NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE REFORM OF
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.
October 4, 1995
Prohibition Establishment Attacks NORML
& Capricorn Records
For The Debut Of The Long-Awaited HEMPILATION Release
September 26, Nashville, TN & Washington,
D.C.: Last week marked the first time ever that a major
recording label has released a benefit compilation of popular
musicians that will benefit the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Available in music stores around
the nation, Capricorn Records' HEMPILATION contains major music
recording stars: Blues Traveler, The Black Crowes, Cypress Hill,
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Gov.'t Mule and twelve other
"We want people to think about freedom," explains Allen St. Pierre of NORML. "This is why the CD's subtitle is 'Freedom is NORML'. Participating artists view HEMPILATION as a permanent, musical means of expressing their joint concerns about the unfair restriction on Americans' civil liberties posed by long standing government anti-marijuana efforts and a public statement of their support for NORML.
On September 29, the Associated Press (AP) reported that extremist anti-marijuana groups have already vowed to protest HEMPILATION'S release. Devout prohibitionist Joseph Califano, head of the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, told AP, "Why anyone would want to take something that's dangerous and damaging and encourage children to use it is beyond me." NORML's Allen St. Pierre responds: "I wish that Mr. Califano would stop misrepresenting NORML's mission statement. For 25 years NORML has never advocated that anyone, especially children, should use marijuana. NORML advocates that adults should not face criminal or civil penalties for the use and possession of marijuana in their homes. If Mr. Califano is truly concerned about the welfare of today's children and 'pro-drug' messages in our society, I strongly suggest that Mr. Califano should begin by loudly advocating the prohibition of the semi-pornographic beer commercials that litter professional and collegiate sporting events aired on television. It's clear that alcohol and tobacco are, by any measure, the two drugs that Mr. Califano and his group should be focusing on."
Other prohibition groups such as the Atlanta-based Parents Resources and Information on Drug Education (PRIDE) and the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council have indicated that they would like to force this music off the market in a way similar to their attempts to ban explicit rap music.
For more information about the HEMPILATION release, please contact NORML's Allen St. Pierre @ (202) 483-5500.
Freedom Of Speech Is Affirmed In Canada
NORML Canada Wins Significant Court Case
September 28, King City, Ontario: A
three-year legal struggle to allow citizens of Canada to have the
freedom to purchase and read literature that describes or depicts
"illicit drug use" has been won by Umberto Iorfida of
Canada NORML. In a letter to Iorfida's attorney, The
Attorney General (Ministry of Justice) indicates that the
Canadian government has decided not to appeal the decision handed
down on October 4, 1994 by the then Ontario Supreme Court [now
called the Ontario Court of Justice, General Division].
That decision removed from the Criminal Code offensive language
that made "literature" such as: NORML publications,
High Times magazine, HEMP BC catalogs, Jack Herer's "The
Emperor Wears No Clothes" and a myriad of other popular
published works illegal in Canada.
Madame Justice Ellen McDonald determined the inclusion of "literature" in the Criminal Code to be inconsistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms [The equivalent to the United States' Bill of Rights--ed.] and unjustifiable in a free and democratic society.
With this case finally put to rest, Iorfida and NORML Canada are now going to focus all of their attention on defeating Bill C-7. This legislation seeks to enhance the criminal penalties in marijuana-related cases.
For more information on NORML Canada's victory or information about how individuals (Canadians and Americans!) can contact and help NORML Canada's efforts to change the laws governing cannabis, please contact Umberto Iorfida @ (905) 833-3167 (p) / (905) 833-3682 (f).
News Bulletin: CNN "Special
The State Of Cannabis Prohibition In The United States And In Europe
CNN Producer Ted Rubenstein and his Associate
Producer, Scott Brownstein, have traversed the country and oceans examining
the pros and cons of cannabis policies in the United States and Europe
(especially The Netherlands where cannabis is defacto legal and
"The one hour special is expected to be one of the most comprehensive reports on marijuana in TV broadcast history. The documentary should add greatly to the current public discourse on ending cannabis prohibition," said Allen St. Pierre of NORML. Items which will be covered in the news documentary include:
-->Medical marijuanaCNN Special Reports airs Sunday, October 8. 9:00 PM (Eastern).
-->The U.S. criminal justice system and cannabis prohibition
-->Cannabis black market and trafficking, with special attention on the increase in domestic cannabis cultivation
-->Possible physical or mental side effects from cannabis use
-->Law reform efforts
September 20, Columbia, MO: The
State of Missouri recently purchased 800 pounds of hemp,
otherwise known as marijuana through the Missouri affiliate of
NORML. The hemp is in the form of four 200 pound bales
which are being used as part of an exhibit at the Visitors'
Center of the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site. The
bales were made to the specifications of the Historic Site.
The Battle of Lexington (also known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales) took place in September of 1861. Approximately 3000 federal soldiers from Chicago looted the bank and created a makeshift earthwork fort. Twenty thousand Missouri volunteers engaged the federal troops. A three day siege of the fort led to a stand-off until the Missourians had the idea of using the recently harvested hemp bales as a moving defense.
With water soaked hemp bales (to prevent the fire red hot grapeshot from burning the hemp bales), the Missourians, firing over the hemp bales, rolled them forward toward the fort and carried the day, defeating the federal troops.
Missouri NORML Coordinator Dan Viets, said, "NORML is proud to be of service to The State of Missouri in this regard and pleased to be able to contribute to a greater understanding of the history of the hemp plant and its incredible potential as an agricultural resource for the State of Missouri today."
For more information about "The Battle of the Hemp Bales," please contact Dan Viets, Esq., MO NORML @ (314) 874-2244. For information on Hemp, please contact The Ohio Hempery @ (800) BUY-HEMP.
School Board In Pennsylvania Votes To Include "Publications" As Drug Paraphernalia
September 19, Octorara, PA: By a 6-2
vote, the Octorara Area School Board adopted a policy that
enables school officials to suspend students for 10 days and
notify local police if student is caught on school grounds with "publications
about drugs" wrote a report in The Intelligencer Journal
According to school administrators, the policy is needed because "publications ... brought to school have dealt with how to grow marijuana and manufacture hallucinogenic drugs," reported The New Era newspaper.
While the vote to adopt the policy prevailed, strong opposition was voiced by School Board Member John Addyman who was quoted in the IJ as saying, "I have a real problem saying a publication should be banned." Addyman said when he took a seat on the school board he swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution. "That Constitution guarantees the right of free speech," Addyman said. William Iacone, director of special services, said administrators hope to target publications which promote drugs by telling how to cultivate, buy, sell, use or manufacture illegal drugs --and in some case, where to get them. "This is not freedom of speech," Iacone said to the IJ.
Also opposing the new policy was school board attorney, Alan Jarvis. He told the IJ that publications are "a tender area" of the law and cautioned the board on calling publications drug paraphernalia. He said the policy might be challenged. Despite Mr. Jarvis' reservations of the legality of the board's actions, other board members chimed in:
- "Leave it in [the policy change] and be challenged," said board member Sam Gasnow. "That's what's right." Gasnow also asserted that students "have no First Amendment rights in the classroom."
- Board member Lawrence Gibbs [who supports the change in policy]: "Why don't we stop by the library after the meeting. There may be a few books I want to get out of here."
- Also, Superintendent Tom Sholvin commented, "Today the right thing and the legal thing aren't always the same things. Our intent is not to take away anybody's rights."
MASS CANN:NORML Draws More Than 30,000 To Annual Rally
September 23, Boston, MA: MASS CANN
NORML drew over 30,000 peaceful pot protesters to its Sixth
Annual Rally To End Cannabis Prohibition.
With great fall weather and a terrific line up of speakers and musical acts the Boston Common turned into a sea of protest against America's prohibition of the cannabis plant. "The purpose of the rally was to press home to the people and their representatives on Beacon Hill that our grievance is the absolute prohibition of marijuana; even to the chronically or terminally ill," said MASSCANN: NORML chairperson Attorney Steve Epstein.
The event was well received by the New England media (and The Economist magazine) and the Boston police. Only seven arrests on cannabis-related charges were reported. A NORML activist in attendance solicited some police officers for their thoughts on the whole event. The officers commented that they were really glad that the 30,000 protesters were predominantly consuming cannabis--and not alcoholic beverages!
For more information on the MASSCANN: NORML Sixth Annual Rally To End Cannabis Prohibition please contact MASSCANN: NORML @ (617) 944-2266.
Another U.S. Judge Advocates Legalizing Drugs: 'We're Losing The War On Drugs'
September 26, Nashville, TN: Joining
more than 60 other Federal judges, U.S. District Judge Thomas
Wiseman spoke up in opposition to this country's "war on
drugs" in an interview with The Tennessean. Judge
Wiseman said that "We've spent $100 billion on the war on
drugs and we're losing it." Wiseman recommends that
the U.S. should legalize drugs. That, he says, is the only
real way to win the war. "If you take the profit out
of it, nobody will be pushing it.
Wiseman, a 17 year veteran of the federal bench, said that when President Bush escalated the war on drugs in 1989 [Omnibus Crime Bill, Asset Forfeiture, DARE educational programs, Partnership for a Drug Free (sic) America, Mandatory minimum prison sentences, etc. ... -ed.], the country not only lost the battle, but also, "We've just about lost a generation of young people," he told The Tennessean.
Good News: Seattle Area's Green Cross Patient Co-op Court Case Is Dropped
September 26, Bainbridge Island, WA:
The Seattle Times reports:
There is good news and bad news for Joanna McKee and her Green Cross Patient Coop, busted earlier this year for supplying what McKee says is 'medicinal marijuana' to people she describes as patients.
The good news is that Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Leonard Kruse threw out the search warrant used in a May raid when police seized 162 marijuana plants from McKee's home. "If the warrant's no good, then all the evidence is out. If the evidence is out, then we have no case to prosecute," said Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Kelly.
The bad news for McKee is that it doesn't look like the county plans to return her marijuana, estimated by drug enforcement officials to be worth $300,000. McKee -- the first medicinal marijuana supplier [Cannabis Buyer's Club--ed.] in the country to be busted, according to NORML -- said she's going to take Kitsap County to court. About 70 patients with AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer and other illnesses ... depended on Green Cross for marijuana ...
"We were not convicted of a crime, and they have no right to take our medicine away. They said they took $300,000 worth of medicine away from us. I think they owe us $300,000," said McKee.
The Dutch Government Modifies Its Drug
Pressure Felt From Neighboring Countries
September 25, Washington, D.C.: The
Dutch government announced some revisions of their progressive
drug policy at a news conference held at the National Press
Club. State-Secretary for the Interior, Jacob Kohnstamm, presented
to the U.S. press (what little there was assembled! -ed.] a list
of changes that the Dutch government are seeking to implement in
the coming years. While some of these changes may be viewed
by some as an abdication by the Dutch of the progressive drug
policies established in the 1970's, Secretary Kohnstamm was quick to
point out that The Netherlands is not abandoning its defacto
legalization of small amounts of cannabis.
Due to strong pressure from its neighboring countries (especially France), The Netherlands seek to compromise with its neighbors while still championing the social, public health, and criminal justice benefits that it believes its drug policy presents.
Secretary Kohnstamm indicated that policy changes concerning cannabis are:
-The sale of cannabis products in "coffee shops" will be reduced from 30 grams per purchase to 5 grams,Mr. Kohnstamm reiterated that the citizens and the government of the Netherlands strongly support their drug policy. When asked by an American reporter, "Why don't the Dutch adopt a drug policy similar to America's war on drugs approach?" Mr. Kohnstamm said that such a policy is considered a complete failure in the minds of the Dutch. He cited the latest statistics from both the U.S. and the Netherlands concerning the prevalence of cannabis use amongst teens to make his case.
-There will be a 50% reduction of the number of "coffee shops",
-The state will begin to combat the large-scale production of cannabis in the Netherlands,
-The Netherlands will also seek to establish a more active policy on the deportation of "drug tourists" and addicts residing illegally in the Netherlands.
Ever using cannabis = 13%For more information on the Netherland's decision to modify its drug policy and a copy (in English) of its FACTSHEET please contact the Public Information Division of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, P.O. Box 5406, 2280 HK Rijswijk, (31) 70-340-6O-15 (p) / (31) 70-340-62-51 (f).-End-MORE THAN 10 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965 ... ANOTHER EVERY 90 SECONDS!
Last 30 days = 6%
As compared to the United States (where there is a total prohibition on cannabis):
Ever using cannabis = 28%
Last 30 days = 14%