News Release

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October 19, 2000

NIDA Monkey Study Claims Marijuana Is Addictive

        Baltimore, MD:  A National Institute of Drug Abuse study released this week claimed marijuana "has the same potential for abuse as other drugs such as heroin and cocaine."
        "That is an absurd claim," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Emeritus Professor at Harvard Medical School.  "Any research which lends support to such an unrealistic view that defies clinical experience must be suspect."
        The doctors experimented with four squirrel monkeys by training them to self-administer shots of intravenous cocaine supplied through a catheter by pressing a lever 10 times after seeing a green light.  The cocaine solution was then substituted with a saline solution and the monkeys stopped pressing the lever.  The saline solution was then substituted with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the monkeys resumed pressing the lever.  From those actions, the doctors conducting the study conclude that marijuana is "addictive."
        "To me it is a methodologically questionable procedure to start the squirrel monkeys on cocaine and then move them to THC," Dr. Grinspoon said.  "They may be dealing with the effects of the monkey's involvement with cocaine.  It certainly complicates what they say happened."
        For more information, please contact Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Emeritus Professor at Harvard Medical School at (781) 235-1368.

McCaffrey Surrenders ONDCP Position, Effective January 6, 2001

        Washington, DC:  On Monday, Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy announced his resignation, effective January 6, 2001.
        During the past six months, McCaffrey's office has been embroiled in a number of controversies which may have led to his decision to leave.  Two weeks ago the General Accounting Office crime fraud unit told the Government Reform Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee that they uncovered an estimated $8 million in inflated advertising costs for the ONDCP's $1 billion national anti-drug advertising campaign.  The payments included bonuses to executives and improper travel charges.
        In the previous few months McCaffrey had been accused of lying to Congress, paying off networks to include anti-drug messages in television shows, secretly taping phone calls, bullying his employees and attempting to block all industrial hemp imports and products.
        "McCaffrey is reported to have often uttered to his cowling subordinates, 'I'm sometimes wrong, but never in doubt,'" said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Unfortunately for the American public and the international community, 'Fibber' McCaffrey was often wrong and undoubtedly a failed czar."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

Marijuana Arrests Hit Record Levels;
Over Four Million Arrested For Marijuana During The Clinton Administration

        Washington, DC:  Marijuana arrests rose to a record level in 1999 according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report entitled Crime in the United States.  During the Clinton administration 4,175,357 Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges.
        There were 704,812 marijuana arrests during 1999, almost 22,000 more than in 1998, topping the previous record set in 1997 of 695,200 marijuana arrests.  Of the total marijuana related arrests, 88 percent (620,541) were for possession.  Marijuana possession arrests accounted for just over half of all drug possession arrests.  Marijuana arrests accounted for five percent all arrests.  There were more marijuana arrests in 1999 than for all violent crimes combined (635,990), including murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
        "These latest arrest statistics are a national disgrace," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "We're destroying people's lives for no good reason.  It's time we stopped arresting responsible marijuana smokers and focus these law enforcement resources on serious and violent crime."
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500.  To view the Crime in the United States Report please visit

Memo Instructs U.S. Forest Police In California To Target Hispanics For Marijuana Interrogations

        Mendocino National Forest, CA:  Racial profiling reared its ugly head in Northern California last week as U.S. Forest Service officers attempting to crack down on marijuana cultivation in the Mendocino National Forest were instructed to interrogate all Hispanics whose vehicles were stopped, even if marijuana was not discovered in the car.
        Park officers were instructed via a memo to monitor all vehicles entering the forest between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. will be monitored "to develop probable cause for stop...[and] if a vehicle stop is conducted and no marijuana is located and the vehicle has Hispanics inside, at a minimum we would like all individuals FI'd (field interrogated)."
        Tim Crews, the publisher of the bi-weekly Sacramento Valley Mirror obtained the memo from a federal law enforcement officer.  The forest service amended the wording of the memo after Crews questioned as to whether the directive was racially biased.
        Mendocino National Forest spokesperson Phebe Brown called the directive an "unfortunate use of words" but not racial profiling.  "The bottom line is that the Forest Service does not in any way condone the singling out of any persons by race."
        "Little wonder why Mendocino County has a strongly worded marijuana decriminalization initiative before the voters this year," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Overzealous law enforcement such as the annual paramilitary C.A.M.P. effort and racial profiling have eroded public support for the war on marijuana."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

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