DRCNetDrug Reform Coordination Network


Ann Landers Calls for Debate
on Marijuana Legalization

Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
Special Bulletin

Please copy and distribute.

Though we are sending this action alert during 1996, we recommend you hold off acting on it until 1997. :)

Assignment #1:

The Ann Landers column published today (12/31) in papers around the country included a letter from one of our colleagues, Chuck Thomas, of the Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.mpp.org), calling for the elimination of criminal sanctions against users of marijuana, written in response to Landers' Christmas column lamenting, among other things, the failure of the war on drugs and the burgeoning prison population. Landers followed by noting that Thomas had touched a "hot button" issue and asked readers to submit their opinions.

This is an open invitation to make our opinions known. We ask our members to take the opportunity and send letters to:

Points you might wish to use:

Please let us know if you submit a letter at our request. Feel free to send us a copy.

Assignment #2:

The government's threat to prosecute physicians who recommend marijuana to their patients calls for its own response. DRCNet members are interested in drug policy reform for many reasons -- indeed, some of them have been victimized by draconian sentencing or asset forfeiture laws, or are working hard to prevent the spread of AIDS through needle sharing, are appalled by poor prison conditions, or come to drug policy through any number of different paths. Medical marijuana doesn't directly relate to all of these problems.

But we feel it's important for everyone to weigh in on this issue of patient/physician rights. The reason is that if the government can go after doctors for recommending marijuana, then they can do anything. The entire prohibition system in this nation was inaugurated in the late 1910s when the federal government orchestrated mass prosecutions of doctors for the accepted medical practice of prescribing narcotics and other drugs on a maintenance basis to addicts. Thousands of doctors were imprisoned, an act comparable to the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the mass exile of intellectuals by the authoritarian Chinese communist government. Medical marijuana is a line in the sand, and the voters of California and Arizona are standing on our side of it.

Please call the White House Comment Line, at (202) 456-1111 and tell the President to leave doctors and patients alone and let the initiatives go into effect as the voters intended. You will need to speak to a live operator, so the fastest way to get through is to not push any touch tone buttons and wait for a human to pick up. The comment line is open from 9-5 EST on weekdays, excluding holidays, so you'll have to wait until Jan. 2. Feel free to call more than once.

Please also send letters to your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators. You can reach your Senators at:

and you can reach your Representative at:

You can call your Senators and Representative, (or find out who they are) via the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224- 3121 (also probably not open until Jan. 2). You can also use the DRCNet web site to look up your reps based on your zip code and send them all letters automatically. Visit http://www.drcnet.org/letters.html on the web. There are sample letters for several topics, including medical marijuana, which can be revised as you see fit. Your letters will be delivered by fax later in January, after we have updated the database for the new Congress.

Last but not least, consider sending a letter to the editor to your local paper and to state and national papers, expressing your opposition to the administration's plan to prosecute physicians who recommend marijuana to their patients. Please send us copies and let us know if you get published.

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