Med-pot news

Brit jury clears med-pot supplier
On July 22, Colin Davies, founder of England’s Medical Marijuana Co-operative, was acquitted by a jury of cultivating and supplying cannabis to med-pot patients.

Davies sustained severe back and neck injuries from a fall in 1994, and found cannabis eased his pain. In 1998 he was charged with cultivation, and cleared after the jury accepted court testimony that he used the plant medicinally.

“After my case,” said Davies, “I received letters from all around the country from people who were sick and dying.” So in mid-October 1998 he announced the formation of the Medical Marijuana Co-operative.

Police raided his home a month later and seized 26 plants, charging him with cultivation, and supplying two MS patients.

The jury’s unanimous decision sparked cheers and applause among spectators.

In Parliament, over 100 MPs have backed a motion by Labour MP Paul Flynn, which “deplores the criminalisation of thousands of otherwise law-abiding people who use cannabis medicinally.”

Med-pot passes in DC

The Washington DC Elections Board has revealed that 69% of voters supported the med-pot initiative in the November 1998 election. The votes had not been counted earlier because two weeks before election day Congress had passed a bill forbidding the city from spending any money to count the ballots.

On September 18 a judge sided with activists who had brought a lawsuit to force the votes to be counted. As with any law passed in Washington DC, Congress now has 30 days to review it and possibly veto.

Since 1996, voters in California, Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Washington DC and Washington state have all passed medical marijuana initiatives.

Berkeley proposes pot-tolerance

The Californian city of Berkeley is considering an ordinance which would prohibit police from arresting medical pot patients or raiding clubs. Patients would be allowed to possess up to 1.5 pounds of pot and 30 plants.

The proposal would also create “priority levels” for other pot offences. Police would be asked to ignore those using marijuana in their homes, while public use might result in a warning or minor citation.

The proposal would update a 20-year-old ordinance discouraging police from making possession arrests.

California club’s court victory

The Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative (OCBC) has won a partial court victory against an injunction brought against it by the federal government. District Court Judge Charles Breyer had issued an injunction against the club, saying it violated federal law. But the federal appeals court judge ruled that the injunction was too broad, and that the lower court had not considered the medical necessity for some patients to use marijuana.

The ruling does not apply to all of the club’s clients, as the federal definition of medical necessity is much stricter than California’s Prop 215, which requires only a doctor’s recommendation.

Dr Weil for marijuana

Dr Andrew Weil had a long article in the July issue of Self Healing, called “Why I support medical marijuana”.

The influential naturopath wrote: “It’s unbelievable to me that it is still illegal to use marijuana medically in this country.?When I published a study in Science on the physiological and psychological effects on humans in 1968 while I was still a student at Harvard Medical School, I thought that medical use of the plant would be legalized within five years.”

Herb for hiccups

According to a report in the January 1998 Lancet, marijuana may be a cure for hiccups! Although only an occasional annoyance for most, “intractable hiccups” can be a rare and unpleasant complication of AIDS.

The report described a patient who suffered from severe hiccups for a full week. A variety of oral and intravenous pharamceutical drugs were tried without avail, as were more bizarre techniques like “glabellar acupuncture”, removal of hair from the tympanic membrane, and even “irrigation of marcaine into the external auditory canal.”

Yet when the patient smoked a joint for the first time ever after eight days of hiccups, they vanished. The next day the hiccups came back, and so the day after the patient smoked up again, and the hiccups went away for good.

The report explains that a study of marijuana’s effects on AIDS-related hiccups would be difficult to do, as it is a very rare condition. But they recommend that cannabis should be tried for hiccups uncurable by other means.

Dutch study pot for MS

Holland’s Free University hospital has announced that it will begin a study on using cannabis to help sixteen Multiple Sclerosis patients. The 20-week study will compare two cannabis products in capsules against placebos.

The Dutch government recently created a National Cannabis Agency to regulate the production of cannabis for research purposes.