NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - April 17, 2008

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - April 17, 2008
Posted by CN Staff on April 17, 2008 at 15:26:56 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
  Federal Decriminalization Bill Introduced -- Bill Would End Federal Authority to Arrest Adults for Pot Possession   April 17, 2008 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: US Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced legislation in Congress today to strip the federal government of its authority to arrest responsible adult cannabis consumers. The measure, H.R. 5843, known as an “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults,” is the first federal decriminalization legislation introduced in 24 years.
“It's time for the politicians to catch up with the public on this [issue],” Frank said. "The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly."Frank's pending bill, co-sponsored by presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), seeks to eliminate all federal penalties prohibiting the personal use and possession of up to 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) of marijuana. Under this measure, adults who consume cannabis would no longer face arrest, prison, or even the threat of a civil fine. The bill also eliminates all penalties for the not-for-profit transfers of up to one ounce of pot.NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup, who worked closely with Frank's staff to draft this legislation, said, "If passed by Congress, this legislation would legalize the possession, use, and non-profit transfer of marijuana by adults for the first time since 1937." The bill incorporates the basic recommendations of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (also known as the Shafer Commission).Currently, twelve states have enacted various versions of marijuana decriminalization, eliminating criminal penalties for minor pot violations. According to federal data, passage of these laws has not subsequently led to increased marijuana use.“This newly introduced legislation seeks to bring the federal government into line with the over 100 million Americans who currently live in a state or municipality that has already decriminalized cannabis possession,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said today. “This year, the masses in the U.S. celebrating 4/20 really have something to rejoice, and to now lobby for.”Similar statewide legislation is pending in New Hampshire and Vermont. Additionally, Massachusetts voters will decide on a statewide decriminalization measure this November.According to a nationwide CNN/Time Magazine poll, more than three-quarters of American adults favor decriminalizing marijuana.For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. Supporters can write their Representatives in favor of this bill at:  Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced by Rep. Ron Paul  April 17, 2008 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced H.R. 5842, the “Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” earlier today. This bill would make federal authorities respect states' current laws on medicinal cannabis and end DEA raids on facilities distributing medical marijuana legally under state law.Representative Paul, whose presidential campaign prominently featured the ending of the drug war as a platform plank, was joined by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) in sponsoring this bill.“I think marijuana is a helpful medical treatment for the people who have intractable nausea,” Paul said in a 2004 House debate regarding a similar measure. “I would like to point out this is not something strange that we are suggesting here. For the first 163 years of our history in this country, the federal government had total hands off, they never interfered with what the states were doing.”Twelve states have approved the use of medical marijuana, beginning with California in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. The DEA continues to raid and harass medicinal cannabis dispensaries operating within these states' laws. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both indicated they would end such raids should they be elected.Michigan will vote on an initiative to adopt medical cannabis legislation this November. Minnesota and Rhode Island's respective legislatures are also considering pro-reform legislation this year.For more information, contact NORML Legal Director Keith Stroup at (202) 483-5500. Supporters can write their Representatives in favor of this bill at:  NORML To Hold First Annual 4/20 Moneybomb - Organization's Facebook Supporters Reach 420,000 April 17, 2008 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: NORML is offering supporters the opportunity to join NORML for only $4.20 this Sunday, April 20th, available exclusively at supporters who take advantage of this celebratory, one-day-only offer will receive a special NORML sticker, Freedom Card, and a one-year NORML membership, which usually costs $35.“4/20 is a special date when cannabis consumers celebrate marijuana and all of its various unique cultural interpretations and accoutrements,” NORML Outreach Coordinator Ron Fisher said today. “With the introduction of two new federal pro-reform bills, this year's 4/20 celebrations provide citizens nationwide who support cannabis law reform unique opportunities that NORML strongly encourages them to exercise: join NORML for $4.20 on 4/20, celebrate 4/20 responsibly, and, most importantly, lobby for reforms on 4/21.”NORML's 4/20moneybomb, inspired by Representative Ron Paul's fundraising success in his recent presidential campaign, is only one part of NORML's online outreach strategy, which includes a daily podcast, NORML's blog, and popular pages at Facebook and MySpace.Started only last September, NORML's Facebook Cause group, the largest group of self-identified cannabis law reform supporters in the world, reached a membership total of 420,000 members Tuesday. “Coincidence? A propitious omen to say the least,” commented NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre.For more information, contact NORML Outreach Coordinator Ron Fisher at (202) 483-5500, or direct your browser to: http://www.420moneybomb.comDL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: April 17, 2008Copyright: 2008 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on April 18, 2008 at 07:32:08 PT
It's possible, Storm Crow.
All of you... don't stop believing now.I know we're all too accustomed to two steps forward and three back... but this is wonderful. No one wants to get too excited, because of fear of disappointment. But this is exciting. This is wonderful. We should and can feel very positive about this. It's extraordinary, it's monumental, and reluctant as we might be that any good will come of it... it's already good! It's wonderful good.
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Comment #11 posted by Storm Crow on April 18, 2008 at 06:32:50 PT
Is it possible?????
Will 2009 be the year I can, as a medical cannabis user, finally be rid of that last bit of fear? Becoming "California legal" was a fantastic relief for me- I can only imagine what it would be like to be free from "federal fear"! 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 17, 2008 at 20:08:51 PT
If you're dreaming don't wake up! I hope you have a great weekend.
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Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on April 17, 2008 at 19:59:43 PT:
A federal medical cannabis bill and a federal decriminalization bill introduced in congress both in the same week?Both just in time for the 4/20 celebrations?I must be dreaming.......
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on April 17, 2008 at 19:01:08 PT
I'll guess and if we are lucky maybe the Boston Globe.
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Comment #7 posted by RevRayGreen on April 17, 2008 at 18:42:07 PT
Who will be the first major news source
to print or telecast/cover the introduction of the bill? And which ones will be handed the same 420 propaghanda to release as news afterwards.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 17, 2008 at 17:17:04 PT
I agree. The states with harsh marijuana laws won't have any excuses not to move forward with reform.
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Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on April 17, 2008 at 17:15:46 PT
contact your Reps
We need to encourage all our friends and relatives etc. to contact their Representatives and Senators and ask them to support the passage of HR 5842 and HR5843. Overwhelm them with nice letters, cards, faxes, email, and or telephone calls urging them to support these important pieces of legislation. According to a nationwide CNN/Time Magazine poll, more than three-quarters of American adults favor decriminalizing marijuana. Show them how many letters that can be.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on April 17, 2008 at 17:08:25 PT
When it passes it will have a powerful effect on state and local governments. State legislators and local politicians can no longer say they can't do any thing good about the cannabis laws because the Federal laws hang over their heads.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on April 17, 2008 at 16:56:20 PT
Frank and Paul!
There are TWO Heroes! Two true heroes! They are courage personified.May there be more heroes in our Congress than we could have imagined! May they overwhelm the cowards and the persecutors and end the unjust laws that have hurt so many for so long!Wonderful!As I said on another thread, I'm not going to stop believing in miracles now.Let as many as will, be courageous and true to end the persecution and injustice of cannabis prohibition!
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Comment #2 posted by Robbie on April 17, 2008 at 16:22:05 PT
No state or local ordinances would be affected by this bill. Of course, this bill will never pass, but maybe it will get people talking about the issue. Maybe.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 17, 2008 at 15:27:38 PT
Good News!
Now this is progress to me.
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