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ASA’s Media Summary for the Week of 6/15/07

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure
ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court
NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana
MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative
CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk
COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged
DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California
RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure

Few remember that cannabis was a popular remedy in the early twentieth century, commonly prescribed by doctors and widely available at pharmacies in several forms, including oral tinctures and topical salves. Scientists are rediscovering the potential of cannabis preparations for treating skin problems.

Cannabis helps treat allergic reactions

New Zealand Herald
A cannabis folk remedy has been resurrected by scientists who found that active ingredients in the drug reduce allergic reactions. Extracts from the hemp plant were traditionally used to treat inflammation and could be bought from chemists in the early part of the 20th century.

New frontier for medical cannabis -- topical pot
by Kavita Mishra,
San Francisco Chronicle
Skin allergies may be the next reason to use marijuana -- a topical form, at least. Scientists have long suspected that marijuana, used for recreational purposes and to help fight chronic pain, nausea and even some mental disorders like anxiety and depression, also had anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court

The most seriously ill patients must rely on others to grow medical marijuana, something California’s law recognizes with a “caregiver” provision. But many patients have also organized as cultivation collectives to help each other, which the state legislature expressly made legal in 2003. A new court case may help better define the responsibilities of law enforcement when dealing with those patient collectives.

Medical marijuana suit could break new ground
by Heather Hacking, Oroville Mercury-Register
A Superior Court case heard in Chico is raising the question whether a medicinal marijuana case can be tried in civil court — a step that would open up law enforcement to fighting lawsuits from people who have plants confiscated or destroyed. Collectives were OK'd in March 2002 by the Legislature, said Joe Elford, a lawyer for Americans For Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana.
NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana

Ten years of tireless work by medical marijuana patients and advocates has made a difference in New York. The Governor himself has had his mind changed by the education he has gotten from patients and doctors. Myths and misinformation are the biggest barriers standing between many patients and a safe, effective treatment option.

Legislators Grapple Over How to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use
by Danny Hakim and Michael Grynbaum,
New York Times
Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders said this week that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal in New York State. But whether all involved can come to an agreement on how that should be done with one week left in the legislative session remains in significant doubt.

NY Pols consider 'medical marijuana'
by James T. Madore,
NewsDay (NY)
Legalizing marijuana for medical use appeared Wednesday to gain momentum here with lawmakers and then lose it as the legislature's two houses disagreed over implementation.

Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes State Assembly
by John Abraham,
Long Island Press
A new measure which would allow patients experiencing pain to ingest and grow marijuana cleared the state Assembly Wednesday in a 92-52 vote. The controversial measure is currently being debated between Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate.

Spitzer is open to New York legalizing medicinal marijuana
by Tom Precious,
Buffalo News (NY)
Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, in a reversal of a campaign position, said Tuesday he could support legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. In a debate last summer, Spitzer said he opposed medical marijuana. Now he said he is “open” to the idea after being swayed by advocates in the past couple of months.

Medical marijuana bill passed in Assembly

Capital News 9 (NY)
The state Assembly passed a bill legalizing medical use of marijuana Wednesday, after about a decade of attempts to approve similar legislation in the state.
MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative

Michigan's groundspring of public support is forcing lawmakers to recognize that medical marijuana is an option people want for themselves and their families. A flurry of local initiatives is being followed by a statewide measure that will be put to voters this fall, if organizers can get the required signatures. If passed, the bill will go to the legislature; if state lawmakers fail to act, it will return to voters.

Prescription pot
by Curt Guyette,
Detroit Metro Times
Rochelle Lampkin knows she's breaking the law when she lights a joint and takes a few tokes, but she doesn't feel like a criminal. The 48-year-old Detroit grandmother has multiple sclerosis, and an associated condition called optic neuritis, an excruciatingly painful inflammation of the optic nerve. It hits her a few times a month.

Medical pot: Petition drive can put issue where it belongs - with voters
Lansing State Journal (MI)
Six years ago, Michigan saw petition gatherers advocating a statewide vote on recreational use of marijuana. It was a bad idea at the time, as an LSJ editorial stated. It's still a bad idea, as Lansing-based pollster Ed Sarpolus affirmed in noting full legalization is still a no-go with state voters.
CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk

Bipartisan support got a medical marijuana bill to the desk of the governor in Connecticut. She is being urged to sign it by her constituents and even a celebrity patient. Polling by the University of Connecticut shows 83% of the state wants to see the law enacted.

MS Sufferer Montel Williams Makes the Case for Medical Pot
by Montel Williams,
Editor's note: Connecticut may become the 13th state in the country to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. After legislation was passed in the state legislature this month, it is now up to Gov. M. Jodi Rell. What follows is a letter of support from Montel Williams.

Marijuana Law in Connecticut Gains Ground
by Stacey Stowe,
New York Times
Seventeen years ago, Mark Braunstein dived 60 feet off a footbridge into a river, landed wrong and became a paraplegic. A librarian at Connecticut College, Mr. Braunstein, 55, walks with the aid of crutches and leg braces. He smokes marijuana every three days or so to control the pain and spasms in his feet that would otherwise immobilize him.
COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged

State laws that impose arbitrary limits on the number of plants or medicine patients can possess are not realistic. With other medications, we let doctors decide together with their patients what treatment levels are appropriate. In addition, differences in cultivation techniques mean some grow many small plants indoors while others grow a few larger ones outdoors. ASA is working with Sensible Colorado to help make state policy more reasonable.

Veteran challenges arrest under medical-marijuana law

Associated Press
A former Marine who said marijuana helps him deal with injuries suffered during Operation Desert Storm is challenging the state’s medical marijuana law.
DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California

Many California state and local officials have recognized that dispensaries provide an invaluable service to patients while allowing oversight by the community. The state legislature made provisions for dispensing collectives in 2003, and local officials around the state have been implementing or considering regulations for their operation. (See AmericansForSafeaccess.org/DispensaryReport) A study by ASA found that regulations are working well. But that has not stopped the federal government from trying to intervene in local attempts to help patients.

Federal agents search dispensary in Pomona
by Monica Rodriguez,
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency - assisted by Pomona police officers - served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon at a medical marijuana dispensary in the eastern end of the city.

D.A. rejects marijuana raid case

Jewish Journal
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has rejected a case against the operator of a Van Nuys medical marijuana pharmacy that was raided in April by police who allegedly desecrated a mezuzah at the shop.

New assistant DA sees no change in dispensary policy
by K. Kaufmann,
The Desert Sun
When it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will be standing by the white paper opposing dispensaries issued by former District Attorney Grover Trask last fall.

City studying marijuana dispensary ban
by Nisha Gutierrez,
Whittier Daily News (CA)
The Baldwin Park City Council is taking steps to consider placing a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, officials said.

Find out more about ASA at ASA*:*Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research
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