February 17, 2000
Hemp Bills In South Dakota and New Hampshire Fall Short
SD Bill Dies In Agriculture Committee, House Presented With Resolution
The South Dakota House of Representatives killed a bill (HB 1267) which would
have allowed for the cultivation or industrial hemp.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Robert Weber (R-Srandburg), died in the House Agriculture Committee following testimony from both sides. Testimony given by law enforcement and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, with encouragement of Gov. William Janklow, proved to be most detrimental, even after an amendment was added to the legislation which said the provisions of the bill would not go into effect until the federal barriers on the cultivation of industrial hemp are lifted.
"Governor Janklow demonstrated once more that he cares little for the plight of farmers," said Bob Newland, Chair of Mount Rushmore State NORML, who had spent the months prior to the 2000 legislative session drumming up support for the bill. "Here we had a chance to do something positive, something which would cost the taxpayer nothing -- would save the taxpayer money, in fact something which would tell the federal government that we wanted them to change their regulations."
Following the defeat of HB 1267, Rep. Weber introduced House Concurrent Resolution 1015 urging the U.S. government to remove its barriers regarding the production of industrial hemp.
For more information, please contact Bob Newland, Chair of Mount Rushmore State NORML at (605) 255-4032 on online at http://www.nakedgov.com/mtrushnorml.htm.
NH Bill Sent For Further Study, Will Likely Not Return This Year
A bill allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp (HB 239) introduced last
month in the New Hampshire House of Representatives by Rep. Amy Robb-Theroux
(D-Claremont) was dealt an unofficial defeat last Thursday as House members sent
the bill back to the Environment and Agriculture Committee to be studied
Heavy lobbying by local law enforcement and opposition from both Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and the state attorney general was enough to sway the House members to all but kill the legislation. Law enforcement in the state continue to claim that planting industrial hemp would make it more difficult to enforce marijuana laws.
"This is not marijuana," said Rep. Derek Owen (D-Hopkinton). "I don't know how you can tell it's terrible if we haven't even planted it yet."
It is unlikely that this industrial hemp bill will return to the House this year.
For more information, please contact Rep. Amy Robb-Theroux at (603) 271-3125 or Tom Dean Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director.
Woman With No Arms Or Legs Sentenced To
Year In Prison
Parole Violated After Officers Find Less Than Four Ounces Of Marijuana
A severely disabled woman was sentenced last week to a year in prison for
breaking probation after being found with less than four ounces of marijuana.
Probation officers found the marijuana along with paraphernalia while inspecting Deborah Lynn Quinn's home during a routine visit. Quinn was placed on probation last October for selling 3.98 grams of marijuana to a police informant.
The year-long sentence will cost Arizona taxpayers over $126,000 and require two full-time personnel to accommodate Quinn's special needs, according to Arizona Department of Corrections officials who criticized the court's decision to incarcerate Quinn.
"I simply cannot understand how a judge can sentence a disabled woman to prison who presents absolutely no escape risk, no physical danger to the public, and who will be an extremely difficult and expensive person to care for, without exploring any alternative sentence measures such as intensive probation," said Terry Stewart, Arizona Corrections Director. "The plain and simple truth is the Department of Corrections is now faced with taking extraordinary measures to accommodate an inmate that probably could have been managed in the community at a reduced cost to the taxpayers of this state."
The Department of Corrections has concluded its only option is to house Quinn at an extended care detention ward at a Tucson hospital at a cost of over $345 a day (excluding any professional fees that arise).
"In two separate voter initiatives, the people of Arizona have made clear their objection to incarcerating citizens for minor drug offenses," said Tom Dean Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director. "The violation of the spirit of those measures by this modern day judge Roy Bean is a perfect example of the complete disconnect between elected officials and the citizens they represent."
For more information, please contact Tom Dean Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751.
Public Housing Tenants Must Remain Drug-Free Or Face Eviction
Francisco, CA: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 this
past Monday that public housing tenants could be evicted for their housemate's
off-premise drug use, overturning a 1988 injunction by a U.S. District Court
In 1988 Congress passed a law making public housing tenants responsible for any criminal activity engaged in by any member of the tenant's household, or a guest or other person under the tenant's control, on or near public housing premises. Such criminal activity is cause for termination of tenancy.
The appeals court ruled that the policy adopted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1991 legally aimed at "preventing tenants from turning a blind eye to the conduct of a household member or guest."
Dissenting Judge William Fletcher said the regulation "deprives innocent people of property that was not involved in any crime and punishes innocent people for crimes that they did not commit and could not prevent."
For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.
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