Import Temp

Advocates Concerned about

The Supreme Court issued a mixed opinion in the case of Morse v. Frederick, allowing censorship of student speech that promotes illegal drug use while affirming the core principle that political speech questioning the wisdom of the war on drugs is constitutionally protected.

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

Justice Department Report Finds Largest Increase in Prison and Jail Inmate Populations Since Midyear 2000

2.24 Million Behind Bars, Giving the United States the Shameful Title of World

The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports today that the number of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails jumped by 62,037 in the year ending June 30, 2006. That jump represents the largest increase since 2000. There are now 2.24 million people behind bars in this country.

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

The United States Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution Calling for a

Urging Radical Policy Changes, the Nation

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) made history last weekend by passing a resolution calling for a public health approach to the problems of substance use and abuse. "The mayors are clearly signaling the serious need for drug policy reform, an issue that ranks in importance among the most serious issues of the day," said Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

The resolution, sponsored by Mayor Rocky Anderson of Salt Lake City, Utah, was considered at the USCM 75th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California.

Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384

New Mexico Medical Marijuana Program to Begin July 1st

Qualified Patients Finally Granted Protection Under State Law

Following a seven-year fight to pass legislation, New Mexico's landmark medical cannabis law is set to go into effect this coming Sunday, July 1st.

According to the state law, the Department of Health must issue rules and regulations by October 1st advising the state-licensed production and distribution of medical marijuana for registered patients.

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798 or Julie Roberts at (505) 983-3277

Connecticut Patients, Doctors, Religious Leaders Unite to Call on Gov. Rell to Sign Compassionate Medical Marijuana Legislation


Hartford, CT--Today, patients, caregivers, religious leaders and their allies gathered outside the ballroom of the Downtown Hartford Hilton Hotel to urge Gov. M. Jodi Rell to sign HB 6715, the Compassionate Use Act. While Gov. Rell continues to waver on signing the bill, hundreds and hundreds of patients, doctors, and Connecticut residents have called her office, asking for her support for the legislation. The press conference was held at the Institute for Community Research's 2nd annual international conference.

Lorenzo Jones at (860)-270-9586 or David Samuels at (860)-805-9290

Governor Rell Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill, , Changing Her Reasons for Opposition to Issue Yet Again

Compassionate Use Bill Would Have Protected Patients With Debilitating Illnesses From Arrest, Prosecution
Patients, Community Members Ask: Governor Rell, As a Cancer Survivor, How Do You Sleep At Night While Patients In Our State Continue to Be Criminalized for Seeking Relief?

HARTFORD, CT--Today, Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed HB 6715, the Compassionate Use Act. The bill would have allowed certain patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes as recommended by their physician. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-13 after clearing the House of Representatives by an 89-58 vote weeks earlier, both of which were wide margins.

By passing HB 6715, the Legislature ended a five-year legislative battle to win medical marijuana in a state that has overwhelming public support for the issue.

Lorenzo Jones at (860)270-9586 or Gabriel Sayegh at (646) 335-2264

Strategy to Reduce Drug Injection-Related AIDS Gains Support

Major Committee Votes to Allow State HIV Prevention Funds To Stock Syringe Exchange Programs in California
26,000 Californians contracted HIV as a result of syringe-sharing

SACRAMENTO, June 20 -- The Senate Health Committee today voted to pass AB 110, authored by Assembly Member John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), which would allow state HIV prevention funds to be used to purchase syringes for syringe exchange programs. Advocates praised legislators for acting on evidence rather than politics in supporting the bill.

Assembly Member Laird said, "Clean syringe exchange programs are an essential part of locally-focused efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases.

Curtis Notsinneh at (916) 202 1636 or Dan Van Gorder at (415) 487 3099

Lawmakers, Judges, and Advocates Rebuke Gov. O

Coalition Vows to Continue Educating O

A coalition of advocates, law enforcement officials, drug treatment providers and policy experts today denounced Governor O'Malley's veto of a bill that would have provided the possibility of parole for non-violent drug offenders. The sentencing reform bill, HB 992, was one of the only bills vetoed by O'Malley, despite its support from the legislature, the coalition, and the editorial pages of the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun.

"The veto is a disappointing mistake," said Justice Policy Institute executive director Jason Ziedenberg.

Naomi Long at (202)669-6071 or Laura Jones at (202) 425 4659

US Sentencing Commission urges Congress to Reduce Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

Experts to Brief Congress on Current Cocaine Policy and the Need for Reform

Washington, DC--Criminal justice experts will hold briefings on the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity for Congressional staffers on Monday, May 21. They will discuss the United States Sentencing Commission's (USSC) May 2007 Guideline Amendment and Report to Congress. Joining the panel will be Hilary Shelton from the NAACP, Pat Nolan from Prison Fellowship, and Lisa Rich from the USSC.

Jasmine Tyler at 202-294-8292

Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressman Artur Davis Join Local and National Advocates at Birmingham Town Hall Meeting on Sentencing Reform

Disparities in Federal Sentences for Crack and Powder Cocaine Tear Apart Families, Promote Racial Disparities
Advocates and Community Members Demand Fairness in Sentencing, Treatment for Drug Addiction as Sessions, Davis Lead Bi-Partisan Congressional Effort for Reform

Birmingham - On Saturday, June 2, 2007, Senator Jeff Session (R-Alabama) and Congressman Artur Davis (D-7th District, AL) join the local organization The Ordinary People's Society (TOPS) and national groups Drug Policy Alliance and the ACLU in a Town Hall meeting about federal sentencing reform. Current federal sentencing policies related to crack and powder cocaine have proven to be ineffective and discriminatory. Sen. Sessions and Rep. Davis are working with state and national advocates to pass bipartisan reforms.

Kenneth Glasgow at (334) 791-2433 or Ken Collins at (205) 240-6850
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