Friday, August 14, 2009

NORML News for the Week

NORML News of the Week 8/13/09

This Week's News from NORML

* Georgia Lawmaker Calls For Caning, Executing Marijuana Offenders

* Marijuana Detection Times Influenced By Stress, Dieting

* Seattle: World's Largest Annual Pot 'Protestival' Takes Place This

1) Georgia Lawmaker Calls For Caning, Executing Marijuana Offenders

Atlanta, GA: State Republican lawmaker Tommy Benton (31st House
District) favors "caning" minor marijuana offenders and "executing"
those who sell the drug, according to recent correspondences sent by the
representative to two of his constituents.

In a July 29, 2009 e-mail to a constituent, Rep. Benton wrote: "Thanks
for the email. We will have to agree to disagree on this and whether or
not money is wasted (by mandating the state to prosecute minor marijuana
offenders). I am opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I think we
should go to caning for people caught using and maybe execute dealers.
[emphasis NORML's] That would solve the problem as well. That is what
they do in Singapore and they don't have a drug problem."

Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of up to 24 violent
lashes with a long rattan cane that has been soaked in water. The
procedure inflicts intense pain and deep, bloody lacerations that can
take several months to heal.

Rep. Benton followed up his remarks in a separate e-mail to another
constituent on August 11, 2009, in which he threatened to turn over the
names of citizens who disagreed with his political viewpoints to local
law enforcement.

He wrote: "You and your cronies want it (marijuana) legalized so you can
get a hit anytime without having to worry about getting arrested. I have
forwarded your email to the Lowndes County sheriffs [sic] office so that
they can be on the lookout for you. [emphasis NORML's] Consider this my
last correspondence on the the [sic] subject to you or anyone else who
shares your similar "conservative views'."

Benton was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2005.

Commenting on Rep. Benton's statements, NORML Executive Director Allen
St. Pierre said: "It is shocking that an elected official would endorse
such tortuous tactics against the tens of millions of Americans who
engage in the responsible use of marijuana. But it is even more
reprehensible that an elected official would use his political power to
try to intimidate those who disagree with him. Such behavior is an
affront to the very principles of democracy."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive
Director at: (202) 483-5500, or David Clark, Executive Director of
Georgia NORML at: dclark@clarktowne. com.

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2) Marijuana Detection Times Influenced By Stress, Dieting

Sydney, Australia: The elimination of the marijuana metabolite carboxy
THC is influenced by the body's reaction to stress or dieting, according
to a forthcoming study in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Investigators at the University of Sydney in Australia reported that
rats exposed to the stress hormone ACTH experienced increases in
marijuana metabolite levels compared to controls. Rats that were
deprived of food also experienced spikes in their levels of carboxy THC
compared to non-exposed subjects.

Authors of the study said that their findings provide a physiological
explanation for why some former users of the drug continue to test
positive for it even after long periods of abstinence.

Carboxy THC, the primary inactive marijuana metabolite identified in
urine drug screens, accumulates in body fat and similar storage sites.
It is released gradually and intermittently over time, with trace levels
having been documented in the urine of chronic users for several weeks
or even months after past use.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy
Director, at:

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3) Seattle: World's Largest Annual Pot 'Protestival' Takes Place This

Seattle, WA: Event organizers are expecting over 150,000 attendees at
this weekend's 18th annual Seattle Hempfest, taking place this Saturday
and Sunday at Myrtle Edwards Park in downtown Seattle. More than 80
speakers and dozens of musical and comedy guests will perform on six
stages during the two-day event, which is now recognized as the largest
marijuana law reform gathering in the world.

Speakers at this year's event include: NORML Executive Director Allen
St. Pierre; NORML Founder Keith Stroup; NORML Outreach Coordinator and
Audio Stash host Russ Belville; NORML Board Members Dale Gieringer,
Madeline Martinez, Bill Panzer, George Rohrbacher, Jeffrey Steinborn; as
well as Adam Eidinger, communications director of Vote hemp; Rob Kampia,
executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, and Mason Tvert,
executive director of SAFER and co-author of the book Marijuana Is
Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (with NORML Deputy
Director Paul Armentano and MPP's Steve Fox).

Seattle Hempfest "seeks to advance the cause of cannabis policy reform
through education, while advancing the public image of the cannabis
advocate or enthusiast through example."

A complete schedule for this year's Seattle Hempfest is available online
at: http://hempfest. org/drupal/ node.

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NORML and the NORML Foundation: 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington
DC, 20006-2832
Tel: (202) 483-5500 • Fax: (202) 483-0057 • Email:
norml@norml. org

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