News Release

1001 Connecticut Ave, NW - Ste 710 - Washington, DC 20036
Tel. 202.483.8751 - Fax 202.483.0057 - E-mail - Internet

July 1, 1999

Minnesota To Apply For Federal Permits To Grow Hemp

        July 1, 1999, St. Paul, MN:  Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura signed legislation into law mandating state officials to seek federal permission to cultivate hemp.  The hemp provision, included in House File 878, the House Omnibus State Government Finance Bill, also establishes a state registry for farmers seeking to grow the crop.
        "It was an uphill battle, but in the end I was able to persuade my colleagues to include this provision in the bill," said Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis), who authored the amendment.  "Our farmers ... need to be able to diversify, and adding hemp into their crop rotation is just one option.  The hemp bill we passed this session ... is the first step toward [the] legalization of growing hemp."
        The new law maintains that state officials must "submit an application ... [by] September 30, 1999, ... for federal permits to authorize the growing of experimental and demonstration plots of industrial hemp."  It also directs the state to "establish standards ... for persons wishing to register for growing ... industrial hemp."
        NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said that the measure puts additional pressure on federal officials to relax hemp prohibition.  "Minnesota is the third state this year to pass legislation that enables farmers to grow hemp," he said.  "Federal officials will either have to begin granting permits to grow hemp or face a showdown with state governments."
        In April, Hawaii passed similar legislation allowing state researchers registered with the federal government to grow test plots of industrial hemp.  Earlier that month, North Dakota became the first state in over 50 years to remove criminal penalties for hemp cultivation.
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  Full text of the hemp provision is available from the office of Rep. Phyllis Kahn @ (651) 296-4257.

California County Issues ID's For Medical Marijuana Patients

        July 1, 1999, Ukiah, CA:  Mendocino County cannabis-using patients may attain photo identification cards alerting police that they are in compliance with the state's medical marijuana laws.  The voluntary program specifies that patients may possess two pounds of marijuana or up to a dozen plants for medical use.
        "This type of program is a common sense solution for communities wishing to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest while, at the same time, addressing ambiguities inherent to Proposition 215," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said.
        At least 12 patients have already expressed interest in enrolling in the program, said Sheriff Tony Craver, who endorsed the plan at a news conference last week.  Applications are available at offices of the district attorney, sheriff, and public health department.
        Since the adoption of Prop. 215 in 1996, a handful of communities, including Oakland and Arcata, have implemented guidelines to identify medical marijuana patients and authorize how much cannabis they may legally possess.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 463-5858.

Jamaica: Farmers Told To Grow Hemp

        July 1, 1999, Kingston, Jamaica:  Hemp cultivation would help stimulate Jamaica's economy, a high ranking official recently told Parliament in an effort to sway farmers to begin growing the crop.
        "If ... the THC content of hemp is so low that it could not be used as a ... drug, then there is no law forbidding it from being grown," national security and justice minister K.D. Knight said, according to CNN.  "Go ahead and produce acres of hemp.  The economy needs this."
        Knight said he did not fear that marijuana growers would try to clandestinely grow potent strains of the crop in hemp fields.  The crop's proponents argue that cross pollination would lower the potency and value of marijuana grown in or near hemp farms.
        Minister of Commerce and Technology Phillip Paulwell also recently endorsed a proposal to investigate the economic potential of hemp, Reuters News Service reported.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or NORML board member Don Wirtshafter of The Ohio Hempery @ (740) 662-4367.

Independence Day: 30th Annual Rally, March To End Marijuana Prohibition

        July 1, 1999, Washington, D.C.:  The Fourth of July Hemp Coalition will coordinate the "30th Annual Rally, March, and Concert to End Marijuana Prohibition" this Sunday at Lafayette Park, across from the White House.
        Speakers at the event, which begins at noon, include:

Dana Beal - Cures not Wars Chris Conrad - author: Hemp for Health
Jeff Jones - Oakland CBC Elvy Mussika - legal marijuana patient
Mikki Norris - author: Shattered Lives Wayne Turner - D.C. Initiative 59 coordinator

Lennice Werth - Virginians Against Drug Violence

        Musical guests include The Recipe, Jah Works, David Peel, Junk Nugget and many more.  An after hours party will occur at The Velvet Lounge in downtown Washington, D.C. at 10:00 p.m.
        For more information, please contact The Fourth of July Hemp Coalition @ (202) 887-5770 or visit them on the web at: <>.