NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - October 30, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - October 30, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on October 30, 2008 at 10:03:08 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 Voters In California, Massachusetts, And Michigan To Decide Marijuana Policy On Election Day Numerous Towns And Municipalities To Vote On Local Reform Measures October 30, 2008 - Washington, DCWashington, DC: Voters in three states - California, Massachusetts, and Michigan - will decide on ballot initiatives Tuesday that seek to liberalize marijuana law enforcement policies.
In California, voters will decide on PROPOSITION 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act. Sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, Prop. 5 would expand the diversion of non-violent offenders to drug treatment and increase funding for state-sponsored rehabilitation programs. The proposal would also reduce minor marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor (punishable by a $100 criminal fine with a criminal record) to a non-criminal infraction (punishable by a $100 civil fine with no criminal record).The California Democratic Party, the California Society of Addiction Medicine, the California League of Women Voters, the California Academy of Family Physicians, and California NORML have each endorsed Proposition 5. Opposition to the measure is being sponsored primary by the California prison guards union and the state Beer and Beverage Distributors.In Massachusetts, voters will decide on QUESTION 2. Sponsored by the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, Question 2 would replace criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana with a civil fine of no more than $100. If approved, Massachusetts would become the first state to enact the decriminalization of marijuana since Nevada's legislature did so in 2001, and the first to do so by voter initiative.Twelve states have enacted similar decriminalization measures since 1973.According to a Channel 7 News/Suffolk University poll released last week, 54 percent of registered voters support the measure. Since September, a coalition consisting of the state's 11 district attorneys, along with numerous politicians and members of law enforcement, have campaigned vociferously against Question 2, falsely claiming that the measure will "help dealers bring more drugs into [Massachusetts'] neighborhoods," endanger workplace safety, sharply increase traffic fatalities, and "tell kids it's okay to abuse marijuana." The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Greater Boston Civil Rights Coalition, and the Massachusetts chapter of NORML (MassCann) support Question 2.In Michigan, voters will decide on PROPOSITION 1, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Sponsored by the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, Prop. 1 would amend state law to allow authorized patients to use cannabis therapeutically under a doctor's supervision. According to a September poll by the Michigan Resource Group, 67 percent of voters say they will decide in favor of the measure.In October, both US Drug Czar John Walters and Deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns traveled to Michigan to speak out against Prop. 1. Since 2004, five Michigan cities - Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, and Traverse City - have each enacted municipal initiatives endorsing the medical use of marijuana.If enacted by the voters, Michigan will become the thirteenth state since 1996 to authorize the legal use of medical cannabis, and the ninth state to do so by voter initiative.Voters will also decide on Election Day on several local ballot initiatives regarding marijuana policy. Fayetteville, Arkansas voters will decide on a municipal measure to direct law enforcement to make activities related to the investigation and prosecution of adults who possess up to one ounce of cannabis their lowest priority. Voters approved a similar 'deprioritization' measure in Eureka Springs, Arkansas in 2006. Under state law, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.In Hawaii, Big Island voters will decide on a similar countywide initiative that seeks to make activities related to the investigation and arrest of adults who possess up to 24 ounces of cannabis and/or 24 plants their lowest priority.Passage of the measure would also forbid the County Council from accepting government funding to promote federal marijuana eradication efforts on the Big Island.Under state law, minor marijuana possession is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail. However, marijuana cultivation is a felony offense in Hawaii punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail.Over the past decade, grassroots activists in numerous towns and municipalities - including Seattle, Washington; Columbia, Missouri; Santa Cruz, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara, California; Missoula, Montana; and Denver, Colorado - have successfully campaigned for local ordinances making the enforcement of pot possession laws their city's lowest law enforcement priority.In California, Berkeley voters will decide on Measure JJ, which seeks to eliminate local limits on the quantity of medicinal cannabis that may be possessed by patients, and liberalizes municipal zoning guidelines for patient dispensaries. Voters initially voted on the measure in 2004, but the results were nullified.Finally, in Massachusetts voters in 15 separate municipalities will decide on non-binding public policy questions regarding the physician-supervised use of medicinal cannabis. Since 2000, voters in over 125 towns representing one-third of the Commonwealth have voted overwhelmingly in favor of marijuana reform.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: October 30, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by konagold on October 31, 2008 at 11:10:13 PT
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Comment #1 posted by Storm Crow on October 30, 2008 at 19:54:58 PT
OT- Kathryn Johnston case- Atlanta Police Officer Pleads Guilty In Fatal Shooting of Elderly Woman2 hrs 35 mins agoTo: NATIONAL EDITORSContact: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-514-2007, TDD +1-202-514-1888WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Justice Department announced today that former Atlanta Police Department (APD) Officer Arthur Bruce Tesler pleaded guilty in federal district court to conspiring to violate the civil rights of Kathryn Johnston, 92, in connection with her fatal shooting during the execution of an illegal search warrant at her Atlanta home on Nov.21, 2006.Tesler, of Ackworth, Ga., joins two other former APD officers who pleaded guilty last year to state and federal charges in the case. Gregg Junnier, of Woodstock, Ga., and Jason R. Smith, of Oxford, Ga., pleaded guilty in state court to voluntary manslaughter, violation of oath by a public officer, criminal solicitation and false statements, and in federal court to a civil rights conspiracy violation that resulted in the death of Ms. Johnston. Smith also pleaded guilty in state court to one count of perjury. Junnier and Smith also agreed to cooperate in a broader investigation of APD officer misconduct, which has since been completed.When law enforcement officers do not live up to the high ideals they typically uphold, we will not hesitate to take action, said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Departments Civil Rights Division. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line and commit such violent criminal acts.According to the information presented in court, Junnier and Smith, on several occasions while working as APD narcotics officers, made false statements in sworn affidavits to state magistrate judges in order to obtain no knock search warrants for residences and other locations where the officers believed illegal drugs would be found. (snipped)
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