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January 25, 1996

Circuit Judge's Dissent In Urinalysis Case Could Spur Supreme Court Review

January 24, 1996, Atlanta, GA: The 11th Circuit Court has ruled that a Georgia law requiring all political candidates running for state office to undergo drug screening urinalysis is constitutional, but it is the dissent that has attorney Walker Chandler talking.

"It's a great decision," Walker said. "Have you read the dissent? It hits the nail right on the head."

In a scathing 11 page dissent, Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett writes, "I do not believe that the suspicionless search in these circumstances serves any special governmental need beyond the normal need for law enforcement, and, if it did, I believe that the candidates' privacy interests outweigh the governmental interests. ..."

...We are not merely dealing with the denial of a job opportunity, but with the denial of opportunity to participate in our democratic form of government."

Barkett's dissent also calls into question apparent First Amendment violations posed by the controversial Georgia law. "The majority maintains that the government's purpose [in passing this legislation] is not suppression of free expression. Yet, it supports its holding by citing the importance of ensuring that elected officials are 'persons appreciative of the perils of drug use' and 'sympathetic to drug interdiction efforts.' Establishing a certain ideology as a 'qualification' for holding public office appears to be a content-based restriction on free expression." Chandler, who filed the action against the Georgia statute and served as his own legal counsel maintains that he will forgo an "en banc" review of his case and will attempt to take his appeal directly to the Supreme Court. He intends to argue that the law violates the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Referring to the Court's decision last year to uphold the constitutionality of a Oregon state law mandating random and warrantless searches of high school athletes partly on the notion that school children live under fewer constitutional protections than adults, Chandler fires, "The only way the Supreme Court could [then] approve of Georgia's law is by affirming that all Georgians are [children.]" NORML's recently reformed Amicus Curiae Committee is currently reviewing the 11th Circuit Court decision and will consider filing an amicus brief if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case.

For more information, please contact Walter Chandler at (800) 560-3882.

Activists Intending To Sell Marijuana At The Super Bowl Gain National Exposure

January 14, 1995, Tempe, AZ: The rumor that marijuana will be sold openly during this year's Super Bowl has garnered the attention of the national media in recent weeks and has even made it to the pages of Time magazine.

Representatives from the Richard M. Davis Cannabis Hemp Co. plan to be on hand selling marijuana, states the magazine. "I plan to have a press conference in the parking lot," says longtime marijuana activist and R.M. Davis spokesman Ron Kiczenski, "[I will] tell people where they can buy [marijuana] in the vicinity of the Super Bowl. Not within the secured zone you have to get a special venue license for, but outside of that zone.

They'll be able to buy legal marijuana." Both Kiczenski and Davis have openly sold marijuana in Arizona before. Ironically, on one occasion, the activists boldly set up shop in front of the Arizona State Capitol.

The activists' latest plan stems from a ruling by Northwest Phoenix Justice Court Judge John Barclay that dismissed charges against Arizona NORML Chairman Peter Wilson because of evidence that he is licensed by the state to sell marijuana. Basing his decision on Constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy, Judge Barclay concluded that Wilson could not be prosecuted for possession of marijuana because of taxes he has paid to the Arizona Department of Revenue to sell cannabis. Under Title 42 of a 1983 law, Arizona residents can purchase both a license and tax stamps to possess and sell marijuana.

For more information, please contact either Ron Kiczenski at (602) 894-8994 or AZ4NORML at (602) 921-2724.

[Complete information about legal marijuana in Arizona can be found on the Web pages of Arizona NORML at The DEA has been very quiet in Arizona, and there has been some speculation that it is avoiding an inadvertent test case in which a defendant could pit Arizona's 10th Amendment right to regulate cannabis against the DEA's lack of constitutional authority to regulate anything. - ed.]

Defense Fund Established To Aid Man Charged With Marijuana Trafficking

January 24, 1996, Oregon, OH: NORML chapters in Cleveland and Fremont Ohio have united to establish a defense fund for medical marijuana user Daniel Asbury. Asbury is a quadriplegic who has been charged with trafficking in marijuana for growing his own medical cannabis.

Asbury suffered a broken neck 15 years ago and began to use marijuana therapeutically after prescription drugs proved to be ineffective at controlling his pain and muscle spasms. Marijuana made me "fe[el] like a human being again," he said.

Asbury was arrested in September of 1995 for growing his own marijuana to treat his medical condition. Asbury's lawyer, Terry Lodge of Toledo, Ohio, will invoke "medical necessity" as the basis for his defense. The trial is scheduled to begin February 26 at the Lucas County Court House. [Portland NORML adds: Unlike in California, Washington and Idaho, no Oregon judge has ever allowed a defendant to base a marijuana defense on the common-law right of medical necessity.]

The medical necessity defense is expensive and requires expert testimony to establish the foundation for the defense. Asbury's legal fees, including the cost of flying in expert witnesses such as NORML board member Dr. John Morgan, will total thousands of dollars.

NORML will forward all moneys received for the Daniel Asbury Defense Fund to Mid-American Bank in Toledo, Ohio where an account has been set up to assist Asbury.

Concerned parties can mail checks or money orders made payable to Daniel Asbury to: NORML Defense Fund, PO Box 771154, Cleveland, Ohio, 44107 or call (216) 521-9333 for more information.

NORML Deputy Director To Publicly Debate Lee Brown, Finally!

January 25, 1996, Washington, DC: After years of prodding, former Drug Czar Lee Brown has finally agreed to engage in a public debate with NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre over the issue of marijuana decriminalization. The debate will take place over the Internet in a large America Online discussion room. USA Today is hosting the debate and will also serve as moderator.

Questions from the On-line audience will be answered by both guests.

The anticipated debate is slated to take place on February 19 at 10 p.m. eastern time.

More specific information concerning this debate will be available from NORML in the upcoming weeks.

National Review Advocates Legalizing Drugs

January 21, 1996: The latest issue of National Review, a weekly conservative journal headed by syndicated columnist William F. Buckley, asserts that the "war on drugs is lost" and recommends that the time has come to make narcotics legal.

In a 15 page section of the political weekly, Buckley and a half-dozen other legalization proponents including Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore argue that America's "present prohibitive policy has failed, flatly and without serious question."

In a telephone interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Buckley said he hopes that the attention garnered from National Review will encourage the thinking community to begin seriously facing the issue of legalization.

Buckley, who just recently debated DEA head Thomas Constantine on the January 23 edition of "The Today Show," intends to follow up on the subject with three televised debates on his PBS program, "Firing Line."

NORML Chapter Debuts Hemp Store - Grand Opening To Take Place This Week

January 11, 1996, Lakewood, OH: The Northcoast Chapter of NORML has announced the opening of its new hemp store in Lakewood, Ohio. The store will be called Cannabis Connections and its theme will be products for the cannabis community. Items sold at the store will include hemp clothing, marijuana related books and t-shirts, posters, tie-dyes, and various NORML merchandise.

President of Northcoast NORML John Hartman is the driving force behind the retail store and hopes that the profits can be used to help further fund NORML's efforts to reform marijuana laws.

Cannabis Connections will also serve as the new office for Northcoast NORML and store patrons will be provided with free information on marijuana-related issues. Cannabis Connections will have its grand opening on January 27, 1996.

For more information, please contact Cannabis Connections at (216) 521-9333 or stop by the store at 16019 Madison Ave., Lakewood, Ohio, 44107.

USA Today Sunday Supplement To Feature Story On Marijuana

January 25, 1996: The USA Today Sunday supplement, one of the nation's most widely distributed media features, will run a cover story on marijuana. The upcoming article will explore the issue of adolescent marijuana use and whether marijuana should be decriminalized. The cover story is scheduled to run on February 18, 1996.



Regional and Other News

We're From The Government And We're Here To Help You

When researching drug policy issues, a useful resource is the federal Clearinghouse and Data Center for Drugs and Crime. Current information on drugs and crime can be obtained through the clearinghouse at 1-800-666-3332. A wide variety of information on drugs and crime statistics is free to anyone who wants it..

The Clearinghouse also operates a free research service that will look up the answers to specific questions or help you compile information on a particular issue. (But be sure to record the source.) They are generally very helpful and will point you to a lot of other good sources of information. For more information about free research available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, NIDA and other sources, go to

The primary bible of crime statistics for the Federal Government is the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, published every year. This book contains several hundred pages of crime statistics including state by state breakdowns, racial breakdowns, charts, graphs, and other information. The book is available through the Clearinghouse, or through any branch of the Government Printing Office. The cost is either free or about $20, depending on how you can get it.

"Higher Times" on CNN

"Higher Times," a CNN Special Report on marijuana issues, is scheduled to air on CNN-International during its showcase documentary hour, "CNN Presents" at the following times: Monday 12 February 0300 CET and Saturday 17 February 2100 CET. (Check your local listings for Pacific times.)

"Hemp Revolution" At Cinema 21

"Hemp Revolution," a new documentary film (1994, 72 min.) directed by Anthony Clarke, shows Friday, Jan. 26 through Thursday, Feb. 1 at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave., Portland. Showtimes are at 8:45 pm & 10:15 pm evenings and 1:30 & 3 pm matinees Saturday and Sunday.

Clarke says, "I think this [prohibition] is at the root of our modern environmental problems and our harmful and confused attitudes towards psychoactive plants. I see hemp as an important key to reconnecting."

Petitioners will be on hand in the lobby to gather signatures for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 1997. OCTA chief petitioner and spokesman Paul Stanford will available for media interviews at the Saturday evening show or e-mail him at (Tel. 503- 295-6705). Terry Miller, Director of Portland NORML, will be available for media interviews at the Saturday matinee, or e-mail him at (503-777-9088).

Stop Prisoner Rape

Yet more evidence that America's punitive drug policies exceed even the Old Testament standard of "an eye for an eye" can be found at the "Stop Prisoner Rape" World Wide Web site at

An article there reports on the first comprehensive survey of sexual assaults in prison since 1980, recently carried out in Nebraska. Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prisoner Rape, extrapolated the Nebraska results and inferred that the number of annual adult victims totaled 200,000 in the nation's prisons, including 120,000 completed rapes of adult males. Adding a separate extrapolation for the nation's local jails and an estimate for juvenile institutions, Donaldson arrived at a total of 359,000 annual male prisoner sexual assault victims, plus around 5,000 female victims. Because of very high repeat rates, he said, this amounted to over 80,000 sexual assaults a day behind bars. (About 1.5 million of the 5 million patrons of the American criminal justice system are actually behind bars, with the rest generally on parole or probation. See the 1995 U.S. Department of Justice report, "The National's Correctional Population Tops 5 Million," at

By way of comparison, Donaldson noted, a 1993 household survey by the U.S. Justice Department yielded an estimate of 160,000 completed rapes in the community at large, though he termed that a likely underestimate. Donaldson's report on prisoner rape also says published studies show that nonviolent and small-time offenders tend to be singled out for sexual assaults by more hardened convicts.

If You Can't Keep Drugs Out Of A Prison, How Can You Keep Them Out Of A Free Society?

TRENTON, N.J. (Reuter, Jan. 19, 1996) - The state of New Jersey made the unprecedented move Friday of taking over a county jail in an effort to control the flow of illegal drugs and weapons in the facility, officials said.

The warden at the Hudson County jail in Kearny, N.J., was fired and escorted from the site while 150 state officers searched for contraband and the 2,200 inmates were locked in their cells, Gov. Christie Whitman said at a news conference.

She said state officials had been asked to take the action by the Hudson County Executive, Robert Janiszewski.

Federal Drug Offenders Update

According to the article, Marijuana and the Law, which appeared in the September 1994 Atlantic Monthly, about 70 percent of all federal inmates are drug offenders, up from 22 percent in 1980:
During the 1980s annual federal spending to incarcerate drug offenders rose more than 1,300 percent, from $88 million to $1.3 billion. Anti-drug mandatory-minimum sentences and the guideline sentences formulated to mesh neatly with them have transformed the inmate population. In 1970, 16.3 percent of all federal prisoners were drug offenders; today the proportion of federal prisoners who are drug offenders has reached 62 percent. Within three years it should reach 72 percent. Many are first offenders, without so much as a previous arrest, who have been imprisoned for low-level drug violations. Of the 4,244 people convicted last year of violating federal marijuana laws, 56 percent had no criminal record deemed relevant at sentencing.
Average federal sentences in 1990 for the following offenses were:
Drug offenses - 6.5 years
Sex offenses -  5.8 years
Manslaughter -  3.6 years
Assault -       3.2 years
Racketeering -  5.0 years
Extortion -     5.0 years
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics Sourcebook 1992, p. 49.



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