2005: The Year In Review - - NORML's Top Ten Events That Shaped Marijuana Policy
December 29, 2005 - Washington, DC, USA
#1: Supreme Court Rules Feds Can Arrest State-Recognized Medi-Pot Patients
The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in June that the Justice Department has the authority to prosecute state-authorized medicinal cannabis patients for violating the federal Controlled Substances Act, reversing a prior Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determination that that the federal prosecution of patients who cultivate and possess marijuana for their own medicinal use is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause authority.
Weeks later, the US House of Representatives voted 264 to 161 against an amendment that sought to bar the US Department of Justice from targeting patients who use marijuana medicinally in accordance with the laws of their states. Since the vote, an estimated two-dozen medical cannabis dispensaries throughout California have been subject to raids by federal law enforcement.
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#2: Gallup: Public Support For Marijuana Legalization At All-Time High
The percentage of Americans favoring the legalization of cannabis has risen more than 33 percent since 1995 and now stands at its all-time highest level of public support, according to polling data published in November by Gallup.
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#3: Marijuana Arrests For Year 2004 Most Ever
Police arrested an estimated 771,608 persons for marijuana violations in 2004, the highest annual total ever recorded in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The total is more than twice the number of Americans arrested for pot violations in 1993 and equates to an arrest every 41 seconds.
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#4: Cannabinoids Promote Neurogenesis In The Brain, Study Says
The administration of synthetic cannabinoids promotes the proliferation of newborn neurons (nerve cells) in the rat brain, according to preclinical trial data published in October in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Cannabinoids appear to be the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased hippocampal newborn neurons is positively correlated with its anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects," authors concluded.
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#5: Denver Votes To Abolish Pot Penalties
Denver voters approved a citywide measure in November that eliminates all civil and criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by citizens age 21 and older. Municipal initiative proposals legalizing the use of medical cannabis also successfully passed in 2005 in Ferndale and Traverse City, Michigan.
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#6: First-Ever Medical Cannabis Spray Now Available In Canada
Canadian pharmacies in June began carrying Sativex, an oral spray consisting of natural cannabis extracts, for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Canada is the first nation in the world to grant regulatory approval for the cannabis-derived medicine, which remains pending in Britain and Europe.
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#7: Congress Requests Model Statute To Penalize "Drugged Driving"
Legislation approved by Congress and signed by the President in August for the first time contains language regarding the enforcement of "drug-impaired driving." The provision mandates the Transportation Secretary to submit a report to Congress in order to develop a model statute for states relating to drug-impaired driving, including "threshold levels of impairment for illicit drugs" and "penalties for drug impaired driving."
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#8: Legal Proceedings Begin Challenging NIDA's Monopoly OF US Pot Supply
Administrative hearings took place this fall challenging US restrictions on the availability of cannabis for clinical research. Legal counsel for the respondents maintain that the establishment of an alternative, non-government source for research-grade cannabis is in the public interest because it would encourage competition in the marketplace and promote technological and scientific advancement in the field of medicine.
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#9: THC Selectively Inhibits Tumor Growth Better Than Synthetic Alternative
Researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute reported in August that the administration of THC on human glioblastoma multiforme (brain tumor) cell lines selectively targeted and decreased the proliferation of malignant cells more rapidly than did the administration of a synthetic cannabis receptor agonist. Previous studies have also shown cannabinoids to halt the progression of lung carcinoma, leukemia, skin carcinoma, colectoral cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
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#10: Liberalizing Cannabis Laws Enables Police To Focus Efforts On More Serious Crimes, Study Says
Depenalizing minor marijuana possession offenses will not increase marijuana use and will enable law enforcement to reallocate criminal justice resources toward addressing more serious crimes, according to a report released in October by the JFA Institute and commissioned by the NORML Foundation. Unlike previous analyses of decriminalization, the report did not conclude that liberalizing cannabis laws will necessarily lead to a substantial reduction in criminal justice costs because "the vast majority of criminal justice costs are 'fixed' or 'static' and do not vary appreciably by the volume of activities, tasks or incidents undertaken by [law enforcement] agencies." It concluded, "The major benefit of decriminalization, in addition to eliminating the needless arrest, prosecution, and court disposition of over 700,000 people each year, would be the ability of the criminal justice system to focus on more important public safety activities."
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Im happy with the way 2005 went, but definately looking forward to 2006!