Autumn 1996 Vol. 06, No. 4 An Invitation for Dialogue
MAPS is truly a partnership between roughly 1,000 members who donate an average of about $60 each and the 17 donors who contributed $1,000 or more. MAPS’ single largest donation for research was $25,000 to the FDA-approved Phase 1 ibogaine safety study. MAPS invested a total of $44,172 in FY 95-96 in support of a variety of medical marijuana projects. The cost of the newsletter is an area in which the comments of MAPS members would be most appreciated.
The most important accomplishment was the conclusion of Dr. Grob’s Phase 1 MDMA safety study, which successfully laid the groundwork for future studies into the therapeutic potential of MDMA. This accomplishment alone made the entire year a great success.
This past fiscal year, which ran from June 1, 1995 to May 31, 1996, was MAPS’ tenth and most successful ever in terms of both fund-raising and membership. I believe that at least part of this increasing success can be attributed to MAPS’ accountability, as evidenced by the detailed disclosure of our income and expenditures in an explanatory article printed annually in the MAPS newsletter. With this information, MAPS members can determine how their money is being spent and can judge for themselves whether the pattern of expenditures satisfies their criteria for the productive use of their charitable donations.
Another reason for the growth in donations to MAPS is our willingness to devote 100% of a donation to a specific purpose if the donor so desires, without subtracting any percentage for operating expenses. For MAPS to be able to offer this option, a sufficient number of MAPS members must be willing to make unrestricted donations that can be used for operating expenses. The policy of encouraging restricted gifts is thus dependent upon the determination of hundreds of individual members that the overall spending priorities of MAPS are consistent with their vision for this organization.
This discussion of the income and expenditures for FY 95-96 is thus an invitation to dialogue about the projects MAPS supports, the expenditures that MAPS incurs, and the range of alternative projects that MAPS could support but has not. Both Sylvia and I welcome all communication concerning this Annual Report and will respond to it in whatever detail is requested.
MAPS’ total cash income in FY 95-96 was $190,330. In addition, MAPS received a gift in December 1995 of $10,000 in Sun Microsystems stock. This stock was sold in FY 96-97 for $13,603, shortly before the stock price fell significantly. Annual income in FY 95-96 is substantially larger than the FY 94-95 income of $107,184 and the FY 93-94 income of $106,650.
In-kind support also grew in FY 95-96. MAPS received the benefit of donated time from several psychedelic and marijuana researchers who devoted many unpaid hours in trying to obtain permission for and/or conduct their research. MAPS also received a donation of time from the inspired graphic designer who has created the look of the newsletter and several advertisements, from the administrator of the MAPS World Wide Web page, and from dedicated volunteers who helped stuff envelopes for the newsletter mailings and assist with office tasks. Furthermore, the MAPS office is much more attractive as a result of the donation from Tom Mayers of a stunning Huichol yarn painting.
The single largest source of income in FY 95-96 ($63,203) came from disbursements from Eric Bass’s estate. Eric’s generosity was the key factor in this year’s growth in income and MAPS’ consequent increased ability to fund a wide array of projects. Eric’s gift has enhanced the capacity of MAPS to act as a catalyst for psychedelic and marijuana research. Eric’s faith in MAPS is a continued source of inspiration. Several large contributions from an anonymous donor totaling $25,000 were restricted for medical marijuana projects. Of this sum, $15,000 went for a public opinion survey in Alaska, $8,000 went for a public opinion survey in Washington State, and $2,000 supported a protest at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) National Conference on Marijuana Use. The protest objected to NIDA’s refusal to supply marijuana to Dr. Donald Abrams’ MAPS-supported FDA-approved medical marijuana research project.
Yet another anonymous donor contributed $15,250 to MAPS to support psychedelic research. This donation will be divided between research projects primarily involving ketamine, LSD and MDMA. A MAPS member in the computer industry donated $10,000 worth of stock in Sun Microsystems.
MAPS also received a donation of $7,400 from the Drug Policy Foundation specifically for the Cannabis Patient Registry and a donation of $4,000 for the ibogaine research project from a person in the Seattle music business who has seen first-hand the devastating consequences of heroin addiction. The Lindesmith Center donated $2,000 for the NIDA National Conference on Marijuana Use protest and the Drug Policy Foundation contributed an additional $1,000 to support Dr. Donald Abrams’ efforts to apply to the National Institutes of Health for a grant to conduct research into the use of marijuana to treat the AIDS wasting syndrome. Nicholas Saunders donated $1,650 and High Times magazine donated $1,100 for the MDMA analysis project. Four donors sent in unrestricted gifts, respectively, of $3,000, $2,500, $2,000, $1,500 and four donors sent in $1,000 each. Donations of $1,000 or more amounted to a total of $143, 203, or about 71% of the total income of MAPS in FY 95-96. A small number of donors to MAPS, in this case 17, accounted for the bulk of the income. Donations from about 1,000 people brought in the remaining 29% of income. MAPS has about 75 Patron members, 125 Supporting members and 800 General members.
The crucial point to be made is that without the large number of smaller donations from roughly 1,000 members, MAPS would not be in a position to permit the few larger donors to restrict the entire amount of their donations to the particular projects of their choice. MAPS is truly a partnership between roughly 1,000 members who donate an average of about $60 each and the 17 donors who contributed $1,000 or more.
Total expenditures in FY 95-96 climbed to $185,797 as compared to $133,153 in FY 94-95 and $83,052 in FY 93-94. The expenditures have been divided into four basic categories; research, education, staff, and office. MAPS allocated $84,169 to research, $46,142 to education, $48,490 to staff, and $6,993 to office expenditures. Each category of expenditure is explained in detail below.
MAPS invested $84,169 in FY 95-96 in support of a variety of research projects involving MDMA, ibogaine, psilocybin, LSD and marijuana. This compares favorably to FY 94-95 when MAPS invested $48,680 in research and to FY 93-94 when MAPS invested just $10,930 in research. As these numbers indicate, MAPS’ increased income was devoted primarily toward increasing the amount of funds distributed for research.
MAPS’ single largest donation for research was $25,000 to the FDA- approved Phase 1 ibogaine safety study of Deborah Mash, Ph.D. and Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, University of Miami School of Medicine (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.18). The donation from MAPS was used to study the administration of very low doses of ibogaine to six subjects. The results of the research with these subjects were included as pilot data in a grant application from Drs. Mash and Sanchez-Ramos to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for the additional sums (in excess of $500,000) required to complete the ibogaine safety study.
The $25,000 donation from MAPS for ibogaine research was a calculated gamble. Though the preliminary pilot data derived as a result of the donation from MAPS increased the likelihood that the larger NIDA grant would be funded, it was possible that the ibogaine research project would not be completed due to lack of funds and the data gathered would have no practical impact. The donation from MAPS was made in the hope that ibogaine research would not prematurely run out of money before any studies would have been conducted into the therapeutic potential of ibogaine in the treatment of heroin and cocaine addiction.
Unfortunately, in August 1996, NIDA’s peer-review committee rejected the grant application from Drs. Mash and Sanchez-Ramos. As a result, ibogaine research in humans in the United States has been halted until some other source of funding can be found. This state of affairs is a sad example of the misguided priorities of the War on Drugs. The federal contribution to the War on Drugs is in excess of $13 billion dollars. Despite such enormous expenditures, federal funds are not available for research into a promising treatment for heroin and cocaine addiction. Even though ibogaine research has been prematurely halted, hopefully only temporarily, MAPS’ $25,000 donation was still worth making. What has been demonstrated is that MAPS and the community of supporters it represents are willing to support research into the beneficial uses of psychedelics in the treatment of substance abuse. With its limited resources, MAPS has made a good faith effort to respond to the need to develop new and more effective treatments for substance abuse. Perhaps the federal government will one day do the same.
MAPS invested a total of $12,056 in MDMA research in FY 95-96 as compared to $18,000 in FY 94-95 and $7,741 in FY 93-94.
FY 95-96 was a transitional year for MDMA research. The FDA-approved Phase 1 safety study of Dr. Charles Grob, Harbor-UCLA, came to a conclusion and preparations began in earnest for the initiation of Dr. Grob’s Phase 2 study into the use of MDMA in the treatment of pain and distress in end-stage cancer patients (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.6). MAPS invested only $6,578 in Dr. Grob’s Phase 1 study in FY 95-96, as compared to $15,606 in FY 94-95. The funds in FY 95-96 were used to complete the MDMA pharmacokinetics portion of the project. No additional sums were required and the project was successfully completed.
MAPS began a new relationship in FY 95-96 with Dr. Karl Jansen, a British scientist involved in conducting MDMA research (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.7). For the first time, MAPS supported MDMA research in England by donating $1,946 in FY 95-96 to cover some of the costs of Dr. JansenÕs study of the effects in humans of the self-administration of high doses of MDMA over a prolonged period of time. This study compares MDMA users to controls and does not involve the direct administration of MDMA. Dr. Jansen would like to conduct additional research using MRI technology and the direct administration of MDMA once he completes his current study. MAPS has pledged to assist Dr. Jansen with some of the costs of his next study if he can obtain the necessary permissions.
MDMA Analysis Project
MAPS spent $3,530 to analyze 33 samples of MDMA from around the United States, England and South Africa (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.11). This project was supported in part by Nicholas Saunders, author of Ecstasy: Dance, Trance and Transformation, and by High Times magazine. This study demonstrated that about half of the tablets from the United States that were tested contained no MDMA at all while all of the capsules did contain MDMA. The average dose of the samples in the United States that did contain MDMA was 79 mg., while the average dose of the samples from England that did contain MDMA was 128 mg. None of the impurities identified were toxic.
MAPS spent $2,941 in FY 95-96 on a long-term follow-up study to Dr. Timothy Leary’s classic Concord Prison experiment conducted from 1961- 63 when Dr. Leary was still teaching at Harvard. Dr. Leary’s original experiment sought to test the hypothesis that psilocybin could catalyze profound psychological/spiritual experiences in prisoners that would result in positive personality changes and a reduced recidivism rate. The follow-up study was conducted by Rick Doblin and Dr. Michael Forcier (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 2, p.12 and MAPS Vol. IV, no. 4, p.20, 22). An article about this follow-up study appears in the High Times Special Tribute to Timothy Leary that is included as an insert in this mailing of the MAPS newsletter. The basic finding of the follow-up study was that the original hypothesis was not confirmed. Dr. Leary himself noted early on that the psilocybin experience was just a catalyst and that the prisoners needed post-release aftercare programs to sustain any improvements in attitudes, personality and behavior.
MAPS devoted $2,000 in FY 95-96 to assist Richard Yensen, Ph.D. and Donna Dryer, M.D. in the development of their FDA-approved protocol to study the use of LSD in the treatment of patients with substance abuse (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.23). The LSD protocol is now fully approved. Research will almost certainly begin sometime in 1997.
MAPS invested a total of $44,172 in FY 95-96 in support of a variety of medical marijuana projects. Regrettably, the primary expenditure missing from this list is MAPS’ top priority – funding for the costs of an actual FDA-approved scientific study of the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome. This study is still being blocked by the Clinton Administration for misguided political reasons.
The projects supported by MAPS include:
- presentations in support of medical marijuana research at Federal advisory committees
- an organized protest at a NIDA National Conference on Marijuana Use
- the redesign of the research protocol to investigate the use of marijuana in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome
- public opinion surveys in Alaska and Washington State
- a pilot study evaluating the records of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyer’s Club
- the creation of the Cannabis Patient Registry
- the completion of the MAPS/ California NORML study of the effectiveness of water pipes and vaporizers in filtering marijuana smoke.
Protests and Advisory Committees
MAPS spent $6,891 on the effort to convince NIDA that it should provide marijuana for Dr. Donald Abrams’ FDA-approved research into the use of marijuana to treat patients suffering from the AIDS wasting syndrome (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.67). These funds were spent on an organized protest at NIDA’s National Conference on Marijuana Use and on a collaboration with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to present information from physicians and patients at the meetings of NIDA’s National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse. These efforts were unsuccessful in that NIDA continues to refuse to provide marijuana to Dr. Abrams’ study.
As a result of the protest, however, NIDA Director Dr. Alan Leshner arranged to meet with representatives of MAPS, MPP, and medical marijuana patients and advocates. At this meeting, Dr. Leshner suggested that NIDA might provide marijuana to a study if it were reviewed and approved by the appropriate peer-review committee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This new policy was created specifically to delay or prevent Dr. Abrams’ study since NIDA has previously donated marijuana to FDA-approved projects that did not go through the NIH peer-review process. Left ambiguous was whether NIDA would provide marijuana to a study that was approved but not granted funding. Though it was extremely unlikely that NIH would actually fund a study into the therapeutic use of marijuana, MAPS invested $5,000 to support the work of Dr. Donald Abrams and the staff of the San Francisco Community Consortium in the effort to revise their marijuana/AIDS wasting syndrome protocol and submit a grant proposal to NIH. The new protocol and grant proposal represented a great deal of work from one of the world’s leading teams of AIDS researchers. Unfortunately, we learned on August 7, 1996 that the grant application was completely rejected by the peer-review committee of NIH. A letter explaining the reasons for the rejection will be delivered in late September or early October. A decision regarding the preparation of another grant application will be made after review of the letter.
Four years ago, MAPS began to collaborate with Dr. Donald Abrams in an attempt to resolve a portion of the medical marijuana controversy by conducting FDA-approved research in AIDS patients. With the latest rejection by NIH of Dr. Abrams’ grant application, the earliest that research could start seems to be at least a year away, even assuming that a revised grant application would eventually be accepted. Something is terribly wrong when medical research is blocked by the Federal government and patients who seek access to necessary medications risk arrest and prison. MAPS will continue to struggle for medical marijuana research, despite the obstacles.
Public Opinion Surveys
MAPS’ largest marijuana-related expenditures were $15,950 for a scientific survey of the attitudes of the people of the State of Alaska toward marijuana and $8,250 for a similar survey of the attitudes of the people of Washington State (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.68).
The Alaska survey determined that 87% (65% strongly, 22% somewhat) of the Alaskan voters favored making marijuana legally available to people with chronic illness if it were prescribed by a doctor. Just 10% (5% strongly, 5% somewhat) of the people were opposed to this and 3% were undecided. Regarding the legalization of marijuana for non-medical purposes, only 40% (22% definitely for, 18% probably for) of the people in Alaska supported the legal use of marijuana in the privacy of oneÕs own home.
The Washington State poll demonstrated that 75% (52% strongly, 23% somewhat) of the voters in Washington State favored making marijuana legally available if it were prescribed by a doctor. Only 21% (15% strongly, 6% somewhat) were opposed and 4% had no opinion. With respect to the legalization of marijuana for non-medical purposes, only 27% agreed that the use and possession of small amounts should be decriminalized in the privacy of oneÕs own home, 62% disagreed and 11% had no opinion.
In Alaska, more than half of the supporters of the medical use of marijuana are against the legalization of its non-medical use, even when restricted to use in the home. In Washington State, roughly two-thirds of the supporters of the medical use of marijuana are opposed to legalizing its non-medical use, even in the privacy of one’s own home. These findings demonstrate that it is not at all true, as often stated by opponents of the medical use of marijuana, that support for the medical use of marijuana comes primarily from people who want to legalize marijuana for non- medical purposes. Rather, most people are compassionate towards the suffering of others and are thoughtful enough to separate the issue of the medical use of marijuana from the issue of the legalization of marijuana for non-medical purposes.
Water Pipe/Vaporizer study
MAPS spent $682 to complete the study of the effectiveness of water pipes and vaporizers in filtering marijuana smoke (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 3, p.59). In the previous year (FY 94-95), MAPS spent $17, 827 on this project.
Cannabis Patient Registry
MAPS allocated $5,078 to the Cannabis Patient Registry (CPR). The CPR is a project conceived and directed by Sylvia Thyssen, MAPS Networks Coordinator (see MAPS Vol. VI, no. 2, p.10). The goal of the CPR is to create a database containing detailed information from as many patients who use marijuana for medical purposes as we can reach. This database will be useful for scientific purposes and will also help promote networking between patients.
Analysis of Patient Records at the San Francisco CBC
MAPS spent $320 on preliminary expenses involved in conducting a pilot study of the patients who used the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club to obtain marijuana for their medical needs. The pilot study showed that roughly 90% of the patients with an identified diagnosis used marijuana for the treatment of AIDS-related symptoms. A larger, more comprehensive study was temporarily halted by the August 4, 1996 raid on the Buyers Club ordered by California State Attorney General Dan Lungren.
MAPS spent $46,114 on educational activities in FY 95-96, as compared to $35,212 in FY 94-95 and $37,260 in FY 93-94. These activities include the printing and mailing of the MAPS newsletter, copies, phones, postage, subscriptions, books and tapes, advertisements, and membership drive mailings. Also included are two projects, the Internet psychedelic bibliography and the psychedelic track at the May 1996 International Transpersonal Association (ITA) conference in Manaus, Brazil.
Internet Psychedelic Bibliography
The Internet psychedelic bibliography is a shared project of MAPS, the Heffter Research Institute and the Albert Hofmann Foundation. This project, to which MAPS allocated $1,695 in FY 95-96, is under the direction of Eric Katt. Eric is developing the web site and gathering references to permit anyone with access to the Internet to search and retrieve for free a gradually increasing number of references to psychedelic-related scientific research published in peer-reviewed journals.
MAPS sponsored many of the costs associated with the psychedelic track at the 1996 International Transpersonal Association (ITA) Conference, chaired by Dr. Stanislav Grof. MAPS allocated $4,989 to the ITA conference costs in FY 95-96. This conference permitted the psychedelic researchers from around the world to gather together for the exchange of research results, decisions of protocol design, and personal discussions about the present status and future developments in the field. Such conferences are especially crucial for scientific fields in which researchers are few, isolated and dealing with extremely complicated and controversial issues. This conference also created the opportunity for people interested in psychedelic research to learn what is going on in the field directly from the researchers. MAPS offers the informative audio tape of the psychedelic research panel at the ITA conference as a benefit to renewing Supporting and Patron members and also for sale to others at a cost of $10.
The primary reason for the increase in educational expenditures is the cost of printing the newsletter, envelopes and copies which was $21,803 in FY 95-96 compared to $13,729 in FY 94-95 and $14,261 in FY 93-94. The newsletter has been getting larger, more copies of each issue have been printed and more photocopied inserts have been included in each mailing.
The cost of the newsletter is an area in which the comments of MAPS members would be most appreciated. The MAPS newsletter has undergone such a process of expansion that small issues are now around 20 pages and the largest issue ever was 76 pages with a color cover. The MAPS newsletter serves an educational function both for MAPS members and for the roughly 500 people who receive the newsletter on a complimentary/review basis. These 500 people include government officials in the United States and abroad, members of print, radio, TV and film media, scientists, drug policy experts, and representatives of anti- drug groups. In addition, an increasing number of issues (now also about 500) are sent to magazine distributors for retail sales at book stores and magazine outlets around the country and Canada.
The newsletter represents a great deal of effort on the part of the MAPS staff and the volunteer graphic designer. In view of the substantial and increasing costs of the newsletter, we would appreciate hearing from members concerning their preferences for the size and distribution plan for the newsletter.
The expenditures on phones and Internet connection declined by 33% in FY 95-96 to $6105 from $9076 in FY 94-95 as a result of a negotiated reduction in phone rates.
Expenditures for staff were $48,490 in FY 95-96 as compared to $42,199 in FY 94-95 and $27,373 in FY 93-94. This sum includes staff salaries, taxes and insurance, professional fees (legal and accounting), staff travel and conference fees.
MAPS has two full-time paid staff, Rick Doblin, President, and Sylvia Thyssen, Networks Coordinator. The total spent on staff salaries, taxes and insurance amounted to $39,258 in FY 95-96 as compared to $31,282 in FY 94-95 and $20,227 in FY 93-94, when Sylvia Thyssen worked part-time during much of the year. Rick Doblin earned a salary of $1,500 a month in FY 95-96, increased from $1,000 in FY 94-95. Sylvia earned $400 a week plus health care benefits for FY 95-96, up from $1,440 per month in FY 93-94. These salaries are well under market value for jobs in the private sector with similar responsibilities as well as for comparable jobs in the non-profit sector. The satisfaction and challenge of working for MAPS, however, is a privilege for which the staff are deeply grateful.
Expenditures on office-related items were $6,993 in FY 95-96 compared to $7,060 in FY 94-95 and $7,487 in FY 93-94. These amounts include rent, supplies, computer equipment and repair, licenses, and bank and credit card fees.
Income to MAPS for FY 95-96 amounted to $190,330 (not including $10,000 of Sun Microsystems stock) while expenses were $185,797. MAPS held a bank balance of $34,367 at the close of FY 95-96. Of this balance, $20,741.62 was in unrestricted funds and $13,625.47 in restricted funds, $12,126.47 restricted to MDMA research and $1,499 restricted to LSD research.
FY 95-96 was the best ever for MAPS in financial terms. In terms of MAPS’ goals, however, the year was decidedly mixed. The most important accomplishment was the conclusion of Dr. Grob’s Phase 1 MDMA safety study, which successfully laid the groundwork for future studies into the therapeutic potential of MDMA. This accomplishment alone made the entire year a great success.
A very disappointing setback was the continued suppression of Dr. Abrams’ FDA-approved study into the use of marijuana in the treatment of the AIDS wasting syndrome. MAPS has now been trying for over four years without success to sponsor research into the medical use of marijuana. It seems that progress in the medical marijuana issue is dependent not on science but rather on politics. MAPS will particularly be watching the fate at the ballot box of California Proposition 215, which would legalize the right of patients or their primary caregivers to grow marijuana for medical purposes with the recommendation of a physician.
Also disappointing was NIDA’s shortsighted decision not to fund Phase 1 human studies with ibogaine, even though the data from several million dollars worth of NIDA-funded animal studies suggested to many independent scientists that ibogaine might indeed have anti-addiction potential at acceptable levels of risk.
Despite the disappointments, and actually because of them, the need for an organization like MAPS is clear. MAPS will thrive to the extent that it can continue to weave together the support of a large number of small donors, a small number of large donors, the efforts of several committed physicians and researchers who invest their time in psychedelic and marijuana research, and the courageous actions of some government regulators who are willing to place science and human needs over the excesses of the War on Drugs.
If it is time for you to renew your annual MAPS membership, please consider doing so. If it isn’t yet time, please consider a larger donation, or ask a friend to consider becoming a new member. With cooperative effort, next year might be even better than this one.