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

August 17, 1995

Two NORML Chapters Fight For Their Rights... And Win!

        Two NORML chapters recently emerged victorious in their fights against local censorship restrictions.  In two separate incidents, Northcoast NORML (OH) and University of Oklahoma NORML were initially denied access to public forums because of their organization's marijuana-tolerant beliefs.  However, after threatening to take legal action in order to defend their First Amendment rights, both chapters subsequently prevailed.
        According to Northcoast NORML president, John Hartman, the local chapter will now be allowed to display public service announcements on the rear and/or side of Cuyahoga city busses.  Regional Transit Authority officials had originally refused to post the organization's PSA's.  However, upon learning that an ACLU lawyer had accepted the case, the RTA quickly reversed its opinion.  The RTA has informed Northcoast NORML that the group's displays must meet the same requirements as do political advertisements and must bear the organization's name and address.  Hartman says that adhering to these standards should not be a problem and hopes to use the ads to raise awareness of the fact there have been over ten million marijuana arrests since 1965.
        In a similar scenario, University of Oklahoma NORML will now be permitted to run a month-long hemp exhibit in the display case of the Norman (OK) Municipal Public Library.  Originally, the chapter's request to gain access to the display case was denied by library management.  OU NORML challenged this decision and charged that the library was engaging in discrimination.  OU NORML further argued that the library's denial of their request violated the written anti-censorship policy of the National Library Association.  Following this assertion, the library promptly rewrote their own policy in order to justify their previous decision.  OU NORML then had an ACLU lawyer send the library a letter requesting them to change their new policy and grant the NORML chapter access to the public display case.  Library officials finally consented following the ACLU's letter.  The OU NORML hemp exhibit is slated to be on display this upcoming February.
        For more information regarding these cases, please contact John Hartman at Northcoast NORML @ (216) 521-WEED and/or Michael Pearson at University of Oklahoma NORML @ (405) 840-HEMP.

Meanwhile, Mass Cann NORML Denied Permition To Hold Hemp Rally
By Board Of Selectmen

        August 17, 1995, Marblehead, MA:  Mass Cann: NORML has announced that it must cancel its scheduled weekend Hempfest (Aug. 26-27) because of an abrupt change of heart by the Royalston Board of Selectmen.  Plans are already underway to hold a protest on the green outside Royalston Town Hall.  The demonstration is slated to take place at noon on August 26.
        Steve Epstein, an attorney and Chairman of Mass Cann: NORML, explained that the Royalston Board of Selectmen suddenly "changed its position and determined that the club did not have the necessary permits [required] under state law to host the event."  Epstein further states that Mass Cann: NORML had "met [previously] with them on August 6 and were told that no additional permits were required."  Mass Cann: NORML wasn't alerted to the fact that the group would need an additional permit until August 11. The board refuses to allow the event without the necessary authorizations.
        William Downing, President of Mass Cann: NORML maintains that: "The decision of the board was motivated by an illegal desire to prevent [our organization] from expressing [its] opinions on marijuana prohibition."  He additionally states that: "They could stop Hempfest because of [a permit requirement, but] they cannot stop 'HEMP-PROTEST' because of the First Amendment."  Mass Cann: NORML had been hosting events similar to Hempfest for approximately the past six years.
        For more information of the scheduled August 26 "HEMP-PROTEST," please contact Steve Epstein, Esq. @ (617) 699-3161 or Mass Cann: NORML @ (617) 944-CANN.

Student Parking "Not For the Bashful"
Indiana School Board Votes To Institute Drug Free Parking Policy

        August 16, 1995, Fishers, Indiana:  Following directly on the heels of this past June's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding an Oregon public school policy mandating urine tests for all athletes regardless of probable cause, a Fishers school board is attempting to force high school students to submit to drug tests before they are issued parking permits.
        Principle Gary Wiersema was asked by the board to adopt the new policy before school opens August 23.  Wiesema maintains that such a proposal should not be instituted so swifty and has advised the board to move slowly on the issue.  "Kids still have rights," he told the Palladium-Item after an initial meeting with the board.
        An attorney for the school has stated that he believes such a measure would stand up in a court of law based upon the U.S. Supreme Court's previous rulings regarding drug testing.  "If the rationale to randomly test athletes is because of safety," he told the Palladium-Item, "[then] the school has the ability to control who drives."
        Currently, between 10 and 20 separate schools have enacted random drug testing policies for athletes in Indiana.

Richard Martinez's Health Worsens
Registered Nurse Petitions Arizona Governor To Intervene

        August 15, 1995, Phoenix, AZ:  In the past week, Richard Martinez's voice has weakened to the point where it is now barely audible. Meanwhile, he continues to suffer from life threatening staph infections, high blood pressure, migraines, and possibly anemia.
        Connie Theis, Martinez's registered nurse and the woman who notified NORML of his situation, has requested that he be transferred from Durango County Jail and placed in a nearby hospital.  Recently, she has written to Arizona Governor Fyfe Symington to alert him of Martinez's increasingly ill health.  The Office of Human Rights in Phoenix is also attempting to get Martinez transferred to a medical facility.  Ms. Theis maintains that Martinez's life is in danger every additional day he is forced to stay in prison.
        Richard Martinez has yet to be convicted of any crime.  He is currently facing drug charges after being turned in to authorities for possessing a coffee can of marijuana.  Martinez had been using marijuana as a therapeutic agent to help relieve the pain he suffers daily after having been shot through the left eye in 1991.  He remains incarcerated in Durango County Jail so that the state can continue to conduct competency tests.  Ms. Theis asserts that Martinez's head injury has permanently damaged his right frontal lobe and maintains that he is mentally incompetent to stand trial.
        Constance Theis can be contacted at the following numbers: (602) 790-1595 (home) or (602) 325-1300 EXT 4435 (work).  Activists are encouraged to call and/or fax the following Arizona political officials: U.S. Senator John Kyl @ (202) 224-4521 or fax# (202) 228-1239; U.S. Senator John McCain @ (202) 224-2235 or fax# (202) 228-2862; Governor Fyfe Symington, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007; phone# (602) 524-4331 or fax# (602) 542-1381.

Federal Prisoner Begins Hunger Strike To Protest Denial Of Marinol

        August 15, 1995, El Reno, OK:  Alan D. McLemore has forsaken food for the last 18 days and lost more than twenty pounds since a physician at Montgomery County Jail (Conroe, TX) discontinued his prescription for Marinol.  Doctors at the prison have attempted to substitute other medications in place of Marinol; however, McLemore's wife reports that alternative medicines have only aggravated his current physical condition.  McLemore has a medical history of chronic clinical depression and has been prescribed Marinol by a previous jail psychiatrist.
        McLemore was sentenced to federal prison this past July on marijuana charges.  In the past, McLemore had used marijuana to provide relief from chronic migraines, depression, lack of appetite, and alcoholic tendencies.
        For more information on the case of Alan D. McLemore, please call Maggi Carter-McLemore @ (409) 898-4926.  Activists may also wish to contact Warden Ronald G. Thomas, El Reno Federal Correction Institute @ (405) 262-4875 or fax# (405) 743-1448.