Observing the world of cannabis
Ed Rosenthal case: Judge to decide validity
San Francisco - A federal judge has asked the United States attorney here to submit all trial preparation memorandums in the case against a leading advocate of medical marijuana so that the court can determine if the government has been pursuing a "vindictive prosecution." The judge, Charles R. Breyer, ordered the review at the request of lawyers for Ed Rosenthal, a spokesman in the effort to legalize marijuana who has been in a closely watched court battle with the government. The new charges, outlined in a federal grand jury indictment issued in October, accuse Mr. Rosenthal of 14 felonies, including conspiracy to grow and sell marijuana for medical use, laundering $1,850 and failing to report income from the sale of crop plants on his tax returns. The overall charges are nearly identical to a 2003 federal case
against Mr. Rosenthal, which ended with a one-day prison sentence after members of the jury disavowed the verdict, having learned belatedly that Mr. Rosenthal was growing marijuana under Proposition 215, the state's medical marijuana law.
The good news: Ed Rosenthal would face no more than a one-day jail sentence if convicted on the marijuana charges, per an agreement the prosecutor made with the court.
USA: Advocates of the medical use of cannabis sue the federal government. Based on the study results on smoked cannabis in HIV associated nerve pain Americans for Safe Access sued the federal government on 21 February over its claim that cannabis has no accepted medical benefits. The study conducted at the
University of California in San Francisco, which was published in February 2007 had demonstrated that the use of cannabis is beneficial in this condition. The lawsuit accuses the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of engaging in
"arbitrary and unlawful behavior" that prevents "sick and dying persons from seeking to obtain medicine that could provide them needed, and often lifesaving relief." The California-based advocacy group wants a judge to force the department and the Food and Drug Administration to stop giving out information that casts doubt on the efficacy of cannabis in treating various illnesses. "The FDA position on medical
cannabis is incorrect, dishonest and a flagrant violation of laws requiring the government to base policy on sound science," a spokesman of Americans for Safe Access said in a statement.
Denmark: The Danish government intends to tighten the penalties for cannabis possession. Minister of Justice Lene Espersen wants to double the fine even for the possession of minor amounts to 2.000 Kronen (269 Euros). If one gets busted a second time, the fine increases by 50% and by 100% for any other offense following.
Science - Parkinson's disease: According to research by scientists of Stanford University (USA) with animal models of Parkinson's disease the combined administration of a dopamine-2 receptor agonist and substance, which increases endocannabinoid concentrations, effectively reduce motor deficits of the disease. Researchers conclude that their findings "suggest approaches for the development of
therapeutic drugs for the treatment" of Parkinson's and similar diseases. (Source: Kreitzer AC, Malenka RC. Nature 2007;445(7128):643-7.)
Science: Smell perception influenced by cannabinoids. In animal research scientists of the University of Gottingen, Germany, found out that cells that are responsible for the perception of odours in the nose are influenced by cannabinoids. Blocking of CB1 receptors by cannabinoid receptor antagonists reduced the sensitivity to odours, while the treatment with cannabinoids increased sensitivity. Lead researcher Dr. Dirk
Czesnik said in a newspaper article that this makes sense. In case of hunger endocannabinoid levels are increased in the brain and hungry people do perceive odours more strongly. "The more cannabis acts, the stronger is the sensitivity to odours." (Source: Die Welt of 26 February 2007; Czesnik D, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007 Feb 14; [Electronic publication ahead of print])
"New finding: Cannabinoids influence smell perception"
The Greenish Warbler