NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - March 29, 2007

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - March 29, 2007
Posted by CN Staff on March 29, 2007 at 14:10:06 PT
Weekly Press Release 
Source: NORML 
Utah: Pot Odor Not Sufficient For Warrantless Search, Supreme Court RulesMarch 29, 2007 - Salt Lake City, UT, USASalt Lake City, UT: The odor of burning marijuana emanating outside of a home does not grant law enforcement the authority to enter that residence without a warrant to search for contraband, the Utah Supreme Court recently ruled in a 4-1 decision.
The ruling affirms a 2005 Utah Court of Appeals decision determining that police improperly entered a private residence after reportedly smelling "marijuana leaking out of the cracks of the trailer."Writing for the majority, Justice Ronald Nehring opined that only a limited number of circumstances -- such as the imminent destruction of evidence -- create exigent circumstances to justify a warrantless search."We decline to pare back a fundamental constitutional guarantee where the commission of an offense -- in this case, smoking marijuana -- involves as its incidental but inevitable consequence the destruction of evidence," the Court determined. "Presumably, even if some of the marijuana was destroyed through the process of smoking while law enforcement sought a warrant, some evidence of the drug use would linger in the form of residue, smoking paraphernalia, and some quantity of unsmoked marijuana.. ... [Therefore,] the aroma of marijuana must be accompanied by some evidence that the suspects are disposing of the evidence, as opposed to casually consuming it, before law enforcement officials may be lawfully justified in claiming the benefit of the exigent circumstances exception."A 2004 paper published in the journal Law and Human Behavior reported that marijuana's odor is seldom strong enough to be detected by law enforcement outside of a home and/or the trunk of an automobile.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the decision, Utah v. Duran, is available online at: Therapy Prevalent Among HIV/AIDS Patients, Study SaysMarch 29, 2007 - Sydney, AustraliaSydney, Australia: A substantial portion of patients living with HIV or AIDS use cannabis therapeutically to treat symptoms of the disease and/or the side-effects of prescription medications, according to survey data published in the current issue of the journal AIDS Care.Investigators at the University of New South Wales, National Center in HIV Research, conducted face-to-face interviews with 408 patients with HIV or AIDS over a one-year period. Of the 408 participants, 244 (59.8 percent) reported having used cannabis during the past six months. Of these patients, 108 (44.3 percent) said they used it therapeutically.Those who used cannabis medically were on average younger in age, had lower incomes, and had higher CD4/T-cell counts compared with those who reported only using pot recreationally.Clinical trial data published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2003 also reported that cannabis use by HIV patients was associated with increased CD4/T-cell counts compared to non-users.  "These results show that a substantial proportion of people living with HIV/AIDS use marijuana for therapeutic purposes, despite substantial legal barriers, suggesting [that] marijuana represents another treatment option in their health management," authors concluded.Most recently, investigators at San Francisco General Hospital and the University of California's Pain Clinical Research Center reported in the journal Neurology that inhaling cannabis significantly reduced HIV-associated neuropathy compared to placebo.Previous surveys in the US and Canada indicate that an estimated 25 to 29 percent of HIV/AIDS patient use cannabis therapeutically. Survey data presented in 2004 at the XV International AIDS Conference in Thailand reported that HIV/AIDS patients who used medical marijuana were 3.3 times more likely to adhere to their anti-retroviral therapy regimens than non-cannabis users.For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Marijuana as therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS: Social and health aspects," appears in the February issue of AIDS Care.DL: City Council Makes Pot Recrim "Emergency" Ordinance "Indefinite"March 29, 2007 - Cincinnati, OH, USACincinnati, OH: Members of the Cincinnati City Council voted 7-2 this week to make a provisional ordinance criminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses "indefinite," despite the law's apparent failure to show a demonstrable reduction in serious crime or so-called 'drug tourism.' The municipal ordinance, initially passed by the Council in March 2006, was slated to expire this week.Under the ordinance, marijuana offenders in Cincinnati face up to 30 days in jail, a $250 fine, and a criminal record for possessing small quantities of the drug. By contrast, under state law, possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana is punishable by a $100 citation and no jail time.Members of the City Council pushed for the ordinance last year, arguing that it would reduce the city's violent crime rate and dissuade citizens of neighboring states from traveling to Cincinnati to purchase pot. However, according to crime statistics published last week in the Cincinnati Beacon, the number of murders (16%), rapes (5%), burglaries (7%) and robberies (44%) in the city has increased since the passage of last year's ordinance. In addition, the percentage of non-Ohio citizens cited under the ordinance remained virtually unchanged from 2005 to 2006.According to a preliminary six-month fiscal review of the ordinance, enforcement of the law has increased city police costs by more than 150 percent. A one-year report summarizing the law's impact on crime and city finances was not made available to the public. The ordinance became law without the signature of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Additional information is available online at: http://www.safecincinnati.comDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: March 29, 2007Copyright: 2007 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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