ATTN: Harsh Drug Bill To Be Introduced...Must Act Now!!!

Discussion in 'Legalization and Activism' started by RMJL, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. *** We're going to fight this drug war bill!
    *** Act NOW to protect medical marijuana patients, preserve the right of judges to show compassion for deserving defendants, and save taxpayer money


    You've been with us all year as we have fought for more compassionate and less expensive drug policies - from fighting the RAVE Act to working to pass medical marijuana legislation that protects HIV/AIDS and Cancer patients. Now, just before Congress goes out of session, one of the country's harshest drug war extremists, Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), is about to introduce some of the scariest legislation we've seen this year.

    Rep. Souder's bill increases penalties for many drug offenses and takes away the right of judges to show mercy when it's appropriate. The bill also enacts new draconian penalties that could sentence compassionate Americans that grow and provide medical marijuana to decades in federal prison.

    Although it's titled the 'Drug Sentencing Reform Act,' this dangerous bill is all sentencing and no reform. It will destroy the lives of thousands more non-violent Americans.

    We know that Rep. Souder wants to introduce his bill within the next couple of weeks and is asking for co-sponsorship from other Representatives. Make sure your Representative doesn't support this bill. Call NOW and tell your Representative not to co-sponsor Rep. Souder's Drug Sentencing Reform Act because it contains no reform and ties the hands of judges.

    Actions to Take:

    1) CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE NOW!
    To reach your representative by phone, call the US Capitol Switchboard at 1-800-839-5276 or call your representative's office directly by looking up the phone number on http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/ctt.asp?u=37020&l=9389 .

    Tell your Representative: "I'm a constituent and I'm calling to urge Rep. [Name] not to co-sponsor Rep. Souder's Drug Sentencing Reform Act, which he is about to introduce. The Drug Sentencing Reform Act contains no reform and ties the hands of judges. It will punish nonviolent Americans and compassionate citizens that provide patients with medical marijuana. I would like Rep. [Name] to tell me where s/he stands on this bill. S/he can send a letter to me at [Address] or an e-mail to [Address]. Thank you for your time."

    2) Tell us what your Representative says. Email us at ActionFeedback@drugpolicy.org.

    3) Forward this alert to your friends, family, and co-workers.

    More Information:

    The so-called Drug Sentencing Reform Act has yet to be introduced, but it will do the following:

    ** Tie the hands of judges by making it harder for them to reduce sentences for non-violent drug offenders. (It does this by expanding the so-called 'Feeney Amendment' to apply to drug offenses). This will mean longer sentences for non-violent offenses, with taxpayers like you picking up the cost!

    ** Mandates that most people on parole, probation or supervised release be subjected to random drug testing, even if their original offense had nothing to do with drugs. (If enacted, thousands of non-violent Americans could be sent to prison for years for smoking marijuana in the privacy of their own home and then failing a drug test.)

    ** Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to no longer allow lower sentences for non-violent drug offenders that have certain mitigating circumstances (such as being addicted to drugs) or for non-violent drug offenders that made a mistake and are otherwise good citizens.

    ** Enacts new draconian penalties for growing, distributing, and providing 'high-potency' marijuana to others, including medical marijuana - which often has a higher potency to better relieve the suffering of AIDS, Cancer, and other patients. If enacted, this provision will allow the federal government to send more medical marijuana patients and their caregivers to federal prison for years, in some cases decades.

    ** Read Rep. Souder's explanation of his bill here: http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/ctt.asp?u=37020&l=9390. Our analysis is based on Souder's explanation and our discussions with congressional staffers.



    Rep. Souders explanation of his bill in text form:

    Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 3: 16 PM

    Subject: FW: Dear Colleague; Criminal Justice; Drug Sentencing Reform Act

    HELP IMPROVE FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN DRUG SENTENCING

    CO-SPONSOR THE DRUG SENTENCING REFORM ACT

    November 19, 2003

    Dear Colleague:

    Before we adjourn for the year, I would like to ask for your support for
    important legislation that will help ensure fairness and effectiveness in
    drug sentencing: the Drug Sentencing Reform Act (DSRA). A recent GAO Report
    has revealed problems with the judicial enforcement of Congressionally
    mandated penalties for drug trafficking; in addition, the changing
    narcotics threat has exposed some gaps in our drug laws. Here is a summary
    of how this bill addresses these issues:

    Regularizes the Use of "Downward Departures" in Sentencing

    * Extends the "Feeney Amendment" sentencing reforms of the PROTECT Act
    (restricting the grounds of downward departures to those specifically
    approved by Congress and the Sentencing Commission) to drug offenses and
    drug-and gang-related violence offenses.

    Makes Additional Needed Improvements to Drug Crime Sentencing

    * Ensures that drug testing will be mandatory to verify a no-drug-use
    condition of parole or supervised release.

    * Directs the Sentencing Commission to ensure that irrelevant personal
    characteristics are not used as grounds for modifying sentences in drug
    offenses and drug-and gang-related violence offenses.

    * Amends certain parts of the Sentencing Guidelines to ensure their
    compatibility with national policy on drug crimes, including the
    prohibition on the use of dangerous weapons in connection with drug
    offenses, and the requirement that defendants cooperate with authorities to
    obtain certain sentence reductions.

    Deters Drug Traffickers From Taking Advantage of Expedited Entry Programs

    * Provides for enhanced penalties for persons convicted of smuggling drugs
    into the U. S. through special facilitated entry programs for frequent
    crossers (such as the SENTRI and NEXUS programs in use at land border
    crossings, which allow participants to avoid most standard customs
    inspections).

    Modernizes Marijuana Sentences To Reflect the Rise in High-Potency Marijuana

    * Amends current law to apply tougher penalties to persons smuggling
    high-potency marijuana (such as "B. C. Bud"). Our marijuana laws were
    drafted in an era when the potency of marijuana, as measured by the
    percentage of THC (the psychoactive component of the drug) was only 3
    percent. Today, even low-grade marijuana is at 6 percent, while "B. C. Bud"
    is at levels of 25 percent and even higher.

    I will be introducing this legislation before the end of this session, and
    I would very much appreciate your support. If you are interested in
    co-sponsoring the DSRA, or have any questions about the bill, please have a
    member of your staff call Nick Coleman at 5-2577. A copy of the legislation
    and a more detailed explanation of its provisions will be provided to you
    upon request.

    Thank you very much for your time and concern. I look forward to working
    with you to address the continuing problem of illegal drug trafficking and
    abuse in our communities.

    Sincerely,
    /s Mark Souder

    Mark E. Souder
    Chairman
    Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
    Government Reform Committee
     
  2. Another easy way to voice your opposition to this proposed bill can be found through the NORML website.

    www.norml.org

    they've got a form letter that will be automatically be sent to your congressman. All you've got to do is to fill out a few fields and it will be sent for you. Its painless & effective!


    Keep up the fight. We can win this if we act as one!

    Peace
     

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