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Important Senate Legislative Update (7/19/96)

(This bulletin supersedes the version released on the Usenet on 7/18 and contains information on a bill just introduced.)

As usual during election seasons, an eruption of mean- spirited, draconian drug-war legislation is threatening the safety and well-being of large numbers of Americans. At the same time, the opportunity exists for some positive movement towards a compassionate drug policy. First, the positive:

Please write your two US Senators and ask them to introduce companion legislation in the Senate to H.R. 2618, the House bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana as a medicine. H.R. 2618 was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), and currently has 17 co-sponsors, including 13 Democrats, three Republicans and one independent.

Now, the negative:

Please ask your two US Senators to oppose the following repressive legislation:

S. 1790: This bill, just introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would drastically increase marijuana penalties, by lowering the quantities of marijuana that qualify defendants for 5- and 10- year mandatory minimum sentences.

S. 1965: Bill to increase mandatory minimum penalties for methamphetamine possession and trafficking, as well as for regulatory violations involving precursor chemicals use to manufacture meth, including the commonly used medication pseudophedrine. Sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and much the same as an earlier bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), this bill is in part an answer to the charge of racial inequity in cocaine sentencing (getting "tough" on a "white" drug too).

S. 1854: The latest Crime Bill, introduced by Bob Dole before he resigned from the Senate. Particularly disturbing provisions to drug law reformers are those that would increase mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that "involve minors" (including, for example, growing one marijuana plant 999 feet from a university); and for drug offenses where the defendant possessed a gun (including, for example, possessing a small quantity of drugs while legally possessing an unloaded gun packed away in a trunk).

H.R. 2650, the "Mandatory Federal Prison Drug Treatment Act": This bill would eliminate the one- year sentencing reduction currently available, at a judge's discretion, to federal inmates who complete a prison drug treatment program. Sponsored by Rep. Heineman (R-NC), passed by the house on June 4 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please ask your two US Senators to ask the Senate Judiciary Committee *not* to pass a companion bill, and to vote against such a bill if one comes to the Senate floor.

You can write your Senators at the following address:

The Honorable {your Senator}
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510

You can call your Senators, (or find out who they are) via the Congressional Switchboard, (202) 224-3121. A list of Senators, courtesy of the Marijuana Policy Project, is attached at the end of this bulletin (contact info below).

Remember, please contact *both* your Senators, and ask them to 1) introduce companion legislation to H.R. 2618; and 2) oppose S. 1790, S. 1965, S. 1854, and the Mandatory Federal Prison Drug Treatment Act that has passed the House.

It's always best to write an original letter; however, feel free to use the following sample letter if that's the only one that will get done. Please send us a copy of your letter and of any replies you receive.

Contacts for more detailed information on these and other bills:

marijuana legislation:
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (202) 483-5500, [email protected], http://www.norml.org
Marijuana Policy Project, (202) 462-5747, [email protected], http://www.mpp.org
mandatory sentencing:
Families Against Mandatory Minimums, (202) 457-5790, [email protected], http://www.famm.org FAMM hotline: (703) 685-6860


Your Name 

Your Address 

City, State & Zip                                                                       Date 

The Honorable {your Senator}
US Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Sen. _____:

I am writing because I am disturbed by the repressive trend of our drug policy, and to ask you to take specific action on the following four items:

1) Please introduce companion legislation in the Senate to H.R. 2618, a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes. This bill is modeled after a bill filed in the early 80's by Newt Gingrich, and has attracted bipartisan support.

2) Please oppose S. 1790, a bill that would drastically increase federal penalties for low-level marijuana offenses.

3) Please oppose S. 1965, a bill that would increase already draconian sentences for methamphetamine.

4) Please oppose S. 1854, the new "Crime Bill"; and please oppose particular provisions in it that increase mandatory minimum sentences.

5) Please oppose the "Mandatory Federal Prison Drug Treatment Act", which recently passed the House as H.R. 2650 and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would eliminate the one-year sentencing reduction that the 1994 Crime Bill made available, as an incentive, to prisoners who complete a drug treatment program, at the judge's discretion.

Thank you for considering my opinion on these matters.


Alabama                 Howell T. Heflin (D) 

                        Richard C. Shelby (R) 

Alaska                  Frank Murkowski (R)

                        Ted Stevens (R) 

Arizona                 Jon Kyl (R)

                        John McCain (R)

Arkansas                Dale Bumpers (D) 

                        David Pryor (D) 

California              Barbara Boxer (D) 

                        Dianne Feinstein (D) 

Colorado                Hank Brown (R)

                        Ben N. Campbell (R)

Connecticut             Christopher J. Dodd (D) 

                        Joseph I. Lieberman (D)

Delaware                Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D)

                        William V. Roth, Jr. (R) 

Florida                 Bob Graham (D) 

                        Connie Mack (R) 

Georgia                 Paul Coverdell (R)

                        Sam Nunn (D) 

Hawaii                  Daniel K. Akaka (D) 

                        Daniel K. Inouye (D)

Idaho                   Larry E. Craig (R)

                        Dirk Kempthorne (R) 

Illinois                Carol Moseley-Braun (D)

                        Paul Simon (D) 

Indiana                 Dan Coats (R) 

                        Richard G. Lugar (R)

Iowa                    Charles E. Grassley (R)

                        Tom Harkin (D)

Kansas                  Bob Dole (R) 

                        Nancy L. Kassebaum (R)

Kentucky                Wendell H. Ford (D)

                        Mitch McConnell (R) 

Louisiana               John B. Breaux (D) 

                        J. Bennett Johnston (D) 

Maine                   William S. Cohen (R) 

                        Olympia J. Snowe (R) 

Maryland                Barbara A. Mikulski (D)

                        Paul S. Sarbanes (D) 

Massachusetts           Edward M. Kennedy (D)

                        John F. Kerry (D) 

Michigan                Spencer Abraham (R)

                        Carl Levin (D) 

Minnesota               Rod Grams (R) 

                        Paul David Wellstone (D)

Mississippi             Thad Cochran (R)

                        Trent Lott (R) 

Missouri                John Ashcroft (R) 

                        Christopher Bond (R) 

Montana                 Max Baucus (D)

                        Conrad Burns (R) 

Nebraska                J. James Exon (D)

                        Bob Kerrey (D) 

Nevada                  Richard H. Bryan (D)

                        Harry Reid (D)

New Hampshire           Judd Gregg (R)

                        Robert C. Smith (R)

New Jersey              Bill Bradley (D) 

                        Frank R. Lautenberg (D) 

New Mexico              Jeff Bingaman (D) 

                        Pete V. Domenici (R) 

New York                Alfonse M. D'Amato (R)

                        Daniel P. Moynihan (D) 

North Carolina          Lauch Faircloth (R)

                        Jesse Helms (R) 

North Dakota            Kent Conrad (D)

                        Byron L. Dorgan (D) 

Ohio                    Mike DeWine (R) 

                        John Glenn (D) 

Oklahoma                James M. Inhofe (R)

                        Don Nickles (R)

Oregon                  Mark O. Hatfield (R)

                        Ron Wyden (D) 

Pennsylvania            Rick Santorum (R)

                        Arlen Specter (R) 

Rhode Island            John H. Chafee (R)

                        Claiborne Pell (D) 

South Carolina          Ernest F. Hollings (D) 

                        Strom Thurmond (R) 

South Dakota            Thomas A. Daschle (D) 

                        Larry Pressler (R) 

Tennessee               Bill Frist (R) 

                        Fred Thompson (R) 

Texas                   Phil Gramm (R) 

                        Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)

Utah                    Robert F. Bennett (R) 

                        Orrin G. Hatch (R) 

Vermont                 James M. Jeffords (R) 

                        Patrick J. Leahy (D)

Virginia                Charles S. Robb (D)

                        John Warner (R) 

Washington              Slade Gorton (R)

                        Patty Murray (D) 

West Virginia           Robert C. Byrd (D)

                        John D. Rockefeller, IV (D)

Wisconsin               Russell D. Feingold (D)

                        Herb Kohl (D) 

Wyoming                 Alan K. Simpson (R)

                        Craig Thomas (R) 

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