|DC Medical Marijuana Initiative 59 - Landslide Win|
Posted by FoM on September 21, 1999 at 17:54:20 PT|
For Immediate Release
Source: ACT UP-DC
After two signature drives, four lawsuits, impounded ballots and the death of its sponsor, DC's medical marijuana Initiative 59 proved to be overwhelmingly supported by the voters of the District of Columbia.
The vote totals, released today, 321 days after the election last November, showed a whopping 69 % voting in favor of Initiative 59. The measure passed in all of the District's 8 Wards, and won every one of the 140 precints. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics held an emergency meeting this evening to officially certify the results.
"This is a hard fought-for victory," states AIDS activist Wayne Turner, who took over the Yes on 59 Campaign after the death of his partner, Steve Michael, who died from AIDS on May 25, 1998.
Initiative 59 would protect those with serious illness in the use of medical marijuana to ease their suffering.
A federal judge cleared the way for the votes to be released last Friday in a court challenge to Rep Bob Barr's amendment prohibiting the use of DC funds to "conduct an election" on the medical marijuana referendum. The case, brough by the ACLU - National Capital Area, was first filed in October 1998.
"The Federal Court has recognized that the First Amendment applies even to DC residents. Now its up to Congress to respect our civil rights, and this Initiative, which for us is a labor of love." states Anise Jenkins, an organizer with the Stand Up for Democracy in DC Coalition, who gathered nearly 5000 petition signatures for Initiative 59.
Six states have passed medical marijuana measures, yet only in the Distric of Columbia has Congress intervened to block a democratic election.
Now that Initiative 59 has been officially certified, the measure will undergo a series of procedures: I-59 will be forwarded to DC Council Chairman Linda Cropp, then reported to the District's Financial Authority. The measure is then returned to the DC Council Chairman, who transmits the results to Congress.
Initiative 59, like all DC legislation, is then subject to a 30-day review. Congress may proposed a 'Resolution of Disapproval' - which would require a majority vote in both the House of Representatives, and the Senate, and a Presidential signature, in order to overturn the vote of the people of DC.
Activists who organized the Yes on 59 Campaign are already gearing up for the Congressional review period, urging supporters across the country to contact their Senators and Congressional Representatives.
"The Court has spoken, the people have spoken. We still have work to do, and we need all the help we can get - there are lives at stake." states Turner.
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Count Shows Support for Med. Marijuana in Capital - 9/21/99