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IACM-Bulletin of March 19, 2000


On 11 March the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) was founded in Cologne. It is a scientific society initiated by members of the Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), an organisation in the German speech area. It is the aim of the society to encourage conditions, that allow or facilitate ill persons to use cannabis products therapeutically, through promotion of research, distribution of information, formulation of statements etc.

The articles of the IACM fix the following principles:


##Membership is divided into ordinary and extraordinary members.

##Ordinary members may be:


##persons with completed study of medicine and pharmacy,

##cannabis and cannabinoid researcher with another completed university study,

##other persons with a special knowledge on cannabis/cannabinoids,

##medical and pharmaceutical students,

##medical institutions and organizations.


##Ordinary members elect the board of directors consisting of up to seven members and determine the guidelines of the society.

##Extraordinary members elect a patient representation of up to two members. The patient representatives may participate with equal rights in the meetings of the board of directors.

##Members of one nation or several nations may create a regional/national section. They may elect their own representatives and choose their own regulations. In regional sections all members may have equal rights and determine the guidelines of the work, as is the case with the ACM in the German speech area. The board of directors has a power of veto against decisions of regional sections.


In den Vorstand der IACM wurden gewählt:


##Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen (Germany)

##Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl (Germany)

##Dr. Kurt Blaas (Austria)

##Dr. Ulrike Hagenbach (Switzerland)

##Dr. Martin Schnelle (Germany)


The foundation of the IACM is based on suggestions of scientists from non-German countries to expand the ACM to an international scientific society. The transformation of the ACM into a scientific society was regarded as problematical by the general meeting of the ACM in October 1999 and March 2000, thus requiring the foundation of a new society. The foundation of a scientific society was welcomed in a statement by the general meeting of the ACM. The IACM was not founded in competition to existing international or non-German regional organisations.

Germany — Experts discussion on cannabis as medicine

On 16 March an experts discussion on legal aspects of the medical use of cannabis and THC (dronabinol) took place in Berlin on invitation of the Working Group Health of the parliamentary parties of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens, the two governmental parties.

Among the participants were (alphabetically):


##Christa Nickels (Drugs Commissioner of the Government, Greens)

##Dr. Albert (Federal Association of the German Federations of Druggists)

##Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen (nova-Institute Cologne, ACM)

##Dr. Hansjoerg Schaefer (Drug Policy Spokesman of the SPD)

##Dr. Horst Moeller (Federal Ministry of Health, narcotics department)

##Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl (University of Hanover, ACM)

##Dr. Lander ('Bundesinstitut fuer Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte', a subordinate board of the Ministry of Health)

##Dr. Martin Schnelle (European Institute for Oncological and Immunological Research Berlin, ACM)

##Gudrun Schaich-Walch (Health Policy Spokeswoman of the SPD)

##Monika Knoche (Health Policy Spokeswoman of the Greens)

##Professor Felix Herzog (Faculty of Law, Humboldt University of Berlin)

##Professor Lorenz Boellinger (Faculty of Law, University of Bremen)


Some excerpts from statements:

Representatives of both governmental parties made it clear, that they take serious the topic of cannabis as medicine and want to contribute to practical solutions.

A representative of the Federal Health Ministry announced a facilitation of the availability of dronabinol (THC).

The development of standardized cannabis formulas was announced for the year 2001.

An employee of the Federal Health Ministry pointed out, that the law on narcotics could easily be changed in analogy to the regulation of a "small amount", so that a medicinal use would be a reason to renounce criminal procedures.

Some participants said, that cannabis was not scheduled correctly in the German law on narcotics since it had therapeutic potential.

A representative of the 'Bundesinstitut fuer Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte' said that in contrast to the view of the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) there was no possibility for her board to grant exemptions to individual patients for the medical use of cannabis.

News in brief


Following the decision of the 'Nationalrat' the second parliamentary House, the 'Staenderat' has as well supported the legalization of cannabis. The members of parliament approved two proposals, that will delete cannabis from the law on narcotics. The trade shall be under state control. The government in Bern is working on a revision of the law. The final decision will probably be made in 2001. (Source: dpa of 7 March 2000)


A preclinical study showed that dexanabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid, can suppress the pathological features of multiple sclerosis. The study showed significant reductions in the functional and pathological brain defects in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the most widely used animal model of multiple sclerosis. These findings were recently published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology. Dexanabinol is devoid of the psychotropic side effects of some natural cannabinoids and has been shown to be safe in 50 individuals and in a Phase II trial of severe traumatic brain injury. (Source: PR Newswire of 6 March 2000)


On 7 March the Senate and House of Hawaii passed bills permitting medicinal use of marijuana. Preliminary approvals came with a one-vote margin in the state Senate and a two-thirds majority vote in the House. The Senate bill on marijuana would allow persons with a life-threatening or debilitating illness such cancer, AIDS or glaucoma to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. (Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin of 8 March 2000)


A man suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has been cleared of drugs charges after he argued he needed cannabis to combat the disease's symptoms, a British court said on 17 March. A spokesman for the MS Society of Great Britain said: "We have always said we don't believe that people with MS should be criminalized for using the drug for their own relief." (Source: Reuters of 17 March 2000)


A bill before the Legislature of Maine would have the state distribute confiscated marijuana plants to people who are allowed to use it for medical reasons. The law is meant to help people who have trouble getting marijuana to help treat their medical conditions, a practice that Maine voters approved in November 1999. But even the bill's sponsor doubts it will pass, as long as marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law. (Source: AP of 14 March 2000)