FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 16, 1997
AMERICANS FOR HOPE, GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY LAUNCHES RADIO CAMPAIGN OPPOSING INITIATIVE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA IN WASHINGTON, D.C.; CALLS ON PRESIDENT CLINTON, MAYOR BARRY, AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO LEAD ANTI-DRUG LEGALIZATION EFFORT IN NATION'S CAPITAL
"Where's the moral outrage? Everyone in Washington seems obsessed with Joe Camel but D.C. children are being targeted by twisted drug predators and we hear nothing but silence," says Steve Forbes
(Bedminster, New Jersey) Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity, a national issues advocacy organization, today announced a radio campaign in Washington, D.C., to mobilize public opinion against Initiative Measure Number 57. The measure, which would legalize the "possession, use, cultivation, and distribution" of marijuana in the District of Columbia, needs 16,763 valid signatures by December 8, 1997, to qualify.
Steve Forbes, Honorary Chairman, called on President Bill Clinton, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to take a bold lead against the initiative, which would may marijuana even to minors under the age of 18 without a doctor's prescription.
"Where's the moral outrage? Everyone in Washington seems obsessed with Joe Camel. But D.C. children are being targeted by twisted drug predators and we hear nothing but silence," said Mr. Forbes. "This initiative has been in process since April and almost no one knows anything about it. That's why AHGO is launching this radio campaign, issuing a memo to Congressional leaders, and working with local leaders and anti-drug coalitions to mobilize public opinion against this very serious threat."
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FACT SHEET: D.C. INITIATIVE MEASURE NUMBER 57
The short title of Measure 57 is: "Legalization of Marijuana Treatment Initiative of 1997." It was filed with the D.C. Board of Elections on April 2, 1997. The deadline to file opposition was June 9, 1997. No opposition was filed. December 8, 1997, is the deadline for gathering
16,763 valid D.C. signatures.
* The Measure would legalize the "possession, use, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana" for "medical purposes."
* The "medical purposes" language is vague and the word "prescription" is never used in the legislative language. Instead, only a doctor's "recommendation" is needed, but the "recommendation" can be either "written or oral."
* The measure requires the D.C. Commissioner of Public Health to actually establish a plan for the city government to distribute marijuana.
* One section of the Measure actually explains how minors -- children under the age of 18 -- can use marijuana.
* The Measure allows D.C. residents to set up non-profit corporations for the purpose of "cultivating, purchasing, and distributing marijuana" for the vague purposes of "medical use."
* The Measure allows medical patients to designate a "parent, sibling, spouse, child or other close relative, domestic partner, case manager/worker, or best friend" to help grow, use, or buy marijuana by designating them as "primary caregiver." This designation will protect
these people from criminal prosecution, and the patient can designate up to four people as primary caregivers. The Measure even defines the term "best friend" -- perhaps the first legislative description of a "best friend" in the nation.
* The Measure requires the Mayor of the District of Columbia, upon certification of the Measure's successful passage into law, to "deliver a copy of this act to the President and the Congress to express the sense of the people of the District of Columbia that the Federal government must develop a system to distribute marijuana to patients who need it for medical purposes."
Contact: Joel Rosenberg, Communications Director, (703) 925-9281 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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