DPFT
TEXAS EVENTS

Medical Marijuana Booklet Now Available

Entitled "Are Texans Being Denied Access to a Vital Medicine?  A Scientific Assessment of Marijuana", the new booklet was prepared by Jerry Epstein, DPFT Executive Director.

Click here to view the Adobe PDF file of the booklet.  (If instead you wish to download the PDF file without viewing, then on Windows systems right-click the link and then "Save Target As ..."; on Mac systems, hold the mouse button down for five seconds and then "Save".)

The last two pages of the booklet contain opinion poll postcards.  Those postcards are available in a separate PDF file here.  (Same procedures apply for downloading without viewing.)

PDF format allows you to view your form electronically on most computers.  The freely available Adobe Acrobat reader is req uired to view and print PDF files.


For the very first time, a Texas newspaper editorializes in favor of legal marijuana
by Jerry Epstein, DPFT Executive Director

Most major newspapers in Texas have called for the reduced use of prison as a response to non-violent drug offenses. The Monitor in Mc Allen became the first to our knowledge to explicitly call for a change in the legal status of marijuana.  After expert testimony by DPFT's then Executive Director Dr. G. Alan Robison and others, bills to help enable the sick to use marijuana medically and also to reduce penalties passed out of committee but did not come to a floor vote.  The Monitor is now in the company of The Lancet, which many regard as the world's leading medical journal; excerpts f rom The Lancet's 1995 editorial in favor of legalizing marijuana and from the British Medical Journal in 1996, follow The Monitor editorial below.

Visitors to this site are encouraged to ask their own newspapers to open debate on the subject and to express their feelings to t heir representatives.  DPFT would like to hear from you too.

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The Monitor (Mc Allen, TX) Editorial, 09 Jul 2001
URL:  http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1234/a03. html
" ... the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana seems a reasonable step in the right direction."

DECRIMINALIZATION

Time To Recognize Marijuana's Medical Uses

The trend to decriminalize marijuana continues to gather momentum across the country. In Columbus, Ohio, voters might get the op portunity in November to decide on whether to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

Decriminalization is long past due. Government and academic studies have demonstrated that the naturally occurring plant is not addictive and is less harmful than alcohol. It is virtually impossible to die from a marijuana overdose.

Republican Gov. Gary E. Johnson of New Mexico makes that point clear. In a speech last year he said, "How many people died from the health consequences of doing alcohol?  One-hundred-fifty-thousand. How many died from tobacco?  Four-hundred-fifty-thousand. From legal prescription drugs?  One-hundred-thousand. How many died last year from cocaine and heroin?  About 3,000. And no reported deaths from marijuana."< /p>

Claims by drug warriors that marijuana is a gateway drug to harder substances such as heroin are simply not proven.

Most tragically, marijuana continues to be a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no recognized medicinal value and is completely proh ibited, even to the sick and dying.

But a federally commissioned report by the National Academy of Sciences dispels that myth:  "Marijuana's active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the anorexia of AIDS wasting, and other symptoms. "

Marijuana is being used to successfully combat not only the symptoms of AIDS but also of multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, arthritis, chronic pain, paraplegia, epilepsy, quadriplegia and migraines. It is also helpful in easing the side effects of chemotherapy and studies show that marijuana use can be a powerful antioxidant and protect brain cells during strokes.

Clinically and anecdotally, there is a definite proven medicinal use for marijuana.

At the very least, the U.S. government should immediately reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, recognizing its many medici nal values. Also, Congress should pass House Resolution 1344, the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act sponsored by U.S.Rep. Ba rney Frank, D-Mass. That bill recognizes the rights of states to allow the use of medical marijuana.

The government should not be telling people what they can or can't consume. But since that is not likely to occur, at least not anytime soon, the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana seems a reasonable step in the right direction.

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THE LANCET, Volume 346, Number 8985, November 11, 1995

DEGLAMORISING CANNABIS

The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health. Yet this widely used substance is illegal just about everywhe re. There have been numerous calls over the years for the legalisation or at least decriminalisation, of soft drugs, among which ca nnabis remains the most popular with all social groups.  In this highly contentious area, the Dutch attitude has often been mentioned as the voice of sanity.  In the Netherlands, customers of coffee shops can buy up to 30 g of cannabis for about the equivalent of $15, although the drug is t echnically illegal.  The shops are not allowed to advertise, or to sell cannabis to individuals aged under 16 years.

Prominent among those currently calling for legislative reform -- and going further by making constructive proposals -- are police chiefs and city medical officers, people who know only too well that the existing policies in most countries are ineffec tive and unworkable.  Meanwhile, politicians have largely remained silent, seemingly afraid of offending powerful segments of the electorate or merely of being perceived as weak in the face of rising crime figures.  When the occasional politician raises her head above the parapet -- as the British opposition MP Clare Short did recently in ca lling for a fresh debate on decriminalisation of cannabis -- the response is tediously predictable: widespread condemnation fr om political colleagues and overwhelming support from those who have to cope with the end result of political inertia.  ...

According to a Home Office report earlier this year, the number of people taking cannabis had doubled in a decade -- without any help from "liberal measures". Perhaps the politicians' real fear was that freedom to use soft drugs would automatically progress to increased use of substances such as cocaine and heroin. If so, they must have overlooked the recent Dutch government review which pointed out that decriminalization of possession of soft drugs had not led to a rise in the use of hard drugs.  ...

Leaving politics aside, where is the harm in decriminalising cannabis?  There is none to the health of consumers, and the cr iminal fraternity who depend for their succor on prohibition would hate it.  But decriminalisation of possession does not go far enough in our view. That has to be accompanied by controls on source, distribut ion, and advertising, much as happens with tobacco. A system, in fact remarkably close to the existing one in Dutch coffee shops.

Cannabis has become a political football, and one that governments continually duck.  Like footballs, however, it bounces back.  Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidenc e: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be.

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British Medical Journal, 23-30 Dec. 1996

THE WAR ON DRUGS
PROHIBITION ISN'T WORKING -- SOME LEGALISATION WILL HELP

Governments worldwide have followed illogical and often counterproductive drug policies, primarily because drug use is seen in mo ral terms. Wars on drugs are doomed to failure, but experiments with decriminalising and even legalising drugs -- as in the Netherlands -- have shown promising results.

Policies that allow some decriminalisation and legalisation are much more likely than prohibition to succeed in achieving everybo dy's aim of minimising the harm from drug abuse.


Texas Freedom Ride
by Kevin Zeese, Common Sense for Drug Policy

A Freedom Ride from Austin to Tulia, concluding with the Never Again Rally, marks the two-year anniversary of the questionable arrests of forty-one citizens on drug charges in Tulia, Texas.  Half the African American men in the town were arrested -- no drugs, money or property were seized by lengthy sentences were me ted out.  The events in Tulia following the July 23, 1999 raid, which have become a rallying cry in the fight against the drug war considere d by some as the Civil Rights Movement: Round Two are an example of the rampant racism and abuse of power in the war on drugs.

For more information about the Texas Freedom Ride, click h ere.


DPFT Is Good Neighbor #9656
by Suzy Wills,  Treasurer

DPFT has been assigned Good Neighbor #9656 at Randalls/Tom Thumb.  Go to the Courtesy Booth and fill out an application to l ink your Reward Card to GN #9656.  You have to do this only once.  Randalls will then contribute 1% of your purchases to DPFT.


Bargains
by Suzy Wills,  Treasurer

Don't forget that DPFT has worthwhile gifts at bargain prices.  Enlighten a friend, save $$.

Drug Crazy -- $10
Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts -- $10
Shattered Lives -- $15
DPFT Memberships -- $25
DPFT Newsletter subscriptions -- $10

All dollar amounts listed above are suggested donations.  Contact DPFT at 713-784-3196 for more information or to place an order.


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Latest Revision:  28-Dec-03