NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 4, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 4, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on June 05, 2003 at 16:04:08 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Congress Rejects Efforts To Use Federal Funds To Specifically Target Medical Marijuana Users Campaign Against State Initiatives Amended Language Also Mandates White House Must Identify Itself As A Paid Sponsor Of Anti-Drug AdsJune 4, 2003 - Washington, DC, USA
Washington, DC: Lawmakers today voted to remove and/or clarify several controversial provisions in Congressional legislation (H.R. 2086) reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (a.k.a. the Drug Czar's office).On a voice vote, members of the House Committee on Government Reform approved an amended version of H.R. 2086. Among changes in the bill, the amended version:* Strikes existing language that would have allowed the Drug Czar to reallocate as much as $60.5 million in federal funds from the "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program" to target and prosecute medicinal marijuana patients and their providers in states where the use of physician approved pot is legal.* Eliminates language that would have exempted the ONDCP from federal FCC regulations obligating the agency to identify itself as a sponsor of taxpayer funded anti-drug advertisements and/or embedded content in television programs. The elimination of this provision assures that the agency abides by a previous FCC ruling on behalf of The NORML Foundation and the Media Access Project ordering that all public service announcements (PSAs) broadcasted under the auspices of the White House's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign must identify the ONDCP as a paid sponsor of the programming.* Clarifies language forbidding taxpayer funded advertisements to be used "for partisan political purposes," including efforts "to defeat any clearly identified candidate ... or ballot initiative."NORML Executive Director applauded the fact that some of the more offensive provisions in the ONDCP reauthorization act had been amended, while still questioning Congress's decision to refund the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign in light of studies concluding that it fails to discourage drug use among target audiences."Thanks to these amendments and, in large part, the work of Rep. Waxman, the drug Czar will not be permitted to spend our tax dollars in a partisan political manner to influence state initiatives, nor will his office be permitted to run ads without identifying the ONDCP as the sponsor," Stroup said. "Nevertheless, we are disappointed that in this era of fiscal belt-tightening Congress continues to fund an advertising campaign with such proven poor performance, and that lacks any sort of objective oversight. As long as the White House insists on substituting 'reefer madness' in lieu of honest information, its ads will continue to have a negative impact on teens."A separate amendment proposed by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) to redirect the Drug Czar's efforts away from issues pertaining to the medical use of marijuana was rejected by the Committee. An additional amendment introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-14) mandating the ONDCP to notify Congress of new print and television anti-drug advertisements 30 days prior to their airing was withdrawn.The amended bill now goes before the full House for a vote.For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Compromise Reached on Advertising Protest Drug Czar's Campaigning To Move Anti-Medicinal Pot Funds Judge Rejects Government's Anti-Medicinal Pot Stance Sentences Noted Marijuana Cultivator To One Day In Prison For Medical Marijuana Grow OperationJune 4, 2003 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: A federal judge today sentenced noted marijuana author and cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal to one day in prison with credit for time served. Rosenthal could have faced as many as 60 years in prison after being convicted in January on three counts related to marijuana cultivation. Rosenthal grew marijuana to supply local patients who use it in accordance with state law."This verdict is a marvelous victory for Ed Rosenthal, states' rights, and for the medical use of marijuana," NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said. "It should send a strong message to the Bush Administration to stop wasting federal resources arresting and prosecuting medicinal marijuana patients and their caregivers, and to focus their efforts on serious crime especially anti-terrorism efforts."Rosenthal maintained he had been deputized by the City of Oakland to supply pot to local cooperatives that dispense it to state-qualified patients. His trial gained international attention when jurors publicly recanted their guilty verdict, and announced that they would have acquitted Rosenthal had the judge allowed him to explain that he was legally authorized to grow medical marijuana under state law. During Rosenthal's trial, District Judge Charles Breyer forbade any testimony pertaining to medical cannabis or California's Prop. 215 because federal law doesn't acknowledge that pot has medical value. "The purpose for which the marijuana was grown is not a defense and is irrelevant," Breyer ruled during the trial.Jurors maintained that they were unaware of the context of Rosenthal's activities until after the trial, at which time they spoke out against their decision claiming they were "misled" by government prosecutors.The prosecution of Rosenthal by the federal Justice Department is indicative of the Bush Administration's crackdown on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Since the Administration took office, federal drug enforcement officials have acted against more than 35 medicinal marijuana patients, cooperatives and providers in California alone. (California is one of eight states since 1996 that have legalized the use and cultivation of medical marijuana under state law.) In addition, pending Congressional legislation (H.R. 2086) contains language (Sec. 707) allowing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to reallocate as much as $60.5 million in federal funds from the "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program" to target and prosecute medicinal marijuana patients and their providers in states where the use of physician-approved pot is legal. A separate provision in the bill would allow the ONDCP to use taxpayer dollars to potentially fund partisan advertisements targeting proposed state initiatives or laws seeking to legalize the medical use of marijuana."The Bush Administration, especially Attorney General John Ashcroft and Drug Czar John Walters, are extreme anti-marijuana zealots who are out of touch with the American public 80 percent of whom approve of the medical use of marijuana," Stroup said. "It's time for the Administration to respect the will of the voters, and stop needlessly targeting medicinal marijuana patients and their providers. It is unconscionable to continue to deny an effective medication to those seriously ill patients who need it and have a legal right to use it under state law."For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Ends Medical Marijuana Case Grower Sentenced To One Day Marijuana Activist Free Jail Day for Marijuana Felony Source: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: June 4, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- May 29, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- May 22, 2003
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