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January 2, 1997

Clinton Plan Attacks Medical Marijuana Initiatives, Targets Doctors

Clinton January 2, 1997, Washington D.C.: The Clinton administration announced at a December 30 press conference that doctors who prescribe or recommend marijuana under voter-approved provisions in California and Arizona may face criminal prosecution under federal law and lose their ability to write prescriptions. Federal officials had threatened to take such action for months, but had not endorsed a formal strategy until Monday's press conference.

"The recent passage of propositions which make dangerous drugs more available in California and Arizona poses a threat to the National Drug Control Strategy goal of reducing drug abuse in the United States," stated Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey in a seven-page release outlining the administration's response to the initiatives. "These propositions are not about compassion, they are about legalizing dangerous drugs," he told reporters.

The administration's proposal states that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will revoke the federal registrations of physicians who recommend or prescribe marijuana according to the provisions of the newly enacted state laws. McCaffrey and Attorney General Janet Reno also stated that the Justice Department may criminally prosecute physicians who prescribe marijuana for use in treatment.

"I believe it's outrageous that the federal government is using taxpayer's money in this way, to go after honest doctors caring for very sick people," said Dr. Toni Brayer of the San Francisco Medical Society, which represents about 2,200 AIDS and cancer specialists in the bay area and backs California's medical marijuana measure. Brayer was one of many physicians nationwide who criticized the administration's strategy. She accused the administration of using "scare tactics to frighten legitimate doctors from using [marijuana] for very sick people."

Fellow San Francisco physician, Dr. Richard Cohen agreed. "The federal government is stepping in and literally intimidating ... a patient population that could be helped," he told reporters.

"They can't go after the voters in California and Arizona, so they go after the medical profession," said Dr. David C. Lewis, director of the Center for Alcohol and Addictive Studies at Brown University. "Now the federal government is entering the practice of medicine, placing itself in the physician's office between the doctor and patient."

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) also announced his opposition to the Clinton-backed plan. "Medical practitioners who are following the dictates of their profession and the laws adopted by the voters of their states by prescribing the method they think best suited to reduce suffering in seriously ill people do not deserve to be persecuted by the federal government," said Frank, a longtime supporter of medical marijuana. Frank worked with NORML in 1995 to introduce federal legislation permitting physicians to prescribe marijuana as a therapeutic agent for seriously ill patients (H.R. 2618). "What we have here is an instance of the Federal Executive Branch ... overturning the voters of two states, not because of some conflict with some Constitutional principle, but because the federal government disagrees with the citizen's policy choices."

NORML Executive Director, Attorney R. Keith Stroup elaborated on Frank's statements. "Although the state initiatives exempt medical patients from state criminal penalties prohibiting the cultivation and use of marijuana, Justice Department lawyers concede that there exists no solid constitutional grounds for attacking the initiatives in court. There is no requirement that each state adopt a criminal penalty to mimic each and every federal drug law."

Stroup also questioned the administration's assurance that it "will continue to review claims about the possible [medical] benefit of smoked marijuana," noting that an FDA-approved protocol by San Francisco researcher Dr. Donald Abrams to examine marijuana's effect on the AIDS wasting syndrome has been stonewalled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse for four years. Recent plans to conduct a state-sponsored study at Washington State University to evaluate claims by cancer patients and others about the medical effectiveness of marijuana have also been delayed by federal officials, Stroup added. "Government officials are engaging in sophistry. On the one hand, they deny the existence of scientific studies conducted throughout the 1970's and 1980's indicating marijuana's medical utility and block new federal research, while on the other, they argue that the sick and dying should be denied an effective medication because there is not enough research."

Loren Siegel, director of public education for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed. Calling McCaffrey's remarks the "height of hypocrisy" in a released statement, Siegel noted that the federal "government has consistently impeded research into medical marijuana - for political, not scientific reasons."

Another critical aspect of the controversial federal plan allows the DEA to "adopt" seizures of marijuana and other Schedule I controlled substances made by state and local law enforcement officials following an arrest where state and local prosecutors must decline prosecution because of the newly established state laws. Once in the possession of the DEA, the drugs can be destroyed and further criminal action may be pursued. However, federal officials admit that it is unlikely that the agency will prosecute small time offenders.

The administration also warned employees and contractors who received federal funds that individuals may not use the state provisions as an exemption to the requirements of the Federal Drug-Free Workplace program. "Medical Review Officers will not accept physician recommendations for Schedule I substances as a legitimate explanation for a positive drug test," the plan states.

In addition, the plan recommends that physicians who prescribe or recommend marijuana to patients be excluded from the Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The American Medical Association (AMA), one of the country's primary physician's groups, urged doctor's "to prescribe [only] effective, legal medications ... to compassionately treat disease and relieve pain" for now, and requested for "federal funding of research to determine the validity of marijuana as an effective medical treatment."

"The administration's actions this week effectively wreak havoc on not only states' rights and the will of the voters, but also on the First Amendment rights of doctors and the privileged relationship between a physician and his or her patient," summarized NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "Patients who could benefit from marijuana's therapeutic value remain held hostage by a federal administration that appears more concerned about political rhetoric than the well being of the sick and dying."

For more information or a copy of the administration's seven-page strategy, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. For further information on medical marijuana, please contact either Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952 or Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858. For information on the Arizona initiative, please contact Sam Vagenas of Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform at (602) 285-0468. Dr. Donald Abrams of UC-San Francisco may be contacted at (415) 476-9554.




Regional and Other News

Body Count

The weekly summary of court records on how many felons were sentenced to what for which offenses were not reported in the "Portland" section of
The Oregonian, on Jan. 2. If the paper hasn't spiked that popular feature, coverage will be resumed here next week.

However, because the Portland NORML Weekly News Release has been on hiatus since Dec. 5, the "Body Count" for the last few weeks of 1996 are detailed below.

Nine of the 11 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts according to the "Portland" zoned section of The Oregonian, on Dec. 12, 1996, received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses (p. 10, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the 1996 body count 363 out of 655, or 55.41 percent.

Three of the 10 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts according to the "Portland" zoned section of The Oregonian, on Dec. 19, 1996, received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses (p. 8, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the 1996 body count 366 out of 665, or 55.03 percent.

Four of the 10 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts according to the "Portland" zoned section of The Oregonian, on Dec. 26, 1996, received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses (p. 7, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the 1996 body count 370 out of 675, or 54.81 percent. The count would have been five out of 10 except one felon received 18 months' probation and a $94 fine for possession - but no hard time.

Brain-Damaged Teen Faces Six Years For Prosecutorial Ignorance

Perhaps to show how tough Multnomah County is on "drugs," since "Police in Multnomah County prefer not to arrest young people for booze-related infractions" (The Oregonian, "The myths of the young give parents nightmares," March 24, 1996), a Multnomah county prosecutor persuaded a grand jury Nov. 22 to indict a 17-year-old Gresham youth on second-degree manslaughter charges because he smoked marijuana a couple of hours before he skidded his 1969 Plymouth Fury off a "rain-slicked road ... into a power pole."* The youth's passenger was killed and he himself was left brain-damaged. Exhibiting its customary ignorance and bias, The Oregonian published two stories on the case that completely omitted any discussion of scientific research such as that from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing that "THC-only drivers had a responsibility rate [how much the driver was at fault in fatal accidents] below that of the drugfree drivers."

According to "Grand jury indicts brain-damaged teen"* (Dec. 11, 1996):

"Witnesses told Multnomah County sheriff's deputies that Wilson shared a pipe bowl full of pot with two friends at 7 a.m. Sept. 4 outside a convenience store. He also shared a joint at a friend's house about two hours before the accident, detectives said" (p. B3).

"[Keith] Meisenheimer [a senior deputy district attorney] would not comment specifically on the Wilson case but said earlier that marijuana generally is a serious aggravating factor" (ibid.).

Would the 17-year-old have been charged with second-degree manslaughter if he had consumed a bottle of beer two hours before the car accident instead of part of a joint? "The myths of the young give parents nightmares" (ibid.) suggests the answer is no.

There are at least two different bodies of federal research indicating the presumption of guilt in this case is completely unjustified. In particular, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced at least two major studies showing that marijuana use is unlikely to be a major factor in traffic accidents. Moreover, the 1988 discovery of THC-receptor sites in the brain has led to new research proving once and for all that the more one smokes marijuana, the less "high" one gets and the less one's reactions are affected. Given the precedent of cases in which utility poles and the utility companies that place them have been found at fault in such accidents, the prosecutor might better serve the cause of justice by putting the appropriate utility company on trial for manslaughter.

From the news account, it seems reasonable to infer the youth in question had consumed relatively large amounts of cannabis for some time - anyone who smokes marijuana at 7 a.m. has probably made it a part of his or her life. (Possibly the youth was self-medicating for an undiagnosed medical problem such as depression or another potentially life-threatening malady.)

As reported in "Marijuana and Driving" in NORML's July 1994 Ongoing Briefing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quashed an October 1992 report titled "The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers" (Terhune, et al.):

"This study involved the examination of blood specimens collected from a sample of 1,882 drivers killed in car, truck, or motorcycle crashes. While alcohol was found in over half (52%) of the specimens, marijuana consumption was detected in only 7% of the drivers. Interestingly, two-thirds of the marijuana-influenced drivers were also under the influence of alcohol.

"The study also used myriad criteria to determine the responsibility rate for each crash - how much the driver was at fault, as opposed to external factors such as perilous road conditions or the fault of another driver. It was determined that 'THC-only drivers had a responsibility rate below that of the drugfree [sic] drivers,' and 'there was no indication that cannabis by itself was a cause of fatal crashes. However, the responsibility rate for the alcohol-plus-THC combination was 95%. ... [This] was higher than alcohol by itself in the intoxication range.' (p. 100)

"In sum, the October 1992 NHTSA study found that alcohol was a leading cause of traffic fatalities, whereas marijuana - by itself - was inconsequential. However, the alcohol and marijuana combination was extremely hazardous."

It is odd that The Oregonian ignored this research since it printed a "letter to the editor" July 30, 1994, reporting its existence and summarizing its conclusions ("Report downgrades drug's dangers," p. D6). That letter noted:
"Though the report, 'The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers' was dated October 1992, the government delayed its release until earlier this year, after it was discovered by California anti-prohibition activists. ...

"No one argues that it should be legal to drive while impaired by any substance. But prohibitionists use the marijuana-and-driving specter to scare the public into supporting cannabis prohibition."

A lengthy summary of a second NHTSA study that reached much the same conclusion is posted on the World Wide Web at The conclusion of the summary for "Marijuana And Actual Driving Performance," by Hindrik W.J. Robbe and James F. O'Hanlon, states:
"Marijuana's effects on driving performance were compared to those of many other drugs. It was concluded that THC's effects after doses up to 300 mcg / kg never exceed alcohol's at BAC's of 0.08 g %; and were in no way unusual compared to many medicinal drugs'. Yet THC's effects differ qualitatively from many other drugs, especially alcohol. Evidence from the present and previous studies strongly suggests that alcohol encourages risky driving whereas THC encourages greater caution, at least in experiments.

"Another way THC seems to differ qualitatively from many other drugs is that the former's users seem better able to compensate for its adverse effects while driving under the influence. ...

"Finally, the relation between driving impairment following marijuana smoking and plasma concentrations of THC and THC-COOH is discussed. It appears not possible to conclude anything about a driver's impairment on the basis of his / her plasma concentrations of THC and THC-COOH determined in a single sample."

The second NHTSA study includes ample evidence showing that drivers who had developed tolerance to cannabis were less affected than previously unexposed drivers.

For a summary of other research on the same topic, see the section, "Effects on Driving an Automobile," By Leo E. Hollister in "Health Aspects of Marijuana," published in the Pharmacological Review, 1986, Vol. 38, No. 1, by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Also this excerpt from "Marijuana The New Prohibition" (1970), by Professor John Kaplan.

The new scientific evidence developed by the U.S. government itself showing how tolerance to cannabis reduces its intoxicating effects (without producing addiction) is most clearly explained in "Marijuana and the Brain, Part II - The Tolerance Factor," by Jon Gettman, former Director of NORML. Originally published in the July 1995 High Times (and currently posted at, the article explains the science behind an ongoing legal battle Gettman is waging with the government in an attempt to overturn marijuana's Schedule 1 status. The science shows that marijuana is not, in fact, a "drug of abuse" as its status indicates. (It may help to begin by reading the first part of the two-part series, "Marijuana and the Human Brain," from the March 1995 High Times, posted at Links in the Web versions of the two articles will take interested researchers to Gettman's archive of scientific papers related to his administrative petition.)

Multnomah County, the state of Oregon and The Oregonian could easily find out the actual traffic-safety threat posed by marijuana any time they wanted to. All they would have to do is read a valid sample of the arrest reports on some of the tens of thousands of Oregonians busted every year for driving under the influence of intoxicants. The lack of any such study suggests the paper and the various governments involved are ignoring such information rather than basing public policies on it.

If the medieval witch-hunt directed at the unfortunate 17-year-old is successful and he is convicted of second-degree manslaughter, it's also interesting to note that his conviction will not be considered an illegal-drug offense. Instead, he will be considered a violent criminal and given a mandatory minimum sentence in accordance with Ballot Measure 11. More on that in the next item.

Inmates Convicted Of Illegal-Drug Offenses Systematically Undercounted

As has been discussed occasionally in the "Body Count" and elsewhere in the Portland NORML Weekly News releases, nobody really has any idea how many inmates in Oregon are locked up on drug charges. Because the official tallies are based on a very narrow definition of what constitutes an illegal-drug offense, the only thing one can be sure of is that the official figures are gross underestimates.

Just one of the many ways public officials maintain the cover-up is illustrated by an article titled "Drugs May Be The Cause, But Illegal Re-Entry Is The Charge," in the Dec. 26, 1996 Oregonian, posted at This piece of original research reports that 212 of 715 federal felony defendants in Oregon so far in 1996 were charged with illegal re-entry, technically a non-drug offense. However, "Almost all of the illegal re-entry defendants are men who illegally immigrated to the United States from Mexico and were convicted of drug charges in state courts."

Not mentioned - when one adds the 212 illegal re-entry cases to the 174 illegal-drug violations, the total - 386 - constitutes 53.9 percent of all 715 cases. Even discounting a small number of illegal re-entry cases not generated by the illegality of certain drugs, the percentage of federal cases that do involve illegal drugs is probably even greater - for example, note the 23 "Probation transfers from other districts." Of course, the larger issue is ignored by the article.

Everyone from politicians to corrections officials - and yes, the media - seems committed to obscuring the real number of people increasingly locked up on drug charges and quashing any discussion of its significance.

Washingtion, DC, May Vote On Medical Marijuana

Washington, DC -- Members of the AIDS advocacy group ACT UP in Washington DC filed papers today with the Board of Elections and Ethics for a ballot initiative legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

ACT UP spokesperson Steve Michael said the proposed "Compassionate Use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes Act" is based upon a similar measure recently approved by California voters. Activists will start circulating petitions once the language of the initiative is approved by the Board of Elections and Ethics.

Activists expressed concern over the announcement by Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis and US Attorney Eric Holder to stiffen penalties for the sale and possession of marijuana. States Michael, who is HIV positive, "We need to move forward on this issue now, before Jarvis and Holder make felons out of the terminally ill." Michael adds that the DC Corrections system has a poor track record in the treatment and care of prisoners diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, including the death almost two years ago of an AIDS patient chained to a wheelchair and neglected for more than a week.

Activists are optimistic that they will be able to obtain the necessary signatures to place the medical marijuana measure on the ballot in DC.

Michael concludes, "Sixteen years into the AIDS epidemic, we have only a handful of approved, but often toxic treatments for AIDS patients. We should not make criminals out of sick and dying people who are simply trying to improve the quality and quantity of their lives."

AIDS activists are enlisting the support of other patient advocacy groups to gather the necessary signatures within the six month period.

The activists also filed an initiative with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics that amends the District's drug laws to eliminate criminal penalties for the possession of needles.

For more details contact:

ACT UP Washington DC
825 5th Street NE Suite A
Washington, DC 20002
Tel. (202) 547.6780

The Oregonian Suppresses Ann Landers' Call For Discussion

Portland-area editions of the Dec. 31, 1996 Oregonian (and presumably most if not all others) omitted the ensuing item which appeared that day in Ann Landers' nationally syndicated advice column.

Those subscribing to this newsletter are encouraged to respond. While you're at it, be sure to tell Ann what The Oregonian is up to.

Dear Ann Landers:

I have a quick suggestion for resolving the crisis of overcrowding in our jails: Stop locking up marijuana consumers.

Seventeen out of every 100 federal prisoners are there for marijuana crimes - 17,000 marijuana prisoners in all. At least an additional 20,000 marijuana offenders are in state prisons and local jails. That prison space should be used for rapists, muggers and other dangerous criminals.

There are more than 400,000 marijuana arrests each year. Think of how we could better use our limited police resources. I firmly believe we should allow responsible adults to grow and consume marijuana in the privacy of their own homes and then watch how quickly prison overcrowding is reduced and the black market dries up.

Chuck Thomas
Director of Communications
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington DC

Landers followed by noting that Thomas had touched a "hot button" and asked readers to submit their opinions.

Don't bother addressing them in care of The Oregonian. Responses can be sent to:

Ann Landers
P.O. Box 11562
Chicago, IL, 60611-0562

Medical Use Of Marijuana May Become An Issue In New York

By Shannon McCaffrey, Associated Press, Dec. 30, 1996

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The chairman of the state Assembly's Health Committee said Monday he may introduce a bill in 1997 legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in New York state.

"It certainly requires serious examination in New York because there are many New Yorkers who would be appropriate candidates for medical use of marijuana," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat. "I don't think that it should be denied to them because it can be misused by other people."

A national debate was triggered when the Clinton administration warned doctors that it is illegal to prescribe marijuana under federal statutes, despite laws to the contrary in Arizona and California.

Advocates say research suggests that marijuana is useful in relieving internal eye pressure in glaucoma victims; in controlling nausea in cancer patients on chemotherapy, and in combating the severe weight loss associated with AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus.

New York has the largest number of AIDS cases in the nation at some 105,000 currently.

The state permits prescription of pills like Marinol, which contain synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Though those products have federal Food and Drug Administration approval, some advocates say they are not as effective as marijuana plants.

At one time, New York permitted some marijuana usage. In a program that lapsed with little notice, the New York state legislature in the early 1980s approved a program to provide marijuana to hospitals for cancer and glaucoma patients who are in "life-threatening or sense-threatening situations," according to the bill.

The program was named for Antonio G. Olivieri, an Assemblyman and New York City Councilman from Manhattan, who died on election day 1980 from brain cancer. He had pushed heavily for the legislation, Gottfried said.

"The program has been inactive for at least five years," state Health Department spokesman Bob Hinckley said. It is unclear how many people were treated under the Olivieri program.

Gottfried said with marijuana readily available on the streets, the state's therapeutic program likely fell out of use because of the rigorous and cumbersome approval process to gain admittance.

Cannabis advocates like Lynn Zimmer, a sociologist at Queens College, say because marijuana can be obtained illegally with relative ease there has been little impetus in New York to change the law. She said publicity surrounding Monday's announcement by federal officials would help change that.

Federal officials Monday said doctors in Arizona and California who prescribe marijuana could face criminal charges. Voters in those two states approved measures in November that relax restrictions on the medical use of some illegal drugs, such as marijuana.

"What this shows is the population understands, the voters understand, the medicinal benefits of marijuana even if they don't," said Zimmer, who sits on the national board of directors of NORML, which advocates the drug's legalization.

"This is bringing the issue to the forefront again and I'll think you'll see changes result from that in New York," she said.

Sally Cooper, director of the New York City-based People With AIDS Health Group, said she can't understand how anyone could deny the relief marijuana provides to the seriously ill and suffering.

"It should be a fairly easy sell, but it's not," she said.

"There is quite a bit of underground marijuana use which is going to go on regardless, it's sort of an above-ground underground," Cooper said.

Drug Warriors Caught Lying Again

On Jan. 1, 1997 Alan R. Silverman wrote:

I received a most disturbing fax that I would like to share with you. It came from Dr. Tod Mikuriya. I don't have scanner capabilities yet so I cannot include the original fax, but anyone wishing a hard copy can send a request with a SASE to me at:

Alan Silverman
P.O. Box 14627
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

From Dr. Mikuriya's cover letter:

December 31, 1996

Compare the two lists for wording and content. I faxed the Medicinal Cannabis User Questionnaire draft 9 to ONDCP (White House Office on National Drug Control Policy) on November 14 before the meeting with opponents to 215 the next day.

The flip chart version presented at the press conference bearing my name was characterized as "Cheech and Chong" medicine. The list presented was not my list of medical uses of marijuana. It is unfair and dishonest to attribute medical uses to me and hold them up to ridicule before an international press. Especially glaring are "writers cramp" and "Recalling 'forgotten memories'" that the Director chose to single out as irrational or bad medicine.

Is this an old habit from Vietnam War information management? Who cooked up this list of medical uses? I didn't do it.


Antique German ad for hash corn remedy
T. Mikuriya
I find this entire episode to be disgusting. These are the leaders of what was once a great Nation. Have we become a cowardly cripple with big guns and no moral fiber?

This message from Dr. Mikuriya is a "Call to Arms" for all Americans. I urge you to get hold of a copy of this fax and look at it. I don't know where Dr. Mikuriya got the hard copy of the flip chart version, but if it really did come from a government office and was used in this manner, it appears to be pretty hard evidence of serious misconduct.

I found, only on the flip chart version:

Removal of corns
Writers Cramp
Cough suppressant
Recalling "Forgotten Memories"

Advertisement for a German corn remedy
made from hashish © Jack Herer

If this flip chart list is really from the government, then I am deeply saddened that they could be so stupid as to lie so badly to the press. I mean, this is easily verified. How could they expect to get away with this?

Your Money Or Your Life

On Dec. 30 Joe Horman wrote:

If my math is accurate, Marinol, at $599 for 60 10mg pills, has a "street" price of $1,000,000 per kilo or $28,409 per ounce, 73 times more per ounce than pure gold! By comparison cocaine, by the gram, grosses $100,000 and according to the DEA cannabis sells for about $2,000 a lb. If Mercedes used similar markups and pricing a top of the line 500SEL would have a sticker price of $124 million dollars.

The pharmaceutical, tobacco, and alcohol cartels obviously have a huge vested interest in maintaining across the board prohibition. It would be informative to match the millions in PAC money from the sanctioned drug companies to the voting records of congress and the White House.

Publicize Your Reform Activities At Hemp Fest Dot Com

Hemp Fest Dot Com is a free World Wide Web-based service publicizing and chronicling hemp festivals across the United States and around the world. You can submit information for calendars covering everything from weekly organizational meetings of reform groups to major hemp gatherings. Hemp Fest Dot Com also strives to chronicle special gatherings, reporting on what happened, who spoke, with photos and anything else you can submit.. For more details point your browser to or e-mail

California Medical Board Won't Monitor Pot For DEA, Officials Say

Contra Costa [California] Times, Jan. 1, 1997
by Tom Philp
Scripps-McClatchy News Service

SACRAMENTO -- The agency that disciplines doctors in California said Tuesday it doesn't plan to send tips to federal investigators who seek to punish those who "prescribe" marijuana.

"We have neither been asked, nor are we going to propose at this time, that we instantaneously share information with the Drug Enforcement Administration if we become aware of a medicinal marijuana situation," said Ronald Joseph, executive director of the California Medical Board.

Joseph said the board has had little direct historical contact with the DEA, which can rescind a doctor's ability to prescribe medicines. Nor does it plan to establish ties with the DEA now that it wants to punish doctors who use new laws in California and Arizona that allow them to recommend marijuana to patients.

Historic conflict

At issue is a historic separation of powers between the federal and state governments over the regulation of medicine.

California has been disciplining its own doctors since 1876. The federal government, however, regulates the drugs these doctors can prescribe and who can prescribe them.

These two regulatory roles of the state and federal governments are now somewhat in conflict. Because of California's Proposition 215, doctors under state law can legally recommend marijuana. Under federal law, they can't.

Fearful of the state initiative signaling a softening of the war on drugs and allowing doctors to rampantly prescribe the narcotic, federal drug czar Barry M. McCaffrey announced a counter offensive Monday.

Doctors who are caught prescribing marijuana by the DEA stand the chance of losing the federal license that allows them to prescribe all medicines.

"The tone of the message, while stern, has an underlying theme of reason," said Dr. Jack Lewin, chief executive officer of the California Medical Association. "It implies that they're not going to go after the individual doctor who recommends marijuana to one or two critical patients who have cancer or HIV,"... he said.

In addition, federal, state or local law enforcement officials can launch their own investigations against doctors regardless of what the Medical Board does or doesn't share about tips it has received, Lewin said.

Small federal staff

Nevertheless, these anti-marijuana initiatives will depend on federal officials first learning of doctors who prescribe marijuana and then having the staff in place to punish them.

The federal government, for example, has only two administrative law judges on staff to handle all the hearings for the 700,000-some doctors who stand to lose their prescription powers.

Records weren't immediately available for how frequently the DEA revokes prescription powers for doctors who have inappropriately prescribed or become addicted to controlled substances, Martin said, "I'll be honest with you, I don't know if we keep it."

Meanwhile in California, the largest repository of complaints about physicians is the Medical Board, which receives more than 100,000 calls a year from the public.

Historically the board has shared those tips with other law enforcement agencies in a handful of circumstances, said Joseph.

McCaffrey Versus Dr. Grinspoon On PBS

Janice Dubiel writes:

The [Jim] Lehrer [television news hour Dec. 30] focused debate on the new federal drug policy. Two perspectives were given. One from Gen. McCaffrey and one from Harvard Medical School's Dr. Lester Grinspoon. Here are some of the notes I took from the tape:

The interviewer was Margaret Warner.

She asked McCaffrey why the administration was trying to override the voters.

His response was:

1) to protect the scientific process - gave example of thalidomide
2) Drug Abuse - cites 3.6 million addicts in U.S. today ( he didn't say what these addicts were addicted to)

What is your policy towards Doctors?

McCaffrey answers by saying that the AMA and the CMA are opposed to Proposition 215 and had just communicated their approval of the government's plan that very day. He also said he was hesitant to get involved in a discussion of any merit of MJ.

When pressed again on the actions to be taken against doctors, McCaffrey pointed out that 900 doctors had lost their licenses the previous year but he didn't say what for. Said there would be the same level of enforcement and maintained that there are no punitive measures to be targeted at the medical profession specifically.

Now for our side.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon - Harvard Medical School

Asked what he thinks of the direction the Feds are taking on this, Grinspoon calls it a mistaken policy of a government that doesn't want to accept the facts.

He goes on to describe marijuana as a very useful, remarkably safe and versatile medicine when compared with other medicines, i.e. penicillin.

Dr. Grinspoon unflinchingly stated that marijuana was an unusually cheap medicine and predicted that the American people would become increasingly convinced of its merit.

He explained that doctors are getting their education about marijuana in a different way than they are accustomed to. He points out that rather than just reading medical articles and economically driven promotional materials from drug companies, doctors are seeing the positive uses of marijuana on patients.

He tell the story of an AIDS patient who is suffering from the wasting syndrome. The patient tells the doctor he's tried marijuana and proves his weight gain on a scale.

Besides, Grinspoon points out that the drug companies aren't interested in marijuana and don't support the research for it.

Wagner then asks what he sees will be the practical effect of doctors in that kind of situation?

The Dr. recognized that some doctors may be intimidated. He's heard of some back-peddling being done on lawyers' advice. He felt that was unfortunate but felt that most doctors, like himself, will continue to recommend it when it is clearly the best alternative and provide appropriate warnings to their patients regarding the illegality of marijuana and its intelligent use.

Warner asks why the AMA is joining the government on this crusade?

Grinspoon said he thinks the AMA is having an identity crisis. Fifty years ago in 1937 Dr. Woodward was the one dissenting voice in front of the Congressional hearings, the first of the draconian measures taken against marijuana. The AMA then went into a period of being allied with the government. One year ago, however, the AMA published an article urging their doctors to take another look at the medicinal properties of marijuana. To take a lesson from their 19th century counterparts and reconsider it in a modern light. He cited a number of common pain relievers that cause deaths, where marijuana does not.

Q? What about the lack of scientific evidence to back up what Wagner called anecdotal evidence? Grinspoon's answer was threefold.

1) THERE ARE STUDIES-- cited N.M. study
2) there are legitimate studies in Europe----------
3) Anecdotal evidence is evidence. Medicine developed long before large, controlled, double-blind studies. He cites aspirin and insulin.

This isn't exactly quoted but I didn't take any real liberties here. The whole show was great.

British Media Expose CIA-Cocaine Links

The ensuing is last week's "Media Beat" syndicated column by Norman Solomon, distributed to daily papers by Creators Syndicate. "Media Beat" appears in about 20 daily newspapers around the country and on CompuServe.

For more information, e-mail

Shock waves should have jolted America when the news broke in England a few weeks ago: "The CIA actively encouraged drug-trafficking in order to fund right-wing contra rebels in Nicaragua during the 1980s, and a CIA agent in Nicaragua was employed to ensure the money went to the contras and not into the pockets of drug barons."

That's how a London-based daily newspaper, The Independent, summarized the conclusions of investigative journalists working for Britain's ITV television network. Their findings aired Dec. 12 on a highly regarded program called "The Big Story."

It certainly was a big story - on that side of the Atlantic. But on this side, it was no story at all.

The British news reports included statements by Carlos Cabezas, who was a pilot for the Nicaraguan Air Force before the Sandinistas came to power in 1979. During the early 1980s, Cabezas transported cocaine from Central America to California. He ended up spending six years in prison after the 1983 seizure of 430 pounds of cocaine in the San Francisco Bay.

Interviewed for the ITV documentary, Cabezas said that he delivered cocaine proceeds to contra leaders in Miami and Costa Rica. Cabezas told the journalists that in Costa Rica he met CIA agent Ivan Gomez, who was responsible for overseeing the transfer of drug profits to the contras.

You might think that news media in the United States would be quick to report on ITV's scoop. No such luck.

The new year began with Americans still unaware of information that became common knowledge in Britain weeks ago. Our country's most influential big-city dailies - The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times - haven't even mentioned the ITV story.

In sharp contrast, last fall those papers devoted enormous resources and much newsprint to attacking a series in the San Jose Mercury News that linked the CIA-backed contras to the spread of crack cocaine in urban America. Those "debunking" efforts were quite shoddy.

For instance, all three papers presented the CIA as a touchstone for veracity. They relied heavily on official sources while straining to downplay the ties between the CIA and the contras - and between the contras and cocaine trafficking.

New York Times reporting was so eager to distance the CIA from the contras that it ventured into absurdity. On Oct. 21, the Times noted that pro-contra cocaine traffickers Norvin Meneses and Danilo Blandon "traveled once to Honduras to see the (contra) military commander, Enrique Bermudez." But the Times quickly added: "Although Mr. Bermudez, like other contra leaders, was often paid by the CIA, he was not a CIA agent."

The Washington Post's newsroom culture of denial got so bad that one news article referred to "the supposed CIA-contra connection." It didn't seem to matter that the contra army was formed at the instigation of the CIA, its leaders were selected by - and received salaries from - the agency, and CIA officers controlled day-to-day battlefield strategies.

Last October, the Los Angeles Times joined the other two dailies in belittling the importance of crack dealer Ricky Ross. Yet on Dec. 20, 1994 - before publicity about his partnership with Meneses and Blandon - a long news article in the L.A. Times had described Ross as the "king of crack" whose "coast-to-coast conglomerate" was responsible for "a staggering turnover that put the drug within reach of anyone with a few dollars."

George Orwell had such mental gymnastics in mind when he described doublethink as willingness "to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed."

(In recent months, I've worked with a team of researchers at the media watch group FAIR to evaluate the attacks on the Mercury News series by the three big dailies. Our report, titled "Snow Job," is available without charge at on the World Wide Web.)

Ironically, the evidence that surfaced in British media last month indicates that the Mercury News series actually understated the extent of CIA involvement in the cocaine trade. But American media powerhouses that have done their best to discredit the Mercury News series are now ignoring the unpleasant news from overseas.

The Atlantic Ocean has never seemed wider.

Medical Marijuana Wrong Issue For War On Drugs

Tacoma [Washington] News Tribune, Jan. 2, 1997, p. A7

by Rob Killian, M.D.

I am a doctor who occasionally prescribes marijuana for my ill AIDS or cancer patients. Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey and President Clinton have threatened to deny me the right to practice medicine because I recommend the use of an "illegal" drug (TNT, 12-31).

Is this what the war on drugs has come down to? A pathetic punitive action against physicians who use everything at their disposal to relieve the suffering of their patients?

When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath that I would place the welfare of my patients above all else; that I would "do no harm" to them. These are sacred vows to me.

I have seen incredible suffering already in my short career. I have worked in a hospice home for the dying as well as being actively involved in caring for HIV-positive and cancer patients in my own practice. Part of my work is to attempt to relieve that suffering.

McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, believes that American medicine has better options to give us than using marijuana. But what he is not saying is that all of those options have side effects and all cost money. There is no perfect solution to the nausea caused by drugs and chemotherapy or by illness itself. From my perspective, we often give much more harmful drugs to patients than marijuana.

Doctors are in the business of recommending powerful drugs that are dangerous, even when used correctly. The use of marijuana, while not frequent in my medical recommendations, is a relatively inexpensive adjunct to the other poisons I so frequently prescribe to battle powerful illnesses.

In my experience, marijuana - whether ingested in pill form or smoked - is a safe and quick way to relieve nausea and to increase appetite. I sickens me that I have to recommend my patients break the law to obtain marijuana that they can smoke. I find it ludicrous that this medication is not easily and safely available for my patients. I am shocked that McCaffrey's announcements do not take into consideration the cost and detriments of the other options.

Don't get me wrong. I am, like most of my colleagues, out there on the front lines of this war on drugs. I engage my patients in discussions about drug, alcohol and tobacco use. I have seen the ill effects of drug abuse and do all in my power to assist those so addicted to find treatment. I encourage all of my adolescent patients to protect their bodies and to be responsible for what they put into their bodies. I use my yearly physical exams with kids to discuss their empowerment to say no to dangerous behaviors.

But, as the general and the president must know, these are difficult discussions in a world that glamorizes drug use in the form of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. This is a daily battle. And it is a very real world out here in my little clinic in Tacoma, Washington.

In our country, more harm is done to families and to society and to health by the drugs of tobacco and alcohol than by all the other recreational drugs put together. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die early deaths each year from the effects of alcohol and tobacco use. Many families live in despair over the trauma they suffer from living with a loved one who abuses alcohol.

If President Clinton and Gen. McCaffrey are truly serious about this war on drugs, maybe they should be brave enough to address the real problems behind a culture that values drug use rather than attack their colleagues who are out on the front lines every day.

McCaffrey is giving the president bad advice on this subject. I will continue to recommend marijuana for my patients when other options are dangerous or more expensive. It is good medicine to do so. If McCaffrey and the president want to punish me for doing so, then I will see them in court.

Rob Killian is a Tacoma physician.

Your Voice is intended to present a wide range of views on community issues and other topics of concern to News Tribune readers. Subjects may be personal, political or cultural. Send proposed articles to editorial page editor David Seago, The News Tribune, PO Box 11000, Tacoma, WA 98411 (or e-mail him at; the fax number is 1-206-597-8451

Botched Raid Suspension Overturned:
Supervisor In Williams Case Found Not Negligent By Civil Service Panel

The Boston Globe, Dec. 30, 1996, Page One
By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff

The state Civil Service Commission has overturned the suspension of a Boston police lieutenant who supervised a botched drug raid in which a frail Dorchester minister suffered a fatal heart attack nearly three years ago.

The commission ruled this month that the Boston Police Department "failed to demonstrate just cause" that Lt. Detective Stanley Philbin be suspended for 30 days for not supervising the raid properly.

The death of Rev. Accelyne Williams, a 75-year-old retired black minister, provoked a public outcry that resulted in a revision of police rules for executing search warrants and using confidential informants.

A team of 13 officers from the SWAT and drug-control units, using mistaken information from an informant, burst into Rev. Williams' Whitfield Street apartment on March 25, 1994. The squad chased Rev. Williams into a bedroom and wrestled him to the floor while handcuffing him.

Rev. Williams' heart attack was believed to have been linked to the emotional stress of the raid.

Philbin, a 33-year veteran of the force who has since retired, had an "ecstatic" reaction to the ruling, attorney Christopher J. Muse said yesterday. Philbin will receive about $7,500 in back pay.

"We've maintained his innocence from the beginning, and it's wonderful to achieve this result," Muse said.

Philbin, who moved to Maine, was close to retirement at the time of the raid and never returned to the force after the suspension.

Philbin received the harshest disciplinary action handed down in the case. Two other supervisors were reprimanded, three additional supervisors were reassigned, and one patrolman was suspended for 15 days.

The Civil Service action was criticized by one of the lawyers who negotiated a $1 million settlement from the city of Boston for Mary Williams, the minister's widow.

The settlement, reached in April, was the highest ever offered by the city in a wrongful-death suit.

The lawyer, James S. Dilday, said that the decision to exonerate Philbin was a decision "to exonerate the whole Police Department.

"The ultimate responsibility lay with Stanley Philbin," Dilday said. "He was the one who signed off on the process. On a baseball team or a football team, they fire the manager or the coach, don't they?"

Philbin conceded in a disciplinary hearing that he had not read the search-warrant application and that he did not attend a pre-raid briefing, both of which were required by department regulations.

However, the Civil Service Commission approved an appellate magistrate's decision that Philbin had been occupied with legitimate, time-sensitive police business when the search-warrant application was completed.

Philbin was confident that Detective Lisa Lehane, who drew up the application and conducted the briefing, had performed competently, the decision said. The warrant application was technically correct and the briefing was judged to be sound, the commission said.

However, the informant used for the raid provided a misleading tip that led police to Williams' second-floor apartment instead of the third-floor unit where police believed they would find up to 2 kilograms of cocaine and five machine guns.

Police Commissioner Paul Evans had not reviewed the decision by late yesterday, police spokesman Jerry Vanderwood said. The Civil Service vote was taken in closed session Dec. 11, but copies of the ruling were not made available to the news media until yesterday.

Evans is expected to comment today, Vanderwood said, adding that "It is not unusual for the Police Department to appeal decisions from Civil Service."

However, the lawyer for the detectives union said that such a ruling from an appellate magistrate "is almost irrefutable."

"It's a fact-driven question, and the hearing officer's judgment is final," Muse said. Any appeal would have to be based on an error in law or application, he said.

In his ruling, Chief Administrative Magistrate Christopher F. Connolly wrote: "When the search warrant was ready for review, Stanley Philbin was performing his duties as a detective lieutenant counting money for a drug buy, which he could not leave until completed."

"As time was of the essence and it had been the practice of the department to rely on the review of an assistant district attorney, Stanley Philbin allowed Detective Lehane to complete a task she had done many times before," Connolly wrote.

"Stanley Philbin was available to help if help was needed. He did not neglect his duties."

Regarding Philbin's required attendance at pre-raid briefings, Connolly wrote that the lieutenant was late to that session "because again he was completing his responsibilities as a detective lieutenant" regarding the drug buy.

"Once he arrived ... he verified that everyone knew about the details of the raid and were well-briefed," Connolly said. "He used reasonable judgment under the circumstances and exercised appropriate supervision."

However, the Police Department's response to Rev. Williams' death indicated that top-ranking officials believed flaws existed in drug-raid procedures and supervision.

Lt. Detective Patricia Eagar,chief administrative officer at the drug-control unit, was reprimanded for "failure to supervise." And Deputy Superintendent Pervis Ryans was reprimanded for inadequate supervision and failing to maintain files on informants.

Three supervisors, including Superintendent Joseph V. Saia Jr., were reassigned.

Officer Paul Delaney, whose informant supplied the misleading address, was suspended for 15 days and criticized for becoming too close to the informant.

Lehane was cleared of a charge of failing to have a supervisor review the affidavit accompanying the search-warrant request.

Tommy Montgomery, president of the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, said the decision "brings closure" to a troubling incident from which the Police Department learned several lessons.

"We learned that despite all the checks and balances, things can go wrong," Montgomery said.

Hemp Bill Takes Root Once Again In Colorado Statehouse

Rocky Mountain News [Denver], Dec. 28, 1996, p. 15A
By John Sanko, Rocky Mountain News Capitol Bureau

The hemp bill lives on.

Most lawmakers thought an effort to legalize growing hemp in Colorado might die with the departure of Sen. Lloyd Casey, D-Northglenn, from the legislature this year.

But a newly elected legislator from Montrose says she will introduce similar legislation in the 1997 session. Her bill would create a commission to oversee an effort that could lead to the planting of industrial hemp crops in the state.

Rep.-elect Kay Alexander, R-Montrose, said Friday that the legislation would encourage research on three fiber crops -- one of them hemp -- to see which is the most feasible in different parts of the state.

There will be plenty of safeguards to make sure that the hemp cannot be used to create what it's most famous for -- marijuana.

"The emphasis is on doing research first and foremost," Alexander said. "There will be three different fiber crops. Hemp is one of them. The others are kenaf and sun hemp.

"We're looking at research to take out as much of (the THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) as possible, as well as genetically re-engineering the plant so that it looks different."

A hemp bill had strong support from Colorado's agricultural community this year, including researchers at Colorado State University. It was approved in the Senate on an 18-15 vote but died in the House.

Law enforcement opposed the bill on grounds that it would be difficult to determine whether a hemp plant was being grown for marijuana or for the hemp, which can be used to make such diverse products as rope, paper and clothing.

Text Of Clinton Administration's Response To Propositions 200 And 215



1. General: The recent passage of propositions which make dangerous drugs more available in California and Arizona poses a threat to the National Drug Control Strategy goal of reducing drug abuse in the United States. At the direction of the President, the Office of National Drug Control Policy developed a coordinated administration strategy with the other agencies of the Federal Government to minimize the tragedy of drug abuse in America.

2. Objectives: An interagency working group chaired by ONDCP included the Departments of Justice, Treasury, Defense, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Education, the Postal Service, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This group met four times in November and December. It developed the following strategic objectives for our coordinated Federal response:

a. Maintain effective enforcement efforts within the framework created by the Federal Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

b. Ensure the integrity of the medical-scientific process by which substances are approved as safe and effective medicines.

c. Preserve Federal drug-free workplace and safety programs.

d. Protect children from increased marijuana availability and use.

3. Courses of Action: In developing this strategy, the inter-agency group gave due consideration to two key principles: federal authority vis-a-vis that of the states, and the requirement to ensure American citizens are provided safe and effective medicine. ONDCP and Federal drug control agencies have formed a partnership to undertake the following coordinated courses of action:


-- Department of Justice's position is that a practitioner's action of recommending or prescribing Schedule I controlled substances is not consistent with the "public interest" (as that phrase is used in the federal Controlled Substances Act) and will lead to administrative action by the Drug Enforcement Administration to revoke the practitioner's registration.

-- DoJ and Department of Health and Human Services will send a letter to national, state, and local practitioner associations and licensing boards which states unequivocally that DEA will seek to revoke the DEA registrations of physicians who recommend or prescribe Schedule I controlled substances. This letter will outline the authority of the Inspector General for HHS to exclude specified individuals or entities from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

-- DoJ will continue existing enforcement programs using the following criteria: (a) the absence of a bona fide doctor-patient relationship; (b) a high volume of prescriptions or recommendations of Schedule I controlled substances; (c) the accumulation of significant profits or assets from the prescription or recommendation of Schedule I controlled substances; (d) Schedule I controlled substances being provided to minors; and/or (e) special circumstances, such as when death or serious bodily injury results from drugged driving. The five U.S. Attorneys in California and Arizona will continue to review cases for prosecution using these criteria.

-- DEA will adopt seizures of Schedule I controlled substances made by state and local law enforcement officials following an arrest where state and local prosecutors must decline prosecution because of the Propositions. Once in DEA's possession the drugs can be summarily forfeited and destroyed by DEA. State and local law enforcement officials will be encouraged to continue to execute state law to the fullest extent by having officers continue to make arrests and seizures under state law, leaving defendants to raise the medical use provisions of the Propositions only as a defense to state prosecution.

-- Department of the Treasury and the Customs Service will continue to protect the nation's borders and take strong and appropriate enforcement action against imported or exported marijuana and other illegal drugs. The Customs Service will continue to: (a) seize unlawfully imported or exported marijuana and other illegal drugs; (b) assess civil penalties against persons violating federal drug laws; (c) seize conveyances facilitating the illegal import or export of marijuana and other illegal drugs; and (d) arrest persons committing Federal drug offenses and refer cases for prosecution to the appropriate Federal or state prosecutor.

-- Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service will continue the enforcement of existing Federal tax laws which discourage illegal drug activities.

-- IRS will enforce existing Federal tax law as it relates to the requirement to report gross income from whatever source derived, including income from activities prohibited under Federal or state law.

-- Treasury will direct the IRS to issue a revenue ruling, to the extent permissible under existing law, that would deny a medical expense deduction for amounts expended for illegal operations or treatments and for drugs, including Schedule I controlled substances, that are illegally procured under Federal or state law.

-- IRS will enforce existing Federal tax law as it relates to the disallowance of expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of drugs. To the extent that state laws result in efforts to conduct sales of controlled substances prohibited by Federal law, the IRS will disallow expenditures in connection with such sales to the fullest extent permissible under existing Federal tax law.

-- U.S. Postal Service will continue to pursue aggressively the detection and seizure of Schedule I controlled substances mailed through the U.S. mails, particularly in California and Arizona, and the arrest of those using the mail to distribute Schedule I controlled substances.

-- DEA together with other Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies will work with private mail, parcel and freight services to ensure continuing compliance with internal company policies dictating that these companies refuse to accept for shipment Schedule I controlled substances and that they notify law enforcement officials of such activities. Federal investigations and prosecutions will be instituted consistent with appropriate criteria.


-- The Controlled Substances Act embodies the conclusion of the Congress, affirmed by DEA and HHS, that marijuana, as a Schedule I drug, has "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." To protect the public health, all evaluations of the medical usefulness of any controlled substance should be conducted through the Congressionally established research and approval process managed by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Currently there are a few patients who receive marijuana through FDA approved investigations.

-- HHS to ensure the continued protection of the public health will: (a) examine all medical and scientific evidence relevant to the perceived medical usefulness of marijuana; (b) identify gaps in knowledge and research regarding the health effects of marijuana; (c) determine whether further research or scientific evaluation could answer these questions; and (d) determine how that research could be designed and conducted to yield scientifically useful results.

-- HHS will undertake discussions with medical organizations throughout the nation: (a) to address the "compassionate use" message; and (b) to educate medical and public health professionals by underscoring the dangers of smoked marijuana and explaining the views of NIH that a variety of approved medications are clinically proven to be safe and effective in treating the illnesses for which marijuana is purported to provide relief, such as pain, nausea, wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.


-- Transportation Workers: Department of Transportation has issued a formal advisory to the transportation industry that safety-sensitive transportation workers who test positive under the Federally-required drug testing program may not under any circumstance use state law as a legitimate medical explanation for the presence of prohibited drugs. DOT is encouraging private employers to follow its example.

-- Federal Contractors and Grantees: Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act, the recipients of Federal grants or contracts must have policies that prohibit the use of illegal drugs. Each Federal agency will issue a notice to its grantees and contractors to remind them: (a) of their responsibilities; (b) that any use of marijuana or other Schedule I controlled substances remains a prohibited activity; and (c) that the failure to comply with this prohibition will make the grantee or contractor subject to the loss of eligibility to Federal grants and contracts. Further, Federal agencies will increase their efforts to monitor compliance with the provisions of the Act, and to institute suspension or debarment actions against violators -- with special priority given to states enacting drug medicalization measures.

-- Federal Civilian Employees: HHS will issue policy guidance to all 130 Federal Agency Drug-Free Workplace program coordinators, the 72 laboratories certified by HHS to conduct drug tests, and trade publications that reach medical review officers. This policy guidance states that the Propositions do not change the requirements of the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program, which will continue to be fully enforced for federal civilian employees nationwide. Medical Review Officers will not accept physician recommendations for Schedule I substances as a legitimate explanation for a positive drug test.

-- DoD and the Military Services: The Department of Defense will instruct civilian employees and military personnel in the active, reserve and National Guard components, that DoD is a drug-free organization, a fact that is not changed by the Propositions. The requirement that all DoD contractors maintain drug-free workplaces will continue to be enforced.

-- Nuclear Industry Workers: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will continue to demand drug-free employees in the nuclear power industry, and will develop a formal advisory to emphasize that its drug free workplace regulations continue to apply.

-- Public Housing: The Propositions will not affect the Department of Housing and Urban Development's continued aggressive execution of the "One Strike and You're Out" policy to improve the safety and security of our nation's public housing developments. HUD's principal tool for implementing "One Strike" will be the systematic evaluation of public housing agencies screening and evictions efforts through the Public Housing Management Assessment Program. This program will give HUD a standard measurement of the progress of all public housing authorities in developing effective law enforcement, screening, and occupancy policies to reduce the level of drug use, crime, and drug distribution and sales in their communities.

-- Safe Work Places: Department of Labor will continue to implement its Working Partners Initiative, providing information to small businesses about workplace substance abuse prevention programs, focusing specific attention on trade and business organizations located in California and Arizona. DOL will accelerate its effort to post its updated Substance Abuse Information Database (SAID) on the Internet. SAID will provide information to businesses about workplace substance abuse and how to establish workplace substance abuse prevention programs. DOL will give priority to its efforts in California and Arizona.

-- DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration will send letters to the California and Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Administrations reiterating the dangers of drugs in the workplace and providing information on programs to help employers address these problems.

-- DOL's Mine Safety and Health Administration will continue to strictly enforce the prohibition on the use of alcohol and illegal drugs notwithstanding these Propositions.


-- HHS and the Department of Education will educate the public in both Arizona and California about the real and proven dangers of smoking marijuana. A message will be tailored for preteens, teens, parents, educators, and medical professionals. Research demonstrates that, marijuana: (a) harms the brain, heart, lungs, and immune system; and (b) limits learning, memory, perception, judgment, and the ability to drive a motor vehicle. In addition, research shows that marijuana smoke typically contains over 400 carcinogenic compounds and may be addictive. The message will remind the public there is no medical use for smoked marijuana and will educate the public about strategies to prevent marijuana use. The message will also remind the public that the production, sale, and distribution of marijuana for medical uses not approved by DEA violates the Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

-- HHS will analyze all available data on marijuana use, expand ongoing surveys to determine current levels of marijuana use in California and Arizona, and track changes in marijuana use in those states.

-- HHS will develop the survey capacity to assess trends in drug use in all states on a state-by-state basis.

-- The Department of Education (ED) will use provisions of the Safe and Drug Free Schools Act to reinforce the message to all local education agencies receiving Federal Safe and Drug Free School funds that any drug possession or use will not be tolerated in schools. This affects approximately 95 percent of school districts. Notwithstanding the passage of the two Propositions, local education agencies must continue to: (a) develop programs which prevent the use, possession, and distribution of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs by students; (b) develop programs which prevent the illegal use, possession, and distribution of such substances by school employees; and (c) ensure that programs supported by and with Federal Safe and Drug Free Schools funds convey the message that the illegal use of alcohol and other drugs, including marijuana, is wrong and harmful. ED will review with educators in Arizona and California the effect Propositions 200 and 215 will have on drug use by students. They will also communicate nationally with school superintendents, administrators, principals, boards of education, and PTAs about the Arizona and California Propositions and the implications for their states.

-- ED will develop a model policy to confront "medical marijuana" use in schools and outline actions educators can take to prevent illicit drugs from coming into schools.

-- ED will develop model drug prevention programs to discourage marijuana use. These models will be disseminated to the states at a Spring 1997 conference.

-- ONDCP and DOT will provide recommendations pursuant to the October 19, 1996 Presidential directive to deter teen drug use and drugged driving through pre-license drug testing, strengthened law enforcement and other means. The recommendations will underscore the point that the use of marijuana for any reason endangers the health and safety of the public.

5. Legislative Enactments: ONDCP, HHS and DOJ will work with Congress to consider changes to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Controlled Substances Act, as appropriate, to limit the states' ability to rely on these and similar medical use provisions. The Administration believes that working with Congress is the course of action that will affirm the national policy to control substances that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The objective is to provide a uniform policy which preserves the integrity of the medical-scientific process by which substances are approved as safe and effective medicines. We will also consider additional steps, including conditioning Federal funds on compliance with the Controlled Substances Act and the National Drug Control Strategy.

Federal Response To Medical Marijuana Violates Constitution

Alpine World Magazine, Dec. 30, 1996

As Attorney General Janet Reno lectures voters in California and Arizona about "sending the wrong message to kids," we should remind everyone that it was Reno who authorized the government action which resulted in 24 children being burned alive in Waco, Texas.

In both instances, the Feds violated the U.S. Constitution to exert their authority over the inalienable rights of American citizens. All Americans share a distrust of such methods and are naturally inclined to oppose this kind of senseless government intrusion into our private lives.

Why does the government feel obligated to threaten physicians and patients over the medical use of marijuana? Perhaps it is because our elected officials feel threatened by the democratic process itself. Right or wrong, the good people of California and Arizona have decided what is right for them. To summarily dismiss the will of the people and to claim that these voters were "duped," is an affront to the democratic principles upon which America was founded.

Any actions by the Federal government to oppose these new laws should be viewed as an attack upon the U.S. Constitution itself.

Drug Policy Reform More Popular Than Clinton In California, Arizona

In the 1996 election:

California votes for Clinton: 5,119,835 (51.1%)
California votes for Proposition 215: 5,382,915 (55.6%)

Arizona votes for Clinton: 653,288
Arizona votes for Proposition 200: 872,235

Source: secretary of state home pages for California and Arizona.



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