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IACM-Bulletin of 26 November 2000

Science/USA: Marijuana study with AIDS patients in California

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has approved a program that will allow a northern California county to give away government-grown marijuana to 60 AIDS patients in a study to assess the health benefits of cannabis.

The 12-week study in San Mateo County could begin as early as January 2001, county supervisor Mike Nevin said. The DEA approved it on 22 November. The county will be the first local government in the country to distribute the otherwise illegal drug. "What we could end up with is scientific proof that this is a medicine that should be prescribed by doctors," Nevin said.

Dr. Dennis Israelski, chief of infectious diseases at the county's hospitals and clinics, will oversee the study. The San Mateo County Health Center will provide marijuana cigarettes to HIV and AIDS patients who suffer from neurological disorders.

Nevin opposes decriminalizing marijuana, but said its medicinal value needs further evaluation. "To disallow the drug to people who need it is a crime," he said. Supervisors have pledged $500,000 of county money for the project, Nevin said.

If the first 12-week study is successful, the county would like to follow up with more marijuana trials for cancer and glaucoma patients, said Margaret Taylor, director of San Mateo County Health Services. "We hope this is just a beginning," she said.

(Sources: AP of 23 November 2000, San Francisco Chronicle of 23 November 2000)

IACM: German ACM and Austrian CAM are the first regional sections of the IACM

At the General Meeting of the ACM on 18 November in Cologne the participants unanimously voted on changes of the statutes that make the ACM the first regional section of the IACM.

According to an agreement every single member of the ACM (about 700) will become an associate member of the IACM and a member of the ACM may apply for regular membership of the IACM if the corresponding requirements are fulfilled. At the same time members of the IACM from the German language region will become members of the ACM. The membership fees are divided between both organisations.

Members from Austria (about 20) founded their own national organisation (CAM) in summer and also wish to become a regional section of the IACM. In the starting phase the IACM will give financial support to the Austrian CAM.

News in brief

Germany:
According to an expert opinion of a senior public prosecutor the medical use of cannabis may be allowed in Germany. Dr. Hans-Harald Koerner, head of the Centre for the Combat against Narcotics Criminality at the Chief State Council in Frankfurt (Hessen), investigated the constitutionality of cannabis prohibition for medicinal purposes and the question whether the distribution of cannabis to patients is in accordance with the international treaties on narcotics. In his expert opinion he suggests models of how to supply sick people with cannabis, such as the distribution by local health authorities or municipal hospitals. (Source: Körner HH: Kann die medizinische Nutzung von Cannabis erlaubt werden [Can the medical use of cannabis be allowed]. Zentralstelle für die Bekämpfung der Betäubungsmittelkriminalität, Frankfurt 2000)

A glimpse @ the past

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