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January 11, 1996

Canadian Hemp Activist, Businessman Busted By Vancouver Police

January 4, Vancouver, Canada: Police have raided the
Hemp BC store in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are charging the store's owner, vocal hemp activist Marc Emery, and three employees with selling marijuana seeds. Emery had been selling marijuana seeds, along with hemp products and literature, from his retail store for the last 19 months in open defiance of the law.

Emery was recently featured in a front page article of The Wall Street Journal where he boasted to have sold "130,000 seeds" this year alone.

The raid took place at approximately 1 p.m. and law enforcement officials seized seeds and drug paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, and mushroom grow kits. A large Budget Rent-a-truck was parked outside to help the police move Hemp BC's wide assortment of products. Emery and three employees were taken away in handcuffs and all four activists are being charged with trafficking marijuana seeds and selling instruments and paraphernalia for illicit drug use. If found guilty of both charges, all four could face each life imprisonment and fines of $100,000.

Police Constable Anne Drennan states that the Hemp BC bust is the first time in Vancouver history that trafficking charges have been filed against individuals for selling marijuana seeds. Drennan further added that she expects Emery - a self-proclaimed libertarian who has previously served time in jail for opening his bookstore on Sunday in disobedience of Ontario's blue laws - to conduct a very public court challenge.

Both Emery and the three Hemp BC employees were released Friday on their own recognizance. A preliminary hearing has been set for February 8, 1996.

Dana Larsen, editor of the magazine Cannabis Canada, reports that the Hemp BC retail storefront continues to remain open for business in spite of last Thursday's raid. "We will be selling pipes, bongs, and seeds as per usual, although we might be understocked for a day or two," he says.

For more information on Hemp BC or Marc Emery's arrest, please contact Hemp BC at (800) 330-HEMP.

American Farm Bureau Supports Industrial Hemp Research

January 11, 1995, Reno, Nevada: The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest farming organization in the United States, passed a resolution at its annual convention calling for research that could lead to the re-introduction of hemp into the American farm economy.

The resolution, adopted by a unanimous vote of the 51 state presidents and all 300 voting delegates, reads: "We recommend that [the] American Farm Bureau Federation encourage research into the viability and economic potential of industrial hemp production in the United States. We further recommend that such research includes planting test plots in the United States using modern agricultural techniques." Often described as "marijuana's misunderstood cousin," industrial hemp is from the same plant species that produces marijuana. Unlike marijuana, however, industrial hemp has only minute amounts of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that gives marijuana its euphoric properties. Industrial hemp is currently grown legally throughout much of Europe and Asia and is being cultivated in test plots in Australia and Canada.

Andrew Graves, incoming president of the Fayette County chapter of the Kentucky Farm Bureau and vice-president of the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association, introduced the resolution at the convention. "What we are asking for is research to determine whether industrial hemp can once again become a profitable agricultural commodity for American farmers just as it is for farmers around the world," Graves said in his presentation. "Where would agriculture be without research?" In a separate resolution, the AFB also voted to affirm its policy in support of government efforts to eradicate illegal drugs, including marijuana.

For more information on the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association, please contact Andrew Graves at (606) 293-0579 or write to P.O. Box 8395, Lexington, KY 40533. The American Farm Bureau Federation may be contacted at (202) 484-3600.

U.S. Representative Criticizes Hempilation Protest Rally

January 3, 1996, Washington, DC: In response to a December 1 rally held outside the offices of Boston radio station WBCN to the protest the airplay of the NORML benefit CD Hempilation, U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has issued a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno both condemning the actions of rally organizers, the Governor's Alliance Against Drugs, and requesting an inquiry into whether federal law enforcement officials were involved.

Like many others who have voiced their disapproval over the actions of the G.A.A.D. (i.e., National Writers Union, Boston Coalition for Freedom of Expression, Mass/Cann, etc.), Frank is highly critical of the actions of a Drug Enforcement Administration official who allegedly took an active role in the protest. "It does not seem to me at all appropriate for a federal law enforcement agent to accompany an individual [G.A.A.D. Executive Director Georgette Watson] who is making a demand that a media outlet cease broadcasting a particular album, no matter how ... ill-advised you, I and the DEA might find it to be," Frank writes. "This [sort of conduct] puts the federal government in the position of lending official support to an interference with freedom of expression. ..." ... [Therefore,] if in fact a DEA agent accompanied Ms. Watson and lent support by his ... presence to her demand that the radio station stop playing [the Hempilation] CD, [then] that is a wholly inappropriate action for a federal law enforcement official ... and I ask that you look into it and make clear that this is not the sort of thing that should happen." For more information, please contact either Bill Downing of Mass/Cann NORML at (617) 944-2266 or Jeremy Much of Capricorn Records at (615) 320-8470. For further information on the Hempilation CD, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

College Freshman Survey Shows Renewed Support For Marijuana Legalization

January 8, 1996: Results from an annual survey of college freshmen indicates that support for marijuana legalization currently stands at a 15-year high. Nearly 34 percent of the respondents favored the legalization of cannabis, The Associated Press reported. This figure was double the 17 percent who held that view in 1989.

Bipartisan Committee Set To Analyze Violent Crime In America, Issues First Report

January 5, 1996, Washington, DC: The bipartisan committee, Council on Crime in America, held a press conference to issue its debut report on the state of violent crime in America. The task force is co-chaired by former Drug Czar William Bennett and former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell.

The committee's first report is "descriptive" rather than "prescriptive" and reveals that violent crime today still remains at a historic high. "This study paints a realistic and sobering picture of violent crime in America," says Bennett.

Future reports and conferences will be aimed at addressing potential solutions to America's violent crime problem, the bipartisan task force announced. One of the problems that the bipartisan commission intends to address is the notion that America's current criminal justice system is simply a "revolving door" for career offenders.

"We are hear to underscore the American people's perception on violent crime," Bennett concluded.

For more information or for a copy of the report, "The State of Violent Crime In America," please contact Lara Stead by fax at (202) 822-8328.



Regional and other news

Adult Prohibition Increases Kids' Usage

At last - the wooden stake to drive through the heart of prohibition. The following quote comes from an official editorial, "The War on Drugs: Prohibition isn't working - some legalisation will help," in the December 1995 issue of the British Medical Journal (Volume 311, 23-30). The complete article can be found on the World Wide Web at
Other countries have been more willing to experiment with decriminalisation and legalization. The Netherlands effectively decriminalised penal possession of drugs in 1976, and cannabis is sold in "coffee shops." The Dutch are now coming under great pressure to reverse their experiment from neighbouring countries, worried that they are being flooded with drugs from the Netherlands. Yet the 1976 changes in the Netherlands seem to have been followed by a fall in use of cannabis: from 13% of those aged 17-18 in 1976 to 6% in 1985. Monthly prevalence of cannabis use among Dutch high school students is around 5.4% compared with 29% in the United States. Forbidden fruit may, indeed, be sweetest.

Compassionate Oregonians Meet In Portland

Compassionate Oregonians, formed to educate about and advocate for access to medicinal cannabis, will be holding its next Portland meeting at 7 pm Thursday, January 18th, at Laughing Horse Book Store located at SE 37th and Division. There will be a showing of the 30-minute video by the Drug Policy Foundation, "Marijuana As Medicine." Director Sandee Burbank will give an update on Compassionate Oregonians' activities. Another meeting on February 15th at the same time and location will feature Laird Funk from Williams, Oregon, who is a Chief Petitioner for the Compassionate Oregonians' Voters Effort (COVE). He will discuss previous legislative efforts and the wording of the initiative petition.

Compassionate Oregonians meets regularly in Portland on the third Thursday of the month. For more information, or to schedule a meeting in your area contact Sandee at (541) 298-8231 or write to PO Box 1164, Hood River, OR 97031.

More On The National Farm Bureau's Hemp Endorsement

The Colorado Hemp Initiative Project issued an additional informative press release about the National Farm Bureau's hemp endorsement:
From: Colorado HIP
Subject: Nat'l Farm Bureau Endorses Industrial Hemp
For immediate release:
January 10, 1996
Contact: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
P.O. Box 729
Nederland, CO 80466
(303) 784-5632

Lloyd Casey (303) 866-4865
Bob Winter (970) 686-2037
Tom Ballanco (303) 494-7098
David Martin (303) 494-7098
Laura Kriho (303) 258-7746

National Farm Bureau Supports Industrial Hemp

RENO - The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest farming organization in the United States with 4.6 million members, today passed a resolution unanimously at its 77th annual convention in Reno, Nevada which reads, "We recommend that American Farm Bureau Federation encourage research into the viability and economic potential of industrial hemp production in the United States. We further recommend that such research includes planting test plots in the United States using modern agricultural techniques".

The endorsement of the AFBF comes just in time for the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Production Act to the Colorado state legislature. The Hemp Production Act (Senate Bill 96-67), sponsored by Senator Lloyd Casey (D-Northglenn), would allow regulated cultivation of industrial (low-THC) hemp by Colorado farmers. The bill permits planting no more than forty acres of industrial hemp in Colorado in 1996 for agricultural, commercial, and scientific research. The bill would allow hemp production to increase in subsequent years.

Senator Casey believes the endorsement of the AFBF will have a large impact on the passage of his bill. In addition to the AFBF endorsement, industrial hemp production has been endorsed by the Colorado Farm Bureau, the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council, and other farming associations. Bob Winter, president of the Weld County Farm Bureau, is working with Colorado State University to develop a research plan for the first hemp crop in Colorado. Companies such as International Paper, Masonite, and Inland Container Corporation have expressed interested in Colorado hemp as an alternative fiber source. Environmental groups see hemp as an alternative to trees for paper.

"Prison-Building Binge Starts To Lose Its Appeal Even For Conservatives"

By Derrick Z. Jackson
The New York Times, circa Jan. 10, 1996

Some surprising voices are now saying that jails alone do not solve crime.

Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin has said he will not build any more prisons. The secretary of corrections in Pennsylvania, Martin Horn, said the rise of inmates, particularly those for nonviolent drug offenses, would require a new prison to be built every two or three months.

"As a taxpayer and parent, I'm concerned that this may not be the best investment of the taxpayer's money," Horn told the New York Times.

Conservatives have begun to understand that prison alone can do more damage than good to inmates who will eventually come back into society.

"You can get drugs in prison, so they can go in and still get their little goodies," said Katie True, a Pennsylvania state representative and a Republican. But if you're in community service, they get you up and you do hard work for eight hours."

Community service was not a phrase you heard when Congress and President Clinton passed the Crime Bill. But now, with the nation's state and federal prison populations having quadrupled in the last two decades to 1.5 million inmates and local jails having more than doubled in just the last two years, from 223,500 to 490,000, some jails are resembling those in developing countries.

"It's really out of control," said Nancy Ortega, an attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights. "People want to jam as many inmates as possible into these jails, but they don't want to pay for services. I'm not talking about their coffee being too cold. I'm talking about basic human needs, where it's not 125 degrees in the cells in the summer and so cold in the winter that water in the toilet freezes, where you're not assaulted and the guy next to you has tuberculosis."

Before you write that last statement off as coming from a do-gooder liberal, she is seconded by Dean Moser of the National Sheriffs Association.

"You're seeing a very volatile situation," Moser said. "It's almost like a pressure valve in them. You're taking a county jail that was meant for 12-month sentences and less, and you're making it into a prison setting." Some people, like Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, have dealt with prison overcrowding by banishing 299 prisoners to Texas, the state that has executed more people than any other state and has built so many jails - with no known effect on crime or fear of crime - that it does business with seven states. Colorado sends some crooks to Minnesota. North Carolina sends some to Rhode Island.

The shuffles are nothing but political stunts that avoid burgeoning problems. Medical costs for prisoners grew from $175 million in 1991 to $250 million in 1994. New cells cost about $100,000 per head to build. It costs $23,000 a year to lock up an adult, and twice that in many states to incarcerate juveniles. Privately run, for-profit prisons are not proving to be any more efficient at reducing costs.

These are numbers that are finally getting across to governors and legislators with whom we entrust our money. Make no mistake. Much of America remains locked in a punitive, throw-away-the-key mood. Some small towns are still begging for new jails to boost sagging employment.

"We are in essence building dumps," said Simon Dinitz, who is a criminologist and professor emeritus at Ohio State University. "You fill up the dumps with prisoners."

We have been filling them up so fast, there are no longer bleeding-heart liberals crying uncle. To match the current rate of incarceration, Pennsylvania would have to spend up to $10 billion on prisons over the next 20 years. Even the Republicans say no.

State Rep. Jerry Birmelin of Pennsylvania, a. Republican who chairs the Pennsylvania Legislature's Judiciary Committee, said: "It's really not in our best interest to build more prisons and lock up more people. I'm not saying put them out on the streets with no supervision. But if they're not rapists, murderers or violent criminals, we can have electronic monitoring and alternative sentencing. The key is making restitution."



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