Medical Marijuana … Symbolic Victories

Winter 1991/92 Vol. 03, No. 1 The Rekindling of a Thousand Points of Light

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The last MAPS newsletter reported on the scientific findings and astonishing publicity received by the publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology of a study conducted by MAPS President and then Harvard Kennedy School of Government student Rick Doblin and faculty member Mark Kleiman. The study, reported in the New York Times, on NBC National News, and elsewhere, found widespread support among oncologists for the medical use of marijuana to reduce nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. Though the DEA still opposes the medical use of marijuana and the FDA says it does not have enough data to support claims of marijuana’s safety and efficacy, there have been some new symbolic victories.

On October 30, 1991, a symbolic bill in favor of the medical use of marijuana was endorsed 7-1 by the Cambridge City Council. On November 6th, 1991, Dale Gieringer, Coordinator, California NORML reports that, “San Francisco voters overwhelmingly endorsed Proposition P, supporting legalized prescription use of medical marijuana. Final returns showed Proposition P with 79.5% yes votes, more than any other ballot proposition including one affirming the city’s support for the First Amendment. Proposition P received the endorsement of all of the city’s newspapers, as well as the Democratic Central Committee and the leading mayoral candidates. It was opposed by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Republican Party. Proposition P puts the city of record as favoring legalized medical use of marijuana on prescription, but does not alter current state or federal restrictions.”

In San Francisco, de facto legalization of home-grown marijuana by patients in medical treatment may result. Nationally, a non-profit like MAPS needs to be organized to work with the FDA.