cannabisnews.com: NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- March 24, 2005





NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- March 24, 2005
Posted by CN Staff on March 24, 2005 at 15:46:13 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
"Get Up, Stand Up! Stand Up For Your Rights!" - Join NORML This March 31-April 2 For The 2005 National ConferenceMarch 24, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: NORML will hold its 2005 National Conference next week, beginning Thursday, March 31, at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco. This year's conference will offer attendees a unique opportunity to learn about marijuana legal reform and network with activists from across the nation in America's most hemp-friendly city.
This year's NORML Conference will feature panel discussions and speakers on a variety of issues. Panels include: "Marijuana and Good Health: Who Knew?" "Drugged Driving Tests: The Science and Policies That You Need to Know-Right Now," "Cannabis Prohibition and Censorship," "Vaporizers & FDA Research: The Future of 'Smoking' Cannabis," "Police Tactics: Don't Become a Statistic," as well a special High Times Magazine presentation, "High Times' History of The 'Bud' Shot: A Pictorial and Cultural Anthology."Featured speakers at the conference include Rick Steves, best-selling travel author, TV show host and NORML Advisory Board member; Allen St. Pierre, NORML's new Executive Director; Marsha Rosenbaum, Director of the Safety First Project and the Drug Policy Alliance, San Francisco; Philippe Lucas, Director of Canadians for Safe Access and the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS); Valerie Leveroni Corral, Director of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) and NORML board member; Angel Raich and Diane Monson, respondents in the US Supreme Court medical marijuana challenge Raich v. Ashcroft; and Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance.Other scheduled events include a silent art auction, a joint reception sponsored by NORML and High Times, and NORML's annual Saturday night "4:20" benefit party. Pro-rated day passes will be available at the door.NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre invited all concerned citizens and media to attend this year's conference. "If a person is serious about changing America's misguided cannabis laws, the annual NORML conference isthe gathering place for medical cannabis patients, cannabis consumers and anyone interested in learning about the science and culture of cannabis."Complete conference information, including conference agenda, registration and hotel information: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6440Lodging at the Cathedral Hill Hotel for conference attendees is available at a specially reduced rate by calling 1-800-622-0855 or by visiting: http://www.cathedralhillhotel.com and referring to the code 'NORML'.DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6484Drug Czar's Office To Fund Nationwide Tour To Push For Expanded Student Drug TestingMarch 24, 2005 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: The White House will sponsor regional summits this spring to encourage middle and high-school officials to enact random, student drug testing in public schools. The taxpayer-funded summits will take place in Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Portland. The announcement of the summits comes just weeks after the White Houses' 2005 "National Drug Control Strategy" proposed increasing federal funding for student drug testing by more than 150 percent to a record $25.4 million annually.NORML Director Allen St. Pierre criticized the White Houses' push for the expanded use of suspicionless, student drug testing. "Random drug testing of students is a humiliating, invasive practice that runs contrary to the principles of due process," St. Pierre said. "It compels teens to submit evidence against themselves and forfeit their privacy rights as a necessary requirement for attending school. Rather than presuming our school children innocent of illicit activity, suspicionless drug testing presumes them guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Is this truly the message the Bush administration wishes to send America's young people?"St. Pierre added that the only federally commissioned review examining the effectiveness of student drug testing programs found the policy to have no discernible impact on youth drug use. The 2003 study of 76,000 students by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, concluded, "At each grade level - 8, 10, and 12 - the investigators found virtually identical rates of drug use" in schools that drug tested versus those that did not.Most recently, a 2005 study by the British Joseph Roundtree Foundation concluded, "Very few independent and rigorous evaluations have been conducted to identify the impact of drug testing programs in school." Among those studies that have taken place, "The evidence that programs lead to a reduction in use is far from conclusive."For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Summit registration and sign up information is available online at: http://www.cmpinc.net/dts/DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6485Cannabis Extracts Efficacious For Patients With Urinary DysfunctionMarch 24, 2005 - Tallahassee, FL, USATallahassee, FL: Whole plant medicinal cannabis extracts relieve urinary dysfunction in patients suffering from advanced Multiple Sclerosis, according to clinical trial data published in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.Fifteen patients participated in the trial. Volunteers were administered extracts containing precise doses of the cannabinoids THC and CBD via and oral spray for eight weeks, followed by the administration of THC only extracts. "Urinary urgency, the number and volume of incontinence episodes, frequency and nocturia (excessive urination at night) all decreased significantly following treatment," authors wrote."Cannabis-based medical extracts are a safe and effective treatment for urinary and other problems in patients with advanced MS," the study concluded.Previous studies in the United Kingdom of patients suffering from advanced stages of MS have noted similar results.Last December, Health Canada issued a "Qualifying Notice" for the approval of the cannabis extract spray Sativex for the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis. Regulatory approval for the drug in Britain also remains pending.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, entitled "An Open-Label Pilot Study of Cannabis-Based Extracts for Bladder Dysfunction in Advanced Multiple Sclerosis," appears in the April issue of The Journal of Urology.DL: http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=6486Source: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: March 24, 2005Copyright: 2005 NORML Contact: norml norml.org Website: http://www.norml.org/NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 17, 2005http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20368.shtmlNORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 11, 2005http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20348.shtml NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- Mar. 03, 2005http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread20312.shtml
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on March 30, 2005 at 07:41:53 PT
Finally admitting it.....
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1447863,00.htmlTwo-thirds of world's resources 'used up' Tim Radford, science editor
Wednesday March 30, 2005
The Guardian The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.
The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself."Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.
The report, prepared in Washington under the supervision of a board chaired by Robert Watson, the British-born chief scientist at the World Bank and a former scientific adviser to the White House, will be launched today at the Royal Society in London. It warns that: Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined. An estimated 24% of the Earth's land surface is now cultivated. Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers has doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40% and 50% of all available freshwater running off the land. At least a quarter of all fish stocks are overharvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing. Since 1980, about 35% of mangroves have been lost, 20% of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed and another 20% badly degraded. Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown disease to emerge.In 1997, a team of biologists and economists tried to put a value on the "business services" provided by nature - the free pollination of crops, the air conditioning provided by wild plants, the recycling of nutrients by the oceans. They came up with an estimate of $33 trillion, almost twice the global gross national product for that year. But after what today's report, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, calls "an unprecedented period of spending Earth's natural bounty" it was time to check the accounts."That is what this assessment has done, and it is a sobering statement with much more red than black on the balance sheet," the scientists warn. "In many cases, it is literally a matter of living on borrowed time. By using up supplies of fresh groundwater faster than they can be recharged, for example, we are depleting assets at the expense of our children."Flow from rivers has been reduced dramatically. For parts of the year, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Colorado in North America dry up before they reach the ocean. An estimated 90% of the total weight of the ocean's large predators - tuna, swordfish and sharks - has disappeared in recent years. An estimated 12% of bird species, 25% of mammals and more than 30% of all amphibians are threatened with extinction within the next century. Some of them are threatened by invaders.The Baltic Sea is now home to 100 creatures from other parts of the world, a third of them native to the Great Lakes of America. Conversely, a third of the 170 alien species in the Great Lakes are originally from the Baltic.Invaders can make dramatic changes: the arrival of the American comb jellyfish in the Black Sea led to the destruction of 26 commercially important stocks of fish. Global warming and climate change, could make it increasingly difficult for surviving species to adapt.A growing proportion of the world lives in cities, exploiting advanced technology. But nature, the scientists warn, is not something to be enjoyed at the weekend. Conservation of natural spaces is not just a luxury."These are dangerous illusions that ignore the vast benefits of nature to the lives of 6 billion people on the planet. We may have distanced ourselves from nature, but we rely completely on the services it delivers."
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Comment #22 posted by afterburner on March 29, 2005 at 05:27:18 PT
Ontario Has It's Own Liberal Cannabis Attitudes
Are T.O.'s pot woes made in B.C.?
Toronto police expert says our pot problem rests with B.C. and Asian crime.
But critics believe changing attitudes are behind the wave.
Mar. 29, 2005. 06:35 AM{Toronto's top drug cop says "general liberal attitudes towards drugs on the West Coast" and "a lack of appropriate policing" in western Canada are ultimately responsible for the explosion of indoor marijuana grow ops in the GTA. Betsy Powell reports.}  [Full Story] http://tinyurl.com/2ec3 Excerpts:{Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd disagrees. He said changing culture and attitudes, not migration, are responsible for the spread of grow ops across the country. "There's been a cultural change in the '90s, just as there was in the '70s, and it's not confined to Canada. You can see it in North America and increasing rates of cannabis use globally. It's a cultural phenomenon, it's not a phenomenon that has much to do with law enforcement or migration east or west."} {"Vietnamese or Chinese" "racial profiling"?}Last night, I heard a blurb on a *Toronto* radio station to the effect that there was another grow-op bust, that this indicates a demand for recreational cannabis, that many working professionals use cannabis to relax after work, that the government should get a clue and regulate cannabis and tax it and legalize it already! So much for the police conspiracy theory that Ontarians are being influenced by "outside agitators" from British Columbia. We have our own home-grown freedom thinkers and doers, thank you very much.BTW, biodegradable plastic was invented at the University of *Toronto* many years ago. Toronto needs such visionary ideas and so does the world. Lighten up on cannabis, Canadian governments, and allow the stream of future visions, dreams and inventions to enhance the world and enrich Canada's economy.On a lighter note:Mar. 29, 2005. 07:10 AM 
 
Trailer Park heads to the ball park.
Bubbles & Co. to toss first pitch. 
`Anything goes' at opener, Jays say
http://tinyurl.com/48mykMARK ZWOLINSKI
SPORTS REPORTERExcerpt:{When it comes to throwing out the first pitch and singing the national anthems, Blue Jays home openers have been relatively tame affairs.{That's about to change when the Jays hook up with the Red Sox April 8 to kick off their 2005 home schedule.{The Trailer Park Boys  Ricky, Julian and Bubbles  will do the first pitch honours while guitar hero Slash will rip out the anthems, a la Jimmy Hendrix.}The cannabis-loving trio has become a cult phenomenon in Canada in recent years.
The Toronto Star - You Know What to Do
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Comment #21 posted by afterburner on March 28, 2005 at 05:53:11 PT
Thank You, BC and Quebec, for the Sanity
RE "The Long Emergency":Solar power, wind turbines, biomass/biodiesel, hydrogen/fuel cells have not been given a fair chance. They have been starved for funding by Big Oil and Big Government. Renewed local economy and renewed local agriculture have been goals of the Organic movement and Macrobiotics for decades: this is a good thing! Biomass/biodiesel doesn't have to use vast quanities of oil-based pesticides and fertilizers. Go organic and bio-dynamic. Grow hemp (I actually typed "Grow help": what a Freudian Slip!). Change the laws to allow growing hemp and it's cousin cannabis sativa, the visionary "miracle plant", the "wonderful substance." Proverbs 29:18
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." --Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com/We need the thought-provoking visions of good meditation to be legal once again. With vision the people thrive and invent, American Ingenuity, the American Dream. Joel 2:28
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:" --Bible Gateway http://www.biblegateway.com/Also, Solar Generators parked in Earth orbit and beaming abundant electricity to Earth by microwave transmission have not been given proper consideration [The High Frontier by Gerard K. O'Neill http://www.space-frontier.org/HighFrontier/ ]. The future is unlimited. The future is abundant, if we want it, if the "cold, dead hand" of the petrochemical empire lets the people dream again. There is a whole universe out there just waiting for us. Ironically, the resistance to the "U.S. missile-defence scheme" and to the U.S.-led Pre-emptive Strike of False Pretenses on Iraq is centered in BC (British Columbia), home of the BCMP (British Columbia Marijuana Party), and in Quebec, home of the Marijuana Party of Canada. Coincidence? I think not!LINKS TO U.S.  
 Canadians divided on defence ties  
 Mar. 28, 2005. 06:45 AM
http://tinyurl.com/5oab5
 Canadians are split three ways on support for closer ties with the United States on defence issues, says a new poll conducted for the Star. >But the Martin government's decision to stay out of the U.S. missile-defence scheme plays to public opinion in the key political battlegrounds of Quebec and British Columbia, Susan Delacourt reports. [Full Story] 
http://tinyurl.com/5oab5
The Toronto Star - You Know What to Do
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on March 27, 2005 at 22:34:58 PT
Another one. "The Long Emergency"
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/7203633?rnd=1111991287035&has-player=true&version=6.0.12.872
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on March 27, 2005 at 16:01:19 PT
Mayan about 9/11
I thought of you when I read this article. New Details on FBI Aid for Saudis After 9/11New York Times - Mar 26, 2005WASHINGTON, March 26 - The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights. 
 
 
Now, newly released government records show previously undisclosed flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/27/politics/27exodus.html
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Comment #18 posted by mayan on March 26, 2005 at 03:14:51 PT
More
Here's another one you guys may find interesting...As Green as a Neocon: Why Iraq hawks are driving Priuses
http://www.energybulletin.net/4251.html
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Comment #17 posted by mayan on March 26, 2005 at 02:55:33 PT
Hope
Here is more... From Adam Porter at BBC -- International Energy Agency Proposes Ban-Rationing-Enforced Quotas on Oil Consumption -- Measures Would Apply in US:
http://copvcia.com/free/ww3/032505_world_stories.shtml#1
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on March 25, 2005 at 23:28:37 PT
ekim
Thank you for that post. It makes me feel so much better than I have been about the future and the good parts of life as we know it. I don't think most people are aware of how much danger the future holds without this sort of research. Someone, I wish I could remember who it was, recently posted this as a "must read"...it paints a very clear picture of what could happen when we run out of usable oil...and we will. We are already past the peak of oil production and it's all down hill from here unless we find a renewable source for fuel. The future quite literally depends on it, and the future is nearer than most people realize.http://copvcia.com/free/ww3/031005_globalcorp.shtml#0
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Comment #15 posted by ekim on March 25, 2005 at 21:04:44 PT
Norml get report on 3 yr contract for 17 mill 
http://www.soyatech.com/bluebook/news/viewarticle.ldml?a=20030908-7Cargill Dow names Genencor its enzyme partner for a biorefinery project
Date Posted: 9/8/2003PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Genencor International,
Inc. (NASDAQ:GCOR) today announced that it has been named by Cargill Dow LLC
as its development partner to create advanced enzyme systems for a biomass
project supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The project is a
significant step toward advancing the biorefinery concept to ultimately
reduce dependence on fossil carbon sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions
and stimulate rural economies."Cargill Dow is a leader in the renewable bioplastics industry," said
Jean-Jacques Bienaime, chief executive officer and president of Genencor.
"This collaboration strives to make an important contribution to integrating
the production of biomass derived fuels, power, chemicals and other
products."Advancing the commercialization of biorefineries has been a stated goal of
the U.S. Department of Energy for a number of years. To take best advantage
of their commercial potential, biorefineries must be able to use the
non-food portions of food crops and other low-cost biomass to produce fuel
and chemicals, just as an oil refinery uses fossil fuel to produce a wide
range of products. The Cargill Dow project will use corn stalks and other
agricultural materials as a source of renewable carbon for the production of
lactic acid and biologically derived plastics."The main stumbling block to the development of commercial biorefineries has
been the availability of low-cost sugars," said Thomas J. Pekich, group vice
president, Bioproducts, of Genencor. "Our progress in solving this tough
technical problem has been steady and is now ready to be deployed on a pilot
scale."Genencor will leverage its enzyme expertise developed during a three-year,
$17 million biomass-to-ethanol program with the Department of Energy and the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Genencor announced in April it met and
exceeded the project's goal of developing a new generation of enzyme systems
that could economically convert low-cost biomass -- e.g., corn stover,
wheat, rice straw, sugar cane bagasse -- into fermentable sugars for
conversion into bioethanol and other chemicals."Our mission is to turn annually renewable resources into consumer products
with minimal impact on the environment," said Pat Gruber, vice president and
chief technology officer for Cargill Dow. "We are committed to developing
technology that can make large-scale biomass conversion possible and by
working with Genencor we believe this technology can be developed sooner
rather than later."About GenencorGenencor is a diversified biotechnology company that develops and delivers
innovative products and services into the health care, agri-processing,
industrial and consumer markets. Using an integrated set of technology
platforms, Genencor's products deliver innovative and sustainable solutions
to many of the problems of everyday life.Genencor traces its history to 1982 and has grown to become a leading
biotechnology company, with over $350 million in year 2002 annual revenues.
Genencor has principal offices in Palo Alto, California; Rochester, New
York; and Leiden, the Netherlands.About Cargill DowFounded in 1997, Cargill Dow is based in Minnetonka, Minn. It is the first
company to offer its customers a family of polymers derived entirely from
annually renewable resources with the cost and performance necessary to
compete with packaging materials and traditional fibers. The company has
achieved this breakthrough by applying its unique technology to the
processing of natural plant sugars to create a proprietary polylactide
polymer (PLA). For more company information, please visit the Cargill Dow
Web site at http://www.cargilldow.com/.This report contains forward-looking statements as defined by the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These include statements
concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or
performance and all other statements which are other than statements of
historical fact, including without limitation, statements containing words
such as "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates," "projects,"
"will," "may," "might" and words of a similar nature. Such statements
involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those projected. Some important factors that could cause
actual results to differ include dependence on the efforts of third parties;
dependence on new and uncertain technology and its uncertain application to
new business ventures; regulatory actions or delays, or uncertainties
related to product development, testing or manufacturing; ability to form
and maintain strategic alliances; ability to complete certain transactions;
dependence on certain intellectual property rights of both Genencor and
third parties; the competitive nature of Genencor's industry; and risks of
obsolescence of certain technology. These and other risk factors are more
fully discussed in Genencor's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and
quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the United States Securities and
Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements contained in this
release represent the judgment of Genencor as of the date of this report.
Genencor disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update any
forward-looking statements.Source: Genencor International, Inc.CONTACT: Media - Angie Blackwell, +1-585-256-5200, or Investors - Tom
Rathjen, +1-650-846-7500, both for Genencor International, Inc.Web site: http://www.genencor.com/
http://www.cargilldow.com/
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 25, 2005 at 09:32:26 PT
potpal 
Thank you. I like that percentage!
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Comment #13 posted by potpal on March 25, 2005 at 09:26:03 PT
Looking through you...ot
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-03-24-bush-poll_x.htm
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Comment #12 posted by siege on March 25, 2005 at 09:00:55 PT
O T Terri Schiavo
 
 Bush's tone of resignation sparked anger and disappointment among protesters standing vigil outside the hospice where Schiavo was being cared for. Terry, who has been advising the Schindlers, said "there will be hell to pay" if the politicians whom religious conservatives had helped elect let Schiavo die.___ Florida, is just One state of a long line of States in a constitutional crisis.
the ones that accuse the judiciary of running away I think it is called Freedom of the citizens, and not the goverment 
 running all over the citizens. 
Not sure but isn't it what our forefathers give there lives for. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-schiavo25mar25.story
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Comment #11 posted by potpal on March 25, 2005 at 08:33:10 PT
did you know...
big lie on this page...http://www.dfaf.org/contactus.phpDid you know cigarette companies knowingly increased the nicotine content of their products to get you to come back...
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 25, 2005 at 08:27:01 PT
potpal
Thanks for the poll! I voted!
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Comment #9 posted by potpal on March 25, 2005 at 08:20:34 PT
an anti poll
Question: Marijuana is ____________harmless:  37.0% a viable medicine:  35.3% an addictive drug / gateway drug:  9.2% ten times more potent today than in the 60's:  8.9% first step to drug addiction:  9.5% Go vote...http://www.dfaf.org/index.php1949 individuals have responded to poll.
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Comment #8 posted by potpal on March 25, 2005 at 05:00:16 PT
wiz quizes
Drug Czar's Office To Fund Nationwide Tour To Push For Expanded Student Drug Testing...Conditioning for adults lives in a police state.How about random drug testing for congress and their employees?-----We're all Texans today. Feel free to call any of the reps...pick a city...they'll never know...well, they may have caller id, but who cares. It's a new world.-----Take away their licenses...mom and dad will thank you...not.>Thirty-five percent of the Texans arrested for simple possession of marijuana are ages 15 to 19; people ages 20 to 24 make up 28 percent of those arrests...No college funding for you and you can't even work, well, get there anyway. Idiots. -----So where are all the psychotic people? Cannabis makes anti's psychotic that's for sure, well their hatred, ignorance, and intolerance does. They must be missing the freedom gene.Mr. Walters, tear down this wall.-----Sow every single seed.
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Comment #7 posted by siege on March 24, 2005 at 18:03:52 PT
U S Senator Lamar Alxander's eNewletter
lamar_alexander alexander.senate.gov
U S Senator Lamar Alxander's eNewletter
March 22, 2005
	Volume 3 Issue 3
 On March 1 I introduced legislation to slow down "democracy by court decree" - the tendency of some federal courts to make decisions that elected state and local officials ought to be making.The bill, the Federal Consent Decree Fairness Act, would make it easier for federal courts to do what the Supreme Court has recently said they should do in showing restraint while considering federal court consent decrees - judicial orders based on the consent of parties engaged in a civil action. It would also make it easier for state and local governments to amend federal court consent decrees to which they are a party. This legislation levels the playing field for defendant state and local governments by requiring plaintiffs to justify the continued existence of consent decrees after four years have passed or six months after voters have elected a new administration. Consent decrees in federal courts can be effective judicial tools when drawn narrowly and with respect for state and local policy choices. But, in too many cases, consent decrees have instead sometimes become a means to "lock in" policies for decades after the state or local official that agreed to the decree has left. Instead of being free to make the policy choices they were elected to make, newly elected officials often find themselves restricted by the motions of plaintiffs attorneys and policy choices of a federal court.
 There are a variety of examples of how existing consent decrees have limited the actions of newly elected officials:   * In Tennessee, a U.S. District Court Judge recently ruled - citing several existing consent decrees - that the governor could not scale back benefits for 300,000 optional beneficiaries of the state Medicaid program (known as TennCare) in order to save health care programs for low-income children and to more fully fund educational programs; 
  * In New York, a 30-year-old consent decree has forced Hispanic children into bilingual education programs - over the objections of their own parents who want their children to learn English more rapidly in other education programs;
  * In Los Angeles, consent decrees have forced the Metropolitan Transit Authority to spend 47 percent of its budget on city buses - leaving just over half the budget to pay for all the rest of the transportation needs of the city of Los Angeles. The legislation I've introduced only affects federal court consent decrees to which state and local governments are a party and does not affect consent decrees involving school desegregation. A great help in preparing this bill was the excellent work of New York University law professors Ross Sandler and David Schoenbrod and their book, "Democracy by Decree." Senators Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined me in introducing this bill. Congressman Jim Cooper from Tennessee's 5th District and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt have introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.The Federal Consent Decree Fairness Act comes at a time when President Bush has called on Congress to offer more flexibility to state governments to manage Medicaid. This bill is one way of doing that. In a broader sense too, this bill is one small piece of the effort to promote federalism in the United States.State governments provide the basic necessities of life that citizens demand. They are the laboratories that can serve as models of good government that the rest of the country can follow. They are partners to the federal government - not wards of the federal government. It is time Congress begins to treat them that way.This bill is the first of what I hope will be many steps toward restoring the relationship between the federal government and state and local governments that do so much.###
 
LEGISLATIVE UPDATEMany votes in the Senate this year have been on President Bush's nominees, including:Condoleezza Rice - Secretary of State
Michael Chertoff - Secretary of Homeland Security
Margaret Spellings - Secretary of Education
Dr. Samuel Bodman - Secretary of EnergyIn mid-February, Congress passed and the President signed the Class Action Reform Act to limit class-action lawsuits and move them from state courts to federal courts.
The Senate recently passed the most significant overhaul of our bankruptcy laws in nearly 30 years that curbs abuses of the bankruptcy system.The Senate has passed the Budget for 2006 that accomplishes the president's goal of cutting the deficit in half over the next four years. The budget requires fiscal discipline, but it also funds a number of priorities for Tennessee and this country.*      *       *       *
 I also thought you might be interested in this article written by David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, that appeared recently in a Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill.Stop the Runaway Jurists
http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/DavidKeene/030805.html Senator Alexander joins Senator Frist at a news conference to announce the "Support our Scouts Act" - legislation that addresses attempts to exclude the Boy Scouts of America from facilities at the federal, state, and local levels, and legal moves by groups to proscribe longstanding Defense Department support to the Scouts.
 
	
Notable EventsMarch 1 -Participates in Senate Budget hearing on Department of Defense's budget
Washington, DC Introduces Federal Consent Decree Fairness Act  
Washington, DC March 3 -Participates in Senate Energy hearing on Department of Energy's budget
Washington, DCMarch 4 -  Keynote Speaker for Washington County Lincoln Day Dinner
Johnson City, TN   
 
March 5 -Breakfast with Unicoi County residents
Erwin, TNVisits Wellmont Hancock County Hospital   
Sneedville, TNLunch with Hancock County residents
Sneedville, TNKeynote speaker at West Tennessee multi-county women's dinner
Brighton, TNMarch 6 -Attends Tribute to Dr. Adrian Rogers at Bellevue Baptist Church     
Memphis, TNMarch 9 -Addresses Graduate Education and American Competitive Conference
Washington, TNMarch 10 -Participates in Senate Energy Committee Roundtable on Coal
Washington, DCMarch 14 -Addresses National League of Cities Annual Congressional Conference 
Washington, DC
 
 
 
 
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http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/Comment/DavidKeene/030805.html
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on March 24, 2005 at 17:49:50 PT
Rep. Hodge
She's a character, I suspect. She lapsed into a few "Well, hell"s during the hearing. Sort of a modern day black female Churchill willing to jump into the fray and not just a plastic doll with all sorts of strings attached running to God knows where. She seemed to express support for the stronger bill as it was written. I hope she has a good future in politics if she's as tough and smart as she appears to be. I say "seemed" because I'm not familiar enough with her to be sure.We need more people like her, or like she seems to be, who might stay in touch with what the lives of average people are really like. She strikes me as someone who might just reach out and speak heart to heart with everyday people instead of just the Texas elite society cocktail circuit, from which G. Bush sprang. 
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Comment #5 posted by Taylor121 on March 24, 2005 at 16:36:38 PT
I'm sorry Rep Hodge not Pena
Hehe, I'm calling all of them in a row, so it gets confusing. But yes, Rep Hodge not Pena. My bad.
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Comment #4 posted by Taylor121 on March 24, 2005 at 16:34:54 PT
Aaron Pena
Just spoke with Represenative Pena (or one of her aids that sounded nearly EXACTLY like her). Anyways she seemed relunctant to support the bill with all the modifications that Dutton has made, I think she wanted it to be a straight fine and move on. She said "I don't know if you know this, but the bill is not the same as it was. They have changed many things." I told her I'm aware of the changes to the bill, but I still strongly support the bill and I described that as of right now, the law requires at least a year of probation, and if you violate probation, you will end up in jail. If you violate your deferred ajudication under the modified form of HB 254, you would simply get fined. I told her I strongly support the bill and to move it forward for a vote.I strongly urge all the Texans reading this to make the phone calls. If there is a time we can make a difference, it is right now. I'm nearly done with my calls. I sincerely believe this bill will flop if we don't call and let them know we support the modified version of the bill. 
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Comment #3 posted by Taylor121 on March 24, 2005 at 16:01:37 PT
I really don't like how they haven't voted Texas
It's what happened to a similar bill in 2003, they ust left it pending for the rest of the time after the hearing.Argh, don't let this happen again. I'm making my phone calls. Please follow through and get some others to as well!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 24, 2005 at 15:54:28 PT
Support Industrial Hemp in New Hampshire
 Support Industrial Hemp Cultivation in New HampshireTake Action Now! http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=7298471&type=STDear Friends:NORML is pleased to announce that House Bill 55, an act to legalize the licensed cultivation of industrial hemp, was approved by the House of Representatives by a 199-168 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate for considration.NORML would like to thank you for your past efforts in support of this legislation. We are now asking you to contact your state Senator and urge him or her to allow licensed farmers to cultivate this important agricultural commodity.The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service (CRS) report. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food.The aim of HB 55 is to allow New Hampshire to establish a licensed, statewide hemp industry. However, this bill will only receive serious consideration in the state Senate if New Hampshire's elected officials hear an unmistakable message of support from their constituents.Please take two minutes of your time to write your state Representative and tell them how important it is that they support industrial hemp. If your Representative sits on the House Environment and Agriculture Committee, it is particularly important that he or she hears from you now. NORML has created pre-written letters that you can send to your legislators by visiting: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=7298471&type=STTo help support NORML's state legislative efforts, please donate today at: https://secure.norml.org/join/Thank you for your help.Sincerely,Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst NORML
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 24, 2005 at 15:50:46 PT
Texas News Media Highlights Marijuana Reform Bill 
Dear Friends:As you know, last week the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee held hearings on House Bill 254, which seeks to reduce penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor. Members of the committee enthusiastically heard testimony from a number of the bill's supporters, including Texas NORML President Judie Niskala. Her testimony in favor of this bill was well received by the committee's members, who agreed to consider the bill after the sponsor made a few minor changes to appease the Texas Department of Transportation. As of today, however, the committee has yet to vote on HB 245.That is why NORML is once again asking that you please call the committee members and urge their support for HB 254, especially if your Representative happens to serve on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.The following Representatives serve on the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee:Representative Terry Keel (R-TX 47th), Chair - (512) 463-0652 Representative Debbie Riddle (R-TX 150th), Vice-Chair - (512) 463-0572 Representative Mary Denny (R-TX 63rd) - (512) 463-0688 Representative Elvira Reyna (R-TX 101st) - (512) 463-0464 Representative Aaron Pena (D-TX 40th) - (512) 463-0426 Representative Terri Hodge (D-TX 100th) - (512) 463-0586 Representative Paul C. Moreno (D-TX 77th) - (512) 463-0638 Representative Juan Escobar (D-TX 43rd) - (512) 463-0666 Representative Richard Raymond (D-TX 42nd) - (512) 463-0558Please take a moment today to write your Representative and tell him or her to support House Bill 254. Pre-written letters are available online from NORML at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=6847791&type=STTo help support NORML's state legislative efforts, please donate today at: https://secure.norml.org/join/Thank you again for your support of NORML's legislative efforts in Texas.Regards,Kris Krane, Associate Director NORML
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