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

January 25, 1996

Circuit Judge's Dissent In Urinalysis Case Could Spur Supreme Court Review

        January 24, 1996, Atlanta, GA:  The 11th Circuit Court has ruled that a Georgia law requiring all political candidates running for state office to undergo drug screening urinalysis is constitutional, but it is the dissent that has attorney Walker Chandler talking.
        "It's a great decision," Walker said.  "Have you read the dissent.  It hits the nail right on the head."
        In a scathing 11 page dissent, Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett writes, "I do not believe that the suspicionless search in these circumstances serves any special governmental need beyond the normal need for law enforcement, and, if it did, I believe that the candidates' privacy interests outweigh the governmental interests. ..."
        ...We are not merely dealing with the denial of a job opportunity, but with the denial of opportunity to participate in our democratic form of government."
        Barkett's dissent also calls into question apparent First Amendment violations posed by the controversial Georgia law.  "The majority maintains that the government's purpose [in passing this legislation] is not suppression of free expression.  Yet, it supports its holding by citing the importance of ensuring that elected officials are 'persons appreciative of the perils of drug use' and 'sympathetic to drug interdiction efforts.'
        Establishing a certain ideology as a 'qualification' for holding public office appears to be a content-based restriction on free expression."
        Chandler, who filed the action against the Georgia statute and served as his own legal counsel maintains that he will forgo an "en banc" review of his case and will attempt to take his appeal directly to the Supreme Court.  He intends to argue that the law violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.  Referring to the Court's decision last year to uphold the constitutionality of a Washington state law mandating random and warrantless searches of high school athletes partly on the notion that school children live under fewer constitutional protections than adults, Chandler fires, "The only way the Supreme Court could [then] approve of Georgia's law is by affirming that all Georgians are [children.]"
        NORML's recently reformed Amicus Curiae Committee is currently reviewing the 11th Circuit Court decision and will consider filing an amicus brief if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case.
        For more information, please contact Walter Chandler, Esq., @ (800) 560-3882.

Activists Intending To Sell Marijuana At The Super Bowl Gain National Exposure

        January 14, 1995, Tempe, AZ:  The rumor that marijuana will be sold openly during this year's Super Bowl has garnered the attention of the national media in recent weeks and has even made it to the pages of Time Magazine.
        Representatives from the Richard M. Davis Cannabis Hemp Co. plan to be on hand selling marijuana, states the magazine.  "I plan to have a press conference in the parking lot," says longtime marijuana activist and R.M. Davis spokesman Ron Kiczenski, "[I will] tell people where they can buy [marijuana] in the vicinity of the Super Bowl.  Not within the secured zone you have to get a special venue license for, but outside of that zone.  They'll be able to buy legal marijuana."
        Both Kiczenski and Davis have openly sold marijuana in Arizona before.  Ironically, on one occasion, the activists boldly set up shop in front of the Arizona State Capitol.
        The activists latest plan stems 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 Department 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.
        For more information, please contact either Ron Kiczenski @ (602) 894-8994 or AZ4NORML @ (602) 921-2724.

Defense Fund Established To Aid Man Charged With Marijuana Trafficking

        January 24, 1996, Oregon, OH:  NORML chapters in Cleveland and Fremont Ohio have united to establish a defense fund for medical marijuana user Daniel Asbury.  Asbury is a quadriplegic who has been charged with trafficking in marijuana for growing his own medical cannabis.
        Asbury suffered a broken neck 15 years ago and began to use marijuana as a therapeutic after prescription drugs proved to be ineffective at controlling his pain and muscle spasms.  Marijuana made me "fe[el] like a human being again," he said.
        Asbury was arrested in September of 1995 for growing his own marijuana to treat his medical condition.  Asbury's lawyer, Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio, will invoke "medical necessity" as the basis for his defense.  The trial is scheduled to begin February 26 at the Lucas County Court House.
        The medical necessity defense is expensive and requires expert testimony to establish the foundation for the defense.  Asbury's legal fees, including the cost of flying in expert witnesses such as NORML board member Dr. John Morgan, will total in the thousands of dollars.
        NORML will forward all moneys received for the Daniel Asbury Defense Fund to Mid-American Bank in Toledo, Ohio where an account has been set up to assist Asbury.
        Concerned parties can mail checks or money orders made payable to Daniel Asbury to: NORML Defense Fund, PO Box 771154, Cleveland, Ohio, 44107 or call (216) 521-9333 for more information.

NORML Deputy Director To Publicly Debate Lee Brown, Finally!

        January 25, 1996, Washington, DC:  After years of prodding, former Drug Czar Lee Brown has finally agreed to engage in a public debate with NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre over the issue of marijuana decriminalization.  The debate will take place over the Internet in a large America Online discussion room.  USA Today is hosting the debate and will also serve as moderator.  Questions from the On-line audience will be answered by both guests.
        The anticipated debate is slated to take place on February 19 at 10 p.m. eastern time.
        More specific information concerning this debate will be available from NORML in the upcoming weeks.

National Review Advocates Legalizing Drugs

        January 21, 1996:  The latest issue of National Review, a weekly conservative journal headed by syndicated columnist William F. Buckley, asserts that the "war on drugs is lost" and recommends that the time has come to make narcotics legal.
        In a 15 page section of the political weekly, Buckley and a half-dozen other legalization proponents including Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore argue that America's "present prohibitive policy has failed, flatly and without serious question."
        In a telephone interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Buckley said that he hopes that the attention garnered from National Review will encourage the thinking community to begin seriously facing the issue of legalization.
        Buckley, who just recently debated DEA head Thomas Constantine on the January 23 edition of "The Today Show," intends to follow up on the subject with three televised debates on his PBS program, "Firing Line."

NORML Chapter Debuts Hemp Store: Grand Opening To Take Place This Week

        January 11, 1996, Lakewood, OH:  The Northcoast Chapter of NORML has announced the opening of its new hemp store in Lakewood, Ohio.  The store will be called Cannabis Connections and its theme will be products for the cannabis community.  Items sold at the store will include hemp clothing, marijuana related books and t-shirts, posters, tie-dyes, and various assorted NORML merchandise.
        President of Northcoast NORML John Hartman is the driving force behind the retail store and hopes that the profits can be used to help further fund NORML's efforts to reform marijuana laws.
        Cannabis Connections will also serve as the new office for Northcoast NORML and store patrons will be provided with free information on marijuana-related issues.  Cannabis Connections will have its grand opening on January 27, 1996.
        For more information, please contact Cannabis Connections @ (216) 521-9333 or stop by the store at 16019 Madison Ave., Lakewood, Ohio, 44107.

USA Today Sunday Supplement To Feature Story On Marijuana

        January 25, 1996:  The USA Today Sunday supplement, one of the nation's most widely distributed media features, will run a cover story on marijuana.  The upcoming article will explore the issue of adolescent marijuana use and whether marijuana should be decriminalized.  The cover story is scheduled to run on February 18, 1996.