News Release

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Tel. 202.483.8751 - Fax 202.483.0057 - E-mail - Internet

April 13, 2000

South Dakota NORML Offers $1,000 Scholarship

        Hermosa, SD:  South Dakota NORML is holding an essay contest and offering $1,000 in scholarship money to the two students who best outline a sensible national drug policy.
        The two scholarships, $650 for first place and $350 for second place, may be payable to any post-secondary school in South Dakota.
        "We think it is time to 'step out of the box' and look at some other suggestions (to current drug prohibition)," said South Dakota NORML President Bob Newland.  "That's what this contest is about."
        Newland said South Dakota NORML will not be judging the contest.  Instead he has secured a current state senator and representative, along with a former state representative and a criminal justice professor to judge the contest to ensure entrants representing all viewpoints of the argument have a fair chance to win the scholarships.
        "We commend South Dakota NORML for not only offering this scholarship opportunity to our nation's college-bound, but also for initiating this open and honest public discourse on our country's failed drug prohibition policy," said NORML Publications Director Scott Colvin.
        For more information, please contact Bob Newland, President of South Dakota NORML, toll-free at (877) 687-5297, or visit online at

NORML's Complaint Against ONDCP Is Under Review By FCC

        Washington, DC:  A NORML complaint filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and television networks has been reviewed by the FCC legal department and an undisclosed recommendation has been forwarded to FCC decision makers for review.  This complaint arose from the ONDCP's participation in a program where the ONDCP would offer additional advertising dollars if network programs had anti-drug messages embedded in their programming.
        NORML Foundation Litigation Director, Tom Dean, Esq., filed the complaint on NORML's behalf on February 17, which asks the FCC to sanction the ONDCP and the networks involved for their continued violations of the anti-payola law set forth in the Federal Communications Act.  In the meantime, NORML has received two packages of information from the ONDCP pertaining to the program per a NORML Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
        On Wednesday, April 12, Dean received a letter from ONDCP counsel Daniel Petersen, Esq., who denied NORML's request to acquire copies of the television scripts that are believed to have been influenced by the ONDCP, but Petersen stated NORML can view the scripts at the ONDCP office.  Petersen also refused to disclose copies of correspondence between the ONDCP's Alan Levitt, program manager of the media campaign and his boss, ONDCP director Barry McCaffrey, citing exemption five of the FOIA which exempts from public release, "Materials involving advice on recommendations or opinions which are part of the process of government decision-making."
        In a 1998 interview with USA Today Levitt said, "One of the most surprising results we've seen has been the tremendous response by the media and entertainment industry and their willingness to change story lines; they're willing to listen to what we're saying."
        "The ONDCP is hiding interaction that the public has a right to know about," Dean said.  "This is not a military situation involving national security. General McCaffrey should stop hoodwinking the American public and come clean."
        For more information, please contact Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751.  For further information on NORML's FCC complaint and related information, please visit

New Regional NORML Affiliates Established In Five States

        Washington, DC:  This week, NORML re-established a formal presence in Colorado and introduced a new one in Idaho.
        Tom Carberry, Esq., of Denver, CO and Wolf Hoffman of Boise, ID are now the state coordinators for NORML's efforts in their respective states.
        NORML has also recently established state groups in New Mexico and Washington state and is also in the process of introducing a state affiliate in Florida.
        "It's hard to ascribe a reason, maybe it's the excessive failure of the current marijuana policy, but more and more citizens are contacting NORML in hopes of creating a NORML presence in their state," said NORML Chapter Coordinator Heather Della Rocca.
        For more information, please contact Heather Della Rocca, NORML Chapter Coordinator at (202) 483-5500.  To find your state or local NORML chapter, please visit

Gov. Gary Johnson Cuts Budget Provision That Would Limit Marijuana Talk

        Albuquerque, NM:  New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) has resumed his efforts to encourage public debate over marijuana policy by using his line-item veto power to eliminate a provision in the state budget he called a "type of censorship."
        New Mexico lawmakers included a provision in the $3.5 billion budget that banned the use of state funds to "promote the legalization or decriminalization of controlled substances."
        "I must act to protect the marketplace of ideas so that we may all freely trade our opinions regarding the solutions to the drug and crime ills that plague New Mexico's citizens," Johnson said.
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.

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