News Release

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November 3, 2000

Alaska's Marijuana Legalization Highlights List Of Reform Initiatives

The following state and local initiatives will appear on Tuesday's ballot:

Marijuana Legalization

        Alaska - Ballot Measure No. 5 will appear on the ballot for voters in Alaska.  The initiative would fully legalize marijuana, eliminating penalties for possession, use, cultivation and sale.  If approved, all non-violent marijuana offenders who are currently incarcerated would be released from jail.
        "This initiative presents voters in Alaska with the opportunity to end marijuana prohibition under state law altogether and sends an unmistakable message to Congress," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.
        For more information please contact Randall Patterson, Esq., of Alaskans for Privacy at (907) 272-6434.

Medical Marijuana

        Colorado - Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution would authorize the medical use of marijuana for patients who have a doctor's recommendation and suffer from cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and chronic nervous system disorders.  Patients would be allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana or cultivate six plants.
        "This gives patients and doctors, not the government, one more treatment option for glaucoma, cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses," said Luther Symons, president of Coloradoans for Medical Rights.
        For more information, please contact Luther Symons, president of Coloradoans for Medical Rights at (303) 832-2444.

        Nevada - Nevada voters return to the polls to reaffirm their support for Question 9, an initiative to amend the state's constitution, which would allow patients with a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana medicinally.  Nevadans gave initial approval to the initiative in 1998 (59 percent approval), but since this initiative is being offered as an amendment to the state constitution, it must be approved by voters in two consecutive elections.
        "We expect support for the measure to remain consistent," said Dan Hart, campaign manager for Nevadans for Medical Rights.  "It's an issue of compassion."
        For more information, please contact Dan Hart, campaign manager for Nevadans for Medical Rights at (702) 259-0300.

Substance Abuse Programs and Asset Forfeiture Reform

        California - Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, would allow first and second-time non-violent drug offenders to enter drug treatment programs instead of prison.
        "Our state is now No. 1 in the nation in its rate of imprisonment for drug offenses," said Dave Fratello, spokesman for Campaign for New Drug Policies.  "With Proposition 36, California could become No. 1 in its rate of treatment for drug offenders instead."
        For more information, please contact Dave Fratello, spokesman for Campaign for New Drug Policies at (310) 394-2954.

        Massachusetts - Massachusetts voters will vote on Question 8, an initiative that seeks to reform civil asset forfeiture laws by requiring that forfeited property be sold with the proceeds deposited in a newly created drug treatment trust fund, instead of benefiting the police who make the seizure.  If approved, the initiative will provide drug treatment diversion for low level, first- and second-time drug offenders.
        For more information, please contact Thomas R. Kiley or Rob Stewart, of the Committee for Forfeiture Reform at (617) 439-7775.

        Oregon - The Oregon Property Protection Act (Measure 3) would reform current civil asset forfeiture laws.  If passed, a criminal conviction must be obtained before authorities could seize property; forfeitures must be proportional to the crime; and all proceeds will go to drug treatment programs.
        "There are hundreds of cases of people losing their property when they haven't been charged with a crime and they never get their property back," said Geoff Sugerman, campaign spokesman.
        For more information, please contact Geoff Sugerman at (503) 778-5616.

        Utah - Initiative B, the Utah Property Protection Act, would reform current civil asset forfeiture laws.  If passed, the initiative would require law enforcement to prove that a crime had occurred before property could be forfeited.  All drug money would be diverted into a public education campaign instead of going back to the police.
        For more information, please contact Carter Livingston of Utahns for Property Protection at (810) 232-8152.

Local Initiatives and Policy Questions

        California - Measure G in Mendocino County, CA, would allow citizens to grow up to 25 marijuana plants for personal use.  If the initiative passes, the district attorney's office will be instructed to make marijuana enforcement their lowest priority.
        For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, California NORML State Coordinator at (415) 563-5858.

        Massachusetts - An advisory decriminalization of marijuana question will appear in the Fourth Essex Representative District, the Second Middlesex Senatorial District and the Sixth Middlesex Representative District.  If adopted, the elected officials would be encouraged to lobby the state legislature to make possession of marijuana a civil violation as opposed to a criminal offense.
        A medical marijuana question will appear on the Fourth Barnstable Representative District.
        For more information, please contact Steven Epstein, Esq., at (978) 685-9696.

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