News Release

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February 10, 2000

BC Supreme Court Orders Boje Surrendered For Extradition
Boje To Face March Hearing With Justice Minister For An Appeal

        Vancouver, BC:  The British Columbia Supreme Court ordered this Wednesday that U.S. citizen Renee Boje be surrendered for extradition to the U.S. on charges including marijuana possession, production, conspiracy to possess, conspiracy to produce and conspiracy to traffic.
        Boje was released on $5,000 bail. Boje's next step is to take her case to the Canadian Minister of Justice who can issue a full release under sections of the Extradition Act, if the minister is "satisfied that surrender would be unjust or oppressive," or that "the conduct in respect of which extradition is sought is a political offense or an offense of political character."
        Boje was arrested in July 1997 along with Todd McCormick and Peter McWilliams.  Boje was doing sketches of marijuana plants for a book McCormick was writing on growing marijuana.  Before she was indicted, Boje fled to British Columbia.  If Boje is extradited she could face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
        "I am now in the hands of the public and the Canadian Minister of Justice," Boje said.  "If enough people send in letters of support to the minister before March 10, I have faith that the minister will make a compassionate decision."
        For more information, please contact NORML Legal Committee member John Conroy, Q.C., (Renee's lawyer), at (604) 852-5110 or visit Renee's website at

Iowa Legislator Introduces Medical Marijuana Bill In State Senate

        Des Moines, IA:  Legislation was introduced this week in the Iowa State Senate that would legalize the medical use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.
        The legislation (S.F. 2076), sponsored by Sen. Elaine Szymoniak (D-Des Moines), will protect patients diagnosed by a physician with having glaucoma, nausea related to chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, hyperparathyroidism, nail patella syndrome and AIDS.  The legislation calls for patients to obtain their marijuana from a licensed physician, surgeon or pharmacist.  Unlike recently passed state initiatives, the legislation does not address personal cultivation, nor does it set limits on how much marijuana can be possessed.
        A provision for a therapeutic research program is also included in the legislation.  The program would provide research into other illnesses effectively treated with marijuana and allow for those illnesses to be included in the medical marijuana law.
        "It is vital that the legislators in Iowa understand that by approving this bill, they are supporting patients who are suffering," said Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director.  "This is a public health issue and not part of the war on drugs."
        The Iowa legislature joins Maryland this session by introducing a medical marijuana bill.  Since 1996, California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Maine, have approved voter initiatives to legalize medical marijuana.  Colorado and Nevada citizens will vote on similar medical use initiatives in November.
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.  To view the text of S.F. 2076 please visit

Hamilton County Court Reduces Fine For Small Marijuana Possession

        Cincinnati, OH:  Fines for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Hamilton County, which includes most of downtown Cincinnati, were lowered this week in an attempt to lesson court costs and paperwork.
        The new guidelines adopted by the Hamilton Country Municipal Court will take effect on March 1, 2000.  The fine for possession of less than 3 and a half ounces of marijuana will be reduced from $149 to $100 if the offender pays the fine within 168 hours.  The penalty for minor marijuana possession will increase to $175 if the defendant waits to pay the fine, chooses to contest the charges in court and loses, or ignores the penalty and a warrant is issued for an arrest.
        The courts are hoping that people fined for a minor marijuana offense will simply pay the fine, like a parking ticket, instead of tying up the courts by contesting the charges or asking for an extension.  Tony Upton, an assistant court administrator, called the new guidelines an "[E]ffort to clean the system up, to get people to comply."
        "While NORML strongly believes that responsible adult marijuana use should not be subject to an arrest and fine, the new policy in Hamilton County is an excellent indicator that local governments can craft pragmatic and rational marijuana laws," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Hamilton County joins Pittsburgh, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Madison and numerous other local jurisdictions in the U.S. that significantly deviate from the federal government's misguided war on marijuana."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

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