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August 1, 1996

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Research Program
May Breathe New Life From Assembly Measure

July 30, 1996: Boston, Massachusetts: A bill (H. 2170) introduced by Rep. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) that would reinvigorate the state marijuana therapeutic research program and eventually provide for a medical necessity legal defense has passed the Massachusetts state assembly and now awaits the signature of Gov. William Weld. Sources close to Gov. Weld indicate that he will sign the bill into law.

As amended by the state legislature, H. 2170 will direct the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to pass rules and regulations within 180 days for the establishment of a marijuana medical research program. Like many states, Massachusetts had previously adopted legislation allowing for such a program, but had never addressed the issues of funding, regulations, or viable sources for marijuana.

"The new law does not solve the problem of the federal government's denial of access to legal marijuana, but it puts Massachusetts on the record as aggressively researching the issues of treatment and supply," said NORML Legal Committee member Michael Cutler.

"[It] creates pressure for a legal source to be created," added an aid from Rep. Jehlen's office. "[It is] a step in the right direction."

The measure also provides patients who are certified to participate in the program a legal defense against marijuana charges. This provision was a concession from the legislation's original intent which would have allowed any patient with a physician's pre-trial diagnosis of medical necessity to use the defense. Weld expressed concern that the bill's original language was overly broad.

The governor has 10 days to either sign or veto the measure.

"By enacting this law, [Gov. Weld] will allow attention to the medicinal needs of patients, whose access to treatment is blocked by the identity of their necessary medicine rather than by conduct which they can control," summarized Cutler. "For many patients, their use of marijuana enables them to support themselves and their families rather than being totally disabled and publicly supported. For these patients, who risk arrest and prosecution every day for the crime of desiring an ordinary quality of life, this law provides hope for a rational future of doctor-patient therapies free from governmental interference."

For more information, please contact Michael Cutler Esq. at (617) 439-4990 or Bill Downing of NORML Mass/Cann at (617) 944-CANN.

Update - Welfare Reform Bill Amendment Altered To Deny Federal Benefits To Those Convicted On Felony Drug Charges Only

August 1, 1996, Washington, D.C.: Most recreational marijuana smokers will be exempted from the provisions of a last minute amendment (Samdt. 4935) introduced by Sen. Phil Gram (R-Texas) that denies for life federal assistance-based benefits to all individuals convicted on felony drug charges. The amendment is part of Congress' overall welfare reform package.

In the measure's original form, the law additionally denied "means-tested" federal benefits for five years for anyone convicted of a marijuana misdemeanor. Possession of a small amount marijuana is generally treated as a misdemeanor in all 50 states. The initial language was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.

Gramm's amendment was altered during recent debate in conference committee. As the amendment stands now, it will only apply to future felony drug convictions and states will be able to opt out of the program if they enact legislation to do so. President Bill Clinton has agreed to sign the welfare reform package into law.

"The conference committee has provided relief for some marijuana smokers by altering Gramm's amendment; however, this bill still unfairly and inappropriately targets drug users," noted NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. Pierre noted that under the revised amendment, a murderer, rapist, or robber could receive federal funds and benefits, but not an individual convicted of cultivating marijuana.

For more information, please contact either Gwen Rubenstein of the Legal Action Center at (202) 544-5478 or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

California Law Enforcement Must Procure A Warrant Before Using Heat Scanning Devices

July 26, 1996, Sacramento, CA: The California Supreme Court has let stand a 1st District Appellate Court decision mandating that state law enforcement officials must procure a warrant before conducting thermal imaging searches of private residences where they suspect drug cultivation may be taking place. The lower court ruling is now binding on trial courts statewide.

Only Justices Marvin Baxter and Ming Chin voted to grant a hearing on the prosecution appeal; four votes are required for a hearing by the seven-member court.

"The use of thermal imaging devices can give law enforcement information regarding activities taking place inside a residence that they would not otherwise be privy to without procuring a search warrant and entering the house," stated NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "By its very nature, it is an intrusive practice that constitutes an unreasonable search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Therefore, it should require a warrant. NORML applauds the actions of the California court."

In its decision this April, the 1st District Court of Appeals likened the use of thermal imaging to that of electronically tracking the movement of chemicals inside a home by using a beeper. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1984 (U.S. v. Karo) that a warrant must be attained before law enforcement can use a beeper.

"Like the beeper signal ... the thermal imaging scan of [the] residence told the police something about activities within the house which they could not otherwise have learned without obtaining a warrant," opined Justice Marc Poche. "Precisely because the thermal imaging is indiscriminate in registering sources of heat, it is an intrusive tool which tells much about the activities inside the home which may be quite unrelated to any illicit activity."

... [Therefore,] we find that society recognizes as reasonable an expectation that the heat generated from within a private residence may not be measured by the government without a warrant permitting such a search."

For more information on the use of thermal imaging, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Update - Partnership For A Drug-Free America Agrees To Modify Ad
Criticized As "Patently Homophobic"

July 29, 1996, New York City, NY: The Partnership for a Drug Free America has agreed to re-edit a series of anti-heroin public service announcements that had drawn sharp criticism from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

The ad in question featured a teenager named David whose life plummets downhill because of an addiction to heroin. The ad concluded with the narrator saying: "And now I have sex with men for money to support my habit. ...I wish I didn't have to be like this."

GLAAD first voiced opposition to the spot early this month alleging that the ad "had the potential to exacerbate higher-than-average risks gay and lesbian youths face for substance abuse and suicide by implying that being gay is worse than being addicted to heroin." At that time, PDFA President Richard Bonette refused GLAAD's request to pull the ad.

Recently, however, Bonette has experienced a change of heart. He now says that the spots will be re-edited to omit the references to prostitution. "A perception of offense, however unintended, [may] dilute or interfere our basic message" of keeping adolescents drug free, Bonette recently explained in a letter to GLAAD.

Alan Klein, news media director at GLAAD said, "We're very much pleased that the Partnership has taken the concerns of the gay and lesbian community seriously."

ATTENTION: Those individuals looking to access NORML's Web page should temporarily use the following URL address:



Regional and other news

Body Count

Seven of the 14 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance violations, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area. (Aug. 1, 1996, p. 6, 3M-MP-W). (The seven sentenced to incarceration do not include one woman sentenced to three years' probation and $54 in fines for endangering the welfare of a minor. A charge of possession of a controlled substance was dismissed. It seems likely this case exemplifies yet another way in which the drug laws are disguised as something else.) In any case, that brings the body count so far this year to 217 out of 399, or 54.38 percent.

Final Count - 56,042 Signatures For OCTA '97

The numbers are in. According to a July 29 statement from petitioning coordinator Floyd Ferris Landrath, issued under the letterhead of the American Anti-Prohibition League (as distinct from Pay for Schools by Regulating Cannabis), the campaign for the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 1997 collected 56,042 signatures between December 1994 and July 5, 1996. More than a third of the signatures were gathered in the last 60 days.

Although the state does not verify signature tallies for unsuccessful initiative campaigns, the 56,042 figure excludes signatures that appeared patently invalid to campaign volunteers. Alas, an initiative petition requires 73,261 valid signatures to get on the ballot in Oregon. Probably at least 5 percent to 10 percent of the 56,042 signatures would have been found invalid. (Back in 1984, the state managed to conduct a spot check of Oregon Marijuana Initiative petitions in such a way that almost a third of the signatures were disqualified - see "Marijuana initiative sponsors decry signature count," from the Aug. 25, 1984, Oregonian, posted at Hence OCTA organizers aim to collect at least 133 percent of the minimum number of required signatures, about 105,000.)

A total of only 361 petitioners gathered an average 157 signatures each. Some other details: OCTA generated 3,551 pieces of mail, registered 3,838 new voters and elicited 7,114 volunteer hours. Some 8,310 new supporters were also added to the database.

However, Landrath's press release describes the 8,310 new supporters as coming from the [American Anti-Prohibition] "League Database." There is a discussion under way about maintaining the OCTA '99 campaign's database on the internet, where volunteers' names and numbers could be accessed and updated by multiple campaign organizers and coordinators around the state, using passwords. Some OCTA '99 supporters think this would decentralize and dramatically improve the efficiency of the new campaign. However, the consequent reduction in security could lead to OCTA '99 and the American Anti-Prohibition League needing to maintain separate databases, since people who provided their names and addresses to the OCTA '97 campaign often did so under assurances of the strictest security. If a parting of the databases should happen, OCTA '99 will need to start over with a new database - but also with the ability to attract and coordinate new volunteers all over Oregon via the internet.

No decision has been reached, so bring your input to upcoming OCTA organizational meetings in Portland and Eugene (see below).

For more details contact Landrath at or (503) 235-4524. (Anyone interested in helping to organize, maintain and update a database of volunteers on the internet can also contact the editor - who will turn over those names and addresses to another coordinator, if and when such a project is approved and someone is named to lead it.)

Final Count - Portland Hemp Fest

Although only two people were arrested at the Portland Hemp Fest on June 22, while nine people were excluded from Holladay Park without being arrested, Portland attorney Paul Loney has successfully challenged the exclusion of Star Feather McCloud. According to Loney (, of the Belmont Law Center, "I challenged her exclusion and the seizure of her knife (a small tool of her trade) and the police could not point to any authority they had to exclude her from the park. A small victory (and late) but a victory nonetheless."

We'll take anything we can get.

Loney is also a Chief Petitioner for the new Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

[Contrary to a previous report here, Paul Stanford did sign on again as a second Chief Petitioner for the new OCTA. Stanford and other organizers hope to find two other chief petitioners more widely known to the public - including one to replace him - before the state finalizes the text of the new inititiative summary.]

OCTA '99 Organizing Meetings

Anyone and everyone who wants to help the the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and help speed the transition to the next signature-gathering campaign is welcome to meetings 3 pm Saturday, Aug. 10, the day before the 1996 Northwest Hemp & Music Festival in Eugene (see below - this corrects last week's release, which said Aug. 11); 7 pm Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the American Anti-Prohibition League/Phantom Gallery, 3125 SE Belmont St. in Portland (Tri-Met Route 15); and 7 pm Saturday, Aug. 31, at Mt. Tabor Park in Southeast Portland, in the crater amphitheatre. Please bring your input and suggestions. For more details call Floyd Ferris Landrath of the AAPL at (503) 235-4524 or e-mail him at

Portland Cannabis Buyers Club Finds A Home

It's not a club anyone would really want to belong to, since members must be afflicted with a serious illness or injury. To its many patrons, however, marijuana is the only medicine that ameliorates their AIDS, cancer, glaucoma or other illnesses or injuries, and the Portland Cannabis Buyers Club is their only possible source of improved health. Until recently, though, the Portland CBC was obliged to run a delivery service because no centrally accessible site could be located where the club could operate securely and discreetly.

Miraculously, some Good Samaritans in inner Southeast Portland have stepped forward and the Portland CBC now has a home. A little grand opening party took place recently and the club is now in full operation. Registered patients can drop by during business hours.

A recent conversation with a Portland CBC representative confirmed that members are required to have the consent of their physicians, and that such consent is verified, if not always fully documented (due to possible sanctions against doctors).

The phone number for the CBC reported in the June 12 Willamette Week article, Harsh Toke, has been changed. The current message phone of the Portland CBC is (503) 235-1142.

Did it ever occur to prohibitionists that allowing AIDS and cancer patients and other sick people to use cannabis under the care of a physician might diminish its allure to kids and others?

Another Reason The Marbeled Murrelet Is Disappearing From Paciific Coastal Forests

ED Denson of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project writes:

Date: Sun, 28 Jul 1996 12:01:32 -0700
From: (ED Denson)
Subject: Re: A Strategic Point: pro choice

Mike W wrote:

>I also think it would be a good idea for our movement to
>begin joining forces with other movements -- such as women's rights, gay
>rights, and in particular the movements for racial equality and
>environmental movement -- with whom our cause has much in common. I have
>yet to see much discussion on this list regarding how one might begin
>making these allegiances.
>Has anyone from the DPF talked to leaders in these movements?

I'm a civil rights activist from Humboldt County, California. Our civil rights issue is police misbehavior during drug raids - especially the annual Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) helicopter raids in the summer. We see the civil rights issues fairly clearly and have been able to communicate those to the media. The cops treat everyone in the community as guilty until proven innocent, and the community doesn't like it. Believe it or not my mission this year is to convince drug reform advocates that there is a civil rights issue involved.

My feeling is that police misbehavior is a constant problem and that it goes well beyond the war on drugs. It is not cureable, it can only be managed, so long as the dominant police paradyme is victory thru force. But at the moment the war on drugs brings out the worse in police misbehavior so that is where the struggle is.

It is interesting that Mike brings up the environmental issue, also. We (the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project) are working quite a bit on a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in SF called DPF v Bennett (or it was when Bennett was the drug czar, the new guy probably got his name on it now). The live issue in this suit is the US Government's failure to follow NEPA regulations when the army invaded Humboldt County in 1990's Operation Greensweep.

We monitor drug raids in a considerable part of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties and in 1995 began to really take note of environmental effects. For the most part in current raids the adverse effects on the environment come from the use of helicopters. They are surprisingly widespread. Among the most serious, however, are those involving endangered species of birds. The raiders do not know where the endangered species nests are and have been observed flying right over them with very loud helicopters at very low altitudes. This behavior would get timber companies in big trouble - it probably amounts to a take.

We have spotted owls and marbeled murrelet habitat in the area we observe as well as other endangered birds. Local environmentalists are well aware of the problems with helicopter raids. But I don't think that this issue is appreciated outside of our limited area. Think of it this way: a low flying helicopter can disturb birds in a wake about 1 mile wide behind it. If one helicopter flies 200 miles during a days raiding then 200 square miles have been affected. During the heaviest raiding season it is not unusual for there to be 4 helicopters operating on the same day.

Anyway, Mike, the gist of this message is that you have a good point. The issues generated by the drug war go far beyond the simple question of whether drugs should be illegal. Public sentiment concerning drug policy when seen thru the wider perspectives of medicine (marijuana) or civil rights ( police behavior) or environmental destruction (helicopter raids) tends to be favorable to reform.

You asked if the DPF leaders had contacted environmental and various rights groups leaders. Let me turn that around. You live in a city which is a hotbed of social activism. Have you contacted these groups? If not, then perhaps a good first question is: what would you need to know to convince them to make common cause? One way to find out is to ask them.

Anyone else with thoughts about these matters?

ED Denson
Civil Liberties Monitoring Project

Last Call - 1996 Northwest Hemp And Music Festival

Legacy Productions failed to return three calls from the editor, but a few more details are available about this first-ever hemp fest. According to a Fastixx operator, the event begins 10 am Sunday, Aug. 11, at Lumberyard Park, Exit 209 off Interstate 5. Camping will be available beginning 9 am the previous day, Saturday, Aug. 10, for $22. Vendors can call (541) 302-1893 for more details. More details were in last week's news release. (Again, anyone interested in helping to organize the next OCTA campaign is welcome to a meeting 3 pm Saturday, not Sunday.)

Scottish Judge Calls For Open Debate

From The Scotsman, Tuesday, July 30, 1996

Judge calls for debate on drugs
Cannabis: Lord McLuskey says decriminalisation should be considered

One of Scotland's most senior judges, Lord McLuskey, has called for an open debate on the criminalisation of cannabis.

In a wide-ranging written attack on the Scottish Office's draft legislation on crime and punishment, which proposes a tough stance against all drugs, Lord McLuskey had appeared to come close top calling for the decriminalising of the soft drug.

The former solicitor-general, who has sat in the House of Lords for 20 years, also dismissed the white paper, which is intended as the Scottish Secretary's blueprint for his fight against crime, as "inadequate."

Asked last night about his submission, which became public late yesterday afternoon, he said it was not a call for decriminalisation, but he hoped decriminalisation would be considered.

He added: "The people who advocate the decriminalisation of cannabis need to be listened to and not condemned out of hand. Open debate is not only healthy, it is essential."

In his nine-page response to last month's white paper, the judge pointed out that cannabis could benifit health in some circumstances. He wrote: "A particular problem for the criminal justice system is that, if the law continues to treat all use of scheduled drugs (other than on prescription) as criminal abuse, it will further alienate and criminalise large numbers of younger people who regard the use of certain drugs in sensible quantities and settings as providing enjoyment without significantly threatening their health.

"Alienating large numbers of people, by making them into undetected offenders against the criminal law, greatly weakens the criminal justice system."

He also wrote: "Drug abuse is a major factor in crime in the UK. It needs to be considered carefully, dispassionately and thoroughly. There is an absence of convincing evidence that present policies are effective. More of the same is not likely to be effective. More severe criminal and restrictive policies have not succeeded in the USA."

Asked last night for his view on cannabis being legalised, he said: "You can ask, but I don't have an opinion. There's not a simple yes or no answer on the subject of any of these drugs. But I think the whole issue ought to be examined in a non-political context."

Lord McLuskey had also written that the Crime and Punishment white paper was produced with the unspoken assumption that while alcohol could be used or abused, any use of any illegal substance "must be an abuse."

The paper referred to drug misuse and abuse, but not use. It said victims of drug abuse had to be helped and drug dealers had to be firmly dealt with to stamp out the drug culture.

Proposals to lengthen the time served in prison before parole were "bad" and would lead to a "penal disaster," said Lord McLuskey, 67, who was solicitor-general during the 1974-79 Labour government.

Is Effective Drug Education Incompatible With Prohibition?

The following is from the new book, "Drug Warriors and their Prey," by R. L. Miller. [The pronoun "I" refers to the author.]
American educators seldom allow students to hear alternatives to drug squad views. An exception was a high school teacher who invited a DEA representative and me to make a joint presentation. The teacher told me that not only did the DEA spokesman refuse to face me, but four different DEA detectives contacted the instructor and urged him to withdraw his invitation to me. The teacher said that DEA told him he was wrong to expose high school students to a felony drug abuser seeking to recruit young people into the drug culture. The DEA's claims about me were fabrications, of course, and the instructor refused to withdraw his invitation, but I wonder how many public high school teachers resist such pressure. The DEA promised to send someone to the class the day after I came. I suggested that the class members ask the DEA person why he rejected an opportunity to refute me on the spot. The kids responded instantly: "He's afraid. He knows you have facts. He just wants to scare us, and knows he can't succeed if you're in the room with him." Several students stated forthrightly that I had not advocated drug use at all; I had simply explained alternative ways of viewing the drug situation and presented ways of influencing drug-taking behavior without putting people in jail. Such is the information that the DEA wants to prevent teeagers from knowing.

'Assassin of Youth'

'Six Months For One Joint'

by Mark Prinz
High Times, September 1996

RAYMOND COUNTY, GA-- On March 25,1994, 29-year old US Army veteran Eddie Self stopped in Rayburn County, GA to buy beer for a fishing trip. Earlier, his cousin had told him about the checkpoint roadblock at the entrance to the Wildlife Preserve.

Having had nothing to drink or smoke that day, Self foresaw no problems ahead. But on entering the dirt road that leads to the preserve, he was greeted by agents of the DEA, ATF, US Forest Service Wildlife Management and the Sheriff's department. Unable to produce his insurance card, he was asked to step out of the vehicle. Unaware that he could deny agents entry to his vehicle without a warrant or probably cause, Self consented to a search of his pickup truck.

In the ashtray was a joint. Self was arrested and charged with DUI and possession of marijuana. In November 1994, Self beat the DUI charge, and the state threw out the possession charge. But a US Forest Service agent was upset with the loss of the bust, and two weeks later Self was indicted by the Feds. Facing up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, Self pled guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana and was sentenced to six months in a federal penetentiary.

The cost of imprisonment, published in a court memorandum, was estimated at $14,000, not including the costs of maintaining the roadblock, the booking, the state trial which the defendant won and the subsequent Federal court proceedings.

'Weeding Through The Hype - The Truth About Adolescent Marijuana Use

For a surprising read, check out a new addition to Portland NORML's Web pages - a recent, well-documented essay questioning the popularized notion that American kids' use of marijuana is on the increase. The evidence suggests not so much that kids' use of pot is increasing, but that prohibitionists are once again looking for a reason to increase penalties against adult consumers. The article originally appeared in the June 1996 "Ongoing Briefing," a monthly publication of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The URL is, or feel free to ask for it in another format.



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