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... a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana Prohibition.

January 12,1995

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Takes Issue With DEA
Briefing Paper That Slanders Dutch Dutch Policy

        January 9, The Hague, The Netherlands.  Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Hans van Mierlo criticized the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for misrepresenting the commitment of the Dutch government to enforce drug law violations, for misrepresenting the prevalence of cocaine consumed by the citizens of the city of Rotterdam, and for generally misrepresenting Dutch drug policy.

        At the request of a Member of the Dutch Parliament, Minister van Mierlo responded to a recently released DEA briefing paper entitled, "How to Hold Your Own in a Drug Legalization Debate" [NORML Weekly News Release, 11/3/94): The entire letter follows:


"The Minister will point out to the American Authorities that Dutch drug policy is falsely represented in a manual of the American Drug Battle Agency [DEA --ed.].  The manual mentions that the police in the Netherlands are instructed not to take action against the street trade of any drug.  That is not true.

        In many municipalities in the Netherlands, the policing and prosecution of street traders of drugs is a high priority.  Special cell space is reserved for that purpose.

        Furthermore, according to the DEA manual, a study of the entire Rotterdam population of individuals fifteen years and older showed that 3.3% of this population uses cocaine.  What the research showed was that 3.3% of the entire population of Rotterdam between fifteen to nineteen years old mentioned that they had used cocaine [emphasis added - ed.].  It is totally irresponsible to state that all of these people are cocaine users and ridiculous to relate the figures to the total Rotterdam population.

        Further, data in the manual is not all wrong, but stripped of their context and therefore easily misinterpreted.

        The mistakes made will be discussed with the American Authorities by the Minister of Foreign Affairs."


Richard Cowan, NORML National Director, said that "NORML is proud to have brought this matter to the attention of the Dutch government.  The Netherlands is one of America's oldest allies.  John Paul Jones refitted his ships with Dutch supplies, including hemp rope and sails, during the American Revolution and wrote movingly of the kindness of the Dutch people."

        NORML believes that the DEA lies about Dutch drug policy to create the impression that Dutch tolerance of marijuana sales is a failure.  In fact it is a great success.  If Americans want to see how freedom works, they should visit the Netherlands.

Ohio's "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License" Law
Found To Be Unconstitutional

        On November 29, 1994, in an important court test of a classic unfunded federal mandate, Medina County Municipal Court Judge Dale H. Chase ruled that Ohio's mandated suspension of an individual's driver's license for minor possession of marijuana is unconstitutional.

        An excerpt from Judge Chase's two-page decision follows:


"...suspension/revocation of the driver's license of an individual convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States on the basis that there is no 'rational relationship' between a license suspension for violating a drug law and the Ohio statutes dealing with legal operation of motor vehicles.

        The decision to suspend a driver's license for a violation of certain statutes which are not related to operation of vehicles would be no different than a decision to suspend an individual's vendor's license or other license issued by the state to conduct activities within the State of Ohio, to the extent that the licensing statute is not rationally related to the criminal statute involved.

        Accordingly, the Court finds... mandating license suspension for certain offenses, is unconstitutional."


[The case can be cited at Ohio v. Frye, Case No. 94 CRB 00792 or for more information contact Northcoast Ohio NORML, John Hartman, 216-521-9333.]

U.S. Anti-Drug Agencies Continue To Impede
Medical Marijuana Research

        January 8, The San Francisco Examiner reported that University of California-San Francisco clinical researcher Dr. Donald Abrams' proposed medical study of marijuana's effects on AIDS related wasting syndrome continues to be blocked by the U.S. government.

        For two-and-a-half years Abrams has struggled to get marijuana for an FDA approved study to test whether smoking marijuana can stimulate the appetite and body weight of people who are wasting because of AIDS.  He has gone through three medical committees and two regulatory agencies, found a foreign supplier of marijuana and solicited help from the Dutch government.  But he and the Community Consortium on HIV research still don't know whether they'll be able to do the test, according to the Examiner.

        The Examiner article states that ,"Dr. Philip Lee, Assistant Secretary for Health [and Human Services --ed.], has postponed two meetings to discuss the issue of smoking marijuana to stimulate appetite in AIDS patients.  A meeting is expected to take place within the next two weeks, but indications from NIDA don't look good."

        The Examiner interviewed "a government official that confirmed what many observers already know: Agencies determined to convince the public that marijuana is dangerous are not keen about a study that could show some beneficial effect."  [emphasis added --ed.]

        NORML would add that marijuana is already being used illegally by thousands of people with AIDS for the wasting syndrome and chronic nausea caused by AIDS and by FDA approved pharmaceuticals such as AZT.