News Release

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January 18, 2001

NORML Foundation Launches Ad Campaign In New Mexico

        Washington, DC:  To help stimulate a healthy public debate over marijuana law reform recommendations recently issued by the Governor Gary Johnson's Drug Policy Advisory Group, the NORML Foundation has launched a radio and print ad campaign in New Mexico focused on the need to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana and to legalize medical use.
     The 60-second radio ads began airing this week, and will run over 600 times over the next three weeks on a total of five stations in Albuquerque and one station in Santa Fe, the state capitol.  The ads stress the need to stop arresting responsible smokers and to permit seriously ill patients to use marijuana as a medicine, if recommended by a physician.
     In addition, the NORML Foundation has placed a half-page ad on the op/ed page of the state's largest newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, to run on Sunday, January 21.  This ad, which utilizes a photo of some gangsters with automatic weapons from the era of alcohol prohibition, has the headline "Remember Prohibition? It still doesn't work."
     The Foundation decided to invest in this campaign -- part of a broader, national advertising campaign over the course of the next year -- because of the increasingly favorable political climate that has resulted from Gov. Johnson's strong support for ending the drug war and legalizing marijuana, and the recently released report issued by the governor's Drug Policy Advisory Group.  Among their recommendations was a call to eliminate criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults, and to legalize the medical use of marijuana by seriously ill patients.
     Starting next week, NORML will begin actively lobbying New Mexican legislators. NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup and drug policy expert Dr. John P. Morgan, professor of pharmacology at the City University of New York Medical School, will spend three days in Santa Fe, meeting with legislators and helping build support for the two marijuana reform proposals.  Dr. Morgan is widely published on drug policy issues, and is the co-author of "Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts," a popular book that examines the research on marijuana.  The following week Stroup will return to Santa Fe with drug policy expert Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor at the Harvard Medical School (Emeritus).  Dr. Grinspoon has published 12 books on drug policy, including "Marihuana Reconsidered" and "Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine."
     "We want to stimulate a healthy public debate over marijuana policy in New Mexico, and to make certain patients and responsible recreational users are well represented in this debate," said NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre.  "We have private polling that shows we enjoy majority support for these reforms among the general public nationwide, and I expect the same is true for residents of New Mexico.  Yet patients cannot currently use marijuana as a medicine legally in New Mexico, and more than 3,000 recreational users are arrested each year, mostly on minor marijuana charges."
     For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500 or Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.  New Mexico media interested in talking with Mr. Stroup or Drs. Morgan and Grinspoon should contact Mr. Stroup.

Medical Marijuana Legislation Introduced In TX and CT

        Bills allowing for the medical use of marijuana have been introduced in the House of Representatives in the states of Texas and Connecticut.

Texas Bill Would Provide An Affirmative Defense For Patients

        Austin, TX:  A bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana has been introduced in the Texas House of Representatives.
     House Bill 513, introduced by Rep. Terry Keel (R-District 47) and cosponsored by Rep. Suzanna Hupp (R-District 54) and Rep. Juan Hinojosa (D-District 40), would create an affirmative defense against prosecution for the use of marijuana for patients who have a recommendation from a licensed physician to treat their medical condition.
     "People have long dismissed Texas as a wasteland of ignorance and intolerance," said Rick Day, State Coordinator of Texas NORML.  "With HB 513, the legislature shows great clarity, compassion and maturity in addressing this medical issue.  We applaud Rep. Keel and the other sponsors of this bill, and urge fence sitting legislators to ask themselves one question: 'Am I for, or against, cancer patients?'"
     Day continued, "Texas NORML endorses and supports this first step in ending the 80-year war against responsible Texas consumers of cannabis.  We plan on educating the public and rallying support on this issue."
     For more information, please contact Rick Day (972) 392-0959 or visit

Connecticut Bill Would Create State Registry For Patients

        Hartford, CT:  A bill allowing for the medical use of marijuana for patients who possess a doctor's recommendation was recently introduced in the Connecticut House of Representatives.  The bill has been referred to the Committee on Public Health for consideration.
     House Bill 5666, introduced by Rep. James Abrams (D-District 83), would allow patients to legally use marijuana if they have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition in which the use of marijuana would outweigh "the health risks" for the patient.  A state registry of patients would be established under the terms of the legislation.
     "The Connecticut legislature established a commission to examine drug policies and recommend significant reforms," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "In their report, issued in 1997, they advised the legislature to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana and to legalize medical use.  Following some delay, it appears the legislature is beginning to implement those important recommendations."
     For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500 or Scott Colvin, NORML Publications Director.

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