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January 2005 - Key Medical Marijuana Developments
by Americans for Safe Access
Monday Jan 31st, 2005 10:45 PM
1. / HHS answer due 2/4 on ASA's challenge to "misinformation" in
response to 1995 rescheduling petition.
2. HHS Secretary nominee Leavitt promises to "make every effort" to
speed up rescheduling recommendation.
3. Lots to gain, little to lose with US Supreme Court decision
4. Medical Marijuana Liquid On Pharmacy Shelves Soon in Canada
5. Overwhelming Popular Support Among Conservative Constituencies
6. More States & Cities Taking on Regulatory Role for Medical Marijuana//
January 2005 - Key Medical Marijuana Developments*_//


/ //* */

1. / HHS answer due 2/4 on ASA's challenge to "misinformation" in
response to 1995 rescheduling petition.
2. HHS Secretary nominee Leavitt promises to "make every effort" to
speed up rescheduling recommendation.
3. Lots to gain, little to lose with US Supreme Court decision
4. Medical Marijuana Liquid On Pharmacy Shelves Soon in Canada
5. Overwhelming Popular Support Among Conservative Constituencies
6. More States & Cities Taking on Regulatory Role for Medical Marijuana//
/

*1. HHS answer due 2/4 on ASA's challenge to "misinformation" in
response to 1995 rescheduling petition. *Medical marijuana advocates are
waiting for answer on ASA's Data Quality Act challenge to misinformation
included by HHS in their 2001 recommendation to deny removing marijuana
from Schedule I, the category for the most addictive and dangerous
drugs. HHS had 60 days to respond to the October 4, 2004 challenge, and
requested a 60 day extension, moving the deadline up to February 4,
2005. If HHS denies the need to make the requested changes, advocates
can then legally challenge the finding. For more information on the Data
Quality Act challenge, see http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=1467.

* *

*2. HHS Secretary nominee Leavitt promises to "make every effort" to
speed up rescheduling recommendation. */The Coalition/* */for
Rescheduling Cannabis, /of which ASA is a member, submitted a new
petition in 2002 that contains a detailed summary of the scientific and
medical findings that support the medical use of cannabis (marijuana) in
the United States. This petition has been under review at the FDA since
the DEA sent it on to them in August 2004. For more information on the
petition see http://www.drugscience.org <http://www.drugscience.org/>

* *

Senator Jim Jeffords took the opportunity of the confirmation hearing of
HHS-nominee Michael Leavitt to raise awareness of this marijuana
rescheduling petition and to put the future Secretary on notice that the
Senate was watching to see whether the Department would unreasonably
delay its response to the DEA. The following question was submitted by
Senator Jeffords, and the answer from Leavitt follows:

/Question/*:* "In August of 2004, the Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) forwarded a petition to reschedule marijuana to the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS). The DEA requested from HHS a scientific
and medical evaluation of marijuana, upon which it would base its
decision as to whether to reschedule marijuana. By law, the Secretary of
HHS is required to conduct this evaluation "within a reasonable time."
As you may know, 10 states, including my home state of Vermont,
currently allow for the medical use of marijuana, while the federal
government does not. To address this discrepancy, the HHS evaluation
needs to move forward. Governor Leavitt, can you work to ensure that
this evaluation is completed by August 2005, one year after the request
was received by HHS? If not, could you please explain what you would
consider a "reasonable time" for this evaluation to be?"

/Answer:/ "FDA is currently reviewing the scientific data and must
conduct a scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana in accordance
with the statutory criteria and make a recommendation to DEA. We will
make every effort to complete the evaluation by August 2005."





3. Lots to gain, little to lose with US Supreme Court decision

On November 29, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed a path-breaking
decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that protects Prop. 215
patients from federal prosecution. If the patients in Raich vs. Ashcroft
prevail, the federal government would be unable to arrest state-legal
medical marijuana patients who use and/or grow marijuana
non-commercially. The decision, /Raich and Monson et al. v. Ashcroft/,
holds that the federal Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional as
applied to personal possession or cultivation of medical marijuana by
patients and their caregivers, since their activities do not constitute
interstate commerce (Court documents in Raich-Monson case).
<http://www.angeljustice.org/article.php?list=type&type=11> This could
constitute a serious challenge to the jurisdiction of the federal
government in drug control, an area that many states see as primarily a
public health issue and therefore in their power to regulate.



A decision in /Ashcroft v. Raich/ most likely will come down around
February 2005 or March 2005, but it could come down as late as June
2005. Several other cases will be affected by this decision, including a
similar injunction filed by the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana
against federal authorities, and two federal defendants out on appeal
since the favorable decision by the Ninth Circuit, Bryan Epis and Keith
Alden. However, a decision against the patients would not affect state
laws that allow for medical marijuana, nor would it affect state and
local law enforcement's obligation to respect the state laws allowing
medical marijuana use.

* *

*4. Medical Marijuana Liquid In Pharmacies Soon** in Canada*

While American drug warriors have retreated to saying marijuana can't be
medicine because people smoke it, a British pharmaceutical company has
developed Sativex, an under-the-tongue spray that allows patients to use
full-spectrum, non-synthetic cannabis without inhaling anything. The
Canadian government is set to approve its distribution.
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=1680




5. Overwhelming Popular Support Among Conservative Constituencies

Nearly three-fourths of Americans middle age and older support
legalizing marijuana for medical use, according to a poll taken for AARP
released in December 2004.
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=1682 /Marijuana Policy
Project/ reports independent polls in Alabama and Texas registering
three-to-one margins in support for laws to protect medical marijuana --
including *67 percent support among Texas Republicans*.



*6. More States & Cities Taking on Regulatory Role for Medical Marijuana*

The number of states permitting medical use of marijuana went from eight
to 10 in 2004 with Vermont and Montana passing new medical marijuana
laws, joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada,
Oregon, and Washington. Local medical marijuana measures also passed in
Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan and Columbia, Missouri. Campaigns for
medical marijuana legislation are underway in Connecticut, Illinois,
Texas, New York, and Rhode Island.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
*Americans for Safe Access*
A national coalition of 10,000 patients, doctors and advocates/,
Americans for Safe Access /is the largest organization working solely on
medical marijuana. To learn more, see http://www.SafeAccessNow.org
<http://www.safeaccessnow.org/>, or call 510.486-8083.

--
Stacey Swimme
Field Manager
Americans for Safe Access
1700 Shattuck Ave. #317
Berkeley, CA 94709
510-486-8083
888-929-4367
http://www.SafeAccessNow.org

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