Friday, March 25, 2011

NORML news of the week

This Week from NORML

Marijuana Inhalation Associated With Spontaneous Tumor Regression, Study Says

New York City: Prosecuting Near-Record Pot Arrests Costs City $75 Million Annually

New Jersey: Health Regulators Approve Marijuana Dispensary Applicants

Recent Action Alerts

Maryland Lawmakers Amend Medical Marijuana Measure To An Affirmative Defense -- Substitute Language Passes Senate @

Kansas Lawmakers Fail to Act on Medical Marijuana Legislation @

Washington Senate Passes Legislation To Expand States Medical Cannabis Law @


Marijuana Inhalation Associated With Spontaneous Tumor Regression, Study Says

NORML Weekly Press Release Vancouver, British Columbia: Cannabis inhalation is associated with spontaneous brain tumor regression in two subjects, according to a pair of case reports to be published in Child's Nervous System, the official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery.

Investigators at the British Columbia Children's Hospital in Vancouver documented the mitigation of residual tumors in two adolescent subjects who regularly inhaled cannabis. Authors determined that both subjects experienced a "clear regression" of their residual brain tumors over a three-year-period.

"Neither patient received any conventional adjuvant treatment" during this time period, investigators wrote. "The tumors regressed over the same period of time that cannabis was consumed via inhalation, raising the possibility that cannabis played a role in tumor regression."

Researchers concluded, "Further research may be appropriate to elucidate the increasingly recognized effect of cannabis/cannabinoids on gliomas (brain cancers)."

A 2006 pilot study published in the British Journal of Cancer previously reported that the intratumoral administration of the cannabinoid THC was associated with reduced tumor cell proliferation in two of nine human subjects with brain cancer.

Separate preclinical studies assessing the anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids indicate that the substances can inhibit the proliferation of various types of cancerous cells, including breast carcinoma, prostate carcinoma, and lung cancer.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, "Spontaneous regression of septum pellucidium/forniceal pilocytic astrocytomas – possible role of cannabis inhalation," will appear in the journal Child's Nervous System.


New York City: Prosecuting Near-Record Pot Arrests Costs City $75 Million Annually

New York, NY: Criminal justice expenses pertaining to the arrest and prosecution of minor marijuana offenders in New York City cost taxpayers some $75 million a year, according to a report published last week by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), a national drug policy think tank.

The report, authored by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine and Loren Siegel, an attorney formerly with the American Civil Liberties Union, estimates that the criminal justice costs in New York city associated with a single arrest for marijuana possession, including all police and court expenses, is between $1,000 and $2,000.

In 2010, New York city police made 50,383 lowest level marijuana possession arrests [NY State Penal Law 221.10] involving cases where marijuana was either used or possessed in public. The total is the second highest in the city's history and is an increase of over 5,000 percent from 1990, when police reported fewer than 1,000 low-level pot arrests.

The DPA report states that during Michael Bloomberg's tenure as mayor, from 2002 through 2010, the NYPD made nearly 350,000 arrests for marijuana possession – costing taxpayers $350 million to $700 million.

Although simple marijuana possession is a violation and not a crime in New York State, if the marijuana is "open to public view" it can be charged as a misdemeanor.

"More people have been arrested for marijuana possession under Mayor Bloomberg than under Mayors Koch, Dinkins, and Guiliani combined," said the report's co-author, Harry Levine. "These arrests are wildly expensive, do not improve public safety, and create permanent criminal records which seriously damage the life chances of the young people targeted and jailed."

Added Gabriel Sayegh, New York State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance: "It is beyond hypocritical for the Mayor, who once said he smoked marijuana and enjoyed it, to make arresting young people of color for marijuana possession his top law enforcement priority," said. "While cutting services for seniors, youth, housing, transportation, teachers, education, and more, the Mayor spent 75 million dollars last year to arrest over 50,000 people for marijuana possession – which isn't even a crime under New York State law. It's just outrageous."

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New Jersey: Health Regulators Approve Marijuana Dispensary Applicants

Trenton, NJ: State health regulators on Monday selected six applicants to grow and dispense cannabis in accordance with the state's nascent medical law. Twenty-one separate applicants had applied for the state's six available licenses.

Signed into law in January 2010 by former Gov. Jon Corzine, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act authorizes patients with a physician's recommendation to possess and obtain medical cannabis from state-authorized "alternative treatment centers."

However, draft rules proposed by the state Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) in 2010 to govern the yet-to-be established program have been criticized by several state lawmakers as unduly restrictive.

Lawmakers have held hearings but have yet to vote on whether or not to repeal the regulations.

Commenting on the applicants' approval, Ken Wolski the executive director of The Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey (CMMNJ) said, "We certainly wish the successful applicants luck because patients need legal marijuana as soon as possible. However, we have serious doubts that these non-profit organizations will be able to develop a working program with the overly restrictive regulations proposed by DHSS. CMMNJ still supports the legislative Resolution to invalidate significant parts of the DHSS regulations."

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