News Release

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May 11, 2000

Health Canada Is Accepting Bids For Marijuana Supplier

        Ottawa, Ontario:  On Friday, May 4th, the Canadian government took another step towards beginning clinical human medical marijuana trials by announcing the criteria for the potential Canadian marijuana supplier for the five year study.
        Health Canada, Canada's health care bureaucracy, approved the distribution of nearly one million marijuana cigarettes to ailing patients and researchers throughout the course of the study.  The study will determine whether it is safe and effective for patients to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes.
        "Establishing a Canadian source of research-grade marijuana is an important step in putting our plan into action, and we will proceed expeditiously," said Health Minister Allan Rock.
        The potential supplier, along with key personnel, must not have a police record for any drug offense since 1985, in any country.
        According to Health Canada, the contractor will be responsible for: setting up and operating a marijuana growing, processing, fabrication and storage establishment; laboratory testing and quality control of marijuana throughout the product life cycle; fabrication, packaging, labeling and storage of marijuana products and bulk material; distribution of marijuana product to recipients authorized by Health Canada; and conformity with the requirements of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Food and Drugs Act and their regulations, including the stringent security aspects required of such a facility and its operations.
        It is anticipated that the trials will begin within a year of the contract date.
        "It's becoming increasingly evident that the U.S. and Canada are going in opposite directions regarding their marijuana policies," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Canada's elected representatives and bureaucrats are clearly not beholden to either law enforcement agencies or rabid anti-drug groups -- unlike, sadly, in America.  The American anti-drug bureaucrats seek to kill by attrition the federal program that distributes legal marijuana cigarettes to a lowly eight patients, whereas, the Canadian government is trying to rapidly expand it's medical marijuana distribution program."
        For more information, please contact NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre at (202) 483-8751, or Jeffrey Pender, spokesperson for Health Canada at (613) 957 2988.

Green Harvest Eradication Program Denied Funding In Hawaii

        Hilo, HI:  Last week, the Hawaii County Council declined $265,000 in federal grant money for the state's marijuana eradication program called Operation Green Harvest.
        The council voted 6-3 to temporarily suspend the grant money, leaving funding for the helicopter intensive surveillance program in limbo.  The council cited growing concerns by citizens who say the helicopter flights are not only an invasion of privacy, but also a noise nuisance disturbing farm animals and citizens.
        This Monday, state Sen. Andy Levin (D-3rd District) introduced an amendment to the state appropriations bill stating that "no state funds shall be expended...for Operation Green Harvest or other marijuana eradication programs that involve the use of helicopters unless the Board of Land and Natural Resources holds a public hearing...and adopts procedures for the use of the helicopters that address the concerns of those living in the areas over which the helicopters fly."
        "I don't believe there should be a continuing Green Harvest," Levin said.  "But I am hoping to start a dialogue where the community can voice concerns and officials will be in a position to listen."
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.

Court Of Appeals Rules That Marijuana Does Not Have A Distinct Sound

        San Francisco, CA:  Marijuana has a distinct aroma, look and taste, but does it have a unique sound?  Not according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
        On Monday, May 8th, the court reversed and remanded a case back to the district court in Arizona where Andrew Thomas, who has been serving a 41-month sentence for "conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana" after a police officer testifying in the case stated he heard the distinct sound of a bale of marijuana being unloaded in a garage.
        On December 23, 1997, Daniel Jankowski, a Pima County Sheriff's Department detective, began surveillance of a residence.  Jankowski witnessed a number of guests entering and leaving the house.  During a supression hearing Jankowski testified that he heard three or four thumps and that, "Something was being loaded into the back end of the El Camino."  On cross-examination, he stated, "If you've ever seen a large bale of marijuana being dropped onto something, it makes a flat-sounding kind of thump that, to me, is pretty distinctive at times."
        Jankowski, who never saw or smelled marijuana, radioed for other officers to stop the car after it left the garage.  After stopping the vehicle, officers smelled marijuana, which then led to a search of the garage.
        The district court deferred to the experience of Jankowski and denied the defendant's suppression motion.
        Reversing that decision, Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in his opinion, "Marijuana has a distinctive appearance, taste and odor, and perhaps even a feel, but it does not have a distinctive sound.  This is true regardless how it is packaged...  The thumps that Jankowski heard could have been generated by dropped 12 or 13-pound bags or bales of potting soil, cut grass, bird seed, dog food -- anything.  His claim that the thumps were the distinct sound of marijuana bales was, at best, a hunch or mere conjecture, not an objective and reasonable inference."
        "This is a solid Fourth Amendment decision based on the landmark case Terry v. Ohio," said Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director.  "With only a hunch that the packages contained marijuana, the officer here should have further investigated and developed his facts before he rushed to stop the car.  Simply put, he jumped the gun."
        For more information, please contact Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751.

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