News Release

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May 25, 2000

Michigan Lawmakers Proposes A Public Drug Offender Directory

        Lansing, MI:  A bill has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives that would create a public directory of drug offenders.
        House Bill 5796, known as the "Controlled Substance Offenders Registration Act," was introduced by Rep. Eileen DeHart (D-Westland).  The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Law and Corrections.
        Anyone convicted of a drug charge anywhere, but living in Michigan, will have to register for the directory, which will be given to state law enforcement agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The directory will contain the offender's name and any aliases, addresses, physical descriptions and date of birth.
        The public will be able to view the directory at police departments, and the bill also calls for an electronic version of the directory to be made available to the public.
        The legislation requires drug offenders to register for whatever term is longer, either 25 years following the date of initially registering or for 10 years after release from a state correctional facility.
        "Anyone who does not think that marijuana prohibition has to stop has not read about this newest phase in the war on drugs," said Greg Schmid, Esq., a Saginaw lawyer who is attempting to get a marijuana legalization initiative (Personal Responsibility Amendment 2000) on the 2000 ballot and Michigan NORML Coordinator.  "Is an official blacklist something we can live with?  Try getting a job, or even an apartment."
        For more information, please contact Greg Schmid, Esq., Michigan NORML Coordinator, at (517) 239-9000.

Researcher Finds No Link Between Marijuana And Head, Neck or Lung Cancer

        Baltimore, MD:  A researcher from Johns Hopkins Medical School has found evidence that marijuana smoking does not increase the risk of head, neck or lung cancers, and based on his findings, says cancer prevention efforts should "remain focused on tobacco and alcohol, two known carcinogens."
        Daniel E. Ford, M.D., who conducted the study, said he was trying to discover if cancer patients were more likely to smoke marijuana or tobacco, or to drink alcohol as opposed to healthy, 'control' patients.  Ford said he thought "[T]he association (between marijuana smoking and cancer) would fall away when we corrected for tobacco use.  That was not the case.  The association was never there."
        Ford also found that "daily marijuana use for a month or more was not associated with increased risk, even among those who never used tobacco."
        This study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
        "It's puzzling why scientific studies which contradict erroneous government assertions about marijuana garner virtually no major media attention," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Yet, similarly non peer-reviewed reports such as a recent one concerning the effects of marijuana use as it relates to potential heart attacks make for splashy news leads on television and lurid headlines in newspapers.  If marijuana is, as it appears to be, a product that is safer than nearly any drug humans consume -- the public should be duly informed."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

Maryland Governor Signs Industrial Hemp Bill; Study Can Begin In July

        Annapolis, MD:  An industrial hemp bill establishing a four-year pilot program was signed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) on May 18th.
        The pilot program will begin on July 1, 2000.  The legislation requires that the state's secretary of agriculture administer the pilot program in consultation with state and federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, which would have to approve any cultivation plots.  According to the legislation, only state owned land may be used to cultivate industrial hemp during the duration of the study.
        "Legislators and other policy makers in Washington, D.C. will now be forced to at least co-exist with industrial hemp," said Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director.  "Whether they like it or not, hemp will now be in their backyard and they will hopefully learn more about its utility."
        The bill passed the Maryland House of Delegates on March 31st with a 128-8 vote, and unanimously passed the Maryland Senate on April 2nd.
        For more information, please contact Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director at (202) 483-5500.

San Francisco To Implement Medical Marijuana ID Cards To Protect Patients

        San Francisco, CA:  San Francisco will be joining the growing list of cities in California that issue medical marijuana identification cards to protect patients from criminal prosecution under state law.
        San Francisco officials announced that the city Department of Public Health (DPH) will begin to issue the cards to patients within the month.  The cards will be valid for two years at a cost of $25.  Patients over age 18 will need to show the DPH proof of residency and a valid doctor's recommendation.  Patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when applying for the card.
        The San Francisco city government passed Supervisor Mark Leno's proposal for the ID cards in January and since then have been finalizing details with the DPH, city lawyers and medical marijuana activists.
        Patients who possess the card will be able to get their marijuana supply from any of the several marijuana buyers' cooperatives operating in the San Francisco Bay area.
        For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, State Coordinator of California NORML at (415) 563-5858.

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