TX NORML open meeting notes, October 6, 2010
During last month’s meeting we covered these stories:
– House Passes National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2010
– THC Halts Breast Cancer Tumor Growth
– Spain Approves Marijuana Spray As Medicine
– Poll finds Fewer Than One In Five Americans Say Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than Booze
– Effects Of Random Student Drug Testing Programs Limited, Education Department Study Says
– Commonly Prescribed Medications Often Trigger ‘False Positive’ Results On Urine Drug Screens, Study Says
– Detroit: Marijuana Depenalization Measure In Litigation
– Latino Voters League, Black Police Officers Endorse Prop 19
– Barry Cooper’s charges dropped, then 2 days later his home is raided by SWAT, again for a misdemeanor charge
Recap of last month’s events:
– San Marcos River Reggae Fest, Labor Day, was a great Reggae lineup, perhaps will be happening again next year
– 39th Annual National NORML Conference in Portland, OR, Sept. 8-11th
– Free Marc Emery rally in Austin on Sept. 18th, at Wooldridge Square Park
– Red River Reggae on Oct. 1st had to be moved from Club Encore because it closed down unexpectedly
– 5th Annual 6th Street Smokeout, Saturday, October 2nd, estimated more than 300 in attendance
– October 5th, yesterday, National Day of Support for Prop 19 with events in several cities, including Austin, where Fox News had coverage, Cheyanne can give more info
Now for the news from the past month:
Marijuana Prosecutions For Year 2009 Near Record High — Pot Arrests Now Comprise More Than One-Half Of All Drug Arrests Nationwide
Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations in 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released yesterday. The arrest total is the second highest ever reported by the FBI, and marks a 1.3 percent increase in the number of arrests reported in 2008 (847,864).
According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52 percent) of all drug arrests reported in the United States. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44 percent of all drug arrests.
Approximately forty-six percent of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for marijuana possession.
Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 88 percent (758,593 Americans) were charged with possession only. The remaining 99,815 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.
Regionally, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (62 percent of all drug arrests) and southern regions (56 percent of all drug arrests) of the United States, and lowest in the west, where pot prosecutions comprised only 40 percent of total drug arrests.
In 2007, the FBI reported 872,721 marijuana prosecutions in the United States, the highest total on record.
Rhode Island: Health Agency Rejects All Applicants Seeking Medical Dispensary Licenses
Providence, RI: State Department of Health officials announced that they have rejected all 15 applicants who applied for licenses to distribute medical marijuana in accordance with the state’s 2009 law.
Under the law, state officials were required to issue licenses by July 2010 to allow for not-for-profit entities to “supply or dispense” marijuana to authorized patients. To date, no licenses have yet to be issued by the state.
Health Department officials said that nine of the 15 applicants failed to comply with the state’s medical marijuana regulations, while six applicants were denied for technical reasons – such as exceeding the application’s page limits.
Health officials said that the agency expects to issue a new request for proposals in October.
Rhode Island lawmakers initially enacted legislation allowing for state-qualified patients to possess, grow, and use marijuana for therapeutic purposes in 2007. Lawmakers enacted separate legislation in 2009 to allow for the Department of Health to issue licenses for the operation of non-profit ‘compassion centers’ to provide cannabis to authorized patients.
To date, over 2,200 individuals are registered in Rhode Island to use cannabis legally. Another 1,600 individuals are registered as caregivers, a status which permits them to grow up to 24 marijuana plants for designated patients.
In other states: This summer, Maine Health officials approved the state’s first ever state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. New Mexico health officials also license medical marijuana providers and retail distributors.
New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect
Trenton, NJ: State law authorizing the limited medical use and distribution of cannabis in New Jersey takes effect Friday, October 1. New Jersey is one of fourteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, that allows for the physician-recommended use of marijuana.
Under the law, the New Jersey Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act, the state Department of Health is mandated to issue regulations overseeing the licensed production and distribution of medical cannabis to authorized patients. Health officials have 90 days following the law’s enactment to adopt the regulations for the state’s medical marijuana program.
Outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine initially signed the measure into law in January. However, in June state lawmakers – at the behest of Gov. Chris Christie – amended the law so that it would not take effect until October.
New Jersey’s regulations, once instituted, are expected to be the strictest medical cannabis law in the nation.
California: Marijuana Infraction Measure Sent To Governor and signed into law
Sacramento, CA: Lawmakers passed legislation reducing statewide marijuana possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction; members of the Assembly voted 43 to 33 in favor of Senate Bill 1449, which amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is classified as an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine. The vote split largely along party lines, with Democrats voting 40 to 8 in favor of more lenient penalties and Republicans voting 2 to 23 against the bill.
Senate lawmakers had previously approved the measure by a vote of 21 to 13.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on Thursday!
Under previous law, minor marijuana possession for non-medical purposes was classified as a criminal misdemeanor. While the offense was not punishable by jail time, defendants charged under the law were to appear in court, pay court costs, and attend a court-ordered diversion program. Offenders who refused to attend the program could have retained a criminal record for 2 years.
California: State’s Largest Labor Union Endorses Prop 19
Sacramento, CA: The California council of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the state’s largest union, hasendorsed Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Initiative of 2010. If passed, the measure would legalize the private adult possession and cultivation of marijuana, and allow local government the option to regulate the plant’s commercial production and sale.
The SEIU has some 750,000 members in California.
Proposition 19 has also gained support from the council that oversees political activities for the United Food and Commercial Workers in California and four other western states. The Northern California council of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Communications Workers of America Local 9415 and Sign Displays & Allied Crafts Local 510 have also endorsed the campaign.
Other groups backing the campaign include the California state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Latino Voters League, the National Black Police Association, and the California Council of Churches IMPACT.
Polling on Prop 19 in California shows a positive trend
a significant shift in public opinion in favor of the measure, which voters previously opposed in a July Field Poll by a margin of 48 percent to 44 percent.
Sixty percent of Democrats and 62 percent of non-partisan voters said that they would vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 19 ‘if the election were being held today.’ A majority of all voters age 18 to 49 said they backed the measure.
The Field Poll has been conducting non-partisan surveys of California voters since 1947.
Two additional polls released last week also emphasize voter support for Prop. 19. A Public Policy Polling firm survey of 630 likely California voters found 47 percent of likely voters backed Proposition 19, versus 38 percent against. A separate Survey USA pollof 569 California adults reported similar support, with 47 percent of respondents saying that they are ‘certain’ to back the measure, versus 43 percent opposed.
PollTracker.com, a website that posts aggregates results of all of the polls conducted on this issue to date shows Prop. 19leading by 47 percent to 40 percent.
Inhaled Cannabis Reduces Pain, Improves Sleep In Patients With Neuropathy, Study Says
Montreal, Quebec: Inhaled cannabis reduces pain and improves sleep compared to placebo, and is well tolerated by patients with chronic neuropathy, according to clinical trial data published this week in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association(CMAJ).
Investigators at McGill University in Montreal assessed the efficacy of inhaled cannabis on pain intensity in 23 subjects with chronic post-traumatic or postsurgical neuropathic pain in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Participants in the study received a single inhalation of 25 mg of 9.4 percent herbal cannabis or placebo three times daily. All of the volunteers in the study suffered from refractory pain for which conventional therapies had proven ineffective.
Researchers reported: “[H]erbal cannabis … significantly reduced average pain scores compared with … cannabis placebo in adult participants. … We found significant improvement in measures of sleep quality and anxiety. … Our results support the claim that smoked cannabis reduces pain, improves mood, and helps sleep.”
In February, investigators from the California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research summarized the results of four separate FDA ‘gold standard’ designed clinical trials demonstrating that inhaled marijuana was safe and effective for the treatment of neuropathy.
An estimated one to two percent of the population suffers from some form of neuropathic pain, which typically goes untreated by standard analgesics.
Another study shows “Gateway” theory is BS
Durham, NH: Age and unemployment, but not marijuana use, are most likely to be associated with an individual’s decision to use so-called ‘hard’ drugs, according to survey data published this month in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
Investigators at the University of New Hampshire tracked the use patterns of approximately 1,300 young adults who attended south Florida public schools in the 1990s. Researchers tracked the participants from enrollment in the sixth or seventh grade until they reached their late teens or early 20s.
Authors reported that the factors most likely to be associated with subjects’ progression to hard drug use were age, stress, and whether or not they were employed following high school.
“It really didn’t matter if someone used marijuana or not as a teen,” lead investigator Karen Van Gundy told the website Web MD.
Van Gundy also implied that criminalizing marijuana users could inadvertently drive individuals toward more serious illicit drug use.
Cannabinoid, CBD (cannabidiol) Reduces Anxiety In First Ever Clinical Trial
Sao Paulo, Brazil: The administration of the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, reduces anxiety in subjects with social anxiety disorder (SAD), according to clinical trial data published online in The Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Investigators at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil assessed the anti-anxiety activity of oral doses of CBD in ten subjects in a double blind, placebo-controlled trial.
The study is the first clinical trial to investigate the effects of CBD on human pathological anxiety and its underlying brain mechanisms.
Previous studies of CBD have demonstrated the compound to possess anti-inflammatory activity, anti-cancer activity, and neuroprotective effects – among other therapeutic properties.
Combined Use Of THC And Alcohol Increases Driver Accident Risk, Study Says
Jerusalem, Israel: Subjects engaged in the simultaneous ingestion of cannabis and alcohol experience an exponentially increased risk of motor accident compared to those who consume either substance alone, according clinical data published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
Investigators at Ben Gurion University in Israel assessed the impact of alcohol and THC cigarettes on psychomotor performance in 12 subjects on a driving simulator test. Authors reported: “Subjects were generally impaired under the influence of the drugs with the highest impairment observed after intake of the combined alcohol and THC. In terms of vehicular control, five out of the twelve subjects that participated in the study had a collision while under the influence of the combination of alcohol and THC, three had collisions after smoking THC alone, and 2 had collisions after drinking alcohol alone. None had collisions during the placebo … sessions.”
Upcoming Events & Alerts
– Sunday, October 10th, at Ace’s Lounge, a non-NORML event, but it is “The Smokers’ Club Tour”, with rappers Curren$y, Big KRIT, & Smoke DZA, $15 tickets
– Friday, October 15th, here at Flamingo Cantina, our friend Jeremy Pena and his two bands, Ryan Scroggins & Trenchtown Texans and the Bandulus, will be playing with the Toasters, $10 tickets
– PYMWYMI, Invitational Disc-Golf Tournament, in Round Top, TX, Halloween weekend, contact Texas NORML for more info. Registration is limited
– Next Monthly Meeting is November 3rd, right here
– Texas NORML’s Fall Members Mixer: Grassroots Revolution, Saturday, November 6th, near Dripping Springs, info available tonight.
Questions or comments/ anything left out?