News Release

1001 Connecticut Ave, NW - Ste 710 - Washington, DC 20036
Tel. 202.483.8751 - Fax 202.483.0057 - E-mail - Internet

January 25, 2001

Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced In Wyoming And Arkansas
Bills Pending In Several Other States

        Washington, DC:  Two bills allowing for seriously ill patients to use marijuana as a part of their medical treatment have been recently introduced in Wyoming and Arkansas.
        In Wyoming, Senate File 99 would allow patients who possess a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana to treat cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease.  The legislation would allow for the cultivation of marijuana by patients.
        "It is extremely shortsighted to step between the doctor and the patient," said Sen. Keith Goodenough, (D-Casper), who introduced the bill.  "If a person is dying and becomes 'addicted,' is that a problem?"
        The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Goodenough has been asked by the committee to draft amendments to control and supply marijuana to patients.
        Committee member Sen. Rae Lynn Job, (D-Rock Springs), spoke in favor of the bill despite the committee's request to amend the bill to account for distribution to patients.
        "I have known people who have had these conditions, and I would give them anything," Sen. Job said.  "I would rather try to fix something than throw it out."
        In Arkansas, House Bill 1303, introduced by Rep. Jim Lendall (D-District 52), would allow patients who possess a doctor's recommendation and who have registered with the state, to cultivate and use marijuana to treat cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis or any other debilitating disease.
        Patients can possess up to three mature marijuana plants, four immature marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana per each mature plant.
        Medical marijuana bills have already been introduced this year in Texas, Connecticut and South Dakota.  The South Dakota bill, was killed in committee on Wednesday.  Medical marijuana bills are expected to be introduced shortly in Maryland, Florida and New Mexico.
        "Legislators across the country are beginning to listen to their constituents, who favor the medical use of marijuana by large majorities," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "We are expecting several new states will approve medical marijuana this session."
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500.  For more information on pending legislation, please visit,

NORML Launches New Online Legislative Tracking System;
Affiliated Web Sites Can Access The Program For Free

        Washington, DC:  NORML announces the launch of a new legislative tracking program that will allow visitors to NORML's web site, and affiliated web sites, to write their members of Congress, state legislators, governors and local media representatives when a piece of marijuana legislation has been introduced.  The addition of Capwiz 6.0 will allow NORML and its supporters to track both state and federal legislation, while providing action alerts to notify supporters of pending bills in their state.  The site is available at
        The new program will allow NORML supporters and other friends of marijuana law reform to apply pressure on their state elected officials when a bill is introduced in their state.  All a visitor to the site has to do is enter their five-digit zip code or address, and the program will identify their state and federal representatives, alert them of any pending marijuana-related state or federal legislation, and provide sample letters to e-mail to their legislators.
        Letters from constituents can often be a deciding factor in how a legislator will vote, making it imperative that marijuana law reform advocates take full advantage of this opportunity.
        NORML recognizes that a program of this magnitude is too costly for many small organizations and individuals.  Therefore NORML has provided an icon to link directly to NORML's Capwiz site that can be inserted on any web page free of charge.  To insert this link on your site, simply choose an icon at, and copy the provided code onto your site.
        There are currently marijuana-related bills pending in Arkansas, Connecticut, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.  Action alerts have already been posted on the web site for these states.
        For more information, contact Kris Krane at, or call 202 483-5500.

Belgium Government Agrees To Decriminalize Marijuana

        Brussels, Belgium:  Last week, the Belgian government agreed to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana.
        According to the new regulations, citizens will now be allowed to cultivate and smoke marijuana for personal use, but will not be allowed to sell it or buy it in the country.  Citizens who flagrantly smoke marijuana in public will be open to possible prosecution under Belgian "social nuisance" laws.
        Paul Geerts, a spokesman for the Consumer Affairs and Health Ministry, said the government will not allow for marijuana to be purchased in cafes, as is the practice in the neighboring Netherlands, but stated people who wished to obtain marijuana could "grow it for yourself or ... buy it in the Netherlands (about an hour away from the Belgian border)."
        "This is a policy that is being followed in many of the countries in the European Union," said Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.  "We are not penalizing individual users of cannabis, but we are concentrating on production, distribution or problematic use."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.

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