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Study: Cannabis May Mitigate Traumatic Memories In Patients With PTSD

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[Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

The use of cannabis and cannabinoids appears to mitigate symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new review of clinical and preclinical evidence published online in the scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

An international team of investigators from Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom reported that the use of cannabis to “dramatically reduced” PTSD symptoms in a single 19-year-old male patient.

Authors reported: “In the case report presented in this review, the patient displayed a grave pathology involving anxiety, dissociation and heavy flashbacks as a consequence of PTSD. … The patient stated that he found cannabis more useful than lorazepam. … It is evident from the case history that the patient experienced reduced stress, less involvement with flashbacks and a significant decrease of anxiety.

Authors further cited “accumulating clinical and preclinical evidence that cannabinoids may mitigate some major symptoms associated with PTSD.”

They concluded: “Cannabis may dampen the strength or emotional impact of traumatic memories through synergistic mechanisms that might make it easier for people with PTSD to rest or sleep and to feel less anxious and less involved with flashback memories. … Evidence is increasingly accumulating that cannabinoids might play a role in fear extinction and anti-depressive effects. It is concluded that further studies are warranted in order to evaluate the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in PTSD.”

Last year, administrators at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) blocked investigators at the University of Arizona at Phoenix from conducting an FDA-approved, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the use of cannabis in 50 patients with PTSD.

Under federal law, any clinical trial evaluations involving cannabis must receive NIDA approval because the agency is the only source of legal cannabis for FDA-approved research purposes. In 2010, a spokesperson for the agency told The New York Times: “[O]ur focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use. We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

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Scientific Journal: Cannabis’ “Schedule I Classification Is Not Tenable”

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The present classification of cannabis and its organic compounds as schedule I prohibited substances under federal law is scientifically indefensible, according to a just published review in The Open Neurology Journal.

Investigators with the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis reviewed the results of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled or vaporized cannabis. They concluded:

“Evidence is accumulating that cannabinoids may be useful medicine for certain indications. Control of nausea and vomiting and the promotion of weight gain in chronic inanition are already licensed uses of oral THC (dronabinol capsules). Recent research indicates that cannabis may also be effective in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Other indications have been proposed, but adequate clinical trials have not been conducted.

“… The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner.”

The lead author of the review, Dr. Igor Grant, is the director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. In recent years, the CMCR has conducted various FDA-approved ‘gold standard’ clinical trials evaluating inhaled cannabis as a therapeutic agent. The results of several of those trials are summarized here.

Under federal law, schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing “a high potential for abuse, … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Heroin and Methaqualone (Quaaludes) are examples of other Schedule I substances.

In 2011, the Obama administration — via the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance without any ‘accepted medical use in treatment.’ In her denial of the petition, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart alleged: “[T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving (marijuana’s) efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. … At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”

Last month, Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public’s health because, in her opinion, “all illegal drugs are bad.”

Coalition advocates are presently appealing the DEA’s denial of their petition in federal court.

Full text of the paper from The Open Neurology Journal, entitled “Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke,” is available online here.

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Cannabis and Cannibalism: The Return Of Reefer Madness In The Media?

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As I told staff this morning in an email, last night and this morning have been surreal being inundated with media requests for interviews on two totally disparate topics related to cannabis:

-Chicago moving forward with cannabis decriminalization for possession

-Media headlines (and some experts’ claims) that cannabis might have caused a guy to kill and chew his victim’s face off

Talk about one topic being ‘good’, the other one being ‘bad’ (if not totally bizarre)!

It is one thing for the media to report on the toxicological results from the autopsy of the guy who did this strange and gruesome maiming in Miami last month, but to read a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami pop off to the Associated Press that maybe it was the strain of cannabis that might have caused this guy to become a cannibal strikes me that this professor is totally incorrect beyond belief and that her comments as an ‘expert’ are going to be repeated in any future news stories, radio and TV shows on the matter of cannabis’ safety.

Time.com’s Maia Szalavitz has an excellent look at past media-hyped ‘drug scares’ here.

A NORML supporter contacted the organization this afternoon with his email to the U of Miami professor Patricia Junquera M.D. quoted in the AP piece, and my reply to both of them can be found below.

Hello Dr. Junquera and Mr. X,

Thanks for your email.

Self evidently cannabis does not cause people to become violent in general, and it specifically does not cause people to mutilate others.

Humans have been using cannabis en mass for at least 3,000 years. Federal data from the US indicate that 40 million consumers use cannabis annually; 7-8 million are regular consumers. Cannabis is consumed billions of times a day across the earth safely with little-to-no credible or verifiable ill effect on the individual, let alone to induce savage violence towards others.

To say such, or to insinuate in a media interview that a strain of whole-smoked cannabis (there are over 500 strains of cannabis commercially available in the US) could possibly cause violence in humans is not only unsupported in the medical, sociological and demographic literature, such ignorance surely smacks of a new and even more perverse version of ‘Reefer Madness’.

As DEA chief judge Francis Young ruled in NORML v DEA:

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.

Like most all drug compounds that are psychotropic, cannabis can be abused. But what cannabis has not shown historically throughout the entire scope of humanity is the capacity to encourage a human being violent towards anything more than a bag of Doritos or a container of ice cream that will not readily open.

Of all the hundreds of thousands of ‘drug’ compounds humans interface with annually—botanical and pharmaceutical—cannabis maybe one of the safest bar none.

Cannabem liberemus,

-Allen St. Pierre
Director
NORML

Dear Dr. Junquera:

I think that the reason the scholarly world often gets criticized is because of the fantastic and unfortunate conclusions its members often draw.  There are a number of fields where no matter how well versed a person is that without practical, first hand knowledge it still only amounts to mere opinion.

I find it so hard to believe that as a representative of your profession that you would have the face to actually try to explain how marijuana may have affected Rudy Eugene in causing him to act so unbelievably violent.

I often try to stay away from making assumptions.  However, I can say, without any doubt whatsoever, that it is obvious that you have never used marijuana.  You have no idea how ignorant you sound to the rest of the world that have experienced the effects of sativa and indica.

You also have no idea what kind of impact your ignorant statements can make!  You are only adding fuel to the fire in a country where so many have already made up their minds that marijuana is dangerous.  This type of mentality is what continues to criminalize marijuana and perpetuates this comical idea of a lawless land if it were to become legal. Thousands are currently detained because they were apprehended using, buying, or selling marijuana and this is causing a terrible burden upon our penal system and economy.  A drug that is actually less dangerous than alcohol!  Yes, this is true, it is less dangerous than alcohol and if you ever tried marijuana you would realize this.

I cringed when I read this article (referenced below).  I know that so many people will take your assessment and conclude that marijuana can potentially turn you into a savage and even worse yet, maybe even a cannibal!

You have a responsibility to choose your words wisely, especially when speaking to the media, because many may think that because of your various degrees and position that you actually know what you are talking about!

Statements, such as the ones you made, takes away from the little progress we have made pursuing the legalization of marijuana.

I hope next time you find yourself in this position that you will think twice before you make another irresponsible comment.

Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
Another Pot Advocate

PS
I almost attended University of Miami several years ago but I decided to go elsewhere.  I now feel better about my decision.  Thanks.

Article:
“It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa,” said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
There are two strains of marijuana called sativa and indica. The sativa increases dopamine and gives you energy while decreasing pain threshold. Indica is a “sleepy high,” she explained.
“People don’t really know what the amount of either is in each little packet of marijuana,” she explained. “And we can’t differentiate between the two in the blood, much less in a dead person.”
She also suggested that if Eugene had a mental disorder, “the marijuana could have increased even further the dopamine levels and aggravated the situation. So that can’t be ruled out.”

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Chicago: City Council Votes To Remove Criminal Misdemeanor Penalties For Pot Possession

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The American public is fed up with the criminalization of cannabis. And now, more and more politicians are finally starting to get the message.

This afternoon, members of the Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly to halt the practice of arresting minor marijuana offenders. By a vote of 43 to 3, members of the Council approved a new municipal ordinance that reduces most marijuana possession offenses to a ticket-like offense — no arrest, no jail, and no criminal record.

Under present law, the possession of any amount of marijuana is defined as a criminal misdemeanor offense, punishable by 30 days to one year imprisonment. Under the new municipal law, which takes effect August 4, police will in most cases now have the option of issuing civil citations, punishable by a fine, in those instances involving the possession of up to 15 grams (about one-half ounce) of marijuana.

The reduced penalties will not apply to cases involving the possession of marijuana in public parks or on school grounds, nor would they apply to incidences involving public cannabis smoking.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — a former opponent of reducing marijuana penalties — advocated in favor of the new measure, which mimics police policy in many surrounding suburbs. In 2010, the city of Philadelphia enacted a similar policy.

Advocates for the new law had argued that the present criminal enforcement of marijuana possession laws disproportionately targeted African American and Hispanic youth. According to data compiled and posted by the website marijuana-arrests.com, 95 percent of all defendants arrested on marijuana charges in Chicago are either Black or Hispanic. Of those individuals criminally convicted of low-level marijuana possession offenses, 98 percent are either Black or Hispanic.

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New Hampshire Senate Fails to Override Governor’s Medical Marijuana Veto

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Members of the New Hampshire state Senate this morning failed to override Governor John Lynch’s veto of SB 409, which sought to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by qualified patients. The Senate voted 13 to 10 to override the Governor’s veto. However, 16 total ‘yes’ votes were necessary to achieve the two-thirds Senate majority necessary to enact SB 409 into law.

Although House members had overwhelmingly backed SB 409, Senate support for the measure had consistently been more evenly split, with Senate members having previously voted 13-9 in favor of the bill. According to a MPP news release, two Democratic Senators, Lou D’Allesandro and Sylvia Larsen, reversed their prior ‘yes’ votes on the bill and decided to uphold the veto of Gov. Lynch, who is also a Democrat.

In 2009, Gov. Lynch vetoed a separate medicinal cannabis law. That year, members of the Senate also fell just shy of the votes necessary to override him.

While today’s outcome is disappointing, the future nonetheless looks bright for the passage medical cannabis legalization in New Hampshire. Lynch, a four-term governor, recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012. Hopefully, New Hampshire’s next Governor will listen to the will of its people and to the majority of state lawmakers and sign medical marijuana legalization into law. If so, the Granite State will soon join fellow New England states Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont — all of which now allow for the possession and use of cannabis as a medicine.

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At NORML, we’re always a little hesitant to broadly publicize the plights of what are hundreds of thousands of victims annually of Cannabis Prohibition laws. NORML’s snail mail overflows daily with letters and pleas of help from our brothers and sisters incarcerated on cannabis-only related offenses and while the organization replies to all with 1) support and encouragement for them to keep persevering, 2) affirming to them that America’s cannabis laws are overly harsh and punitive, and 3) that their legal plight is recognized and, in turn, fodder to help educate the public, media and elected policymakers on the crucial need to immediately and forever end Cannabis Prohibition in America.

Below is an email I received yesterday from a mother traveling from California to Texas, who, unfortunately chose a travel route that exposed her to a federal government law enforcement checkpoint on the highway that resulted in her arrest, detention and now prosecution for possessing a small amount of medical cannabis (specifically hash). These very legally questionable federal roadblocks are done under the guise of ‘immigration control’ ensnare thousands of cannabis consumers annually on nothing but minor possession charges.

Fortunately, she was able to make bail and post a bond, otherwise, she would still be in the local jail…and self-evidently would not be reaching out online for assistance and guidance.

The account below is an unedited first person description of what they experienced, witnessed and heard when they became one of America’s approximate 820,000 annual arrests for a minor cannabis-related charge.

My personal reply follows…

Please join and support NORML and local NORML chapters to help reform our country’s antiquated cannabis laws and to provide help and support to the victims of this long-suffering and wasteful public policy.

 

Hi Allen,

I just wanted to make you aware of an encounter I had with Border Patrol in TX and Hudspeth County Jail. It’s sort of a very rough account of my dealings. I’m being charged with a third degree felony for PCOS of hashish. I’m a CA resident and not that is matters, I have a dr’s recommendation for the state of CA.

On Tuesday June 12th I was on my way to pick up my son from Fort Worth, TX. He had been visiting with his grandparents the past 3 weeks. Heading around the bend of a mountain about 200 or so miles into Texas I spotted a permanent border patrol checkpoint. As soon as you turn the corner there are cameras pointed at your car, dogs walking up and down, and men with the border patrol stalking you.

As soon as I reached the front of the line they were alerted to my vehicle. I was asked to step out of my car and to grab my driver’s license after being asked if I’ve ever traveled through Texas before. The men and dogs tore through my vehicle as I was questioned and informed that I was under arrest for “narcotics.”

They took me into the border patrol building, without handcuffing. They filled out some paperwork and about an hour and a half after I was arrested I was read my miranda rights. I was thrown into a cage in the building and left to sit for about 7 hours. I was told a few times that the sheriff was on his way to pick me up.

The sheriff then took me away from the room I had been held in, asked me if that was my car parked out there, which I replied “yes,” and then I was put in the passenger seat of his car, again without handcuffs. The 5 minute drive seemed like eternity. Being in the mercy of this man with guns whose car smelled of burnt cannabis and hashish. I felt the corruption as soon as I sat in his car. I looked over at the time, it was about 10:30 pm.

When we arrived to the jail we both stepped out of the car and walked in. I was told to dress and give them my personal belongings that I had on me: cell phone, id, and $21. While I was dressing I over heard a woman night guard speak to the sheriff, “We’ve been getting a ton of phone calls for her and it’s been annoying. We should throw her into solitary.” The sheriff and others laughed. I couldn’t tell if he had agreed until I was indeed thrown into a cage marked as solitary.

I looked around the filthy room, full of used feminine products, hair, dirt, and all sorts of debris. The room was lacking a bed roll, toilet paper, a blanket, and a cup. I asked several times to be provided with these items as I had been awake since 4 am that day and was extremely exhausted. Everytime I was met with the same thing, “when we get you booked.” What seemed like a few hours later I begged for toilet paper and a cup. After another hour of so I was provided with toilet paper and a cup filled with ice that I thought must have come from the male urinal. The next few hours I attempted to sleep on the metal bed frame with the toilet paper under my neck for support. I was shivering from the cold cell and lack of clothing.

A few hours after falling asleep I was woken up with a yell, “hey, get up.” I was then booked into the jail. I looked over at the digital clock in the room the guards were in: 3:45 am. A few more snide remarks were made about the phone calls as they asked me questions, took my hand prints, picture, and I filled out paperwork with them. One of the forms I filled out stated it was an acknowledgement that I received my bedroll, toilet paper, cup, spoon, blanket, etc. When I told the man those were items I hadn’t received yet, he said that I would obtain them when I reached my cell block.

After I was booked, I was taken to the cell block. Provided with a mattress, blanket, cup and spoon. I took the toilet paper from solitary.

The next day I asked every few hours when I was to be arraigned. I was told between 9am and 1pm. The female guard had told me it would more likely be around 1pm because the magistrate shows up later than sooner, usually.

1pm comes and goes. I get anxious and start asking the guards every 30 minutes when I was going to be arraigned. I kept getting told it would be a bit longer. It was about 3pm that I was arraigned by the magistrate. She had made a comment when she heard about the phone calls from my friends that she should have held me for 72 hours before seeing me. I told her, “My friends don’t like when peaceful people are caged.” She didn’t reply.

I immediately called my husband and asked him to bail me out. I had been away from my son for 3 weeks and I was afraid of any further mistreatment. My bailiff showed up around 4 pm and paid the bail. I kept asking when I was going to be released and was ignored for 2 hours. I find out after that, the reason for their delay, my clothing had been lost. I was furious and couldn’t stop sobbing. I was released about 7:30 pm to my bailiff when my clothing finally showed up. She took me to a motel room and I slept for the night after a hot shower.

As of this date, I have not received any more information regarding a court date. I’m unprepared financially and with knowledge to fight this. Any help you can provide would be great, even if it’s spreading the story about my horrible treatment over a healing plant.

 

 

Hello X,

Thanks for your email, though I’m sorry to read of the circumstances that precipitate your communication.

Indeed, every 38 seconds in America, a cannabis consumer is arrested (850,000/year…90% for possession only). I’m not entirely sure post-arrest what practical help NORML can be as 1) you’re correct that a recommendation for medical cannabis use from CA holds no legal sway in TX, 2) there are thousands of drivers/passengers a year harassed/arrested by law enforcement checkpoints in CA, AZ, NM and TX (the ones in TX have nabbed Willie Nelson and other celebrities too), 3) It is not clear what if any legal defense one can employ to challenge the search as, for the most part, these searches are deemed legally conducted by local and regional judges (and the dogs’ smell abilities are not much in question).

NORML has a few dozen members who’re also lawyers in TX…and you might want to contact one or more of them to inquire 1) what if any possible legal challenges are availed to you and 2) if there is no viable and/or cost effective way to challenge the search in court, then to try to mitigate the possible negative legal outcomes as much as possible is probably the best course (ie, plea bargain, drug court, etc….).

http://norml.org/lawyers/tx

Also, you might want to be in touch with NORML chapters in TX too:

http://norml.org/chapters/tx

I’ve CCd NORML’s Legal Counsel to see if he has any further ideas or suggestions.

Your writing about a terrible event that has happened to you during this period of Cannabis Prohibition in TX is extremely well written and articulate. Thank you again for sharing what has happened to you, which only affirms the need for law reform groups like NORML to succeed in ending Cannabis Prohibition. And, please be in touch with local NORML chapters and lawyers in TX to maximize your information base, so that you and your family make the most prudent decision to get this Prohibition-related nightmare behind you…and to look to a future where you too help change these misguided laws as a genuine stakeholder.

Kind regards,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
Member, Board of Directors
NORML / NORML Foundation

1600 K St., NW
Mezzanine
Washington, D.C. 20006


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New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

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The New Jersey General Assembly this evening voted 44-30 in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of approximately one-half ounce of marijuana. Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee had previously approved the measure by a unanimous vote.

Presently, the possession of this amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. A conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years, the loss of driving privileges, and other penalties.

The measure now awaits action from the state Senate. If you reside in New Jersey, you can click here to contact your state Senator and urge them to support this important legislation.

If the bill obtains Senate approval it will still face a major hurdle, as Governor Chris Christie publicly stated he intends to veto the bill should it reach his desk. (An override of the Governor’s veto would require 54 ‘yes’ votes in the Assembly and 27 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate.) It is unfortunate that the Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor refuses to listen to the will of the voters, as a November 2011 Eagleton poll found that 58 percent of New Jersey residents believe that penalties regarding the use of marijuana should be decreased and 55 percent of them believe that marijuana possession penalties ought to be be eliminated entirely.

Just days earlier, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee enacted a similar marijuana decriminalization measure into law, amending pot possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record.

Eight states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — similarly define the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by adults as a civil, non-criminal offense.

Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

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NORML Down with Android, Finally!

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NORML Android Mobile AppAfter the successful launch two years ago of a NORML app on Apple’s iTunes, NORML’s large online information and social activism network to reform cannabis laws is finally linked up in the smart phone universe with Android fans.

The new mobile app for NORML on Android, designed by former NORML legal intern Matthew Donigian, is found here.

With nearly 400,000 Facebook supporters, 115,000 opt-in listserv subscribers, 60,000 Twitter followers and NORML-powered Apple and Android mobile apps, cannabis consumers and activists today can remain dialed in 24/7 to all of the relevant cannabis-related news and information important for us all to know and be aware of on the march to replace failed Cannabis Prohibition laws, with sensible alternatives public policies.

For someone who has worked at NORML pre-Internet, the reality that a cannabis consumer and/or law reform activist can now possess so much verifiable, credible and timely information at the touch of a button (an entire university library’s worth of information!), remotely delivered to a hand-held device, has always helped in my mind to recognize that the writing is on the wall for Cannabis Prohibition in America because we all know that information is power—and now that citizens have more than enough access to information and networking tools, the federal government and other supporters (and beneficiaries) of the seventy-five year old Cannabis Prohibition laws can no longer in unfettered and unchallenged ways continue to mislead and deceive the public about cannabis, cannabis consumers or the ill-effects of prohibition.

Again, information is power. Cannabis Prohibition is a worthy victim of both information and citizen action.

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This Week in Weed: June 17th – 23rd

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This Week in Weed

Click here to subscribe to NORMLtv and receive alerts whenever new content is added.

The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week: Detroit is approved to vote on marijuana decriminalization measure and a new study shows medical marijuana legalization does not increase teen drug use.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also, another must watch video from this past Wednesday’s DEA Oversight Committee Hearing. This time it is Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) putting the DEA Chief Administrator’s feet to the fire:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Be sure to tune in to NORMLtv every week to catch up on the latest marijuana news. Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to be notified as soon as new content is added.

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As anticipated, Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, today vetoed Senate Bill 409, which sought to allow for the personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis by qualified patients.

The measure now returns to House and Senate lawmakers, who have the power to enact SB 409 absent the Governor’s approval. On Wednesday, June 27, both chambers will vote on whether or not to override the Governor’s veto.

Gov. Lynch’s actions, though disappointing, were anticipated. The four-term governor, who recently announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2012, had previously vetoed medicinal cannabis legalization in 2009 and had vowed to do likewise this year. That is why ever since the passage of SB 409, lawmakers and activists have been lobbying legislators, particularly Senate lawmakers, to assure that the measure possesses super-majority support in both chambers.

To review: House lawmakers on June 6 affirmed their support for SB 409 via a voice vote. They had previously voted in favor of the measure by the two-thirds majority necessary to override a veto by the Governor. (The actual vote was 236 to 96.) The Senate vote, however, was a different matter. In that chamber, lawmakers gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 13 to 9, a gain of two ‘yes’ votes since the Senate had previously acted on the bill in March, yet just shy of the two-thirds majority votes needed to override a veto. (A co-sponsor of the bill, Senator John Gallus, R-Berlin, was not present for the June 6 Senate vote.)

In short, two additional Senate ‘yes’ votes are needed to make New Hampshire the 18th state to allow for the limited legalization of cannabis therapy.

If you reside in the Granite State, the actions you take over the following days can help make this a reality. Click here to go to NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ today to see how your Senator voted and to urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ this Wednesday on SB 209.

Additional information on this campaign is available from the Marijuana Policy Project here and from NH Compassion here.

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