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

November 30, 1995

Marijuana Arrests For 1994 Near Half Million Mark

        November 19, 1995, Washington, DC:  An estimated 481,098 total arrests were made by state and local law enforcement during the year 1994, according to the the latest edition of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report.  This figure pushes the total number of marijuana arrests under the Clinton administration to a staggering 861,788.
        Of the 481,098 arrests made for marijuana in 1994, approximately 83.7 percent (402,717) were for simple "possession."  The remaining 16.3 percent (78,381 arrests) were for "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses -- even those intended for personal use.
        "This data affirms that the federal govemment's war on marijuana consumers has gotten significantly tougher under Clinton's regime," says NORML'S Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "Not surprisingly, those individuals who possess marijuana for personal use are being the hardest hit."
        USA Today noted that total drug possession arrests reached a record 1 million in 1994.  This figure is nearly a 43 percent increase from just three years earlier when the number of Americans arrested for possession of controlled substances stood at less than 700,000.  The FBI report further reveals that the number of individuals arrested for marijuana possession in 1994 virtually equaled the combined total number of individuals arrested for possessing heroin, cocaine, and/or their derivatives.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  To receive a copy of the FBI's 1995 Uniform Crime Report, please call (202) 324-5015.  Information regarding drug arrests appears on pages 216 and 217.

New York State Senator And NORML Board Member Joseph L. Galiber Dies

        State Senator Joseph L. Galiber, a Bronx New York Democrat who took unpopular stands on crime and drug policy and remained a power in New York City and state politics for three decades, died recently of a heart attack. He was 71.
        Sen. Galiber was first elected to the state senate in 1968.  He was an early supporter of methadone-maintenance programs and an early and vocal opponent of mandatory sentencing laws.  He favored the legalization of marijuana and joined the NORML board of directors in September of 1994.  His essay, "Marijuana Prohibition: A Mistaken View Of Reality," recently appeared in the June issue of NORML's monthly publication, Ongoing Briefing.
        Harvard professor and fellow NORML board member Lester Grinspoon, M.D., said: "Sen. Galiber will be sorely missed by all who work in drug reform.  He was a wise and compassionate man and one of the few elected public officials courageous enough to speak out against the 'war on drugs.'  His valuable counsel will be sorely missed at NORML."

Exaggerated Claim Of Pot's Potency Reaches Most Absurd Level Yet
Illinois Lieutenant Governor Purports Today's Marijuana To Be
One Thousand Percent More Potent

        November 19, 1995, Illinois:  In a press release condemning the release of HEMPILATION: Freedom Is NORML -- a benefit CD for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- Illinois Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra claims that, "According to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the marijuana sold on the streets today is 1,000 percent more potent ... than what many parents experimented with in the l960s and 1970s."
        Contrary to Kustra's allegations, annual marijuana potency figures supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that marijuana today is essentially no stronger than in the past.  NIDA data taken from a 1994 report monitoring yearly cannabis potency demonstrates that ordinary marijuana has contained approximately 3 to 4 percent THC for at least the last 13 years.  NIDA only began measuring marijuana potency in the mid-l970s.
        For more information regarding either marijuana potency or HEMPILATlON, please contact NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

International Medical Journal Publishes Editorial
Calling For The Decriminalization Of Cannabis

        November 11, 1995, Great Britian:  The prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, printed an editorial in its November 11 issue calling for the decriminalization and regulation of cannabis similar to the Dutch model.  The November editorial -- entitled "Deglamorising cannabis" -- asks the question: "Where is the harm in decriminalizing cannabis?"
        After weighing the evidence, the editorial concludes that: "The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmfal to health.  ...[Yet] cannabis has become political football, and one that governments continually duck.  Like footballs, however, it bounces back.  Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be."
        For more information on marijuana decriminalization, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.