NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - April 3, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - April 3, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on April 03, 2008 at 13:20:38 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 HIV-Positive Man Wins Acquittal In Texas’ First Cannabis Medical Necessity Defense -- NORML Legal Committee Member Leads Defense   April 3, 2008 - Amarillo, TX, USAAmarillo, TX: NORML Legal Committee member Jeff Blackburn won an acquittal for a man charged with possession of marijuana, by successfully raising a medical necessity defense, believed to be the first to be accepted in Texas courts.
Defendant Tim Stevens, 53, had never been in legal trouble until Amarillo police arrested him for possessing less than 4 grams of marijuana. Mr. Stevens†is HIV-positive and uses medical marijuana in conjunction with his anti-viral medications. Defense expert Dr. Steve Jenison, Medical Director of the Infectious Diseases Bureau for the Department of Health in New Mexico, carried the day with his testimony. Dr. Jenison detailed his success with the New Mexico medical marijuana program in treating severe symptoms, particularly nausea and cyclical vomiting, that plague many HIV / AIDS and cancer patients—for many of whom no effective medicinal alternative exists. "[Jenison]…was a dynamite witness," Blackburn said. "All of this evidence came together and made for a solid defense case -- one strong enough for us to get an instruction to the jury that they should acquit if they had a reasonable doubt about medical necessity.""We prepared a very extensive presentation about the medical benefits of marijuana," Blackburn continued. "We relied on clearly established scientific studies and approaches, all of which show that there are distinct benefits derived from the use of inhaled marijuana." The jury was out only eleven minutes before reaching a unanimous verdict of "not guilty." County attorney Scott Brumley called the verdict "unfortunate." "I respect the jury's verdict. ... That doesn't mean I agree with it," he said.Blackburn, who also serves as chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas, which seeks to identify and exonerate innocent people who have been mistakenly convicted and imprisoned, believes that this victory can be replicated in other states as well. "Nearly all states have some variant of the old common law necessity defense."For more information, please contact NORML Legal Director Keith Stroup at 202-483-5500.DL:  Vermont Supreme Court Rules Search Warrant Required for Overflight Surveillance  April 3, 2008 - Montpelier, VT, USAMontpelier, VT: The Vermont Supreme Court ruled last week that police must first obtain a search warrant before making low level surveillance flights over private property. The case began after a Forest Service official, believing defendant Stephan Bryant to be "paranoid" about his privacy, suggested to Vermont State Police that they conduct a fly-over to look for marijuana. On Aug. 7, 2003, a state trooper and an Army National Guard pilot flew over the property hovering about 100 feet above it for 15 to 30 minutes, according to Friday’s court opinion. Two plots of marijuana were spotted from the air. Law enforcement then applied for and received a search warrant, and seized about 45 plants.Ruling that Vermonters’ right to privacy extends to the airspace above their homes, the state’s highest court threw out a felony marijuana cultivation conviction against Bryant. A 57-year-old contractor, Bryant testified at his 2005 trial that he uses marijuana as an analgesic, to cope with pain he suffers as the result of a construction accident in the 1970s. His property, on a wooded hillside in a remote area of Goshen, is accessible only by a locked gate on a US Forest Service road. In a 4-1 decision, the justices said the helicopter wasn’t high enough when it made it’s flyover. "The occupants were law-enforcement officers, trained in the identification of marijuana, who conducted an overflight at illegal altitudes solely for the purpose of discovering evidence of crime within a private enclave into which they were constitutionally forbidden to intrude at ground level without a warrant," the Court wrote in it’s ruling. "The actions of law enforcement — flying only 100 feet above the ground for up to 30 minutes over a hillside home — were an unreasonable intrusion of privacy that triggers constitutional protection.""It doesn’t matter if the invasion comes on wheels or on helicopter rotors," said Bryant’s lawyer, William Nelson. "Vermonters have a right to expect the government will not be intruding on their privacy, whether it’s in their house, in their backyard or on their property."For more information, contact NORML Legal Director Keith Stroup at 202-483-5500.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: April 3, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 10:03:09 PT
Comment 3
Not that it matters... but I think it was a six person jury in this case. I might be wrong... but I think that's what it was. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on April 04, 2008 at 09:58:56 PT
comment 2
And of course, the "professional" deceivers, the prohibitionist/preventionists created that myth... as they have others, all by themselves.I was shocked when I first read that "Lowers fertility" crap. Real life said they were wrong, wrong, wrong. But of course, my feelings about it were just "anecdotal"... while their opinion was "scientific" and "expert". Lying creeps. Trouble is, their lies "came home to roost" in other people's lives besides their own.
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on April 03, 2008 at 18:23:48 PT
About the Texas court case...
Imagine a jury of 12 people who largely don't know much about the medical use of cannabis. Now they sit through this case and come away with one great lesson that helps spread the word very well.More people now know about the God-given plant and they will tell their friends and will more likely consider using it themselves.Plus this is another news item that will help more people know that cannabis is available and a good choice that has legal consideration favorable for citizens.Way to go NORML et al. Way to go government.A win win for cannabis.
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Comment #2 posted by aolbites on April 03, 2008 at 15:19:57 PT
here's a scary one: 
here's a scary one: survey showed that Florida teens also believe that smoking marijuana will prevent a person from getting pregnant.State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida’s abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.-=snip=-and all the stupid ads saying it reduces fertility etc... 
impeach the crooks and liars!!
Impeach Bush! Sign the petition! More Reasons needed?
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 03, 2008 at 14:02:03 PT
NPR: Legitimacy of Pot Tax Revenue Remains Hazy
By Richard GonzalesApril 3, 2008URL:
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