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

March 9, 1995

Founder of 'Our Church' Receives 10-Year Sentence In Marijuana Case

        February 11, The Morning News (of Northwest Arkansas) reported that Tom Brown, the controversial founder and former leader of Our Church, was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison.  Brown was also fined $17,500 and had 39 acres of land forfeited to the government.
        Brown asserts that the church uses marijuana as part of its religious service. The Morning News reported that "Our Church and its members say they have a constitutional right under freedom of religion to use [marijuana, as a form of sacrament,] during their church services.
        [Brown] attempted to argue his case at the sentencing hearing, but [U.S. District Judge] Waters wouldn't allow it.  Brown, disregarding Waters...said he would have been found innocent if he had been allowed to argue that his religious freedom permitted him to use marijuana in church services.
        "It was an invalid indictment, an invalid prosecution, an invalid conviction," Brown said.

Medical Marijuana Legislation About To 'Disappear' From Colorado Law

        March 6, The Colorado House effectively ended one of the nation's first medical marijuana laws when it passed Senate Bill 95-1020.  The official death of the medical marijuana law will occur when Governor Roy Romer (D) signs the new bill -- which deletes older, "obsolescent" legislation -- into law in the coming weeks.
        The "Dangerous Drugs Therapeutic Act" which established provisions for the disbursal of marijuana for medical purposes has been on the books since 1979.  However, due to the law's wording--which necessitated approval from the National Cancer Institute, the FDA and the DEA--reportedly no one ever received cannabis to smoke during the program's 16-year existence.

[Conversely,] Missouri Senate To Consider "Medical Necessity" Defense
For Citizens Using Medicinal Marijuana

        February 28, The Missouri Senate agreed to hear Senate Bill 457, introduced by Sen. Joseph Moseley, which succinctly states:

        No criminal or civil penalty shall apply to any person for the act of possessing marijuana provided that requirements of the following two subdivisions of this section are met simultaneously:
        (1) A practitioner authorized to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances for human use certifies in writing that the person is under the professional care of the practitioner for a duly diagnosed condition; and
        (2) The aforementioned practitioner certifies in writing that the person needs marijuana as part of a therapeutic regimen directed against the duly diagnosed condition.
        [For more details on MO SB 457, contact Missouri NORML's Dan Viets at 314-443-6866/874-2244.]

Texas Criminal Defense Attorney Indicted On Marijuana Charges
Goes On Hunger Strike To Protest Lack Of Marinol

        February 23, The Beaumont Enterprise reported that a former Jefferson County prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer is protesting his marijuana-related arrest by refusing to eat solid foods.
        In what can only be described as a bizarre case, Alan D. McLemore, 43, was arrested at his home February 8 on marijuana cultivation and gun charges.
        [Background] McLemore has had a life long battle with clinical depression.  In time, McLemore received a prescription for Marinol [synthetic marijuana pill -ed.].  McLemore found that Marinol not only stabilized his depression, it also curbed his craving for alcohol.  Due to the high cost and very limited quantities of Marinol, McLemore supplemented medication with marijuana.
        Finally able to lead a normal life, McLemore got a law degree, became an assistant district attorney, and eventually opened his own law office.
        Upon his arrest in February, McLemore, after posting bond, returned to jail because he felt as though he could not honor the judges order that he not consume marijuana while out on bond.  McLemore stated that he didn't want to have his mother lose her home (McLemore's mother put her home up for the $l00,000 bond) because of his desperate need for an effective medicine.
        During McLemore's hunger strike, he has lost as much as 25 pounds.  McLemore, in an issued statement from jail, reported by the Beaumont Enterprise, said, "Uncaring legislatures, that have been totally corrupted by money, have denied me and millions of others the relief this wonderful plant provides.  I have no liberty; the pursuit of happiness has been denied me; and life is therefore a burden that I'm anxious to relinquish.

        [For more information on this medical marijuana case, contact either Houston NORML's Ralph Hodges, 713-797-6567 or Judy McLemore (Alan's mother), 409-423-2429.]

Largest Drug Testing Company Reports A Steep Decline In
Positive Drug Tests -- Except MARIJUANA!

        March 6, SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories reported that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of people testing positive for drug use -- while at the same time, the rate of positive test results for marijuana shot up.
        SmithKline found that of more than 3.6 million drug tests performed at their labs last year, 7.5 percent were positive for drug use, a drop of 0.9 percentage points from 1993.  Those testing positive for marijuana use rose 7.2 percents to 47.1 percent of all positive tests.  Second was cocaine at 23.9 percent.
        The Associated Press reports that SmithK1ine Beecham said "a change in the screening threshold for marijuana required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) could account for the increase in positive tests for marijuana use.  [NORML agrees.  Beginning on January 1, DOT regulations mandate that the threshold for positive marijuana screen be lowered from 100ng to 50ng.  Reducing the "cut-off" level by 50% readily explains why positive urinalysis' for marijuana went up. -ed.]
        The survey isn't based on a scientific sampling of workers nationwide.

        [For a copy of this report, contact Tobey Dichter, SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, 800-877-7478 or 610-454-6201.]

Head Of DEA Claims That The U.S. Is Losing "War On Drugs"

        March 9, The Boston Herald reported that the DEA's top-cop believes that after 15 years and $34 billion, the much hyped War on Drugs is a half-hearted campaign...
        "No matter how much we seize, it doesn't seem to change the amount coming into the country", said Thomas A. Constantine, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
        Constantine went on to say that, "To use that euphemism of a 'War on Drugs' or a 'War on Crime', I have not seen that yet."  He further added, "When you have a war, that means as citizens--you make sacrifices (harkening back to the World War II days of food rationing and Gold Star mothers).  That's what I call a war and it's a national will."  [emphasis added -ed.]
        Richard Cowan, NORML's National Director, asked, "Just what sacrifices does Mr. Constantine have in mind?  As a nation, we've arrested almost ten million Americans on marijuana charges.  How many more Americans does Mr. Constantine want to sacrifice?"