NORML's News Bulletin - December 26, 2000 

  NORML's News Bulletin - December 26, 2000 

Posted by FoM on December 27, 2000 at 19:20:39 PT
US Drug War Refugee Seeks Support From Americans 
Source: NORML 

It has all the elements of a Hollywood movie thriller. A dying famous author, a mansion in Bel Air with 4,000 marijuana plants, even an escape to another country by an innocent young woman. But it's very real, and the story is already rife with tragedy. Canadian justices will rule in the coming year whether to return Renee Boje to America to face a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for being present at a medical marijuana grow operation, or whether to grant her political asylum in response to the severity of America's cannabis laws. 
She fled the U.S. in 1998, at the advice of her lawyer.   Renee Boje is asking her fellow American citizens to urge Canada to grant her petition for refugee status. Actor Woody Harrelson recently wrote to the Canadian courts about Boje: "Please, please, show some compassion for Renee, and don't allow her to become a another statistic in a money making hypocritical war against good citizens." He went on to call her a "wonderful lady, who has never been violent or hurt anyone, (and) who simply believed what was going on in that house in Bel Air was legal."   Boje was a hired professional freelance artist in 1997 when she met Todd McCormick, who has suffered bone cancer and radiation treatments since he was a child. McCormick had hired Boje to do artwork for a book on medical marijuana he was writing with his publisher, the late author Peter McWilliams ("Life 101", "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do").   McWilliams, also a patient, was suffering from full-blown AIDS and cancer. He and McCormick had converted a mansion into a cannabis research lab. They claimed they were doing clinical research testing strains of pot for effectiveness in treating the symptoms of diseases including AIDS, cancer, and chronic pain. They assumed they were protected by California's Proposition 215, which was approved by California voters in 1996, and allows medical marijuana patients to cultivation marijuana for medical use. But a federal judge ruled out any mention of medical necessity in the case, so jurors couldn't be told that McWilliams and McCormick were seriously ill.   Boje is charged with watering and moving some plants. She admits she had knowledge of the operation, but denies assisting in it, and like McCormick and McWilliams, thought it was protected by Prop. 215. However, U.S. federal authorities that snagged her leaving the residence as they were starting a raid on the home claim she made a statement admitting guilt. She says that just isn't true. She is facing a staggering 10-year mandatory sentence in federal prison. Amnesty International decries violence that women are subjected to endure in her would-be prison as the worst in America.   McWilliams was denied his use of marijuana as an herbal appetite stimulant by U.S. District Judge George King, and died before his sentencing while choking on his own vomit in his bathroom. But not before Boje made a courageous offer to turn herself in if the charges were dropped against the dying McWilliams. Bone cancer and chronic pain patient McCormick is serving a mandatory five-year prison sentence at aptly named Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institute. Now Boje is a refugee from her country, and has been branded a dangerous criminal by U.S. authorities. Time is running out for her.   Canadian appeals lawyer John Conroy says that support from fellow Americans, and more importantly, the American media, is what Boje will need if she is to persuade Canadian authorities to deliver her a victory in this precedent setting case. Boje, who has given over 300 print, radio and television interviews in Canada, is now asking the American media and public to participate in her call for justice. Washington State NORML Director Vivian McPeak calls her case, "a bellwether poster-child example of the cruelty of America's war on cannabis."   Boje will be spending this holiday season with her new friends and family in Canada. Supporters pledge to keep her out of an American prison when next year's holiday season comes. They are urging her fellow U.S. citizens to write, e-mail, and fax the Canadian government in support of her bid for political asylum.   She considers the cannabis plant "a healing herb." and can't understand how her own government can incarcerate sick and dying people in its jails and prisons because of it. Her goal is to stay in Canada, where she wants to open a holistic healing center. She sells her art in cards and certificates to help raise money for her defense. For the meantime she will live in exile, uncertain of what the future may bring.  For more information on Renee Boje's story, visit her web site at: or call NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup at (202) 483-5500. Boje can be reached for interviews at: (604) 740-7894, or by e-mail at: renee Financial contributions and letters to the Canadian government in her support can be sent to:Renee Boje Legal Defense FundP.O. Box 1557Gibsons B.C. Canada V0N 1V0.Additional reference info: - - and US in Drug Debate Articles - Renee Boje Governor Gary Johnson Heads Speaker List For NORML 2001 Conference:  Washington, DC: NORML is pleased to announce that New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) will be heading a list of prominent officials addressing the NORML 2001 Conference in Washington, DC, scheduled for April 19-21, 2001. The conference, entitled "4:20, A Celebration of Personal Freedom," will be held at the Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel.   Gov. Johnson, who has been a vocal advocate for ending the drug war and legalizing marijuana, will be the luncheon speaker on Thursday, April 19. Other featured speakers include Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the principal Congressional sponsor of a federal medical use bill; San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan; and ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser, who will deliver the keynote speech on Thursday morning.   "The fact that these prominent elected officials will be appearing at the NORML conference is another sign that the position we espouse is finally gaining some traction with the American public," said NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup. "Our opponents can no longer control the public debate by claiming those on our side of the issue are out of the mainstream. More and more public officials are finding the courage to challenge current policies, and political leaders such as Gov. Johnson, Rep. Frank and D.A. Hallinan are showing them the way." Stroup says the underlying premise of the conference is "we should stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers."   Throughout the 3-day conference, panels will address topics such as the medical use of marijuana; drug laws, civil liberties and discrimination; the courts and marijuana policy; a rational harm reduction policy regarding kids and marijuana; state voter initiatives; developments in Europe and Canada; and new strategies to respond to new opportunities. NORML has scheduled this conference to coincide with "4/20," the date that has become associated in the popular culture as a special day for marijuana smokers -- sort of what "It's Miller time" has become to beer drinkers.   "We hope to build on that tradition and encourage reform supporters to join us in Washington, DC as a way to celebrate 4/20," Stroup added.   Social events include a High Times/NORML opening reception on Thursday evening, with a silent art auction and a special awards presentation; and a special High Times 4/20 Celebration to benefit NORML on Friday evening. The annual NORML conference is open to all who support reforming marijuana policy. It provides an exceptional opportunity to meet and network with allies from across the country and prepare for the year ahead. For additional details and online registration, visit the NORML web site at: Times Gary Johnson's Home Page Naked Truth on Drug War Frank Criticizes Punitive Drug Policies Articles - Governor Gary Johnson, Other Than The Government, Funds America's 'War On Some Drugs?'   Washington, DC: The NORML Foundation today released a report which seeks to identify those private companies, foundations and individuals who donate large amounts of money to perpetuate the failed war on marijuana smokers. The report examines private donations to so-called "anti-drug" groups, ranging from DARE to the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA) to the Center for Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA).   The report was inspired by Drug Czar General McCaffrey's constant, four-year refrain that drug law reform groups (principally NORML, The Lindesmith Center and the Drug Policy Foundation) are awash in funding and are greatly outspending prohibitionists. This obvious exaggeration by McCaffrey, oft repeated by anti-drug groups, is easily refuted by a basic financial review of the organizations' Internal Revenue Service returns.   For the last 15 years, so-called anti-drug organizations have received funding far greater than that received by reform organizations. More importantly, many of the prohibitionist donors have an economic interest in upholding the status quo.  Further, ONDCP's Gen. McCaffrey and other prohibitionists consistently ask and receive more and more annual funding from Congress -- the ONDCP's FY 2001 budget exceeds $20 billion. However, as the new report indicates, an increase in spending does not translate into a reduction of drug use in government surveys.   Drug use charts, organizational spending data, pro-drug war donor chart and more are found in the 'What's New' section of   For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at 202-483-8751 or foundation FCC Blasts TV Over Non-Disclosure Slaps Anti-Drug TV Shows Campaign for Dollars DEA Proposes New Regulations To Limit Hemp Industry:   Washington, DC: The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing three new regulations regarding the legality of hemp products, according to a notice published in the November 30, 2000 Federal Register.   According to the notice, the first two rules reinforce the DEA's interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act and states that any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. The third rule is an interim regulation and will exempt hemp products considered "legitimate" by the DEA, essentially, products not for human consumption.   "As part of the ONDCP and DEA's attempt to support America's drug testing industry, these two pro-drug war bureaucracies are also trying to stymie the burgeoning public debate over re-legalizing industrial hemp production," said Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director. "Supporters of hemp law reform need to immediately contact their members in Congress and tell them to stop the DEA and ONDCP from squashing America's hemp industry."   NORML encourages all citizens concerned about these proposed regulations to contact members of Congress as soon as possible. NORML has composed a letter which people can fax to Congress from the organization's website:   For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500. To fax a letter to your members of Congress visit: Hemp Archives NORML's News Articles:NORML's News Bulletin Index's News Bulletin - December 21, 2000's News Bulletin - December 14, 2000's News Bulletin - December 7, 2000 NORML Archives

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