News Release

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April 27, 2000

Hawaiian Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
Governor Cayetano Will Sign The Bill Into Law

        Honolulu, HI:  The Hawaii State Senate approved a bill that protects seriously ill patients who use marijuana medically from local and state criminal prosecution.  Governor Ben Cayetano (D) has said he will sign the bill into law.
        "We are pleased that the legislature has taken the final step to end the war on marijuana-using patients," said Dr. Donald Topping, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.  "Following on the heels of an unbroken string of state ballot initiative victories on this issue, this is the first time that a state legislature has passed a law to make marijuana available."
        Senate Bill 862 passed through the Senate with a 15-10 vote Tuesday.  The Bill, which had been approved by the House earlier this month with amendments, was initially approved by the Senate in March.
        The legislation would allow for the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, for patients who suffer from such medical conditions as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis, or any other medical condition approved by the department of health.
        Patients and their primary caregivers will be required to register annually with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety.  Registered patients are allowed to possess no more than three mature marijuana plants, four immature plants and one ounce of smokeable marijuana per each mature plant.
        "The approval of medical use by the elected legislature in Hawaii is a very positive development," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "We've been winning this issue when we can present it directly to the voters, while elected officials have been less receptive.  It appears they are finally listening to their constituents."
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director or Donald Topping, Drug Policy Foundation of Hawaii President at (808) 637-9822.

Patients and Activists Rally In Washington, DC For Millennium Medical Marijuana March

        Washington, DC:  Medical marijuana patients, doctors and supporters nationwide will converge on Saturday, April 29th in the nation's capitol for the Millennium Medical Marijuana March.
        The event will begin at noon across from the White House at Lafayette Park (located at 16th Street and H Street).  Speakers for the rally include: Terence Hallinan, District Attorney for the city and county of San Francisco; Jeff Jones, Executive Director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative; Donald I. Abrams, MD, study director of the federally sponsored study on the use of medical marijuana with protease inhibitors and AIDS patients; and Keith Stroup, Esq., NORML Executive Director.
        The patients and activists will then march to the Office of National Drug Control Policy at 3 p.m. to protest the current federal prohibition of the medical use of marijuana.  A medical rights rally and concert at Henry Bacon Ball Field (located between 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue) will take place after the march.
        "The purpose of this march is to convince Congress that a lot of us don't have five, 10, 20 years to wait for more marijuana research," said Millennium Medical Marijuana March organizer and AIDS patient Richard Eastman.  "I don't know if I have five more years of fighting Congress."
        Eastman and the other producers of the Millennium Medical Marijuana March will be holding a press conference at 2 p.m., on Friday at Henry Bacon Ball Field to announce the national park service has issued the permit for the events.  They will also release the final list of speakers and entertainers and address any final announcements.
        For more information, please contact Richard Eastman, Millennium Medical Marijuana March organizer, at (323) 547-9000; or Jeff Jones, Executive Director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, at (202) 483-5500.

CA Governor Pushes Assembly To Introduce Law Revoking Licenses For Drug Convictions

        Sacramento, CA:  The California State Assembly's Public Safety Committee approved a bill this week to reimpose the state's expired "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License" law.
        Assembly Bill 2295, sponsored by Dean Florez (D-Fresno) and strongly supported by Governor Gray Davis (D), would impose an automatic six month drivers' license suspension for all drug offenses, regardless of whether the drug offense is driving related.
        Under federal law, the state stands to lose $100 million in highway funds unless the legislature either passes the bill, or the governor agrees to sign an "opt-out" statement.  Thirty-two other states have adopted the "opt out" statement.  A California poll by David Binder found that voters oppose the legislation by a 2-1 margin.
        The American Civil Liberties Union, the California AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the California School Employees Association and the Service Employees International Union all oppose the bill.
        "Assembly Bill 2295 is an outrage to common sense," said California NORML State Coordinator Dale Gieringer.  "It makes it a worse driving offense to possess a joint in your pocket or purse at home than to be caught speeding, driving recklessly, or with open liquor containers in the car."
        For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, California NORML State Coordinator at (415) 563-5858.  To view the legislation, visit:

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