NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 8, 2009

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin - January 8, 2009
Posted by CN Staff on January 08, 2009 at 12:18:30 PT
Weekly Press Release
Source: NORML
 Massachusetts Becomes Thirteenth US State To Decriminalize PotJanuary 8, 2009 - Boston, MA, USABoston, MA: A voter-approved initiative reducing penalties for the possession of marijuana in Massachusetts took effect last week, making it the thirteenth US state to eliminate criminal sanctions for adults who use cannabis.
Under the new law, police are authorized to issue $100 civil citations in lieu of making an arrest for adults found to be in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana or hashish. Under prior state law, minor marijuana possession was punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Sixty-five percent of state voters decided in November to liberalize the state’s marijuana laws.Law enforcement personnel have expressed strong opposition to the law change, and some police have stated publicly that they do not intend to abide by the new law. State officials have also expressed interest in amending the new law to allow for stricter penalties for the use of cannabis in public.Twelve other states, including Maine and Nebraska, have enacted similar laws – reducing pot possession to a civil violation punishable by a fine only. Approximately one-third of the US population now lives under some form of marijuana decriminalization.For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500. Additional information is available online.DL: Marijuana Legalization Question Leads In Final Round Of Online Voting January 8, 2009 - San Francisco, CA, USASan Francisco, CA: The legalization of cannabis for personal use is the lead issue in an online poll sponsored by the social networking website Online voting in the poll will continue through Thursday, January 15, 2008.According to the website: “The top 10 rated ideas [from the poll] ... will be presented to the Obama administration on January 16th at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. ... At the event we will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with our nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy.”Since launching its poll in December, marijuana legalization has outpolled almost every other question by a 2 to 1 margin.Two additional drug law reform questions – one calling for the legalization of hemp for industrial purposes and another calling on the new administration to reevaluate the entire ‘war on drugs’ – also rank among the top 15 questions on the site.In a separate poll sponsored last month by, the official website of the office President-Elect Obama, a similar question asking the incoming administration to consider taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol was the top rated issue out of more than 7,300 questions posed by the public. In an ongoing poll, a question calling for an end to marijuana possession arrests is polling fourth out of more than 20,000 questions.Commenting on the popularity of the marijuana law reform questions NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These online poll results illustrate two important points. One: there is a significant, vocal, and identifiable segment of our society that wants to see an end to America’s archaic and overly punitive marijuana laws. Two: the American public is ready and willing to engage in a serious and objective political debate regarding the merits of legalizing the use of cannabis by adults. The Obama administration should heed these poll results and understand that marijuana law reform is not a political liability; rather, it is a political opportunity.”For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul To log in to the website or to vote in their poll, please visit: Additional information is available online.DL: Final Week To Enter $10,000 NORML Ad ChallengeJanuary 8, 2009 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: How should the incoming Barack Obama administration reform America’s pot policies? You tell us! NORML is accepting entries through next week in its $10,000 ad contest . The deadline for flash animation and video submissions is Thursday, January 15. The grand prize winner will received a $3,500 award, and have their ad featured online and on local cable television.Runners up will also receive cash prize awards.This is your opportunity to express your opinion before tens of thousands of like-minded reformers nationwide, as well as help NORML's ongoing education efforts.Submit your entry to:  media Contest rules and awards information is available online.DL: NORML Foundation (DC)Published: January 8, 2009Copyright: 2009 NORML Contact: norml Website: NORML Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by paul armentano on January 09, 2009 at 09:37:25 PT
I was just thinking the same thing. I mean, what about: STATE'S ATTORNEY SAYS POT PRIORITY LAW VOID "Under the Constitution, the state Legislature can pass laws, and in the areas where it passes laws, it prevents the county from passing contrary laws. "We prosecute under the authority of the Attorney General, so these are state laws. So that would not change. As far as how the county proceeds on it at the police level, they're also bound by the Constitution to prosecute all laws, if they're valid laws, so it really wouldn't change anything. They would still need to enforce the law." -or- Police Chief Greg Tabor said approval of the ordinance won’t impact law enforcement related to marijuana possession because state law remains in force.“ Like I’ve said many times, I just don’t see that it will change much, ” he said. “ Misdemeanor marijuana possession is already low priority for us. I’m not saying we don’t arrest people for it. It’s a Class A misdemeanor and by law, you have to be ticketed and finger-printed for it, which means you’ll have to go to jail. ”Oh I see, state law only trumps local laws when the cops DON'T LIKE the local laws...
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on January 09, 2009 at 07:20:54 PT
OverwhelmSam #6 
Where's that Supremacy argument the prohibs are always pushing? They say that federal law trumps state law. Then, doesn't state law trump city law?
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on January 08, 2009 at 20:00:16 PT
Hey Norml get the Professo in tell all 
what happens when you try to have a debate on Cannabis. Then ask Mr Obama to finish what his State started. more info on font page down under Hemp look at what was going on in 2000 and 2001 see how Ryan rejected the will of the people Mr Obama can restore it.
please start here| this is the topper, Iowa (Iowa City) January 15, 2009, $149 Info & RegistrationAustin, Texas January 31, 2009, $149 Info & RegistrationLincoln, Nebraska TBA in early March, $149Olympia, Washington TBA in early March, $149Why should you attend Dave Blume's Alcohol Can Be a Gas! Workshops? 
The era of cheap fuel is over, and the profitability of small-scale alcohol production 
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on January 08, 2009 at 19:58:48 PT
US AZ: Court To Rule On Pot's Use In Religion BC: Column: America Begins To Ease Up On Marijuana Smokers
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Comment #6 posted by OverwhelmSam on January 08, 2009 at 18:25:52 PT
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Court We Go
A note about the initiative decriminalizing marijuana. The wording of the initiative states that an ounce or less will be $100 fine. It does not stipulate whether the it is found in private or public.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on January 08, 2009 at 15:52:37 PT
From comment 4
"If you don't think being arrested is a harm, you are unpersuadable," says criminologist Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, a co-author of the report. "In the US, 750,000 people were arrested in 2006, and I think that's a substantial harm."Thank you, Mr. Quark.
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Comment #4 posted by charmed quark on January 08, 2009 at 15:08:03 PT
prohibition more harmful than cannabis though this science article is full of bad science about cannabis - correlation does not imply causation - and has a couple of old marijuana madness assumptions, it still concludes that the damage of prohibition outweighs the damage of the drug.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 08, 2009 at 15:07:48 PT
You're welcome. NORML went thru an irregular time or something with the weekly press release. I had to fix spelling and one time a date was wrong. Another time after I posted the bulletin it seemed to disappear at least for a while. I figured they might have hired someone new to do the weekly and I decided to wait until they got the kinks out. 
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Comment #2 posted by josephlacerenza on January 08, 2009 at 14:43:05 PT
Thank you FoM!!
I understand that it was a pain to get the weekly bulletin, but I appreciate it FoM. I really believe you are doing the hard work to help us all have the information at the tip of our fingers. 
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Comment #1 posted by Richard Zuckerman on January 08, 2009 at 14:06:38 PT:
I would urge EVERYBODY caught with Cannabis in somebody's home to fight the charge, even if the penalty is only a monetary fine, under the Mass. State Constitution, perhaps one of the oldest State Constitutions in this country.  The first couple of State Constitutional provisions has very broad language which may very well be construed to protect Cannabis possession/use/cultivation; At least it is a good argument to a JURY. I wonder whether Mass. provides for a JURY trial when the penalty is a small fine? Getting a couple of acquittals from a jury for Cannabis, after having spoken to the jury during closing statements/summation, about the U.S. government's drug distribution history, about the government's propaganda against Cannabis [for which perhaps an expert to testify at trial may help], would go a long way to send a message to Mass. legislators that their plans to increase punishment for pot may not go far!!!
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