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  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director April 13, 2012

    This Week in Weed

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    In this episode: NORML attorneys file a lawsuit in NJ, DC announces 6 marijuana cultivation centers, a new poll shows growing support for legalization, and more.

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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 12, 2012

    [Editor's note: This post is excerpted from today's NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

    Belgian drivers injured in traffic accidents are far more likely to possess drugs and alcohol in their systems than are Dutch drivers, according to data to be published in the journal Forensic Science International.

    Investigators from Belgium and the Netherlands compared the prevalence of alcohol, licit and illicit drugs in the blood of seriously injured drivers over 18 years of age. A total of 535 drivers – 348 from Belgium and 187 from the Netherlands – were assessed in the study.

    Researchers reported, “In Belgium, more drivers were found positive for alcohol and drugs than in the Netherlands. … Alcohol was the most prevalent substance among the injured drivers in Belgium (42.5 percent) and the Netherlands (29.6 percent). … In Belgium there were … more positives for THC (8 percent). … In the Netherlands, almost no positive findings for cannabis were recorded (0.5 percent).

    THC tends to have a relatively short half-life in the blood of moderate consumers, but may be present at trace levels in the blood of more chronic users for up to 24 hours or longer.

    Investigators declared the findings “remarkable” because “the sample of drivers in the Netherlands (was) younger and included more men than in Belgium.” They also noted that cannabis use was far more popular among the Dutch general driving population (2.1 percent) compared to that of the Belgian population (0.49 percent).

    They concluded: “The lower prevalence of alcohol in the Netherlands is associated with a much lower number of crashes and killed and injured drivers. … Despite the high prevalence of THC found in the general driving population, surprisingly almost no THC was found in the Dutch injured driver population.”

    The abstract of the study, “Prevalence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances in injured drivers: Comparison between Belgium and the Netherlands,” appears online here. NORML’s white paper, “Cannabis and Driving: A Scientific and Rational Review,” is available online here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 11, 2012

    From the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines
    IACM-Bulletin of 8 April 2012

    World: Increasing numbers of patients use cannabis for medicinal purposes

    An increasing number of patients in the world are using cannabis for therapeutic reasons, with available data from countries, which have installed programs for their citizens. Good data are available for Israel, Canada, the Netherlands and many states of the US with medicinal cannabis laws and registries. In several more countries only a few patients are allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes, including Germany, Norway, Finland and Italy. In many other countries such as Spain and some states of the US without a registry such as California the number of medicinal users is estimated to be high, but no detailed data are available.

    The numbers in California with hundreds of cannabis dispensaries and clinics that issue medical cannabis recommendations are unclear, since the state does not require residents to register as patients (see below**)
    Most of the 16 states that allow the medicinal use of cannabis require a registration. Recently the press agency Associated Press published data on registered patients in different states of the USA based on state agencies responsible for maintaining patient registries:

    State: Number of registered patients (per 1,000 of the whole population) –
    Colorado: 82,089 (16.3)
    Oregon: 57,386 (15.0)
    Montana: 14,364 (14.5)
    Michigan: 131,483 (13.3)
    Hawaii: 11,695 (8.6)
    Rhode Island: 4,466 (4.2)
    Arizona: 22,037 (3.5)
    New Mexico: 4,310 (2.1)
    Maine: 2,708 (2.0)
    Nevada: 3,388 (1.3)
    Vermont: 505 (0.8)
    Alaska: 538 (0.8)
    Patient registration is mandatory in Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.), but their registries are not yet up and running. Washington State has neither voluntary nor mandatory registration.

    Data from Israel show that in August 2011 6,000 patients got medicinal cannabis (0.8 patients in 1,000). It is estimated that the number increases to 40,000 in 2016 (5.2 patients in 1,000 citizens).

    In Canada 12,116 patients were allowed to use cannabis on 30 September 2011 (0.35 patients in 1,000 citizens).

    Numbers of patients using cannabis from the pharmacies in the Netherlands were estimated to be 1,300 in 2010 (0.08 patients in 1,000 citizens). However, many patients in the Netherlands use cannabis from the coffee shops or grow their own.

    In Germany about 60 patients are currently allowed to use cannabis for medicinal purposes.

    (Sources: Associated Press of 24 March 2012, website of the Israeli Prime Minister of 7 August 2011, UPI of 31 October 2011, Pharmaceutisch Weekblad No. 20, 2011)

    **[Editor's note: CA NORML published a white paper last May estimating that California has 750,000 - 1,125,000 citizens who possess a physician's recommendation to use cannabis medicinally.]

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 24, 2010

    NORML hails the passage of another milestone for the Global Marijuana March with Georgetown, Guyana and Ryebrook, NY, as the 299th and 300th cities convening a march, rally, forum or benefit for the reform of cannabis laws on the weekends of Saturday May 1st and May 8th. NORML and numerous other reform groups called for more cities this year to participate so that organizers could meet and surpass their stated goal of more than 200 cities.2009glassglobe1-810x1024

    Worldwide action is necessary for any outright legalization, since cannabis is largely prohibited globally by a United Nations treaty known as the Single Convention, enacted in 1962 through the efforts of top anti-cannabis zealot Harry Anslinger, the original instigator of U.S. cannabis prohibition in 1937. The U.S. Justice Dept. has cited the UN treaty as one of its principle arguments against medical cannabis rhetorically and Supreme Court cases.

    Local NORML chapters are responsible for almost 40 of the protests in the U.S., New Zealand NORML is doing several cities; Norway “NORMAL” is not only marching in Oslo– they’re doing an international website at www.globalmarijuanamarch.com.

    NORML welcomes the participation of pro-reform advocates of all stripes. Of course, we’d like you to join NORML, but this is an ecumenical effort to legalize cannabis once and for all. The important thing is to get more cities to participate before next weekend.

    There’s still a few more days to call 212-677-7180 or email cnw@cures-not-wars.org to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

    The Global Marijuana March has events planned in almost every time zone on six continents, including most of the capitols of Europe and South America. Many cities are already signing up for May 7, 2011.

    NORML congratulates Cures-not-Wars and worldwide participants for organizing no less than a global march in favor of ending the expensive and failed prohibition of cannabis for responsible adult use. Contact your local and regional media outlets to make sure they cover this global day of protest as a major media event because this many citizens, in over 300 cities worldwide protesting their own governments is by definition a major media event.

    Call 212-677-7180 or check the city-by-city listing to get specific information about your region’s march and/or to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

    Is your city on this huge list?

    Abbotsford
    Aberdeen
    Albany
    Albuquerque
    Alicante
    Alva
    Amherst
    Amsterdam
    Anchorage
    Ann Arbor

    Arcadia
    Athens
    Atlanta
    Auckland
    Aurillac
    Austin
    Bakersfield
    Bangor University
    Barcelona
    Basel
    Belfast
    Bellingham
    Belmar
    Belo Horizonte
    Benton Harbor
    Berlin
    Bermuda
    Berne
    Bilbao
    Binghamton

    Birmingham
    Birmingham
    Boise
    Boston
    Boulder
    Bozeman
    Braga
    Brasilia
    Bridgeton
    Brighton

    Bristol
    Brussels
    Budapest
    Buenos Aires
    Buffalo
    Bullhead City
    Burlington
    Cadiz
    Calgary
    Cali

    Canfield
    Cardiff
    Cebu City
    Champaign-Urbana
    Charleston
    Charlotte
    Charlottesville
    Chelyabinsk
    Chicago
    Chico

    Chisinau
    Christchurch
    Cincinnati
    Clemson
    Cleveland
    Coimbra
    Colorado Springs
    Columbia
    Columbia Falls
    Columbus

    Comodoro Rivadavia
    Concord
    Constanta
    Copenhagen
    Cordoba
    Cork
    Corpus Christi
    Corvallis
    Dallas
    Denver

    Des Moines
    Detroit
    Dinuba
    Dnepropetrovsk
    Dover
    Duluth
    Dunedin
    Durban
    Edmonton
    Elkins

    Enid
    Eugene
    Fayetteville
    Flagstaff
    Flint
    Florianopolis
    Fontana
    Frankfurt
    Fresno
    Ft. Bragg

    Ft. Collins
    Ft. Erie
    Ft. Lauderdale
    Ft. Meyers
    Gainesville
    Garberville
    Georgetown
    Glasgow
    Grand Junction
    Grand Rapids

    Great Falls
    Green Bay
    Greenville
    Hachita
    Halifax
    Hamilton
    Hammond
    Hartford
    Helena
    Helsinki

    Hilo
    Holland
    Homer
    Independence
    Indianapolis
    Istanbul
    Jacksonville
    Jakarta
    Jerusalem
    João Pessoa

    Johannesburg
    Kalamazoo
    Kamianets-Podilskyi
    Kansas City
    Katmandu
    Kiev
    Kokomo
    Lake Isabella
    La Laguna
    Lansing

    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
    Las Vegas
    Lawton
    Leek
    Lefkosia-Nicosia
    Leicester
    Lethbridge
    Lexington
    Lima
    Lincoln

    Lisboa
    Little Rock
    London
    Longview
    Los Angeles
    Lyon
    Madison
    Madrid
    Manchester
    Manila

    Mar del Plata
    McAllen
    Medford
    Medicine Hat
    Memphis
    Mérida
    Mexico City
    Miami
    Miamitown
    Milwaukee

    Minneapolis
    Missoula
    Montevideo
    Monterey
    Montreal
    Montrose
    Moscow
    Nashville
    Nelson
    Netanya

    Newark
    New Brunswick
    New Orleans
    New York
    Nimbin
    Nottingham
    Odessa
    Ogden
    Oklahoma City
    Olympia

    Omaha
    Orange
    Orlando
    Osaka
    Oslo
    Ottawa
    Paducah
    Paia
    Palm Springs
    Paris

    Parker
    Penticton
    Peoria
    Philadelphia
    Phoenix
    Pineville
    Pittsburg
    Pittsburgh
    Portland
    Portland

    Porto
    Porto Alegre
    Port of Spain
    Potsdam
    Prague
    Pretoria
    Prince George
    Pueblo
    Quincy
    Raleigh

    Red Deer
    Redding
    Regina
    Rice Lake
    Richmond
    Riverside
    Rome
    Rosario
    Rostock
    Ryebrook

    Sacramento
    Salem
    Salt Lake City
    Salvador
    San Diego
    San Francisco
    San Juan
    Santa Barbara
    Sao Paulo
    Sapporo

    Sarasota
    Sarnia
    Saskatoon
    Savannah
    Seattle
    Sevilla
    Simferopol
    Sofia
    South Bend
    Southhampton

    Spokane
    Spokane Valley
    Springfield
    Stavanger
    Steamboat Springs
    St. Louis
    St. Petersburg
    Stuttgart
    Susanville
    Tacoma

    Tampa
    Tampere
    Taos
    Ternopil
    Thessaloniki
    Thunder Bay
    Tokyo
    Toledo
    Topeka
    Toronto

    Traverse City
    Tucson
    Tulsa
    Turku
    Ukiah
    Uniontown
    Ushuaia
    Valencia
    Vancouver
    Vero Beach

    Vienna
    Vigo
    Vilnius
    Virginia Beach
    Visalia
    Vitoria-Gasteiz
    Waco
    Warsaw
    Warwick
    Washington, D.C.

    Wellington
    West Kelowna
    Whitehall
    Wichita
    Wilmington
    Wilmington
    Woodstock
    Worland
    Yakima
    Zaragoza

    NORML Advisory Board Member Rick Steves addresses over 100,000 at Seattle Hempfest

    Call 212-677-7180 or email cnw@cures-not-wars.org to get your city on www.worldwidemarijuanamarch.org.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 9, 2009

    Say what you will about prohibitionists — and I say plenty — but, if nothing else, they are consistent. Regardless of the circumstances, they stick to their talking points — no matter how instantly refutable their claims may be.

    Case in point. CBS News online today ran part one of an ongoing debate between recently retired Orange County, California Judge Jim Gray (who many of you recently watched testify before the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety here) and prohibitionist profiteer David Evans (who was last heard lying about medical marijuana law reform in New Jersey in a debate with NORML’s Chris Goldstein, which may be heard here).

    Predictably, early in the CBS News debate Evans cites the Netherlands’ pot policies — which allow for the regulated sale of small amounts of cannabis to citizens age 18 an older — as an argument in favor of maintaining U.S.-style marijuana prohibition. According to Evans, Dutch marijuana use “more than doubled” after liberalization, leading the government to “formally announce its mistake” in 2004.

    Hmmm, I guess Mr. Evans must have purposely avoided reading the newspaper last week or else he would have seen this widely disseminated report from Reuters Wire Service, published on Friday.

    Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe — report
    via Reuters

    The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands’ well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday. Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures.

    … The policy on soft drugs in the Netherlands, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows for the sale of marijuana at “coffee shops”, which the Dutch have allowed to operate for decades, and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

    Not surprisingly, Evans also failed to cite a World Health Organization report, published last year, which reported:

    US leads the world in illegal drug use
    via CBS News

    Despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.

    The World Health Organization’s survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.

    For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%). Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.

    In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use.

    The WHO report went on to conclude: “The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the U.S., has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in national rates of illegal drug use.

    But Mr. Evans isn’t content to just simply lie about the Dutch. Elsewhere in the debate he falsely implies that the U.K. also experienced a spike in marijuana use after the British government temporarily downgraded its cannabis classification in 2004. (Parliament ended its experiment with decriminalization in 2008, a move that Evans argues was because of “the more lethal quality of the cannabis now available.”) The truth, however, was just the opposite.


    Fewer young people using cannabis after reclassification

    via The Guardian

    Cannabis use among young people has fallen significantly since its controversial reclassification in 2004, according to the latest British Crime Survey figures published today.

    The Home Office figures showed the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25% when the change in the law was introduced to 21% in 2006/07.

    As for anyone who thinks they can stomach reading Mr. Evans lies in part two of the debate, be sure to log on here tomorrow.

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