Milestones Fall 1994

Sept 11- The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws announced its new board of directors. The change of directors came after internal battling within NORML that tended to pit counterculture activists against more mainstream members. The new board is made up of prestigious scientists, including one Nobel Prize winner.

Sept 17- Massachusetts Cannabis NORML held its fifth annual cannabis legalization rally on the Boston Common. The editorial of the Boston Globe read “The legalization of marijuana for medicinal use is long overdue…”

Sept 19- Britains Liberal Democrats became the first major political party in Britain to officially support the legalization of cannabis use.

Sept 30- Californian Governor Pete Wilson vetoed legislation that would have allowed the medicinal use of cannabis in his state. Wilson claimed that he could not sign the bill because federal law still prohibits the medicinal use of cannabis.

Oct 2- A smoke-in was held at Place Berri in Montreal. The event was sponsored by the Quebec Anti-Prohibitionist League and attended by over 500 people. Seven people were arrested by police and charged with possession of cannabis.

Oct 5- Section 462.2 of the Canadian Criminal Code was struck down by Justice Ellen MacDonald as being unconstitutional. Section 462.2 was the vicious censorship law which prohibited pro-cannabis and any other pro-enthogen literature or paraphernalia. The case was brought forward by Umberto Iorfida of Canada NORML.

Oct 13- Bob Randall, glaucoma sufferer and editor of medical marijuana books, as barred from entering Britain with a supply of cannabis. Randall is one of only eight people in the US who is legally allowed to receive cannabis by prescription, and would go blind within days if he did not use it regularly. He had been invited to meet academics and politicians in London to discuss a campaign to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis.

Oct 13- Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Records, was quoted as saying that along with the present Virgin airline, retail and leisure products available, Virgin marijuana would be an option if it was legalized and proved safe by the British Medical Association.

Oct 19- A panel of judges in the German port city of Luebeck ruled that possession of two to four kilos of hashish should be treated as a misdemeanor rather than as a crime. This decision went further than a ruling made by the German Supreme Court in April, which decriminalized small amounts of personal drugs, but left the exact amount for local authorities to define.

Oct 20- Australians held simultaneous hemp protests in seven major cities. At least four people were detained at the Brisbane rally, held outside the Queensland parliament. The protests were coordinated by HEMP Australia and NORML Australia. A spokesman explained that the recent National Cannabis Task-force Report found that current prohibition laws had failed and that 75% of Australians support decriminalization of personal possession and cultivation of cannabis.

Oct 25- British police announced that they are investigating a business which sells viable cannabis seeds. The company, Sunlight Systems, sells the seeds as fish bait. Although the sale of seeds is legal, owner Chris Meliniotis admitted that he had fired two employees for giving advice on how to grow the seeds into cannabis plants.

Nov 1- Columbian President Ernesto Samper backed down from a promise to hold a national referendum on the question of whether possession and use of small amounts of drugs should be legal. In May the Columbian Constitutional Court ruled that possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, hashish or cocaine could not be prohibited, claiming that prohibition violated the constitutional right to the free development of personality. Selling drugs remained illegal.

President Samper was critical of the decision and sought a referendum to reverse it. More than a million signatures were collected in petitions calling for a referendum, but Vice President Humberto de la Calle announced that a referendum wont be held because of cost and electoral fatigue. Columbians went to the polls four times in 1994 for a variety of elections.

Nov 7- Bolivian President Sanchez de Lozada stated in a Voice of America report that he personally believed that drugs should be legalized because the prohibition of substances for which there is a high demand has never worked. He went on to say that as President of Bolivia he could not afford to defend that position because the decision to legalize drugs must be made in the consuming countries.

Nov 15- The Federation of American Scientists called upon the American government to expedite research into the medicinal uses of cannabis.

Nov 15- November 15th was proclaimed as Medical Marijuana Day and rallies were held in a number of Canadian and American cities, including Vancouver. In response to this, the Michigan Office of Drug Control proclaimed the day as Marijuana Makes You Sick Day.

Nov 23- Kentucky Governor Breton Jones formed a task force to study whether cannabis hemp would be a viable crop for his state. The report is to be presented in six months. Kentucky law presently prohibits trade in cannabis hemp clothes and fabrics.

Jones opponent in the last state election was Democratic candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who advocated legalizing cannabis and resurrecting the states hemp industry. Prior to the prohibition of cannabis, Kentucky was the leading producer of hemp in the United States.

Nov 24- 700 Americans, Canadians and Europeans gathered in Amsterdam to attend the 7th Annual Cannabis Cup, sponsored by High Times.

Nov 28- The Supreme Court of the United States announced that it would decide on the constitutionality of mandatory random drug tests for athletes in public high schools. The drug tests were challenged in court by the parents of James Acton, a 12 year old student. The court also announced that it would review how long police must wait after announcing their presence before knocking down a door or entering to serve a search warrant.

Nov 30- The son of Lebanese President Elias Hrawi was accused of dealing in drugs, along with other prominent figures in Lebanese politics. The accusations came from Yahya Shamas, a parliamentary deputy from the eastern Bekka Valley, a region that has long been known as major producer of cannabis and opium. Shamas made the accusations after he was arrested for dealing in drugs himself. The speaker of the Lebanese parliament has promised a full investigation, as has the Prosecutor General. Local media claimed that Shamas had opened a file which the authorities would find very hard to close.

Nov 30- The legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory of Canberra passed legislation allowing the cultivation of up to five cannabis plants and the possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis for medicinal use. Under the law a general practitioner can prescribe cannabis for patients if there is a clinical need. The law was passed despite the opposition of the minority Labour government, gaining support from all nine non-Labour MLAs. Possession of cannabis is already only punishable with a spot fine in Canberra.