President/CEO: Lynda L. Bentall

Lynda Bentall
Experts estimate that 10 to 25% of all teenagers and 20 to 50% of all adults have a weight problem. It is known that obesity brings many health hazards with it, including heart attacks, strokes and diabetes with all of its complications.

"There's not a qualified physician that would say an AIDS patient or a cancer patient should smoke marijuana."

Organizations that have endorsed medical access to cannabis include: the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians; American Bar Association; American Public Health Association; American Society of Addiction Medicine; AIDS Action Council; British Medical Association; California Academy of Family Physicians; California Legislative Council for Older Americans; California Medical Association; California Nurses Association; California Pharmacists Association; California Society of Addiction Medicine; California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church; Colorado Nurses Association; Consumer Reports Magazine; Kaiser Permanente; Lymphoma Foundation of America; Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network; National Association of Attorneys General; National Association of People with AIDS; National Nurses Society on Addictions; New Mexico Nurses Association; New York State Nurses Association; New England Journal of Medicine; and Virginia Nurses Association.

"The point is, marijuana is an intoxicant and some people like it. This is the biggest scam that has ever been brought to Canada."

"Health Canada's decision to legitimize the medicinal use of marijuana is a step in the right direction. But a bolder stride is needed. The possession of small quantities for personal use should be decriminalized."

-- CMAJ 2001;164(10):1397

"There's not one bit of evidence that smoking marijuana is good medicine."

... there has been a tidal wave of published research demonstrating marijuana's medical usefulness. Indeed, it is stated in the research studies conducted by various states under FDA protocol that the research being conducted was in the final phase of approval by the FDA. When the U.S. federal government stopped research on the medical use of marijuana in 1992 the drug had nearly completed the requirements for new drug approval.

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's assertion in his Scripps-Howard News Service column that "No clinical evidence demonstrates that smoked marijuana is good medicine" is inconsistent with the facts. Whether this is an intentional deception, as part of the federal government's stated public relations offensive against medical marijuana, or whether it is based on ignorance does not matter. The reality is General McCaffrey's statements are not consistent with the facts.

The research reprinted in this compilation includes randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled studies, research using a variety of objective and subjective measurements and a range of research protocols. Doctors have a sound basis on which to recommend marijuana for use by their patients.

Indeed, physicians are well aware of the medical value of marijuana. One study, a scientific survey of oncologists found that almost one half (48 percent) of the cancer specialists responding would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were legal. In fact, over 44 percent reported having recommended the illegal use of marijuana for the control of nausea and vomiting.

-- Research Findings on Medicinal Properties of Marijuana, Kevin B. Zeese, Esq.

"Every leading expert around the world comes to the same conclusion. It's not that we have chosen people for a viewpoint."

This is not a conference that intends to explore all sides of the question. The advocates of harm reduction, medical marijuana and permissive drug laws have been heard; they will have to find another forum, and we make no apology for their exclusion.

-- IDEAS Conference Registration Form

"They all end up being against liberalization. All educated people on the topic end up being conservative."

Among those favouring legalization of marijuana were 63 per cent of British Columbians, 54 per cent of Quebeckers, 51 per cent of Ontarians and 56 per cent of those under 35.

Those who remain opposed to marijuana number 55 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 53 per cent on the Prairies.

Education appears to be one of the significant indicators of attitude. Of those with less than highschool education, 51 per cent are opposed to the legalization of marijuana. But 55 per cent of university graduates are in favour.

-- Possession Of Pot No Crime, Poll Told, Globe and Mail, November 1997

TO OUTSIDERS, it will seem shockingly narrow-minded. At a conference on drug abuse last year, sponsored by the US government's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, a speaker was shouted down and told to "Shut the fuck up". Her crime? Simply saying that government anti-drugs funds should go only to programmes based on methods that have been shown to work, and for suggesting that a popular scheme called Girl Talk wasn't one of them. Only the conservative media thought the incident worth mentioning: the woman who had been silenced was a noted conservative.

Maia Szalavitz, New Scientist (UK), Feb 2, 2002

Canadians overwhelmingly support the medicinal use of marijuana, according to a new national survey.

In a survey of 2,026 people, conducted last month by Decima Research Inc., 78% of those polled said they support the federal government's plan to consider the use of marijuana as a possible treatment for various medicinal conditions. The survey is considered accurate within 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About 33% of those polled strongly support the medicinal use of marijuana while, 45% said they support its use. Just 10% are opposed, while 8% are strongly opposed; 4% had no point of view.

Support for marijuana's medicinal use was strongest among those who are university educated and with household incomes of more than $60,000 annually.

-- Canadians Favour The Use Of Medical Marijuana, National Post, April 1999

Tory Senator Pierre Claude Nolin ( De Salaberry, Que. ) has spent years studying Canada's drug laws and was the driving force behind both the current Senate committee and its predecessor. He spearheaded the creation of the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs as a direct result of evidence that he saw while on the committee studying C-8 in 1996, the bill to amend the Narcotics Act and other Criminal Code provisions related to drugs.

He denies that the committee witness list is biased in favour of the pro-liberalization forces, but notes that it's just not that easy to find serious researchers who support the status quo.

"We're trying to be balanced, but it is very difficult to find researchers, scholars, people who are really studying the problem who will come to the conclusion that we should maintain the status quo. We know that there are some people who do, most in the United States and some in Geneva, and we will hear from them," said Sen. Nolin, adding that the committee is trying to organize hearings outside of Ottawa this fall, where he plans to hear from witnesses who have 'anecdotal evidence.'

Said Sen. Nolin: "But there is a difference between those types of witnesses, and I have imposed on me, and the committee, a very rigorous approach."

Sen. Nolin isn't shy about indicating his own leanings on the subject - - as well as his uncertainty about how the government should proceed in changing the current legal morass surrounding drug use.

"My opinion is that prohibition doesn't work, but what is the solution? I don't know. Because it doesn't seem to work, I want to hear the real scientific and knowledge-based testimony to make sure that we can have a more intelligent policy."

-- Senator Nolin Says Parliament Can't Ignore Gap In Public Opinion, Ottawa Hill Times, June 2001

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