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Medical marijuana rescheduling rally, Washington DC October 5.

On October 5 in Washington DC, protesters will demand the rescheduling of marijuana so that Federal law will not stop doctors from prescribing it. According to Americans for Safe Access, a national coalition focusing solely on medical use of marijuana, if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accepts that marijuana can have medical value, then the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must recommend rescheduling. Marijuana is currently Schedule I (high abuse potential, no medical value); ASA wants it changed to schedule III (still a controlled substance, but doctors could prescribe it).

Both ACT UP New York and ACT UP Philadelphia have endorsed this action.

More information from ASA can be found at http://www.SafeAccessNow.org or by phone at 510-486-8083. For more information on the Washington protest, click "Stop the Federal War on Patients Forever" on the site.

Americans for Safe Access is also organizing patients' unions for persons with HIV, or with other conditions for which marijuana can provide benefit. You can request more information by phone (above) or by email to patientsunion@safeaccessnow.org

For More Information on Medical Marijuana

* The August 2004 Scientific American published a note suggesting that chemicals in marijuana may act directly against some brain cancers. Certain cannabinoids inhibited several genes that are critical for allowing the tumors to form new blood vessels for themselves (which they must do in order to grow beyond a small size). Visit http://www.sciam.com/and search for Guzman (one of the researchers mentioned) to find the article, or search for cannabis or marijuana to find other articles on the subject as well. This work was done in Spain; the U.S. seldom allows research into potential benefits of marijuana.

* For a short, recent summary of the current U.S. legal situation on medical use, see http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/medical/

* In 1988 a DEA's administrative law judge called marijuana "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man" and urged that it be made available for medical use. The DEA rejected his findings. From Judge Young's "Finding of Fact" ("the record shows the following facts to be uncontroverted"):

"First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.

"By contrast aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year."

For the full 1988 decision, see http://www.medmjscience.org/Pages/reports/jyp1.bhtml

In 2001, HHS ruled that marijuana had no medical value; six months later the DEA under U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft started raiding and closing marijuana dispensaries that were operating in California in accordance with state law.

Other Major Drug Reform Organizations

Drug Policy Foundation, http://www.drugpolicy.org/

Marijuana Policy Project, http://www.mpp.org/

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), http://www.norml.org/
COPYRIGHT 2004 John S. James
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:James, John S.
Publication:AIDS Treatment News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 27, 2004
Words:537
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