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

February 1, 1996

NORML Targets Republican Task Force: Urges Panel To Lift Ban On Medical Cannabis, Reconsider Decriminalization Of Marijuana

        February 1, 1996, Washington, DC:  NORML has sent a formal letter and 50-page informative booklet to each member of the new Republican task force on drugs.  The letter urges the committee to lift the federal government's ban on medical cannabis and re-examine the decriminalization of marijuana as a public policy.  NORML also asks the task force to include testimony from medical experts on these subjects when the committee holds public hearings on drug use later this year.
        Enclosures to the letter include endorsements of the potential of medical marijuana from such well respected organizations as the National Academy of Sciences, American Public Health Association and others.  Also included in the booklet is a summary of the 1981 Monitoring the Future briefing paper that stated, "decriminalization [of marijuana] has had virtually no effect either on the marijuana use or related attitudes and belief about marijuana use among American young people."
        "This compendium makes a strong argument for a federal re-evaluation of our current marijuana policies," says NORML Deputy National Director Allen St. Pierre.  "It is intended to persuade as well as inform the newly established Republican drug task force."
        The letter and booklet are two of NORML's latest efforts to garner political attention and support for U.S. Representative Barney Frank's federal medical marijuana bill (H.R. 2618).  Frank's legislation would amend the federal law to permit doctor's to prescribe marijuana as a therapeutic agent to seriously ill patients.  The bill has been referred to the Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment and the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime where it is presently awaiting a vote.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Washington State Senators Introduce Legislation
To Allow Research Of Medical Marijuana

        January 30, 1996, Olympia, Washington:  Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl, D-36th District, along with Sens. Bob McCaslin, R-4th District; Darlene Fairley, D-32nd District; and Pat Thibaudeau, D-43rd District, has introduced a bill (S.B. 6744) that would allow further research to be conducted regarding the medical uses of marijuana.
        The legislation, known as the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, finds that there is a need for research regarding the cultivation, processing, and distribution of medicinal marijuana under strictly controlled circumstances.  Therefore, S.B. 6744 amends current state statutes, creates new sections, and allows for appropriations to achieve those ends.
        The bill has been referred to the 25-member Committee on Ways and Means and must be brought to an initial vote by February 6.
        For more information, please contact Joanna McKee of Green Cross @ (206) 780-0630.  For more information on the medical uses of marijuana, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  Senator Jeanne Kohl may he contacted @ (360) 786-7670.

Pot Charges Against Legal Marijuana User Dismissed

        January 31, 1996, Ft. Lauderdale, FL:  Attorney Norman Elliot Kent announced today that all charges against Elvy Musikka, a 56-year old glaucoma patient from Hollywood, Florida, and one of only eight people in the country allowed by the federal government to use marijuana for medical treatment, have been dropped by the Alachua County State's Attorney's Office.
        Musikka was arrested by Gainesville police on December 9, 1995 while performing on stage at the sixth annual Florida Hempfest.  Despite having a prescription for marijuana issued to her by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Mussika was arrested after she took out one of her marijuana cigarettes and began smoking.  She was dragged off the stage arm-and-arm by two police officers and was later charged with possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.  "The police just attacked the stage, reached up and grabbed me, and knocked me down," Musikka said.  "I was in total shock."
        "The State Attorney honorably entered a nolle prosequi [decision not to prosecute] all charges after we presented them with the medical and legal documentation that supported our position," stated Fort Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent.
        Musikka says that she will continue to work as a medical marijuana activist.
        For more information, please contact either Elvy Musikka @ (954) 966-4238 or Attorney Norman Kent @ (954) 763-1900.

Trial Date Set In Johann Moore Case

        January 25, 1996, New York City, NY:  A trial date has been set for April 3, 1996, in the case of Johann Moore, the longtime marijuana activist who was arrested last August when law enforcement officials busted New York City's underground cannabis buyers club.  Moore is the coordinator of the club.
        At a preliminary hearing, Judge Stolz of Manhattan's Criminal Court chose not to dismiss felony sales charges against Moore.  Stolz refused the defense's motion to dismiss on the grounds that the sale took place in a public space and because Moore has no formal training in medicine.
        Moore has stated that he has no intention of ceasing operation of the club.
        For more information on this case, please contact Cures Not Wars @ (212) 677-7180.  E-mail:  Internet address:

Washington Human Rights Group Criticizes Incoming Drug Czar

        January 24, 1996, Washington, DC:  The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) released the following statements concerning President Clinton's nomination of Army General Barry R. McCaffrey as the nation's new "Drug Czar."
        "General McCaffrey has an impressive record of service to this country," says George R. Vickers, Executive Director of WOLA.  "But what is needed is a fundamental shift in U.S. anti-narcotic policies, away from failed military strategies that have had little impact on the supply of illicit drugs coming to the United States.
        "Regardless of his personal qualities, McCaffrey's nomination symbolizes the misguided militarization of U.S. drug policy," adds WOLA Senior Associate Colleta Younger, "and suggests a continued erosion of civilian control over law enforcement efforts in this field."
        As Commander in Chief of the United States Southern Command, General McCaffrey has overseen the U.S. military's anti-narcotics operations in Latin America.  The WOLA has monitored human rights and United States policy in Latin America since 1974 and has produced numerous reports on U.S. anti-narcotics policy in the Andes.
        For more information, please contact either Colletta Younger or Bill Spencer of the Washington Office on Latin America @ (202) 544-8054.

CNN Marijuana Special Slated To Air On February 11

        January 25, 1996, Atlanta, GA:  The much talked about CNN special on marijuana is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. EST.  Entitled "Higher Times," the feature will explore a comparative analysis of federal marijuana policies in America and Holland.  The segment will feature interviews with law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and political figures from both countries.  In addition, the special will contain footage of interviews conducted with NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre and Senior Policy Analyst Richard Cowan.
        The CNN feature was initially slated to run in late 1995, but was delayed due to scheduling conflicts.