NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 28, 2004

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- October 28, 2004
Posted by CN Staff on October 28, 2004 at 15:15:04 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
Several States, Cities To Vote Tuesday On Marijuana Policy October 28, 2004 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Voters in three states and numerous municipalities will vote Tuesday on a variety of marijuana-law reform proposals. Below is a summary of these pending state and regional ballot initiatives.
MEDICAL MARIJUANAMONTANA: The Montana Medical Marijuana Act (I-148) allows qualified patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes under the authorization of their physician. Patients registered with the state are afforded protection under the act, which allows individuals to possess up to six marijuana plants and one usable ounce of marijuana to treat certain qualified medical conditions, including cancer, AIDS, and Multiple Sclerosis.OREGON: The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (Measure 33) amends the state's existing medicinal cannabis law to allow qualified patients to legally possess up to ten marijuana plants at any one time and one pound of usable marijuana. The proposal allows state-certified nurse practitioners and naturopaths to recommend marijuana to their patients, and it expands the definition of a qualifying medical condition to include "any other medical condition for which, in the determination of the attending physician, the medical use of marijuana would be beneficial." The proposal also mandates the state legislature to promulgate rules to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries "to ensure that medical marijuana is available to qualified patients."BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA: The Patients Access to Medical Cannabis Act (Measure R) establishes new municipal guidelines enhancing the amount of medicinal marijuana qualified patients may legally possess without penalty. The proposal replaces Berkeley's 10-plant medical cannabis limit with an amount in accordance with an individual "patient's needs," as defined by the patient and his or her physician. It also calls on the city to distribute medical marijuana if federal officials close Berkeley's four private medicinal cannabis dispensaries.ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN: The Ann Arbor Medical Marijuana Act (Proposal C) amends the Ann Arbor city charter to allow qualified patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes under the authorization of their physician. The proposal mandates "no incarceration, probation, nor any other punitive or rehabilitative measure" for qualified patients, and establishes an "affirmative defense to a prosecution" for patients who use cannabis medicinally.COLUMBIA, MISSOURI: The Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative (Proposition 1) amends the Columbia city criminal code so that "adults who obtain and use marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia for medical purposes pursuant to the recommendation of a physician shall not be subject to any arrest, prosecution, punishment, or sanction." It also mandates that all cases pertaining to the medicinal use of marijuana "shall only be referred to the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney, and no other prosecuting attorney, and the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney shall not refer the matter to any other prosecutor."PERSONAL USE AND REGULATIONALASKA: The Alaska Cannabis Decriminalization & Regulation Act (Measure 2) would mandate that "persons 21 years or older shall not be prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, distribution, or consumption" of marijuana for medicinal, industrial, or recreational purposes. It also encourages the state legislature to establish a system to regulate marijuana "in a manner similar to alcohol or tobacco."OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: The Oakland Cannabis Regulation and Revenue Ordinance (Measure Z) would establish new municipal guidelines directing "the Oakland Police Department to make investigation, citation, and arrest for private adult cannabis offenses the lowest law enforcement priority, effective immediately upon passage of this ordinance." The proposal also mandates the city of Oakland "to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis for adult use, so as to keep it off the streets and away from children and to raise revenue for the city, as soon as possible under state law."COLUMBIA, MISSOURI: The Missouri Smart Sentencing Initiative (Proposition 2) amends the Columbia city criminal code to reduce misdemeanor penalties on the possession of marijuana and/or paraphernalia to a fine-only offense. It also mandates that all cases pertaining to the misdemeanor possession of marijuana "shall only be referred to the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney, and no other prosecuting attorney, and the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney shall not refer the matter to any other prosecutor."For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. A detailed summary of pending state and local ballot initiatives available at: States Face Marijuana Votes Reform To Tap Grassroots Health Canada Regulations Authorize Cannabis Sales In Pharmacies October 28, 2004 - Ottawa, ON, CanadaOttawa, Ontario: Regulations announced by Health Canada this week "provide limited authority for a pharmacy-based distribution system for dried marijuana that is produced by a [government] licensed dealer."The new regulations, first proposed in March, encourage federal authorities to develop a protocol to allow for pharmacies to provide medical cannabis to qualified patients. The proposed plan is modeled after a one-year-old Dutch program that authorizes the sale and distribution of government-approved pot by prescription in licensed pharmacies."Involving pharmacists in the distribution system could enhance the identification and mitigation of risks to the authorized person, particularly when marijuana is combined with other drug therapies the authorized person may be using," the regulations state. "Stakeholders have expressed strong support for the conduct of a pilot project to assess the feasibility of distributing marijuana for medical purposes through a pharmacy-based system. This alternative provides the authority to enable such a pilot project to take place."NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said that a regulated distribution program is appropriate. "If we are to hold cannabis up to the same standards of safety and efficacy that we hold other drugs, then Health Canada should implement a policy so patients may obtain it legally without subjecting themselves to the risks inherent to the black market."Under Canadian law, authorized patients may grow cannabis for medical purposes, or purchase government-grown marijuana from Health Canada. However, of the 781 Canadians licensed with Health Canada to use medical marijuana legally, fewer than 100 have opted to acquire federal pot because of its alleged poor quality. As a result, half of the country's qualified patients obtain medicinal cannabis from patient cooperatives, so-called "compassion clubs," which cultivate and provide medical-grade pot to patients at a minimal cost.In an October 2003 Ontario Court of Appeals ruling, Health Canada was ordered to immediately amend its regulations to allow for the licensing of such cooperatives, though the agency has yet to do so. Health Canada made no mention of the role "compassion clubs" play in the distribution of medicinal cannabis in its amended regulations, causing some Canadian patients to question the agency's motives."The latest set of amendments includes a plan to eventually phase outthe option of personal [cannabis] production in favor of the pharmacy-based distribution of the government's own poor quality and potentially unsafe product," said Philippe Lucas of Cannabis for Safe Access. "Health Canada continues to implement policies designed to entrench its monopoly on [marijuana] production and to placate police demands, rather than addressing the real and immediate needs and concerns of medical users."For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the new Health Canada regulations are available online at: Canada Archives News Release: Marijuana Arrests For Year 2003 Hit Record High, FBI Report Reveals - Pot Smokers Arrested In America At A Rate Of One Every 42 SecondsOctober 25, 2004 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Police arrested an estimated 755,187 persons for marijuana violations in 2003, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprised 45 percent of all drug arrests in the United States."These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 42 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources, costing American taxpayers approximately $7.6 billion dollars annually. These dollars would be better served combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."Of those charged with marijuana violations, 88 percent - some 662,886 Americans - were charged with possession only. The remaining 92,301 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses - even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. In past years, approximately 30 percent of those arrested were age 19 or younger."Present policies have done little if anything to decrease marijuana's availability or dissuade youth from trying it," Stroup said, noting that a majority of young people now report that they have easier access to pot than alcohol or tobacco.The total number of marijuana arrests for 2003 far exceeded the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.Marijuana arrests for 2003 increased 8 percent from the previous year, and have nearly doubled since 1993."Arresting adults who smoke marijuana responsibly needlessly destroys the lives of tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding citizens each year," Stroup said.In the past decade, more than 6.5 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, more than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. Nearly 90 percent of these total arrests were for simple possession, not cultivation or sale. During much of this time, arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, indicating that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs."Marijuana legalization would remove this behemoth financial burden from the criminal justice system, freeing up criminal justice resources to target other more serious crimes, and allowing law enforcement to focus on the highest echelons of hard-drug trafficking enterprises rather than on minor marijuana offenders who present no threat to public safety," Stroup said.Later this fall, the NORML Foundation will be releasing a comprehensive report examining the nature, extent and costs of marijuana arrests in the United States. The report will feature state-by-state analysis of marijuana arrests by race, as well as an economic and geographic analysis of US marijuana arrests. Further information on NORML's forthcoming report is available by contacting the NORML Foundation at: media  --  MARIJUANA ARRESTS2003  -- 755,1872002  -- 697,0822001  --  723,6272000 --  734,4981999  --  704,8121998  --  682,8851997  --  695,2001996  -- 641,6421995  --  588,9631994  -- 499,1221993  -- 380,689For more information, please contact Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.DL: Arrests Hit Record High NORML Foundation (DC)Published: October 28, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin -- Oct. 21, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Oct. 14, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin -- Oct. 07, 2004
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 31, 2004 at 19:43:00 PT
I just saw your comment. That's great news.
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on October 31, 2004 at 19:35:56 PT
how many citys in the US have ticket cannabis laws
Paul are you working with Leap to mention your efforts when they are speaking. who is setting the amounts of fines. is anyone looking at Ann Arbor MI and it 30 year old cannabis ticket law, costing 25 bucks a pop.
do you have PhDs speaking to the issue of worker rights. 
 Paul have you seen that the Hemp Industry will have its 11th convention in San Fran. Thurs to Sun. I have read many stories of brave smart ILL. Professors that were instrumental in sending bills for Cannabis growing. Please see if ILL. can host next years convention so it will be close to more of us. please see Leap site as Co. will have Howard Wooldridge speaking allmost everyday please if you can see him do. and remember many are called but you know the rest.
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Comment #1 posted by paulpeterson on October 30, 2004 at 05:02:55 PT
We've got a good season going out there. States and cities are popping up all over with gusto to change the status quo.Behind the scenes, behind the scenes that is, The Chicago Police Supt's office called me back just yesterday-why? To ask about decriminalization on the North Shore of Chicago. You see, Timmy, they (the police, that is) really do want to change this tide away from criminalization. They were blown away to find that we already have 8 solid towns in Illniois that have seen the light. The guy wanted to see in print the names of these bold towns-He loved my idea of a "5 level analysis" of usage patterns and differential "referral" for help. Level 1 (the least "onerous" group) would get yoga classes, Level 2 needs some sort of social group, Level 3 a therapist (for post trauma talking-by the way, cannabis helps in talk therapy, ahem), Level 4 gets a shrink to assess for less "controversial" medication to help with depression. Level 5's, those people that use many different drugs-we'll send them to detox (forgive me if it seems that I would send cannabis only persons to "detox"-that would be a waste of resources, eh?)Really, of course, everybody needs yoga classes, but of course! All I am really saying is that the police are beginning to talk around here and I am glad for their logic and interest in change. I will update you with any further progress I chart. Over and out. PAUL PETERSON, somewhere in North Shore Land. 
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