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NORML WPR 5/30/02 (NLC)

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  • houstonnorml
    Today s topics: * Prenatal Marijuana Use Not Associated With Neurobehavioral Deficits, Study Finds * Ninth Circuit Recognizes Religious Use of Marijuana *
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2002
      Today's topics:

      * Prenatal Marijuana Use Not Associated With Neurobehavioral
      Deficits,
      Study Finds

      * Ninth Circuit Recognizes Religious Use of Marijuana

      * London Street Crime Halved After Pot Decriminalization

      May 30, 2002

      -Prenatal Marijuana Use Not Associated With Neurobehavioral Deficits,
      Study Finds-

      Detroit, MI: Prenatal exposure to marijuana is not associated with
      lower
      birth-size or cognitive deficits in newborns, according to findings
      published this month in Pediatrics.
      Researchers reported no adverse effects associated with prenatal pot
      exposure in infants assessed at 6.5, 12 and 13 months on a battery of
      neurobehavioral tests, including analyses of mental development,
      reaction
      time, complexity of play and information processing.

      Prenatal exposure to cannabis also failed to negatively impact birth
      size
      or gestational age, the study found. By comparison, researchers
      reported
      that prenatal exposure to alcohol (approximately seven drinks per
      week)
      was associated with poor cognitive performance, and prenatal exposure
      to
      cocaine was associated with smaller birth-size.

      "By contrast to the effects of alcohol, our findings and those of
      other
      studies have consistently failed to indicate growth or
      neurobehavioral
      deficits in relation to prenatal marijuana use," the authors
      concluded.

      Previous studies regarding marijuana use and pregnancy have yielded
      similar results. Writing in the book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana
      Facts:
      A
      Review of the Scientific Evidence, NORML Foundation Chair Dr. John P.
      Morgan notes, "Studies of newborns, infants, and children show no
      consistent physical, developmental, or cognitive deficits related to
      prenatal marijuana exposure."

      He concludes, "While it is sensible to advise women to abstain from
      all
      drugs during pregnancy, the weight of current scientific evidence
      suggests that marijuana does not directly harm the human fetus."

      For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul
      Armentano
      of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of the
      Pediatrics
      report are available online at:
      http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/abstract/109/5/815.



      -Ninth Circuit Recognizes Religious Use of Marijuana-

      Honolulu, HI: A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of
      Appeals
      ruled this week to limit federal prosecutions of Rastafarians who use
      marijuana for sacramental purposes on federal property or in U.S.
      territories. The judges determined that protections granted by a
      1993
      federal religious-freedom law permits the personal use and possession
      of
      marijuana - but not the sale or importation of marijuana - for
      religious
      purposes.

      Attorney Graham Boyd of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
      Drug
      Litigation Project, who argued the case, disputes that distinction.
      "It's the equivalent to saying wine is a necessary sacrament for some
      Christians but you have to grow your own grapes," he said. He
      intends
      to
      seek a review by the full appellate court, sitting en banc.

      The case arose from Benny Toves Guerrero's criminal prosecution in
      Guam
      for the alleged importation of five ounces of marijuana and ten grams
      of
      marijuana seeds. Guerrero asked the trial court to dismiss the
      indictment, claiming that the criminal statutes violated his right to
      freely exercise his religion under the Organic Act of Guam and under
      the
      federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

      The trial court agreed, as did the Guam Supreme Court. The Ninth
      Circuit
      reviewed the Guam Supreme Court's finding that the federal
      territory's
      controlled substance statute substantially burdened Guerrero's right
      to
      freely exercise his religion.

      The decision applies to federal lands in nine western states and
      American
      territories.
      For more information, please contact Donna Shea, NORML Foundation
      Legal
      Director, at (202) 483-8751.


      -London Street Crime Halved After Pot Decriminalization-

      London, United Kingdom: The number of robberies and muggings in
      southern
      London have fallen nearly 50 percent since police in the borough
      began
      verbally cautioning minor marijuana offenders instead of arresting
      them.
      Law enforcement officials implemented the cannabis "warning" policy
      last
      fall in order to free up police resources to focus on more serious
      crimes.

      Lambeth police reported 468 robberies and muggings in April, compared
      with 916 last October, the BBC reported Wednesday. In addition, the
      BBC
      reported that robberies are down in the Lambeth borough by 18 percent
      so
      far this year - the highest percentage street crime reduction in
      England.

      In recent months, British regulators, police, and politicians have
      come
      out in favor of reclassifying marijuana so that its possession is no
      longer an arrestable offense. That policy change is expected to take
      place in July.

      For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul
      Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

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

      REMINDER: NORML Foundation To Discontinue Hard Copies Of Weekly Fax,
      Will
      Be Converting To All Electronic Format Starting July 1st

      The NORML Foundation will be converting its weekly media release to
      an
      all electronic format starting on July 1, 2002. AFTER THAT DATE, THE
      NORML FOUNDATION WILL BE RELYING ON E-MAIL FOR DISTRIBUTION OF ITS
      THURSDAY PRESS RELEASES.

      All future releases will continue to be posted on Thursday afternoons
      on
      the NORML/NORML Foundation website (http://www.norml.org), and will
      be
      distributed electronically via NORML's free weekly e-zine.

      Those media outlets that currently receive The NORML Foundation's
      weekly
      releases via fax and would like to continue are asked to please
      contact
      NORML's media coordinator Nicholas Thimmesch at:
      normlmedia@....

      Other NORML supporters, activists and e-mail-friendly media are
      advised
      to please go to the NORML/NORML Foundation homepage and enter your
      e-mail
      address to sign up for our free e-zine.

      -end-
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