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

September 12, 1996

Califano Attacks Attitudes Of Baby-Boomer Parents
Regarding Adolescent Mariiuana Use

        September 9, 1996, New York, NY:  The fact that a growing number of today's teens are experimenting with marijuana is not seen as a "crisis" by many baby-boomer parents who tried marijuana during their youth, reported a recent study released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA).
        In addition, approximately half of the parents surveyed admItted to having tried marijuana in their youth and 46 percent said they expected their teen to try illegal drugs.
        "What is infuriating ... is the resignation of so many parents," said CASA head Joseph Califano.  "That is not a climate that is sending a clear and loud message to a kid: Don't use drugs."
        Specifically, Califano was alarmed at the attitudes of parents who had formerly used marijuana.  According to the study, 65 percent of parents who had tried marijuana believe their own children will use drugs.  Also, 42 percent of those parents did not perceive use of marijuana by an adolescent under 16 years of age as a crisis.
        Califano argued that many parents need to be aware that the marijuana used by individuals today is far stronger than the marijuana of yesteryear.  This claim has been refuted by NORML repeatedly.
        "There exists absolutely no evidence that marijuana THC content has increased significantly over the past two decades," responded NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "This fact is acknowledged by both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is confirmed by the scientific data from the Potency Monitoring Project in Mississippi."
        The study also indicated that many adolescents have easier access to marijuana than they do other regulated intoxicants like cigarettes and alcohol.  Califano did not believe that this finding supported a need to regulate marijuana.
        "Legalization of marijuana would be a disaster," he responded on a National Public Radio broadcast.  Califano did not elaborate further.
        "The fact that children currently have easier access to marijuana than they do cigarettes or alcohol speaks volumes of the need to legalize and regulate marijuana, if only to more effectively keep it out of the hands of children," said St. Pierre.
        The "CASA National Survey of American attitudes on Substance Abuse II: Teens and Parents" was conducted during July and August by telephone of 1,200 adolescents age 12 through 17 and 1,166 parents, all with children of the same age group.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  For further information on marijuana THC content over the last three decades, please request a copy of NORML's special report: "American Marijuana Potency: Data Versus Conventional Wisdom" by Dr. John P. Morgan.

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Attacks Dole Proposals To Increase Drug War

        September 1996, Washington, D.C.: Libertarian Presidential candidate Harry Browne has sharply criticized proposals by Republican Presidential candidate Bob Dole to greatly expand the role of the U.S. military, National Guard, and Central Intelligence Agency in the fight against illicit drugs.  Browne maintains that increasing the "War on Drugs" will only create more suffering, more crime, and more victims.
        "Like many other Republican politicians, Dole loves the insane 'War on Drugs,'" said Brown.  "But all freedom-loving Americans should reject this vision of a nation at war with its own citizens.
        "... Government can't keep drugs out of the country, it can't even keep drugs out of its own prisons.  Militarizing the 'War on Drugs' won't solve the problem; the only realistic solution is to end the war.  Ending the insane 'War on Drugs' will take the criminal profit out of the illicit drug trade and bring peace to our cities once again."
        For more information, please contact Bill Winter of the Libertarian Party @ (202) 333-0008 Ext. 226.  For further information on the Harry Browne presidential campaign, please contact the Harry Browne for President website at:

Virginia County To Force Convicted Drug Offenders To Name Their Suppliers

        September 5, 1996, Richmond, VA: People convicted on drug offenses, including misdemeanors, in Henrico County will be called before a grand jury and ordered to reveal the identity of those who sold them the drugs.  Those who refuse to cooperate face a contempt of court charge and jail time.
        "If you get caught with a little bit of marijuana, you're telling us where you got it," said county prosecutor Toby Vick, who helped devise the new policy.  However, reaction to the measure remains mixed.
        "It makes great ink, and it makes great film at 11, but in reality I question the effectiveness of such a program, said defense attorney David Boone.  Boone argued that most individuals convicted on drug possession charges have little first-hind knowledge of those who sell them the drugs.  "Small time drug dealers are nameless strangers to the people with whom they trade," he said.
        Kent Willis, director of Virginia's American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noted that Vick and the police have the legal authority to carry out their plan, but did not believe it would be effective.

Anti-Drug Group Returns Donation After NORML Chapter Files Complaint Alleging Campaign Finance Violations

        September 11, 1996, Traverse City, MI:  A local anti-drug group who actively opposed a city ballot initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession has returned a $1,000 check from the city's narcotics agency over concerns the donation may have violated state campaign finance laws.  Traverse City NORML President Bill Bustance, who was behind the narrowly-defeated initiative, recently filed a complaint with the Secretary of State alleging that taxpayer dollars were used to influence a political campaign.  According to Michigan law, an organization that knowingly violates campaign finance rules could be fined $20,000.
        "I was wondering who was going to step up to the plate," said Bustance, who is seeking a new election.  "We've had two successful initiatory petitions filed and if these claims [prove] substantial then we at least deserve one fair election."
        The Traverse City Narcotics Team alleges that the funds donated to the anti-drug group, Grand Traverse Families in Action, were obtained under drug forfeiture laws and were not taxpayer dollars.
        For more information, please contact Bill Bustance of Traverse City NORML @ (616) 264-9565.

Case Of Medical Marijuana Activist To Be Heard September 30

        September 12, 1996, St. Paul, MN: Longtime medical marijuana user and activist Darrel Paulsen is scheduled to be in court on September 30 to face charges of felony marijuana possession in the fifth degree.
        An outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, Paulsen has acknowledged to using marijuana as a means to control his cerebral palsy.  He has been featured on local news telecasts, spoken at national gatherings, run for city council, and was one of several patients spotlighted at NORML's 1994 Medical Marijuana Day rally and press conference.
        Paulsen has publicly said that he uses marijuana daily for medical purposes.  Approximately two ounces of marijuana were confiscated from his home during a police raid nearly one year ago.
        If any activists would like to contribute to a fund established to help offset Paulsen's legal fees, he or she can write to the following address: Paulsen & Company, Attention: Medical Defense Fund, P.O. Box 2865, St. Paul, MN 55102.