Montana NORML News!

Montana NORML News!
Posted by FoM on July 02, 1999 at 12:42:34 PT
Montana NORML norml 
Source: Montana NORML News
Greetings everyone.We apologize for the delay in sending any news out in a while. Lots has happened, though, and so read on to find out all about it -- and how you can get a free video of Geraldo Rivera's special on the futility of the drug war.
The biggest recent national news on the drug war is Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's attempt to rationalize the ongoing expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars in a June 29th editorial in the Washington Post. Here's a short excerpt:Clearly, drugs themselves harm users. A significant percentage of all current drug users are addicted to illegal substances.... Removing the threat of criminal sanctions would eliminate the possibility of forced treatment and condemn countless addicts to miserable lives.McCaffrey is saying that drugs are illegal because they are harmful, rather than vice versa. As drug reform activist Keith Sanders said in a letter to the Washington Post, "This claim runs counter to every lesson America learned from alcohol Prohibition. During that "Noble Experiment", deaths from poisoned liquor skyrocketed, cities were controlled by bootlegger gangs, and children had equal access to liquor (because dealers never ask for ID). The parallels to our Drug War are hard to miss..."McCaffrey only mentions "marijuana" once: "Three-quarters of the U.S. population opposes the legalization of psychoactive drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine, and marijuana."General McCaffrey groups all illegal drugs together likethat in the hopes that the public's fear of the more serious drugs of abuse will bleed over to include marijuana, a plant that has never caused an overdose, is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol, and has legitimate medical uses for perhaps millions of Americans.Mr. McCaffrey's editorial is available on the web at the following address: write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your views on McCaffrey's editorial. Consider mentioning that one of McCaffrey's central flaws is the fact that the war on drugs that may be addictive and harmful has created an additionally harmful, destructive, and profitable black market.In other national news, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill limiting the federal government's power to seize and confiscate private property. Passage of this bill is a big victory for the reform of civil asset forfeiture. The 375 "yes" votes (an 89% majority) included an eclectic mix of conservative constitutionalists and liberal civil libertarians.According the Chicago Tribune, under the current civil asset forfeiture laws, the annual flow of boats, cars, planes, houses, cash, and other assets out of the hands of citizens who may or may not have been accused of a crime has mushroomed from $27 million in 1985 to nearly half a billion dollars. These assets have been seized by law enforcement regardless of whether the person to whom they belonged was convicted of -- or even accused of -- any crime.The reform measure (HR 1658) that passed the House offers legal services to indigent people, would allow citizens to use their property while legal proceedings are underway, and would put the burden on the government to prove that the property was actually gained through or used in the commission of a crime. Under current law, the property is presumed "guilty" and the citizen must prove its "innocence" to get it returned.Montana Representative Rick Hill supported the bill.The forfeiture reform bill now moves to the Senate, where it faces vigorous opposition from law enforcement groups and the U.S. Justice Department, who have become accustomed to the power to steal property from people at will.Please consider writing or calling Montana Senators Conrad Burns and Max Baucus to express your feelings that they should support the forfeiture reform bill HR 1658. Remind them that the protections offered by HR 1658 are an important safeguard for all citizens from well-documented abuses of civil asset forfeiture. For more information on asset forfeiture, visit on the web.Conrad Burns 187 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-2644 conrad_burns Max BaucusUnited States Senate511 Hart BuildingWashington, D.C. 20510 (800) 332-6106 Next, a couple of pieces of local issues that Montana NORMLhas been working on. This spring, Montana NORML was contacted by an individual who claimed to be a state representative in Florida. This person said that unusual research was going on at Montana State University - Bozeman. The purpose of the project is to genetically engineer a fungus that will attack and destroy marijuana plants, the idea being that it could be aerially sprayed on whole regions in which marijuana cultivation is suspected. The informant offered the specific name of the fungus and the names of the researchers involved.A phone call to MSU-B confirmed that these experiments are indeed being conducted, and the researcher with whom we spoke also mentioned that, with the cooperation of the Missoula Police Department, experiments with the manufactured organism had already been carried out in a Missoula greenhouse.Under the Montana Constitution and state law, citizens have a right to know and inspect all documents held by public bodies. Therefore, in May, Montana NORML lawfully requested from MSU-B (a state institution funded by tax dollars that is subject to our right to know) all information regarding this project being carried out in secret on public property, using public resources and personnel. In June, MSU's legal counsel completely denied our request. As a result, Montana NORML will file suit in state district court to compel MSU-B to comply with the law and provide us with all the requested public information. We'll offer more news as it arrives.One other exciting event for Montana NORML was the successful defense of a medical marijuana patient charged with possession of dangerous drugs in Missoula. The patient had the legal recommendation and approval (under Prop. 215) of a California doctor for medical marijuana to help treat his chronic pain. While Montana has no specific medical marijuana law (yet!), we do have statutes that respect the laws of other states and the judgement of out-of-state medical doctors. When presented with this argument, a Missoula prosecutor offered "deferred prosecution", which essentially means that the case will be put on hold for six months, and then dropped completely.While this result is not as strong as an explicit finding of "not guilty", it does allow this patient to go on with his life without any paying any fines, without attending court ordered "substance abuse counseling", and without a criminal conviction on his record.If you or someone you know requires legal help with a marijuana charge in Montana, please contact Montana NORML as soon as possible.Attention, music-loving marijuana law reform activists! Widespread Panic, a band some have compared to the Allman Brothers Band, will be in Whitefish, Montana on Friday July 9th, in Bozeman on Saturday July 10th, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming on July 11th. We don't currently have any Montana NORML representatives who will be able to attend. These shows will be a great opportunity to distribute Montana NORML literature and gather names for our mailing list, to say nothing of seeing some talented musicians do what they do best.If you plan to attend any of these concerts, please contact Montana NORML today, and we'll get you literature and flyers to hand out. For details on the shows, call the Widespread Panic hotline at (706) 354-2586.You can call Montana NORML at (406) 542-8696 or email norml, some of you may have seen Geraldo Rivera's blistering critique of the drug war in a documentary on NBC two weeks ago. In it, Geraldo visited coca fields of Columbia, heroin junkies in San Diego, and a long-time professional marijuana smuggler serving hard time in federal prison. Throughout, a message is maintained: no matter what law enforcement does, no matter how much tax money is thrown at the issue, no matter how high-tech the tools used, the flow of drugs from fields and laboratories both domestic and abroad into the bodies of Americans continues unabated. The drug war, says Geraldo, is the longest lasting, most expensive, most failure-riddled endeavor the American government has ever engaged in.Montana NORML taped the show, and now, for a limited time, we are pleased to offer it free with any donation or membership fee of $20 or more. If you're on our mailing list, but haven't purchased an annual membership yet, now is the perfect time. After all, joining the list is free -- creating and sending these mailings is not. Please join Montana NORML today, and help us continue to do our important work to reduce the harm associated with marijuana laws in Montana. Please print out the form located at and send it in with your generous check today. We truly appreciate your help.Also, if you're currently also receiving paper mailings, andwould prefer to receive only via email, please visit and add your email address to our email announcement list. There's a special checkbox there for you to indicate that we should stop sending you paper mail. Thanks for your support,John MastersonMontana NORMLMontana NORML 2401 Brooks #130norml Missoula, MT 59801 (406) 542-8696News supplied by DdC!Thank You, DdC!
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Comment #2 posted by observer on January 04, 2001 at 14:06:05 PT
Cure Worse Than Disease
Im happy to read of Bozeman's achievements on how to get rid of marijuana. I am a Montana native and still in High School and feel that with the drug trafficing in Montana, something should be done. a) cannabis has been domesticated for 5,000 years and has hundreds of varieties. A fungus-resistant strain would not be difficult to find and enhance.b) indoor-grown cannabis would be unaffected: the effect of spraying would be to simply move more production indoors.c) hops is a close relative of cannabis. any fungus that attacked cannabis would likely also attack hops, as well. can get drugs anywhere, anytime, from anyone. Yeah, just like people could get booze when government made that illegal, too.Does that tell you something about how effective laws against traditional freedoms are? (What? You didn't know that Americans traditionally had the freedom to use cannabis? Let me guess: you thought "that's the way it always was"? That's just what the government wants you to believe, too.)You might want to read and learn a little more about the history of marijuana prohibition. Here's a great place to start:The History of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 good to know they are trying to cure the problem.Lots of people are happy to know that the "government" is trying to "do something" ... until they see through the propaganda, and realize that sometimes the cure is far worse than the disease. That was the case for alcohol prohibition in the 1920's, and it is also the case for drug prohibition right now. 
Historical Research on Drug Policy
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Comment #1 posted by Stephanie Duffield on January 04, 2001 at 13:28:07 PT:
Im happy to read of Bozeman's achievements on how to get rid of marijuana. I am a Montana native and still in High School and feel that with the drug trafficing in Montana, something should be done. People can get drugs anywhere, anytime, from anyone. Its good to know they are trying to cure the problem.
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