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

March 30, 1995

Editor of Arkansas Times Comes out of Her "Smoky Little Closet"

        Writing in her regular column, Mara Leveritt, the senior editor of the widely respected weekly Arkansas Times revealed that she has smoked an average of one "joint" per day for the last twenty years.  Leveritt, who was named Arkansas Journalist of Year by the University of Arkansas explained that her purpose was not to encourage the use of marijuana, but to spur a more rational discussion of marijuana prohibition.  By speaking out she hopes to make it more difficult to demonize marijuana users.

        She said that "we have come to accept as normal a most dangerous form of political correctness: a situation in which those on one side of the issue feel safe to speak, while any would-be opposition exposes itself to heightened scrutiny."  She went on to say that "If long term, regular users like myself felt free to articulate their experiences with marijuana, the walking, talking evidence that we represent would put our marijuana laws to shame....  And as we get older, our lives begin to make the lies that have been broadcast about marijuana look even more ridiculous."

        In the Associated Press story on the article, Leveritt acknowledged having belonged to NORML. NORML salutes her courage and urges others who talk about the truth to stop living a lie.  Speaking the truth is a wonderfully liberating experience.  We have it on the highest authority that it will make us free.

[Ms. Leveritt can be reached at 501-375-2985.]

Alleged white House Shootist Reportedly Smoked Pot and Listened to Rush Limbaugh
A Dangerous Combination?

        According to the testimony of a friend, Francisco Duran, who is accused of spraying the White House with bullets, allegedly smoked marijuana and listened to Rush Limbaugh before setting out for Washington.  His friend who smoked marijuana with him, but did not listen to Rush Limbaugh, said he tried to talk him out of his plan to attack the President.  Since marijuana -- unlike alcohol -- is not conimonly associated with acts of violence, marijuana users who listen to Rush Limbaugh are urged to watch out for violent impulses.

New Test Allows Parents to Test Their Children's Rooms for "Drugs"

        In a major breakthrough in the technology of cementing family values Barrington Technologies of New Providence, New Jersey, has introduced a home drug detection kit, "DrugAlert," that allows parents to surreptitiously check their children's room and personal belongings for drug residues.

        A March 29 Washington Post story on the test quoted a staff therapist at the Family Therapy Institute of Alexandria, Virginia, saying that "It usually takes two or three years after a child is using before their behavior becomes so deviant that parents are aware of their drug use, and by that time they are well into addiction."  He did not suggest at what age parents might start using these tests, but presumably it should be up to three years before there is any indication of a problem.  According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free (sic) America, the median age of first drug use by children is 12 and half.  Therefore regular testing might begin at age 9.  The Washington Post story also reported on home urine tests that are being sold.  Parents can also collect their children's urine samples from an early age.  There are conflicting opinions on the relative merits of surreptitious and forced testing as tools to help the child mature in a drug-free environment.

        The DrugAlert kit supplies a small pre-moistened pad which picks up drug residues when wiped across items that may have come into contact with illicit drugs.  To demonstrate the technology, company executives spread cocaine over common objects - such as a baseball trophy which one would expect a drug using child to bring into contact with drugs.  The surfaces were then wiped with the DrugAlert pad and the pad was tested and demonstrated the presence of the cocaine.  It was not explained where the company got the cocaine, whether from the DEA, the CIA, or the Iran/Contra connection.

        The company warns that children might pick up drug residues without actually using drugs, and a company executive also admitted that the company had not considered the possibility that children might use the test to check their parents rooms for drugs.  Perhaps the D.A.R.E. program could provide children with the tests so that more parents could be reported to the police and thereby saved from drugs.  Employers [such as editors or producers -ed.] might test their employees' personal belongings to detect drug traces.  Presumably the tests will not detect the residues of alcoholic beverages so that teenage binge drinking will not be detected and personal liberty will not be undermined.

Marijuana Plants Thrive In Downtown Tel Aviv
Is Marijuana Decriminalization Coming To Isreal?

        February 24, The Jerusalem Post (JP) ran an article featuring the actions of the country's most evident marijuana reform organization, The Green Revolution.

        * Israel has a growing marijuana-smoking population and many of them believe that the drug, being natural rather than chemical, should be legalized.
        Recently, the drive towards legalized growing and smoking of cannabis gained new momemtum.  While the legalization movement has been going on here for some time, the movement in Tel Aviv has exploded.  Over the past year, there have been rallies and smoke-ins at Tel Aviv nightclubs, and organizers have produced T-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and pamphlets carrying the familiar shape of the cannabis leaf.
        But buttons and signs aren't enought to bring about such a radical change.  [Marijuana reform group] The Green Revolution has discovered the green thumb.  Armed with seedlings and a smile, about 15 revolutionaries have turned to gardening.  Their mission: to turn Tel Aviv into a marijuana jungle.
        On one Friday afternoon in January, members of the group targeted the Tel Aviv landscape, tilling the soil with about 1,000 seeds.  The result: marijuana is growing all over downtown Tel Aviv.
        * [The JP further reports] After the Green Revolution made its strategy public, hundreds of others planted seeds, and not just in Tel Aviv.  Sprouts have been spotted in Or Yehuda and Givatayim.  Budding cannabis has been spotted around Tel Aviv City Hall, in the planters of Carlebach Steet office buildings and down other main streets.
        * [But, there are detractors. -ed.] Dr. Benny Avrahami, director of the Tel Aviv Municipal Anti-Drug Authority. He admits that marijuana is hardly in the same league as hard drugs...though he considers marijuana to be the "gate-opener" to harder drugs.
        * Avrahami thinks that legalizing marijuana could lead to the collapse of Isreali society.
        "If marijuana was to become legalized, in my opinion, it would be social suicide for Isreal [emphasis added -ed.].  So many of our youth would feel free to use it and the more users, the more addicts.  How can we afford to have this when they are in the army and part of a society that may be called up at a short notice to serve?"
        * One month after the fast seeds were planted, the group set out to see what had become of their gardening adventure.  The payoff: 5-cm.-high marijuana plants around downtown... [Green Revolution members] will continue their fight for legalization, planting and campaigning, because they really want to be law-abiding citizens.  But until that happens-- they'll just keep breaking the law.

REMINDER: ABC News Special To Focus On The 'War On Drugs'
ABC News will air a special program. "America's War On Drugs: Searching For Solutions", on Thursday, April 6, 1995, 10:00 - 11:00 PM, ET.  NORML members from Oklahoma, such as medical marijuana patient Jimmy Montgomery and his lawyer, NORML Legal Conumttee member C. Rabon Martin, will be featured in the broadcast.