MAPS Members, Supporters & Friends,
This August, things are — excuse the corny summer pun — heating up here at MAPS.
Rep. John Olver (D-MA) has extended the deadline one final time to September 7 for MAPS’ Congressional Sign-On Letter campaign urging the DEA to end its obstruction of medical marijuana drug development research. The letter urges DEA to grant Professor Lyle Craker a Schedule I license for his proposed MAPS-sponsored medical marijuana production facility at UMass-Amherst, as recommended by DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner.
Has your Congressional Representative signed on? Find out and contact your Representative today.
Another positive development in MAPS’ campaign to build support for Prof. Craker is that several major religious denominations — including United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Union for Reform Judaism, and Presbyterian Church (USA), — sent letters last month to DEA in support of Prof. Craker’s application, thanks to some great collaborative work by our allies at the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative (IDPI).
If you value MAPS’ unique and persistent approach to psychedelic and marijuana research and reform, please consider supporting MAPS by making a tax-deductible gift today at the MAPS Web Store.
Let’s get to the news:
1. Religious Denominations Write to DEA in Support of MAPS-Sponsored Marijuana Production Facility, Congressional Lobbying Continues
A broad coalition of religious denominations sent letters last month to DEA Administrator Karen Tandy urging her agency to grant a Schedule I license to Professor Lyle Craker for his proposed MAPS-sponsored production facility. The denominations include the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and Union for Reform Judaism. Special thanks to our allies at the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative for their help in obtaining these letters of support, as part of their mission to mobilize religious groups in support of alternatives to the War on Drugs. For a full list of organizations that have written to DEA in support of MAPS and Prof. Craker, click here.
MAPS is also continuing to raise awareness and political leverage by lobbying to add signatures to Reps. John Olver’s (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) Congressional Sign-On Letter to DEA, urging the agency to grant Prof. Craker a Schedule I license. As those of you who have been following this case know, Prof. Craker’s case is the focal point of the struggle to bring marijuana before the FDA, to determine once and for all whether it meets federal standards for medical safety and efficacy.
The deadline for the Congressional Sign-On Letter has been extended to September 7. Thirty-five Reps. have signed this letter, but there are a lot more that will if they hear from their constituents. If you havent contacted your Congressional Representative yet, your voice is needed! Here’s how to help.
2. MAPS Laying Foundation for Future Growth
On July 23-24, management consultants from The Management Center, a nonprofit that helps progressive advocacy organizations get results in pursuit of their missions, worked intensively with the MAPS staff at the MAPS office in Ben Lomond, CA. The Management Center is funded by philanthropist Peter Lewis to provide professional management assistance to the organizations to which he contributes.
Building on previous meetings with MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, and Program Director Valerie Mojeiko, the consultants met with each member of the MAPS staff to review our responsibilities and help us organize key priorities for the next six-month period. The MAPS staff developed an organizational ‘Success Sheet’ that thoroughly outlines specific goals for the remainder of 2007 that must be met for MAPS’ goals to remain on track. Each staff member also completed an individual ‘Success Sheet’ detailing our responsibilities and roles in ensuring that MAPS meets its organizational goals. On July 24, the management consultants joined MAPS’ annual Board of Directors meeting (see next item).
3. MAPS FY 2007-08 Budget Approved at Board of Directors Meeting
On July 24, MAPS held its annual Board of Directors meeting. During the meeting, Shawn Hailey was formally elected as the fourth member of the board, and Rick Doblin was re-elected for a two-year term as President. Much of the four-hour meeting was spent discussing the ambitious budget that MAPS has developed for FY 2007-08, which has considerably more detailed project and fundraising projections than ever before in MAPS’ history. In order for MAPS to reach its fundraising and research goals, well have to facilitate an expanded networking and teamwork process that will involve many of MAPS current members.
4. MAPS Providing Technical Support for Israeli Medical Marijuana Production Facility
MAPS is currently involved as a consultant for a small, legal medical marijuana production facility in Israel. The facility, directed by an Israeli medical marijuana advocate, has been authorized by the Israeli Ministry of Health to provide marijuana to over 50 patients formally approved by the Ministry. MAPS is working to provide technical assistance to create an organic, hydroponic, standardized production facility, which will start small and give marijuana away for the next several months. Once a successful track record has been established, the Ministry will determine whether to permit the facility to produce medical marijuana on a commercial basis.
Thanks to a $10,000 donation to MAPS for the Israeli production facility project, MAPS in bringing Canadian medical marijuana researcher and activist Philippe Lucas, founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, to Israel in the second week in August. Mr. Lucas is currently a Center for Addictions Research of British Columbia graduate research fellow at the University of Victoria, and is currently involved in a number of research projects related to medical cannabis access and use. Rick Doblin will also be in Israel at that time to consult on this project during the site visit, in addition to working with MAPS’ MDMA/PTSD team (see next item).
5. New Therapist Team for Israeli MDMA/PTSD Study
While in Israel, Doblin will also be working with the Israeli MDMA/PTSD research team at Beer Yaakhov Mental Health Center near Tel Aviv. This study has full government approval and will be led by Principal Investigator Moshe Kotler, MD, former chief psychiatrist of the Israeli Defense Forces. Dr. Kotler has selected a new team of co-therapists who will be trained by Dr. Michael and Annie Mithoefer, RN, prior to the initiation of the study. The team that Dr. Kotler previously selected didnt feel comfortable delivering the standardized therapeutic method that MAPS has developed for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy studies, in part due to the lack of any legal way for us to administer MDMA to the therapists to enhance their understanding of how it works. To learn more about the MAPS-sponsored study in Israel evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with war- and terrorism-related PTSD, the protocol is posted on the MAPS Web site.
6. Ongoing Swiss MDMA/PTSD Study Applies for Changes to Protocol: More MDMA!
Dr. Peter Oehen’s MAPS-sponsored study evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects suffering from chronic post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has treated three out of 12 subjects. Dr. Oehen and MAPS will be submitting a new application to Swissmedic this month to make two adjustments to the protocol. The first request is to add two MDMA-assisted therapy sessions for non-responders. The second request, also for non-responders, is to be able to increase the dosage to 150 mg. and the supplemental dose to 75 mg, with dose subject to the clinical judgement of the therapists and consent of the subjects.
7. Dr. Mithoefer’s MDMA/PTSD Study Nears Completion; Therapist Training Program Protocol in the Works
Michael Mithoefer, MD, and Annie Mithoefer, RN, have now treated seventeen out of twenty subjects in their MAPS-sponsored study evaluating MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for subjects with chronic PTSD. An eighteenth subject has been successfully enrolled, and there are 2 US military veterans with war-related PTSD who are currently going through the screening process for the last two spots.
Michael, Annie, and the MAPS staff have also been working on protocol development for a therapist training program that will allow therapists to undergo MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as part of their training. The protocol will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in about two months. For more on this project, see the article by MAPS Research Associate Ilsa Jerome, PhD, in the Spring/Summer 2007 MAPS Bulletin:
8. MAPS President Rick Doblin Interviewed on “Of Consuming Interest”
MAPS President Rick Doblin, PhD, gave an extensive interview primarily about MAPS’ medical marijuana research agenda on the Progressive Radio Network’s “Of Consuming Interest.” Click here to listen.
9. Art Fundraiser to Support MAPS Harm Reduction Project at Burning Man
The artist St. Even, who donated art to both the 2006 and 2007 MAPS wall calendars, is selling a limited edition set of prints with 50% of the proceeds going to support MAPS’ harm reduction work at Burning Man’s “Sanctuary.” Later this month, for the fifth year in a row, MAPS will assist and coordinate in providing mental health services at Burning Man’s “Sanctuary,” a project led by the Black Rock City Rangers to provide a safe space for people who are undergoing emotional or psychological crises or who need non-medical assistance. MAPS volunteers lend their support and are trained to work with visitors undergoing psychedelic emergencies.
MAPS has also been raising funds for research by selling original Pablo Amaringo paintings. Last week, we raised nearly $6,000 for research with the sale of Amaringo’s “Machaco-Runa: Hombre Serpiente.” There is still one breathtaking Amaringo painting remaining.
10. Join MAPS at the 2007 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in New Orleans this December
This December 5-8, MAPS will be joining hundreds of other drug policy reformers in New Orleans for the biennial International Drug Policy Reform conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Myself (Director of Communications Jag Davies) and Director of Development Troy Dayton will be attending the conference to present MAPS’ work. DPA is the leading organization in the US working to end the War on Drugs and envision new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights. We are grateful to have DPA as an ally in the struggle to create rational alternatives to prohibition-based policy.
To get a sense of the conference, check out my review of the 2005 conference in the Spring 2006 MAPS Bulletin.
11. Website and Registration Now Available for 2008 World Psychedelic Forum
Along with Gaia Media, MAPS will be co-sponsoring the World Psychedelic Forum, which will be held in Basel, Switzerland from March 21-23, 2008. Gaia Media is the organization that put together the Spirit of Basel symposium in honor of Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday in January, 2006. For more information and to register, please visit psychedelic.info.
12. Women’s Visionary Congress Builds Support for Women Pursuing Drug Policy Reform and Psychedelic Research
From July 27-29, along with the Sybil Society MAPS co-hosted the Women’s Visionary Congress, a gathering of women activists, healers, researchers, and artists who are working to re-define the use of psychedelics in contemporary society. Transcripts and audio recordings will be posted online at the conference Website in the coming months. On behalf of the entire MAPS staff, thank you to all the individuals whose efforts ensured the Visionary Congress’s success.
13. Rest In Peace: Peter Stafford
On July 20, Peter Stafford (1939-2007) died in his home in Santa Cruz, California, where he lived for the past 43 years. Peter is author of Psychedelics Encyclopedia and co-authored LSD: The Problem-Solving Psychedelic (also published as LSD in Action) with Bonnie Golightly. Peter will be missed by the psychedelic community and by the many people whose lives he touched. A memorial is being planned for the weekend of August 25 in Santa Cruz.
With the support of a small base of dedicated individuals, MAPS has been able to position itself at the center of the conflict between scientific exploration and the politically-driven War on Drugs.
The future is in our hands. Throw your weight behind MAPS’ work today.
Thank you for your support.
Jag Davies, MAPS Director of Communications