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MAPS Members , Supporters , and Friends

This August, things are -- excuse the corny summer pun -- heating up here at MAPS. Rep. John Olver (D-MA) has extended the deadline one final time to September 7 for MAPS' Congressional Sign-On Letter campaign urging the DEA to end its obstruction of medical marijuana drug development research. The letter urges DEA to grant Professor Lyle Craker a Schedule I license for his proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility at UMass-Amherst, as recommended by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner.
Has your Congressional Representative signed on? To find out, and to contact your Rep., see: http://maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html#bipartisan Another positive development in MAPS' campaign to build support for Prof. Craker is that several major religious denominations -- including United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church (USA) -- sent letters last month to DEA in support of Prof. Craker's application, thanks to some great collaborative work by our allies at the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative (IDPI).
If you value MAPS' unique and persistent approach to psychedelic and marijuana research and reform, please consider supporting MAPS by making a (tax-deductible) gift you feel good about: http://www.maps.org/catalog
Let's get to the news: 1 . Religious Denominations Write to DEA in Support of MAPS-Sponsored Marijuana Production Facility
2. MAPS Laying Foundation for Future Growth
3. MAPS FY 2007-08 Budget Approved at Board of Directors Meeting
4. MAPS Providing Technical Support for Israeli Medical Marijuana Production Facility
5. New Therapist Team for Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study
6. Ongoing Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Applies for Changes to Protocol: More MDMA!
7. Dr. Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD Study Nears Completion; Therapist Training Program Protocol in the Works 8. "Of Consuming Interest" Interviews MAPS President Rick Doblin 
9. Art Fundraiser to Support MAPS Harm Reduction Project
10. Join MAPS at the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Orleans this December
11. Website and Registration Now Available for 2008 World Psychedelic Forum
12. Women's Visionary Congress Builds Support for Women Pursuing Drug Policy Reform and Psychedelic Research
13. Rest In Peace: Peter Stafford

*** For MAPS artwork, merchandise, memberships, & more: http://www.maps.org/catalog ***

1 . Religious Denominations Write to DEA in Support of MAPS-Sponsored Marijuana Production Facility, Congressional Lobbying Continues A broad coalition of religious denominations sent letters last month to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy urging her agency to grant a Schedule I license to Professor Lyle Craker for his proposed MAPS-sponsored production facility. The denominations include the  United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and Union for Reform Judaism.  Special thanks to our allies at the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative < http://idpi.us > for their help in obtaining these letters of support, as part of their mission to mobilize religious groups in support of alternatives to the War on Drugs. For a full list of organizations that have written to DEA in support of MAPS and Prof. Craker, see: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html#4
You can help by urging organizations to which you belong to join the other political, medical, science, public health, and religious groups who are writing to DEA in support of Prof Craker. For more information about organizational lobbying, reply to this email.
MAPS is also continuing to raise awareness and political leverage by lobbying to add signatures to Reps. John Olver's (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher's (R-CA) Congressional Sign-On Letter to DEA, urging the agency to grant Prof. Craker a Schedule I license. As those of you who have been following this case know, Prof. Craker's case is the focal point of the struggle to bring marijuana before the FDA, to determine once and for all whether it meets federal standards for medical safety and efficacy.  The deadline for the Congressional Sign-On Letter has been extended to September 7. Thirty-five Reps. have signed this letter, but there are a lot more that will if they hear from their constituents.  If you haven't contacted your Congressional Representative yet, your voice is needed! Here's how to help: http://maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html#bipartisan 2. MAPS Laying Foundation for Future Growth On July 23-24, management consultants from The Management Center, a nonprofit that helps progressive advocacy organizations get results in pursuit of their missions, worked intensively with the MAPS staff at the MAPS office in Ben Lomond, CA. The Management Center is funded by philanthropist Peter Lewis to provide professional management assistance to the organizations to which he contributes. 
Building on previous meetings with MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, and Program Director Valerie Mojeiko, the consultants met with each member of the MAPS staff to review our responsibilities and help us organize key priorities for the next six-month period. The MAPS staff developed an organizational 'Success Sheet' that thoroughly outlines specific goals for the remainder of 2007 that must be met for MAPS' goals to remain on track. Each staff member also completed an individual 'Success Sheet' detailing our responsibilities and roles in ensuring that MAPS meets its organizational goals.  On July 24, the management consultants joined MAPS' annual Board of Directors meeting (see next item).
3. MAPS FY 2007-08 Budget Approved at Board of Directors Meeting On July 24, MAPS held its annual Board of Directors meeting. During the meeting, Shawn Hailey was formally elected as the fourth member of the board, and Rick Doblin was re-elected for a two-year term as President. Much of the four-hour meeting was spent discussing the ambitious budget that MAPS has developed for FY 2007-08, which has considerably more detailed project and fundraising projections than ever before in MAPS' history. In order for MAPS to reach its fundraising and research goals, we'll have to facilitate an expanded networking and teamwork process that will involve many of MAPS' current members.
4. MAPS Providing Technical Support for Israeli Medical Marijuana Production Facility MAPS is currently involved as a consultant for a small, legal medical marijuana production facility in Israel. The facility,  directed by Israeli medical marijuana advocate Tsachi Cohen, has been authorized by the Israeli Ministry of Health to provide marijuana to over 50 patients formally approved by the Ministry. MAPS is working to provide technical assistance to create an organic, hydroponic, standardized production facility, which will start small and give marijuana away for the next several months. Once a successful track record has been established, the Ministry will determine whether to permit the facility to produce medical marijuana on a commercial basis. Thanks to a $10,000 donation to MAPS for the Israeli production facility project, MAPS in bringing Canadian medical marijuana researcher and activist Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, to Israel in the second week in August. Mr. Lucas is currently a Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia graduate research fellow at the University of Victoria, and is currently involved in a number of research projects related to medical cannabis access and use.  Rick Doblin will also be in Israel at that time to consult with Tsachi Cohen during the site visit, in addition to working with MAPS' MDMA/PTSD team (see next item).
5. New Therapist Team for Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study
While in Israel, Doblin will also be working with the Israeli MDMA/PTSD research team at Beer Yaakhov Mental Health Center near Tel Aviv. This study has full government approval and will be led by Principal Investigator Moshe Kotler, MD, former chief psychiatrist of the Israeli Defense Forces. Dr. Kotler has selected a new team of co-therapists who will be trained by Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer, RN, prior to the initiation of the study. The team that Dr. Kotler previously selected didn't feel comfortable delivering the standardized therapeutic method that MAPS has developed for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies, in part due to the lack of any legal way for us to administer MDMA to the therapists to enhance their understanding of how it works. 
To learn more about the MAPS-sponsored study in Israel evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with war- and terrorism-related PTSD, the protocol is posted on the MAPS Web site at: http://maps.org/mdma/israel_protocol_3.16.05.pdf 6. Ongoing Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Applies for Changes to Protocol: More MDMA! Dr. Peter Oehen's MAPS-sponsored study evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects suffering from chronic post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has treated three out of 12 subjects. Dr. Oehen and MAPS will be submitting a new application to Swissmedic this month to make two adjustments to the protocol. The first request is to add two MDMA-assisted therapy sessions for non-responders. The second request, also for non-responders, is to be able to increase the dosage to 150 mg. and the supplemental dose to 75 mg, with dose subject to the clinical judgement of the therapists and consent of the subjects. 
To learn more about the MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study in Switzerland, the protocol is posted on the MAPS Web site at: http://maps.org/mdma//swissmdmaptsd/protocol1608.pdf 7. Dr. Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD Study Nears Completion; Therapist Training Program Protocol in the Works Michael Mithoefer, MD, and Annie Mithoefer, RN, have now treated seventeen out of twenty subjects in their MAPS-sponsored study evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with chronic PTSD. An eighteenth subject has been successfully enrolled, and there are 2 US military veterans with war-related PTSD who are currently going through the screening process for the last two spots. Michael, Annie, and the MAPS staff have also been working on protocol development for a therapist training program that will allow therapists to undergo MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as part of their training. The protocol will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in about two months. For more on this project, see the article by MAPS Research Associate Ilsa Jerome, PhD, in the Spring/Summer 2007 MAPS Bulletin : http://maps.org/news-letters/v17n1-html/mdma_therapy_training_program_development.html
8. MAPS President Rick Doblin Interviewed on "Of Consuming Interest"
MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, gave an extensive interview primarily about MAPS' medical marijuana research agenda on the Progressive Radio Network's "Of Consuming Interest." Click here to listen: http://maps.org/media/rickdoblin-interview_on_progressive_radio-july07.mp3 9. Art Fundraiser to Support MAPS Harm Reduction Project at Burning Man The artist St. Even, who donated art to both the 2006 and 2007 MAPS wall calendars, is selling a limited edition set of prints with 50% of the proceeds going to support MAPS' harm reduction work at Burning Man's "Sanctuary." Later this month, for the fifth year in a row, MAPS will assist and coordinate in providing mental health services at Burning Man's "Sanctuary," a project led by the Black Rock City Rangers to provide a safe space for people who are undergoing emotional or psychological crises or who need non-medical assistance. MAPS volunteers lend their support and are trained to work with visitors undergoing psychedelic emergencies. For more information about St. Even's limited edition prints, please visit: http://divinereflections.ca/theburn/ MAPS has also been raising funds for research by selling rare original Pablo Amaringo paintings. Last week, we raised nearly $6,000 for research with the sale of Amaringo's "Machaco-Runa: Hombre Serpiente." There is still one breathtaking Amaringo painting remaining -- for more information and to order, please visit: http://maps.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=24_41 10. Join MAPS at the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Orleans this December This December 5-8, MAPS will be joining hundreds of other drug policy reformers in New Orleans for the biennial International Drug Policy Reform conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Myself (Director of Communications Jag Davies) and Director of Development Troy Dayton will be attending the conference to present MAPS' work. DPA is the leading organization in the US working to end the War on Drugs and envision new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights. We are grateful to have DPA as an ally in the struggle to create rational alternatives to prohibition-based policy. For more information about DPA and the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform conference: http://kessjones.com/conf07/ To read my review of the 2005 conference in the Spring 2006 MAPS Bulletin , see: http://maps.org/news-letters/v16n1-html/building_a_movement.html
11. Website and Registration Now Available for 2008 World Psychedelic Forum
Along with Gaia Media, MAPS will be co-sponsoring the World Psychedelic Forum, which will be held in Basel, Switzerland from March 21-23, 2008. Gaia Media is the organization that put together the Spirit of Basel symposium in honor of Albert Hofmann's 100th birthday in January, 2006. 
For more information and to register: http://www.psychedelic.info / 12. Women's Visionary Congress Builds Support for Women Pursuing Drug Policy Reform and Psychedelic Research From July 27-29, along with the Sybil Society MAPS co-hosted the Women's Visionary Congress, a gathering of women activists, healers, researchers, and artists who are working to re-define the use of psychedelics in contemporary society. Transcripts and audio recordings will be posted online at the conference Website < http://visionarycongress.org > in the coming months.  On behalf of the entire MAPS staff, thank you to all the individuals whose efforts ensured the Visionary Congress's success.
13. Rest In Peace: Peter Stafford On July 20, Peter Stafford (1939-2007) died in his home in Santa Cruz, California, where he lived for the past 43 years. Peter is author of Psychedelics Encyclopedia and co-authored LSD: The Problem-Solving Psychedelic (also published as LSD in Action ) with Bonnie Golightly. Peter will be missed by the psychedelic community and by the many people whose lives he touched. A memorial is being planned for the weekend of August 25 in Santa Cruz. **************************************************************************
With the support of a small base of dedicated individuals, MAPS has been able to position itself at the center of the conflict between scientific exploration and the politically-driven War on Drugs.
Help us translate hard-won scientific freedom into new research results and possibilities: http://www.maps.org/catalog
Thank you for your support.
Cheers, Jag

'hanged four convicted drug traffickers'
StoptheDrugWar
June 23rd 2007

Iranian authorities hanged four convicted drug traffickers Saturday in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, according to a report from the ISNA news agency . The hangings bring the number of executions in Iran this year to 102. The Islamic republic executed 177 people last year, according to a report from Amnesty International .

The executed were Malek S., convicted of trafficking 2.3 pounds of heroin; Javad S., convicted of possessing 63 pounds of opium; and Qasem and Kavoos (no last name or initial provided), both convicted of possessing weapons and 339 pounds of opium.

Under Iranian law, capital crimes include not only murder, treason, and espionage, but also rape, armed robbery, apostasy, blasphemy, repeated sodomy, adultery, or prostitution, and serious drug trafficking offenses.

 

 

MAPS Members, Supporters, and Friends,

Incredibly, over the last several years, MAPS' research agenda has transformed the distant dream of developing psychedelics into government-approved prescription medicines into a possibility to take seriously.

All the while, MAPS is the only organization that is working to put marijuana through FDA clinical trials to develop it into a legal, prescription medicine.

If you have the means to contribute to MAPS, we are in need of your support. At the MAPS Web Store, you can make a donation, join MAPS, or purchase books, art and other MAPS merchandise: http://www.maps.org/catalog

This month we have a special addition to the MAPS Web Store — two rare original Pablo Amaringo paintings, with half of the proceeds going to MAPS (see Item #12 or http://www.maps.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=24 for more information).

The headlines for June 2007:

1. MAPS Receives $50,000 Grant from Libra Foundation

2 . Want to be Published in the MAPS Bulletin ? Articles Still Needed for “Psychedelics and Self-Discovery”

3 . Help MAPS Urge Congress to Pressure DEA to Accept Judge's Recommendation

4 . MAPS to Provide Technical Support for a Medical Marijuana Production Facility in Israel

5 . Third Subject Completes Protocol in Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study

6 . MAPS MDMA/PTSD Researchers Present at European Traumatic Stress Conference

7 . MAPS Critiques Third NeXT Prospective Study of Ecstasy Users and Memory

8 . MAPS-Sponsored MDMA/PTSD Research from Spain to be Published in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

9 . Psychedelic Therapy and Research Pioneer Stan Grof Wins Prestigious Havel Award

10 . Alternate 101 Cover Story: “Psychedelic Prescriptions: Mapping a New Frontier”

11 . Documentary Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within Released

12 . Original Pablo Amaringo Paintings Available – Proceeds to Benefit MAPS!


Your Support is Needed! http://www.maps.org/catalog


1. MAPS Receives $50,000 Grant from Libra Foundation

Earlier this week, MAPS received a $50,000 grant from the Libra Foundation. Half of the grant is for MAPS' operational expenses and the other half is restricted for Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer's MAPS-sponsored study examining MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We are deeply grateful to the Libra Foundation for their critical support of MAPS' effort to conduct long-suppressed research evaluating the therapeutic and medicinal potential of psychedelics and marijuana.

2. Submit an Article for MAPS Special Edition Bulletin: “Psychedelics and Self-Discovery”

Have psychedelics played an important role in your personal development? We'd like to hear what you have to say.

Please share your stories with us for the upcoming special edition of the MAPS Bulletin , “Psychedelics & Self-Discovery.”

We are looking for articles that are between 400-1500 words. Articles may be submitted anonymously if that makes you more comfortable (although, all things being equal, we do prefer for people to write under their “real” names when possible). If possible, send a high-quality photo of yourself to go with the article. Please send your submission to Sarah Hufford < sarah@maps.org > by June 30.

3. Help MAPS Urge US House of Representatives to Pressure DEA to Accept Judge's Recommendation in Support of Prof. Craker

US Reps. John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) are co-sponsoring a Congressional Sign-On Letter urging the DEA to accept DEA Administrative Law Judge Bittner's Recommended Ruling to license Prof. Lyle Craker's proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. If you haven't contacted your Congressional Representative yet, we need you to help by contacting your Representative -- here's how: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html#bipartisan

On May 15, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner transmitted the case files to DEA, officially putting the ball in DEA's court to decide whether to accept or reject the Judge's non-binding Recommended Ruling. Unfortunately, there is no time limit for the DEA to issue its final decision, so we are anticipating a wait of anywhere between three and 16 months, based on previous cases.  DEA may even decide not to respond at all before the November 2008 elections, providing yet more evidence of the need for state-level marijuana policy reforms.

On the morning of Wednesday, May 23, MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, Prof. Lyle Craker, medical marijuana patient Angel Raich, and former FDA offical and medical marijuana researcher Dr. Denis Petro held a press conference on the sidewalk outside of DEA headquarters in northern Virginia, followed by a national teleconference. This generated a substantial amount of media, including articles in the Boston Globe and Washington Post, a strongly supportive editorial in the LA Times, and a new op-ed by Kenneth Wolski in Monday's Times of Trenton, NJ: http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1351&fmt=page

For background on the case, see MAPS' DEA Lawsuit page: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html

4. MAPS to Provide Technical Support for a Small Medical Marijuana Production Facility in Israel

An anonymous donor has pledged $10,000 to MAPS to enable MAPS to provide technical assistance to a small, legal medical marijuana production facility in Israel. The facility will be directed by Israeli medical marijuana advocate Tsachi Cohen, and has been authorized by the Israeli Ministry of Health to provide marijuana only to medical marijuana patients formally approved by the Ministry. MAPS is working to provide technical assistance to create an organic, hydroponic, standardized production facility, which will start small and give marijuana away for the next several months. Once a successful track record has been established, the Ministry will determine whether to permit the facility  to produce medical marijuana on a commercial basis.  

MAPS is bringing Canadian medical marijuana researcher and activist Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, to Israel in August to consult with Tsachi Cohen. Mr. Lucas is currently a Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia graduate research fellow at the University of Victoria, and is currently involved in a number of research projects related to medical cannabis access and use. His experience as both a federally-licensed medical cannabis user and cultivator should prove useful to this new national program.

5. Third Subject Completes Protocol in Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study

Dr. Peter Oehen's ongoing MAPS-sponsored pilot study evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) completed treatment of the study's third subject earlier this month. Last month, we learned that the data being generated from the Swiss and Israeli studies will be accepted by the US FDA. Although these protocols do not need to be approved by the FDA to be conducted in their home countries (they have already been approved by their home country's regulatory agency equivalent to FDA and by local ethics committees), FDA review and approval enables us to submit to FDA the data from these two studies as part of MAPS' Investigational New Drug (IND) application for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD.

Dr. Oehen's government-approved MDMA/PTSD protocol: http://www.maps.org/mdma/israel_protocol_3.16.05.pdf

6. MAPS MDMA/PTSD Researchers Present at European Traumatic Stress Conference

On June 3, MAPS-sponsored researchers Michael Mithoefer, MD, Annie Mithoefer, RN, Peter Oehen, MD, and Verena Widmer, RN, presented on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research at the European Conference on Traumatic Stress in Croatia. Also present at the conference was Swiss researcher Dr. Franz Vollenweider, who is conducting a physiological study of the subjects in the Swiss MDMA/PTSD study, measuring markers for PTSD before and after treatment. MAPS' MDMA/PTSD research now has preliminary data to share with PTSD researchers around the world.

7. MAPS Reports on Third NeXT Prospective Study of Ecstasy Users

The Netherlands XTC Toxicity (NeXT) research team has published in the <i>Archives of General Psychiatry</i> yet one more prospective report on the effect of Ecstasy on memory. In contrast to their earlier efforts which found no effect on memory, this report on attention and memory claims to have found differences between the two groups, with non-users performing better than users on verbal memory tests.  This report has received worldwide publicity.

MAPS Research Associate Ilsa Jerome, PhD critiques the study in a special report that examines the numerous problems with both the analysis and interpretation of the data: http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1346&fmt=page

8. MAPS-Sponsored MDMA/PTSD Research from Spain to be Published in Journal of Psychoactive Drugs

A paper on the MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study conducted in Spain by José Carlos Bouso, PhD, has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs .

This study was the world's first government-approved MDMA psychotherapy study, with six patients treated in 2001-02. However, in 2002, in response to positive reports about the study that appeared in the Spanish media, the Madrid Anti-Drug Authority pressured the hospital into withdrawing permission. Even though the study was not completed, the data from the first 6 subjects will be published and indexed in Medline, which is available to scientists and therapists worldwide. This is the first paper ever published of a double-blind, placebo controlled study of the therapeutic potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

The conclusion of the paper states, “low doses of MDMA administered as an adjunct to psychotherapy were found to be safe for the six subjects with chronic PTSD treated in this clinical trial and there were promising signs of efficacy and reduced PTSD symptomatology. Further studies with a larger sample size and with the administration of higher doses of  MDMA are clearly needed in order to clarify both the safety and the efficacy of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in patient populations.”

9. Psychedelic Therapy and Research Pioneer Stan Grof Wins Prestigious Havel Award

The Board of Consultants of the Foundation of Dagmar and Vaclav Havel in Prague, Czech Republic, has decided to grant its prestigious award, Vision 97, for the year 2007 to psychiatrist, consciousness researcher, and psychedelic therapy pioneer Stanislav Grof, M.D. Former Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar launched their Foundation ten years ago. Besides distributing money for cultural and social purposes, this Foundation focuses on “long-term support and organization of projects and programs that aim for the future, have pioneering features, attempt to break down conventions, and strengthen those avenues of science and culture, which at present do not enjoy support of the majority of people or are not comprehensible to them, but which with their consequences can inspire or otherwise meaningfully influence the future.” Former recipients of the award include the author Umberto Eco, former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and psychologist Phillip G. Zimbardo. There will be a public ceremony in Prague in October, 2007.

Last Fall, MAPS published Grof's latest book, The Ultimate Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death, available in the MAPS Web Store: http://www.maps.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=22_27

10. Alternate 101 Cover Story: “Psychedelic Prescriptions: Mapping a New Frontier

The San Jose-based weekly magazine Alternate 101 (circulation 27,000) ran an in-depth feature cover story about MAPS entitled “Psychedelic Prescriptions: Mapping a New Frontier”. The writer, Greg Schwartz, visited the MAPS Love Creek office and paints a relatively comprehensive picture of MAPS' current projects and overall mission.

Read the story at: http://www.alternate101.com/cover/contentview.asp?c=214867

11. Documentary Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within Released

After years of hard work, MAPS member Rod Mann has finally completed the feature length documentary Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within. The documentary includes interviews with MAPS President Rick Doblin, Charlie Grob, Michael Mithoefer, Stan Grof, Marilyn Schlitz, Ralph Metzner, Alex Grey, Terence McKenna, John Markoff, Daniel Pinchbeck, Kat Harrison and others.

You can see the trailer and/or purchase the DVD at: http://www.entheogen.tv

12. Original Pablo Amaringo Paintings Available – Proceeds to Benefit MAPS!

Pablo Amaringo is an acclaimed Peruvian artist, renowned for his intricate, colorful depictions of his experiences drinking the psychedelic plant brew, ayahuasca.

For a limited time only, two of Pablo's rare original paintings are available in the MAPS Web Store, with fifty percent of the proceeds going to MAPS. You can support incredible art and MAPS by purchasing one of these two mind-blowing pieces of original art at: http://www.maps.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=24

Pablo Amaringo's Web site: http://www.pabloamaringo.com

Now that our applications to conduct psychedelic research are finally being granted, the biggest thing limiting progress is no longer the government. It is our ability to fund the research and the work that goes into it.

The future is in our hand
s. Throw your weight behind MAPS' work today:
http://www.maps.org/catalog

Best Wishes,
Jag

 

MAPS Members , Supporters , and Friends ,

The fate of MAPS' quest to put marijuana through FDA clinical trials is in a thrilling but precarious position — the DEA's hands. After six years of struggle since renowned agronomist Professor Lyle Craker first applied to the DEA for a Schedule I license for a MAPS-sponsored research-grade marijuana production facility, we are now just one signature away from breaking the federal government's decades-long stranglehold on medical marijuana research. On May 15, the case was officially transmitted to DEA headquarters.

On May 16, a “Dear Colleague” letter by Reps. John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was sent to all members of the US House of Representatives, urging each member to add their name to their Congressional Sign-On letter to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy urging the DEA to accept the recent non-binding ruling by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner in favor of MAPS and Prof. Craker. To succeed at this critical juncture, we'll need each supporter to contact his or her Congressional Representative (see Item #2).

Meanwhile, the MAPS staff is continuing to refine the organization's objectives as we prepare for the next stages of our psychedelic and marijuana research agenda. MAPS has a valuable new addition to the Board of Directors (Item #9) and will be undergoing a specialized management review over the next two months (Item #10). These developments are a continuation of our larger strategy to build a thoroughly efficient, sustainable research and educational organization that will meet both its short-term and long-term goals.

MAPS has positioned itself at the center of the conflict between scientific exploration and the politically-driven strategy of the War on Drugs. Your support is needed to translate hard-won scientific freedom into new research results and possibilities.

Help bring MAPS' challenging but realizable vision to fruition for ours and future generations by making a purchase or a charitable gift today : http://www.maps.org/catalog

There's so much good news to report this month that the headlines are split into four sections.

MAPS & Medical Marijuana

1. Marijuana Research in the Balance: Final Legal Filings Filed, Case Transmitted to DEA Headquarters

2. Help MAPS and Marijuana Research Succeed by Contacting Your Congressional Representative

3. $12,500 Grant from Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) for MAPS' Marijuana Research Effort

4. New Studies Show Potential of Marijuana Vaporizer Research

MAPS - Sponsored Psychedelic Research

5. FDA Will Approve MAPS-Sponsored Swiss and Israeli MDMA/PTSD studies for MAPS' Investigational New Drug (IND) Application

6. Ongoing Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Makes Progress

7. Dr. Mithoefer to Present on MDMA Research at International PTSD Conference

8. MAPS Preparing for Ibogaine Study in Mexico as Parallel Canadian Study Continues; Laptop Donation Needed!

Inside MAPS

9. Shawn Hailey Joins MAPS Board of Directors

10. MAPS Preparing for Professional Management Review

11. Fundraisers in San Francisco Area Raise Over $23,500 for MAPS

12. Thanks to Robert Barnhart and Anonymous Donor for $40,000 and $25,000 Donations

13. Call for Articles for Upcoming Special MAPS Bulletin

Upcoming MAPS Events

14. 3rd Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Healing Plants and Navigational Tools

15. Mind States Costa Rica: Last-Minute Tickets Available

16. Women's Visionary Congress Tickets Sold Out

*** Your support is needed — join the force today! http://www.maps.org/catalog ***

MAPS & Medical Marijuana

1. Marijuana Research in the Balance: Final Legal Filings Filed, Case Transmitted to DEA HQ

On May May 4, Prof. Craker filed the final brief in his MAPS-sponsored DEA Administrative Law Judge case.  This brief is a strong response to the DEA's "exceptions" to ALJ Bittner's recommendation that it would be in the public interest for DEA to register Prof. Craker as a bulk manufacturer of research-grade marijuana for his proposed MAPS-sponsored independent production facility. It was prepared by an outstanding legal team led by Julie Carpenter, Jenner & Block, Allen Hopper, ACLU, and Emanuel Jacobowitz, Steptoe & Johnson, and assisted by Christina Alvarez, ACLU, and Lauren Payne, MAPS.

Read the “Respondent's Response to the Government's Exceptions to Opinion and Recommended Ruling, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decision of the Administrative Law Judge” at: http://www.maps.org/mmj/5.4.07_response_to_government_exceptions.pdf

On May 15, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner transmitted the case files to DEA, officially putting the ball in the DEA's court to decide whether to accept or reject the Judge's non-binding ruling. Unfortunately, there is no time limit for the DEA to issue its final decision, so we are anticipating a wait of anywhere between 3 months and two years, based on previous cases.

On the morning of Wednesday, May 23, MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, Prof. Lyle Craker and medical marijuana patient Angel Raich will hold a brief press conference on the sidewalk outside of DEA headquarters in Washington, DC, followed by a national teleconference at 1:15 pm.

For complete background on the case, see: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html

2. Help MAPS and Marijuana Research Succeed by Contacting Your Congressional Representative

On May 16, a “Dear Colleague” letter by Reps. John Olver (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was sent to all members of the US House of Representatives, urging each member to sign their Congressional Sign-On Letter to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy urging the DEA to accept the recent non-binding ruling by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner in favor of MAPS and Prof. Craker.

To succeed at this critical juncture, we'll need each supporter to contact his or her Congressional Representative — here's how :

To reach your Representative by phone , call the congressional switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 or (800) 962-3524.

To reach your Representative by mail, write to: The Honorable (full name)/House Office Building/United States House of Representatives/Washington DC 20515

Tell your Congressperson that you would like him or her to add his or her name to the Congressional Sign-On Letter sponsored by John Olver and Dana Rohrbacher urging the DEA to follow the DEA administrative law judge's Recommended Ruling by granting a Schedule I license to Professor Lyle Craker, UMass-Amherst. If you feel comfortable, explain that you would like to see the controversy over medical marijuana resolved through privately-funded FDA-approved research, and that Prof. Craker's case is the focal point of the struggle to evaluate whether medical marijuana meets the FDA's standards for safety and efficacy.  Individualized letters and phone calls are the best ways to get the attention of your legislators. E-mails are helpful, but phone calls and especially personal letters or faxes carry significantly more weight. No matter what, always be courteous and succinct.

For complete background on the case, see: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html

3. $12,500 Grant from Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) for MAPS' Marijuana Research Effort

Last month, MAPS was awarded a grant of $12,500 from the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), for our efforts to pressure DEA to accept Judge Bittner's ruling on behalf of Prof. Craker.

DPA is the leading organization in the US working to end the war on drugs and envision new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights. We are grateful to have DPA as an ally in the struggle to create rational alternatives to prohibition-based policy.

Learn more about DPA on their Web site: http://www.drugpolicy.org

4. Two New Studies Show Potential of Marijuana Vaporizer Research

Two new studies, one from University of California-San Francisco, and the other from SUNY-Albany, provide strong evidence that vaporization has promising potential as a method of medical marijuana delivery. The first study, published online by the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics , was conducted at UCSF by a team led by Donald Abrams, MD, and  compared a commercially available vaporizer to smoking in 18 volunteers. The researchers found that, "vaporization of marijuana does not result in exposure to combustion gases, and therefore is expected to be much safer than smoking marijuana cigarettes." Dr. Abrams was able to obtain permission from FDA to conduct his study based in part on data on the composition of the ingredients in marijuana vapor gathered in research sponsored by MAPS and CaNORML. That line of MAPS-sponsored research is currently blocked since NIDA has refused to sell marijuana for additional studies.

Dr. Abrams' study is available online at: http://www.maps.org/media/vaporizer_epub.pdf

The second study, conducted by Mitch Earleywine, PhD, at SUNY-Albany, and published in Harm Reduction Journal , was based on an extensive survey of over 7,000 marijuana users. After adjusting for variables such as age and cigarette use, Earleywine found that vaporizer users were 60 percent less likely than smokers to report respiratory symptoms such as cough, chest tightness or phlegm, and that the effect of vaporizer use was more pronounced the larger the amount of marijuana used.

The study is available online at: http://www.harmreductionjournal.com/content/pdf/1477-7517-4-11.pdf

MAPS hopes to eventually put vaporized marijuana through FDA clinical trials, but has been stalled since June 2003 because of NIDA's monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana. Research into alternative delivery methods such as vaporization was one of the primary recommendations of the Institute of Medicine's landmark 1999 report on medical marijuana <http://books.nap.edu/html/marimed/> .

Marijuana vaporization is an effective delivery method because it has the rapid action and easy dose adjustment of inhalation, but without the respiratory hazards associated with smoking. Unlike smoking, a vaporizer does not burn the plant material, but heats it just to the point at which THC and cannabinoids vaporize into steam.

MAPS-Sponsored Psychedelic Research

5. FDA Approves MAPS-Sponsored Swiss and Israeli MDMA/PTSD studies for MAPS' Investigational New Drug (IND) Application

MAPS is currently sponsoring three pilot studies evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with treatment-resistant posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in the US, Switzerland, and Israel. Last month, we learned that the data being generated from the Swiss and Israeli studies will be accepted by the US FDA.

Although these protocols do not need to be approved by the FDA to be conducted in their home countries (they have already been approved by their home country's regulatory agency equivalent to FDA and by local ethics committees), FDA review and approval enables us to submit to FDA the data from these two studies as part of MAPS' Investigational New Drug (IND) application for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD. The data from these studies will be used to help negotiate with FDA regarding the design of larger Phase 3 studies intended to gather data to determine whether or not MDMA meets the requirements necessary to be approved as a legal prescription medicine.

To learn more about the MAPS-sponsored study in Israel evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with war- and terrorism-related PTSD, the protocol is posted on the MAPS Web site at: http://www.maps.org/mdma/israel_protocol_3.16.05.pdf

To learn more about the MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study in Switzerland, the protocol is posted on the MAPS Web site at: http://www.maps.org/mdma//swissmdmaptsd/protocol1608.pdf

6. Ongoing Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Makes Progress

The ongoing MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study in Switzerland, led by Peter Oehen, MD, has completed treatment for two subjects and is currently treating the third and fourth subjects. In addition, two new subjects have qualified for the study and will begin treatment this summer.

7. Dr. Mithoefer to Present on MDMA Research at International PTSD Conference

Dr. Michael  and Annie Mithoefer, the co-therapists for MAPS' US MDMA/PTSD study, were in Norway recently attending a workshop by Dr. Edna Foa, an internationally-recognized expert in the treatment of PTSD. The workshop was organized by Pal-Orjan Johansen, a Ph.D. candidate at the Trondheim Psychotherapy Research Program, Department of Psychology, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Teri Krebs, B.S., Program in Neuroscience, Boston University.   

While in Norway, Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer were also able to work with Pal and Teri, who are conducting a MAPS-sponsored study reviewing audio and video recordings and transcripts of subjects in the Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD research, in order to code and compare the psychological defense mechanisms used in both non-drug therapy sessions and in the experimental MDMA-assisted therapy sessions. This study is designed to identify process variables that may help explain how MDMA can be a useful adjunct to psychotherapy.  

Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer were also able to discuss with Pal and Teri their MAPS-sponsored project using the internet to search for reports of people with Asperger's (a form of high-functioning autism) who have found MDMA to be helpful in their learning to cope more effectively in social situations. If we do find at least a handful of such reports, this could become another area of research, if funding becomes available.

Drs. Mithoefer, Peter Oehen and Franz Vollenweider, will be presenting their MDMA/PTSD work at the European Conference on Traumatic Stress in Croatia next month.

Learn more about Dr. Mithoefer's landmark MDMA/PTSD study on the MAPS Web site: http://www.maps.org/mdma/protocol/index.html

8. MAPS Preparing for Ibogaine Study in Mexico as Parallel Canadian Study Continues; Laptop Donation Needed!

The Iboga Therapy House is now enrolling clients in MAPS' IRB-approved long-term observational case study. Three subjects have been enrolled in the  study so far and will be followed up on a monthly basis for a full year after their initial ibogaine treatment.  The study will examine changes in substance use in 20 consecutive individuals undergoing ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at the Iboga Therapy House near Vancouver, Canada.

Learn more about the Iboga Therapy House at: http://www.ibogatherapyhouse.net

Meanwhile, MAPS is currently developing the protocol for a parallel MAPS-sponsored observational case study in Mexico under the direction of Principal Investigator John Harrison, PsyD (cand). The study would evaluate changes in substance use in 20 consecutive individuals undergoing ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at Mexico's Ibogaine Association. The Ibogaine Association has been under new management since 2006, and has significantly upgraded the quality of services for its clients.

Learn more about the Ibogaine Association at: http://www.ibogaine-therapy.net/

While on that note, we are looking for a laptop donation! We're seeking a functional laptop less than three years old for the proposed MAPS-sponsored study in Mexico. It will be used primarily for email, word processing, and internet and can be either Windows or Macintosh. We don't mind reinstalling the OS, upgrading RAM, and doing other light upgrades and maintenance to make it functional. Please write to josh@maps.org if you have a machine that you would like to donate.

Inside MAPS

9. Shawn Hailey Joins MAPS Board of Directors

We're pleased to announce that longtime MAPS supporter Shawn Hailey is joining the MAPS Board of Directors as the fourth member.

Shawn will actively work with MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, and the other members of the Board of Directors to strengthen the organization, both by reviewing business and technical proposals, and by helping MAPS refine its long-term vision. We're looking forward to Shawn's increased input as we focus on meeting the challenges of success at this critical phase in the organization's development.

Shawn and his twin brother, Kim, worked for almost 2 decades to build a software company focused on computer chip design and manufacture, before taking their company public. As a result, Shawn has extensive experience in managing growth and offers that experience to MAPS as we enter our own growth phase. For a fascinating, though somewhat technical, 1997 interview with Shawn and Kim about the history of their company, Meta-Software, see: http://silicongenesis.stanford.edu/transcripts/hailey.htm

10. MAPS Preparing for Professional Management Review Process

Over the months ahead, the MAPS staff will be participating in a management review project with The Management Center, a nonprofit that helps progressive advocacy organizations get results in pursuit of their missions. The Management Center is funded by philanthropist Peter Lewis to provide professional management assistance to the organizations to which he contributes. The MAPS staff is very thankful to Peter for this fantastic opportunity.

11. Fundraisers in San Francisco Area Raise Over $23,500 for MAPS

Our fundraising events last month were a major success. On Friday, April 27, we held an intimate “meeting of the minds” with 15 distinguished psychedelic guests over an 8-course meal at the home of MAPS patron member Richard Miller in Tiburon, CA. On Saturday night, April 28, we held an all-night party with a spectacular line-up of guest speakers, DJs and visual artists at the home of MAPS patron member Richard Wolfe in San Francisco. Together the two events brought in over $30,000 with a profit of nearly $24,000 after costs. Special thanks to False Profit < http://www.false-profit.com/ > and DogStar Catering < http://www.dogstarcatering.com/ > for their collaboration with MAPS on these two events — and an extra special thanks to everyone who came out to support the psychedelic community! Watch the MAPS email news update for an announcement about our next San Francisco area event, tentatively scheduled for this fall in an historical psychedelic Victorian mansion in the Haight-Ashbury district.

12. Special Thanks to Robert Barnhart and Anonymous Donor for $40,000 and $25,000 Donations

MAPS is deeply grateful to longtime MAPS supporter Robert Barnhart for making a $40,000 charitable gift to MAPS in the last month. In addition, MAPS also received a $25,000 donation from an anonymous donor.  

13. Call for Articles for Upcoming Special MAPS Bulletin

For the following MAPS Bulletin , we're getting down to basics in a special theme issue. And we want to hear from YOU .

Have psychedelics been important to your personal development? How so?

Please share your stories with us for the upcoming special edition of the MAPS Bulletin , “Psychedelics & Self-Discovery.”

We are looking for articles that are between 400-1500 words. Articles may be submitted anonymously if that makes you more comfortable (although, all things being equal, we do prefer for people to write under their “real” names when possible). If possible, please send a high-quality photo of yourself to go with the article. Please send your submission to Sarah Hufford <sarah@maps.org> by June 22.

Upcoming MAPS Events

14. 3rd Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Healing Plants and Navigational Tools

"The Third Annual Amazonian Shamanism Conference: Healing Plants and Navigational Tools" will take place once again in Iquitos, Peru, from July 7-14. Shamans, curanderos, scientists, and psychonauts will gather for lectures, discussions, and experiential workshops. Special guests will include Dennis McKenna, Peter Gorman, Alan Shoemaker, Richard Grossman, Jimmy Weiskopf, Kevin Furnas, and many more. Traditional healers will also give presentations and participate in panel discussions.

Conference Web Site: http://soga-del-alma.org/ConferenceSite

15. Mind States Costa Rica: Last-Minute Tickets Available

The upcoming Mind States seminar will be held June 13-17 in Costa Rica. To purchase tickets or check out the latest developments, visit
http://www.mindstates.org

16. Women's Visionary Congress Tickets Sold Out

Tickets have sold out for this summer's Women's Visionary Congress: Consciousness, Healing, and Social Justice, at Wilbur Hot Springs in Calousa county, California. For complete information go to: http://www.visionarycongress.org


***************

Now that our applications to conduct psychedelic research are finally being granted, the biggest thing limiting progress is no longer the government. It is our ability to fund the research and the work that goes into it.

The future is in our hand
s. Throw your weight behind MAPS' work today:
http://www.maps.org/catalog

Thank you.

Best Wishes,
Jag



Jag Davies
Director of Communications

 

Two in court over heroin find
Rte.ie
May 13th 2007

Two men were due in court this morning in connection with a heroin find in Dublin earlier this week. Drugs worth €1.2m were found on Tuesday night when gardaí stopped and searched a jeep at a roundabout at the junction of River Road and Navan Road. And officers from Revenue's Customs Service seized 16.5kg of herbal cannabis at Dublin Airport yesterday. The drugs, with a street value of €35,000, were discovered when officers examined the baggage of a 34-year-old South African woman. She had arrived on a flight from Paris having previously travelled from Johannesburg. The drugs were vacuum-packed and concealed in a suitcase. The woman was arrested and handed over to the Santry Garda Drug Squad. She was due to appera in court on Monday the 14th.

 

MAPS Members , Supporters & Friends ,

We're sending you this special email update to announce something quite rare -- a remarkably positive article about the renewal of psychedelic research that discusses MAPS in favorable terms, in that classic example of mainstream magazines, Time .

Last month, MAPS President Rick Doblin was loosely compared by the DEA's lawyers to Pablo Escobar. This week, Time magazine calls him "Timothy Leary for a less naive age" and describes MAPS' strategy as "the antithesis of Leary's approach." The article explains that “Doblin has painstakingly worked with intensely skeptical federal authorities to win necessary permissions. MAPS helped launch all four of the current Ecstasy studies, a process that took two decades.”

The article ends resoundingly: “All drugs have benefits and risks, but in psychedelics we have been tempted to see only one or the other. Not anymore.”

It's a good sign when the DEA itself sounds paranoid and Time is laudatory.

There was also an excellent op-ed about MAPS' successful DEA lawsuit in the Sacramento Bee , on Sunday, April 15, which is pasted below and archived online at: http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1280

These are times of exceptional opportunity for MAPS' psychedelic and marijuana policy reform effort. If you are a MAPS member, we are deeply appreciative for your support -- we couldn't do our work without you. If you are not a MAPS member, please consider joining us.

The future is in our hands. Help bring MAPS' groundbreaking research agenda to fruition by making a generous gift to support MAPS' work today at: http://www.maps.org/donate

Thank you for helping us orchestrate these incredible opportunities to facilitate the cultural reintegration of psychedelics and marijuana.

Yours,
Jag Davies, MAPS Director of Communications

 

MAPS Members , Supporters , and Friends

With all the good news about the resurgence of psychedelic research and changing public attitudes about psychedelics and medical marijuana, it is sometimes easy to forget that there are people who are desperate to discredit us. One of the more amusing insults hurled at MAPS appears in the DEA's recent response to the favorable recommendation we received from the DEA Administrative Law Judge last month. They insinuate that MAPS is a criminal “front” and that MAPS President Rick Doblin is analogous to Pablo Escobar!  

If we had even a smidgeon of the international drug cartel's budget, we'd be able to fund all of our research without asking for your help. ; -- )

Later this month , we'll be initiating a Congressional sign-on letter campaign to pressure the DEA through Congress to accept  the DEA Administrative Law Judge's favorable recommendation that it is in the public interest for DEA to issue a license for Prof. Lyle Craker's MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility. We'll be sending out a special announcement soon with details about contacting your elected representatives.

Meanwhile, the state of psychedelic research is at an historic crossroads.  



MAPS-sponsored psychedelic therapy research is flourishing around the globe. MAPS now has four FDA Phase 2 clinical research trials underway (in the US, Switzerland and Israel) evaluating psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and four more in the protocol design and approval process. If the preliminary data continues to be promising, the dream of creating legal contexts for the therapeutic use of psychedelics for treating some of the most intractable mental health problems facing society is seeming more and more like a question of “when,” not “if.”

Now that our applications to conduct psychedelic research are finally being granted, the biggest thing limiting progress is no longer the government . It is our ability to fund the research and the work that goes into it.

We are roughly $140,000 short on commitments to fund MAPS' operational expenses for FY 2006-07. MAPS' operational expenses fund our efforts to establish an independent supply of research-grade marijuana and conduct marijuana vaporizer research, harm reduction education, media and other educational materials like the MAPS Web site,  email updates, Bulletin , and general operations.

The future is in our hands. Throw your weight behind MAPS' work today at: http://www.maps.org/catalog


1. Promising Comments from Ethics Committee for Historic Swiss LSD Study

2. Subject Recruitment Underway in Israel for MDMA/PTSD Study

3 . Special Thanks to the Robert T. Keeler Foundation

4 . Iboga Therapy House Recruiting Patients for MAPS-Sponsored Study

5. MAPS/Heffter-Sponsored Ketamine Research Published

6. Rick Doblin = Pablo Escobar? DEA Files "Exceptions," Congress About to Weigh In on MAPS' Behalf

7. Signed Copies of Acclaimed Book Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine Available from MAPS

8. MAPS Educational Video Now Available to Public on YouTube

9. Looking for Dedicated Volunteer to Manage Sanctuary Application and Scheduling Process

10. Just Confirmed: Visionary Artists Robert Venosa and Martina Hofmann Performance Painting at MAPS Fundraiser 4/28 in San Francisco

11. Thresholds of Consciousness: Annual Meeting of Anthropologists Interested in Consciousness

12. MAPS Gets Sirius

13. Trouble Reading Last Week's MAPS in the Media Email Update?


For MAPS memberships, special donations, merchandise, books, artwork, and more : http://www.MAPS.org/catalog


1.
One Step Closer to Approval of First LSD Psychotherapy Study in 35 Years

Dr.  Peter Gasser initially submitted his protocol to the Swiss Ethics Committee on January 10, 2007, for a study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of LSD-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with end-of-life anxiety secondary to life-threatening illness. On March 19, we learned that Dr. Gasser had a promising discussion with the Chair of the  Ethics Committee (Swiss IRB equivalent) about the design of his proposed MAPS-sponsored pilot study. Dr. Gasser was informed that the Ethics Committee had several concerns about the protocol design that would be expressed to him in writing before the end of April. He was also informed that these concerns were about how the study should be conducted, not about whether the study should be conducted. We'll soon have a clearer idea as to how the Ethics Committee thinks the protocol should be modified.

Obtaining Ethics Committee approval is the first of three formal regulatory reviews for the protocol to obtain full government approval. After Ethics Committee approval, the protocol will be submitted for review to SwissMedic (the Swiss equivalent of FDA). After SwissMedic approves the study, Dr. Gasser will submit an application to the BAG (Swiss DEA) for a license to possess and administer the LSD to be used in the study. We  hope to begin the study before the end of the summer. When fully approved, this will become the first government-approved study investigating LSD's therapeutic benefits in over 35 years.

The study is budgeted at $180,000 - MAPS has already raised $60,000 so far, but we need your help to raise the final $120,000 so this historic study can move forward.

For more information and background on Dr. Gasser's proposed LSD study: http://www.maps.org/research/cluster/psilo-lsd/#swlsd

One way we are raising funds for this study is by selling a signed, limited edition hardcover edition of Albert Hofmann's autobiographical LSD: My Problem Child . 100% of the proceeds from sales will be restricted for Dr. Gasser's LSD study. Sixty out of 100 copies have been sold; #'s 61-80 are available at $400, and #'s 81-100 are available at $450. For more information and to order online: http://www.maps.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22_27&products_id=102


2. Subject Recruitment Underway in Israel for MDMA/PTSD Study

The MAPS-sponsored study in Israel evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with war-and terrorism-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has full government approval and is now in the subject recruitment stage.

The study will be conducted at Beer Yakhov Mental Health Center, near Tel Aviv, under the direction of Principal Investigator Moshe Kotler, M.D., former chief psychiatrist of the Israeli Defense Forces. The therapeutic team has been expanded and will now include Sergio Marchevsky , M.D., in addition to Rakefet Rodrigez, M.D., and Rael Strous, M.D. The first two potential subjects were scheduled to be screened on April 11 and 12.

MAPS has sponsored three international scientific conferences in Israel on MDMA research to facilitate the protocol approval process. MAPS has already donated $45,000 to this study, with another $50,000 needed to complete it. In addition, MAPS' clinical research monitoring team will monitor the study to pharmaceutical company standards, at MAPS' expense.

In December 2006, this study and the parallel MAPS-sponsored MDMA/PTSD study underway in Switzerland were submitted to FDA for review and approval. Last month, MAPS submitted chemistry information to FDA about the MDMA that is being used in these studies. Although these protocols do not need to be approved by the US FDA to be conducted in their home countries (they have already been approved by their home country's regulatory agency equivalent to FDA and by local ethics committees), FDA review and approval enables us to submit to FDA the data from these two studies as part of MAPS' Investigational New Drug (IND) application for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD. Once accepted, the data from these studies will be used to help negotiate with FDA regarding the design of larger Phase 3 studies intended to gather data to determine whether or not MDMA meets the requirements necessary to be approved as a legal prescription medicine.

Dr. Kotler's MAPS-sponsored government-approved MDMA/PTSD protocol: http://www.maps.org/mdma/israel_protocol_3.16.05.pdf


3. Special Thanks to the Robert T. Keeler Foundation

The Robert T. Keeler Foundation has awarded MAPS a $25,000 grant to support  Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD study. This is the third annual grant of $25,000 that has been donated by the Robert T. Keeler Foundation for this study.  MAPS is grateful to the Keeler Foundation for its ongoing support of our work.

For more information on Dr. Mithoefer's MDMA/PTSD study see: http://www.maps.org/mdma/protocol/index.html


4. Iboga Therapy House Recruiting for MAPS-Sponsored Study

The Iboga Therapy House  is now enrolling clients in MAPS' IRB-approved long-term observational case study. The study will examine changes in substance use in 20 consecutive individuals undergoing ibogaine-based addiction treatment for opiate dependence at the Iboga Therapy House near Vancouver, Canada.

Iboga Therapy House Web site: http://www.ibogatherapyhouse.net/cms

People with substance abuse problems have found that psychedelic doses of iboga, an African root used for centuries, can significantly reduce symptoms of opiate withdrawal and eliminate substance-related cravings for an extended period of time.

The US is one of only a few countries in the world where ibogaine is scheduled, but in Canada, Mexico, and other countries, there are clinics where ibogaine is legally administered to individuals. Yet, there is still no data from prospective research published in a peer-reviewed journal reporting any long-term follow-up data that could be used to evaluate ibogaine's efficacy in reducing addiction-related harm.

This study is intended to gather information to evaluate whether ibogaine-assisted therapy helps people who are dependent on opiates to stop using opiates, use less, or practice moderated use after the therapy. For one year after therapy we will be collecting data from participants in the study, enabling us to examine whether ibogaine-assisted therapy facilitates positive changes or improvements in quality of life that result in decreased harms associated with chronic or mismanaged opiate use.

For background on MAPS' ibogaine research efforts: http://www.maps.org/ibogaine


5. MAPS/Heffter-Sponsored Ketamine Research Published

Evgeny M. Krupitsky, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of the Research Laboratory at St. Petersburg Regional Center of Addictions and Psychopharmacology, published "Single Versus Repeated Sessions of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for People with Heroin Dependence" in the March 31 issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs . Krupitsky also published an article in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry about alcohol craving (Am J Psychiatry 164:3, March 2007, 519-523). Krupitsky and his team found that multiple sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy were more effective than single sessions, helping take an important step forward from the "magic bullet, miracle cure" theory.

Read "Single Versus Repeated Sessions of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for People with Heroin Dependence":
http://www.maps.org/research/ketamine/KrupitskyJPDPaper.pdf

6. Rick Doblin = Pablo Escobar? DEA Files "Exceptions,” Congress About to Weigh In on MAPS' Behalf

On March 26, DEA Attorney Charles Trant submitted DEA's "exception" to the February 12, 2007 opinion of DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner. DEA objected to ALJ Bittner's recommendation that it would be in the public interest for DEA to grant Prof. Lyle Craker a Schedule I license for a MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility. Lacking much in the way of a good argument, Trant focused on criticizing MAPS President Rick Doblin, at one point loosely comparing him to Pablo Escobar. A detailed rebuttal is being prepared by Prof. Craker's legal team, which will be submitted to the ALJ's office by May 4, 2007. A few weeks after that, ALJ Bittner will forward her recommendation, along with the dueling legal documents, to DEA for a formal ruling. Unfortunately, DEA has no time limit for when it must issue its final ruling.

Read the DEA's “exceptions” to the DEA ALJ ruling at http://www.maps.org/mmj/deaexception.pdf — it's actually quite entertaining reading, for a legal filing.  

A coalition of medical marijuana and drug policy reform groups such as Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will attempt to generate pressure on DEA from Congress, seeking Representatives and Senators willing to sign a letter to DEA Administrator Tandy, urging her to accept ALJ Bittner's recommendation. MAPS has hired Lauren Anderson Payne and Michael D. Ostrolenk, co-founder and National Director of the Liberty Coalition, to work on the ground in Washington, D.C., for the next several months. As we reported last month, MAPS received a $45,000 grant from MPP for lobbying efforts related to the DEA lawsuit.

MAPS staffers Rick Doblin and Jag Davies co-authored an extensive article about Prof. Craker's case, MAPS' quest to put marijuana through FDA trials, and the problems with NIDA's monopoly in the current issue of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform : http://www.drugscience.org/Archive/bcr3/n3_Davies_Doblin.html

For more background information on Prof. Craker's lawsuit for a MAPS-sponsored production facility, visit http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html


7. Now Available from MAPS: Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine Signed by Co-Author Lester Grinspoon, M.D.

In honor of our recent legal victory over the DEA, we're adding the acclaimed book Marihuana, The Forbidden Medicine to the MAPS online book store. The first 20 copies available are signed by co-author Lester Grinspoon, M.D. This 320-page revised and expanded edition is 60% longer than the original 1993 edition. One of the chapters from the book, “Measuring the Risks,” was submitted as rebuttal evidence during Prof. Craker's recent DEA Administrative Law Judge hearing when one of the DEA's witnesses made inaccurate claims about the addictive nature of marijuana and its link to mental illness.

The book is co-authored by Lester Grinspoon, M.D., an Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Emeritus) at Harvard Medical School, and James Bakalar, J.D., who is a Lecturer in Law in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

For background and to order online: http://www.maps.org/catalog/index.php?cPath=22_21

Lester Grinspoon's Web site: http://www.rxmarihuana.com


8. MAPS Educational Video Now Available to Public on YouTube

MAPS' educational video Working With Difficult Psychedelic Experiences is now available for download to the public at:
http://www.youtube.com/mapsmdma

A high quality version of the video is also available for viewing and download on the MAPS Web site: http://www.maps.org/wwpe_vid/

This 20-minute educational video was created by MAPS to teach young adults when and how to help a friend, peer, or loved one make the most out of a difficult experience with psychedelics. Narrated by Donna Dryer, M.D., the video explains how to minimize psychological risks and use difficult experiences as an opportunity for possible beneficial and/or therapeutic outcomes. The video elaborates on the four basic principles of psychedelic therapy:

1) Create a safe space
2) Sitting, not guiding
3) Talk through, don't talk down
4) "Difficult" is not necessarily "bad."

MAPS will be working later this year to produce a modified version of the video for use in harm reduction educational contexts.


9. Looking for Dedicated Volunteer to Manage Sanctuary Application and Scheduling Process

Have you worked in Sanctuary before? Can you commit about 5-10 hours a week for 4 months? We're looking for a dedicated Sanctuary volunteer to help us with the application and scheduling process for our psychedelic emergency services at Burning Man. The work can be done from home over email. Requirements are: 1) at least one year of prior experience working with us in Sanctuary and are in good standing, 2) have regular access to email and phone, 3) plan to attend Burning Man this year and volunteer in Sanctuary.

Contact valerie@maps.org if you're interested. Compensation is a gift of one Burning Man ticket.


10. Just Confirmed: Visionary Artists Robert Venosa and Martina Hofmann Performance Painting at MAPS Fundraiser 4/28 in San Francisco

Visionary artists Robert Venosa and Martina Hoffman have just confirmed their participation in the MAPS fundraiser on April 28 in San Francisco. A screening of the Rod Mann's film Entheogen has also been added to the schedule. Other special guests include Stan and Christina Grof, Ralph Metzner, Matt Baggott, Erik Davis, Angel Raich, ASA Executive Director Steph Scherer, Dale Gieringer (CA NORML), Allen Hopper and Anjuli Verma (ACLU Drug Law Reform Project).

We have several $100-$300 tickets remaining for “The Final Frontier.” We also have a limited number of $400 sponsorship tickets available that enable you to purchase the ticket of one of our special guests and come early to a cocktail reception with them and MAPS staff.

Visit http://www.maps.org/bayarea for more information and to purchase tickets.


11. Thresholds of Consciousness: Annual Meeting of Anthropologists Interested in Consciousness

The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness held its annual spring meeting last week in San Diego, with the theme “Thresholds of Consciousness.” The programming contained several lectures on psychedelic-related topics including a presentation by Marlene Dobkin de Rios on “Ayahuasca and Drug Tourism” and a panel on Ecopsychology that included MAPS Director of Operations Valerie Mojeiko.

For more information, see the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Web site: http://sacaaa.org


12. MAPS Gets Sirius

I (MAPS Director of Communications Jag Davies) gave an interview on the RU Sirius show, transcribed and published as “Prescription Ecstasy and Other Pipe Dreams”: http://www.10zenmonkeys.com/2007/03/29/maps-drugs-research-ru-sirius

Listen to the interview: http://www.rusiriusradio.com/2007/03/04/show-97-psychedelic-research-is-resurgent

The interview is about 20 minutes long and covers a broad range of topics related to MAPS' research.


13. Trouble Reading Last Week's MAPS in the Media Email Update?

Our sincerest apologies for the glitches in last week's email—we are working to ensure it doesn't happen again. If you had trouble reading last week's MAPS in Media email update, it is available online in the MAPS News archives: http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews


Working together, we can create legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Now that MAPS' agenda is gathering momentum, your support is more important than ever. If you are a MAPS member, we are deeply grateful for your support and glad to have you on our team. We couldn't do our work without you. If you are not a MAPS member, please consider joining us: http://www.MAPS.org/catalog



Best Wishes,
Jag

 

MAPS Members, Supporters & Friends
April 7th 2007

As momentum builds for psychedelic and marijuana research and reform, 
we're working more than ever to educate the media and the public 
about these important developments.

Make sure to check out psychedelic research and therapy pioneer Stan 
Grof on Deepak Chopra's radio show and see what Time magazine has to 
say about the future of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

While our hard-earned tax dollars are used to imprison and punish 
millions of drug users, there is no government funding for the highly-
demanded research that MAPS is persistently orchestrating. To make 
matters worse, since these drugs cannot be patented, no for-profit 
pharmaceutical company has an interest in paying for the research to 
gain FDA approval and then bringing the drug to market.

In the meantime, society must rely on people like you and me to fund 
this research.

You can help remedy this market failure, by making an investment in 
psychedelic and marijuana research and reform today and visiting 
http://www.maps.org/catalog . Your tax dollars won't fund psychedelic 
research this year, but your tax return can!

Here's a few of the noteworthy articles that we've posted recently in 
the MAPS in the Media archive - http://www.maps.org/media/



1. Coming Up: Stan Grof on Deepak Chopra's Wellness Radio Show: 
Saturday, April 7 - http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews#1

2. What's Next? According to Time Magazine, Legal Psychedelic-
Assisted Therapy - http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews#2

3. Exclusive Agreement Reached with Washington Post Magazine for 
Story on Flagship MAPS-Sponsored MDMA/PTSD Research - http://
www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews#3

4. American Medical News and Orange County Register Pipe in on MAPS' 
Proposed Marijuana Production Facility - http://www.maps.org/sys/
nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews#4

5. Media Coverage of New Raich Case Rejection - http://www.maps.org/
sys/nq.pl?id=1265&fmt=stdnews#5

6. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr Takes Position as Lobbyist 
for Marijuana Policy Project - http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl ?
id=1265&fmt=stdnews#6

7. Panel of UK Experts Rate Alcohol and Tobacco More Dangerous Than 
LSD, Cannabis, and Ecstasy - http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl ?
id=1265&fmt=stdnews#7



1. This Saturday, April 7: Stan Grof on Deepak Chopra's Wellness Radio

Pioneer psychedelic therapist and researcher Stanislav Grof, M.D., 
will be on Deepak Chopra's Wellness Radio show this Saturday, April 
7. The show runs on Sirius channel 102 from 10 am to 1 pm EST, and 
will repeat all day. If you don't have a subscription, you can listen 
to the broadcast online through a free 3-day trial, by visiting 
Sirius ( http://www.sirius.com/ ) and clicking 'listen online'. Sign up 
on Friday if possible in case theres a lag time.

Dr. Grof will be speaking about the recent resurgence of psychedelic 
research, and his newest book, published by MAPS, The Ultimate 
Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death ( http://www.maps.org/
catalog/product_info.php?cPath=22_27&products_id=109)

2. What's Next? According to Time Magazine, Legal Psychedelic-
Assisted Therapy

Time Magazine's annual "What's Next" issue ran a brief story entitled 
"Taking a trip for your mental health," ( http://www.maps.org/sys/
nq.pl?id=1228) highlighting MAPS-sponsored MDMA, psilocybin, and 
ketamine research.

3. Exclusive Agreement Reached with Washington Post Magazine for 
Story on Flagship MAPS-Sponsored MDMA/PTSD Research

As we reported last month, after several years of effort, three 
rejections, and an appeal, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for 
Dr. Michael Mithoefer's flagship MAPS-sponsored US MDMA/PTSD study 
approved an amendment to the study's protocol which is available on 
the MAPS website at http://www.maps.org/mdma/protocol/index.html . The 
IRB decided that it will not object to subjects speaking with the 
media and/or documentary filmmakers following completion of each 
subject's participation in the study.

In the meantime, MAPS and Dr. Mithoefer have been working with Tom 
Shroder, editor of the Washington Post Magazine, who will publish an 
exclusive story about Dr. Mithoefer's study and its subjects. The 
story will be published in approximately one year, once each of the 
subjects have completed treatment. Dr. Mithoefer plans to begin 
treating the final five subjects in the next two months, and 
treatment process can last up to 10 months for subjects who initially 
receive the placebo.

4. American Medical News and Orange County Register Pipe in on MAPS' 
Proposed Marijuana Production Facility On March 25, Alan Bock, senior 
editorial writer for the Orange County Register published "Still 
Waiting to Inhale," ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1247
describing several recent signs of hope for medical marijuana 
patients, such as the recent DEA ALJ ruling in favor of ending NIDA's 
monopoly on marijuana research by licensing Prof. Lyle Craker's 
proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility (see 
the MAPS website at: http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html ).

American Medical News also published "DEA judge's ruling could help 
medical marijuana research," ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1226
about MAPS' recent legal victory in our quest to put marijuana 
through FDA clinical trials.

5. Media Coverage of New Raich Case Rejection

On March 14, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected 
(3-0) an appeal by medical marijuana patient Angel Raich, ruling that 
the 10th amendment does not protect her right to use medical 
marijuana and that there is no constitutional right to use marijuana 
to treat pain and suffering. MAPS and MPP submitted an amicus curiae 
brief for the appeal, as well as for Raich's previous cases, 
detailing the federal government's obstruction of medical marijuana 
research (see http://www.maps.org/mmj/mpp_amicus_11.30.05.pdf ) Raich, 
a mother of two, uses marijuana to treat severe chronic pain, an 
inoperable brain tumor, wasting syndrome, and seizures. With Raich's 
appeal lost, one more potential door to federally-legal medical 
marijuana is firmly shut, making the route through FDA even more 
necessary than before.

Prof. Randy Barnett, Raich's lawyer and a professor at Georgetown 
University Law Center, published a thorough op-ed in the Wall Street 
Journal ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1224 ). The San Francisco 
Chronicle also published a candid op-ed, "The laws against marijuana 
are stupid" ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1233 ).

6. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr Takes Position as Lobbyist 
for Marijuana Policy Project

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, former Republican 
Congressman Bob Barr has become a vocal supporter of medical 
marijuana and has taken a new position as a lobbyist for the 
Marijuana Policy Project ( http://www.mpp.org/ ). Read how it was 
reported in "Barr Shifts in Support of Medical Marijuana" (http://
www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1246 ). Last month, MPP awarded MAPS a grant 
of $45,000 for lobbying efforts to pressure DEA to accept the recent 
Administrative Law Judge ruling in favor of Prof. Lyle Craker's 
proposed MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility (see the MAPS 
website at - http://www.maps.org/mmj/DEAlawsuit.html ).

7. Panel of UK Experts Rate Alcohol and Tobacco More Dangerous Than 
LSD, Cannabis, and Ecstasy

London's Guardian published "Alcohol worse than ecstasy on shock new 
drug list." ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1240)The article 
describes a groundbreaking report published in the medical journal 
The Lancet from a group of the UK's leading scientists, including 
members of the government's top advisory committee on drug 
classification, that concluded that alcohol and tobacco should be 
rated as more dangerous than cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. Back in the 
US, the Associated Press covered the report in "Study: Alcohol, 
Tobacco Worse Than Drugs" ( http://www.maps.org/sys/nq.pl?id=1248 ).

London's Guardian also published a stinging indictment of the Drug 
War, entitled [93]"Drugs: Stop the War." ( http://www.maps.org/sys/
nq.pl?id=1227)

Have drugs been wrongly demonised?
Nzherald.co.nz
March 14th 2007

Drug laws are driven by "moral panic" says a new study which concludes that most drugs have been wrongly "demonised". An independent study also recommended the setting up of "shooting galleries" where users can inject drugs safely.
The two year study by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, or RSA argued that "whether we like it or not, drugs are and will remain a fact of life", Full Comments....


‘Get Unhooked’
Spiked-online.com
March 13th 2007

After a two-year review of the drugs problem in the UK, a prestigious commission established by the UK Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) has come up with a ‘radical rethink’ aiming to influence the impending major government review of the National Drugs Strategy (1). Another current campaign against addiction – the ‘Get Unhooked’ TV and cinema adverts featuring smokers impaled on fish-hooks – reveals the prevailing contempt for those regarded as being in the grip of a chemical dependency that also pervades the RSA report (2).

The common theme is that the user of drugs (whether nicotine, heroin or alcohol) is an automaton, a being without intentions and unable to make choices, a physiological system that requires pharmacological correction. To pursue the official metaphor, the drug user is on a par with a fish, a level of vertebrate life so low that only the most fundamentalist of animal rights activists can be bothered to protest against fishing.

The ‘Get Unhooked’ adverts offer a powerful endorsement of the myths underlying both current drugs policy and the RSA’s radical rethink. These myths are exposed by Theodore Dalrymple, whose devastating critique of ‘pharmacological lies and the addiction bureaucracy’ is informed by the experience of working as a psychiatrist at a British prison.

The first myth is the notion that addiction is the result of an unfortunate accident: one minute the hapless victim is swimming happily in the pond of life and the next is impaled by the hook of the malign substance, More....

 

High 5 Lifestyle
Scotsman.com
March 11th 2007

3-year-old children have become the latest targets in Scotland's battle against illegal drugs. A controversial new scheme will see the anti-drugs message taken into state-funded nurseries for the first time.
West Dunbartonshire Council has already signed up for the £20,000 scheme in a move that puts it ahead of the Scottish Executive's drug education programme, which only starts when children go to school.
The scheme - High 5 Lifestyle - was written by Alistair Ramsay, the former head of Scotland Against Drugs, which was scrapped last year by the Executive. Ramsay, who advocates a zero tolerance approach to drug abuse, insists it will prove more effective than the government-backed system.
But politicians have raised concerns about High 5 Lifestyle, warning it might be damaging to introduce drug lessons to very young children, Full Concern...

Leftwing Greens Launch Pro-Cannabis Website
www.nisnews.nl
March 9th 2007

The Hague Leftwing Green (GroenLinks) politicians have started a website to promote cannabis. They want the drugs to be accessible to everybody. "Because smoking cannabis is pleasant".
Wietkaart.nl (cannabis map) is an initiative by GroenLinks politicians David Rietveld and Koen Martens. The site has a search tool that locates all of the Netherlands' 'coffee shops', as the tolerated Dutch cannabis bars are named.
The website is the antithesis of Wietvrij.nl (cannabis-free), which was set up by the Christian democrats (CDA). "The CDA website states that cannabis use may be linked to psychological complaints. There is insufficient scientific evidence to support this, however," as Rietveld stated yesterday.

Rietveld and Martens feel that the cultivation and use of cannabis should be legalised. The site states, "Smoking cannabis should simply be allowed. Always and everywhere. Because it is pleasant and in many respects better than alcohol, for example. Better for people's health and better for society".
As the site warns, "Some places do not offer the possibility of using cannabis. It is up to you to join us in charting these problem areas. Then we can urge councils to make sure coffee shops are within everybody's reach for once and for all".

No10 drug policy e-petitions: a total waste of time?
Transform-drugs
March 8th 2007

The Number 10 Downing Street web site’s experiment in participatory democracy - in the shape of the petition-the-Prime-Minister page - is now positively brimming with petitions on drug policy. As we shall see they range from the eminently sensible to the totally barking, from the eloquent to the really quite odd.

In an attempt to make it as participatory as possible it is incredibly easy to submit a petition. Too easy perhaps. A lot of the drug policy petitions read like entries on a chat site, clunky, ill thought out and full of typos, almost as if they were ranting responses to a newspaper column, which I suspect a lot of them are.

But even if they were all thoughtful and beautifully composed, and we got rid of the ranting and repetition, I still question the merits of the whole exercise. Hardly anyone is signing them – the highest one being for cannabis legalisation with 1400 odd signatures, most barely scraping into double figures. To put this in perspective the petition for Spandau Ballet’s ‘Gold’ to be the new national anthem has 5500 signatures. The road pricing petition got a million+ signatures with the help of an orchestrated tabloid campaign (somewhat distorting its relative value perhaps) and was ignored, although it did provide No.10 with a nice bunch of email addresses. You have to wonder whether, like 'the big conversation' or the current No10 forum with 60 'ordinary people' (er, patronising?) this is just another fruitless PR excercise,
Full Fruitless Excercise.....

'Australian eradication program nets more than 3500 cannabis plants'
March 4th 2007
NSW Police

 

Thousands of cannabis plants worth millions of dollars have been seized by the NSW Police Force under Strike Force Hutching, the 2006 / 2007 phase of the Cannabis Eradication Program. In the most recent raids last month, more than 3500 cannabis plants of varying sizes were seized from forest areas in the Mid North Coast and Manning Great Lakes local area commands.
The drugs, which have since been destroyed, have an estimated potential street value of almost $8 million. Two people have been charged with drug offences.
Drug Squad detectives work closely with local area commands, the Police Airwing and the Dog Unit to target cannabis plantations throughout NSW each year.

Since July 2006 they have raided more than 50 sites, seizing just under 6000 plants with an estimated potential street value of more than $10 million. The plantations are found on private land, in state forests and in national parks. Commander of the Drug Squad, Detective Superintendent Greig Newbery, said police would continue to target the cultivation of cannabis throughout NSW.

“The Cannabis Eradication Program has been running successfully for a number of years and plays an important role in reducing the availability of cannabis on the street,” Det Supt Newbery said. “We work closely with local area commands, whose intelligence-based investigations are integral to the success of this program, and are assisted greatly by information provided to us by the community.
“The NSW Police Force will continue to heavily target people involved in the cultivation and supply of cannabis throughout NSW within the full extent of the law.”

Other results from the 2006 / 2007 Cannabis Eradication Program include:
Richmond Local Area Command: A number of sites were targeted in November last year and resulted in the seizure of 1862 cannabis plants with an estimated potential street value of $1.89 million. Three men were charged with drug offences.

Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command: Police raided sites in late January and early February seizing more than 400 plants with an estimated potential street value of $736,000. But the NSW Police Force’s targeting of cannabis plantations is not limited just to the Cannabis Eradication Program.
On the 19 January 2007 a joint Drug Squad and Mid North Coast Local Area Command operation led to the seizure of more than 2000 plants with an estimated potential street value of $3.3 million.
Just two weeks later more than 2300 plants with an estimated potential street value of just under $5 million were seized near Cooma in a joint drug squad and Monaro Local Area Command operation. Three men were charged with drug offences and are currently before the courts.

 

'possessing 4.1 grams of cannabis'
Thepeninsulaqatar.com
March 4th 2007

DENPASAR, Indonesia • An Australian man has been arrested on a drugs charge on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, police said yesterday.
Dutch-born Australian Ian Pieter van Wieringen was arrested on Monday in Bali's capital Denpasar for possessing 4.1 grams of cannabis, police said. The 64-year-old is the latest Australian arrested in Indonesia on drugs charges. Six others have been sentenced to death for drug trafficking. They are members of the so-called "Bali Nine" gang convicted of smuggling heroin. The other three were given life sentences. Australian Schapelle Corby was convicted of trafficking marijuana into Bali and jailed for 20 years.

'Cancer of insurgency'
News.bbc.co.uk
March 6th 2007

The United Nations says it fears that Afghanistan may grow even more poppies in 2007 - at a time when current levels are already running at record output. Poppy production rose 25% in 2006, according to the US State Department. The UN says although production of poppies, used to make heroin, has fallen in the north and centre, a sharp rise is likely in the lawless south. It also cites a dramatic increase in cannabis growing, which it describes as a new and disturbing trend.
In a report published on Monday, the UN office on drugs and crime said it was clear that the increased production in the south was a security issue. More...

 

Sports officials debate removing marijuana from ban: CANADA.
Cbc.ca
March 6th 2007

Marijuana should be removed from the list of drugs banned in sport, one of Canada’s top drug testing officials said, because it is taking time and resources away from catching the real cheaters in sport.
Sports and government officials in Great Britain and the Netherlands recently called for changes in drug testing procedures, saying athletes who occasionally smoke marijuana and get caught shouldn’t face severe penalties.

For athletes to be punished, they have to show a level of marijuana in their systems that indicates regular use, or some attempt to get an edge, said Joseph de Pencier of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, the group that administers drug testing to athletes in Canada.
De Pencier acknowledged that sports leaders who make the rules internationally think differently about cannabis.

“I don’t think it’s a fight that Canada and some other countries are going to win about getting cannabis off the list altogether,” he said. “I think we’re just whistling in the wind on that one.”
Track and field is one sport that has had problems with some athletes secretly taking steroids and other drugs to get an edge. Joanne Mortimer, CEO of Athletics Canada for the sport, agreed testing for marijuana shouldn’t be a priority.
“Get out of the social drug scene,” said Mortimer. “Let’s stick on high performance drugs and not bother with [marijuana].”
Other reasons to maintain ban
Marijuana will remain banned for several reasons, agency officials with the World Anti-Doping Agency or WADA said.

They argue that in some sports, it can be performance enhancing to calm nerves before a competition. The drug is also unethical and illegal in most countries, and according to the agency’s research, it is harmful to an athlete’s health.
There is a debate over whether marijuana can be a performance enhancing drug, but athletes have to set an example, said Scott Burns, who represents the U.S. government at WADA.

But the current rules mean that some university athletes have trouble getting into graduate programs when they test positive for marijuana when they are recreational users, which de Pencier said is too high a penalty to pay for smoking an occasional joint.

.: The News from Drug Policy Central