SUITE 1010
TEL 202-483-5500 * FAX 202-483-0057

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

December 7, 1995

American Public Health Association Passes Resolution Endorsing Making Cannabis Available By Prescription

        November, 1995, Washington DC:  The American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, passed a resolution this past November urging lawmakers to make marijuana legally available as a therapeutic agent.  The APHA represents more than 50,000 members and has been effectively influencing policies and setting priorities in public health since 1872.  The APHA is one of the first major American health associations to formally recommend using cannabis as a medicine.
        "This is a significant development toward achieving NORML's goal of amending the federal law to allow physicians to be able to legally prescribe marijuana to their patients," states NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "These are respected health care professionals whose opinions and positions carry great weight with our publicly elected officials."
        The APHA resolution concludes that "greater harm is caused by the legal consequences of [marijuana's] prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use" and "urges the Administration and Congress to move expeditiously to make cannabis available as a legal medicine."
        The resolution will be published in the forthcoming issue of The American Journal of Public Health.
        For more information on the APHA medical marijuana resolution, please contact Jeff Jacobs of the American Public Health Association @ (202) 789-5600.  For more information on the medical uses of cannabis or the federal bill pending in Congress (H.R. 2618) that would allow doctors to legally prescribe cannabis to their patients, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Marijuana Arrests For 1994 Near Half Million Mark: FBI Data Confirms Clinton's Marijuana War To Be Tougher Than Bush's

        An estimated 481,098 total marijuana arrests were made by state and local law enforcement during the year 1994, according to the latest edition of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report.  This figure is a 26 percent increase over last year's total and 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 where the marijuana was being grown for personal use.
        "This data confirms that the federal government's war on marijuana consumers has gotten significantly tougher under Clinton's regime," states NORML's Deputy National Director Allen St. Pierre.  "These new FBI statistics indicate that one marijuana user is arrested eveiy 65 seconds in America.  Not surprisingly, those individuals who possess marijuana are being hardest hit."
        According to annual data collected by the FBI, Clinton's two year average of total marijuana arrests (430,894 arrests per year) is 27 percent higher than the average number of yearly arrests under the Bush administration (338,998).  "The fact that studies indicate adolescent use rates for marijuana are rising at the same time that law enforcement is arresting record numbers of users affirms NORML's long-held belief that marijuana prohibition is not an effective deterrent to marijuana consumption," remarks St. Pierre.
        For more information on marijuana arrests, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  To receive a copy of the FBI's 1995 Uniform Crime Repors, please call (202) 324-5015.  Information regarding drug arrests appears on pages 216-217

(Meanwhile) Prison Population Experiences Largest Annual Increase In History: United States Now Incarcerates A Larger Percentage Of Its Population Than Any Other Nation

        December 4, 1995, Washington, DC:  The nation's prison population experienced its largest 1 year increase ever bringing America's inmate population to a record total of more than 1.1 million.  With this total, the United States now surpasses Russia to claim the unenviable crown of having incarcerated a greater share of its residents than any other nation.
        Since 1980, America's prison population has risen by over 300 percent.  This dramatic increase is due mainly to the impact of the "war on drugs" and stiff mandatory sentences.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, drug offenders now constitute nearly two-thirds of all federal prisoners and approximately one-quarter of all state prisoners.

Update: Marijuana Activists Swarm To Arizona To Purchase Legal Tax Stamps

        December 5, 1995, Phoenix, AZ:  Following a recent Arizona court decision that rules a citizen may legally possess and sell cannabis in Arizona if they possess the proper state license and tax stamps to do so, marijuana activists have been swarming to the state.
        According to reports from representatives of AZ4NORML, some activists have even taken to openly selling marijuana in front of the Arizona State Capital.  Rich Davis, longtime hemp activist and curator of the mobile USA Hemp Museum, recently sold one gram bags of marijuana out in front of the Department of Revenue in plain view of both capital and state police officers.  No arrests were made.
        A second well known activist, Ron Kiczenski, reports that he intends to open America's first ever marijuana store.  "This will be the first legal marijuana cigarette company," he told The Associated Press.  "It's legal to buy marijuana from anyone in the state.  You just have to pay the state tax within 24 hours of the sale."
        The recent goings-on in Arizona stem from a ruling by Northwest Phoenix Justice Court Judge John Barclay that dismissed charges against Arizona NORML Chairman Peter Wilson because of evidence that he is licensed by the state to sell marijuana.  Basing his decision on constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy, Judge Barclay concluded that Wilson could not be prosecuted for possession of marijuana because of taxes he has paid to the Arizona Depantnient of Revenue to sell cannabis.  Under Title 42 of a 1983 law, Arizona residents can purchase both a license and tax stamps to possess and sell marijuana.
        State lawmakers contend that the legislation was intended solely as a way to punish drug traffickers, not to legalize cannabis in the state of Arizona.  "We're confident that [Judge Barclay's] decision will be overturned," states Barnett Lotstein, a special assistant with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.  "In the event it isn't, I'm sure the Legislature would remedy that post haste."
        "We know that the Legislature is going to vote on this issue [when it convenes in January,]" responds Bill Green of AZ4NORML.  "Our goal is to be well organized so that we [can] actively change the law the best we can at that time."
        For more information, please contact AZ4NORML @ (602) 921- 2724.  To view the applications, click here: Page 1 Page 2.  Click here to view the AZ tax stamp regulations.

Controversy Over Hempilation CD Escalates: Massachusetts Anti-Drug Group Organizes Rally Against Radio Station WBCN Boston

        Boston, Massachusetts, December 1, 1995:  The Massachusetts based anti-drug group, Governor's Alliance Against Drugs, in cooperation with representatives from the DEA and local law-enforcement, organized a protest outside the offices of WBCN Boston to voice their disapproval of the station "giving airtime" to the NORML benefit CD, HEMPILATION.
        Alleging that NORML is poised to make "millions" from the sale of the CD and further stating that "WBCN is an active participant of the pro-marijuana legalization effort in Massachusetts," the G.A.A.D. issued a fax release encouraging local law enforcement to attend the rally and "bring [their] squad car[s.]"
        According to representatives from Mass/Cann NORML, about 15 protesters showed up at the gathering and a report of the event was broadcast on WCVB-TV Channel 3 News.  Attendees were shown carrying signs with slogans such as "WBCN is bringing the country to its knees" and "WBCN: Broadcasting Capitalists for NORML."  G.A.A.D. Executive Director Georgette Wilson and Boston liaison for the Drug Enforcemant Administration, Steve Morreale, were filmed entering WBCN's offices as "they went in to make their case to station officials."
        WBCN reported to WCVB-TV that the station will continue to play music off the HEMPILATION CD.  Later, in an MTV NEWS interview which aired December 6 and 7, WBCN's program director commented that: "Music shouldn't be blamed for social phenomena.  Musicians have the same right to free expression as other Americans."  The radio station offered Wilson an opportunity to air her concerns over HEMPILATION on WBCN's public forum show, but Wilson refused their invitation.
        In response to the action taken by the Governor's Alliance Against Drugs against WBCN, Mass/Cann NORML is considering taking legal action against the federal prohibitionist groups involved in the protest.  "These government sponsored and organized activities are designed to coerce, threaten, intimidate, and damage WBCN-FM so that they [will] abandon their association with Mass/Cann NORML," alleges President Bill Downing.  "These sorts of actions, when performed by government agents, are specifically proscribed by law."
        For more information, please conract either Bill Downing of Mass/Cann NORML @ (617) 944-2266 or Jeremy Much of Capricorn Records @ (615) 320-8470.