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what does webster say about cannabis?
Main Entry: can·na·bis
Pronunciation: 'ka-n&-b&s
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, hemp, from Greek kannabis; akin to Old English hænep hemp
1 : HEMP 1a
2 : any of the preparations (as marijuana or hashish) or chemicals (as THC) that are derived from the hemp and are psychoactive
website
http://www.drugpolicy.org/
what is wrong with the srug war?
Everyone has a stake in ending the "war on drugs." Whether you’re a parent concerned about protecting children from drug-related harm, a social justice advocate worried about racially disproportionate incarceration rates, an environmentalist seeking to protect the Amazon rainforest or a fiscally conservative taxpayer you have a stake in ending the drug war. U.S. federal, state and local governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make America “drug-free.” Yet heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs are cheaper, purer and easier to get than ever before. Nearly half a million people are behind bars on drug charges - more than all of western Europe (with a bigger population) incarcerates for all offenses. The war on drugs has become a war on families, a war on public health and a war on our constitutional rights.

Many of the problems the drug war purports to resolve are in fact caused by the drug war itself. So-called “drug-related” crime is a direct result of drug prohibition's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand. Public health problems like HIV and Hepatitis C are all exacerbated by zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean needles. The drug war is not the promoter of family values that some would have us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.
Facts on Mairjuana
In 1937, with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, the United States effectively banned recreational and medicinal use of cannabis.(1) Many nations followed suit and in 1961, through the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, fifty-four nations agreed to "[a]dopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in the leaves of the cannabis plant."(2) Despite such restrictive control, cannabis has become the most widely used illicit drug in the western world.

Since the 1970s pressure has been building to move away from the total prohibition of cannabis. Over the past century, numerous reports from independent, government-sponsored commissions have documented the drug's relative harmlessness and recommended the elimination of criminal sanctions for consumption-related offenses.(3) Opinion polls show growing support for cannabis reform and scientific, medical and patient communities consistently provide evidence of the drug's therapeutic potential. As the public increasingly demands legal access to cannabis for both medicinal and other responsible uses, policy makers are being forced to consider how to regulate the drug.

Holland has led the way in cannabis reform since it amended its Opium Act in 1976 to distinguish among drugs according to levels of risk. Identifying cannabis as a "soft drug," the Dutch government decided to treat possession and cultivation of up to 30 grams as activities "not for prosecution, detection or arrest." This policy of tolerance paved the way for the "coffee shop system" of publicly distributing both marijuana and hashish.

More recently, in 1996 the voters of California passed Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, so that sick and dying patients could legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Cannabis buyers' clubs, not unlike the Dutch hash coffee shops, have emerged to provide marijuana to those with legitimate medical need. Despite the federal government's ongoing efforts to stymie Prop. 215 by shutting down the clubs, states continue to consider similar ballot initiatives.

Cracks in prohibitionist cannabis control systems constantly form. These cracks take different shapes in different countries, reflecting the diversity of political, social and cultural conditions. As clinical trials get started in the United Kingdom, as more Australian states lower penalties for personal possession and use, and as more continental European countries choose not to enforce criminal sanctions for personal possession, alternative ways of regulating cannabis will continue to develop. Whether individual governments choose to play a role in the drug's responsible regulation remains to be seen.
website
http://www.cures-not-wars.org/nycbc.html
it is way to easy to acess this information: how to use mj.
Smoking
Smoking marijuana produces the most immediate effects and permits the most refined control of your dosage. Smoking any material is not good for the lungs, but the amount that you need to smoke is so small that you need not be overly concerned. It is better to smoke the flowers rather than the leaves as this also reduces the amount you will need to smoke. Using a water pipe will cool the smoke and relieve many of the toxins produced by burning. Smoking joints (marijuana cigarettes) is suggested. (High Times, 1993)
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Eating
Marijuana can be eaten. When consumed this way, it is usually baked in brownies or cookies, and sometimes made into candy, particularly with mashed dates. It takes longer to feel the effects when eaten, and may take longer for you to learn to control your dosage. However, when you do feel the effects, they may be stronger than those felt by smoking. You may also feel a certain heaviness in your body. This will not hurt you. Schedue your time so that you can relax when you take it.
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Tea
Like other herbs, marijuana may be made into a tea. Boil the water first and pour it over the marijuana. Let it steep for longer than you would for common black tea; approximately an hour and a half. Add 1 tsp. of butter. The effects are similar to eating it.
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Tincture
To prepare a tincture, use 5 parts fresh marijuana to 1 part vodka. If you are using dried marijuana, as is usually the case, use 10 parts marijuana to 1 part vodka. An easy way to do this if you don't have measuring equipment, is to fill whatever container you are using (glass is preferable as you don't want to leech any residues from metal containers) two thirds full with herb, then fill the container with vodka and let stand for a week or more. Afterward, strain the solution. If you use a larger portion of herb, the resulting tincture will be more potent.
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Compress
Follow the recipe as for tea. Make as much as you need to thoroughly soak the cloth you intend to use. Apply to pain, leave on 1/2 hour.
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Marinol
Marinol is a synthetic petrochemical analog of one of the elements found in marijuana. Some patients say it helps with nausea yet takes a long time to work. Do not smoke this product. It also has the potential for overdose. Use only under the supervision of a doctor.
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/health/2942036
Dec. 11, 2004, 9:40PM
Alabama jumps into pot debate
California gains an unlikely ally in its medical marijuana case
By PHILLIP RAWLS
Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, ALA. - Alabama, which has some of the nation's toughest drug laws, has become an unlikely ally of California on medical marijuana.
In a legal brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama Attorney General Troy King contends states, not the federal government, should have the right to decide drug-control policies.
"I could not disagree more with the public policy that underlies the California law. I think it's flawed. I think it's bad public policy," King said. "But if somebody can go in and tell California you can't regulate drugs the way you want to regulate them in California, the next step is they could come to Alabama and tell us we can't do it."
Alabama is tough on marijuana use.
Between 1995 and 2002, the state averaged nearly 9,500 arrests per year for marijuana possession, according to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.
But the attorney general's office has become a defender of states' rights when pertinent cases go before the Supreme Court.
Alabama raised similar states' rights issues in October when the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether states should be able execute killers who are 16 and 17 years old.
King's brief in support of California was signed by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Mississippi — also known for tough drug laws.
The issue before the Supreme Court is whether Californians should be allowed to grow and possess marijuana for medical reasons.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law last year, but the Bush administration appealed.
If things had gone differently 25 years ago, Alabama might have had the medical marijuana case before the Supreme Court rather than California.
In 1979, the Alabama Legislature passed a law allowing a marijuana research program for chemotherapy and glaucoma patients to be supervised by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2004/12/06/new_medical_chief_opposes_marijuana_law_drug_reimportation/
New medical chief opposes marijuana law, drug reimportation
December 6, 2004

RUTLAND, Vt. --The new president of the Vermont Medical Society says he holds conservative views on such issues as the medical use of marijuana and the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada.

Dr. Harvey Reich is director of critical care medicine and respiratory care at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. He's also a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He moved to Vermont 10 years ago after serving teaching at the University of Pittsburgh.

Reich, 50, of Mendon, says Vermont doctors and patients are facing serious issues in the coming years, such as the medical use of marijuana, physician-assisted suicide and access to health care. And he's willing to talk about his own views.

For example, Reich said he has reservations about Vermont's legalization of the medical use of marijuana.

"Personally, I'm against that," he says. "The laws are not geared toward using cannabis and cannabis derivatives. They're geared toward growing plants in your basement."

Reich, who says cannabis-derived pills were given out in the 1980s, finds laws that permit growing and smoking marijuana rather than using more traditional forms of medication troubling.

State Rep. David Zuckerman, a Progressive from Burlington who was the lead sponsor for Vermont's medical marijuana law, says legalization of marijuana was absolutely not his goal in writing the legislation.

Reich said he was also skeptical about reimporting prescription drugs from Canada.

He said that that might allow people to purchase prescriptions more cheaply in the short term, but would ultimately just drive up costs in Canada and not really address the rising costs of health care.

A better way to address costs, Reich said, would be to cap the amount of damages for pain and suffering that juries may award in medical malpractice cases.

Medical professionals "are scared not to do things because if they don't and something goes wrong somebody will call them on it," he said.

Reich said that curtailing pain-and-suffering awards and screening out frivolous lawsuits would also help control the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance for doctors.

Thomas Sherrer, president-elect of the Vermont Trial Lawyers Association, said limiting lawsuits against doctors would do little to address the real problem.

Reich also spoke cautiously about physician-assisted suicide.

"I'm not saying it was a bad intention, but it's hard to legislate medicine," he says. "All of the cases are very individual and very specialized. ... People are really wrestling with what the right thing to do is."

Fundamentally, Reich says, Vermonters need to decide whether health care should be viewed as a right and if so, how to pay for it, a proposition he concedes could be expensive if done right.

"In one sense it doesn't make sense to say if you're old we'll provide it for you and if you're really poor we'll provide it for you, but when you're working and struggling, you're on your own," he says. "If you give everybody coverage that is so bad that no physician will accept it, you're not solving the problem, but you'll end it politically."
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=290052
Supreme Court Considers Medical Marijuana Case
Reuters
Nov. 29, 2004 - Several U.S. Supreme Court justices expressed reservations Monday about allowing medical marijuana for sick patients whose doctors have recommended they smoke it for pain.

The justices appeared sympathetic to the federal government's argument that it has the power to prosecute or take other action against patients who use home-grown marijuana in states with laws allowing medical use.

The justices are deciding whether a federal law outlawing marijuana applies to two seriously ill California women whose doctors recommended cannabis for their pain. California is one of 10 states allowing medical use of marijuana, experts said.

At issue is whether the federal law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, amounts to an unconstitutional use of the U.S. Congress' power to regulate commerce among the states and does not apply to medical marijuana.

The case is seen as critical to the medical marijuana movement. The Supreme Court last ruled on the issue in 2001 when it said California cannabis clubs may not distribute marijuana as a "medical necessity" for seriously ill patients.

The Bush administration appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in California ruled that marijuana used for medical purposes was different from drug trafficking.

The appeals court said states could adopt medical marijuana laws as long as the marijuana was not sold, transported across state lines or used for nonmedicinal purposes.

The lawsuit was brought in 2002 by Angel Raich, who has an inoperable brain tumor and other medical problems, and Diane Monson, who suffers from severe back pain. Their doctors recommended marijuana for their pain.

Monson cultivates her own marijuana while two of Raich's caregivers grow the marijuana and provide it to her free of charge. In 2002, Drug Enforcement Administration agents destroyed six cannabis plants seized from Monson's home.

Randy Barnett, a law professor at Boston University who argued on behalf of the two women, said medical use of marijuana was a noneconomic activity that falls outside the power of Congress to regulate trade among the states.

SCALIA ASKS ABOUT OTHER LAWS

Justice Antonin Scalia said Congress also has adopted endangered species laws making it unlawful to possess items such as eagle feathers or ivory. "Are those laws likewise unconstitutional?" he asked.

Justice David Souter asked Barnett about the government's estimate that as many as 100,000 people could use marijuana for medical purposes if the court rules for the two women. Barnett disputed the 100,000 number.

But Souter said there could easily be 100,000 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in California. He said that would undercut Barnett's argument that the amount of marijuana used for medical purposes would have a "trivial impact" on the market nationwide and on prices.

Justice Stephen Breyer said the two women could have gone to U.S. regulators and asked them to allow the use of medical marijuana. If denied, they then could have sued.

"That seems to me the obvious way to get what they want," Breyer said. "Medicine by regulation is better than medicine by referendum." The California law was adopted in a voter referendum in 1996.

Acting Solicitor General Paul Clement, arguing for the government, cited the health dangers from smoking marijuana. "Smoking is harmful," he said. "It's true of tobacco, but it's also true of marijuana."

He said it would be "very hard" for the government to enforce the nation's drug laws if an exception was made for medical marijuana.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, however, told Clement that two recent Supreme Court's rulings limiting the reach of Congress's power to regulate commerce among the states "dictate some concern."

Plus, the California law involving home-grown marijuana concerned an "area traditionally regulated by the states," she said.

A ruling in the case is due by the end of June.
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/12/09/medical_marijuana_the_real_stakes/
Medical marijuana: the real stakes
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | December 9, 2004

ASHCROFT v. Raich, the Supreme Court's medical marijuana case, isn't really about medical marijuana. It's about power -- the power of Congress to exert control, and the power of the Constitution to rein Congress in.

The named plaintiff in this case is Angel McClary Raich, a California mother of two afflicted with tumors in her brain and uterus, asthma, severe weight loss, and endometriosis. To ease her symptoms, doctors put her on dozens of standard medications. When none of them helped, they prescribed marijuana. That did help -- so much so that Raich, who had been confined to a wheelchair, was able to walk.

Raich's marijuana was supplied to her for free from two donors who grew it in California, using only California soil, water, and supplies. Under the state's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which exempts the use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision from criminal sanction, all of this was perfectly legal.

But under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the possession of marijuana for any reason is illegal. The question is which law should prevail in this case: state or federal?

Normally that wouldn't be an issue. Under the Constitution, a valid exercise of federal power trumps any conflicting state law. But is the application of the federal drug law to Raich a valid exercise of federal power?

Americans often forget that the federal government was never intended to have limitless authority. Unlike the states, which have a broad "police power" to regulate public health, safety, and welfare, the national government has only the powers granted to it by the Constitution. Where does the Constitution empower Congress to bar pain-wracked patients from using the marijuana their doctors say they need?

According to the Bush administration, it says it in the Commerce Clause, which authorizes Congress to "regulate commerce . . . among the several states." And it is true that those words have long been treated as a broad grant of power allowing Congress to control almost anything it chooses.

The Supreme Court's most expansive reading of the Commerce Clause came in Wickard v. Filburn, a unanimous 1942 decision about a farmer who grew more wheat on his farm than was allowed under federal law. Roscoe Filburn argued that his excess wheat was none of Washington's business, since it all remained on his farm -- some of it he ground into flour, some he fed to livestock, and some he planted the following year. None of it entered interstate commerce, so what right did Congress have to penalize it?

But a unanimous Supreme Court ruled against Filburn. It held that his 239 excess bushels of wheat affected the national wheat market whether he sold it or not, since wheat he produced for his own use was wheat he didn't have to buy elsewhere. If other farmers did the same thing, demand for wheat -- and its price -- would fall. That ruling threw the door open to virtually unbridled congressional activism. After all, if wheat that never left the farm it grew on was tied to "interstate commerce" and therefore subject to federal control, what wasn't? Not surprisingly, the years since Wickard have seen a vast expansion of federal authority.

Still, the Supreme Court has never actually held that congressional power under the Commerce Clause is unlimited. Twice in the past 10 years, it has struck down laws that could not be justified as commerce-related even under Wickard's hyperloose standard. But if the government gets its way in this case, the court really will have remade the Commerce Clause into a license to regulate anything. For unlike Filburn -- who was, after all, engaged in the business of running a farm and selling grain -- Raich is engaged in no commercial or economic activity of any kind. She is not buying or selling a thing. The marijuana she uses is not displacing any other marijuana.

But that point seemed lost on the court during last week's oral argument. "It looks like Wickard to me," Justice Antonin Scalia said. "I always used to laugh at Wickard, but that's what Wickard says."

Well, if Wickard says that Congress can ban or penalize Angel Raich's marijuana -- noncommercial, medically necessary, locally grown, and legal under state law -- then Congress can reach absolutely any activity at all. When I was a law student in the 1980s, I didn't laugh at Wickard, I was appalled by it. If Ashcroft v. Raich is decided for the government, future law students will have an even more appalling case to study.