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New Directions New Jersey: A Public Safety and Health Approach to Drug Policy

The New Directions New Jersey conference will examine the decades-old ramifications of President Nixon’s declaration of the “war on drugs” in urban communities like Newark.

Drug policy experts from across the country and around the globe will discuss topics including: reducing crime and incarceration, effectively addressing addiction, treating drug use as a health issue, communities of color and the war on drugs, and drug policy lessons and models from abroad.

When asked about the war on drugs on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama said, “I believe in shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public health approach [to drugs].” Polls show the American people agree. President Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, told the Wall Street Journal last year that he doesn’t like the term “war on drugs” because “[w]e’re not at war with people in this country.” Yet for the tens of millions of Americans who have been arrested and incarcerated for a drug offense, U.S. drug policy is a war on them—and their families. What exactly is a public health approach to drugs? What might truly ending the war on drugs look like?  This conference will serve as a model for those looking for new directions and strategies for ending the war on drugs.

“We see the impact of the ‘drug war’ first hand, where so many people are incarcerated for being economically disadvantaged by the disappearance of work,” says Bethany Baptist Church pastor, Reverend William Howard.  “Afterwards, they are virtually permanently barred from the legal workforce for the rest of their lives. We must take our stand against the destructive scourge of drug abuse and trafficking by developing new, sensible strategies that solve more problems than they create.”

The conference will be guided by four principles:

  • The war on drugs has failed and it is time for a new approach to drug policy.
  • Effective drug policy balances prevention, harm reduction, treatment and public safety.
  • Alcohol and other drug use is fundamentally a health issue and must be addressed as such.
  • Drug policies must be based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Panel members and conference speakers include:

·         Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr., pastor, Bethany Baptist Church

·         Ethan Nadelmann,executive director, Drug Policy Alliance

·         Paula T. Dow, New Jersey Attorney General

·         Garry F. McCarthy, police director, City of Newark

·         Michelle Alexander, Esq., associate professor, Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Author, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

·         Beny Primm, MD, executive director, Addiction, Research and Treatment Corporation, Brooklyn, New York

·         Todd Clear, dean, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

·         Donald MacPherson, former drug policy coordinator, City of Vancouver

·         Alex Stevens, professor of Criminal Justice, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, Chatham, UK

·         Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Author and Director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University

·         Deborah Peterson Small, Founder and Executive Director, Break the Chains: Communities of Color & the War on Drugs

For a full list of panel members, go to: http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/DPA_New_Directions_NJ_final_prog_REFERENCE.pdf

Please RSVP to: bgalarza@bethany-newark.org

Date: 
Sat, 03/19/2011 - 8:30am - 5:00pm
Location: 
275 West Market Street Bethany Baptist Church
Newark, NJ 07103
United States

Drug Lords Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Global Prohibition (Video)

Location: 
50 years ago the United Nations adopted the first international treaty to prohibit some drugs. The logic of the system was simple: any use of the drugs listed, unless sanctioned for medical or scientific purposes, would be deemed 'abuse' and thus illegal. As a result of this convention, the unsanctioned production and trafficking of these drugs became a crime in all member states of the UN. There is a small group that benefits phenomenally from the global war on drugs: organized criminals and terrorists. View this video from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and find out more.
Publication/Source: 
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Hungary)
URL: 
http://drogriporter.hu/en/dli_short

What Can You Do to Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont? (Action Alert)

Dear Friends of Compassion and Common Sense:

The bill relating to decriminalize marijuana (H-427) is in the VT House Judiciary Committee NOW.

The bill relating to medical marijuana dispensaries (S-17) is in the VT Senate Health and Welfare Committee NOW.

This is the time to show your support and compassion to Fellow Vermonters who use marijuana for personal or medical reasons. Marijuana is known to be one of the safest “active substances known to man.” We all know nothing is really harmless. Nevertheless, nothing can compare to the kind of harm the criminal justice system can visit on you.

Decriminalization and medical marijuana dispensaries are steps of harm reduction to help keep adults free from the unwarranted horrors of arrest, prosecution and worse.

WHAT YOU CAN DO AT: www.marijuanaresolve.org

~Read entire text of H-427 bill to decriminalize marijuana (12 pages)
~Read entire text of S-17 bill for medical marijuana dispensaries (33 pages)
~Contact your legislators in the House and Senate to support these bills
~Thank the sponsors of H-427 and S-17
~ Call or Write Judiciary Chair Rep. William J. Lippert (D-VT Chittenden-1-1 District)

Vidda Crochetta

State Coordinator for Marijuana Resolve, Inc.

"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." – Barack Obama

Location: 
VT
United States

Make Nonviolent Marijuana Offenses the Lowest Police Priority (Action Alert)

Dear Friends,

On March 15, a new report was released on the steps of New York City Hall documenting the crushing costs of the 50,383 marijuana possession arrests that occurred in 2010 in that city alone, costing New York City $75 million. Released by the Drug Policy Alliance and co-authored by Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine, the report reveals the police, judicial, and human costs of New York City’s marijuana arrest crusade.

Every single day, 140 people are arrested for marijuana offenses in New York City, making it the leading cause of arrest. A full 87% of those arrested are Black or Latino, a particularly outrageous number since people of color do not use marijuana at higher rates than the rest of the population. Incredibly, the NYPD has quietly made marijuana infractions their top law enforcement priority without even a pretense of public input or debate.

Although New York decriminalized possession of under 25 grams of marijuana, possession that is "open to public view" remains a crime.  Police officers have learned to ask vulnerable people they believe to be in possession to empty their pockets so they can then make an arrest.

The “suspects” do not have to be using, buying, or selling marijuana, nor do they have to be acting out in any way at all. They simply have to be “suspects.”

This flagrant abuse of state power is a tightly held secret. Please help us expose it. Stand with LEAP in supporting a more rational plan for drug policy. Our speakers are law enforcement professionals who know firsthand that the “war on drugs” is a waste of police resources. They speak out against our current drug policy in order to put police priorities back where they belong. 

Help us send the message to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that using already strained police and judicial resources in this way is not acceptable and that the overwhelming racial disparity of these arrests is appalling. Please sign our petition, and please make a contribution today to support LEAP as the voice of law enforcement in drug policy reform.

Thank you,

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP's work by making a contribution, please click here.

           

121 Mystic Ave. Suites 7-9
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 393-6985 info@leap.cc

We need help growing our all-encompassing movement of citizens who want to end the failed "war on drugs," so please invite your family and friends to learn about LEAP.
 

 

 
Location: 
NY
United States

New Hampshire House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                March 16, 2011

New Hampshire House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, MPP communications manager…………………….202-905-2031 or mfox@mpp.org

CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives, which has a nearly 3:1 Republican supermajority, overwhelmingly passed a bill today that would allow residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. H.B. 442, which would create a narrow exception in New Hampshire law for people with certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana to treat their ailments with doctors’ recommendations, will now move on to the Senate. Medical marijuana treatment is currently permitted in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, and is being considered in more than a dozen state legislatures this year.

The bill passed 221-96, or by 69.7%, doing better than similar medical marijuana bills have done in previous Democrat-controlled sessions, proving conclusively that this is an issue that both parties can support. The bill was introduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D-Coos), a cancer survivor, and is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford).

“This vote shows that compassion is not a partisan issue,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Lawmakers can come together despite their political differences when it comes to allowing sick people to use medical marijuana. They owe it to their constituents to do so.”

H.B. 442 enjoys strong support among voters. A 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 71% of New Hampshire voters are in favor of allowing the use of medical marijuana, with only 21% opposed. The bill now goes to the Senate.

With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
NH
United States

New York Spends $75 Million a Year on Marijuana Arrests Though It's Not Technically a Crime

Location: 
NY
United States
New York spends $75 million a year to lock up people caught with marijuana, a new study says, even though it's not technically a crime. The report by the Drug Policy Alliance says the NYPD spends that much on 50,000 annual marijuana arrests, in which 86% of those arrested are black or Latino. State law requires people carrying small amounts of marijuana to receive the equivalent of a traffic ticket, but critics say the NYPD arrests and jails them anyway - hurting their job and life prospects.
Publication/Source: 
New York Daily News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/03/15/2011-03-15_new_york_spends_75_million_a_year_on_marijuana_arrests_though_having_drug_not_te.html

Drug Truth Network 03/14/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Mar 13 to Mar 20, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 03/13/11, 29:00,  Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon - Racial Profiling Exposed" + Terry Nelson of LEAP and Drug War Facts with Mary Jane Borden

LINK: *http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3310

<http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3293>

*Transcript: Monday

*Century of Lies* 03/13/11, 29:00, Kevin Zeese of Voters For Peace, Prosperity Agenda, and Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "Replacing the Rule of Force with the Rule of Law"

LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3306

<http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3259>

Transcript:  Monday Late

*4:20 Drug War NEWS*, 03/14 to 03/20/11, 3:00 each, available at http://www.drugtruth.net on right margin

Sun - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" 2/2 Sat - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" re racial profiling 1/2 Fri - Kevin Zeese re US = Largest Empire in World History Thu - Kevin Zeese, Pres of Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "mutual absolution society"

Wed - Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace re American elites failure to submit to rule of law Tue - Terry Nelson of LEAP re DEA embrace of single minded policy Mon - Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts, re: "Loss of Voting Rights"

With more than 90 broadcast affiliates, DTN invites your station to join, free of charge.

St. Patrick's Day Marijuana Policy Reform Rally and Press Conference

The 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.

Date: 
Thu, 03/17/2011 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: 
Broadway between Park Place and Barclay (east side) City Hall Park
New York, NY 10007
United States

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2011

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

MARIJUANA REFORM ADVOCATES CALL FOR A SAFER ALTERNATIVE TO ALCOHOL FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

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.

###

Location: 
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.

 

 

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