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Wait Patiently for the 1998/99 NEWS STORIES FILE

Important News Items Emailed to NORML Canada Late February 1999

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"Mr. X", like many other Americans, related that he was bothered mostly by tobacco smoke in the coffeeshops which is difficult to avoid everywhere in Europe. He continued :
If someone wants to pay their doctor to get a prescription, that's fine. If they want to take a seed from my backyard and plant it in theirs, fine. There's no registration, no license, no nothing !

And that's my liberated right. As an individual. Under common law. The herbalist decree in the 1500's ! And a number of other things that were predecessors to the signature at Philadelphia, and the constitution which was ratified later.

And anybody that twists you around to say that your rights are limited when you want to use this as medicine, sacrement, and herb, are absolutely wrong.

And evidence of it, is "White Dog" was standing here the other day, and telling you exactly how it is in Arizona. So in that sense, I don't care if it is ever legalized.

Legalizing means government taxation, registration, controls. It means more than just opening a place where the health and safety codes are followed when you want to serve vegetarian food. Now it will be, "Yes, you can serve alcohol, no you can't." You'll be in same f____ng switch as we are in here in Amsterdam. And we don't like it anymore than the Dutch coffeeshop owners, or the Dutch citizens like it.

So when you say you want it legalized, you'd better know what you're talking about, and what you're legalizing.

"Mr. X" here gives cool acceptance to legalization, but he hates the idea of regulation and taxation. Very American, actually.

And in your state, go home and do that whereever that may be. But you have an individual right, as a human being, to alter your consciousness, using any substance that you choose, at any point in your life. And no government has the right to take that away from you.

Don't be brainwashed in thinking that we have to "legalize" it. We already have the "right" to use these things.  

Note : "Mr. X" then believes that governments had no right to regulate or prohibit marijuana in the first place. Therefore, he feels no compulsion to "work within the system" in order to mend our flawed laws.

Since "Mr. X" is already a "felon" under law, he is generally not allowed to take part in the American political system anyway, neither as a voter nor as a member of a jury.

My main complaint against his reasoning is that there are plenty of non-felon American and Canadian citizens left to vote for a restoration of our legal rights. Simply ignoring the law may have its place in dissent, but it's not enough.

He see's the "cannabis coffeeshop", but not the corner drug dealer, as an example of the commercialization of marijuana. Is $200 an ounce marijuana, bought on the street, "non-commercial" ? "Mr. X" never explained how the current "street dealer" system of marijuana distribution, is less commerical than the Dutch cannabis coffeeshop system.

Also, when I recollect our conversations, I remember that "Mr. X" had little or no complaints against the so called, "prison culture". Prison, for him, was part of the program, so to speak. He liked to quote Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau wound up in jail. (It was part of his program.)

Mass production versus home growers. Even with wine and beer universally available at low cost, produced by large regulated companies, a person can legally make his own wine or beer, up to 400 gallons a year, without a license.

The wine and beer industries have never been threatened in the least by this "personal home production" exclusion from the law. Likewise, if marijuana were generally mass produced, the occasional individual could still grow his own if he were so inclined. Home growing is not a threat to mass produced licensed marijuana production, assuming that the retail cost is allowed to gravitate downward.

"Mr. X", although probably well into his '70's, is probably not eligible for U. S. Social Security, even if it does survive, due to unknown reasons.

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Guest Opinion Page

"Hello Dotty"

by Michael Moran

[Editor's Note: The Guest Opinion Page is a new feature that will appear in the Free Press from time to time. It allows for the publication of lengthy opinion pieces by a variety of guest writers. The following is two-part communique to Free Press publisher Dotty Oliver from Michael Moran, a gentleman whom she met while visiting Amersterdam in November 1998. The first part is an e-mail letter to Dotty and the second, which also appears on this page, is an opinion piece written by Moran. The two pieces have been lightly edited.]

Lisboa, Portugal - As a freelance journalist with more than 30 years of "activism" in America and four years here in Europe, and having met Ms. Oliver at the ELF, where she was introduced to me by another American expatriate for whom I have much respect and with whom I had squatted several buildings in Amsterdam since my arrival, my request for a copy of Sam's letter-to-editors that contained a couple of really pertinent phrases regarding your President, I had figured my offer to respond and continue filing columns as your European Desk would enhance the accuracy and timeliness of the Free Press, as well as be sufficient proof for application to the Hanover, Germany, EXPO-2000 officials for press credentials to cover that event for the FREEP; it opens next 1 May and [will run] until 1 October as the first WORLD EXPOSITION of the 21st century.

To never have received a copy of Sam's letter, to be given an expensive multi-phone call "run around" for $100 (which I was trying to keep a phone line operating with), and then after finally (two months) [being contacted] by my new mobile only to be told that Ms. Oliver's "busy and hectic life and the fact that news in Portugal was not one of her top priorities" has, to say the least, stretched any credibility I harboured for your operation there and has dampened whatever were my lofty probabilities for working out a regular assignment with your Publication.

Given all that, there is no fool quite like an old one, when it's experience that really counts. So I will file this one story and hope that I can receive a copy of Sam's letter as it still offers a couple of chides at the "Man who gave us so much Hope" before he enters his final year in the White House by email ASAP. (Ed.Note: referring here to Pres. Bill Clinton)

Ms. Oliver's offer to send/lend me $100 for "writing" was needed at the time, to try to keep a phone line operating from which to remain "on line," reporting to American & European alternative outlets on "the European Front" that is changing and taking a different tact than the US' failed "Drugs War" policies as the EU searches for a uniform policy by 31 December this year. Needless to say, but I have lost my place, my phone line, and I am scrambling to just survive where being a "dope smoking" broke American "retired hippie" is no advantage. I do have a mobile phone, and occasionally it has some money on it so that I can call out, but it is with me 24-hours daily should anyone ever want to actually "talk" to me, or verify copy I have emailed through friends here. The number is (from the States: 011) 351-931-454-4433.I am available and still interested in serving your readers and working out some arrangement for EXPO next year.

My email address has changed: uncleghee and my surface mail address now is Michael Moran - Quinta Sta. Micaela - Bairro Novo, 2710 Sintra, Portugal. A few back copies of FREEP would be helpful if I am to function in the near future as your European Desk.

I hope this finds Dotty's foot is better, the step fixed, and you all in good health and a good holiday mood. I look forward to any reply or compensation I might earn. Say hello to Dick and Big Al. Best to Sam wherever he is now.

Part 2:

(This is appently from 1999, no date is shown.)

PORTUGAL breaks rank with EU "drug policy;" Parliament "decriminalizes" personal possessions

Lisboa, Portugal - Four years ago when the Portuguese Communist Party called for legalizing "cannabis," most here tossed it off as another wild idea from the radical left.

Last year, just before EXPO-98 opened in May, both the President of the Republic, who has lost a daughter three years ago in a "hard drug" overdose, and the President of the Parlimaent called for "legalizing" all Drugs, making the Government the main source of supplies. After a couple of weeks of wrangling by the Press & Media, most just figured this was a "trial balloon" and would fade in a short time.

This year, however, many more in high government positions have called for "legalizing" either "all drugs" or following the Dutch "koffie shop" model for separating "soft" and "hard" drug consumption. In late March, the brother of the President of the Republic, himself the leading psychiatrist in the Drug Rehab field here, said "something had to be done soon." And it was.

In April, without much debate at all, after public comments by Pres. Sampao, the Prime Minister Dr. Guterres, the Pres. of the Assembly Dr. Santos, the Minister of Justice Dr. Socrates, the Minister of Internal Affairs Dr. Coehlo, the Pres. of the Supreme Tribunal Dr. Ferreira, the Director of the National Police (like [the American] FBI) Dr. Negrao and the Minister of Commerce, and leading medical and rehab professionals in the Press and on tv, the Parliament has "decriminalized" personal possession of marijuana and hashish. No longer will you have to go to jail for simple possessions. A fine will be levied instead. And if young people pay any more attention to these summons than they now do to traffic fines, it'll be a real miracle.

Lisboa must be the most scofflawed City in Europe, where periodically the government gives broad Amnesties to thousands for the billions of escudos that people have accumulated and ignored. What is news, is that the Portuguese government seems ready to bite the bullet on "hard drugs" and begin furnishing "treatment on demand" and a social net that assists these young people as they break away from their addictions.

As the EU [grapples] with how to come to an equitable and uniform "drug policy" by year's end, the Portuguese and Dutch have offered a more humane and pragmatic approach, like 500 years ago when these two seafaring nations took a different tack and discovered a sea route to the Spice Trades and India, than the American "drugs war" mind-set that the Clinton-Gore team seems destined to impale itself on.

Here in Portugal, with 11-month-long growing seasons, grapes and palm trees everywhere and a large annual tourist industry, a fledgling koffie shop/sidewalk cafe ambiance can be seen to be rising slowly. None to soon for this old psychedelic reprobate enjoying this warm climate after 3-1/2 years in Holland.

Queries about submissions to the Guest Opinion Page should be made to JoBeth Briton, Editor, Little Rock Free Press, 165117, Little Rock, Arkansas 72206. Or email to Attention of Editor at Or fax by calling 501-372-4769. All queries must be signed and include a phone number.

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USA Today (newspaper), endorses Medical Marijuana.

Courtesy of NORML (USA), and signatory.


>>>SUITE 1010

>>>WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036

>>>T 202-483-5500 * F 202-483-0057




>>>.. a weekly service for the media on news items related to Marijuana



>>>                                 July 18, 1996


>>>            ;    USA Today Endorses Access To Medical Marijuana


>>>     July 18, 1996, Arlington, VA:  USA Today, the nation's most widely read

>>>daily newspaper, has endorsed access to medical marijuana.  The endorsement

>>>stemmed from a USA Today editorial entitled "Anti-drug focus keeps marijuana

>>>from the ill" and came just two days after the newspaper featured a major

>>>article on a California ballot initiative that would allow seriously ill

>>>patients to use marijuana as a therapeutic agent with a doctor's


>>>     Calling marijuana "one of the least toxic medical compounds in the

>>>world," the editorial cited both marijuana's relative safety when compared

>>>to other legal drugs and medicines and decades of scientific and anecdotal

>>>research maintaining its medical efficacy.

>>>     "It is entirely possible to fight the drug war without harming innocent

>>>civilians in the process," concluded the USA Today. "But lawmakers must be

>>>careful to choose the right battles.  Therapeutic marijuana isn't one of


>>>     "The statements made by USA Today in support of medical access to

>>>therapeutic marijuana should have a positive impact on America's views

>>>toward this issue and may translate into a significant number of votes among

>>>California citizens in favor of the Medical Marijuana Initiative," stated

>>>NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.

>>>     For more information, please contact Dave Fratello of Californians for

>>>Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952.


(16 November 1998) From telephone conversation with James Burton. An Amsterdam newspaper article recently pointed out that the lowest price in Holland for medical marijuana is being offered by the Institute of Medical Marijuana in Rotterdam at about 6 guilders per gram. The profit from operations is modest, so James still works full time.

Without official approval, a handful of Dutch doctors continue to discreetly prescribe marijuana, and a handful of renegade pharmacists continue to fill prescriptions. It appears that coffeeshop prices for marijuana and hashish have risen lately as imports are curtailed.

Switzerland. Pharmacies are now routinely supplying marijuana only by prescription.

Marijuana and Driving. A few months ago, a driver in the Netherlands was ticketed for "driving under the influence" of marijuana. He was stopped in traffic a few days previous under suspicion, so a blood sample was taken. The blood was sent off for analysis and returned a "positive" indication, so the driver was ticketed. It is not known if he will appeal.

Ben and Alan Dronkers of Sensi-Seed are trying to re-open some of their Rotterdam coffeeshop locations which had been closed in the past, but this time they want to sell beer as well. They have told city officials that it isn't possible to make a profit with cannabis coffeeshops in Holland unless things besides cannabis, like beer, cigarettes, food, snacks, etc., are also sold.

Back in the early '70's, the first marijuana coffeeshops made it a special point to not sell alcohol, since marijuana was considered less harmful. The decline in the number of "drug tourists" is forcing a reconsideration of this "purist" philosophy as some coffeeshops close.

As the rest of Europe decriminalizes, "drug tourists" simply stay home rather than travel to Amsterdam. Amsterdam will always attract visitors though, and the Cannabis Cup is worth attending.

Medical marijuana and the disease, multiple sclerosis. James says that he has been extremely disappointed lately by statements made recently in the Dutch press by licensed doctors stating that "marijuana cures M.S." James even suspects deliberate "sabatoge" by the doctor who made the statement, considering that no such case has ever been reported to him by any patients.

James said that for M.S., the best results for many patients occurs when they use cannabis in edible form. Some patients, however, have reported good results with smoked marijuana. Many M.S. patients have not had good results with marijuana, though, according to James. 

December 30, 1998 From telephone conversation with James Burton. It appears that marijuana has been decriminalized pretty much everywhere in Europe, including Switzerland, where people are reportedly smoking it on the street in some cities without any hassles.

The recent referendum vote this fall in Switzerland was not a loss for decriminalized marijuana ; it was a loss for legalizing "all drugs". At the moment, marijuana is decriminalized in Switzerland, while "hard drugs" are available by prescription to addicts. Marijuana is also available by prescription from pharmacies.

Heroin distribution by medical authorities continues in a few places in Holland, including Rotterdam.

Bars or Coffeeshops ? In Rotterdam, the proliferation of too many cannabis coffeeshops (some which sell beer and wine along with cannabis) and bars, in one area near the centrum, on the "nieuwe binnenweg" street, and the resultant increases in crime there, has resulted in a new policy where the cannabis coffeeshops in particular will be relocated, one by one, to individual neighborhoods.

Away from the busy centrum, and with their alcohol content removed, the coffeeshops can be expected to help reduce neighborhood "hard drug" street dealing, juvenile delinquency, and even alcoholism.

It appears that the separation of alcohol and cannabis is re-emerging in Dutch cannabis coffeeshop policy, although this policy may vary from locale to locale.

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(From '93, '94, '96, and 1998 converations with James Burton, glaucoma/marijuana patient.)

It's true that some glaucoma sufferers smoke more marijuana than regular non-medical users. James Burton smokes more marijuana per day than most other users. He's been doing that ever since his own doctor told him back in the 80's that marijuana was the best thing for his glaucoma at that time.

Many medical marijuana users will have to use more marijuana per week than non-medical leisure-time users.

James told me, in answer to the question, "Have you tried the latest conventional medications for glaucoma ?"

He said that no, he didn't plan to switch any time soon since the published and admitted "side effects" of the conventional medicines he knew about were worse than anything he had experienced from marijuana (1996 conversation). Perhaps new things have come out since then that James is not aware of. Perhaps not.

He's too busy to visit the doctor often, and he doesn't need to visit often for his condition.

Not many people in Holland have the time, nor inclination, to smoke a great deal of marijuana every day. They're too busy with other interesting things, just like James, who still works full time at a regular 9 - 5 job.

Maybe, James should immediately stop using marijuana, shut down the Stichting, and move back to the United States, seeking whatever pills good doctors want to prescribe for Glaucoma. He can probably get the same pills in Holland, though.

James has already told me that he happens to like marijuana, even if it didn't help his glaucoma.

(November 24, 1998) How much marijuana does James use per day ususally ? He says he always smokes immediately upon waking in the morning, and just before sleep, about 10 PM ; and one or two other joints in between, for a grand total per day of 3 - 5 joints.  

NORML Canada Announces Historic Event in Jurisprudence as "War on Drugs" Winds Down.

(11 November, 1998 NORML Canada News Release via internet.) When Gary Mowat of Toronto reported back to court on Nov. 3rd, he had good news for the Judge. He informed the court that he had fulfilled his 40 hours of mandated community service by acting as a security guard at the NORML Canada/B-Net Campout held in Umberto Iorfida's backyard in King City, Ontario September 11 - 13, 1998.

Arrested in his Toronto home after a police visit unrelated to marijuana, Mowat was charged with simple possession which in Canada these days is usually handled by fines and community service sentencing.

Mowat's attorney, Law Professor Alan Young, upon hearing the news congratulated Gary and exclaimed, "That's Great !"

Iorfida issues the following statement, "As the "war on drugs" winds down, the goals of NORML will expand to include goals in addition to decriminalizing all aspects of marijuna and hemp. Those main objectives remain to be fulfilled completely, but we will be shifting our activities more in the direction of "community service", rather than just protest and criticism."

"Community service, integrated into the tradition of drug policy reform, should be widely recognized as a proper and constructive orientation for groups like NORML Canada."

"I encourage all marijuana simple possession convictee's, or any other drug law convictee sentenced to community service, to choose to do work for chartered or judicially approved groups, like NORML, whenever that is an option."

Umberto remarked that he was not at all happy with the fact that Gary was arrested for something NORML does not consider criminal. "NORML will continue to fight for the complete elimination of all penalties and stigma's assocated with all marijuana use, dealing, seed production, and cultivation."

"In some areas, Canadians using marijuana are not very oppressed by current marijuana law policy. In other areas, arrests are common, though jail for simple possession is rare. Mostly, dealers and growers are experiencing really harsh judicial treatment, so we still have work to do. The informant system is destructive of the fabric of society."  

The Dutch Cannabis Coffee shop Model Brings People in from the Cold.

Take the Heat Off Vancouver's Cannabis Cafe ; It's Part of the Local Hospitality Industry

NORML Canada's Official Position on "Semi-Public Marijuana Usage".

November, 1998

At the moment, marijuana smokers in Canada are considerably more secure in their jobs and careers than their American counterparts, but not as secure as the Dutch. I'm not talking about traffickers, necessarily.

Although secure in most respects, Canadians cannot generally smoke marijuana in public, except perhaps at times at the "Cannabis Cafe" in Vancouver. Marc Emery and Sister Icee are usually given credit for that innovation, but at the moment, the cafe is being "bashed" by city hall. Whether or not the cafe will be allowed to stay open is anyone's guess. We hope so, because the people of Vancouver, and Canada perhaps, don't consider it to be criminal.

Regardless of our support for some restrictions on marijuana use in public, marijuana should have a secure place somewhere, other than back alleys. In reality, marijuana usage in Canada (simple possession) is in a "semi-legal" or "semi-illegal" gray area, depending on location. It isn't legal, but you probably won't go to jail for it. You will probably pay a fine if caught with it.

Amazingly, there is also a "Bulldog Cafe" in Vancouver, just like the famous hashish coffee shop in Amsterdam. But the cafe in Vancouver does not presently allow patrons to smoke marijuana. At least that's what the manager told me once by phone a few years ago.

Anyone who has ever visited Amsterdam will usually get a good impression of the cannabis coffee shops there. How much discussion can there be about coffee shops ? It's just a simple civilized thing, like cafe's, restaurants, and yes, pubs.  

Note : Persons not smoking marijuana are just as welcome in a Dutch cannabis coffee shop as smokers. Also served are : coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pastries, toasted cheese sandwiches, fresh squeezed orange juice, and sometimes beer, and other things. Tobacco and cigarettes are also sold, and cigarette smoking is always present. Many Americans have been complaining about the tobacco smoking in cannabis coffee shops there for years, but most Europeans still like tobacco, and there are no serious plans to ban it any time soon.

Here are some random coffee shop links :

(Summer 1998)

Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Society

The Canadian Alliance of Medical Marijuana Advocates

The CTCS is a new organization designed to unite and mobilize people with a common interest in the medical potential and use of marijuana and to promote the intelligent, effective use of cannabis in medicine.

The organizational structure of the CTCS is similar to that of most special interest non-profit organizations. From the general public, we invite medical marijuana advocates to become members of the Society. Members benefit by being recognized as supporters and being kept informed about the progress of the Society. They are also given the opportunity to vote on certain Society actions. Being a general member requires no cost or obligation. Members are invited to attend the few general meetings we hold per year, and are given the opportunity to donate a few dollars in lieu of membership dues. This pool of members is then divided into two parts.

General members are those who are happy with the above-mentioned perks and involvement while active members are those who would like to be more of an integral part of the organization. Active members are divided into two parts; those who are willing to be volunteers, meaning that they can offer certain services once in a while, and those who are able to serve on the Society's various sub- committees, attending monthly sub-committee meetings and thus taking part in the actual running of the organization. Active members can choose to be a part of as many of the sub-committees as they like. For example, some of the committees are: membership, finance and funding, volunteer coordination, research and special projects. Read farther down for a more detailed list. Each of these sub-committees is headed by an elected "chair." A separate executive committee, consisting of the Society's president, vice president, secretary and treasurer is the group that manages the day-to-day operation of the society, planning agendas and otherwise acting on behalf of the Society's board of directors, which is made up of the executives and the chairs of each sub- committee. This board of directors is the group that controls the overall direction of the Society, including policy-making and maintaining standards. Shortly after the sub-committee meetings, which occur in the first week of each month, the sub-committee chairs provide the executive committee with summaries (minutes) of these meetings which the executives use during their meeting in the second week of each month to plan for the board of directors meeting which is held in the fourth week of each month. .

Here is a brief list of the sub-committees that are currently in place and their function :

Membership - Headed by the Society's secretary, who also maintains the files of the society and takes minutes for the executive, board of directors and general meetings. Maintains membership records and recruits new members.
Finance and Funding - Headed by the Society's treasurer, is in charge of the earning and distribution of the Society's capital - budgeting, record-keeping, accounting and fundraising.
Volunteer - Organizes those members of the Society who would like to help when they can at CTCS functions - recruitment, training and job descriptions.
Public Relations - Acts as liaison to the general public, media and police. Ensures attendance at, for example, relevant government meetings.
Research - Keeps the Society up-to-date on the news front, maintains the society's library/resource centre and performs laboratory and statistical experimentation.
Special Projects - Organizes special events and occasional tasks such as renovations. Sets up task-forces and temporary (ad-hoc) committees for certain projects.
Legal - Keeps us up-to-date on legal issues, works with such entities as lawmakers and law enforcers. Prepares for potential legal situations.
Suppliers - Represents the interests of medical cannabis dispensaries, growers, processors and distributors.
Patients - Represents the interests of medical cannabis users. Participates in research projects, etc.
Medical - Represents the interests of doctors and scientists.

We are also now setting up regional offices, each headed by a Society director with a proven track record in their community and the cannabis movement. Within a short while, we'd like to at least have a small committee in each major city across Canada.

So please consider the part that you can play in such an interesting and important organization and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your interest and best regards,

Dom Cramer,
Director and President, Toronto Hemp Collective - THC, 667 Yonge Street 2nd Floor (416) 923-3556
Director and CEO, Medical Marijuana Resource Centre - MMRC, 517 College Street # 335 (416) 961-6672
Director and President, Canadian Therapeutic Cannabis Society - CTCS, 517 College Street # 335 (416) 961-6672

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