NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 26, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 26, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on June 30, 2003 at 20:03:28 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Pot Smokers Number 163 Million, United Nations Report SaysJune 26, 2003 - Paris, FranceParis, France: An estimated 163 million people worldwide consume marijuana, according to an annual report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Authors said that pot is the most widely produced, trafficked and consumed illicit drug on the planet.
More than 80 percent of the world's illicit drug users consume marijuana, authors noted.In the United States, more than 21 million Americans used marijuana and/or hashish in the past year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 13 percent of the world's pot smokers live in the U.S., according to the report.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. More information on the U.N. report, "2003 Global Illicit Drug Trends" is available online at: http://www.unodc.orgDL: Backpedals On Pot Decriminalization PlanJune 26, 2003 - London, EnglandLondon, England: British officials have delayed plans to formally downgrade marijuana possession to a non-arrestable offense, according to statements made this week from a spokesman for the British Home Office. The legal change, which Home Secretary David Blunkett had previously promised would occur this summer, is now unlikely to be implemented until sometime after January 2004.The Home Office maintains the delay is because Parliament must first reclassify marijuana under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act before any changes in pot penalties can take place. Under the proposed plan - which has been endorsed by Parliament's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee and the Police Foundation, among others - marijuana will be reclassified from a Class B to a Class C drug, the least harmful category of illicit drugs under British law.Once reclassified, police will no longer have the legal authority to make arrests in cases involving the possession of small amounts of pot, unless there are aggravating factors present.This week's announcement from the Home Office is a departure from statements made by the Secretary in October of 2001 when he announced that marijuana's reclassification would be enacted by an executive order, not legislatively. At that time, Blunkett implied the change could come within several months. Last summer, he revised that time frame, but reaffirmed plans to reclassify cannabis by this July.Marijuana smokers are expected to receive a warning from police if they possess three grams or less of cannabis once the new law takes effect.For more information, please contact either NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano at (202) 483-5500.DL: of Cannabis Put Off Till Next Year Policy Goes Up In Smoke Urges Leniency for Cannabis Growers Nearly One In Five Felony Drug Offenders Convicted For PotJune 26, 2003 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: State courts convicted more than 59,000 marijuana offenders on felony charges in 2000, according to a report released this month by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics.Overall, marijuana felons comprised 6.4 percent of the total 924,700 felony convictions in state courts. Marijuana trafficking convictions were 2.7 percent of the conviction total, and marijuana possession convictions were 3.7 percent of the total. Marijuana offenders comprised slightly less than 20 percent of all felony drug offenders.The DOJ report did not break down the percentage of marijuana felons sentenced to jail. However, among felony drug offenders, those convicted of drug possession were sentenced to jail for an average of 20 months, the report found. Those offenders convicted for drug trafficking were sentenced to jail for an average of 35 months.According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, law enforcement annually arrests an estimated 723,627 persons for marijuana violations. Nearly 90 percent of those arrests are for marijuana possession only, an offense most states treat as a misdemeanor and not a felony.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-8751. Full text of the report, "Felony Sentences in State Courts, 2000," is available online at: Poll: Public Support For Treating Marijuana Like Beer At All Time High - 41 Percent Say Pot Should Be Taxed, RegulatedJune 26, 2003 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: A growing percentage of Americans believe the government should regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, according to a national poll of 1,204 likely voters by Zogby International and commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance.Forty-one percent of respondents agree that "the government should treat marijuana more or less the same way it treats alcohol: it should regulate marijuana, control it, tax it, and only make it illegal for children." That figure is up significantly from the 34 percent of Americans who said they supported legalizing marijuana in a 2001 USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, and is almost three times as high as the percentage who supported legalization in 1972.Hispanics (65 percent) are most likely to agree that the government should tax and regulate marijuana. Also agreeing are approximately half of Democrats, Independents, residents of the East and West, Catholics, those with some college education, adults with household incomes over $75,000 or more, and men.A separate Time Magazine/CNN poll released last October found that 72 percent of Americans favored marijuana decriminalization, a policy whereby marijuana offenders are fined but not jailed, and 40 percent favored outright legalization. The latter figure was more than double the percentage that backed marijuana legalization in 1986."The American public are gradually coming around to the understanding that a legally regulated market for marijuana, with age and quality controls, is far better than the unregulated black market we have today," said NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup. "It's the same lesson we learned with alcohol during the 1920s. Criminal prohibition is a failed public policy that does not work."For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Percent of Americans Say Treat Pot Like Booze Pollster Who Answered a Higher Calling By Richard Cowan NORML Foundation (DC)Published: June 26, 2003 (Updated June 29th)Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- June 19, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 12, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- June 4, 2003
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Comment #4 posted by john wayne on July 01, 2003 at 14:35:46 PT
163,000,000 (163 million)divided by6,000,000,000 (6 billion)= around 3 percent.Seems low to me.(If you reverse the division, you get 36, because
163 million goes into 6 billion 36 times, meaning
that this article claims 1/36th of the planet smokes cannabis. )
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Comment #3 posted by BigDawg on July 01, 2003 at 11:29:54 PT
I thought that number looked alittle too is NOT 36%
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Comment #2 posted by BigDawg on July 01, 2003 at 07:12:08 PT
Let me see here...
163 million pot smokers in a world of 6 billion people means that 36% of the world uses cannabis.Hmmmm
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Comment #1 posted by Virgil on June 30, 2003 at 20:08:53 PT
DEA turns 30
This Alternet article- - has the following one sentence paragraph-So our anti-drug crusade can be expected to continue pretty much as usual  as perhaps the cruelest, most spectacular policy failure in the history of the republic. 
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