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Marijuana Reform Advocates Call for a Safer Alternative to Alcohol for St. Patrick's Day (Press Release)


CONTACTS: Rev. Jay Goldstein - Executive Director - Empire State NORML at (212) 473-2486 or jay@empirestatenorml.com; Doug Greene - Legislative Director - Empire State NORML at (516) 242-4666 or doug@empirestatenorml.com


WHEN: St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at high noon
WHERE: City Hall Park - Broadway between Park Place and Barclay (east side)
WHO: Empire State NORML and numerous speakers (see list below):
WHAT: Rally and Press Conference

On March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) at high noon, Empire State NORML (the New York State chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)) will remind New Yorkers that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“While scores of New Yorkers are out getting hammered, we want to remind the Big Apple that there is a safer, greener and cleaner choice for adults: marijuana,” said Doug Greene, Legislative Director of Empire State NORML, who organized the event for the first time in 2010.

“In an era of budget cuts and worsening public health, why is the Bloomberg administration driving New Yorkers to drink while spending tens of millions of dollars per year arresting peaceful, healthy cannabis consumers? New York City made over 50,000 marijuana possession arrests last year alone, and over 500,000 since 1996,” said Greene.

Marijuana arrests are 15% of all arrests in New York City. The NYPD is now jailing people for marijuana possession at the rate of nearly 1,000 arrests a week. With 2.7% of the U.S. population, New York City represents 6% of nationwide marijuana arrests.

Greene was first inspired to organize “Marijuana is SAFER” events after reading the book of the same name (subtitled “So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?), co-authored by Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML, by Mason Tvert, Executive Director of SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) and by Steve Fox, Director of State Campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Speakers include:

· Dr. Julie Holland, a nationally recognized authority on drugs and drug safety, who has appeared multiple times on Today. She is the author of “Weekends at Bellevue” (which may be coming to TV on Fox this fall ) and editor of “The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis” and “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.”

· Dr. Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology at CUNY Queens College, the co–author of the NYCLU report “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007.” He is also the co–author of a new report on the costs of New York City’s marijuana arrests, which will be released on March 15 by the Drug Policy Alliance.

· Tony Newman, Director of Media Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation’s leading organization calling for alternatives to the drug war and policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights.

· Daniel Jabbour, New York State Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

· Chris Goldstein, Board Member, NORML-NJ/Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ (CMM-NJ). Chris is a radio broadcaster and marijuana advocate. Chris is considered an expert on the topic of marijuana and can comment on New Jersey and national issues regarding cannabis.


Broadway between Park Place and Barclay (east side) City Hall Park
New York, NY 10007
United States

Americans for Safe Access Activist Newsletter - March 2011

In This Issue:

ASA Holds Virtual Conference, Schedules Another

Maryland Medical Cannabis Bill Debated

Montana Lawmakers Working to Repeal Initiative

Research Update: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis

ACTION ALERT: Sign up for bootcamp

Become an ASA Member!

Please support the work of Americans for Safe Access

On The Web:

ASA's Mission

What We Do

ASA Forums

ASA Blog

ASA YouTube

Legal Info

Take Action

Condition-Based Booklets

Join ASA Email Lists

ASA's Online Store

"Gear up" for medical cannabis activism with ASA's new T-shirts, hats, stickers, bags and more! All proceeds go to ASA advocacy

Americans for Safe Access

1322 Webster St., Ste. 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-251-1856
Fax: 510-251-2036

Email us!


Americans for Safe Access
Monthly Activist Newsletter

March 2010

Volume 6, Issue 3

ASA Holds Virtual Conference,
Schedules Another

Next Nationwide “Activist Bootcamp” to be March 19-20

Medical cannabis activists from coast to coast gathered for ASA’s first virtual conference February 19-20. From Riverside, California to Northampton, Massachusetts, groups ranging from two to more than two dozen came together for what was billed as an “Activist Boot Camp,” a two-day series of trainings that combined a more than 300-page workbook of materials with informational DVDs.

“ASA members and affiliates across the county have been asking us to help them gain the skills they need to bring about change at the local and federal level,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Virtual conferences let us reach activists everywhere with trainings and materials they can use to build a stronger grassroots medical cannabis movement.”

IASA is building on the success of the February events in San Diego, Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and elsewhere with another training scheduled for March 19-20. Future trainings are planned for Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and St. Louis, as well as Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri; Eugene and Medford, Oregon; and cities across Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Salida and Telluride.

“I think it’s really important for people to understand that they are the power,” said U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) in a promotional video for ASA’s conference. “If you want to change things, all you have to do is get involved.”

In creating the virtual conference, ASA draws on its nine-year experience to bring together the best training materials to empower activists. Conference participants learn about outreach and recruitment, coalition building, leadership development, lobbying public officials, organizing protests and rallies, and working with the media.

These trainings give patient advocates the skills to develop strategies for protecting and expanding patients’ rights, whether their state has a medical cannabis program yet or not. More than a dozen state governments are considering new statewide laws for medical cannabis. And within the 15 states with legal protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers, hundreds of local governments are developing land use laws that dictate how patients can cultivate and obtain their medicine.

“The challenges in each community are unique, but we can build on the experience of the past decade so no one has to reinvent the wheel,” said Sherer. “We’re giving patient advocates a road map to these political challenges and the skill set to deal with them.”

For more information on hosting or participating in the next virtual training on March 19-20, contact kristen@AmericansForSafeAccess.org.

Maryland Medical Cannabis Bill Debated,
Patient Cultivation Proposed

State lawmakers in Maryland are currently working on bills in each house of their legislature that would remove criminal penalties for qualified patients who use cannabis on the advice of their physicians. The state law currently allows an affirmative medical defense that, if successful, reduces the conviction to the lowest level misdemeanor with a maximum $100 fine.

House Bill 291, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim, and Senate Bill 308, sponsored by Sen. David Brinkley, would protect patients from arrest and prosecution and establish a state-run production and distribution system.

The House bill was debated in committee on the last day of February, where it was opposed by the head of the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a former federal Food and Drug Administration official. The Senate bill went before committee at the beginning of March.

House Delegates are also considering an amendment offered by House Deputy Majority Whip Del. Cheryl Glenn, which would allow registered patients to cultivate their own medicine.

"I've had two loved ones succumb to the ravages of cancer. Both of them got to the point where they couldn't eat and their doctors wished they could recommend medical marijuana to stimulate their appetite," said Del. Glenn. "I also know what it's like to live in poverty and to not be able to afford desperately needed medicine. People should not be denied access to medical marijuana because they cannot afford it or because they cannot travel to locations where it's dispensed."

As Barry Considine, a polio survivor from Halethorpe, Maryland, who uses medical cannabis says, "I know which strain of marijuana works best for my particular medical condition, so why would I be denied the right to grow that medicine myself, especially at a price I can afford?"

In preparation for the hearing, ASA provided Maryland lawmakers with a brief report on the importance and benefits of allowing patient cultivation. The report notes that, particularly for rural and low-income patients, personal cultivation can offer better affordability, reliability, consistency, and quality than centralized distribution facilities. Such facilities are also more vulnerable to federal interference and closures.

New Jersey is the only state that has passed a medical cannabis law that denies all patients the right to cultivate. More than a year since the bill passed, not a single New Jersey patient has access to legal medical cannabis.

Further information:
Delegate Glenn's amendment on patient cultivation
Text of HB 291
ASA Report on Need for Patient Cultivation


Montana Lawmakers Working to Repeal Voter Initiative

Voters in Montana established legal protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers seven years ago by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, but some of the state’s lawmakers are now trying to repeal the initiative.

Montana’s lower chamber has passed House Bill 161, which would repeal the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law on July 1. But state Senate leaders say they lack the votes to do the same.

Patient advocates are organizing to defend their rights, with support from Americans for Safe Access. ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer will be traveling throughout the state this month, holding stakeholder meetings to build an effective grassroots strategy.

“The medical cannabis program in Montana has proven to be a solace to patients and an economic boon to communities,” said Sherer. “You don’t have to be a Montanan or even a medical cannabis advocate to be deeply concerned by this cynical attempt to overturn the will of the people.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the House repeal bill on March 11. ASA’s first stakeholder meeting follows a vigil to be held at the capitol in Helena after the hearing.

The Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Terry Murphy, has said a bill to better regulate the industry is more likely to pass the Senate. He intends to appoint a sub-committee to develop such a bill this month.

As of Feb. 28, Montana had 28,739 people authorized to use medical cannabis. A year ago, there were 12,081 authorized patients; and two years ago, 2,074.

ASA’s Sherer will be participating in advocate stakeholder meetings in Helena, Kalispell, Missoula and Billings. Times and locations are:

Friday, 3/11, 3-6pm -- Lewis and Clark Library, 120 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena; Saturday 3/12, 3-6pm -- Red Lion Inn, 20 N Main St, Kalispell; Sunday 3/13, 1-4pm -- Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park, 200 S Pattee St., Missoula; Monday 3/14, 6-9pm -- Best Western Clock Tower Inn, 2511 First Ave. North, Billings.

For more information on attending one or more of the meetings, contact action@AmericansForSafeAccess.org

RESEARCH UPDATE: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis

Cancer Research Shows How Cannabinoids Fight Tumors

Brain Cancer.The effectiveness of cannabinoids in fighting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer that is highly resistant to current treatments, has been demonstrated in numerous preclinical studies. New research shows that a combination of THC, CBD, and temozolomide (TMZ) “remarkably reduces the growth of glioma.” The study revealed tumor growth is inhibited in part through “the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis,” the biologic degradation of cells that leads to them dying off. The Spanish researchers conclude that “the combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM.”

Torres S, et al. 2011. A combined preclinical therapy of cannabinoids and temozolomide against glioma. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Jan;10(1):90-103.

Oral Cancer. Medical researchers at the University of California report cannabinoids alleviate oral cancer pain and slow the spread of the disease both in vitro and in vivo. They also identified CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in human oral cancer cells. They suggest the endocannabinoid system may play “a direct role” in pain and proliferation. Noting proliferation of cancer cells was “significantly attenuated in a dose-dependent manner” by cannabinoids, they conclude “the systemic administration” of cannabinoids “may reduce morbidity and mortality of oral cancer.”

Saghafi N, et al. 2011. Cannabinoids attenuate cancer pain and proliferation in a mouse model. Neurosci Lett. 488(3):247-51.

Gastric Cancer. Previous studies have shown cannabinoids significantly decrease the spread of gastric cancer tumors and kill off malignant cells. South Korean researchers have recently discovered some of the biologic mechanisms for those tumor-fighting properties. The new research on cellular mediators indicates cannabinoids play a role in halting cell cycles that cause the cancer to spread.

Park JM, et al. 2011. Antiproliferative mechanism of a cannabinoid agonist by cell cycle arrest in human gastric cancer cells. J Cell Biochem. Feb 10.

Cannbinoids Help MS Symptoms and Disease Progression

Italian researchers used an animal model of multiple sclerosis to investigate the efficacy of cannabis extracts on motor symptoms. They found that treating with a THC-rich extract over time “resulted in a significant reduction of neurological deficits,” that treatment with CBD affected only the relapse phase, and that combined THC-CBD treatment was ineffective. They suggest further investigation on each cannabinoid’s action but conclude that cannabis extracts have potential for managing MS.

Another Italian research team reviewed studies on cannabinoid receptors in the lower urinary tract and their role in controlling urinary tract function, including the treatment of bladder dysfunction resulting from MS, finding that systemic cannabinoids may be clinically useful.

British scientists reviewing the clinical data on treating MS with cannabinoids note patient reports of symptomatic relief are confirmed by data showing cannabinoids improve muscle stiffness and spasms, neuropathic pain, and sleep and bladder disturbance. They note new evidence suggests that cannabinoids may affect “fundamental processes” in the progression of MS. They suggest “cannabinoids may have a longer term role in reducing disability and progression in MS.”

Scientists who examined brain samples of deceased MS patients for CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as an enzyme related to the synthesis of endocannabinoids, found differences in receptor concentration that correlated to MS damage. Their findings support animal studies that suggest the endocannabinoid system has a role in MS progression and cellular response to injuries from the disease.

Buccellato E, et al. 2011. Acute and chronic cannabinoid extracts administration affects motor function in a CREAE model of multiple sclerosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 133(3):1033-8.

Zajicek JP, Apostu VI. 2011. Role of cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis. CNS Drugs. 1;25(3):187-201.

Zhang H,et al. 2011. Cannabinoid Receptor and N-acyl Phosphatidylethanolamine Phospholipase D-Evidence for Altered Expression in Multiple Sclerosis. Brain Pathol.

Ruggieri MR Sr. 2011. Cannabinoids: potential targets for bladder dysfunction. Handb Exp Pharmacol. (202):425-51.



Life After the War on Drugs: Reviewing Past and Present Policies with an Eye Toward Legal Reform

University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
2011 Law Review Symposium

David A. Clarke School of Law

"Life After the War on Drugs: Reviewing Past and Present Policies With an Eye Toward Legal Reform"

Introduction (10:00 – 10:15 a.m.)
• John Brittain, Professor, UDC-DCSL, Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (2005-2009)

Panel 1: Drug Policy at Home and Abroad (10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
• Eric Sterling, Advisory Board Member, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
• Brooke Mascagni, PhD Candidate, University of California, Santa Barbara
• Jordan Blair Woods, PhD Candidate, Cambridge University (U.K.), J.D. University of California Los Angeles

Lunch (12:00 – 1:00 pm)
• Lunch Keynote Speaker: Ronald C. Machen, Jr., United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

Panel 2: Conflicts between State and Federal Drug Laws (1:00 – 3:30 p.m.)
• Andrew Ferguson (Moderator), Professor, UDC-DCSL, Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia (2004-2010)
• Robert Hildum, Director, D.C. Dept. of Youth Rehabilitation Services (2010)
• Sumeet H. Chugani, Esq. and Xingjian Zhao, Esq., Diaz, Reus & Targ, LLP (Miami, FL)
• Alex Kreit, Director, Center for Law and Social Justice, Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, CA)

Panel 3: The Unknown Effects of the War on Drugs (3:45 – 5:00 p.m.)
• Brian Gilmore, Director, Michigan State University College of Law Housing Clinic
• Ken Lammers, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney, County of Wise and City of Norton in Virginia
• Michael Liszewski, Board of Directors, Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Cocktail Reception (5:10 – 6:00 p.m.)

Plenary Panel: Life After the War on Drugs (6:00 – 9:00 p.m.)
• Keynote Speaker: Wade Henderson, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
• Jasmine Tyler, Deputy Director of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance
• Mark Osler, Professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minneapolis, MN)
• The Honorable Arthur L. Burnett, Sr., National Executive Director, National African-American Drug Policy Coalition
• Dr. Faye Taxman, Director, Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence, George Mason University

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is limited. To register, see http://www.law.udc.edu/events/event_details.asp?id=136549.

For any questions, please contact Symposium Editor Leila Mansouri at Leila.Mansouri@udc.edu.

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 10:00am - 9:00pm
4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, Windows Lounge: Building 38, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20008
United States

Delaware Valley School District Sued Over Drug Testing Policy

United States
ACLU lawyers are fighting Delaware Valley School District's drug-testing policy in court on behalf of two students. The ACLU believes the district's policy violates a 2003 Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, Theodore vs. Delaware Valley School District. That decision required schools to justify suspicionless drug testing programs with evidence of a widespread drug problem among students, unless the school could show additional evidence that the group of students undergoing testing had a high rate of drug use.
Pocono Record (PA)

We Need Your Ideas!


We Are the Drug Policy Alliance.


Name our campaign to end the war on drugs – and win a free DPA t‑shirt, mug and calendar.


Submit your idea today!

Dear Friends,

Forty years ago, Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs. After decades of disastrous policies, it couldn't be more clear: It's time to put an end to the drug war.

That's why the Drug Policy Alliance is pulling out all the stops this spring. We’re launching a massive campaign to spotlight the many failures of the war on drugs and to push for policies that work.

To get the campaign off the ground ASAP, we need a campaign name – will you help? Send us your ideas to name the campaign to end the war on drugs! If we pick yours we'll send you free DPA gear, including a t‑shirt, coffee mug and calendar!

Momentum is building quickly and now is the time to take our efforts to a new level.

My recent Huffington Post article explains our strategy for 2011 and the future. Please read it. It will give you a better idea of our basic themes and objectives – and hopefully inspire you to come up with a great name for our campaign!

In the next few months, DPA will release a hard-hitting report, team up with organizations to plan local events across the country and engage high-profile people to speak out against the war on drugs. With public opinion in our favor, we are approaching critical mass.

That's why we want you to participate in our campaign naming contest. Submit your idea for a campaign name now!

A good campaign name will be attention-grabbing, four words or less, and get across the core of our message: that the drug war is a failure and needs national attention now. A great campaign name will be unforgettable. Submit your idea today!


Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance

Ron Paul: Hemp for Victory

Ron Paul supports the legalization of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis that provides an eco-friendly source of fiber and protein. Paul is a perennial author of hemp legalization bills, the latest of which is being promoted in May during the second-annual Hemp History Week. In this interview Josh Harkinson partially spoke with Paul about the benefits of hemp.
Mother Jones (CA)

Illinois Lawmaker Determined to Breathe New Life Into Medical Marijuana Debate

United States
Nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries could soon be supplying patients in Illinois, if state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is successful in his latest push to get the long-awaited measure through the state legislature. Lang said that he plans to place tighter restrictions on the amount of medical marijuana distributed to patients and take out the grow-your-own provisions that opponents railed against during the last General Assembly. If he is successful, the bill could be out of committee and on the state House floor late this week.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Save a Cop's Life: End the Drug War (Opinion)

Neill Franklin, who performed narcotics enforcement with the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department over a 34-year career, opines that we desperately need to end the "war on drugs" which has done so little to prevent people from using drugs but which has done so much to enrich organized criminals who do not hesitate to use violence to protect their black market profits. Franklin asks: How many more hardworking and brave law enforcers do we have to see killed in the line of duty before our elected officials will change this policy?
The Baltimore Sun (MD)

Save the Date for the 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

vigil outside Albuquerque Convention Center, 2009 drug policy reform conference
November 2-5, 2011
Westin Bonaventure
Los Angeles, California


This biennial event is the outstanding international conference that focuses on addressing drug policy issues from a reform perspective. Over a thousand people are expected to attend this year's gathering in Los Angeles. Presenters and other attendees include scholars, activists, government officials as well as specialists in treatment, prevention, harm reduction and drug law enforcement - primarily from around the United States but also from dozens of other countries.

If you believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good, you can't miss this extraordinary gathering.

Call for Proposals now open! Proposals accepted until March 18.

Click on the archive and web site links below to see the broad range of subjects addressed at the conference. Registration and Scholarship Application opening soon.

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference
NEXT: November 2-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: http://www.reformconference.org
PAST: November 12-14, 2009, Albuquerque, NM: http://www.drugpolicy.org/events/archive/conferences/reform2009

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Rallies to Legalize Marijuana in Louisiana

United States
A group called Legalize Louisiana is leading statewide marches seeking to change Louisiana laws and legalize marijuana.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School