------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (Medical Marijuana Initiatives Filed For 1998 In Maine, Colorado, Elsewhere; Washington State Voters Reject 'Drug Medicalization And Prevention Act'; Detroit Judge Denies AIDS, Cancer Patient And Best-Selling Author Peter McWilliams Opportunity To Use Defense Of 'Medical Necessity' Against Pot Charge) From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 19:24:06 -0500 (EST) Subject: NORML WPR 11/6/97 (I) A NON-PROFIT LEGAL, RESEARCH, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION The NORML Foundation 1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW SUITE 710 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036 T 202-483-8751 o F 202-483-0057 E-MAIL NORMLFNDTN@AOL.COM Internet http://www.norml.org . . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana prohibition. November 6, 1997 Medical Marijuana Initiatives Filed For 1998 In Maine, Colorado, Elsewhere November 6, 1997, Washington, D.C.: Voters in Colorado and Maine may have the opportunity to decide whether the use of medical marijuana under a physician's supervision should be legal under state law. Medical marijuana proponents in both states recently filed ballot initiatives to put the issue to a public vote in 1998. Americans for Medical Rights (AMR), the California-based group that spearheaded the successful passage of Proposition 215 in California, is coordinating the two state campaigns. "Next year is going to be a defining moment in the battle for legal access to medical marijuana," NORML Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. predicted. "Federal legislators are looking to the states to take the lead on this issue." Colorado's reform effort seeks to amend the state's constitution to allow anyone holding a state-issued identification card to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Patients would also be able to cultivate marijuana for medical use with a physician's recommendation. Cultivation limits are set at six plants, with no more than three plants producing usable marijuana at any one time. A state health agency would keep a confidential registry of patients who possess valid doctor's recommendations. Those who obtain marijuana for medical use would be prohibited from using it in public places, selling or distributing the drug, or "endangering the health and well-being" of other people by its use. "The time [for medical marijuana] has come," said initiative co-filer Martin Chilcutt of Coloradans for Medical Rights. "We can't avoid it and put our heads in the sand and pretend the need isn't there." A similar proposal filed in Maine would limit the use of marijuana to patients suffering from AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, seizures, or undergoing cancer chemotherapy. As in Colorado, the proposal allows patients to grow up to six marijuana plants. "It's pretty clear that this was written to ensure that [opponents] could not claim that this law would 'open the door' to other uses of marijuana," said Attorney Ron Kreisman, who drafted the initiative. "It's been clear for years that there is broad deep support for permitting medical use of marijuana among Maine [citizens]," explained Dave Fratello, spokesman for AMR. Stephanie Hart, a former Congressional aide who is now coordinating the statewide effort, agrees. "We know from everything we've heard that Maine people will come forward" to support the medical marijuana drive, she said. Stroup sees parallels between Colorado and Maine, and anticipates both initiatives efforts to be successful in 1998. "In both instances, you have states where voters have shown strong support for the issue, but the Legislature has failed to convert the voters' sentiment into law," he said. "Proponents have no choice but to bypass the Legislature and go directly to the voters." Besides Colorado and Maine, grassroots petition drives are also taking place in Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, and the District of Columbia. Both Florida's and Washington D.C.'s initiatives are modeled after California's Proposition 215, while Alaska and Arkansas' language propose broader drug-law reforms. Americans for Medical Rights said that they may back additional state initiatives in 1998. For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952. *** Washington State Voters Reject "Drug Medicalization and Prevention Act" November 6, 1997, Olympia, WA: State voters rejected a drug-law reform ballot initiative that contained provisions allowing physicians to recommend the use of marijuana as a medicine to seriously ill patients. Initiative 685, the "Drug Medicalization and Prevention Act of 1997" received only 40 percent support from state voters Tuesday. The defeat came as a disappointment to reformers, but medical marijuana proponents said that public support for medical marijuana remains strong. "The defeat of I-685 was not a defeat for medical marijuana," NORML Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said, citing exit poll results indicating 46 percent of those opposed to the initiative would support a measure dealing only with medical marijuana. "It further supports our belief that a majority of Americans favor focused legislation allowing a patient to use marijuana medicinally under a physician's supervision." Tacoma physician Rob Killian, who filed the initiative, told reporters that he felt I-685's broad language regarding other drugs and prison reform may have turned off some voters who would have otherwise supported the measure. He said that he may file an initiative next year to deal strictly with medical marijuana. In the meantime, state legislators Alex Deccio (R-Yakima) and Jeanne Kohl (D-Seattle) announced they will work to push the issue forward in the Legislature. Deccio, who chairs the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, said he will likely hold hearings on the issue, and Kohl announced that she hopes to co-sponsor legislation permitting the use of marijuana as a medicine. "I'd like to focus only on marijuana and keep it [limited] to medical use," Kohl said. "I think we're farther ahead than we were a year ago, especially with public awareness of the issue." Kohl previously sponsored a medical marijuana appropriation bill in 1996 that secured $130,000 to conduct a state study into the benefits of marijuana as a medicine. That proposal remains delayed indefinitely while awaiting federal approval. For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. *** Judge Denies AIDS And Cancer Patient Opportunity To Use Defense Of "Medical Necessity" Against Pot Charge November 6, 1997, Detroit, MI: A district court judge yesterday reversed her week-old decision to allow an AIDS and cancer patient facing marijuana charges to present evidence that he uses the drug as part of his medical treatment. The case involves Peter McWilliams, a best-selling author and former Detroit resident who is facing criminal charges for possession of seven marijuana cigarettes. McWilliams, who now lives in California, uses marijuana medicinally to alleviate the side effects of the AIDS wasting syndrome and cancer chemotherapy. He was arrested December 17, 1996, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after telling officers that he was carrying marijuana legally acquired in California. William's attorney, NORML's Legal Committee member Richard Lustig, expressed extreme surprise at the judge's reversal. "Judge [Tina] Green's initial decision was brave a correct," Lustig said. "Thousands of patients rely on medical marijuana to relieve their pain and to ease their nausea and other side effects caused by medical treatment." Judge Green said she reversed her position after concluding that McWilliams would not suffer bodily harm if he stopped using marijuana as part of his medical treatment. McWilliams contests that assertion. "Without medical marijuana, I can't keep down the drugs that are keeping me alive," McWilliams said. "Judge Green's original decision may not be considered politically correct by some, but it was definitely the medically correct decision to make." Lustig said he will immediately file an appeal with the Wayne County Circuit Court. For more information, please contact either R. Keith Stroup, Esq. of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or NORML Legal Committee member Richard Lustig @ (810) 258-1600. -END- MORE THAN 11 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965...ANOTHER EVERY 49 SECONDS!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Geopolitics Of Hypocrisy ('Le Nouvel Observateur' In Paris Wonders Why Americans Appeal To The French Not To Pressure Their Proteges In Afghanistan And Pakistan Who Are Flooding Europe With Heroin, Concluding It's Obvious The Fight Against Drugs Is Following An American Agenda) Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 22:10:54 -0500 Subject: MN: The Geopolitics Of Hypocrisy Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: World Press Review Article from "Le Nouvel Observateur", Paris, Nov. 6-12, 1997 Author: Michel Koutouzis, research director, Geopolitical Drugwatch, interviewed by Sara Daniel Republished in World Press Review, February, 1998 THE GEOPOLITICS OF HYPOCRISY We are living in a time similar to the Prohibition era. Consumption of drugs, especially cannabis, has become commonplace. In the 1920s and early 1930s, the U.S. government completely banned consumption of heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. The growth of organized crime and massive smuggling forced it to back- track for alcohol, which had a mass market, but not for heroin, which had a minor market. The question that was once asked about alcohol arises today with regard to drugs. Yes, drugs are dangerous, but outlawing them creates so many problems (crime, covert financing of guerrilla movements, internationalization of organized crime) that legalization is worth considering. If we adopted the same reasoning as the Americans did about alcohol in the 1930s, we would decriminalize drug use. The harmfulness of a drug is no longer the decisive factor in deciding whether or not to prohibit it. Extremely addictive drugs are freely available. Methadone, a substitute for heroin, is highly habit-forming. In France, 30 percent of overdose cases are the result of mixing legal and illegal drugs -- Rohypnol and heroin, for example. Dealers go to parties and hand out pills of strychnine mixed with caffeine, which are perfectly legal but have a powerful effect on the heart and are much more harmful than uncut Ecstasy [an illegal psychedelic amphetamine]. Amphetamines were once a medicine; out of a prohibitionist impulse, they were made illegal. The traffic in psychotropic substances is becoming harder and harder to dismantle. A synthetic substance can be sent around the world stuck to the back of a postage stamp on an envelope. The problems of drugs go far beyond issues of public health. Drugs are also a political and geopolitical tool, at the heart of rivalries between former colonial empires. Why do the Americans put everything into fighting cocaine? Because it lets them intervene openly in Latin America. Europe allows Morocco to produce hashish because that country is a bulwark against Islamic fundamentalism. There is also a social inequality where drugs are concerned. The decriminalization of cocaine has already happened, but only for the very wealthy. We seize 40 tons of cocaine yearly in Europe, but the only people ever arrested are users of crack, a cocaine derivative. The law is not enforced with the same zeal in the slums and in rich neighborhoods. One can also be a soft user of a hard drug or a hard user of a soft drug. But that idea is not easily translated into political positions. There are strong cultural and religious biases. It is very easy, in the name of a religion, to prohibit someone else's drugs. Are the ayatollahs wrong when they single out the evils of alcohol, the French national drug? Drugs themselves are not the disease. The disease is unemployment, alienation, moral loneliness. Drugs serve as a medicine against those social ills. People in a desperate plight will consume drugs regardless, even at the risk of ending up in jail. On the other hand, people who are comfortably well off and in control of their recreational drug habit will never be prosecuted. The real drug addicts are the bankers. Cocaine trafficking injects $1 trillion into the world economy. There is a lot of hypocrisy in the global drug game. Why do the Americans appeal to us not to pressure their proteges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who are flooding Europe with heroin? It's obvious that the fight against drugs is following an American agenda. Drugs are part of the stakes in the geopolitical game--and too bad for the users! -------------------------------------------------------------------
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