MEDICAL MARIJUANA: ACLU Wants DC Numbers
"A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union yesterday filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the District [of Columbia's] elections board for the public release of the vote tally on the medicinal marijuana initiative," the Washington Times reports. The elections board refused to release the results of the vote because it has been barred by a congressional amendment to the city's appropriations bill from spending any money to certify the results of the election. According to Wayne Turner, director of ACT UP Washington, an exit poll found that 69% of voters favored the imitative. He said, "It is a feeling that the issue is unresolved. I just want my numbers" (Keary, 11/5). The Washington Post reports, however, that even if the ACLU is successful in getting the "results released and certified, Congress could still block the law because it has veto rights over D.C. legislation" (Miller, 11/5).
Around The Nation
All told, five states -- every state that had a medical marijuana measure on the ballot -- voted yesterday to allow the medical use of marijuana: Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. The New York Times reports that passage of the controversial initiatives "def[ies] federal officials and often state legislatures. According to "[d]rug policy analysts," support for the initiatives "demonstrated the sea change in attitudes that started with the approval of ballot measures in Arizona and California in 1996." University of California-Los Angeles professor Mark Kleinman said, "I don't think any of these propositions would have passed five years ago. It is no longer possible to buffalo the American people by screaming drugs and having them run away" (Brooke, 11/5). Bill Zimmerman, executive director of Americans for Medical Rights, which backs the initiatives, noted that the states that have passed medical marijuana initiatives now account for one out of every five U.S. citizens and said that it "is time to make compassionate medical use available and practice." He added, "We'll implement these initiatives in these states, and will keep winning in more states until national policy is changed" (release, 11/4).