Cannabis News


San Francisco D.A. Terence Hallinan speaks
to the National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws at the Crowne Plaza Union Hotel
on Thursday, April 18, 2002.

Chronicle photo by Penni Gladstone 



Marijuana Advocates Cheer on Hallinan 

D.A. calls pot good medicine, part of religious experience 
Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, April 18, 2002 
Copyright: 2002 San Francisco Chronicle Page A - 7

San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, preaching to the choir, told 200 marijuana advocates this morning that marijuana is not only good medicine but "unquestionably part of religious experience." 

The chief law enforcement officer of San Francisco said "thousands of people are being locked up for their religious beliefs" for smoking marijuana. 

In a half-hour address to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Hallinan said prosecution for marijuana possession makes no sense and reiterated his policy opposing prison sentences for any marijuana conviction. 

The delegates whooped, stomped, applauded and rose to their feet for several standing ovations for the two-term district attorney and former member of the Board of Supervisors, long a supporter of marijuana law reform. 

"To consider marijuana in the same category as heroin and crack cocaine, as federal statues do, makes no sense and does not reflect reality," Hallinan said. 

"Right on, Terence," hollered a delegate in a hemp hat. 

San Francisco, said the district attorney, is a "second-chance city that represents freedom" and is an "appropriate place for people who believe in repealing prohibitions against marijuana." 

Hallinan stood in the front of the Crowne Plaza Hotel ballroom, beside giant posters from NORML's controversial new $500,000 ad blitz featuring New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying he had smoked and enjoyed marijuana. 

In his off-the-cuff remarks, Hallinan, a former defense attorney, recalled four decades of battles against prosecutors, cops, feds, attorneys general and various other nonbelievers. 

To cheers, he said that he was the only district attorney in California to endorse Proposition 215, the medical-marijuana initiative, and that he had successfully fought to get charges dropped against the late Mary Jane "Brownie Mary" Rathburn in Sonoma County in 1992. 

To boos, he recalled how former attorney general Dan Lungren tried to keep him from speaking to a law enforcement meeting in Sacramento. 

Following Hallinan's speech, the delegates viewed a videotaped message from Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. The former pro wrestler told the delegates that he wanted to "show my support for the good work you are doing." 

He went on to say he had eaten up an entire order of hemp-fed beef sent to him by actor and marijuana advocate Woody Harrelson, another speaker at the convention. 

"Tell Woody I could use another order," Ventura said. 

Afterward, the sidewalk outside the hotel was pungent with the smoke of delegates taking their morning break. Hallinan, departing from the hotel, did not stop to check for delegates' medical certificates. 


NORML Ad - Pictures & Articles

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Harrelson, Bill Maher at NORML Conference


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