DRUG WAR BRIEFS: After the Elections

November 5- Reuters reports: Alcohol and violence pose more of an immediate health hazard than drugs for young adults who enjoy clubbing, researchers said on Tuesday.

Drugs such as Ecstasy, speed, cocaine and heroin are a serious problem in clubs, but assaults fueled by alcohol are the main reason clubbers seek hospital treatment.

"There is a perception that clubbing is all about drugs and wild debauchery, certainly the latter. It is still primarily about drink," said Dr. Chris Luke of Cork University Hospital in southern Ireland.

Despite the glamour, high tech atmosphere and designer drugs, the emergency room specialist said clubbing is really an old-fashioned activity with lots of alcohol and everything that goes with it. "The problems that require hospital attention are the ones that result from alcohol-fueled violence and pure alcohol intoxication compounded by drugs," he told Reuters.

"For every drug problem (treated in hospital) there are five or 10 alcohol problems," he added. November 5- Ontario, Canada?s Recorder & Times reports: Ontario's top cop says a teenager caught with a joint shouldn't get a criminal record, says his chief spokesman.

Bob Runciman, Ontario's minister of public safety and security, is supporting a growing call to decriminalize marijuana possession, says Jamie Wallace, a ministry communications officer.

Decriminalization would mean someone caught with a small amount of marijuana would be ticketed and fined rather than be saddled with a criminal record.

November 6- France Wire reports: The city of San Francisco may soon begin cultivating their own lush crop of world-renowned California marijuana. Voters here have enthusiastically supported a ballot measure directing their city officials to consider growing and distributing medical cannabis.

Proposition S, which passed by 63%, could make San Francisco the first city in US to provide cannabis for sick people. It will also put the city, and the state of California, on a direct collision course with the federal government.

"We think it sends the wrong message to the country as a whole that the city of San Francisco will get into the business of growing marijuana," said Richard Meyer, a special agent in the DEA's San Francisco field office. Meyer argues that no scientific study supports the medical use of marijuana and insists that the US Congress makes laws for all of the US.

"The US Congress has not rescheduled marijuana which remains a Schedule 1 substance with no acceptable medical use and a high potential for abuse," said Meyer. "We will uphold these laws."

Activists point to a report by the Institute of Medicine, commissioned by the White House in 1999, which presents scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of medical cannabis. Since 1996, voters in eight other states have passed similar laws supporting the rights of patients to use medical cannabis.

November 5- The UK Guardian reports: Shares in GW Pharmaceuticals, the company pioneering research into cannabis-based medicines, soared 17.5% to 151p yesterday as it prepared to announce positive trial results this morning.

The Salisbury-based business will say tests on treatments for patients with multiple scelorosis (MS) have been successful and it plans to apply for early approval to make products available to patients.

GW has been developing for three years a range of products based on cannabis extracts that can be taken orally via a spray under the tongue.

The latest results are the first from seven, phase three, clinical trials being undertaken on 600 patients but they pave the way for the development of what could become a UKP250m per annum market.

Hundreds of MS sufferers are believed to be using cannabis illegally amid widespread anecdotal evidence that it relieves pain associated with the condition.

November 6- Las Vegas Sun reports: An effort to make Nevada the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana possession failed when Question 9 went down to defeat in Tuesday's general election.

Question 9 was defeated by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent.

The proposed amendment to Nevada's constitution would have legalized possession of up to 3 ounces of marijuana for adults in the privacy of their homes. It would have directed the state to grow the marijuana or have it cultivated under contract, and would have provided for its sale in stores licensed by the state.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson at kcnelson@premier1.net.

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