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Please Call Now for Medical Marijuana Research -- Urgent Update

A new development: this past Monday 12/5 there was a letter to the editor in the New York Times from Dr. Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar (authors of Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine), and Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, describing how the government has for 2 1/2 years placed bureaucratic obstacles in the way of Dr. Abrams study on use of marijuana to treat AIDS Wasting Syndrome and mentioning the 12/9 meeting at HHS. This is a big boost to medical marijuana advocates, but also means that the "other side" could get its own fax trees going in opposition to the study, which makes our own letters all the more important.

So if you haven't called or written to Philip Lee yet, today or Thursday is your last chance to do so. If you've already written, why not call? If you've already called, why not call again?

Our original bulletin is attached; it includes some more background as well as appropriate addresses and fax and phone numbers for you to use. Please redistribute this information as widely as possible, particularly to medically-related forums and mailing lists.

On Friday December 9th the fate of medical marijuana research in the United States will be decided for the near future. Dr. Donald Abrams' FDA-approved study of the efficacy of marijuana for treating AIDS Wasting Syndrome has been stymied by the unwillingness of the federal bureaucracy to allow for a legal source of marijuana to perform the study. On December 9th, Dr. Philip Lee of the Dept. of Health & Human Services will hold a meeting (supposedly the final one) to decide whether the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will supply marijuana for the study. NIDA has been reluctant to do so, on the (weak) grounds that if the study is successful they will receive additional requests for more marijuana for more studies, which it will then have to budget funds to grow. (This would of course be irrelevant if other government agencies would grant the permits necessary to legally import marijuana using private funds.)

The government's position on this issue is entirely hypocritical. On the one hand they have refused to allow for medicinal availability of marijuana because of a "lack of scientific evidence" of it's medical usefulness, and on the other hand they have prevented the very research that could settle the issue scientifically once and for all from taking place.

It's time to put pressure on NIDA and HHS to let the study go forward. Please contact:

Ask your Senators, Representatives and state legislators to ask Dr. Lee to have NIDA provide marijuana for the study. They are probably all in their home districts now, and many of them will be having office hours. If you don't know how to reach your Congressmen and Senators, you can find out through the Congressional Switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

Dr. Abrams' study is being funded by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). For more information, contact:

Remember, your letters have to get to Philip Lee before December 9th to have any impact on this pivotal meeting.

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