News Release

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

August 19, 1999

Household Survey Indicates Slight Decline In Marijuana Use

        Aug. 19, 1999, Washington, DC:  Teenage marijuana use dropped slightly last year according to the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
        The annual survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates 8.3 percent of youths age 12-17 currently use marijuana, a 1.1 percent decline from 1997.  The percentage of 12-17 year-olds who smoked marijuana within the last 12 months dropped from 15.8 percent in 1997 to 14.1 percent in 1998.
        A third of all people questioned reported they have smoked marijuana at least once in their life.
        The percentage of the population (12 years and older) who smoked marijuana in 1998 showed a slight drop from 9 percent in 1997 to 8.6 percent.  Current use (defined as having smoked within the last month) dropped by a tenth of a percentage point to 5 percent.  The only age group to show an increase in marijuana use was the 18-25 years old group whose percentage rose from 22.3 percent to 24.1 percent.  Marijuana use fell from 11.2 percent to 9.7 percent in the 26-34 years old group, and from 4.4 percent to 4.1 percent in the 35 years and older group.
        "The numbers in this survey indicate there is no adolescent marijuana crisis," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "Despite exaggerated warnings from the drug czar and others, marijuana use rates in this country remain constant."
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.  The survey can be viewed at

NORML Foundation Launches Marijuana Ad Campaign In San Francisco

        Aug. 19, 1999, San Francisco, CA:  A public advertising campaign launched in San Francisco by the NORML Foundation urges that the government "stop arresting responsible pot smokers."
        The campaign is intended to encourage marijuana smokers to become more involved in the public debate over marijuana policy.
        The 30 billboards located on San Francisco bus shelters bear one of two headlines: "Honk, if you Inhale," and "A Pot Smoker is Busted Every 45 Seconds -- and You Wonder Why We're Paranoid."  The ads direct readers to the NORML Foundation's toll free number and to its web site (
        "Around 12 million adult Americans smoke pot regularly in their homes and still hold down demanding jobs, raise families and lead productive lives," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director.  "We're calling on those individuals to send a message to the state and federal governments -- responsible marijuana use by adults is commonplace, safe and should be decriminalized."
        For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  The ads can be viewed at

CA Legislator To Introduce Industrial Hemp Resolution

        Aug. 19, 1999, Sacramento, CA:  Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin (D-Duncan Mills) is urging California authorities to consider legalizing the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp.
        Strom-Martin said last Friday that she plans on introducing a pro-hemp resolution in the legislature, following the lead of North Dakota, where industrial hemp cultivation was already made legal.  Hawaii and Minnesota have approved the growing of test crops.  Sixteen other states are also considering such measures.
        The resolution calls for the legislature to "consider directing the University of California, the California State University, and other state agencies to prepare studies in conjunction with private industry on the cultivation, processing, and marketing of industrial hemp."
        "Industrial hemp could be of immense benefit to both the economy and the environment of the North Coast and rural California in general," Strom-Martin said.  "I'm proud to be the one taking the initiative in the legislature to finally get the state to deal rationally rather than hysterically with a crop whose promise is great and whose time has come."
        For more information, please contact Stacey Sullivan of Strom-Martin's office @ (916) 319-3798 or Scott Colvin of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

ACLU Sues OK School District Over Student Drug Testing

        Aug. 19, 1999, Oklahoma City, OK:  The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint against a rural Oklahoma school district that administers drug tests to all students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities.
        Other school districts have employed mandatory drug-testing, but many of the activities in the Tecumseh School District are tied to the student's classes.  Students who refuse to submit to the urine test for the activity would then be forced to drop the associated class, thus losing credits for graduation.
        The ACLU contends this is a violation of a student's right to a public education, as well as the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
        "First, schools wanted to test student athletes, then it was students in extracurricular activities, and now it's students competing in quiz bowls and performing in chorus, where does it end?" said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU's Drug Policy Litigation Project.  "The district's drug testing policy is more about symbolism than substance.
        Tecumseh officials initiated urine testing without any evidence of a drug problem at the school and at a time when government reports show that teen drug use is on the decline nationally."
        For more information, please contact Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU Drug Policy Litigation Project @ (203) 787-4188.  The ACLU's complaint is available at: