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Drug Enforcement Administration

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director August 3, 2012

    This Week in Weed

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    The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

    This week: A big drop in DEA marijuana plant seizures year over year and a new study illustrates how cannabis can help keep patients from the dangers of pharmaceutical opiates.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcro-vnsnf8[/youtube]

    Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv every week to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 4, 2011

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up for NORML’s free e-zine here.]

    The U.S. Senate has confirmed Michelle Leonhart by unanimous consent to head the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Miss Leonhart had served as interim director of the agency since November 2007. President Barack Obama had nominated Leonhart in February to serve as the agency’s director.

    Numerous drug policy reform organizations, including NORML, had opposed Leonhart’s confirmation – arguing that her actions as interim DEA administrator were contrary to the Obama administration’s pledge to allow science, rather than rhetoric and ideology, guide public policy.

    For example, Ms. Leonhart oversaw dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers and producers. These actions took place in states that have enacted laws allowing for the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes, and are inconsistent with an October 19, 2009 Department of Justice memo recommending federal officials no longer “focus … resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”

    Miss Leonhart also blocked scientific research that sought to better identify and quantify marijuana’s medicinal properties and efficacy. In particular, Ms. Leonhart neglected to reply to an eight-year-old petition calling for administrative hearings regarding the rescheduling marijuana for medical use. Such hearings were called for in 2009 by the American Medical Association, which resolved “that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.” Moreover, in January 2009, Ms. Leonhart refused to issue a license to the University of Massachusetts for the purpose of cultivating marijuana for FDA-approved research, despite a DEA administrative law judge’s ruling that it would be “in the public interest” to grant this request.

    Finally, Ms. Leonhart has exhibited questionable judgment when speaking about the subject of escalating drug war violence in Mexico. In 2009, she described this border violence — which is responsible for over 31,000 deaths since December 2006 — as a sign of the “success” of her agency’s anti-drug strategies.

    Commenting on Ms. Leonhart’s confirmation, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said, “Ms. Leonhart’s actions and ambitions are incompatible with state law, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. It is unlikely that we will see any serious change in direction of the DEA under Ms. Leonhart’s leadership.”

    In December, Wisconsin Democrat Herb Kohl had placed a hold on Ms. Leonhart’s nomination. Senator Kohl dropped his hold on December 22, and the Senate unanimously confirmed Leonhart’s nomination the following day.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 9, 2010

    First Unveiling of New Strain To Redefine The Medical Cannabis Industry

    New Released Scientific Data Supports Medicinal Value, U.S. Government Ignores Scientific Data

    Next week’s Patients Out of Time (P.O.T.) conference in Rhode Island features numerous speakers and interesting topics, but the announcement by Harborside Health Center of the development a new Cannabidol-centric strain of cannabis I suspect will be of great interest to patients, medical providers and cultivators.

    I think it also a shining example of why the Drug Enforcement Administration should not bust and harass laboratories contracted or operated by cannabis wellness centers that test and analyze cannabis that is sold into the medical collective for the very reason that these forensic labs provide necessary patient information regarding potency, purity and medicinal effects based on plant strain.

    Oakland, CA – The availability of a new type of medical cannabis strain will be presented for the first time by Steve DeAngelo, who has been featured on CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, and The New York Times as Executive Director of one of the nation’s top model and non-profit medical cannabis dispensaries, Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California.

    DeAngelo will announce the availability of this type of non-psychoactive cannabis that has been lab tested with California strains with CBD (Cannabidol) at the 6th Annual National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics on Friday, April 16th at 12PM Noon at The Crown Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island.

    Conference information can be found at: www.medicalcannabis.com

    For three decades, DeAngelo has been an engaging speaker as he cuts through the stigma, and delivers the true facts about cannabis. His exciting and important presentation will include results of the first large scale analytical study of California’s medical cannabis supply, which revealed that one of the most medically efficacious cannabinoids—CBD—has been bred out of plants grown primarily for psychoactive effect. Only within the past year have CBD-rich cannabis varieties been identified, thanks to an analytical chemistry lab that DeAngelo helped launch.

    Recent research has demonstrated that CBD is effective in slowing or reversing a number of different types of cancer; as well as other serious illnesses. In response to the shortage of CBD rich cannabis varieties, Harborside has initiated a program to identify such strains, and encourage growers to propagate them. Because CBD modulates the psycho activity of THC, some patients respond better to varieties of cannabis which couple low THC levels with high CBD levels, because they enhance medical efficacy while reducing or eliminating psycho activity. This is particularly true for cannabis-naïve patients, who have no prior experience with it, prior to receiving a recommendation from their doctor. “Ultimately, there will be greater demand for CBD-rich cannabis, than there is for cannabis that just gets you high” predicts DeAngelo. “Only a small percentage of people enjoy the psycho activity of cannabis, but almost everybody can benefit from its medical properties”.

    The 6th Annual Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics is the only one of its kind in the United States for health professional to learn about the many benefits of cannabis therapeutics. Medical professionals can receive their CME (Continuing Education) credits for attending this forum through the University of California, San Francisco.

    The New York Times: “Harborside Health Center, a nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif., is looked upon as a model of how others could operate.”

    Contact : Gaynell Rogers/Media Relations

    415.298.1114

    mcmcgaynell@gmail.com

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 6, 2008

    medical marijuana, NORML, cannabis

    On April 29, 2008 House of Representative’s Committee on the Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) sent a 17-page letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart with pointed questions, a listing of over 60 medical marijuana dispensaries or patient cooperatives that have been raided by the DEA and federal law enforcement between June 2005 to November 2007 and numerous citations from local municipalities that are on the record of supporting patient access to cannabis and oppose federal intervention.

    Excerpt from Conyer’s letter to Leonhart:

    “Every month new science supporting the therapeutic value of cannabis is published. As a result, medical and scientific organizations, like the American College of Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association, are urging reform of laws that place in legal jeopardy physicians or their individual patients who may benefit from the use of cannabis. As the Administrator, you have the discretion to decide whether to continue heightened enforcement activities in California and in other states that have authorized the use of medical cannabis by qualified individuals. Please explain what role, if any, emerging scientific data plays in your decision-making process to conduct enforcement raids on individuals authorized to use or provide medical cannabis under state law.”

    Read the entire letter and list of raided medical marijuana dispensaries and cooperatives here.

    Let’s hope the DEA’s answers are as illuminating as the questions being asked by Chairman Conyers.