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Legal Marijuana Cigarettes Made in RTP

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DURHAM — With California and Arizona voting earlier this month to allow the legal medical use of marijuana, there is aspotlight on the practice, but it's nothing new. In fact, marijuanacigarettes have been manufactured at the Research Triangle Institute(pictured at right) inResearch Triangle Park for ten years.

Those who receive the legal joints, eight people in the United States,all have serious illnesses. Their symptoms, they say, are lessened by thedrugs effects. They are able to use the otherwise illegal substancebecause of the Federal government's "Compassionate Use" program. IrvinRosenfeld, 44, receives a tin containing 300 rolled cigarettes each monthat taxpayers' expense.

The Federal marijuana program began in the 1970's and was discontinuedin 1992. Rosenfeld and the seven other Americans who still receive thedrug are exceptions.

The marijuana is grown at the University of Mississippi, flown toRTI where it's rolled, packed into tins and stored. From there, it isdispatched to the eight people across the country on a monthly basis.

Rosenfeld has been in the program for 14 years and says the marijuanaenables him to make it through each day.

"Compassionate Use" is administered by the Food and DrugAdministration, but must be overseen by the Drug Enforcement Agency andthe National Institute on Drug Abuse. The overall operation coststaxpayers $200,00 a year

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