News Release

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September 9, 1999

ACLU Report Urges End To Workplace Drug Tests

        Sept. 9, 1999, New York, NY:  The American Civil Liberties Union is urging the U.S. Government and corporate America to end workplace drug testing, citing high costs and low dividends according to a 27-page report published by the group this week.
        The ACLU is sending the report to CEOs, union officials, and human resources professionals urging them to end drug testing as a condition of employment.
        The report examines 10 years of research and empirical evidence on drug use among workers relating to the impact on performance and effectiveness in identifying workplace abuse.
        The ACLU report concluded:

        "We have always believed drug testing of unimpaired workers stands the presumption of innocence on its head and violates the most fundamental privacy rights," said Ira Glasser, ACLU Executive Director.  "Now we know that sacrificing these rights serves no legitimate business purpose either."
        For more information, please contact Amy Weil or Emily Whitfield of the ACLU at (212) 549-2666.  To view the report:

Insurance Company Reimburses For Seized Marijuana

        Sept. 9, 1999, Fair Oaks, CA:  A 71-year-old medical marijuana user received a $6,500 payout from his homeowner's insurance policy -- the claim: reimbursement for the 13 marijuana plants killed from lack of watering after being seized by law enforcement 11 months earlier.
        Charges against Robert DeArkland (cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell) were dismissed by the Sacramento district attorney's office in April, due to "lack of evidence."
        DeArkland then filed a claim with CGU California Insurance which insures his home for the damage to the plants and the door which sheriff's deputies broke down during the raid.  At first the insurance company was skeptical of the claim because the deputies had a warrant, but in July, L. Bruce Bogart, a CGU California adjuster, wrote to DeArkland: "I realize the value (of the 13 plants) at maturity approximates $20,500 ... however the plants were not at maturity.  Thus, we need to try to agree on a value."
        CGU California sent DeArkland a check for $6,500 ($500 per plant) which was the maximum payment allowed under a shrubbery clause in his policy.
        DeArkland told the Sacramento Bee, "I had to fight to get my $6,500."
        This is not the first time an insurance company has reimbursed a policy holder for stolen or seized marijuana.  State Farm, the nation's largest home insurer, paid a Washington claimant for his stolen marijuana in May after the company received a doctor's documentation that the marijuana was for medicinal purposes.
        "It's just one more indication that marijuana is being recognized as a legal substance in appropriate uses," said Dale Gieringer, State Coordinator of California NORML.
        For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer, State Coordinator of California NORML at (415) 563-5858.

Government Says 70 Percent Of Drug Users Are Fully Employed

        Sept. 9, 1999, Washington, DC:  Seventy percent of the nation's drug users are also part of the full-time workforce, according to a report entitled Worker Drug Use and Workplace Policies and Programs: Results from the 1994 and 1997 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA).
        The survey, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, questioned 7,957 full-time employees aged 18-49 in 1997.  The survey estimates 6.3 million full-time employees are current illicit drug users (defined as drug use in the past 30 days), which amounts to less than one out of twelve full-time employees (eight percent), a level which remained constant from the 1994 survey.
        "This survey undermines the government's claim that drug users are a drain on society," said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director.  "By their own data, they demonstrate that most drug users, particularly marijuana smokers, are hard-working and responsible citizens."
        Of the population surveyed, the number of people opposing drug testing dropped significantly in most categories.
        In 1994, 40.3 percent of current drug users said they were less likely to work for an employer who randomly tested for drug use, as opposed to 28.5 percent in 1997.  In 1994, 11.6 percent of non-users were less likely to work for an employer who randomly tested for drug use, as opposed to 6.4 percent in 1997.
        For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.  The Survey can be viewed at