Weekly News in Audio

January 26, 2006

Chris Goldstein
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  California Counties Challenge Validity Of State's Medical Cannabis Law - - NORML Calls Supervisors' Action "Shameful And Wasteful"
  Canadian-Authorized Medical Cannabis Patient To Be Extradited To United States
  Cannabis Provides Subjective Relief For Morning Sickness, Study Says

San Diego, CA:
California Counties Challenge Validity Of State's Medical Cannabis Law - - NORML Calls Supervisors' Action "Shameful And Wasteful"

County officials from San Diego and San Bernadino have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that California's ten-year-old medical cannabis law should be pre-empted by the federal Controlled Substances Act. San Diego Supervisors spearheaded the suit rather than comply with a 2004 state law mandating the county to issue identification cards to authorized medical marijuana patients.

Several drug law reform organizations, including the San Diego branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) are seeking permission to intervene in the suit, arguing that it lacks merit and that the Supervisors "may be acting out of political, rather than legal motivations."

"At no time over the past decade has any government official from any ofthe ten states with medical marijuana laws, nor has any federal government official, made any claim that state [medical cannabis] laws are pre-empted by the CSA or the Single Convention [treaty,]" the ACLU stated in a letter to Supervisors. "The federal government can, within certain restrictions, enforce its own federal marijuana laws, even in states like California where state law permits medical marijuana use. But federal laws do not pre-empt California's medical marijuana laws."

A previous report issued by the Legislative Counsel of California found that state laws exempting authorized medical cannabis users from state arrest and prosecution are not pre-empted by federal law because such laws "only declassify [the use of medical marijuana] as a crime for purposes of state law and [do] not affirmatively sanction [it]."

"California's Legislative Counsel examined this question and concluded that Proposition 215 was not in positive conflict with federal law," said Keith Stroup, NORML's legal counsel. "It's shameful that these elected officials would seek to waste taxpayers' dollars to engage in this baseless and mean-spirited legal battle."

According to a recent telephone poll of San Diego County voters, 78 percent of respondents said that they opposed the lawsuit. Sixty-seven percent said that they support the state's medical cannabis law.

Vancouver, British Columbia Canada:
Canadian-Authorized Medical Cannabis Patient To Be Extradited To United States

Former California gubernatorial candidate Steve Kubby is expected to return to the United States today in compliance with a "removal order" from the Canadian Immigration Ministry. Once in the US, Kubby will likely serve up to four months in jail on drug-related charges stemming from a 1999 marijuana raid on his Placer County, California home.

Kubby, his wife, and two daughters have resided in Canada since 2001. While living in Canada, Kubby received federal authorization to use cannabis to treat symptoms of a rare, life-threatening form of adrenal cancer known as pheochromocytoma. He has managed his condition since the early 1980s exclusively with cannabis and is recognized as one of the longest living survivors of the disease.

Kubby and his supporters fear that he will not be able to regulate his condition if he is denied access to medicinal cannabis while serving his sentence in the US. Nevertheless, Canadian authorities denied his request for refugee status, alleging that Kubby's imminent incarceration and denial of medical cannabis in the US would not place his health in serious jeopardy.

California NORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer sharply criticized the Canadian government's decision to deport Kubby to the US. "The legal persecution of Steve Kubby across international borders is testimony to the awesome grasp and power of the drug police state," he said. "Placer county officials should be warned that if they imprison Kubby and deprive him of access to cannabis they will be seriously endangering his health and putting themselves at grave risk of legal liability."

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada:
Cannabis Provides Subjective Relief For Morning Sickness, Study Says

Women report obtaining subjective relief from cannabis for symptoms associated with morning sickness, according to survey data published in the current issue of the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

Eighty-four female medical cannabis users responded to the anonymous survey. Of the 79 respondents who had experienced pregnancy, 36 (46 percent) said that they had used cannabis therapeutically to treat symptoms associated with morning sickness, including nausea, vomiting and a lack of appetite.

"In the context of pregnancy, cannabis was rated as 'extremely effective' or 'effective' by 92 percent of respondents who had used it as a therapy for nausea or vomiting (morning sickness)," authors concluded. "Our study suggests that cannabis therapy for severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy merits further investigation."

Researchers did note that prior studies investigating prenatal exposure to cannabis have yielded mixed results. Most recently, 2006 review of maternal smoking, drinking, and cannabis use published in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews reported that "heavy prenatal exposure to cannabis" may be associated with "subtle" negative neurobehavioral outcomes in offspring after three years of age.