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IACM-Bulletin of 01 April 2001

IACM: 2001 Meeting in Berlin

The International Association for Cannabis as Medicine in cooperation with the Medical Association of Berlin and the Charité, Medical Faculty of the Humboldt University of Berlin, would like to invite you to attend the next meeting of the IACM and to visit Berlin on 25-27 October 2001.

Meeting Program:

On 26 October, there will be international lectures, workshops and exchange of experience for members of the IACM and others interested in the medicinal use of cannabis and the cannabinoids. Language will be English.
On 27 October, there will be a congress open for the public, mainly physicians, pharmacists and patients from Berlin and surrounding towns who are interested in getting an overview on the current state of knowledge. Language will be German, but there will also be some lectures in English that are translated into German.

Scientists interested in giving a presentation on 26 and/or 27 October should contact the IACM (info@cannabis-med.org) by May 15, 2001.

UK: House of Lords again calls for legal access to medical use of cannabis

A select committee of Britain's House of Lords accused the Medicines Control Agency of not dealing with cannabis based medicines in the same impartial manner as with other medicines. In a report released on 22 March the select committee on science and technology also called for an end to the prosecution of therapeutic cannabis users who possess or grow cannabis for their own use.

It claimed that the medical authorities were making it more difficult than necessary for drug companies to produce cannabis based medicines. The committee was particularly critical of the Medicines Control Agency for "not approaching the question of licensing cannabis based medicines in a properly balanced way, especially given the long-established history of cannabis use and the needs of patients for whom there is no medicinal alternative."

The committee, which is chaired by Lord Winston, said that it stood by its original recommendation that cannabis should be rescheduled from a schedule 1 to a schedule 2 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations Act 1985, in order to facilitate research.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain welcomed the report. Professor Tony Moffat, the Society's Chief Scientist, said that the committee's report was another constructive step towards the development of cannabis based medicines.

The report is available at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200001/ldselect/ldsctech/50/5001.htm

(Sources: House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology. Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis. 2nd Report, Session 2000-2001, London 2001; Ferriman A. Regulators accused of bias against cannabis based medicines. BMJ 2001;322:691; PR Newswire of 22 March 2001)

USA: Medical use of cannabis before the Supreme Court

On 28 March the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case United States versus Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, a case to decide whether distributors of marijuana to patients can raise a "medical necessity" defence in federal court. The Court's decision will not affect existing state laws on the medical use of cannabis.

The ruling is expected by June. A ruling for the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative would allow special marijuana clubs to resume distributing the drug to patients in California.

A ruling against the club would mean the government could prosecute distributors aggressively in federal court, regardless of whether states have approved the medical use of marijuana. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is backing the Oakland club, arguing that the Californian state has the right to enforce its law allowing seriously ill patients to use marijuana.

(Sources: Associated Press of 28 March 2001, Reuters of 28 March 2001)

News in brief

USA:
Following the passage of the medical marijuana law in Colorado in November 2000 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has adopted rules for issuing cards to patients allowing them to use cannabis. The state would allow authorized users to grow a limited number of marijuana plants and issue identification cards at a cost of $150 a year. A registry and distribution system would be in place by June 1. (Source: Denver Post of 28 March 2001)

UK:
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Paul Roddy has won another victory after a charge of illegally possessing cannabis was dropped. On 23 March Mr Roddy was cleared by a jury at Manchester Crown Court of illegally possessing the drug, but was re-arrested for an identical offence soon later. Now it was decided that it is not in the public interest to proceed with the case. (Source: Manchester Evening News of 27 March 2001)

A glimpse @ the past

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