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January 23, 1997

Massachusetts Introduces Regulations To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Boston, Massachusetts, January 22, 1997:  The Massachusetts Department of Health issued regulations to create an affirmative medical defense for patients who use marijuana for a legitimate medical need.  The regulations were mandated by the passage of a law last summer (H. 2170) that reinvigorates the state marijuana therapeutic research program and provides a prima facie defense for individuals who are certified by the state to use marijuana to treat glaucoma, asthma, or the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
According to State Public Health Commissioner David Mulligan, a three doctor panel appointed by the state will screen individual patients' applications for certification.  Certified patients will be shielded from criminal penalties, even if they obtain marijuana through illicit channels, Mulligan said.  State physicians will not be allowed to prescribe marijuana to their patients under the new law.
"We're trying to get certificates into the hands of people who meet the medical criteria," said Mulligan.  "Who is going to prosecute someone who has a certificate saying they have a medical condition that requires [marijuana?]"
The new law also mandates the Department of Health to develop a blueprint for a state-run medical marijuana research project, which would be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval.  During the late 1970s and early 1980s, at least six states implemented research programs allowing seriously ill patients to obtain marijuana as a medicine from the state board of health.
"The feds keep telling us verbally -- they have never put it in writing -- that they would supply [marijuana] for a well-designed clinical trial," said Nancy Ridley, assistant health commissioner.  "We're going to be sending another batch of letters to the federal government to try to get them to be more specific about what it would take to access their supply.  It would be absolutely wrong not to try."
NORML Legal Committee member Michael Cutler, Esq., sees the proposals as a step in the right direction, but criticized the state's failure to include a "catch-all" provision for terminal illness as well as language granting "sufficient confidentiality" for patients and doctors.  He also expressed concern that patients would need to be certified by a state-panel of physicians rather than by their own personal doctor.  Cutler, who helped to draft the original legislation, expects the legislature to hold public hearings on the issue as early as next month.
For more information, please contact attorney Michael Cutler @ (617) 439-4990.  For a state by state breakdown of medical marijuana laws, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Oklahoma Man Sentenced to 93 Years For Cultivating Marijuana


January 17, 1997, Tulsa, Oklahoma:  An Oklahoma jury sentenced a Tulsa man to 93 years in jail for cultivating marijuana in a 25-square-foot underground shelter.  The man was also ordered to pay $62,000 in fines.
Jurors found
William Joseph Foster, 38, guilty of four marijuana felonies and one misdemeanor despite testimony that he was growing marijuana for personal use to alleviate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
"William Foster was growing and using marijuana for pain management," explained Michael Pearson of Oklahoma NORML, who noted that a medical marijuana necessity defense is not accepted by Oklahoma law.  "Mr. Foster has utilized prescription drugs which he has found to be not as effective and/or to produce undesirable side effects.
Prosecutors claimed that there existed little medical evidence to support Foster's claim and accused him of maintaining a sophisticated marijuana growing system capable of producing over 2,500 marijuana cigarettes.  Testimony from expert witness Ed Rosenthal, a writer-researcher specializing in marijuana and it's cultivation, denied this claim.
Rosenthal said that Foster's basement growing area would have only yielded 12 and one-half ounces of smokable marijuana.  "What we have here is ... simple possession of marijuana," maintained Foster's attorney, Stuart W. Southerland, Esq.
Jurors rejected this assertion, however, and sentenced Foster to serve 70 years in jail for cultivation of marijuana.  He also received a two-year sentence for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, a 20-year term for possessing marijuana in the presence of a child who lived in the home, and a one-year sentence for failing to obtain a drug stamp.  Foster is planning on appealing the verdict.
"This decision was a case of overkill," summarized Pearson.  "When Oklahoma looks at 'truth in sentencing,' this will definitely be a case that will stand out.  Justice in Oklahoma just doesn't exist any more.
For more information, please contact Michael Pearson of Oklahoma NORML @ (405) 840-4367 or Attorney Stuart W. Southerland @ (918) 744-5448.

[Portland NORML notes: Submit comments and opinions to the Governor of Oklahoma at The governor of Oklahoma's home page is at The good people at try to maintain links to other Oklahoma elected officials in the "activist" section of their Web pages at .]

Vermont Study Demonstrates Strong Support For Domestic
Hemp Production

January 16, 1997, Montpelier, Vermont:  More than 75 percent of Vermont residents say that farmers should be allowed to grow industrial hemp as a cash crop, according to the results of a University of Vermont survey.
The survey, entitled "Alternative Agricultural Strategies in Vermont: The Case of Industrial Hemp," was part of a study commissioned by the state legislature last year to determine the viability of hemp production in Vermont.  Of the 770 Vermonters who were contacted in the telephone survey, 402 responded.
The survey's key findings are as follows:

Often described as "marijuana's misunderstood cousin," industrial hemp is from the same species that produces marijuana.  Unlike marijuana, however, industrial hemp has only minute amounts of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that gives marijuana its medical and euphoric properties.  Industrial hemp is currently grown legally through much of Europe, Asia, and parts of Canada to produce a variety of products such as textiles, paper, composites, paints, cosmetics, and animal feed.
"This survey indicates what the rapidly growing U.S. hemp market is already telling us," said NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "Americans want hemp products and they want their farmers to be a part of this prospering economic industry."
Last year, Vermont was among four states that introduced legislation to allow for domestic hemp cultivation.  NORML expects at least twice as many states to introduce similar legislation this year.  Presently, both Missouri and Virginia have industrial hemp measures pending before the state legislature.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  For information regarding the Virginia hemp bill, please contact Eric Steenstra of Ecolution @ (703) 207-9001.  For information regarding the Missouri hemp bill, please contact Dan Viets of Missouri NORML @ (314) 443-6866. Copies of NORML's position paper: "Can America Afford Not To Grow This Plant?" are available upon request.




© copyright 1997 NORML NORML Home Page comments:

Regional and Other News

Body Count

Three of the seven felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance offenses, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian (Jan. 23, 1997, p. 7, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the body count so far this year seven out of 20, or 35 percent. The body count might have been four out of seven except one felon was sentenced to 30 days in jail for resisting arrest while his charge of possessing a controlled substance was dismissed. (Yet another possible instance of a drug offense ending up labeled as something else.) The final tally for 1996 was 370 out of 675, or 54.81 percent.

Your tax dollars

Multnomah County - Ground Zero In The Drug War

An interesting factoid illustrating the extreme extent to which Portland-area public officials try to enforce marijuana prohibition appeared in a "Letter to the Editor" of The Oregonian on Jan.. 15, 1997 (p. B11). Maggie Miller, who identified herself as a parole/probation officer with the Multnomah County Department of Community Corrections, wrote that:
In addition, although Multnomah County has only 20 percent of the state's total population, we recorded 31 percent of all the state's drug crimes and 61 percent of the drug crimes involving heroin, cocaine or other narcotics.
Are Portlanders more likely to use illegal drugs than Oregonians elsewhere? Well, no. Miller seems bent on promoting a myth that urbanites use controlled substances more than their rural or suburban neighbors. As the latest, 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) states:
There was little difference in rates of use in large metropolitan areas, small metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan areas ("Any Illicit Drug Use,"
As documented in the Aug. 29, 1996 Portland NORML Weekly News Release, the government's own conservative statistics show there are at least 23,772 marijuana consumers in Portland, 29,930 in Multnomah County and 150,040 in Oregon ( By definition, anytime any one of these folks buys, sells, possesses or consumes a controlled substance, a "drug crime" has occurred. There are almost certainly millions of "drug crimes" in Oregon every year (but only a few thousand beds in jails and prisons).

So Multnomah County may have "recorded" 31 percent of all the state's drug crimes, but almost certainly that reflects the unrivaled assiduousness of Portland-area public officials in directing limited resources at marijuana offenders.

What has been the result of years of such Draconian enforcement? The same 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse says:

The current illicit drug use rate [increased to] 7.8 percent in the West ... [from 6.6 percent the year before, according to the 1994 NHSDA at].
Was Miller, a parole/probation officer, concerned about the misapplication of public-safety funds, or whether Portlanders were getting anything for their money other than worse problems and dwindling social services? No. Her job probably depends on the drug war. Her letter, titled "Comparing officers across county lines fails to consider population differences," "took exception to [an Oregonian] Jan. 3 editorial's implication that officers in [Multnomah] county are less competent than their counterparts in neighboring counties ('High-cost parole')."

But Portland NORML thanks her for writing all the same.

'Interview - Lynn Zimmer - Drug War Truths, Drug War Lies'

Thanks to a public-school system plundered by prison-building and other costs of the drug war, far too many Americans seem unable to think critically about science. Marijuana prohibitionists have managed to get the public to accept a wide variety of fearsome myths about marijuana and its consumers. So it's always fun to get the general public to read the real science debunking prohibitionist propaganda. People don't like to be lied to, and a little reading turns many prohibitionists into reformers.

One of the most readable and authoritative debunkers working today is Lynn Zimmer. The online High Times of February 1997 has an excellent interview with the sociologist, researcher, NORML board member and co-author (with Dr. John Morgan) of "Marijuana Myths/Marijuana Facts" posted at

Zimmer has published a wealth of information debunking prohibitionist misinformation, including for example the excellent "Exposing Marijuana Myths: A Review of the Scientific Evidence," at In the High Times interview, Zimmer talks about how the criminal-justice system exacerbates the harm caused by the War on Drugs, and examines several pseudoscientific lies about marijuana that should be finally laid to rest.

'US Government - No Link Between Marijuana Decrim And Increased Pot Use'

While you're learning about the difference between research and propaganda in the February 1997 online High Times (or for that matter the hard-copy version), check out the "Normlizer" column by Paul Armentano of NORML, posted at

Perhaps the most powerful argument prohibitionists have is the "slippery slope" myth. All of prohibition rests on the assumption that regulating black-market drugs or reducing penalties for drug offenders would lead to more people using such drugs.

It's a powerful argument because it arouses real fears in many good people, for good reasons. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence supporting it. Most of the credible evidence seems to disprove it. Every major study of drug policy has discredited it.

Until somebody in the drug policy reform movement writes a comprehensive FAQ reviewing the evidence that dispels the "slippery slope" myth, the Armentano column will serve well. The government's own facts flatly contradict its prohibitionist claims.

Massachusetts May Grow Its Own Medical Marijuana

BOSTON (UPI, Jan. 22, 1997) - Massachusetts is considering Wednesday growing its own marijuana for medical purposes if the federal government declines to provide a supply from its own growing fields.

Gov. William Weld says he supports proposed new state Health Department rules allowing certain seriously ill patients to use marijuana to ease their suffering.

He also says he has no problem with the possibility the state may grow its own marijuana for medical purposes, if the federal government refuses to supply the drug from its fields in Mississippi.

Weld says he wants the marijuana to come from "an official source" so people aren't forced to buy "street marijuana" that may be laced with other illegal substances.

The Clinton administration has threatened to prosecute doctors who prescribe marijuana for the treatment of any illness, despite approval by voters in California and Arizona.

The state Public Health Council is expected to act on the proposals next week.

Under the proposed new rules, a state panel of three doctors would have to certify any patients who wants to use the drug to alleviate their sufferingfrom such illnesses as glaucoma, severe asthma or the nausea caused by radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Weld says he would like to see that expanded to cover those suffering from AIDS, multiple sclerosis, lupus and arthritis.

The certification would protect patients who use marijuana from prosecution.

McCaffrey's 'Softening' Line

On Jan. 23 Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights wrote:

Dinosaur Here's a compilation of McCaffrey's quotes on the war on doctors.

He's gotten credit for taking a "softer" line recently, as if that's going to reduce the real fear felt by doctors. We hear reports now that California Cannabis Buyers' Clubs are having great difficulty with even the doctors who have regularly referred patients to them. No one will discuss marijuana with their patients anymore.

That's why the doctor/patient lawsuit was filed last week. The medical profession in CA and AZ needs clearer guidance about what kinds of recommendations are not going to be punished by the feds. McCaffrey's happy talk is no substitute for the DEA's well-articulated threats.

Check out the evolution of McCaffrey's public posturing -

McCaffrey's Hard Line Gets Softer, DEA Threats Lurk in Background

  • McCaffrey's first statement on the issue of punishing doctors was on Court TV, on a show called "Washington Watch." Though the show was to air Nov. 1, Reuters broke the story earlier in the week. Asked if the government might punish physicians who authorize medical marijuana, he said: "Without question. A physician who tries to prescribe a Schedule I drug, with or without these referendums in California and Arizona, is subject to prosecution under federal law - and we will uphold the law."

  • McCaffrey dodged questions on what action would be taken against doctors during an Oct. 31 appearance on KCRW's "Which Way, LA?" - He did say, "[M]arijuana is a Schedule I, banned drug. It will remain illegal under federal law -- it's a congressional act -- and we will uphold the law. So that's not really under discussion. I don't believe legitimate doctors are going to be prescribing it."
  • Much later, after the Administration announced its plan (Dec. 30) and began to get flak over the threats against doctors, McCaffrey got mellower.
  • On Friday, Jan. 10, McCaffrey told the AP in Los Angeles, "There are some doctors, respected ones, who think smoking marijuana is beneficial. We need to look into it. We need to respect their opinions, too."

  • McCaffrey evidently assured members of the San Francisco Medical Society that responsible physicians would not be targets for punishment. After a January 13 evening meeting with McCaffrey, society spokesman Steve Heilig told the Associated Press that McCaffrey said the government "will not go after physicians who might recommend this in the context of an established patient, if it's not being done indiscriminately," Heilig said.

  • Echoing much of his comment on the Dec. 29 edition of CBS's "Face the Nation," in which he tried to downplay the 'war on doctors,' McCaffrey said in the San Diego Union-Tribune January 14: "I do not expect there to be a problem with U.S. doctors violating the law." As in, they're feeling so threatened they won't violate the law?

  • McCaffrey's spokesman, Don Maple, in the same Jan. 14 article, repeats a common theme from the drug czar's office: "There is not an initiative to target doctors... [N]obody's beefed up any enforcement agencies for the purpose of doing that. No task forces were created."
  • How does all of this backtracking contrast with:
    DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, in a Dec. 23 story in The New York Times: "I think we are going to end up with a smaller group of these physicians than we ourselves once expected. And we are going to take very, very serious action against them."

    Woody Harrelson Wins Kentucky Hemp Challenge

    On Jan. 23, 1997, the
    Colorado Hemp Initiative Project wrote:
    Today, Judge Ralph E. McClanahan handed down the following judgment:
    ... After reviewing the statutes and memoranda of the parties this Court finds that the definition of marijuana contained in KRS 218A.010 (12) is constitutionally defective due to its overbroad application by including non-hallucinogenic plant parts. ... We believe the enactment of (this statute) is an arbitrary exercise of power by the General Assembly over the lives and property of free men. ...
    For more details contact:

    Burl McCoy (606) 254-6363, attorney of Woody Harrelson.

    Andrew R. Graves, President
    Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association, Inc.
    1st (606) 259-5766 Voice Pager
    2nd (606) 321-3490 Mobil
    3rd (606) 293-0579 Home

    The case is Commonwealth of Kentucky, 23rd Judicial District, Lee District Court, number 96-M-00161.

    Two Who Receive Federal Pot Lobby Minnesota Legislature

    "Pushing Pot"
    St. Paul Pioneer Press, Jan. 21, 1997, Front Page
    By Rick Shefchik, staff writer

    Two of the eight patients in the United States allowed to smoke marijuana legally want the Minnesota Legislature to legalize it for medical use.

    George McMahon and Barbara Douglass smoke marijuana to fight the symptoms of their debilitating illnesses.

    The two Iowans came to St. Paul on Monday to urge doctors, patients and state legislators to push for a law similar to those passed recently in California and Arizona that would permit the medicinal use of marijuana.

    Such a law would not guarantee pot for every patient who wanted or needed it, of course. The United States government has repeatedly stated that it will prosecute doctors who recommend marijuana to their patients in those states.

    In Minnesota, an attempt to pass a medical use bill died in committee hearings in 1993 and is not scheduled to be reintroduced this legislative session.

    Yet legalization of marijuana -- for medicinal purposes or otherwise -- is personally moot to McMahon and Douglass.

    Both can light up a joint any time and anywhere they want to -- even in the no-smoking section of your favorite restaurant. They are two of eight patients in America who receive 300 federally grown and rolled marijuana cigarettes each month under a program called Compassionate Care that was begun in 1976 and suspended in 1991.

    McMahon, a 46-year-old resident of Bode, Iowa (about 60 miles south of Fairmont, Minn.), suffers from nail patella syndrome, a genetic condition that affects major organs, disrupts the immune system and causes bone deformities. The illness led him to 19 surgeries and, eventually, to a wheelchair. By his count, 54 patients were approved for inclusion in the Compassionate Care program, but only 15 ever received their marijuana before the government pulled the plug. Those who were already receiving government pot in 1991 continued to receive it, but only eight are still living.

    "I'd be dead if I couldn't use marijuana," says McMahon, who still has difficulty walking but no longer uses a wheelchair. "Now I'm legal. The government tried to kill me to stop me from being that way. When they heard I was advanced terminally ill (while his application was pending for the Compassionate Care program), they waited two years to approve me."

    McMahon's pot-acquisition routine never varies.

    "I go to my doctor, get a prescription and go to a special pharmacy inside a secure building in a secure room," he says. "I give them my prescription, and they give me 300 cigarettes per month. Each is about as big around as a Camel."

    Douglass, 40, suffers from multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, and claims that "Medical marijuana' has cured my MS." The upbeat 40-year-old lives 60 miles west of McMahon in Lakeside, Iowa, on the shores of Storm Lake. "At least, it's made me able to live with it.

    "I'm a tiny little thing. I weigh 100 pounds. I, smoke a half a pound a month, and it has made an amazing difference. You have a spasm, and the marijuana eases that."

    Douglass' MS was diagnosed in 1988, and she began receiving marijuana in 1991 after her doctor agreed to submit her application. The government closed the program soon after she was accepted. She has regained her health through rigorous swimming exercises and, she's convinced, the use of pot.

    "I'm not in a wheelchair; I can walk. I'm not a crip, so to speak," Douglass says. "I've almost got my wiggle back."

    Does pot work?

    Anecdotal evidence aside, many doctors remain unconvinced that marijuana offers patients suffering from AIDS, cancer and MS any benefits that are not more adequately provided by legal drugs.

    Increased recreational use of marijuana in the '60s and '70s led to demands by patients and some doctors that the medical benefits of marijuana at least be investigated. Some believe, however, that enough research already exists.

    Dr. B. J. Kennedy, Regents professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and the former head of the university's oncology program, believes marijuana has no place in medical treatment.

    The studies done with marijuana did not show it was a medically effective agent," Kennedy says. "The randomized studies comparing marijuana to other things, indicated that marijuana did not prove to be worthwhile. It was because of that lack of scientific evidence that the FDA has never approved it."

    Kennedy and the medical users of marijuana agree on one point: the ineffectiveness of Marinol, the pharmaceutical derivative of marijuana's principle ingredient, THC.

    "We worked very hard to get the substance into pill form," Kennedy says. "After we had it available, the effectiveness was very poor, so the doctors stopped using it. We have better anti-nausea drugs when we need to use them." Douglass has tried Marinol.

    "It was the worst," Douglass said. "It didn't work. The pills took you. The marijuana you can extinguish when you feel you've had enough."

    In addition to being able to control their dosage and keep that dosage down when nausea is a problem, marijuana smoking advocates point out that there's more to the cannabis plant than just its THC component.

    Pot patients also point out the enormous expense of drugs vs. marijuana. McMahon used to spend $1,200 to $1,500 a month on medication. The government told him the marijuana he now receives costs them about 30 cents an ounce, or about $5 a month.

    Gordon Hanson, 47, spends $300 to $375 a month on medications to treat his epilepsy. He used to grow his own.

    Hanson lives in tiny Roosevelt, Minn., not far from the Canadian border. He grew marijuana on his property and smoked it for his epilepsy until he was arrested, convicted and jailed for three months in 1991. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that his claim of medical necessity was not a valid defense in a drug case.

    "If I could just grow my marijuana in my back yard, like I did in 1~89, I'd save the state a lot money," Hanson says.

    Hanson says other medications have unpleasant side effects, just the opposite of his experience with marijuana, with which the side effects -- including increased appetite and improved mood -- were all positive.

    Hanson was also having domestic abuse problems back in 1973 when a marriage counselor recommended to him that he try marijuana. He says the marijuana calmed him down and stopped his "Jekyll and Hyde" personality swings. He and his wife are still married, and Hanson remains a big advocate of medical marijuana.

    "When I first heard about the success they had in California, it gave me a lot of optimism on my own part, hoping Minnesota might also join," Hanson says. "I thought Minnesota would be one of the first states to do it, but now with this put-down by the federal government ... "It seems to me there's an awful lot of neglect on the part of the doctors and the government to seek out the benefits. There are a lot of things in nature, and after all, marijuana is just another plant God created. God created all things for a reason. Who are we to say our opinions are better than the Lord himself?"

    True believers

    Jacki Rickert doesn't need more scientific research to convince her that marijuana has medicinal qualities. The 45-year-old resident of Mondovi, Wis., suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Her joints dislocate and her bones break easily. She has had to have pins inserted into her shoulders, thumbs and most of her ball and socket joints.

    On the advice of friends, she began smoking marijuana for pain relief in 1988 and found it also helped with her nausea, muscle spasms, her ability to absorb other medications and her appetite. At one point she was down to 68 pounds, but marijuana helped her gain weight.

    She told her doctor, who'd been treating her for 12 years, that she wanted to apply for the Compassionate Care program.

    "He had exhausted everything in the Physicians' Desk Reference for pain and muscle relaxants," Rickert recalls. "I had so many problems with them, from either not being able to keep them down, or having allergic reactions to them, or them just not working, so I asked him .about 1~e possibility of going on cannabis therapy."

    Her physician, Dr. William Wright, realized the situation was critical; Rickert describes her appearance at the time as "a walking skeleton, like someone who had just walked out of a concentration camp."

    Wright spent six months researching the issue in contemporary publishing as well as old medical journals -- "It wasn't something he took lightly," Rickert says -- and finally agreed that he would not be living up to his Hippocratic oath if he did not try to obtain the substance that Rickert told him worked for her.

    After completing mountains of paperwork, Rickert filed her application to the Compassionate Care program in May 1990. She received her approval in December 1990. Her doctor began submitting the proper prescription forms, and Rickert waited to receive her marijuana. It never came.

    She read in a newspaper that the government was claiming it had run out of marijuana, but a federal official finally admitted to Rickert's daughter that they had more than adequate supplies.

    Then she heard the program was on hold because the government was being overrun with applications for medicinal marijuana from AIDS patients.

    When the program was officially suspended in June 1991, Rickert was told only patients already receiving marijuana would continue to receive it. She'd never received a single joint. For her, she was told, there was Marinol.

    She now relies on people she calls her "cannabis angels" who anonymously drop off small amounts of pot at her house.

    A plea to Clinton

    Rickert and her daughter are determined to pursue her cause, however, and in spring 1992 they had a chance to meet presidential candidate Bill Clinton as he campaigned for the Wisconsin primary.

    Rickert recalls speaking with candidate Clinton for nearly eight minutes in the rain at the steps of his campaign bus, and when she was through telling him that a hold had been put on her promised prescription, he seemed very concerned.

    "He said, 'Why, that's just terrible. If elected, I will make sure that this is made right,'" Rickert says.

    "I said, 'Sir, please don't say it if you don't mean it. I don't think I could handle having another bubble broken.'

    "He shook hands with me and put his hand on my daughter and just smiled," Rickert says. "And I believed him. He had the same look of sincerity the day he took the oath, and that day the tragedy happened in Oklahoma City. So I don't understand what happened between then and now."

    Between then and now, political reality set in. The administration's current position is the same as that under President Bush: Allowing marijuana to be used for medical reasons undermines the federal government's tough-on-drugs message. Clinton's only public pronouncements on the issue have been to support his drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, in his vow to prosecute doctors who prescribe pot.

    The government's role

    Even some doctors who aren't convinced of marijuana's medical effectiveness have difficulty understanding the government's hard-line attitude.

    Dr. Steve Miles of the University of Minnesota's Center for Biomedical Ethics works with terminally ill patients. He's known patients who've used marijuana. He thinks the government needs to loosen its anti-pot attitude.

    "Though I am not a proponent of marijuana for use in terminally ill patients, I don't understand why, given that it's been on the table as a possible therapy for 30 years, we don't know the answer," Miles says. "That strikes me as a form of censorship of the research enterprise. We should know the answer."

    Like Kennedy, Miles believes the currently available anti-nausea drugs work better than marijuana, but he can't understand why marijuana is so stigmatized.

    "I am struck by the irony of a society that seems to be on the verge of authorizing physician-assisted suicide and saying the same class of patients couldn't choose to use marijuana."

    For George McMahon, suicide is the only alternative to marijuana.

    "I was in terrible pain," McMahon says of his pro-pot condition. "I would not have gone on like that. That isn't worth it."

    Kennedy says the current surge in interest over medicinal marijuana can be attributed to passing fad.

    "You're listening to patients who would prefer to have something like that rather than be appropriately treated with other drugs," Kennedy says.

    Not so, according to those who say they depend on marijuana for relief. McMahon says he's not looking for an excuse to get high.

    "I'm in good enough condition to talk and have a fairly decent conversation today, and I probably am very high, but to me that's just feeling slightly less well than I felt when I was healthy," McMahon says.

    "I wasn't a pot smoker," Douglass says. "I don't get high. A cancer patient doesn't get high on pills. I appreciate that it helps my disease, but I don't like being a pot smoker.

    "I feel anger towards people who smoke it without a reason. It's not cool. It's wrong. I say, why can't somebody else take this damn pot, and I'll take their health in trade in two seconds."

    [photo captions:]

    George McMahon's tin of legal marijuana arrives monthly with 300 cigarettes in each package.

    Barbara Douglass, of Lakeside, Iowa, smokes a marijuana cigarette at the Kelly Inn in St. Paul before the start of a seminar on the medical uses of marijuana. She has multiple sclerosis and smokes about 10 joints a day to ease her chronic pain.

    Trial Date Set For Licensed Arizona Cannabis Seller

    A trial date of January 27, 1997, has been set in the case of State of Arizona vs. Richard M. Davis. The trial is to be held in Maricopa County Superior Court, at Mesa, Arizona, before Judge Brian Ishikawa. Davis was arrested for selling cannabis on January 27, 1996, at Superbowl XXX, in Tempe, Arizona. Charges against Mr. Davis include three felony counts of sales of cannabis and one felony count of possession for sale of cannabis.

    The Arizona Department of Revenue issues a Cannabis Dealer's License and Cannabis Tax Stamps as a part of the Luxury Tax Codes (See Some twenty states have Cannabis tax stamp laws in the U.S., but only Arizona issues a Dealer's License, which has been in the Arizona law since 1983. The prosecutor, David Flader, has moved to suppress the dealer's license and character witnesses in the case. No rulings have been made on these motions.

    Curator of the U.S.A. Hemp Museum, Mr. Davis came to Arizona after Judge John R. Barclay of the Northwest Phoenix District Court, dismissed charges against Peter Banker Wilson for possession of cannabis, because Wilson was in possession of an Arizona Cannabis Dealer's license and had paid his taxes. Mr. Wilson's case is on appeal.

    Davis is being represented by Phoenix attorney Michael Walz, who handled the Peter Wilson case before Judge Barclay. Walz can be reached at (602) 254-8861. Richard M. Davis can be contacted at (310) 442-9073.

    US Prison Population Grew 4.4 Percent Last Year, To 1,630,940

    "Growth in Prison Population Declines"
    The New York Times, Jan. 20, 1997
    By Fox Butterfield

    The rapid growth in the number of people in the nation's jails and prisons slowed last year for the first time in a decade, according to a study released Sunday by the Justice Department, reflecting at least in part a decline in the crime rate over the past five years.

    At the end of June 1996, there were 1,630,940 people in federal and state prisons and local jails, an increase of 4.4 percent over the previous year, compared with an average annual growth rate of 7.8 percent in the last decade, the study found.

    The growth rate slowed most noticeably in city and county jails, rising only 2.3 percent last year after increasing by an average of 6.9 percent over the previous decade. Inmates sentenced to jail usually are serving a term of a year or less.

    The slowing in the overall growth rate "is good news; it could be an early reflection in the incarceration rate of the drop in crime over the last five years," said Alfred Blumstein, a professor of criminology at Carnegie-Mellon University.

    But Blumstein and some other experts tempered their enthusiasm, noting that a slower growth rate in one year could be a random fluctuation. It will take another few years to confirm whether this is a real trend, Blumstein said, pointing out that the slowdown was not dramatic and that the incarceration rate still grew last year despite the five-year drop in the crime rate.

    In fact, Franklin Zimring, the director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute of the University of California at Berkeley, suggested that because the incarceration rate has continued to increase even as crime has fallen, the number of people in prison "tells us more about our feelings about crime and criminals" and about changes in sentencing laws than about the actual crime rate.

    The total number of people in jails and prisons doubled over the last decade and tripled over the last 20 years as politicians pushed for tougher sentencing laws and for building more prisons in response to mounting public fears about violent crime. The national incarceration rate was 615 inmates per 100,000 Americans last year, up from 313 per 100,000 in 1985.

    One reason it is difficult to calculate precisely why the incarceration rate goes up or down is that there is enormous variation in prison populations among states and regions. The new study found, for example, that the District of Columbia had the highest number of prisoners per capita, 1,444 per 100,000 residents, followed by Texas with 659, Louisiana with 611 and Oklahoma with 580. But states in the northern Midwest and northern New England tend to have much lower rates. North Dakota had 90 per 100,000, followed by Minnesota with 108 and Maine with 112.

    The South had the highest imprisonment rate with an average of 487 prisoners per 100,000 people, and the Northeast had the lowest, with 306.

    An important factor in explaining why the prison population has continued to grow, while the crime rate began to decline in 1992, experts say, is that the crime which has led to the largest increase in incarceration, the sale and possession of drugs, is not counted in the FBI's crime index. Over the last 10 years, Blumstein estimated, drug offenders accounted for about half the growth in the prison population.

    The crime index tracks four violent crimes (murder, aggravated assault, robbery and rape) and four property crimes (burglary, auto theft, arson and larceny, or minor thefts like like shoplifting). Murder has dropped the fastest of the crimes included in the index, though the murders make up only a very small part of the total number of crimes.

    Another reason the number of prison inmates has continued to increase, despite the decline in serious and violent crimes, is that it often takes a year or longer for offenders to be tried and sentenced to prison.

    It is unclear whether the slower growth in the prison population could be interpreted as a sign that tougher sentencing laws are successful. While experts agree that building more prisons may reduce crime by removing some career criminals from the streets, they have long argued about whether the threat of harsher sentences actually deters criminals.

    Zimring said he is skeptical about a deterrent effect because the prison population has tripled in 20 years while the crime rate has oscillated in a narrow range.

    But Steven Levitt, an economist at Harvard University who studies the effectiveness of prisons and police, said "the underlying amount of crime would have grown faster had we not locked so many people up."

    To measure the effectiveness of imprisonment in reducing crimes, Levitt has studied the results of successful prisoner lawsuits to reduce overcrowding.

    In 12 states where such suits resulted in a judge's decision to reduce overcrowding, he said, the growth rate of those states' prison population was 12 percent slower than that of the nation over the next three years, while the violent crime rate in those states exceeded the national average by about 10 percent. Similarly, the property crime rate in those 12 states surpassed the national average by about 6 percent in the three years after the lawsuits.

    Although Levitt acknowledged that using prisons to fight crime is costly in both human and dollar terms, he said the new figures showing slower growth in the incarceration rate "are a very clear indication" of the nationwide drop in crime since 1992. "I would not be surprised over the next five years to see more falling crime rates accompanied by continuing small increases in the prison population," he said.

    "It is conceivable that we have gotten over the hump, or cleared the peak of the fight against crime," Levitt said.

    The new report released Sunday was written by Darrell Gilliard and Allen J. Beck of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the statistical arm of the Justice Department.

    'China War On Drugs Nets 110,000 Criminals In 1996'

    BEIJING (Reuter, Jan. 17, 1997) - Chinese police arrested more than 110,000 people for drugs-related crimes and solved more than 87,000 narcotics cases in 1996, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

    Police seized more than four tonnes of heroin, more than 1.7 tonnes of opium and more than one tonne of amphetamines, or ``ice,'' last year, Xinhua quoted officials at a national conference on banned drugs as saying.

    "There is an international flood of drugs, the numbers of domestic drug users are growing daily, and drugs pose a serious threat to our country,'' Xinhua quoted the conference as concluding.

    However, drugs crimes had soared, with China busting 87,000 drugs-related cases in 1996 compared with 57,500 the year before, the Xinhua figures showed. Police arrested 110,000 people last year, up from 73,700 offenders in 1995.

    In 1995, authorities confiscated nearly 2.4 tonnes of heroin and 1.1 tonnes of opium.

    The southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi, Guangdong and Hunan in the south, and Gansu in the north -- all hotbeds of drug activity -- had launched special wars on drugs, Xinhua said.

    The conference called for strict punishment of those convicted of drugs crimes, which carry the death penalty, and urged citizens to be more aware of drugs, Xinhua said.

    China often executes drug dealers at public rallies and forces addicts into harsh military-style rehabilitation camps.

    Drug abuse, once nearly wiped out under the stern puritan rule of Mao Zedong, has made a comeback in China following economic reforms that have loosened the central government's control over society.

    Drug addiction in China had soared recently, with the latest figures showing the number of registered addicts jumping by at least 37 percent in 1995.

    Chinese drug experts have said the total number of addicts could be as high as one million, with most now favouring heroin over opium, once China's traditional narcotic of choice.

    Cartels operating from the Golden Triangle where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet have increasingly used China as a transit route for drug shipments to Hong Kong and on to the West.

    'Salem-Keizer School Board Allows Canine Drug Searches'

    Due to the ignorance and bias of Oregon mass media, local news is often best perceived in light of national news, as the ensuing articles suggest.

    According to the Jan. 19, 1997 Sunday Oregonian:

    SALEM - Drug-sniffing dogs will be allowed to conduct random, unannounced searches at Salem-Keizer schools, the school board has decided.

    Although the decision allows searches at all schools, they are not expected to take place at elementary schools unless a need arises. Canine searches will take place about once a year at middle and high schools.

    Students who are found with illegal or unsafe materials will be reported to authorities and subjected to the school's discipline policy.

    Both school property and students' property may be searched. Lockers and desks are considered school property, and backpacks, purses, cars and clothes are personal property (p. D4).

    [End quote. Now read these articles from the Examiner, Washington Post and Playboy.]

    "Prozac for teens: Use or abuse?"
    The San Francisco Examiner, "Youth Outlook," Jan. 21, 1997
    By Allyce Bess
    See them everywhere: well educated, stressed-out Ivy League-bound preppies on drugs. The drug of choice isn't cocaine, marijuana, speed or heroin ("No way! I'd be disinherited!"). It's Prozac.

    Close to half of the 15- to 18-year olds I know are on Prozac. Half! Their parents will do anything to get their kids to achieve, behave, clean their rooms - whatever - including supplying them with the latest in personality-altering drugs. Instead of questioning the purpose of what they once believed was their most trivial homework, now they just do it.

    At their best, the children of Prozac are living bland supercharged, efficient ants. At their worst, they are passive, television-addicted, video watching people whose conversational skills are limited to "Gee, I really like your outfit." Surprisingly, many of the kids (in their new passionless state) actually say that they are grateful to be on Prozac, and believe that the drug makes them feel more "balanced."

    But is Prozac really helping them, or is it just fitting them into a certain mold while masking their real problems? Perhaps John is getting Cs in school because that is the only way he can get attention from his parents. Maybe Jane is always unhappy and tearful because the highly competitive, academic environment she's in makes her feel worthless. Many of these children (and teenagers are children) are led to believe that there is something inherently wrong with them; that they are defective, that they are embarrassments. But these kids aren't chemically imbalanced, they're just human.

    Many of the kids I know on Prozac are (were?) sensitive, inquisitive, critically minded individuals. Let's take a fictional, but representative example. Kate had always been quite witty. Although the comments she made about people sometimes bordered on the snide, somebody had to say them. I enjoyed her wry sense of humor and her acidic social commentary. But since she started taking Prozac, she has slipped into an infuriatingly passive state. She doesn't write as much as she used to, and her behavior has become much more predictable.

    Some people say that Kate is a lot easier to get along with now. Her parents and teachers also like Prozac. Kate better than the old version, but Prozac has essentially "normalized" a feisty and unique personality. Is temporary relief from the normal anxieties of growing up really worth the loss of individuality?

    My friend Lee is not mentally imbalanced; she is profoundly sensitive. But she was on Prozac as well. She told me that Prozac made her feel less defensive. Comments that she previously interpreted as critical and rude no longer bothered her: "I realized that some people just have their own problems, worse than mine." It makes me sad to think that it took a prescription for Prozac for Lee to become less sensitive, rather than talking these issues through with friends or family, or a counselor.

    After Tim started taking Prozac, it was difficult to get him talk about anything. When I asked him about the effect the drug had on him, he said, "Instead of thinking of all the ways to describe a problem, you jump to the solution." But isn't something valuable lost in the process? What about the idea of working through your problems by talking about them?

    Prozac may be great for adults with chemical imbalances, but I think that giving it to kids who aren't doing well in school, or who don't get along with their parents, is child abuse. A society is in danger when its inhabitants are willing to presumptively alter their biochemical makeup just to feel more "balanced." It's also a sad commentary on parenting when adults give their children drugs so they will be less of a nuisance.

    Maybe kids do feel more relaxed on Prozac, but it certainly doesn't solve their problems. If Prozac is used to avoid life's important issues, it will likely create a race of grinning, oblivious teenagers who turn into grinning, oblivious adults without personal opinions or convictions. There is nothing wrong with a healthy attitude problem. It is the key to an adolescent's growth and individuality and can lead to wonderful creative endeavors. I hate seeing so many unique personalities lobotomized by Prozac.

    Allyce Bess is on the staff of YO! (Youth Outlook), a newspaper by and about Bay Area teens produced by Pacific News Service.

    "A 4th Amendment Lesson -- the Teacher Gets Fired"
    The Washington Post, Jan. 18, 1997, p. A23
    By Nat Hentoff
    It was a SWAT team moving in on students in Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, Ga. As described by Bill Osinski last year in the Atlanta Constitution, "Without warning, teams of armed county and school system officers would periodically come into the schools, order everyone into the hallways, use dogs to sniff the students' book bags and purses, and scan the students' bodies with metal detectors." The students are detained in their classrooms for two to three hours.

    There is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause to target any particular student. All of them are presumed guilty of possessing drugs or weapons unless exonerated by a drug dog.

    Sherry Hearn, a teacher at Windsor Forest High School, had complained about these random raids to the principal, to the school board and to cops she felt were unduly rough with students during the searches.

    At a November 1995 lockdown, as it's called, one of her students asked Hearn why she was so upset. "Because I teach the Constitution," she said. She had been doing that for 27 years, had been named Teacher of the Year in Chatham County in April 1994, and has many admirers among her students, past and present -- some of whom she has turned away from drugs.

    When she spoke caustically about the lockdown, she was overheard by a police officer, who reported her to the principal, adding that because of her "attitude" problem, she might have to be detained or restrained during future surprise raids. During a subsequent random raid, Hearn's son was the only student out of 1,500 to be individually searched.

    There was another lockdown in April 1996, and the industrious police also searched the cars in the parking lot. One of them was Sherry Hearn's venerable Oldsmobile. She had left the doors unlocked and the windows open. A drug dog found a partial hand-rolled marijuana cigarette in the car.

    Hearn had absolutely no record of drug use and had no idea how that incriminating controlled substance had come into her car. The search, conducted without a warrant, was also in direct violation of the board's policy, which requires that faculty members give consent before their cars are searched. Her car had a large white faculty identification card on the dashboard.

    The Board of Education suspended Hearn and ordered her to take a "supervised" drug test -- or lose her job. Although three years short of retirement, she refused. "How could I face my students? To do what I genuinely believe to be an unconstitutional act out of fear was a kind of public shaming I could not face."

    Furthermore, the original command to be drug tested turned out to be unconstitutional because after she had been read her Miranda rights, including the right to consult a law yer and the right not to incriminate herself without getting a lawyer's advice, she was told that the test -- which might incriminate her -- had to be taken within two hours. She wasn't able to reach her lawyer within that period to get his advice, so her Miranda rights, she felt, had been violated.

    The day after the raid, at the strong advice of her attorney, Hearn reluctantly agreed to take a drug test because he said it would provide medical evidence. Hearn's test showed no drug use. The school's superintendent, Patrick Russo, did not even ask to see the results because she hadn't taken the first test.

    Hearn was fired for insubordination by Superintendent Russo, although he had the options of reprimanding or suspending her. She was removed from her students, Russo told me, because she failed to "uphold the integrity of the drug testing policy." He added graciously that she was "a wonderful teacher." No action was taken against the officers who searched her car in violation of the school district's drug testing policy.

    Sherry Hearn's appeal to her local school board has been denied on the grounds of insubordination. And the Atlanta Constitution states: "This is not about drugs. This is about the trampling of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution." (She also has the support of National Teacher Magazine.)

    The Georgia State Board of Education has rejected Hearn's appeal, also on the grounds of insubordination. Her case now moves into U.S. District Court, where she will argue that her Fourth Amendment rights, among others, have been violated -- along with her due process rights. She has not been able to find a full-time teaching job because, she tells me, "most public systems are fearful of anyone involved in a lawsuit."

    Sherry Hearn was recently honored by the Georgia Civil Liberties Union. She was very pleased, but would be more pleased to go back to everyday teaching and be able to get kids to discover their rights and liberties under the Constitution.

    - Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights.

    "The War On Our Children"
    Playboy, Forum, February 1997
    by Arnold Trebach & Scott Ehlers
    Once again, politicians have decided to blame children for many of society's problems. President Clinton wants municipalities to adopt curfews, threatening to place millions of law-abiding youth under virtual house arrest. Representative Bill McCollum (R.-Fla.) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) introduced legislation in the last session of Congress that would largely end the requirement of separating juvenile offenders from adult offenders. States across the country are making it easier to prosecute and punish juveniles as adults.

    In the midst of all this fear about the harm caused by America's children, one does not easily picture Jennifer Budak as an enemy of society.

    The 15-year-old freshman at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Michigan does not smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. She has never been a discipline problem and has been on the honor roll since the fourth grade.

    In addition to being a model student, Budak has a hobby of collecting "weird pens." In December 1995, she was in Chicago and bought a pen for her collection-a pen that had thewords REAL POT SEEDS and then the word STERILE written on its side. Encased within were unusable and therefore-under Michigan law-legal seeds.

    When she took the pen to school in January and loaned it to a friend, she never imagined that she might be making one of the biggest mistakes of her life. Her friend was caught with the pen in gym class, and Budak was told she could face a 45day suspension.

    River Valley High School has a "zero-tolerance" drug policy. The school handbook notes that the use, possession, sale or distribution of drugs, including alcohol and look-alike drugs, on school property will result in: (1) a 45-school-day suspension without makeup privileges, (2) required assessment for drug dependency at a certified clinic; and (3) required attendance at a minimum of four sessions with a drug abuse counselor.

    How does this punishment compare with those meted out for other crimes? Physically assaulting someone or attempting to burn down the school will result in a suspension of up to ten days. Theft or fighting will earn a one- to three-day suspension. Extortion, vandalism and forgery are also minor offenses compared with drug or alcohol possession.

    In Jennifer Budak's case, drug use was not an issue. Principal David Zech had to decide whether Budak possessed a drug or a look-alike drug, terms that were not defined in the school handbook. In Zech's mind, if Jennifer's pen contained marijuana seeds even sterile ones-then she possessed a drug and would have to be disciplined.

    Jennifer was forced to serve the 45 day suspension. She received zeros for every day of school missed and is not allowed to make up the work. Her grade point average, her morale and possibly her college career have suffered irreparable harm.

    Unfortunately, Budak's story is not an isolated one. The war on drugs has resulted in increasingly punitive sanctions for youth. Police tactics are being employed in schools, tactics that include the use of students and undercover police officers as informants, mass searches without suspicion, random urine testing and harsh criticism of students and faculty who speak out against these activities.

    In May, The Atlanta Constitution featured a story on Operation Free Zone, developed by the sheriff's department in Fayette County, Georgia. The program paid students a $20 reward to turn in fellow students suspected of using or dealing drugs. While many students happily agreed to become paid informants-the police received 224 tips-others in the community didn't think it was such a good idea. Teresa Nelson, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, sarcastically noted, "I think it's great to teach our children to be snitches. That's what they did in Nazi Germany."

    Police pay students to inform on one another, while undercover narcotics officers prowl America's schools. In Milwaukee's suburban West Allis Hale High School, a police officer posed as a student in a two- month undercover drug probe that resulted in the arrests of 16 students and nine nonstudents. The tiny amount of drugs involved (in one case, one twelfth of an ounce of marijuana) suggests overkill-students were parceling out a stash, not actively recruiting new users. Lance Wallace, facing a fine of $500 to $25,000 and up to three years in prison, claims entrapment. "Not one of the people busted was a dealer," he says.

    According to Wallace, the officer targeted suspected users and turned them into dealers by encouraging them to sell him small quantities of marijuana. The undercover agent, known as Clint Carson, also drank with underage students and once drove a car while intoxicated. At one of the high school parties, it was alleged, "Clint" was begging people for weed. Chad Radtke, a student at Hale and one of Wallace's friends, was approached by Clint. "He came up to me," Radtke says, "sat next to me and asked, 'Where can you get some bud around here?"'

    While West Allis prefers stealth attacks, the police in Savannah, Georgia are more overt. At Windsor Forest High School and other Chatham County schools, the authorities conduct lockdown searches. Students must stay in their classrooms for two to four hours while teams of armed county officers, school officials and dogs search common areas and classrooms. Authorities herd the students into the halls, where they are scanned with metal detectors, while dogs sniff their book bags and purses in the classrooms.

    One person was willing to speak up for the students-Chatham County's 1994 Teacher of the Year, Sherry Hearn. She has openly opposed the searches since they were instituted in 1993, describing them as "degrading, demeaning and humiliating." She added, "They produced a lot of anger in the students, and they did not help create an atmosphere conducive to learning respect for authority. Sometimes, the officers were disrespectful and rude; the students were treated like criminals, with no evidence that they'd done anything wrong." The school administration and campus police did not take her objections lightly.

    During a February 1996 lockdown, police singled out Hearn's son-one of 1500 students-for an individual search. And on April 4, the police allegedly found a small piece of a marijuana joint in Hearn's car, which was in the school parking lot with its windows down and the doors unlocked. The search violated school board policy, but the fun was just beginning. The administration ordered Hearn to report for a urine test within two hours. She refused and spent the day trying to secure legal representation. Despite a negative test the next day, she was suspended. The school board then upheld Superintendent Patrick Russo's recommendation that Hearn be fired.

    Sadly, the dragnet searches that Sherry Hearn opposed might have been ruled unconstitutional years ago were it not for a Supreme Court that has time and again rubber-stamped drug war tactics used to target the young. The court has consistently upheld the power of school authorities to curb students' freedoms in an effort to save them from drugs.

    As far back as May 26, 1981, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Diane "Doe," a girl who attended an Indiana school where officials conducted a search. The previous spring, 16 teams of police, citizens and dogs had conducted a raid during which the dogs sniffed every one of the 2780 children involved. School officials ordered a few of the students, including Diane, to strip nude for a more intrusive search. The parents of Diane "Doe" were so outraged that they sued and received a cash settlement out of court. They persisted with the suit on appeal because they wanted the dragnet searches of innocent children declared unconstitutional.

    The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, seemingly on technical grounds. Justice William Brennan, dismayed at the inaction of his colleagues, wrote a sharp dissent from the brief order denying the appeal on May 26, 1981.

    Justice Brennan's dissent in Doe vs. Renfrow declared: "We do not know what class [Diane] was attending when the police and dogs burst in, but the lesson the school authorities taught her that day will undoubtedly make a greater impression than the one her teacher hoped to convey." The justice wisely stated that he would have granted the appeal to teach Diane and other students a different lesson, that "before police and local officials are permitted to conduct dog-assisted dragnet inspections of public school students, they must obtain a warrant based upon sufficient particularized evidence to establish probable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed. Schools cannot expect their students to learn the lessons of good citizenship when the school authorities themselves disregard the fundamental principles underpinning our constitutional freedoms."

    Justice Brennan saw that everything happening in school becomes part of the educational process. The strip search of Diane, the lockdown searches at Windsor Forest High School and the expulsion of Jennifer Budak form a new course-Draconian Drug Education 101.

    The Court furthered this alternative curriculum with its June 1995 decision that upheld mandatory random urinalyses of student athletes.

    Several years earlier officials of the Vernonia, Oregon School District had become convinced that the cause defiance and disruption among students was drug use. Officials claimed that large numbers of students, including athletes, were in a state of rebellion. The physical education department thought drug use posed a special threat because it increased the risk of sports injuries. In response, administrators demanded that all athletes consent to the random urinalysis policy.

    Seventh grader James Acton objected to the testing and was told he could not play football when he and his parents refused to sign the consent form Acton, a top student never suspected of using drugs, based his objection to Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches.

    The Supreme Court, however, gave what amounted to its first constitutional blessing to the broad student search policy. The decision opened the door to the possibility that all 45 million American public school children may someday be required to undergo random urinalyses in the presence of government officials in order to receive other school privileges, such as scholarships or even an education.

    An appellate court judge who had agreed with the Acton family's position stated that "children are compelled to attend school, but nothing suggests they lose their right to privacy in their excretory functions when they do so."

    In her dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recognized the danger in the majority's opinion, which failed to acknowledge that "history and precedent establish that individualized suspicion is usually required under the Fourth Amendment." Responding to the argument that the Fourth Amendment is more lenient with respect to school searches, she wrote that "intrusive, blanket searches of schoolchildren, most of whom are innocent, for evidence of serious wrongdoing are not part of any traditional school function of which I am aware. Indeed, many schools, like many parents, prefer to trust their children unless given reason to do otherwise. As James Acton's father said on the witness stand, suspicionless testing 'sends a message to children who are trying to be responsible citizens . . . that they have to prove they're innocent. I think that sets a bad tone for citizenship.'"

    Just two months after the Acton decision, school board members in Indiana were already discussing how they could take it one step further. On August 14, 1995 school board president Steve Musselman suggested that Hamilton Southeastern High School, in Fishers, Indiana, begin a forced drug testing program for students who wanted to use the school parking lot.

    "If the rationale for randomly testing athletes is because of safety, the school has the ability to control who drives," said school attorney Brad Cook.

    Although Hamilton Southeastern decided not to institute the novel drug testing policy, officials at nearby Noblesville High School implemented a friendlier, volunteer system of mass random urinalyses of its students. Officials there decided that they would give students an incentive to submit urine samples, and the results would be revealed only to the students' parents. Incentives included off-campus lunch privileges and a chance to win gift certificates, a limousine ride to Indianapolis or a trip to Florida. Of the 700 to 800 students tested in the 1995- 1996 school year, about 30 tested positive.

    It is exactly this type of incentive program that Rachel Ehrenfeld recommended in Drug Intolerance Policy, published by the Free Congress Foundation in early 1996:

    "Adolescents should be encouraged to take a pledge to remain drug-free. They should agree to random drug testing in return for a card that could be used to obtain discounts on tuition, school supplies, clothing, electronic gear, entertainment, concerts, food, etc. These discounts should be provided by the school system, stores, theaters and restaurants. Random testing would follow the old strategic arms limitation treaty concept: Trust, but verify."

    Ehrenfeld's program would encourage children to sell valuable rights for material trinkets. Again, we should ask what this teaches our children.

    These developments should disturb anyone who thinks of America as a free society. Policies that treat students as enemies in the war on drugs are socially damaging for several reasons: (1)These children suffer indignities, invasions of privacy and restrictions of their constitutional rights. (2) We are indoctrinating several generations of children with the belief that venerable constitutional guarantees of privacy may be abrogated by the needs of drug control. (3) As these students, now inoculated with an intolerant attitude, take power, invasions of privacy will become more widely implemented because they will be seen as prime American values. (4) Legal decisions upholding invasions of students' rights eventually diminish the rights of everyone-and weaken the foundation of our democratic society.

    We can approach the issue of youth drug use with tolerance and understanding or with intolerance and repression. This nation has chosen the latter, less noble path. Zero tolerance means total intolerance-and we must ask ourselves how that awful idea became part of our democratic lexicon. An essential task is to lay out the path to tolerance and understanding, which is closer to the more admirable traditions of American society.

    We must create school drug policies that treat students with compassion and common sense, especially those who actually have drug problems. At the same time, we can't forget the traumatic impact these rigid policies often have on students far removed from the drug scene.

    We must keep in mind that we have had these bouts of blame-the-youth hysteria many times before. It might help our thinking if we were to approach the issue of youth drug use with a different paradigm: respect for the opinions of adolescents and for their challenges to existing institutions.

    We are in danger of producing generations of leaders who are either harshly intolerant of any deviations from the norm or viciously opposed to all institutions and values that preceded them. Drug education and school discipline should seek ultimately to produce well-balanced adults who can function with a sense of moderation and rationality. Such sensibly humane results cannot be expected from the system that imposed a 45-day suspension on Jennifer Budak for innocently bringing sterile pot seeds to school.

    Arnold Trebach is a professor at American University and editor in chief of "The Drug Policy Letter," a quarterly publication of the Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, D.C. Scott Ehlers is associate editor.

    'Corruption In US Counter Narcotics'

    On Jan. 19, 1997,
    Allen D. Montgomery wrote:
    As a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, I was stationed at the Caribbean Regional Operations Center, a Joint Service unit in Key West that is involved in counter narcotics. In 1991, I concluded that an Air Force Major named Don Anderson was involved in drug related espionage. I tried to do something about it, and ended up getting kicked out for psychiatric reasons. Check out my web page:

    'Why AIDS Doctors May Face Prison - Just Say Reno'

    The Scoop, circa Jan. 19, 1997
    [Hear this in RealAudio at]
    By Bob Harris

    Last November, voters in California and Arizona approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

    Because it reduces intraocular pressure, marijuana wails on glaucoma, and since it creates major munchies (say... Clinton jogs every day and still never loses weight) it's also useful in treating life-threatening anorexia, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and the wasting syndrome of many AIDS patients.

    Last week, Attorney General Janet Reno -- who permanently wears Mr. Yuk Face -- flouted democracy, announcing that doctors who prescribe marijuana will still face federal prosecution.

    Even though truly dangerous crap like cocaine, morphine, and Percodan is perfectly legal to prescribe, Janet Reno says medical marijuana sends the wrong message about drugs.

    Messages? Hello?!?! Joe Camel is the most recognizable cartoon in America, and -- watch carefully -- a single televised pro football game contains nearly 100 ads for alcohol.

    You want to save kids from drugs? Publicly denounce Jesse Helms and Dick Gephardt as front men for Philip Morris and Anheuser Busch. Interrogate the Commerce Department about subsidizing tobacco sales to third-world children. Arrest any member of the Dallas Cowboys on sight.

    Janet Reno should grill noted stoners Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Al Gore, and Rush Limbaugh before screwing with the 60 million other Americans who have tried pot -- or the doctors who want to use it to save dying people.

    Banning medical marijuana doesn't send a message to children; it just sends sick people to prison.

    Can marijuana really be a medicine? Yup. It was first used as a pain reliever in China over 5000 years ago, and herbalists in India have prescribed it for headaches, insomnia, and nausea for at least 3000 years. Its use in Europe extends all the way back to Galen and the ancient Greeks, although it wasn't widespread until after Napoleon's troops returned from Egypt.

    Between 1839 and 1940, cannabis was one of the most common pain relievers in America. Over 100 medical journal articles recommended cannabis for various conditions, and the drug was sold over-the-counter by Parke-Davis, Eli Lilly, and Squibb. Only legislation subsequent to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which had less to do with public health than protecting the paper and synthetic textile markets from automated hemp production, curtailed marijuana's legal medical use in the United States.

    However, continuing clinical studies reported that marijuana can even be used as a powerful antidepressant, anticonvulsive, and antibiotic. Illicit medical use remained widespread.

    Eventually, from 1976 to 1990, the U.S. government supplied over 160,000 marijuana cigarettes to about 50 glaucoma and cancer patients under the Compassionate Investigative New Drug Program. The results were tremendously encouraging, and in 1988, even the DEA's own administrative law judge wrote that "marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known."

    So there you are.

    The program was killed because, to be blunt, George Bush is evil.

    In marijuana's place, the government approved Marinol -- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana's go juice, in pure form -- which the drug industry (in which Bush was personally invested) can make a jillion dollars from.

    Trouble is, Marinol is often useless: patients who need THC precisely to fight severe nausea tend to vomit the capsule.


    Marinol also has scary physical and psychoactive side effects, and an overdose can kill. Window box pot is cheap, euphoric, and impossible to overdose on.

    So is medical marijuana just a trojan horse to legalize pot for recreational use? No. It's about about saving lives.

    Look, I smoked enough hemp in college to rig the U.S.S. Constitution, but I stopped ten years ago. The cancer risk bugged me, I write better straight, and it's nice to actually remember the lyrics to my favorite reggae songs.

    However, before my own father died of chemotherapy last year, my family watched him slowly wither as a result of severe nausea.

    If Dad had wanted to light a joint so he could ease his pain and swallow a solid meal, I would have gladly gotten him one.

    So would you.

    That's all this is about.

    How many cancer specialists consider marijuana a useful medicine? 44 percent of oncologists recently surveyed admitted to illegally recommending marijuana at least once.

    Your government consider these doctors criminals. I'm surprised Janet Reno hasn't called out the BATF, sprayed flammable CS gas into Mt. Sinai, and incinerated the cancer ward -- all in the name of saving the patients.

    Bob Harris is a political humorist who has lectured at over 275 colleges nationwide. He's also the co-author of the CD/ROM Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination.

    'Lies Prevail In Case Against Marijuana'

    Sun-Sentinel [Broward County, FL], Jan. 18, 1997
    Editorial, by Bruce Mirken

    The Clinton administration is telling lies about the medical use of marijuana. On December 30 Clinton administration drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey - a man with no medical training on his resume - stood before the TV cameras and grimly told the American people that the laws passed by California and Arizona voters allowing medical use of marijuana were "hoax initiatives" that had nothing to do with helping sick people. Propositions 215 and 200 were nothing but a sinister backdoor attempt to legalize drugs, the general told us.

    Bruce Hunt knows better. He is taking one of those multidrug cocktails that have given many AIDS patients such an astonishing boost. But the medicines that are helping him fight the deadly virus also produce unbearable gastrointestinal problems - nausea, diarrhea, cramps - and nothing that he and his doctor have tried has helped. Nothing that is, except marijuana. "Usually a puff or two will take care of it in minutes", Hunt says.

    Without marijuana, he couldn't take the drugs that are keeping him alive. With it, he has a shot at survival.

    Hunt's situation is far from unique. Thousands of people suffering through chemotherapy or taking potent anti-HIV drugs could tell the same story. But in the paranoid fantasy world McCaffrey and the rest of the Clinton administration's drug police inhabit, these people don't exist. Or maybe they just don't count.

    McCaffrey has told other whoppers, repeatedly insisting that "there is not a shred of evidence that smoked marijuana is useful or needed." Wrong again.

    In a 1988 study of cancer chemotherapy patients published in the 'New York State Journal of Medicine,' Dr. Vincent Vinciguerra reported that 78 percent of patients who had shown no improvement on standard anti-nausea drugs "demonstrated a poistive response to marijuana."

    Numerous other reports exist as well. In April 1995 the 'British Journal Of Aneasthesia' commented, "In recent years data have accumulated which supports a therapeutic effect of cannabis for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy for neoplastic disease (that is, cancer and related conditions), spasticity and muscle spasms associated with spinal cord lesions or multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma."

    McCaffrey isn't the only administration official playing fast and loose with the truth. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala got into the act: "All available medical research tells us that marijuana is dangerous to our health."

    In fact, there is overwhelming medical evidence that marijuana is far less dangerous than many drugs that physicians routinely prescribe. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs like morphine and cocaine that are highly addictive and that can easily kill you if you take too much, but marijuana is not physically addictive and no fatal marijuana overdose has ever been recorded in medical literature. In a November 1995 editorial the prestigious British medical journal 'The Lancet' stated flatly, "The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health."

    Yes, it would be nice to have more data, and the government's promised review of existing information - if it is conducted honestly - may be a useful first step.

    But if the government hadn't spent the last several years blocking the efforts of scientists to study marijuana's therapeutic effects, we would have that information already."

    Bruce Mirken is a San Francisco-based freelance writer. Write to him at: Progressive Media Project, 409 E. Main St., Madison, Wis. 53703.

    San Francisco Mayor Promises Treatment On Demand

    "Mayor promises drug treatment on demand - Brown in D.C. for mayors confab"
    The San Francisco Examiner, Jan. 18, 1997, p. A1
    By Rachel Gordon of The Examiner staff

    WASHINGTON - Mayor Brown has vowed to include up to $20 million in his upcoming budget to kick-start a treatment-on-demand program for San Francisco's drug addicts and alcoholics, a move that won praise from President Clinton's drug czar.

    "It seems to me that the mayor of San Francisco is right on the money," said Barry McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "You simply cannot tell a person who finally decides to get help for their addiction to come back in seven months. In order to be effective, (services) need to be available when the people are ready."

    McCaffrey said he was pressing the White House to help pay for such programs in San Francisco and elsewhere around the nation.

    San Francisco public health officials say the wait to enter a treatment program in The City averages three months. Dr. Sandra Hernandez, Health Department chief, said her goal was a 48-hour turnaround to get people started on their road to recovery. The cost, however, won't be cheap.

    Hernandez has estimated that $20 million would be needed to start a comprehensive program, which would include residential and drop-in programs and methadone maintenance services, among others.

    Brown, in the nation's capital for the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting, said Friday he was ready to make the financial commitment.

    "We will include treatment on demand in our budget," Brown said. The mayor's staff is starting to draft the proposed budget for the Board of Supervisors' consideration. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

    Supervisor Susan Leal, who chairs the board's Finance Committee, is a chief proponent of treatment on demand and is expected to help usher it through the legislative process.

    "I'm very, very supportive," Leal said Friday from San Francisco. Even with other services and programs competing for funding from The City's $3 billion-plus annual budget, Leal added, "We're going to do everything we can to put this in."

    Saving money

    Backers of the plan, which the Health Department actually is calling "treatment as needed," said The City would save money in the long run. A report last fall by board budget analyst Harvey Rose showed many indirect city costs were attributed to substance abuse, such as police, prosecution, court and coroner expenses. Those expenses reach about $20 million annually, he estimated.

    The Health Department spends $20 million for treatment, nearly $2 million for outreach and prevention and $5 million for housing and other support services. Authorities say an estimated 12,000 addicted San Franciscans receive treatment, with another 1,400 or so awaiting help at any given time. Health Department officials estimated two months ago that 45,000 residents could use immediate substance-abuse treatment.

    McCaffrey, at the conference of mayors meeting, said he expected the federal government to help cities provide treatment services, and a request to do just that is part of the president's 1998 budget plan. He said the creation of more treatment programs should be a national goal, so cities such as San Francisco didn't become magnets for addicts from all over.

    "There is a state and federal responsibility to address this - not just local," McCaffrey said.

    But Brown said he isn't banking on new money from the feds at this point, and would pay for treatment on demand in San Francisco with existing funds.

    Brown said he hoped treatment on demand would help ease the homeless problem in San Francisco. Homeless advocates and experts say many people on the streets are addicted to drugs and alcohol, which make it much more difficult for them to find permanent housing and jobs.

    National debate

    The extent of the nation's drug problem was made clear Friday as mayors from San Francisco to Boise said their cities were suffering.

    Gary, Ind., Mayor Scott King, who co-chairs the mayors' task force on drug control, said city leaders had to start selling their constituents on the need to invest in treatment programs and welcome them into their neighborhoods.

    "One thing we have to do is get away from the notion that this is someone else's problem," King said. "We have to get rid of the NIMBY, not-in-my-backyard, attitude."

    McCaffrey also used the discussion about drugs to again criticize the new, voter-approved laws in California and Arizona decriminalizing the medicinal use of marijuana.

    "It's not good for American society to legalize marijuana," he said. But rather than reject its use outright, McCaffrey said he was awaiting review by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration about whether smoking marijuana helped patients with such ailments as glaucoma and those suffering the effects of chemotherapy. Until then, he said, "the federal law (outlawing marijuana use) is still operative."

    McCaffrey's position didn't sit well with Hayward Mayor Roberta Cooper.

    "We're not going to win the war on drugs by going after this," she said after his remarks. "There's a concern by some that marijuana could become too easily accessible, but there are people out there who are sick, and this will give them some comfort. That's why I support it."

    Cooper said her city hadn't taken any official action telling cops to keep hands off pot smokers who got high to ease their pain.

    'Potential Saint For Drug Sellers'

    The Canberra Times, Jan. 17, 1997, p. 11
    Laws prohibiting illicit drugs and the enforcing of them guarantee the success of the traffickers' business, Ian Mathews writes.

    Federal MP John Bradford is surely in the running to be the patron saint of those eminently successful business people supplying illicit drugs to the Australian market.

    His call for the appointment of a US-style "Drug Czar" - his words - with all the attendant centralisation and concentration fighting the "war against drugs" must be music to the ears of the "drug-trafficking organisations". The quotes are taken from his media statement titled "Australia needs a federal drug coordinator," issued on his return from "a fact-finding mission to the USA last week."

    Quite apart from the dubious value of learning anything constructive about illicit-drug management from the country which since 1910, has fought and lost "wars against drugs", there should be real concern that Australia's tentative successes in illicit-drug policy could be jeopardised by the "Czarist" approach.

    Mr. Bradford gleaned his "facts" from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, headed by General Barry McCaffrey. He was briefed also by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And it shows.

    His media statement notes, "Australia does not have the same sense of urgency in attacking the drug culture as does the United States of America." He goes on to argue for "well-coordinated drug education, particularly amongst young people". Changing a "culture", good or bad, is not one that responds to a "sense of urgency" and "attack."

    Rather, a culture changes because those involved are convinced by facts of a need to change. It has taken some 30 years for the medical profession to make some substantial inroads into the "culture" of tobacco-smoking - and there is still a long way to go. But surely nobody would be foolish enough to suggest a total ban on tobacco-smoking except where the practice is a danger to others.

    Mr. Bradford calls for a US-style peak authority which "controls the war against drugs". Leaving aside the well-documented origins of "the war", coined for an advertising campaign, the phrase and the concept of a war now has a life of its own - and its very own commanding general.

    It would be easy but quite wrong to suggest that a general cannot coordinate a strategy against both a culture and a product, as General McCaffrey is doing. However Mr Bradford does echo, in his press statement, the inevitable military tone of the "war against drugs" which includes the goal from the general's headquarters to "shield America's air, land and sea frontiers from the drug threat".

    Once again the siege mentality of prohibition seeks to blame foreigners for all its woes. If only America could isolate itself from the rest of the world, all would be well.

    It is a strategy that conveniently overlooks the fact that for many years marijuana was the economically lifesaving crop of many US farmers. Mr Bradford repeats the US conventional wisdom that marijuana is a "gateway drug", leading smokers to take up cocaine - as if beer-drinking inevitably led to drinking whisky.

    If marijuana is a "gateway drug" the reason is more likely to be economic or peer challenge than a mythical addictive process. Because of prohibition, illicit drugs are sold without any of the standards and regulations required for other drugs or, indeed, any other consumable.

    Thus contrived or artificial shortages of marijuana by a supplier can readily translate into the introduction of a harder, and eventually more expensive and addictive drug. This is the economics of supply and demand, and has nothing to do with the properties of the drugs on sale.

    There are three elements to what is described so glibly as the "drug problem."

    One is certainly cultural in that in some societies, regardless of race or income, there is a desire for mind-altering drugs. It has existed in our own society for centuries and, despite the ravages of alcohol and tobacco, we have constructed our society to accomodate the use of these drugs.

    A second element is the deleterious effect on some people who become dependent on drugs, both legal and illicit. This is a health problem which, in Australia, is being tackled in several ways including by needle exchange, methadone treatment, alcohol rehabilitation and anti-smoking campaigns.

    The third element - and the one most ignored - is that the growing, production and trafficking of illicit drugs is an economic activity, guaranteed by prohibition. The trade is so lucrative - second only to the world's arms trade - that no element of law enforcement is secure from corruption. We hear the evidence almost daily.

    Mr Bradford quotes President Clinton's inclusion of drug-traffickers in a "nexus of new threats including terrorists, rogue states and international criminals" as if this was a reason to increase prohibition.

    The irony is that, according to the United Nations International Drug Control Program, ready access to funds from illicit-drug trafficking encourages terrorists and others to go into the drug trade to finance their political aims and to buy arms.

    Mr Bradford acknowledges the economic element of the trade by noting that South-East Asia, and increasingly other sources, is the major supply of heroin to the unrequited demand in the US. He fears better-quality cheaper heroin will soon be available in Australia. The police could probably tell him it already is on the streets.

    Competition among suppliers for even a small piece of a boom market suggests that "improved" products are an accepted marketing strategy.

    Interrupting supplies to create a shortage, or dobbing in a rival to minimise the competition, are part of the unregulated market encouraged by prohibition.

    The US Federal Government, according to Mr Bradford, has taken strong counter-measures over legalisation initiatives in California and Arizona", because loosening drug controls and relaxed attitudes cause drug use to increase.

    He is probably right: if something that was illegal is now legal, all those who were taking drugs under cover can now do it openly. If pornographic movies were legally available in Queensland would he watch them?

    That is as unlikely as that he would take up drugs if they were legally regulated and controlled. He would exercise the same degree of choice and control as he exhibits now.

    I had a similar experience to Mr Bradford when, in 1984 during the Reagan Administration, I was exposed to the zeal of the US anti-drug administrators in Washington. Prohibition, reduction of aid to supplier countries, stringent law enforcement and slogan-type "education" were the weapons in the war against drugs. All have failed.

    I visited London on the same trip and asked a senior Home Office official how Britain was tackling its drug problem. "What drug problem?" he asked, but before I could wipe the look of incredulity from my face, he went on: "Britain doesn't have a drug problem. It has a law problem."

    He explained that laws - in this case prohibition, albeit less restrictive than in the US - that failed to achieve their purpose brought the law into disrepute. Prohibition and mobilisation in a war against drugs remain the one element that assures the success of the illicit-drug trade.

    No wonder if the illicit-drug entrepeneurs want Mr Bradford's campaign to succeed.

    Ian Mathews together with former Federal Court judge Russell Fox, is the author of "Drugs Policy: Fact, Fiction and the Future," Federation Press, Sydney, 1992.

    John Bradford MP, is Chairman of the Watchdog Committee on the National Crime Authority.

    Pennsylvania Jail Guards Face Firing Over Drugs

    "Bucks jail guards face firing over drugs"
    The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 22, 1997
    By Erin Einhorn, Inquirer correspondent

    Two Bucks County Prison guards have been suspended without pay and face dismissal on charges that they supplied inmates with illicit drugs.

    After an administrative hearing late last week, the jail determined there was enough evidence to turn the guards over to the county's personnel department, which makes hiring and firing decisions, Warden Al Nesbitt said yesterday.

    The prison would not name the officers, Nesbitt said. They were suspended with pay in September following a drug raid. After last week's hearing, their salaries were stopped.

    The union that represents prison officers has challenged the suspension, saying the only evidence against the guards is an inmate's accusation.

    "It's all hearsay," said Richard Batezel Jr., the union's chief steward. "No staff members have seen anything. All they have is inmate testimony and a polygraph."

    One prison officer filed a statement with the union that stated the inmate had admitted inventing the drug-supply story to retaliate against a guard.

    "Inmates are used to deceiving and lying," Batezel said. "They're trying to shed blame from themselves onto an officer."

    But Nesbitt dismissed the suggestion. There have been several officers accused by inmates of supplying them with drugs, he said, but investigations proved most of the accusations were baseless.

    That was not the case with these two guards, he said.

    "That is one of the reasons the investigation has taken so long. We were sorting through the dark alleyways of accusation and innuendo," he said.

    There have been no criminal charges filed against the two prison guards, Nesbitt said, but he has turned his information over to the District Attorney's Office.

    Random drug tests in the prison show that drug use is common in the jail, officials say.

    In some cases, inmates manage to swallow a balloon filled with drugs while kissing or hugging a visitor. In other cases, drugs are thrown over the prison walls, hidden in one of the handballs that inmates play with in the prison yard.

    Last month, Nesbitt said, the jail had to reassign the duty of cleaning the visitors' bathrooms when it was learned that some visitors were hiding drugs there.



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