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

June 1, 1995

Deadline: The U.S. Sentencing Commission Requests Public Comment

        June 16, 1995 will be the last day that the U.S. Sentencing Commission will accept public comment on two possible sentencing guideline changes that are relevant to cannabis consumers charged under federal statutes.  *Note the new numbers that have been assigned to these proposed guideline amendments.
        Proposed Amendment #8 seeks to retroactively apply any guideline changes to individual cases which will lessen an individual's time of incarceration, or in some cases, free individuals sentenced and incarcerated under the previous guidelines.  NORML strongly supports the passage of proposed amendment #8 by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
        Proposed Amendment #7 seeks to create a "safety valve" which will provide an exception to otherwise applicable statutory mandatory minimum sentences for certain qualified defendants convicted of specific drug offenses.  NORML strongly supports the passage of proposed amendment #7 by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

        [To give public comment, write to: U.S. Sentencing Commission, One Columbus Circle, NE, Suite 2-500, Washington, D.C. 20002-8002, Attn: Public Comment.  For more information on recent U.S. sentencing guideline amendment proposals, please contact Julie Stewart, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), (202) 457-5790.]

CA Senate Votes To Opt Out Of "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License"

        May 30, Sacramento:  By a vote of 32-3, the State Senate approved a bill that would end California's unpopular "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License" law.  The bill, SB 1198, would formally opt out of a federal mandate requiring states to impose an automatic six-month driver's license suspension for any drug offense, regardless of whether it is driving-related.
        SB 1198 now goes to the Assembly, which recently killed an opposing bill backed by Gov. Wilson to extend the state's "Smoke A Joint, Lose Your License" law.  Under federal law, California must either extend or formally opt out of the "Smoke A Joint...," or else lose some $100 million in highway aid.  A recent poll shows that California voters oppose "Smoke A Joint..." by 63% - 32%.
        [For more information on SB 1198, please contact Dale Gieringer, CA NORML, (415) 563-5858.]

Orange County Register Opines In Favor Of Medical Marijuana

        May 25, The Orange County Register has once again favorably weighed in on the subject of medicinal marijuana:
        "Medicine exists to heal and to relieve pain....  Unfortunately, government unreasonably restricts some substances that could help patients.  One is marijuana, which greatly reduces the suffering of those afflicted with such ailments as glaucoma, cancer, and AIDS."
        "Unfortunately, California law prohibits marijuana use in all cases, including even clear medical use by prescription.  Assembly Bill 1529 would relieve the pain and suffering of many people by allowing marijuana to be used under a doctor's supervision."
        "...otherwise law-abiding citizens suffering from cancer or some other ailment, illegally obtain marijuana, and so become targets for arrest and imprisonment....  Courts and police should be going after killers and rapists, not cancer patients."
        "Morphine and other drugs, though banned in the market, are allowed as prescription medications to relieve pain.  Why should marijuana be any different?"

Gatewood Galbraith Runs A Strong Fourth In KY Gubernatorial Race

        May 26, Versailles, KY:  "The stakes are high.  Freedom is the issue."  With these words, Galbraith ended his 1995 bid for Governor.
        Former NORML board member and perennial gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith, along with running-mate Jerry Hammond, finished fourth in the Democratic primary with a strong 9% showing.  The Galbraith-Hammond campaign accomplished this astonishing vote total with only a $20,000 campaign war chest.
        [For more information, interested parties may contact Jerry Hammond at (606) 873-9159/873-0955.]

Kentucky Hemp Law Is ... The Law

        May 19, The Wolf County News (KY) reported:
        Makes no difference if you're a university researcher or a drug dealer, growing marijuana is illegal.  State Attorney General Chris Gorman's ruling pretty much limits the efforts of a state task force examining uses of a drug-free strain of hemp to reading up on the available literature (sic).  State Police Commissioner Jerry Lovitt had asked Gorman to grant an exception to the marijuana law for the state Department of Agriculture and some universities to grow the weed for research purposes.  Nothing doing: Gorman said, "We find no exception in Chapter 218A that would allow the government to grow marijuana."  A task force appointed by Gov. Brereton Jones had hoped to experiment with growing a drug-free European variety of hemp as a possible replacement for tobacco as a cash crop in Kentucky.

Marijuana Activist On Trial For Birdseed In Texas

        A demonstration and press conference will be held on Monday, June 5, at 1:00 PM outside the Smith County Courthouse in Tyler, Texas.  Cannabis Action Network (CAN) activist Kevin Aplin will be going on trial for felony possession of marijuana.
        The charges stem from a re-legalize cannabis rally held in Tyler back in September where Aplin was arrested for possessing a one-pound bag of legal, government sterilized hemp seed.  The seed was part of an educational display on the environmental and economic benefits of hemp.

        [For more information on the trial and demonstration, please contact Kevin Aplin, Louisiana CAN, (504) 861-2956 or his attorney, Gary Wainwright, (504) 822-3104.]

Update: Jimmy Montgomery ... Cause And Effect

        June 1, Wheelchair-bound Jimmy Montgomery suffered a bladder infection this week.  This was brought on by the fact that three replacement urine bags, sent by his mother, have not been made available for him to use.  While Jimmy is receiving adequate treatment for the bladder infection, the same can not be said about the chronic infections on his legs.  For Jimmy, those infections remain a constant source of unnecessary and excessive pain and discomfort.

        [To advocate an end to Jimmy's prolonged and unjustified imprisonment, please contact both the offices of Gov. Frank Keating, (405) 521-2342 and the Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman, (405) 475-3311, ask for the Editor's desk.]

Maine Legislature Rejects Medical Marijuana Bill

        June 1, USA Today reports that, "Both chambers of the state Legislatures have rejected measures to relax restrictions on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes."

        Counting Down: The Tenth Million Marijuana Arrest Will Occur In July.  Will You Be The Next Victim Of A Bad Law?  Will The Media Ever Report The Real And Discernible Numbers Related To Marijuana Prohibition, e.g., the number of arrests, the number of Americans behind bars, and the cost to taxpayers for enforcing the untenable public policy of prohibition.