NORML WPR 5/30/02 (NLC)
- Today's topics:
* Prenatal Marijuana Use Not Associated With Neurobehavioral
* 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,
Detroit, MI: Prenatal exposure to marijuana is not associated with
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,
time, complexity of play and information processing.
Prenatal exposure to cannabis also failed to negatively impact birth
or gestational age, the study found. By comparison, researchers
that prenatal exposure to alcohol (approximately seven drinks per
was associated with poor cognitive performance, and prenatal exposure
cocaine was associated with smaller birth-size.
"By contrast to the effects of alcohol, our findings and those of
studies have consistently failed to indicate growth or
deficits in relation to prenatal marijuana use," the authors
Previous studies regarding marijuana use and pregnancy have yielded
similar results. Writing in the book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana
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
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
of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of the
report are available online at:
-Ninth Circuit Recognizes Religious Use of Marijuana-
Honolulu, HI: A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of
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
federal religious-freedom law permits the personal use and possession
marijuana - but not the sale or importation of marijuana - for
Attorney Graham Boyd of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
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
seek a review by the full appellate court, sitting en banc.
The case arose from Benny Toves Guerrero's criminal prosecution in
for the alleged importation of five ounces of marijuana and ten grams
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
federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The trial court agreed, as did the Guam Supreme Court. The Ninth
reviewed the Guam Supreme Court's finding that the federal
controlled substance statute substantially burdened Guerrero's right
freely exercise his religion.
The decision applies to federal lands in nine western states and
For more information, please contact Donna Shea, NORML Foundation
Director, at (202) 483-8751.
-London Street Crime Halved After Pot Decriminalization-
London, United Kingdom: The number of robberies and muggings in
London have fallen nearly 50 percent since police in the borough
verbally cautioning minor marijuana offenders instead of arresting
Law enforcement officials implemented the cannabis "warning" policy
fall in order to free up police resources to focus on more serious
Lambeth police reported 468 robberies and muggings in April, compared
with 916 last October, the BBC reported Wednesday. In addition, the
reported that robberies are down in the Lambeth borough by 18 percent
far this year - the highest percentage street crime reduction in
In recent months, British regulators, police, and politicians have
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.
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