NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- September 11, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- September 11, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on September 11, 2003 at 16:15:22 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Legal To Possess Four Ounces of Marijuana in Alaska, Court Says -- Decision Voids Recriminalization Initiative Approved in 1990September 11, 2003 - Anchorage, AK, USAAnchorage, Alaska: In a decision released on August 29, the Alaska Court of Appeals has upheld a 1975 state Supreme Court decision holding that the right to privacy in the state Constitution precludes any penalty against private use and possession of marijuana by adults.
The decision also struck down a 1990 state initiative that attempted to recriminalize marijuana, on the basis that the initiative-passed statute conflicts with the state Constitution."With regard to possession of marijuana by adults in their homes for personal use, (the law) must be interpreted to prohibit only the possession of four ounces or more of marijuana," wrote Court of Appeals Judge David Stewart in the unanimous decision. The law also allows cultivation of marijuana for personal use.The decision was handed down in the case of David Noy, 41, who was arrested for smoking marijuana at his home in North Pole, AK during a barbecue with friends.The 1975 decision in Ravin v. State of Alaska held that Article I, Section 22 of the Alaska Constitution, which reads "The right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed.," protects the personal use of marijuana in one's home. A few years later, in 1982, the legislature set a four-ounce limit on personal use. Then in 1990, in an effort led by former US Drug Czar Bill Bennett, a statewide initiative was approved by a small margin (51% approved) which sought to reestablish criminal penalties for possession or use of any amount of marijuana.For years, defense attorneys in Alaska have been successfully getting personal use cases dismissed by raising the constitutional issue, and the government has generally failed to appeal the dismissals, to avoid establishing precedent they might not like. The Noy case is the first to reach the Appeals Court level, and it will likely be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.Attorney Bill Satterberg, who represented Noy in the matter, said it had basically taken 13 years to get the right case before the appeals court to challenge the 1990 voter initiative. "I think the state, from their perspective, made a very bad decision in prosecuting a case that probably should have been dismissed."For more details, contact NORML Legal Committee member William Bryson in Anchorage, Alaska at 907-276-8611 or Keith Stroup of NORML at 202-483-5500.DL: Court Ruling Shelves Valley Marijuana Case Ruling Puts Police on Hold Court Ruling Sparks Hope for Advocates Ruling Smokes Foes Court: Drug Ban Unconstitutional Seattle To Vote on "Lowest Priority" Marijuana InitiativeSeptember 11, 2003 - Seattle, WA, USASeattle, WA: Seattle voters on September 16th will have the opportunity to decide whether to approve an initiative that would instruct the police and the City Attorney to make adult marijuana possession cases "the city's lowest law-enforcement priority." Initiative I-75, sponsored by the Sensible Seattle Coalition, enjoys the support of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington; the King County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of Seattle; as well as several members of the City Council and County Council."Given the limited resources, let's focus on public safety and let's not focus on pot smokers, at least not as a criminal matter," said Roger Goodman, director of the King County Bar Association's Drug Policy Project. According to Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, there were 418 marijuana possession cases brought in Seattle in 2001, the latest data available.For more information: Contact Sensible Seattle Coalition director Dominic Holden at 206-423-3005 or visit their website at: Czar Calls Seattle Pot Initiative a 'Con' Czar Blasts City's Initiative 75 on Marijuana To Initiative 75: Free Up Police, Courts To Initiative 75: Proponents Use Scare Tactics a Dopey Idea - Seattle Times California Man Allowed To Use Medical Marijuana While On ProbationSeptember 11, 2003 - Fairfield, CA, USAFairfield, CA: The California Court of Appeals recently ruled that a convicted felon on probation may use medical marijuana, overturning an earlier decision by the trial judge.Jeffrey Gorden of Vacaville suffers from fibromyalgia, a painful nerve disease. Gorden alleged that traditional painkillers made it next to impossible for him to function, and that marijuana was far more effective. Gorden was arrested and convicted for cultivating seven marijuana plants when he appeared before Judge Luis Villarreal for sentencing. While he did not have a physician's recommendation at the time of the arrest, Gorden did obtain a recommendation two weeks later.At sentencing, Gorden's attorney, Leslie Prince, asked the judge for permission for her client to use medical marijuana to treat his fibromyalgia, but the judge refused. "He's got a disease readily treatable by conventional means ... He'll have to choose some other option ... because he can't use illegal drugs." said Judge Villarreal.The Court of Appeals declared Villarreals' prohibition on medical marijuana to be "arbitrary and capricious," adding, "(Villarreal's) medical opinions ... are not supported by anything ... and are uniformly contradicted by respected medical institutions.""Gordon was an ideal candidate for medical marijuana," said his attorney. "He had no criminal record and he never used illegal drugs of any kind before he learned that marijuana could help him."For more information, contact California NORML Director Dale Gieringer at 415-563-5858 or Keith Stroup of NORML at 202-483-5500.DL: Man Claims Right To Grow Pot,000 People Expected at Boston Freedom Rally on September 20 -- 14th Annual Protest On Boston Common Against Marijuana ProhibitionSeptember 11, 2003 - Boston, MA, USABoston, MA: Fifty thousand people are expected to attend MassCann/NORML's 14th Annual Freedom Rally on Saturday, September 20 on the Boston Common. The theme of the event this year is "Fight Terrorism, End Marijuana Prohibition."Recent studies written by Jeffrey Miron, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at Boston University have determined that decriminalizing marijuana in Massachusetts would produce an annual savings in law enforcement resources of $24.3 million, and that legalizing marijuana would save Massachusetts $120.6 million per year, and would yield at least $16.9 million in tax revenue each year.Steve Epstein, a founder and officer of MassCann/NORML, says these studies "make clear what we have been arguing for years. If we treat marijuana like alcohol, we would free law enforcement to perform other tasks and generate revenue for public safety, education, and other core government functions."Speakers at the Boston Freedom Rally will include nationally recognized cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, who was recently prosecuted federally for providing medical marijuana for patients in California; Keith Stroup, founder and executive director of NORML, the lobby for responsible marijuana smokers in America; Gary Nolan, a candidate for nomination of the Libertarian party for president; and Darrell Rogers, head of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.Top regional bands, including several winners of the 2003 Boston Music Awards, will perform at the rally, including Scissorfight; Spookie Daly Pride; The Dresden Dolls; and Waltham. Other activities will include a hemp fashion show and a Hemposium, where people can learn about the many uses of industrial hemp.For more information, contact MassCann/NORML's Bill Downing at 781-944-2266.DL: Now Offer Medical Marijuana Through Pharmacies -- Belgium Expected To Follow SoonSeptember 11, 2003 - Amsterdam, The NetherlandsAmsterdam, The Netherlands: On September 1, The Netherlands became the first country to make cannabis available as a prescription drug in pharmacies to treat cancer, HIV, and multiple sclerosis patients, according to a recent announcement by the Health Ministry.Doctors in Holland are now permitted to prescribe cannabis to treat chronic pain, nausea and loss of appetite in cancer and HIV patients; to alleviate spasm pain for MS patients; and to reduce physical and verbal tics in people suffering from Tourette's Syndrome. "Cannabis has a beneficial effect for many patients," said a spokesperson for the Health Ministry. Officials said they expect the medical cannabis to be made available initially to between 4,000 and 7,000 patients, rising to 15,000 within the first year.Two companies in Holland have been given licenses to grow special strains of cannabis in laboratory-like conditions to sell to the Health Ministry, which in turn packages and labels the drug to supply to pharmacies. In addition, 80 hospitals and 400 physicians will be permitted to dispense five-gram doses for the equivalent of $48. The Health Ministry recommends patients dilute the cannabis into a tea, or convert it into a spray.The Belgium government subsequently announced that they too would have no objection to adopting the Dutch model and making cannabis available by prescription. GW Pharmaceuticals in England has already applied to the European Union for approval of its sublingual cannabis spray. If granted, the cannabis spray would be available in all EU member states.For more information, contact NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre at 202-483-8751.DL:, Ganja Everywhere ... If You Live in Holland Dutch Go To Pot Cannabis Initiative Stirs Interest in Europe Nations Eye Netherlands Move To Sell Cannabis NORML Foundation (DC)Published: September 11, 2003Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- September 3, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 28, 2003's Weekly News Bulletin -- August 21, 2003
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on September 11, 2003 at 18:27:17 PT
Very Bad Decision?
Attorney Bill Satterberg, who represented Noy in the matter, said it had basically taken 13 years to get the right case before the appeals court to challenge the 1990 voter initiative. "I think the state(Alaska), from their perspective, made a very bad decision in prosecuting a case that probably should have been dismissed."The Alaska state government had to have known what would happen. Maybe they wanted to show the Shrub & Asscrotch up? Maybe they don't want their citizens moving across the border to Canada? Maybe they just forgot about their state Constitution? Either way, the momentum is ours. Sorry anti's...your war on cannabis is on the ropes & going down for the count.The way out is the way in...9/11 - After two years, cover-up begins to unravel: DON'T WE HAVE ANSWERS TO THESE 9/11 QUESTIONS? USAF Bases Within Range On 9/11: HOLE 9/11 PAGE: Knew - An American Requiem:	
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