsy Association.
Authors of the study reported that CBD in all doses, significantly reduced seizures and seizure-free animals.
Survey data published in 2004 in the journal Neurology reported that 21 percent of subjects with epilepsy had used marijuana in the past year, “with the majority of active users reporting beneficial effects on seizures.”
Marijuana Compound Improves Brain And Liver Function In Animal Model Of Hepatic Encephalopathy
An international team of investigators from Israel and Greece assessed the impact of CBD on neurological and motor functions in mice induced with hepatic failure. They reported, “Neurological and cognitive functions were severely impaired in thioacetamide-treated mice and were restored by cannabidiol. Similarly, decreased motor activity in thioacetamide-treated mice was partially restored by cannabidiol.”
The administration of the nonpsychotropic cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) restores liver function and improves brain pathology in an experimental model of hepatic encephalopathy (brain deterioration due to liver failure), according to preclinical data published online in The British Journal of Pharmacology. If untreated, hepatic encephalopathy can result in coma and death.
A 2009 review published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences reported that CBD possesses over a dozen separate therapeutic properties – including anti-cancer properties, anti-diabetic properties, anti-epileptic properties, and anti-bacterialproperties.
Colorado: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Not Associated With Increased Crime
An analysis of Denver crime statistics for 2010 contradicts claims that the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries are associated with elevated incidences of criminal activity.
According to a Denver Post story published this week: “A Denver police analysis completed late last year of areas around dispensaries showed that the number of crimes in those pockets dropped in the first nine months of 2010 compared with the same period in 2009. The drop, 8.2 percent, was marginally less than the city’s overall drop in crime of 8.8 percent, according to police.”
A separate Denver Post analysis of citywide crime crimes committed in the first 11 months of 2010 found that “some Denver neighborhoods with the highest concentration of dispensaries per capita saw a bigger decrease in crimes than did some neighborhoods with no dispensaries.”
Over 800 state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries presently operate in Colorado. The highest concentration of these facilities is in Denver.
Previous analyses have also failed to find any association between the proliferation of medical cannabis dispensaries and elevated crime rates. For example, a 2010 review by the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper reported, “[P]olice have yet to find a correlation between the city’s approximately 175 pot shops and increased crime.”
A similar 2009 review of Los Angeles crime data also failed to establish a positive link between medical marijuana facilities and crime.
Washington: Lawmakers To Debate Measure To Regulate Marijuana Sales For Adults
Olympia, WA: A coalition of House lawmakers have introduced legislation that seeks to legalize and regulate the “production, distribution, and sale” of marijuana to adults.
As introduced, House Bill 1550 would allow for the state-authorized cultivation and distribution of marijuana and marijuana-related products. “[T]he legislature intends to promote commerce and competition within Washington by eliminating penalties for the possession and consumption of cannabis, regulating and taxing the sale of cannabis by state government, and licensing cannabis growers,” it states.
The measure has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which rejected a similar measure last year by a 6 to 2 vote.
“I’m confident our bill will break the back of cannabis crime-syndicate profits and make it possible to preserve vital health services across Washington in these very difficult budget times,” stated the bill’s lead sponsor, Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson.
According to a 2010 analysis by the Washington state Office of Financial Management, legalizing and taxing marijuana sales could yield over $300 million in new revenue per biennium. Proponents also argue that passage of the act could also result in an additional estimated $25 million per year in law enforcement savings.
Similar legalization measures are expected to be introduced in other states later this year, including California and Massachusetts.
Before I begin our legislative update, I’d like to mention that our Activist Training Day, on January 22nd, was an overwhelming success! So much so that nearly the entire Brave New Books establishment was completely full with our attendees. The official count of people in attendance was 87, which was about double what we expected! It got a great reception from those in attendance, provided some very useful information, and got dozens of people informed and ready for the legislative session, and helping to push for marijuana law reform.
Now for our legislative update:
HB 548 – would reduce the penalty for possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana to a Class C Misdemeanor, and the 4th such offense in a 2 year period would automatically be a Class B Misdemeanor.
The Karen Heikkala Compassionate Care Act is the medical marijuana bill most likely to be introduced in Texas’ legislature this session (starting in January), and can be found at TexasCompassion.com
The Karen Heikala bill is an affirmative defense bill, providing a definite legal defense, in court, to patients whose doctors have recommended marijuana.
It also allows for medical marijuana patients to designate a person as their caregiver, who under the law, would be allowed to cultivate, provide, and assist the patient with marijuana use.
There is another bill still circulating that is different on many aspects and is being called The Tim Timmons Compassionate Care Act, which would allow for patient/caregiver registration (protection from arrest in general) and grower licensing, with “wellness centers”, AKA dispensaries allowed.
I have personally spoken to State Representative Elliot Naishtat’s staff, who told me that he would be introducing the Karen Heikala Act, although he has not done so yet. We will make that information available as soon as it happens, as well as putting out action alerts to all our outlets.
To my knowledge, there is not a Texas State official who will be introducing the Tim Timmons Act, but it is still a possibility.
Kris Bailey, Candidate for Austin City Council, on his public stance regarding marijuana law reform
Upcoming Events & Alerts
-Saturday, February 5th, Texas NORML’s Bob Marley B’day celebration at Momo’s club, 7pm, featuring Indofin, Eleven Fingered Charlie, DJ Ivor, The Contrabandits, and Ashes of Babylon! Cover is $10 unless you’re a Texas NORML member it’s $5.
-Wednesday, February 9th, Devin the Dude, DJ Slim, and NeckBone, at Antone’s,
8:00pm-1:00am. $15 presale tickets available here:
$20 cover day of event at the door.
-Saturday, February 12th, Episode Phive presents, Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth,
McPullish, & Selectah Ras Gilbert, at Republic Live, 301 W 5th St, Austin, TX,
$10 presale tickets available here: http://tribalyouth.eventbrite.com/
$12 cover day of event.
-Saturday, February 19th, Episode Phive presents, ATX Wildfire Mixer featuring,
Mike Pinto, Fayuca, Fox & Crow, Axis Unity, & DJ Ivor, at Ruta Maya,
$8 presale tickets available here: http://atxwildfiremixer.eventbrite.com/
$10 cover charge day of event.
-Friday, February 25th, Austin DUB Culture: Chapter 2, at Ruta Maya, details TBA.
-Friday, March 4th, Party Glow Erotique, put on by Austin’s Party Scene & the Jiggle Watts, at the Madison, 307 W. 5th St, with musical entertainment provided by DJ V2 & DJ Exceed, and will also include the Jiggle Watts girls (similar to burlesque).
-ATX Wildfire, Thursday –Saturday, March 17-19, during SXSW, at Ruta Maya, is an all ages, totally FREE 3 day Reggae & arts showcase brought to you by E5, and Texas NORML will be the sound sponsor for one of the days. There will be so many Reggae & Dub artists during those three days you will not believe it, including Los Skarnales, Subrosa Union, Supervillans, Fortunate Youth, Ashes of Babylon, Seedless, The Contrabandits, General Smiley, McPullish, and many many more
-Also, during SXSW, Robert Platshorn, AKA, “The Black Tuna”, will be in town for the world premier of his biographical documentary, “Square Grouper”, and . . .
The High Times’ Doobie Awards has been scheduled for Sunday, March 20th, at Emo’s, from high noon till 6pm. Tickets for the Doobies are $15, and you don’t want to miss this party! The nominees list is available online at hightimes.com/events/bobbyblack
The Doobie Awards always has stoner celebrities in attendance, and is the best pot party of the year in Austin.
-April will bring a list of more happenings, including:
Austin Reggae Festival @ Auditorium Shores, April 15-17th
Friday, April 22nd is the next Texas NORML Member’s Mixer, which will be at the US Art Authority/Spiderhouse, and this mixer will be much more open to the public, and cheaper to attend, plus we’ll have an indoor AND outdoor stage, and will incorporate comedy, speakers, art, video, and poets into the event!
Saturday, May 7th, Texas NORML will be holding the Texas Marijuana March and rally at the Texas State Capitol, from 2-4pm, and we have a big announcement to make regarding that; we have confirmed that one of the leaders at National NORML will be coming to Austin to speak at the Capitol, plus former professional snowboarder, TV personality, current singer-songwriter, and NORML Women’s Alliance member Greta Gaines will be in Austin for the Marijuana March.
And the biggest news we have for the Texas Marijuana March, is that Texas NORML will be bringing former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to Austin to be the keynote speaker at the Capitol Rally on Saturday, May 7th!
Gov. Johnson served as a Republican and outspoken advocate for marijuana law reform. He was also the keynote speaker at the National NORML Convention in Portland this past year, as well as the Portland Hempstalk.
Obviously, we are VERY excited to be able to bring these high profile speakers to the Texas Capitol for the Marijuana March, and I hope you will all spread the word that Saturday, May 7th, 2-4pm, THE place to be in Texas is at the State Capitol in Austin!
Questions or Comments/anything left out?