MARCH 2, 2005 | ISSUE 41•09
WASHINGTON, DC--Citizens spoke before Congress Monday in support of Tony's Law, a Senate measure that would require all marijuana-law offenders to inform their neighbors if they're holding.
If enacted, Tony's Law will require illegal-drug offenders to announce their status.
"Right now, countless Americans are living on the very same blocks as convicted illegal-drug users," said Sharon Logan of the Weed For Tony Coalition. "Without a federal mandate requiring full disclosure, how are unsuspecting residents supposed to find any decent weed?"
Designed to protect Americans from dry spells, Tony's Law was named after 19-year-old New Jersey resident Tony DiCenzo, who went nine months without getting high before discovering that he lived in the same apartment building as a reliable marijuana source.
"Can you imagine the shock and anger Tony must have felt when he found out that the guy on the second floor possessed the Schedule I federal controlled substance?" Logan said. "The offender could have invited poor Tony into his apartment to smoke some at any time. It's heartbreaking."
Tony's Law would create a national public registry of drug-law offenders' names, addresses, and pager numbers. Additionally, offenders charged with dealing marijuana would be required to either post signs or go door-to-door and let neighbors know when they're holding.
Privacy-rights groups oppose the legislation on the grounds that it violates the individual's right to a stash, but Austin, TX's James W. Clancy is one of many stoner-rights lawyers who traveled to Washington to rally in favor of the law's passage.
A convicted drug user in Kenner, LA informs his neighbor that he has the number of a guy.
"Millions of Americans love to be high," Clancy said. "Unfortunately, their neighbors often keep them in the dark about what kind of shit is going around."
Clancy and other proponents of Tony's Law argued that the bill would result in increased domestic trade in consumer snack products and a heightened sense of community and well-being.
More powerful, perhaps, were the personal testimonials of hundreds of drug-drought victims, who stood before lawmakers to share their experiences with dope deprivation.
"As a parent, I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to finding weed," Minneapolis resident Kyle Berman said. "All my wife and I wanted to be able to do was get Tina and Tyler to bed, put on a movie, and smoke a joint. It wasn't until the police busted the guy across the street for growing marijuana that we realized how close we'd come to actually finding some pot. A whole set-up with lamps and everything was less than 50 feet from our living room. It sickens me to think about it."
Several lawmakers have spoken out in opposition to Tony's Law, largely due to what Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) called "complications stemming from the illegality of marijuana."
Nonetheless, the bill's many devoted supporters said they'll continue their fight.
"After nine months of hell, Tony eventually found a hook-up through the friend of a guy whose brother met someone at a former girlfriend's birthday party," activist Stephen Miller said. "In spite of the nightmare he was going through, Tony didn't give up...and neither will we."