NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR
THE REFORM OF MARIJUANA LAWS
1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036
TEL 202-483-5500 * FAX 202-483-0057
... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.
April 13, 1995
HUNDREDS PROTEST AGAINST DRUG ENFORCEMENT
ADMINISTRATION'S HARASSMENT OF SICK AND DYING AT SAN FRANCISCO
CANNABIS BUYERS CLUB
AGENTS FOLLOW AND VIDEO TAPE PATIENTS AS THEY LEAVE CLUB
PREPARING A BUST?
April 11 - Over 500 citizens demonstrated
peacefully in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco
against the harassment by DEA agents of patients leaving the
nations largest Cannabis Buyers Club. Agents of the Drug
Enforcement Administration conspicuously followed and video taped
persons leaving the Club. The Club was originally founded
to provide people with AIDS access to cannabis to overcome the
nausea and loss of appetite associated with the disease and the medications
given for it. The Club now openly provides cannabis to over
4,000 sick, dying, and disabled Americans with a wide range of
medical problems. Patients must bring letters from their doctors
saying that no legally available medications help them.
It is believed that the DEA's actions may be in preparation for shutting down the club, which operates in open defiance of the DEA's suppression of any use or study of cannabis for medical purposes. A hearing will be held later this month by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to determine if the city should declare a medical emergency to try to forestall any such action by the DEA. Nothing that the city could do would be legally binding on the DEA, but it is thought that the DEA might be inhibited by the fear of adverse publicity. So far the national media have largely failed to report on the persecution of those who use cannabis medically, but large scale demonstrations in San Francisco might draw unwanted attention to this policy. This is a risk that the DEA may have to take to maintain its reputation for utter ruthlessness and avoid clear proof of the need for medical cannabis.
When Richard Cowan, NORML's National Director, visited the club in February a staffer told him that one of the first things they have to do with their clients is help them get over their fear of their government. Even in liberal San Francisco, sick, dying, and disabled Americans have to live in fear of the Federal government. This harassment of people leaving the Club may also be intended to reinstall such a fear. The Club will be open on Good Friday. Will the DEA crucify the helpless?
[For further information contact Americans for Compassionate Use, Dennis Peron, at (415) 864-1961.]
MEANWHILE IN OKLAHOMA, PARAPLEGIC JIMMY MONTGOMERY IS HAND-CUFFED TO A PRISON BED; LIFE IN DANGER; DENIED PROPER MEDICAL TREATMENT; NO ACCESS TO SHOWER
April 13 - Lexington, OK, Jimmy Montgomery, a
paraplegic who was featured on a recent ABC News Special about
the excesses and failures of the Drug War, spends his days
handcuffed to a prison bed in Oklahoma without adequate medical
treatment for the anti-biotic resistant infections in his lower
body. He is no longer in a cell with 40 other prisoners,
but he has no access to a shower, even though the prison in which
he is confined received Federal funds two years ago for building
such a facility for the disabled.
Friends believe that Montgomery, who is serving 10 years for less than 2 ounces of marijuana, may die within days if he is not moved to University Hospital in Oklahoma City. There he could be properly treated and could be visited by his mother who is unable to visit him in prison. What a mockery it would be if he died over Easter weekend while politicians, bureaucrats and prison guards celebrate their "salvation." Jesus wept.
[For more information contact Mike Pearson at Oklahoma NORML at (405) 840-HEMP or Governor Frank Keating at (405) 521-2342.]
Representative Solomon Introduces A Bill To Deny Tax-Exempt Status to Organizations "Which Promote The Legalization Of Certain Drugs."
April 6 - Representative Gerald B. H. Solomon,
(R. NY) chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee has
introduced a bill (H.R. 1453) to deny tax-exempt status to
organizations such as NORML and the Cato Institute, the widely
respected libertarian think tank, that "advocate the legalization
of certain drugs." Previously, Rep. Solomon has also
introduced legislation to prohibit the expenditure of government
funds to study alternatives to drug prohibition.
Representative Solomon's fear of truth is well founded. He
certainly must know that any such study would result in a
condemnation of marijuana prohibition, as have all other large
scale studies conducted over the last hundred years. Last
year on the floor of Congress Mr. Solomon called NORML
"wacky but dangerous."
[U.S. Rep. Gerald B.H. Solomon can reached for comment at (202) 225-5614.]
U.S. Sentencing Commission Accepts NORML's Recommendations To Reform Federal Sentencing Guidelines For Marijuana
April 10 - Washington, D.C. -- The U.S.
Sentencing Commission announced it's approval of a proposed
amendment (#37) to federal sentencing guidelines pertaining to
the government's assigned weight of marijuana produced per plant.
Since the late 1980's, the federal guidelines for domestically grown marijuana offenses have not been based on the actual weight of the plants, but rather on an arbitrarily assigned weight equivalent. Under the current guidelines, 49 plants or fewer are considered to weigh 100 grams each, but 50 or more plants are considered to weigh 1,000 grams each.
The Commission was persuaded by representatives from NORML, The Drug Policy Foundation, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and the Cato Institute who testified that present guidelines have created a "sentencing cliff" in which persons convicted of cultivating 50 plants must be incarcerated up to four times longer than an individual convicted of cultivating 49 plants.
Further, a change in the guidelines helps to rectify the "home cultivation/bulk possession" discrepancy. For example: an individual convicted of cultivating marijuana must serve the same five year sentence as someone who possessed 99 kilograms (218 pounds) of 'packaged' marijuana, despite the fact that the plants would have produced less than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of usable marijuana.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted 7-0 to
approve a 100 gram per plant ratio for all plants, regardless
of the number involved. Unless Congress intervenes, the
Sentencing Commission's recommendations will become law on
November 1, 1995.
NORML salutes the tireless efforts of FAMM for its great work on this issue!
[For further information on the U.S. Sentencing Commission's recommendations please contact the commission at (202) 273-4590 or Julie Stewart of Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) at (202)457-5790.]
Iowa Senate Removes Mandatory Minimum Sentences For Drug Offenders
April 12 - The Des Moines Register
reported that the Iowa Senate "in an effort to clear out prison
space for the most serious criminals [passed a bill] that would
waive the mandatory minimum sentence now on the books for drug
offenders if they didn't use a firearm or commit an assault in
connection with the crime."
Iowa NORML state coordinator Carl Olsen believes the governor will sign the bill into law.
[For more information on this recent development, contact Iowa NORML, Carl Olsen, at (515) 288-5798 or firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Orwell Watch: FDA Clears The Way For Patch Testing In U.S.
April 12 - PRNewswire reports that STC
Diagnostics has announced that the USDA Panel for Clinical
Chemistry and Toxicology has recommended clearance of STC
Diagnostics' enzyme immunoassay test kits for use with the
PharmChek Sweat Patch collection device.
The patch, which will be marketed to the parole, probation, and rehabilitation markets, acts as a collection device for sweat and allows for continuous monitoring of "substance abuse" over a seven-day period. [emphasis added -ed.]. It is not immediately clear whether these patches will be used in employment testing.
ALMOST 10 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965 ... ANOTHER EVERY 90 SECONDS!