NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 1, 2003

  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 1, 2003

Posted by CN Staff on May 01, 2003 at 16:39:49 PT
Press Release 
Source: NORML 

Canada PM Renews Promise To Remove Pot Possession PenaltiesMay 1, 2003 - Ottawa, ON, CanadaOttawa, Ontario: Prime Minister Jean Chretien reaffirmed plans this week to remove criminal penalties on the personal use and possession of marijuana. The PM's comments came just days after a new national Sun-Leger poll found that 83 percent of Canadians want the nation's pot laws to be less stringent.
Chretien said he anticipates legislation to be introduced within the next two months to decriminalize the possession and/or cultivation of up to 30 grams of marijuana, as previously recommended by a special House of Commons report released last fall. "The consequences of conviction for possession of a small amount of cannabis for personal use are disproportionate to the potential harm associated with the behavior," that report concluded.Under Chretien's proposal, which has been endorsed by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, citizens possessing small amounts of pot would receive a ticket, but would not be subject to arrest or a criminal record. Twelve US states have enacted similar decriminalization policies.In recent months, judges in three separate provinces have thrown out pot possession charges ruling that the current federal law criminalizing marijuana is invalid. Oral arguments before the Canadian Supreme Court are scheduled to be heard next week in a separate constitutional challenge over the legality of Canada's marijuana laws.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Canada Revisiting Marijuana To Propose Bill on Marijuanaétien Ready To Ease Pot Possession Law Renews Promise To Ease Pot Possession Laws BMJ "Scare Mongering" Editorial Alleges Pot Contributes To 30,000 Deaths Per Year In UKMay 1, 2003 - London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom: NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre criticized an editorial published today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) hypothesizing that marijuana smoking may be responsible for an estimated 30,000 deaths a year in the UK, primarily due to heart and respiratory illnesses."This editorial is scare mongering at its worst," said St. Pierre. "The authors of this editorial admit they have no scientific evidence to back up their claims. By far the greatest danger to health posed by the use of marijuana stems from a criminal arrest and conviction."Although the editorial's authors acknowledge that there is a "dearth of epidemiological evidence" demonstrating pot's health hazards, and that case-controlled studies regarding marijuana's impact on health are rare, they still contend that marijuana poses a serious physical and mental health hazard. "One could calculate that if cigarettes cause an annual excess of 120,000 deaths among 13 million smokers (in the United Kingdom), the corresponding figures for deaths among 3.2 million cannabis smokers would be 30,000, assuming equality of effect," they opined.Authors' extrapolations did not account for the fact that average tobacco smokers consume far more tobacco over the course of their lifetimes than marijuana smokers consume cannabis.A previous large-scale population study of marijuana use and mortality conducted by Kaiser Permanente and published in the American Journal of Public Health found that marijuana use, even long-term, "showed little if any effect ... on non-AIDS mortality in men and on total mortality in women." In addition, a 1999 report by the US National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine concluded, "There is no conclusive evidence that marijuanacauses cancer in humans, including cancers usually related to tobacco use."A pair of editorials published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, reached a similar conclusion, finding: "The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. S It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat S than alcohol or tobacco."For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751.DL: Diego Medi-Pot Patient Sentenced To Six Months On Federal Pot Cultivation ChargeMay 1, 2003 - San Diego, CA, USASan Diego, CA: United States District Judge James Fitzgerald sentenced medical marijuana patient Steve McWilliams on Tuesday to six months in prison the maximum allowed under a plea bargain he agreed to in February. McWilliams who was co-director of San Diego's Shelter from the Storm medical marijuana dispensary, and an original member of the city's Medical Cannabis Task Force was also given three years probation, and ordered not to use marijuana even though he possesses a doctor's recommendation to do so. McWilliams plead guilty in February to felony cultivation of marijuana for maintaining a 20-plant garden in his home. Many drug law reform experts believe that McWilliams was singled out for federal prosecution because he was outspoken and politically active regarding the legalization of medicinal marijuana.McWilliams will remain free on bail pending appeal.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Activist Sentenced To Prison Activist Sentenced To Prison Out on Bail After Federal Charges Than 200 Cities, 30 Countries To Hold Marijuana Rallies This WeekendMay 1, 2003 - New York, NY, USANew York City, NY: Marijuana law reform activists in over 200 cities worldwide will hold marches this weekend to protest the criminalization of cannabis. The annual global event, known as the "Million Marijuana March," begins Saturday, March 3, and is coordinated by Cures-Not-Wars in New York City. A list of participating cities as well as flyers and posters for the event is available at the CNW website at: http://www.cures-not-wars.orgThe following NORML affiliates will also be participating in this year's marches: California NORML; Colorado University NORML; University of Illinois NORML; Iowa NORML; Indiana NORML; New Paltz NORML (NY); New Mexico NORML; Maine-ly NORML (ME); Maryland NORML; Metro West NORML (MA); Students for the Legalization of Marijuana and Hemp at WPI (MA); Michigan NORML; Benzie County NORML (MI); NORML of Macomb County (MI); St. Cloud State University NORML (MN); Missouri NORML; Greater St. Louis NORML (MO); New Jersey NORML; North Ohio NORML; Oregon NORML; Midlands NORML (SC); Texas Tech NORML; Vermont NORML; Wisconsin NORML; and UW Fox Valley NORML (WI). To contact a NORML affiliate, please visit: more information on the "Million Marijuana March," please visit: or contact Cures-Not-Wars at (212) 677-7180.DL: Rally, City Event in Conflict Urges Cannabis Homes Must Get Stoned NORML Foundation (DC)Published: May 1, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- April 24, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 10, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- April 3, 2003

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Comment #2 posted by ekim on May 01, 2003 at 19:03:43 PT
read the Press Report on April 29 DC event I have not found any story on this event, I wonder what Norml thinks about it.
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on May 01, 2003 at 17:49:12 PT
how much time was he looking at
McWilliams plead guilty in February to felony cultivation of marijuana for maintaining a 20-plant garden in his homehow much time do the feds want someone with 20 plants to serve in prison -- while cutting the budget to the bone do we have money to waste on court costs and housing good humanbeings like Mr. McWilliams. No. plus its not moral. 
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