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

March 14, 1996

Oakland City Council Issues Resolution Supporting Medical Marijuana

        March 12, Oakland, CA:  The Oakland City Council has unanimously passed a resolution (#72516) endorsing Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) federal medical marijuana legislation, supporting the activities of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Club, and declaring the arrest of individuals involved with the medical use of marijuana to be a low priority for the city of Oakland.
        The main points of the resolution are as follows:

        For more information on Oakland City Council resolution #72516, please contact Attorney Robert A. Raich @ (510) 420-1137.  For more information on the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Club please contact Jeff Jones @ (510) 832-5346.

Twice As Many Defendants Imprisoned For Marijuana Possession
Under Tough "Three Strikes" Law Than For Violent Crimes, Study Indicates

        March 6, 1996, San Francisco, CA:  More than twice as many defendants have been sentenced to stiff prison sentences under California's "three strikes and you're out" law than have murderers, rapists, and kidnappers combined, according to a recent study by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco.
        Overall, the report concluded that 85 percent of those sentenced under the law had been convicted most recently of a non-violent offense.  Of those 85 percent, 192 individuals were sentenced under the law after being convicted of marijuana possession while in custody (a felony offense in California) as compared to only 40 who were convicted of murder, 25 of rape, and 24 of kidnapping.
        To be prosecuted under the stringent California law, a defendant must have been convicted of at least one or more serious violent crimes in the past.  However, the most recent offense need not be a violent crime -- only a felony.  The law mandates double the normal sentence for anyone convicted of a second felony and life sentence for any individual convicted of a third felony.
        "People are going to jail in America for possessing marijuana," stated NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "As this report clearly illustrates, the sentences can potentially be for life.  This sort of illogical and fiscally irresponsible mandatory sentencing must end."
        For more information on the numbers of marijuana users behind bars, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  For a copy of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice Report, please call (415) 621-5661.

Vocal Medical Marijuana Activist, User Busted Following Television Appearance

        March, 1996, Sunny View, NC:  A medical marijuana activist who had received extensive media coverage for her vocal support of the medicinal use of marijuana was recently arrested by law enforcement officials and charged with various drug charges including possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
        Jean Marlowe, president of the Marijuana Relegalization Movement, told local newscasters in a television interview that she smoked marijuana at least three times a day to obtain therapeutic relief from three orthopedic conditions she suffers from: degenerative disc disease, reflect sympathetic dystrophy, and osteoarthritis.  Days later, local law enforcement officials raided the Marlowe residence and found approximately 50 marijuana seedlings.  Marlowe maintains that the seized seedlings were being grown for her own medical use and intends to sue both the state and federal government for legal medical access to marijuana.
        "No one sick or suffering should have to endure the added stress of living in fear of being searched, jailed, or prosecuted," Marlowe said.  "I want this medicine available for every American citizen that needs it!  Nobody should have to perform a criminal act to obtain a safe, natural medicine."
        To support her argument, Marlowe notes that she has letters from two separate physicians confirming her use of medical marijuana.  In addition, Marlowe has an official notice from the Social Security Administration stating that "she ... relies on marijuana to relieve her symptoms and smokes three grams per day."
        "I will get medical access or an exemption to grow my own [cannabis] before I'm though," Marlowe affirmed.  "How dare our legislators sit up there in Washington and bicker among themselves and treat the very citizens who put them [there] so very heartlessly.
        For more information, please contact Jean Marlowe @ (704) 625-2958.

Washington State Activists File 1996 Hemp Initiative

        March 1996, Olympia, WA:  A final version of the 1996 Washington Hemp Initiative has been approved by the Washington state Attorney General.  If successful, the initiative, now known officially as Initiative 663, would require the state to replace existing policies prohibiting cannabis with a system of regulation and taxation similar to that of alcohol.  The initiative has until July 8th to gather the 189,000 signatures from registered Washington voters necessary to place the bill on the upcoming ballot.
        The 1996 Hemp Initiative is a comprehensive initiative dealing with industrial, medicinal, and recreational hemp.  Industrial hemp is defined by the initiative as having less than .5 percent THC and is to be regulated as a non-intoxicating agricultural commodity.  Medicinal cannabis is allowed to be distributed by prescription from drug stores and pharmacies.  Regulations regarding the use of recreational and/or intoxicating hemp (read: marijuana) are modeled after the laws regulating alcohol and permits adults over 21 to consume cannabis as long as they do so responsibly.  In addition, minors will not be allowed where marijuana is grown, sold, or consumed.
        Tom Rohan, state coordinator for the initiative drive, notes that petition organizers have over 3,000 volunteers to help gather signatures.
        For more information, please contact the Hemp Initiative Hotline @ (206) 548-8043.  A complete text of the 1996 Hemp Initiative is available on the Internet @

Bill To Eliminate Arizona Tax Stamp Legislation Pulled For Time Being

        March 12, 1996, Phoenix, AZ:  An amendment that would delete Arizona's cannabis tax and licensing program was pulled by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Scott Bungaard (R-Glendale).  Bungaard plans to reintroduce the amendment next week.
        Bungaard's move to repeal Arizona's tax stamp legislation stems from a November 1995 ruling by Northwest Phoenix Court Justice Judge John Barclay that dismissed charges against Arizona NORML Chairman Peter Wilson because of evidence that he was 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 had already paid the Arizona Department of Revenue to sell cannabis.  The state is currently appealing the decision.
        "Having this law gives the appearance that we have decriminalized [marijuana] use in this state," Rep. Bungaard said.
        "If the legislature allows Rep. Bungaard to submit a new bill, it will open this issue up to public debate within both the House and Senate," said Bill Green of Arizona NORML.  "Our goal is to be well organized so that we [can] actively [lobby the legislature] at that time."
        For more information, please contact AZ4NORML @ (602) 921-2724.  Information regarding Arizona Cannabis Tax Stamps can also be found on the Internet @