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Press Release: White House Pushes Controversial Student Drug Testing Agenda in Honolulu on 3/27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 22, 2007 Contact: Pamela Lichty, 808-224-3056 or Kit Grant, 808-552-5904 White House Pushes Controversial Student Drug Testing Agenda at Summit in Honolulu on March 27 Concerned Citizens to provide Educators with Missing Information; Parents, and Experts and Others Available for Interview Honolulu, HI — The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is conducting a series of regional summits designed to convince local educators to implement across-the-board random, suspicionless student drug testing. This policy is unsupported by the available science and opposed by leading experts in adolescent health. The third summit of 2007 takes place on Tuesday, March 27th in Honolulu at the Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Avenue at 8:30 a.m. Although the ONDCP has toured the country for the last three years promoting student drug testing, the largest study on the effectiveness of such testing, conducted by respected federally-funded researchers in 2003, found no difference in drug use among 94,000 students who were tested and those who were not. Selected regional educators and drug testing industry representatives have been invited to attend the Honolulu summit, where the ONDCP will continue to describe student drug testing as a "silver bullet" to prevent adolescent drug use. A group of concerned citizens will also attend to provide educators with important information missing from the summit, such as the objection of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Addiction Professionals and the National Association of Social Workers to testing. These professionals believe random testing breaks down relationships of trust between students and adults and contribute to a hostile school environment. “We need to spend our resources educating young people, not putting them under expensive surveillance programs that have not been proven safe or effective,” said Pamela Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i and Board Member of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Drug testing breaks down relationships of trust. All credible research on substance abuse prevention points to eliminating, rather than creating, sources of alienation and conflict between young people, their parents and schools.” The Hawaiian State Legislature has already considered, and rejected, the policy. In February 2003 the Hawai’i State Legislature voted down a bill that would have allowed schools to randomly drug test students enrolled in athletics or “physically strenuous” extracurricular activities. Currently no public schools in Hawaii have a random drug testing policy. “With the absence of evidence supporting random drug testing in schools, and given that there are substance abuse prevention programs that are non-intrusive, respect students' dignity and privacy and have been proven to work, why would a school embark on such a controversial program?” said Dr. Katherine Irwin, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “As a concerned parent I want my children to refuse drugs for better reasons than fear of a random test. We want them to develop deeper, internal reasons to resist drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, ones that will stay with them during summers when school is out of session, and when they graduate and go on to college.” said E.J. Heroldt, a parent of children at Mid-Pacific Institute, a private school that implemented a voluntary drug testing program. Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators Are Saying No (2006), a 25-page booklet published by the Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU, provides the latest scientific research on student drug testing. The booklet covers the legal implications associated with student drug testing, analyzes the costs of implementing such policies, and provides resources for educators who are interested in addressing drug abuse among young people. Making Sense of Student Drug Testing: Why Educators are Saying No can be found online at http://www.drugtestingfails.org. Excerpts from the booklet are included below: Comprehensive, rigorous and respected research shows there are many reasons why random student drug testing is not good policy: · Drug testing is not effective in deterring drug use among young people; · Drug testing is expensive, taking away scarce dollars from other, more effective programs that keep young people out of trouble with drugs; · Drug testing can be legally risky, exposing schools to potentially costly litigation; · Drug testing may drive students away from extracurricular activities, which are a proven means of helping students stay out of trouble with drugs; · Drug testing can undermine trust between students and teachers, and between parents and children; · Drug testing can result in false positives, leading to the punishment of innocent students; · Drug testing does not effectively identify students who have serious problems with drugs; and · Drug testing may lead to unintended consequences, such as students using drugs (like alcohol) that are more dangerous but less detectable by a drug test. Educators should implement alternatives to drug testing that emphasize education, discussion, counseling and extracurricular activities, and that build trust between students and adults. The first and second regional summit of 2007 were held in Charleston, South Carolina (January 24) and Newark, New Jersey (February, 27). The last summit will be held later this year in Las Vegas, NV (April 24).
Location: 
HI
United States

The Sentencing Project: Disenfranchisement News & Updates -- March 22, 2007

Maryland: Voting Rights Legislation Cross Filed in House, Senate SB 448 and HB 554 are presently in committee as numerous advocates for felony disenfranchisement reform in Maryland gave testimony to House and Senate members earlier this month, according to the Baltimore Times. Kimberly Haven, Executive Director of Justice Maryland, who also gave testimony said: “This legislation will clarify the efforts of the 2002 legislation, by removing the three-year disenfranchisement period that currently exists. This three-year wait period serves no practical purpose.” Contact Information: Email: [email protected] web: http://www.sentencingproject.org
Location: 
MD
United States

CT Press Conference: Montel Williams Joins Patients and Legislators in Support of Medical Marijuana

MEDIA ADVISORY: March 22, 2007 Contact: Lorenzo Jones 860-270-9586 or Gabriel Sayegh 646-335-2264 Special Guest Montel Williams Joins Legislators, Patients, Caregivers and Advocates to Support Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act Press Conference Scheduled for Friday, 23 March 2007, 11:00 a.m. Momentum Builds as Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Legislation, HB 6715, Passes Judiciary Committee Hartford—Connecticut’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana legislation, House Bill 6715, cleared its first hurdle yesterday when it passed the Joint Committee on Judiciary. The bill would allow seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A 2004 UCONN poll found that 83% of Connecticut residents support allowing patients to access medical marijuana for relief of symptoms associated with debilitating and deadly conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis. Special guest Montel Williams, Emmy Award-winning talk show host and New York Times bestselling author, will join supporters to discuss his use of medical marijuana to relieve multiple sclerosis symptoms and his support of the Connecticut legislation. Also speaking will be families of Connecticut medical marijuana patients whose suffering and symptoms were relieved by medical marijuana and the sponsors of the Connecticut Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The Senate Health, Senior Services and Human Services Committee will hold informational hearings on Senate Bill No. 88, The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, on Thursday, 8 June at 1p.m. What: A press conference to release poll results on New Jersey voters’ attitudes about medical marijuana Who: -Montel Williams, Emmy Award-winning talk show host and New York Times bestselling author -Rep. Penny Bacchiochi: 52nd District: Sommers, Stratford, Union -Rep. Mike Christ: 11th District: East Hartford and South Windsor -Deputy Speaker of the House Representatives Marie Kirkley-Bey: 5th District: Hartford -Mark Braunstein, patient, paraplegic with a spinal cord injury -Andrea Comer, Hartford resident and former president of African American Alliance -Tim Black, Ph.D., caregiver and Hartford Resident -Dawn Marie Fuller Ball, caregiver and A Better Way Foundation Board President -other Connecticut State Legislators, advocates, and patients When: Friday, March 23, 2007, 11:00 a.m. Where: Connecticut Legislative Office Building, Room 2D
Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States

Vote Hemp Press Release: Poll Shows Strong Voter Support for Industrial Hemp Farming in California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 19, 2007 CONTACT: Adam Eidinger Ph: 202-744-2671, [email protected] or Tom Murphy Ph: 207-542-4998, [email protected] Poll Shows Strong Voter Support for Industrial Hemp Farming in California 71% of Californians Support Changing State Law to Allow Hemp Farming; Hearings on New Hemp Bill AB 684 Scheduled for March 27 SACRAMENTO, CA – Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots organization working to give farmers the right to grow non-psychoactive industrial hemp to be made into everything from food, clothing, paper, body care, bio-fuel and even auto parts has released a new poll of 801 likely California voters about industrial hemp. The telephone poll has a 3.5% margin of error and sampled likely California voters from February 22 – 26. The survey was conducted by the respected research firm Zogby International on behalf of Vote Hemp and five manufacturers of hemp food products including Alpsnack™, French Meadow Bakery™, Living Harvest™, Nature’s Path Organic Foods™ and Nutiva™. The poll results released today for the first time confirm there is strong support for reform on the issue of industrial hemp. A total of 71% support changing state law to allow farmers to grow hemp and of those surveyed 46% strongly support and another 25% somewhat support changing state law so California farmers can supply manufacturers with hemp seed, oil and fiber. Presently companies must import hemp from other countries. Over the past several years the California Legislature has passed resolutions and bills to permit farmers to grow industrial hemp. AB 684, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act is authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) and will be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. If passed and signed into law, AB 684 would regulate commercial industrial hemp farming in California. Today more than 30 industrialized nations grow industrial hemp and export to the US. It is the only crop that is both illegal to grow and legal for Americans to import. Sales of hemp food and body care products have grown rapidly in recent years fueling an expansion of hemp farming in Canada which topped 48,000 acres in 2006. Poll questions and results regarding industrial hemp farming policy and consumer attitudes on hemp products and nutrition can be viewed online at http://www.votehemp.com/polls.html. There is evidence of strong support among men and women and self-identified liberal and conservative voters on the issue. Among California Republicans, 60% support changing state law on hemp while 74% of Democrats are in support. Support was also steady among all age groups, ranging from 54% of 18 to 29 year olds to 82% of 30 to 49 year olds, 74% of 50 to 64 years olds and 60% of those over 65 years old. Assemblyman Mark Leno who introduced AB 684 in February said, “The Zogby poll underscores that California voters of all political persuasions support changing the senseless policy of importing industrial hemp while prohibiting our own farmers from growing it.” # # # More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com
Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Medical marijuana hearing Monday in state House

Location: 
Olympia, WA
United States
Publication/Source: 
KLXY (WA)
URL: 
http://www.kxly.com/news/?sect_rank=4&section_id=603&story_id=9621

CT: Medical marijuana bill gains support

Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States
Publication/Source: 
The News-Times (CT)
URL: 
http://www.newstimeslive.com/news/story.php?id=1035231

Drug Policy Forum of Kansas Update

Wakarusa Music Festival: Volunteers Needed KS Legislature: Meth Offender Registry Update ACLU Forum on Wakarusa Law Enforcement Past Issues Medical Marijuana: Two Federal Court Rulings Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Passes Legislation Next Volunteer Meeting March 24, 1 p.m. The Drug Policy Forum of Kansas is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are tax-deductible. Volunteers Needed for Wakarusa Music Festival DPFKS members interested in volunteering to work a few hours a day at the Wakarusa Music Festival, should send us an email ([email protected]). The festival takes place June 7-10 at Clinton State Park outside of Lawrence. KS House Holds Hearing on SB 14: Meth Offender Registry SB 14 would create a registry on the KBI web site for people who have been released from prison for manufacturing methamphetamine. The registration would require a $20 fee every six months for life. Testifying in opposition to SB 14 were DPFKS along with KS Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a representative from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the parents of a currently incarcerated meth offender. Read the testimony on our website and why this bill is a waste of taxpayer money that will not reduce drug use or illegal drug availability. Wakarusa '07 - Privacy Rights in Public Places; ACLU forum April 25 at 7pm at the Lawrence Library the Douglas County ACLU will present a panel discussion with Brett Shirk, Executive Director of the KS/WMO ACLU, Rick Frydman, attorney and Charles Branson, Douglas County DA, There will be a panel discussion and questions from the audience. Judge in Ed Rosenthal Throws Out Charges Due to Vindictive Prosecution Federal District Court Judge Charles Breyer ruled this week that author and medical marijuana activist Edward Rosenthal was vindictively prosecuted, and dismissed charges of tax evasion and money laundering. The remaining marijuana charges against Rosenthal are virtually identical to those pursued against him in his prior 2003 trial. With an admission in court by the U.S. Attorney that it would not seek additional punishment beyond the one-day sentence Rosenthal was given after being convicted at his first trial, the prosecution has little reason to proceed with the case. 9th Circuit Court Rules Against California Legal Medical Marijuana Patient The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected and appeal by Angel Raich (the California woman who was arrested by the DEA for using a small amount of marijuana recommended by her physician and legal under California law), ruling that there is no fundamental constitutional right to use marijuana for relief of pain and suffering. In a 3-0 ruling, Judge Harry Pregerson wrote, "We agree with Raich that medical and conventional wisdom that recognizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes is gaining traction in the law as well. But that legal recognition has not yet reached the point where a conclusion can be drawn that the right to use medical marijuana is "fundamental" and "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty." The court also rejected Raich's contention that the 10th Amendment protected her right to use medical marijuana. New Mexico Poised to Become 12th State to Fully Protect Medical Marijuana Patients From DRCNet: First it passed the Senate and died in the House. Then, at the urging of Gov. Bill Richardson, New Mexico's Senate folded medical marijuana into a related bill to permit topical use. This week the bill passed the House 36-31. It must return to the Senate for consideration of a minor change that occured in the House, but given strong support there and the assurance of the Governor's signature, I believe it's safe to say we're looking at our 12th medical marijuana state. Richardson's willingness to stand up for patients at this time speaks volumes to the growing political viability of medical marijuana policy reform. The Boston Globe looks at the political implications of Richardson's stance on medical marijuana and concludes that it's not a big deal. Next Volunteer Meeting Saturday, March 24, 1 p.m. at the DPFKS offices -- 941 Kentucky Street, Lawrence, KS 785-841-8278 for more information.
Location: 
KS
United States

The Candy Counter: Georgia Set to Ban Sales of Marijuana-Flavored Lollipops to Kids

Under a bill passed by the Georgia House of Representatives Tuesday, retailers there may soon be barred from selling lollipops, gumdrops, and any other candies flavored to taste like marijuana to children. The bill, HB 280, steamrolled through the House, passing by a margin of 133-26.

The bill is aimed at businesses that sell candies with drug-inspired names like "Pot Suckers" and "Kronic Kandy." Such products are flavored with hemp essential oil to create the taste of marijuana, but do not contain measurable amounts of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

If it passes the Senate, Georgia would become the first state to enact such a ban. The sale of marijuana-flavored candies has already been outlawed in the city of Chicago, Suffolk County, New York, and parts of Alameda County, California.

"This kind of product is being taken to concerts like the old ice cream pop that is being marketed on the street," said Republican state Rep. Judy Manning of Marietta, the bill's sponsor. "They're selling for $4 to $8 apiece. It's quite expensive and it's quite detrimental to our children."

Manning's bill says the candies promote drug use and promote the "false impression that marijuana is fun and safe." It bans the sale of "marijuana flavored products" to minors, with offenders subject to a $1,000 fine for each offense.

Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola. As Vote Hemp national outreach coordinator Tom Murphy told DRCNet in an e-mail message, "This makes you wonder if they would consider banning a coca-flavored soft drink. That's marketed to children and..."

Murphy also pointed out an error made by the New York Times in an article appearing Wednesday: The Times said the candies were made with hempseed oil -- an ingredient used in many now-mainstream food products that doesn't taste like marijuana -- as opposed to the candies' actual ingredient, hemp essential oil.

Vote Hemp is backing a state Senate bill, SB 258 that would create an exemption for hemp-based foods.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Approved By Second House Panel

Members of a Minnesota House committee Monday voted to approve a medical marijuana bill despite the objections of law enforcement. The House Public Safety and Civil Law Committee approved the bill, HF655, on an 11-8 vote. It has already passed the House Health and Human Services Committee and is now headed for the House Finance Committee.

A Senate companion bill passed the Senate Health, Housing and Family Committee a month ago. It currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The bill would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana upon obtaining a recommendation from a doctor and registering with the state. But in an effort to address law enforcement concerns, the public safety committee amended the bill so that individual patients cannot grow their own supply. Instead, sanctioned nonprofit organizations would be permitted to grow up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces per patient.

The law enforcement contingent was out in force at the committee hearing. "Immediate and obvious areas of concern include existing conflicts with federal law, the potential for youth access and abuse, and the potential for this action being used as a platform for legalizing marijuana on a larger scale," Mitch Weinzetl of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association told KARE TV 11 News in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

"Smoking is harmful to the human body in any form, and it's particularly harmful with marijuana, which has significantly more dangerous chemicals than tobacco," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

But while committee members attempted to ease law enforcement worries by amending the bill as noted above, they seemed more moved by the testimony of patients like Don Haumont, who suffers from liver cancer and other ailments. He told lawmakers only one thing helps: marijuana.

"I ate more, I gained weight, I felt healthier, I felt that I could take care of myself, I could do things," he said. "I could work and be productive." A former California resident, Hauman said he could smoke legally there. "And then when I moved here, it was harder to obtain and the quality was less," he said.

While law enforcement and Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) oppose the bill, it is gathering bipartisan support in the legislature. "It's more of a left and right coming together, which I think is a very good bill and one Minnesota should become the 13th state to pass," said Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon), who once opposed such a measure.

Eleven states have working medical marijuana programs. New Mexico is about to become the 12th once Gov. Bill Richardson (D) signs the bill that passed there last week.

"Marijuana" Candy Banned In Georgia

Location: 
Atlanta, GA
United States
Publication/Source: 
WPVI-TV (PA)
URL: 
http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=bizarre&id=5135620

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