NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- November 18, 2004

  NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- November 18, 2004

Posted by CN Staff on November 18, 2004 at 15:41:23 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML 

Companion Bill To "Truth In Trials Act" Introduced In US SenateNovember 18, 2004 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Congressman Richard Durbin (D-IL), along with co-sponsors Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT), introduced legislation this week in the United States Senate seeking to allow medicinal marijuana patients to raise an affirmative defense of medical necessity in federal court. The bill, S. 2989, is a companion bill to House Bill 1717, "the Truth in Trials Act," which was introduced in April 2003 but failed to receive a hearing in the House of Representatives.
Because federal law defines marijuana as a substance without "accepted medical use," defendants charged with violating the Controlled Substances Act may not raise evidence at trial demonstrating that their marijuana use was either medicinal and/or in compliance with state law. In recent years, federal drug enforcement agents have taken legal action against approximately 50 medicinal marijuana patients and providers - primarily in California, which legalized the possession and use of cannabis by authorized patients in 1996. Other states that have enacted laws protecting qualified patients who use marijuana are: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington."Under this legislation, defendants in ... states with medicinal marijuana laws could be found not guilty of violating federal law if their actions are done in compliance with state law," Senator Durbin said in a prepared statement.Congress is anticipated to adjourn imminently without addressing S. 2989.Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case (Raich et al. v. Ashcroft et al.) to determine whether the federal prosecution of patients who possess and cultivate marijuana for their own personal use in accordance with state law is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress' Commerce Clause authority.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.DL: Would Allow Medical Defense in Trials Allows Medical Marijuana Defense Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana Defense Many Private Companies Fail To Confirm Drug Tests, Report SaysNovember 18, 2004 - Research Triangle Park, NC, USAResearch Triangle Park, NC: Many private companies that perform drug tests on employees and/or potential applicants fail to confirm positive test results at a certified lab or have the results reviewed by a medical review officer, according to report published this week by The Washington Post. Such review procedures are necessary to weed out instances where the initial positive result is either a "false positive" (a case where a legally ingested substance tests positive as an illegal substance) or is the result of the subject's use of a valid prescription drug.Because confirmation testing is more expensive to perform than the initial drug screen, a variety of which are available in kits and sold in pharmacies over-the-counter, a growing number of small and medium-size private companies are forgoing it in favor of cheaper, less reliable testing procedures."In a nutshell, non-regulated employers feel that it's fast and cheap to screen applicants themselves" using over-the-counter drug tests, said Ted Shults, chairman of the American Association of Medical Review Officers. "That does not provide the applicant any safeguards."Under federal drug testing guidelines, all positive drug screens must be confirmed by a certified laboratory and a medical review officer. However, those guidelines may change imminently, as the US Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently proposed allowing federal agencies to use non-FDA approved drug testing devices such as hair tasting and saliva testing to screen for drug use among federal employees.For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500.DL: Drug Testing Archives Considering Stiffer Pot PenaltiesNovember 18, 2004 - Rome, ItalyRome, Italy: The Italian Senate is considering legislation that would dramatically increase penalties on individuals who possess and use marijuana.Under present law, individuals who possess marijuana for personal use face a summons and a warning, while defendants found guilty of cultivating and/or trafficking in cannabis face up to 20 years imprisonment. The proposed law would remove any legal distinctions between possessing and trafficking in marijuana if the amount of cannabis possessed exceeds "250 milligrams," Reuters News Service reports.Italy's move toward recriminalization stands in sharp contrast to other European Union nations, such as Belgium, Great Britain, and Portugal, which have enacted legislation in recent years lessening pot penalties.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of The NORML Foundation, at (202) 483-5500. A detailed summary of European cannabis laws on NORML's website: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: November 18, 2004Copyright: 2004 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin --Nov. 12, 2004's Weekly News Bulletin --Nov. 04, 2004

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Comment #11 posted by rchandar on November 19, 2004 at 15:50:08 PT:
sam adams
yeah--you've got it about right. and switzerland's pro-legalization legislation probably won't go ahead because of pressure from italy in particular; they've been complaining for awhile about dope being smuggled in from the's too bad, because switzerland is great. a paradise for smoking, one of the best places (in the West) to do these kinds of things.Peace,
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Comment #10 posted by dr slider on November 19, 2004 at 11:50:51 PT:
freedom on the march
In this age of Orwellian doublespeak red flags should blaze through the mind when politicians push anything called a "Freedom Initiative"."What a evider he must be to vote against patriotism, healthy forests, clear skies, and even FREEDOM... for God's sake."
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Comment #9 posted by ekim on November 19, 2004 at 11:36:17 PT
re comment #5
: Bush’s New Freedom Initiative: “Treatment” For Using Cannabis,
Fight CPS warns, “Here is what the Final Report of the New Freedom Commission suggests:“The Commission supports implementing systematic screening procedures to identify mental health and substance use problems and treatment needs in all settings in which children, youth, adults, or older adults are at high risk for mental illnesses or in settings in which a high occurrence of co-occurring mental and substance use disorders exists. In addition to specialty mental health and substance abuse treatment settings, screening for co-occurring disorders should be implemented when an individual enters the juvenile or criminal justice systems, child welfare system, homeless shelters, hospitals, senior housing, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other settings where populations are at high risk. Screening should also occur periodically after an individual enters any of these facilities.”“When mental health problems are identified, children, youth, adults, and older adults should be linked with appropriate services, supports, or diversion programs. Additionally, given the high incidence of substance use disorders among parents of children in the child welfare system, where indicated, these parents should be screened for co-occurring disorders and linked with appropriate treatment and supports.”To make matters even worse, the Federal government is funding research to find cannabis blockers as a way of “treating” cannabis users. Thus, when cannabis users are identified under the NFI, they could be forced to take cannabis blockers in order to regain custody of their children and/or be released from “treatment.”
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Comment #8 posted by E_Johnson on November 19, 2004 at 10:23:00 PT
Now NORML needs to fix it
Or everyone will think it's about hiking.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 19, 2004 at 10:16:33 PT
Thanks EJ I fixed it!
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 19, 2004 at 10:14:22 PT

Press Release From The Drug Policy Alliance
Medical Marijuana Goes to WashingtonNovember 19, 2004 Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to fully defend themselves in court under a bill introduced this week in the U.S. Senate. S. 2989 is a companion piece to the "Truth in Trials" Act scuttled by the House last year.Unlike in trials for serious crimes such as murder and assault, marijuana defendants are gagged under federal law from explaining why they use the drug -- because federal law does not recognize the medical defense. S. 2989, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, Jim Jeffords and Patrick Leahy, would allow an affirmative medical defense if the defendant lives in one of the 12 states where medicinal marijuana is legal under state law.The legislation is inspired by the Ed Rosenthal case, in which jurors convicted Rosenthal as a drug dealer but renounced their verdict publicly after learning he was providing medical marijuana to the seriously ill.Congress is just days from adjourning, and will almost definitely not take action on the Durbin bill. But the measure is symbolic because medical marijuana is rarely even discussed in the Senate."The Truth in Trials Act would go a long way towards protecting medical marijuana patients from being sent to jail for following their doctors' advice," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Senators Durbin, Jeffords, and Leahy should be commended for taking decisive action on this important issue."
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Comment #5 posted by siege on November 19, 2004 at 07:52:19 PT

URGENT ALERT: VOTE COMING ON FORCED MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING Members of Congress Face Conflict of Interest When it Comes to Drug Companies The American Freedom Press
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on November 18, 2004 at 23:26:09 PT

EJ, sharp eye!
I see it. I didn't, but I do now.
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on November 18, 2004 at 23:11:18 PT

Happy Trials to you
Anyone spot the typo? ;-)
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on November 18, 2004 at 17:48:23 PT

A couple years ago, Swiss growers were bolding filling greenhouses with cannabis plants. Then the swiss govt. cracked down (it's still semi-legal there, they just don't want people openly growing on and industrial scale). Supposedly it was pressure from the Italian govt. that cause the crackdown - the herb was flowing over the border, or they said it was. Maybe the mafia in Italy wants their product line protected??? Italy & the US: 2 of the most corrupt 1st world countries. It makes sense.
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on November 18, 2004 at 17:45:59 PT

Where Have They Been?
From the first article on the bulletin...Congress is anticipated to adjourn imminently without addressing S. 2989.Is the Senate just playing lip-service to "truth in trials" like the House did? Why are these bozos just now bringing this up? Where have they been? We should contact our Senators anyway and urge them to follow through on this!Sorry if these have been posted...Swiss youths smoke most dope in Europe: farming gains in popularity (India) way out is the way in...Underwriters' Labs fires 9/11 whistleblower: Ryan of UL FIRED FOR QUESTIONING GOVERNMENT COLLAPSE STORY COVERUP!!! whistleblower, Kevin Ryan (Underwriters Laboratories) FIRED: Widows Challenge Bush's Nomination of Rice to State Despite Record of Incompetence and Deception over 9/11: DARE FAMILIES & SURVIVORS OF 9/11 QUESTION GOVERNMENT VERSION!
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