This victory would not have been possible without the help of
thousands of subscribers like you who sent faxes to members of
Congress through our Web site. As we enter the next phase of this
battle, we need your assistance again.
Please take two minutes to send a fax to your U.S. representative,
urging him or her to support three important amendments when the bill
reaches the House floor as early as next week. These amendments are
detailed below. (See http://www.mpp.org/3ONDCP amendments to fax now.)
As noted in my last memo on May 23, the Marijuana Policy Project's
"War on Drug Czar" -- http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar -- has
significantly altered the strategies of congressional drug zealots and
has pressured them into making serious tactical errors. This was
confirmed during the committee debate over the politicization of the
Media Campaign. One of the leading Democrats on the committee said
that the intent of the provision that stirred the controversy over the
Media Campaign was to clarify that the ads "do not constitute partisan
political activity -- as has been alleged in unsuccessful lawsuits
brought by an opponent of the campaign." Lead zealot U.S. Rep. Mark
Souder (R-IN), who was clearly agitated, blamed the controversy on
"extremists" for whom marijuana is "their ideology."
Now that we have prevented the Media Campaign from being used to
defeat initiatives and legislation, we have our sights set on three
additional reforms to the Media Campaign and the drug czar's
1. Require the drug czar to use at least 50 percent of
Campaign advertising budget to educate children about the harms
posed by drugs other than marijuana. As part of MPP's fight to
reduce the harm associated with marijuana, we believe that teens
and children must receive factual information about the relative
dangers posed by all drugs. A Media Campaign that focuses solely
on marijuana does nothing to prevent young marijuana users from
moving on to harder drugs.
2. End the statutory requirement upon the drug czar to
medical marijuana initiatives and legislation. Currently, the
drug czar is required to oppose all efforts to legalize any
Schedule I drug, such as marijuana. This amendment, while far
less than ideal, would at least give future drug czars the
option of not opposing medical marijuana initiatives. Moreover,
there appears to be broad support for this kind of incremental
change in the law in Congress.
3. Prohibit the drug czar from using federal taxpayer dollars
bribe or coerce treatment providers and state officials to
oppose initiatives or legislation. Surprisingly, a May 7 ruling
by the federal Office of Special Counsel in response to a
complaint MPP filed gave the drug czar permission to use federal
funds for these purposes. Obviously, the law must be changed so
that he cannot. (Please see this and other complaints and
rulings at http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/complaints.html .)
These amendments will not pass if members of Congress do not hear from
their constituents. Please take action now to raise awareness on
Capitol Hill. Simply go to http://www.mpp.org/3ONDCPamendments , enter
your address, select a letter, and click a button to send it to your
representative. And, of course, feel free to forward this e-mail to
anyone you think might be interested in taking action on this issue.
As always, MPP thanks you for your participation. The tide is turning
in the battle over this nation's marijuana laws, and individuals like
you are playing a major role.
In a public slap in the face to the US Justice Department's jihad
against medical marijuana, US District Court Judge Charles Breyer
refused to send convicted marijuana grower Ed Rosenthal to prison
Wednesday. Rosenthal faced up to 60 years after a federal court
jury found him guilty on federal cultivation and conspiracy
charges. Prosecutors asked for a five-year sentence, but Breyer
sentenced Rosenthal to one day in jail, with credit for time
served, and Rosenthal walked out of the federal courthouse in San
Francisco a free man. Or almost -- he must also serve three years
of federal probation.
"The unique, extraordinary circumstances of this case" influenced
his decision, Breyer told the courtroom. Those circumstances
include not only the clash between California and federal medical
marijuana law, but also the huge public outcry generated by
Rosenthal's arrest and conviction.
While Rosenthal has vowed to appeal his conviction, and
prosecutors could attempt to appeal Breyer's light sentence -- a
dramatic downward departure from federal sentencing guidelines --
Rosenthal's court appearance Wednesday marked the culmination of a
case that has inflamed the medical marijuana community in
California and focused a national and international media
spotlight on the Bush administration's rigid insistence on
destroying the medical marijuana movement. In the last two years,
Attorney General John Ashcroft has repeatedly sent DEA raiders
into California to arrest medical marijuana providers and
patients. At least four providers have been sentenced to federal
prison, and more cases are pending.
But Bush, Ashcroft and the DEA have paid a price in public scorn
and repudiation for their attacks on medical marijuana.
Editorializing about the Rosenthal case this weekend, the New York
Times called the verdict against him "a miscarriage of justice"
and urged leniency. Even California's highest law enforcement
official, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, joined the chorus,
feeling the need to remind Breyer prior to sentencing that
Rosenthal had acted in accordance with California law. Even worse
for the administration in public relations terms was the reaction
of the jurors who convicted Rosenthal after Judge Breyer refused
to let him use the California medical marijuana law in his
defense. Upon hearing the rest of the story after finding
Rosenthal guilty, nine of the jurors publicly denounced their
verdict as a travesty of justice. They also publicly urged Breyer
to be lenient in sentencing Rosenthal.
A jubilant and combative Rosenthal emerged from the courthouse to
cheers and thunderous applause from a crowd of sign-waving
supporters outside. "I take responsibility for my actions that
bring me here today," he said. "I took those actions because my
conscience led me to help people who are suffering. This law is
doomed," Rosenthal proclaimed. "This is day one in the crusade to
bring down the marijuana laws, all the marijuana laws."
An agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used
threats of RAVE Act prosecutions to intimidate the owners of a
Billings, Montana, venue into a canceling a combined benefit for
the Montana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws (http://www.norml.org) and Students for Sensible
Drug Policy (http://www.ssdp.org) last week.
The RAVE Act, now known officially as the Illicit Drug Anti-
Proliferation Act, championed by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), was
ostensibly aimed at so-called raves, the large electronic music
concerts often associated with open drug use, but was so broadly
written that opponents argued it could be applied against any
event or venue where owners or organizers did not take
sufficiently repressive steps to prevent drug use. Opposition to
the bill stalled it in the Senate last year, but this year Biden
stealthily inserted it into the enormously popular Amber Alert
Bill, which passed last month and was signed into law by President
While the Billings event was advertised as a benefit concert for
two local groups interested in drug law reform -- not as a drug-
taking orgy -- it still attracted the attention of the DEA. On
May 30, the day the event was set to take place, a Billings-based
DEA agent showed up at the Eagle Lodge, which had booked the
concert. Waving a copy of the RAVE Act in one hand, the agent
warned that the lodge could face a fine of $250,000 if someone
smoked a joint during the benefit, according to Eagle Lodge
manager Kelly, who asked that her last name not be used.
"He freaked me out," Kelly told DRCNet. "He didn't tell us we
couldn't have the event, but he showed me the law and told us what
could happen if we did. I talked to our trustees, they talked to
our lawyers, and our lawyers said not to risk it, so we canceled,"
she said. "I felt bad. I knew the guys in the bands."
H.R. 2038, introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), does not just
"reenact" or "reauthorize" the 1994 Clinton ban. It bans millions more
guns. And it begins backdoor registration of guns.
In the Senate, the Clinton gun ban`s authors, Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), introduced S. 1034. The bill
is less extreme than McCarthy`s, which they hope will give it a greater
chance of passage. Like H.R. 2038, S. 1034 does not merely "reauthorize"
or "extend" the Clinton gun ban, it: permanently bans millions of guns and
ammunition magazines, including magazines used in the most popular target
shooting rifles and conventional handguns; expands the Clinton gun ban by
prohibiting the importation of "large-capacity" magazines; and places
legitimate importers at increased risk of unfair prosecution for a 10-year