SUITE 1010
T 202-483-5500 * F 202-483-0057 * E-MAIL: NATLNORML@AOL.COM

. . . a weekly service on news related to marijuana prohibition.

March 21, 1996

Industrial Hemp Planted On American Indian Soil

March 17, 1996, Navajo Nation, Arizona: A scheduled planting of industrial hemp seeds by the Coalition for Hemp Awareness (CHA) took place on test plots of American Indian soil. The initial planting came about following a resolution passed unanimously by the Navajo Nation to allow for hemp cultivation to occur on sovereign soil.

Following meetings with both the Vice President and the Director of Agriculture of the Navajo Nation, CHA spokesman Christie Bohling told NORML that support for the hemp cultivation project is "overwhelming beyond our wildest dreams." Bohling notes that adverse weather and a lack of seeds limited CHA's spring planting to a small "ceremonial celebration," but adds that a widescale planting is scheduled for the end of April.

The Navajo Hemp Project began in 1992 when activists Jim Robinson and Tom and Carolyn McCormick moved to the reservation for the purpose of introducing hemp cultivation on sovereign soil. Currently, well over 30,000 acres of Navajo nation land has been allocated for hemp cultivation. In addition, CHA states that the organization is close to securing approval for similar cultivation projects from ten other tribes located across the United States.

This will enable CHA the opportunity to grow hemp in a variety of "different [climates and] environments," Bohling explains.

The Coalition for Hemp Awareness ( was founded in 1991 to incite the rapid return of cannabis hemp as an agricultural crop. CHA is a political advocacy network group that assimilates and disseminates hemp information to both politicians and the public.

For more information on the Coalition for Hemp Awareness or the Navajo Hemp Project, please contact CHA @ (602) 988-9355.

DC NORML, Virginia Activists Thwart Prohibitionist Movement In Virginia

March 19, 1996, Crewe, VA: A dazzling array of tough new anti-drug proposals failed to pass the Virginia General Assembly this week. The measures were opposed by a drug-law reform coalition that included members of DC NORML, Virginians Against Drug Violence, and Virginia's Cannabis Action Network. The measures would have increased marijuana penalties, permitted drug testing of high-school students, and given courts the broad authority to continue cases despite improper procedures or incomplete lab results.

"This year we had a real show of force," said activist Lennice Werth of Virginians Against Drug Violence. "[We had] lots of anti-prohibitionists showing up at the state house to voice their dissatisfaction with this kind of legislation."

Among bills defeated outright were measures to include marijuana seeds and stems as evidence to increase marijuana penalties (SB34, SB58, HB96, HB169); allow courts to continue cases that have been dismissed due to improper procedures (HB646, SB53); add a $1,000 additional fine for possession or distribution charges to go to local authorities (HB1002), and permit the drug testing of high school students (HB949, HB950, HB579).

A measure that was not killed, but amended, was legislation that would have greatly expanded the use of military for drug law enforcement, particularly for searching private property. Werth notes that the amended bill limits use of the military to aerial surveillance only and called the revision "a substantial victory" for the drug reform movement.

Some measures that passed the General Assembly despite the efforts of drug-law reformers include legislation to legalize double jeopardy (SB435, SJR73) and deny bail to drug offenders (HB504). Altogether, reformers monitored a total of 48 bills.

For more information, please contact Lennice Werth of Virginians Against Drug Violence @ (804) 645-8816.

Update - Charges Dismissed Against North Carolina Medical Marijuana Patient

March 15, 1996, Sunny View, NC: All charges have been dismissed against Jean Marlowe, a medical marijuana patient and vocal activist who was facing various drug charges including possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance after law enforcement agents raided her home and discovered 50 marijuana seedlings.

Marlowe, who is clinically disabled and admits to using marijuana at least three times a day to obtain therapeutic relief from three orthopedic conditions she suffers, told NORML that she successfully utilized the medical necessity defense. However, she adds that her fight is still far from over.

"I [intend] to file suit against both the state and federal government for medical access to marijuana," she said. "Nobody should have to perform a criminal act to obtain a safe, natural medicine."

For more information, please contact Jean Marlowe of the Marijuana Relegalization Movement @ (704) 625-2958.

Medical Marijuana Patient, Quadriplegic Found Guilty Of Trafficking Charges

March 15, 1996, Oregon, Ohio: Daniel Asbury, a quadriplegic who grew his own marijuana to alleviate reoccurring pain and muscle spasms, was found guilty of trafficking in marijuana over three times the bulk amount and could face a sentence of up to five years in prison. Asbury's sentencing will occur on April 18.

The guilty verdict was a setback for marijuana-law reform advocates who had hoped to set a legal precedent in Ohio for the medical use of marijuana.

John Hartman, President of Northcoast NORML, notes that the organization flew in NORML Board member and CUNY Medical School Professor Dr. John Morgan to testify as an expert witness on the use of marijuana and pain management.

"For whatever reason, the jury [who found Asbury innocent on charges of cultivation] didn't find Daniel's medical necessity case strong enough to nullify [the trafficking charge,]" Hartman notes.

Hartman adds that Asbury's defense was made more difficult because Ohio currently provides no medical marijuana defense in its body of established state law. Therefore, Asbury's defense was basically asking the jury to "find the compassion to rule over the law," Hartman said.

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

For more information on the case of Daniel Asbury, please contact John Hartman of Northcoast NORML @ (216) 521-9333.



Regional and other news

Body Count

The "Portland" zoned edition in Thursday's
Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area, says that eight of 14 felons sentenced to jail or prison in the most recent week by Multnomah County courts were controlled-substance offenders. (March 21, 1996, p. 9 3M-MP-SE). There is a world of tales untold in these little summaries. One fellow by the name of Tyrone got 120 days in jail for attempted possession of a controlled substance while someone else got five days in jail for actual possession of a controlled substance (though the latter's 18 months of probation will likely cost the taxpayers - and him - more than his five-day jail term). Court records and The Oregonian generally make no distinction between one "controlled substance" and another, so policymakers should justify the legal nomenclature that equates marijuana with hard drugs but yields such disparate sentences. In any case, if the weekly figures are as complete as the paper has claimed, that means 75 of 129 felons sentenced to terms so far this year by Multnomah County courts were controlled-substance offenders, or 58.13 percent.

Marijuana Task Force To Lose Funding

Portland Mayor Vera Katz has decided not to request additional funding from the city of Portland for the Marijuana Task Force after the federal portion of its funding expires. Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller first heard the news when he called the mayor's office after writing a letter to Mayor Katz asking for an end to the task force's funding. (Miller's letter is posted on the Portland NORML Web pages at, where it's linked to "Reefer Madness: Portland wages a new war on pot," Willamette Week's March 1995 article about the task force.) The mayor's decision was confirmed by Jesse Michael in the mayor's ombudsman's office. Mr. Michael was unable to say immediately when the federal funding is scheduled to end, although he thought it would be June 1996. A phone call to the Portland Police Bureau's Drugs & Vice division received no response. Look for a wrap-up next week.

Willamette Week published a story about the task force and its upcoming funding renewal in a Feb. 21 "Murmurs" item ("It's almost too easy," p. 13). The article states that "According to a recently issued report, in the first year of its existence, the metro area Marijuana Task Force has seized $400,000 in cash from 260 different marijuana growers in the metro area. The seizure of one woman's growth operation, along with her bank accounts and cash on hand, earned them $160,000. The money is split between the DA's office and the law enforcement members of the task force (the Portland Police and the Oregon and Washington State Police) and flows into their general funds. It's almost too easy. For the most part, the growers plead guilty, so task force members don't even have to bother showing up for a messy trial. What's more, the task force says it hasn't run out of growers to bust yet."

Of course, Multnomah County and the victims pay all the prosecution, punishment, personal and other costs. How much are those? It's not clear if anyone's counting, but stay tuned.

Since a subsequent phone call revealed that the report mentioned in Willamette Week had not in fact been issued yet, those numbers can't be confirmed at this time. However, the reporter did talk to Sgt. Jim Hudson at the Portland Police Drugs & Vice division, so it seems reasonable to assume the body count is accurate, at least until the report becomes available. That would mean that the 32 task force victims who have called Portland NORML Director T.D. Miller after being arrested in the past year (in search of information, legal referrals, etc.) constitute more than 10 percent of those arrested - a pretty good sample. Miller regularly surveyed these victims and found that only two had any previous criminal record - both for pot possession many years previously. As Miller states in his letter, just about all the people busted by the task force seem to have been gainfully employed, mostly homeowners, many if not most with children, who almost always grew just a few plants for personal consumption, often for medicinal purposes.

Sandee Burbank Loses Daughter

Veteran drug educator and drug-policy reformer Sandee Burbank of Mosier, Oregon, lost her 21-year-old daughter, Jessica Erin Burbank of Vancouver, Wash., on March 9 due to a sudden case of meningitis. Sandee is widely known by many activists, educators and health-care professionals around Portland, Oregon and the country at large. A few years ago, for example, High Times published a feature story about Sandee's group, Mothers Against Misuse And Abuse (MAMA), so it's appropriate to note the loss of Jessica here. Besides Sandee, Jessica is survived by her birth mother, Karen Murphy of Vancouver; two sisters, Samantha Bohlert of Portland, 18; and Jennifer Burbank of Mosier, 15; and a brother, Jacob Burbank of Mosier, 17. Send condolences to Sandee at 2255 State Road, Mosier, OR 97040. (This is different from the address for the Compassionate Oregonians Voters Effort, COVE, which remains P.O. Box 1164, Hood River, OR 97031.)

Two More Co-sign HR 2618

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the only national organization devoted to lobbying Congress full time on marijuana issues, as of March 20 U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D­California) and U.S. Representative Tom Campbell (R­California) have co-signed Rep. Barney Frank's medicinal marijuana bill, H.R. 2618. This brings the total number of co-signers to 13. So far, not a single Oregon U.S. Representative has co-signed H.R. 2618. Scientific polls by the ACLU and others have consistently shown about 80 percent of the public supports medicinal marijuana when recommended by a physician. Who would you trust, your doctor or the D.E.A.? One major problem is that most doctors who recommend cannabis to AIDS patients and others can't talk about it without losing their licenses and/or careers. But the only issue here is the thousands if not millions of sick and injured Americans consigned to ill health, pain, misery and even death by current policy.

Lots of background information on H.R. 2618 can be found at the Web site produced by the MPP at; and at another site produced by national NORML:

Most Portland residents currently lack representation in the House of Representatives, at least until the next election to replace District 3 Representative (now U.S. Senator) Ron Wyden. However, District 3 voters might do well to write to other Oregon U.S. representatives and explain that they are from Senator Wyden's district. As the weekly press release is now being passed around the state and even posted on at least BBS downstate, I will post the names and addresses of all four current Oregon U.S. representatives below. It's very important that activists write and/or call their U.S. representative once a month or so and politely lobby him or her to co-sign H.R. 2618 or explain why not in writing. Handwritten letters are fine, even better than something that looks like a form letter or e-mail. Or e-mail Portland NORML to receive an e-mail package of information and a sample letter. This does not have to be a long letter or take up more than a few minutes of your time.

Oregon's most likely co-signer might be Rep. Peter DeFazio, who sent the ensuing e-mail message to volunteer Phil Smith in November:

>Thanks for forwarding information to me on medicinal uses of marijuana as well
>as onerous sentencing guidelines for marijuana possession. I share your
>concerns. I've introduced a bill that would allow easier access to alternative
>medical treatments and I've supported efforts to minimize the overcrowding of
>our prisons.

> Member of Congress

Does anyone know Elizabeth Furse's position on this? She's facing a tough election, but be sure to impress on her that 80 percent of the public favors this. Wes Cooley is generally considered socially conservative but has an anti-fed attitude that could be appealed to. Given Jim Bunn's sponsorship of H.R. 2507, which would reverse the U.S. Sentencing Commission's recent decision to lower the weight assigned to marijuana plants, he might seem a tough nut to crack, but don't be daunted. Appeal to his humanity and reason and remember that you have to be nice to these people so you leave an opening for them to agree with you.)

Here are the addresses:

Elizabeth Furse
Oregon Congressional District 1
United States House of Representatives
Room 316
Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel. (202) 225-0855
Fax: (202) 225-9497
Unofficial Web page:
Democrat, Hillsboro
Oregon address:
2701 NW Vaughn St.
Portland, OR 97210
Tel. (503) 326-2901

Wes Cooley
Oregon Congressional District 2
United States House of Representatives
Room 1609
Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel. (202) 225-6730
Fax: (202) 225-3046
Unofficial Web page:
Republican, Powell Butte
Oregon address:
1017 N. Riverside, Suite 117
Medford, OR 97501
Tel. (503) 776-4646
or (800) 533-3303

Ron Wyden
United States Senate
Room 259
Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel. (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 225-8941
Web page:
Democrat, Portland
Portland office:
Tel. (503) 231-2300

Peter DeFazio
Oregon Congressional District 4
United States House of Representatives
Room 2134
Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel. (202) 225-6416
Fax: (202) 225-0373
Democrat, Springfield
Web page:
Eugene address:
151 W. Seventh Avenue, Suite 400
Euegene, OR 97401
Tel. (541) 465-6732
or 1-800-944-9603

P.O. Box 1557
Coos Bay, OR 97420-0333
Tel. (541) 269-2609

612 SE Jackson St., Room 9
Roseburg, OR 97470
Tel. (541) 440-3523

Jim Bunn
Oregon Congressional District 5
United States House of Representatives
Room 1517
Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Tel. (202) 225-5711
Fax: (202) 225-2994
Unofficial Web page:
Republican, Gleneden Beach
Salem address:
738 Hawthorne Ave. NE
Salem, OR 97301
Tel. (503) 588-9100

Please Help

With the political season warming up, please e-mail Portland NORML (referenced) policy statements pertaining to marijuana and and other licit and illicit drugs you come across which have been made by any candidate for any public office in Oregon. It should be pretty easy to link these to the candidates' and incumbents' names and addresses on our Oregon political activism page once it's up.

Correlation Not Causation

According to a New York Times article last week by Fox Butterfield about California's "three strikes" law: "At a news conference on Wednesday, [Gov.] Wilson said that the law was an 'integral reason why we're winning the war against crime.' However, crime rates have dropped in a number of big cities around the nation over the past few years in states without a 'three strikes' law."

"Industrial Fiber Hemp"

That's the title of a five-page interview with John Roulac and Joseph Hickey in the March 1996 issue of Acres U.S.A. (p. 19 ff.). Acres U.S.A. calls itself "A voice for eco-agriculture" and is a small-circulation alternative agricultural monthly, published from Box 8800, Metairie LA 70011-8800. E-mail at

"WSU Gets $70,000 to Study Marijuana Growing"

Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review, March 20, 1996, p. B1
By Eric Sorenson
Staff writer

PULLMAN - It may field quips about "higher" education, but Washington State University is getting $70,000 in taxpayer money to study growing marijuana for medical purposes.

The money was contained in successful legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl, a Seattle Democrat, and Sen. Bob McCaslin, a Spokane Valley Republican whose wife died of cancer last fall.

Marijuana and its active ingredient, THC, can help control the nausea and pain of cancer chemotherapy and radiation, AIDS or HIV-related illnesses, as well as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.

THC can be prescribed in pill and smokeable form, but is synthetically derived. The plant form is both cheaper and more effective, some health experts say.

"It seems to be in some cases better than anything else on the market," Bob Smith, WSU's vice provost for research, said Tuesday. WSU's College of Pharmacy will use the money to study the feasibility of doctors with Food and Drug Administration approval dispensing marijuana to some patients, Smith said. Another $70,000 will go to the University of Washington for similar work.

The legislation directs the universities, the state Department of Health and the state Board of Pharmacy to determine who would grow it, the appropriate chemical content of marijuana to provide safe and effective relief, licensing procedures, the plant's potential benefits, and an estimate of the cost of growing, processing and distributing the substance.

[End of segment]

Prisons Increase Crime

In the years leading up to reunification, Germany experienced benefits brought about by the gradual judicial adoption of alternative sanctions. Research in Germany shows that the number of offenders per 100,00 inhabitants increased by 7 percent in regions where imprisonment was the sentencing norm and decreased by 13 percent in regions that opted for alternative sentencing. In addition, youthful offenders sent to prison had higher rates of recidivism than those given alternative sanctions. Correlation or causation? Read it yourself: "Alternative Sanctions in Germany: An Overview of Germany's Sentencing Practices" is available on the NCJRS World Wide Web site at

Prohibition Corrupts, The Drug War Corrupts Absolutely

The Philadelphia Enquirer, Wednesday, March 20, 1996
60 more drug convictions are to be reversed today
By Mark Fazlollah
Inquirer Staff Writer

A court today will throw out 60 tainted drug convictions in which corrupt 39th District officers were involved in the arrests - more than doubling the number of cases overturned in the ever-widening probe.

Already, 56 convictions have been tossed out because of the involvement of six former 39th District officers who have pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.

That will bring to 116 the number of cases reversed in the year-old scandal. That number is certain to grow.

"It just keeps going. There's no end to it," said William Davol, spokesman for District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham.
And, as more officers are indicted, more cases will need to be overturned.

Last fall, for example, Mayor Rendell confirmed that a police-FBI investigation has expanded into the elite Highway Patrol unit. Law enforcement officials have said several patrol officers stole drugs from pushers and resold them to other pushers.

"It's incredible the damage that has been done to the system," Davol said.

Lawyers who have specialized in police corruption cases say there has never been an investigation as deep into police wrongdoing as the current effort.

[End of excerpts]

From The Mouths Of Drug Warriors

George Will of The Washington Post, quoted in the Santa Rosa, CA Press Democrat (March 21, 1996), discusses Richard Kluger's history of the American tobacco industry, due out next month: "A Russian czar used torture, Siberian exile and executions to discourage smoking, a Mogul emperor of Hindustan had smokers' lips split, and a Turkish sultan, convinced that careless smoking caused a conflagration in Constantinople, made an example of some smokers by having pipes driven through their noses, sometimes just before, sometimes just after beheading them. 'And yet,' writes Kluger, 'the custom thrived.' "

The Myth Of Peer Pressure?

By Aries Keck
March 12, 1996

DURHAM, N.C. (UPI) -- The effects of peer pressure on teenager's behavior may be severely overrated, University of North Carolina researchers said Tuesday.

"Peer influence for adolescent drug use may not be as strong as commonly believed," said Dr. Karl E. Bauman, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This study, published in the scientific journal Addiction, adds to a growing body of research that suggests peer pressure is a weaker factor in adolescent behavior than many had believed.

"When there is so much emphasis on peer pressure - there's a tendency not to discuss or not to look hard for evidence of other factors," said co-author Dr. Susan T. Ennett, research health analyst for the Research Triangle Institute. "We went back and tried to critically examine the importance of peer pressure."

By looking at more than a hundred studies spanning two decades of research, Ennett and Bauman found that peer pressure was easily blamed for teen-age behavior but never examined. Other factors such as family life, economic background, environment, and biological tendencies all may be as important or more important than peer pressure in determining behavior.

"The influence of families may be substantially underestimated because the importance of peer influence is exaggerated," Bauman said.

This may be the reason why anti-drug programs in schools are not showing a marked effect on teen-age drug use.

[End of segment]

Book Report

"Marijuana and Social Evolution," by Joel Simon Hochman (1972), is a study published as a book which focused on college students at UCLA from 1965 to 1971. Contrary to popular perception, the book notes that: "[Frequent users] tend to be self-confident, socially poised, skilled in interpersonal relations, and possess a wide range of interests.... Frequent users indicate they have the sort of achievement motivation necessary for success in graduate school." (p.88) When comparing the grades of users and nonusers Hochman writes, "The overall grade averages of pot users, as a group, were slightly higher than nonusers." (p.94)

The Ostrich Files

Jim Rosenfield (one of the "Big Five" URLs at the bottom of each Weekly Press Release) produces a good monthly review of drug prohibition news and commentary, with lots of primary documents such as verbatim news articles. The URL is



Comments, questions and suggestions. E-mail

Reporters and researchers are welcome at the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, sponsored by the Drug Reform Coordination Network at

Back to the News Releases page.

This URL: