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February 13, 1997

NORML, Others Respond To Upcoming NIDA Conference
On Medical Marijuana

February 13, 1996, Washington, D.C.:  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is convening a two-day conference next week to assess existing scientific research regarding marijuana's therapeutic potential.  The conference was announced following public criticism from some members of the medical establishment over the Administration's refusal to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana for seriously ill patients in accordance with recently passed state initiatives in Arizona and California.  The conference will take place on February 19 and 20.
National Institute of Health officials claim that the conference will remain solely scientific in nature, and Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey has publicly stated that he does not expect to attend the conference.  However, many medical marijuana proponents remain doubtful that the conference will remain devoid of politics.
"It seems ironic that the same federal agency that has twice denied the marijuana necessary to conduct an FDA-approved protocol by San Francisco researcher Dr. Donald Abrams on the effects of marijuana and the AIDS wasting syndrome, and has stonewalled proposed state-sponsored medical marijuana studies by both Washington State University and the Massachusetts Department of Health will be an objective moderator for this scientific review," said NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  He announced that NORML, in conjunction with other Washington D.C.-based drug-law reform organizations, will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, February 19, where doctors and patients will speak in favor of marijuana's medical value.  Dr. John Morgan of City University of New York Medical School, NORML Board Member Lynn Zimmer, Ph.D., of Queens College, and former medical marijuana user Richard Brookhiser -- Senior Editor of National Review -- are expected to speak the press conference, along with various medical marijuana patients.
Medical marijuana proponents will present NIDA officials with a compendium of over 75 scientific studies demonstrating marijuana's medical effectiveness in the treatment of glaucoma, spasticity disorders, the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy, and other serious illnesses.  Included in the compendium are the results of several state-sponsored clinical trials involving hundreds of patients.  For example, a 1983 report evaluating the effects of marijuana as an anti-emetic in cancer patients released by Tennessee Board of Pharmacy concluded: "We found both marijuana smoking and THC capsules to be effective anti-emetics.  We found an approximate 23 percent higher success rate among those patients smoking than among those patients administered THC capsules."  [Emphasis added. --ed.]
"Contrary to popular belief, there have been hundreds of studies on the medical uses of cannabis since its introduction to western medicine in the mid-nineteenth century," said NORML's Publications Director Paul Armentano who attended NIDA's 1995 National Conference on Marijuana Use: Prevention, Treatment, and Research.  He noted that the subject of medical marijuana was effectively "swept under the rug" during that forum.  "NIDA had the opportunity to address this pressing issue in 1995, but opted to all but ignore the issue, allotting less than one half-hour for its discussion," Armentano explained.
"The literature [in support of medical marijuana] has been there a long time," Dr. Laurens White, a cancer specialist in San Francisco, told the New York Times.  "There is enough anecdotal evidence and papers to say that medically, there isn't any evidence of harm and that there is evidence of benefit."
For more information, please call Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights @ (202) 537-5005.  Copies of NORML's position paper: Making The Case For Medical Marijuana, are available upon request or on-line at NORML's Web site at:

(Meanwhile) Senators Introduce Anti-Medical Marijuana Bill In Congress

February 13, 1996, Washington, D.C.:  Rep. Lauch Faircloth (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation in Congress (S. 40) to severely sanction physicians who recommend the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill patients.  The measure appears to be a direct response to the November passage of a California ballot initiative granting an affirmative medical defense under state law for patients who use marijuana medicinally with the recommendation of their physician.  The California proposition also states that, "Physicians shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege for recommending marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.
Federal law already forbids doctors from prescribing marijuana.
"This legislation represents the most extreme position of those who oppose the medical use of marijuana -- arresting and jailing physicians," said NORML's Executive Director R. Keith Stroup.  He noted that doctors who recommend marijuana to a patient under 21 years of age may be sentenced to up to eight years in prison and/or fined $60,000 under the provisions of the bill.  Other penalties include revoking physicians' ability to write prescriptions and excluding doctors from participation in Medicare and state health care programs.
The proposed legislation states that, "A practitioner will be deemed to have 'recommended' the use of marihuana if the practitioner offered advice, or responded to a request for advice, suggesting the use of marihuana while acting in the course of his or her professional capacity."
Graham Boyd, an attorney from California who is representing a group of physicians and patients that have filed a class action suit against the federal government for its issuance of similar threats against doctors who recommend marijuana, calls such restrictions illegal.  "The Supreme Court has said that the government may not bar physicians from discussing contraception or abortion, both controversial topics in their day," he stated in a January 15 press release.  "By the same logic, federal officials may not use controversy over marijuana as an excuse to intrude on the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship."
Sens. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are co-sponsoring the legislation, entitled the "Drug Use Prevention Act of 1997."  The measure has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
For more information, please contact R. Keith Stroup, Esq., of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.  Copies of the legislation are available from NORML upon request.

Drug Czar Rejects Offer To Settle Medical Marijuana Lawsuit

February 11, 1997, Washington, D.C.:  The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) repeated its position this past Monday that doctor's in California cannot evade federal drug laws "by claiming that they are merely providing their patients with 'recommendations' in accordance with their best medical judgment."  The announcement was a response to a class action suit filed in federal court by physicians, patients, and a San Francisco prosecutor who has AIDS, seeking an injunction to prevent federal officials from taking any punitive action against physicians who recommend the medical use of marijuana to their patients in compliance with California law.
According to Associated Press, plaintiffs offered to settle the federal case if the government would agree to bar prosecution of doctors who, in good faith, discuss the use of medical marijuana or recommend it for their patients.
"It's a straight-forward First Amendment case," said Graham Boyd, an attorney for the plaintiffs.  "The First Amendment protects the rights of doctors and patients to talk about the full range of medical treatment, and the feds have no basis for interfering with that statement."
Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey said that he will reconsider his view of medical marijuana if health professionals determine it is effective, during a speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University last evening.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Bill Zimmerman of Americans for Medical Rights @ (310) 394-2952.




Regional and other news

Body Count

Seven of the 17 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, ("Courts," Feb. 13, 1997, p. 7, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the body count so far this year 21 out of 49, or 42.85 percent.

Portland NORML Monthly Meeting February 26

The Portland chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws holds its "fourth Wednesday" meeting 7:30 pm Feb. 26 at the Phantom Gallery, 3125 SE Belmont St. Everyone is welcome. For more details call 503-777-9088, e-mail or point your browser to

Clinton Likely To Concede No Light At End Of Drug War Tunnel

`War On Drugs' Gets New Image: `Endless' Effort
Scripps-Howard News Service, Feb. 10, 1997

WASHINGTON - Americans will spend $16 billion in 1998 to fight illegal drug abuse, while formally conceding for the first time that the nation's "War on Drugs" will be "endless," according to a draft of President Clinton's 1997 drug strategy.

The early draft, obtained by Scripps Howard News Service, sees the War on Drugs metaphor as unrealistic and will retire it in favor of viewing America's drug habit as a disease to be treated and lived with rather than ultimately defeated.

"The metaphor of a `war on drugs' is false," the draft strategy said. "Wars are expected, at some point in time, to end. The effort to defeat drug abuse will be endless."

A proposed statement by President Clinton to Congress introducing the strategy said, "A more useful analogy for the nation's counter-drug efforts is based on the metaphor of cancer. Confronting the metaphor of cancer requires prevention, education, treatment, compassion and a willingness to commit resources intelligently."

The new strategy also takes aim at alcohol and tobacco use by minors. In the draft, Clinton endorses "legislation specifying that the mandate of the Office of National Drug Control Policy include elimination of alcohol and tobacco use by minors."

The Clinton strategy - produced by Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's staff and scheduled to be released next week - has shifted priorities from the late 1980s days of battling international cocaine smugglers.

In the 1997 National Drug Control Strategy, Goal 1 is, "Teach America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as the use of alcohol and tobacco."

That goal is ahead of:

  • Goal 2, "reducing drug related crime and violence."
  • Goal 3, "reduce health and social costs to the public of illegal drug use."
  • Goal 4, "shield America's air, land and sea frontiers from the drug threat."
  • Goal 5, "Break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply."

    Clinton acknowledged in the draft that after a period of decline in the 1980s and early 1990s, "drug abuse by children continues to rise for the fifth consecutive year."

    He said, "America's youth increasingly must reject dangerous drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol." The president added, "Our primary mission is to deliver quality drug education and prevention programs" to Americans under 18.

    That emphasis in the past has been challenged by conservatives, who hold that stopping drugs from entering America is a more cost-effective way to reduce the toll of drugs on America.

    During last year's political campaign, Clinton was dogged by Republican charges that his shift of emphasis away from law and order programs and toward educational and prevention programs had failed.

    The Clinton strategy asks for a 5.4 percent increase in the drug-fighting budget to $15.9 billion. That means, if the proposed budget passes, America will spend an extra $818 million on anti-drug efforts.

    One of the biggest increases, percentage-wise, is in the federal bureaucracy detailed to lead anti-drug efforts. McCaffrey has proposed increasing the budget of his office to $351 million for 1998 - up from $289 million this year and $130 million in 1996.

    By contrast, the amount spent by the military on fighting drugs will be reduced from $958 million in 1997 to $809 million in 1998.

    The education budget will soar from $588 million in 1996 to $679 million in 1997 and to $747 million in 1998. Much of that money would be spent on grants to states for "drug- and violence-prevention programs" in schools.

    And $175 million would be spent in 1998 on "a national media campaign targeting illegal drug consumption by youth," further described as a series of television commercials.

    In a draft of Clinton's introduction of the strategy to Congress, the president backed a McCaffrey proposal to eliminate the congressional requirement to issue a new drug strategy each year, and to replace that with a 10-year strategy.

    "Implementing a 10-year strategy and regularly informing Congress and the American people of our progress will allow us to execute a dynamic, comprehensive plan for the nation," the draft of Clinton's statement said.

    [End of article]

    Peter Webster responded:

    Inasmuch as the War on Drugs employs as its weapons incarceration, ostracism, confiscation, false witness, illegal search, execution, obfuscation, falsehood, coercion, corruption, false propaganda, erosion of human rights, denial of civil liberties, and other techniques, some of which have been classified as crimes against humanity by such international courts as that at Nuremburg, the War on Drugs cannot therefore be an undertaking based on human freedom, dignity, virtue, morality, rationality, or truth. It is, like all wars, destructive to the human condition, to truth itself, and cannot possibly end in victory for any of the parties concerned.

    While Mark Greer responded:

    Do you incarcerate cancer patients?
    If we can't win why are spending $16 billion a year? To lose?
    What if we quit? How could it be worse?
    If it's not a war then why are so many dying?
    If it's not a war why are there so many prisoners?

    And the Libertarian Party issued this press release:

    2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
    Washington DC 20037

    For release: February 11, 1997

    For additional information:
    George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
    (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222

    After 125,000 deaths and millions of POWs, government admits the War on Drugs is lost

    WASHINGTON, DC -- It's official: The War on Drugs is over -- and the government lost.

    That's what the Clinton Administration says in a draft of its 1997 National Drug Control Strategy policy statement, which was obtained last week by the Scripps Howard News Service.

    The policy statement -- which is expected to be released in a final form this week -- admits that the War on Drugs is unwinnable, says that the "war" metaphor is unrealistic, and recommends that the government view drugs as a disease like cancer.

    "Finally, America's longest war is over -- at least rhetorically," said Steve Dasbach, Chairman of the Libertarian Party. "After 25 years, more than 125,000 casualties, and millions of prisoners of war, the government is finally suggesting that peace with honor is possible for the War on Drugs."

    But if the War on Drugs is really over, Dasbach said, the government should...

  • Declare a general amnesty. "According to a report from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 36% of Americans have used drugs," noted Dasbach. "No wonder this war couldn't be won: The War on Drugs was really a war on the American people -- 94.7 million of them. It's time to let them live in peace."

  • Send the army home. "More than 8,000 military personnel and thousands of National Guard troops are currently participating in anti-drug missions on U.S. soil," said Dasbach. "In addition, about 19,000 state and local law enforcement officials are assigned full-time to the War on Drugs. It's time to decommission the massive army recruited for this war."

  • Return the plunder of war. "More than $4 billion worth of private property has been seized by state and federal agents under War on Drugs-inspired asset forfeiture laws -- and in 80% of those cases, no one was charged with any crime," said Dasbach. "It's time for the government to return the loot."

  • Free the prisoners of war. "More than 400,000 Americans are currently imprisoned on non-violent drug charges, and that number is growing every year," said Dasbach. "In fact, since 1990, more Americans are arrested every year for drug crimes than for violent crimes. It's time to release the POWs."

  • Remember the innocent victims of this war. "Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman estimated that drug prohibition causes 5,000 homicides a year," said Dasbach. "If that number is accurate, the 25-year-long War on Drugs has resulted in 125,000 American causalities -- far more than the battlefield deaths of the Vietnam and the Korean wars combined. Don't these innocent victims deserve a memorial to their senseless deaths?"

    Unfortunately, said Dasbach, the Clinton Administration has no intention of really ending the War on Drugs.

    "The same National Drug Control Strategy statement which admits the War on Drugs is unwinnable then blithely announces that the politicians will keep on fighting it," he noted. "Their plan calls for spending $16 billion in 1998 on anti-drug efforts, and for targeting alcohol and tobacco use by minors. So the unwinnable War on Drugs will now become the unwinnable War on Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco.

    "But there's a better way. The Libertarian Party urges the government to end the War on Drugs -- in reality as well as rhetoric. It's time for America to stop the killing, the arrests, the ruined lives, and civil liberties violations. It's time for America to declare a genuine Drug Peace," he said.

    The Libertarian Party
    2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100
    Washington DC 20037
    voice: 202-333-0008
    fax: 202-333-0072

    For subscription changes, please mail to with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the subject line -- or use the WWW form.

    'Clinton Plans Ad Blitz In Domestic Drug War'

    U.S., Private Sector Would Split $350 Million Cost
    The Washington Post, Feb. 13, 1997, p. A1
    By Roberto Suro
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    The Clinton administration hopes to make prime time television a major battlefield in the war on drugs with an unprecedented $350 million media campaign designed to counter rapidly increasing teenage drug abuse.

    Under the plan, the federal government and the private sector would equally divide the cost of an advertising blitz so massive that the anti-drug message would be virtually inescapable on the programming that captures younger audiences.

    "There is every reason to believe that this absolutely will turn around drug abuse by youngsters," said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the chief of the White House drug office, who would direct the media campaign.

    With illicit drug use either declining or stable among adults, McCaffrey said, attacking the problem among teenagers should take priority.

    To do that, he said, "you have to educate them by getting the message on high-profile television time."

    The $175 million appropriation for the federal share of the advertising blitz is the only major new anti-drug program contained in the administration's budget proposal sent to Congress last week. While applauding its intent, leaders of some drug abuse prevention organizations complain that Clinton is investing too heavily in a single new initiative, noting that the media campaign would consume two-thirds of the proposed spending increases for drug abuse prevention programs next year.

    The administration's overall $16 billion drug budget proposal has also reignited a broader argument over the relative balance between spending federal money on programs that attack the supply of drugs vs. those aimed at reducing demand.

    McCaffrey's proposed $350 million anti-drug media campaign would exceed even some of the largest commercial and government advertising efforts.

    For example, Microsoft spent an estimated $200 million to introduce Windows 95, and McDonald's launched its Arch Deluxe burger with a $75 million ad campaign, according to Advertising Age magazine.

    The Army spent nearly $72 million last year on advertising, including its "Be All You Can Be" campaign.

    McCaffrey said in an interview that the anti-drug campaign should last for five years.

    Carried out on that scale it would constitute an unprecedented government effort to shape behavior through the media.

    "You can't do it in a year," said the retired Army general. "You can't do it with $12 million. You have to go in in a serious way, and if you do that we suggest that in a couple of years you can turn around this skyrocketing adolescent drug use."

    Since 1991, marijuana use has increased from 27 percent to 40 percent of the nation's 12th-graders, according to an annual survey conducted by the University of Michigan, widely regarded as the most accurate measure of adolescent drug use.

    The Partnership for a Drug-Free America conducts the largest ongoing anti-drug campaign, having consumed $265 million worth of donated broadcast time and print space last year.

    While McCaffrey said he hopes that such public service efforts will continue, he argues that only paid advertising on prominent TV shows will achieve the needed effect.

    His plans, however, have been received cautiously by anti-drug campaigners. "Including the media campaign is legitimate, but we are very concerned about what is not here," said James E. Copple, president of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, which counts some 4,000 community groups as members.

    Copple noted that several major prevention and treatment programs at the Department of Health and Human Services received little or no increased spending and that the $175 million proposed federal spending for the media campaign is nearly three times as much as the proposed increase in the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Program, the federal government's largest effort to keep children from using drugs.

    Making an argument he has repeated frequently, McCaffrey last summer said, "We've got to make the case that drug education and prevention is the first priority." Yet this year's budget proposal, like most previous federal drug strategies, allocates about twice as much money to law enforcement, interdiction and other efforts to control the supply of drugs as it does to prevention, treatment and education programs.

    "The administration has articulated a need for much greater emphasis on demand reduction, but once again the budget continues to concentrate on supply," said Mathea Falco, president of Drug Strategies, a Washington think tank and advocacy group.

    However, Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), chairman of the House crime subcommittee, said, "I am concerned we are still not doing enough to halt the flow of drugs into this country."

    Funding The War On Drugs

    Of all the drug control spending in the administration's 1998 budget proposal, prevention would get the biggest boost, to $1.92 billion. Some $175 million of that is earmarked for a media campaign against teenage drug use.

    FY98 budget allotment, in billions:

    Criminal justice $8.12
    Treatment $3.00
    Prevention $1.92
    Interdiction $1.61
    Research $0.67
    International $0.49
    Intelligence $0.16

    Percentage change from FY97

    Criminal justice + 3.7%
    Treatment + 6.9
    Prevention +16.3
    Interdiction - 1.8
    Research + 6.6
    International + 8.4
    Intelligence + 8.9

    Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy

    Justice Department Budget Also Grows For Drug War

    The February 7, 1997, edition of USA Today (p. 6A) reported that Attorney General Janet Reno proposed a $19.3 billion budget for fiscal 1997. That represents a 5% increase over fiscal 1996, and a 70% increase in the budget of the Department of Justice since 1993 (the largest increase of any cabinet agency).

    The breakdown of the increases includes:

  • $1.4 billion dollars for 17,000 new police officers ($82,353 per officer)
  • $50 million for 168 new DEA agents and 76 new FBI agents ($204,918 per agent)
  • $62 million for 500 new border patrol agents ($124,000 per agent)

    Meanwhile, Back At Ground Zero, Portland Expands Drug-Free Zones

    "Turning Up The Heat"
    KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8, 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 12, 1997

    [Precede:] Announcer Larry Shoop: New at 6:30, "Turning Up the Heat." Tonight, a war on drug dealers in Portland cranks up a notch. Find out why and take a ride with police on the front lines for a first-hand view.

    Announcer Tracy Barry: Tonight drug dealers could find it much tougher to do business in Portland. The city council is expanding Portland's drug-free zones.

    Announcer Larry Shoop: As the NewsChannel's Walden Kirsch reports, it is the largest expansion of those zones in five years.

    Announcer Walden Kirsch: When Portland police nailed Olaf Johnson today for allegedly possessing cocaine, they ordered him to stay completely out of downtown for three months.

    [Police are shown putting a young black man with a hooded sweatshirt into the back of a police car.]

    Officer John Grable, Portland Police: Right now it's an inconvenience for 'em, but you still go to jail every time you get arrested for it.

    Announcer Walden Kirsch: Because Olaf [sp?] Johnson was carrying what police say was a loaded cocaine pipe fashioned out of a broken car antenna, they haul him back to the precinct office and write him a so-called exclusion order. Translation: Do not come back to this neighborhood or we will arrest you, book you, jail you and make your life hard.

    Sgt. Greg Hendricks, Portland Police: And then what you decide to do in response to that is up to you, but what we hope the response is is that these people are gonna leave.

    Announcer Walden Kirsch: Sgt. Greg Hendricks is among the architects of Portland's Drug-Free Zones. Cruising the downtown bus mall, which is infested with drug sellers and buyers, Greg Hendricks says he is pleased that the city's Drug-Free Zones have just grown larger.

    Sgt. Greg Hendricks, Portland Police: The thing we found is that there isn't any one answer, and that it is a very difficult problem to solve, but it takes steady, consistent pressure.

    Announcer Walden Kirsch: They keep a book. Last year alone, Portland police booted roughly 1,000 people out of the downtown Zone. The faces belong to people of all races, all ages, both sexes. So will expanding the Drug-Free Zones work? As they arrest Billy Ray Davis here for violating his Drug-Free Zone exclusion order, police do face critics. Those who say drug dealing is merely being shifted around, nothing more, and that exclusion orders violate a suspect's civil rights. Regardless, police and many others believe that Portland streets will soon be measurably safer. I'm Walden Kirsch, KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8.

    Announcer Larry Shoop: The Portland City Council did several things today. First, it expanded the downtown Drug-Free Zone by about 30 percent. And it added two entirely new Zones along Beech and Alberta streets in North and Northeast Portland. The new Drug-Free Zones take effect early next month.

    The Planners' Dream Goes Wrong

    Floyd Ferris Landrath, who runs a needle-exchange program on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, wrote on Feb. 13:
    Subject: Kids & Drugs On Hawthorne: Warrantless Search

    Dear Friends,

    Today was not a good day for the kids on Hawthorne or nearby Belmont Street. The police were out in force, undercover buying and busting, buying and busting. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Why go after real criminals when it's so easy to bring down some kids for pot? After all, in the statistics it's just another drug bust to justify a continuation of "war."

    Consider what happened to one young lady this afternoon as she was using a public pay phone adjacent to Coffee People at SE 35th & Hawthorne. I'm not going to reveal her name, because her mother - a local business owner - is out of town at the moment and I want her to hear it from her own daughter first. I can tell you this though, she is one of the best kids I've ever known. She's considerate, intelligent, and about as big a risk to this community as a fly.

    She explained that as she was talking on the phone a couple male officers came up behind her, grabbed the phone out of her hand, then proceeded to search her. Why? Because she had reached into her pack for something and the officers thought that was justification for a search. A search that involved these two male officers making this young girl lift her skirt to prove she didn't have any drugs taped to her legs. Mind you this is out on Hawthorne, in the middle of the day.

    Needless to say this young lady is hurt and she now fears the police. But she's also very angry about this violation of her person. She promised to come to the next meeting and share this experience with the group. If anyone from the press or media wants to talk with her, please call me I'll try to arrange it with her mother.

    It's so hard to believe I sat here last night with 15 other people and we talked in a calm, rational way about the harm these sweeps were doing. How we as a community want to approach this problem differently, with compassion and understanding. Representatives of both Southeast Uplift (Martha Gross, 503-232-0010) and the Hawthorne Blvd. Business Association (Nancy Chapin, 503-774-2832) were present at last night's meeting. The HBBA met this morning at the SEUL office. Obviously the results of last night's meeting were completely ignored. I wonder what kind of message that sends to the kids?

    "Kids & Drugs On Hawthorne"
    Tuesday, Feb. 18
    7:30 P.M. at the Phantom Gallery
    3125 SE Belmont St.

    Floyd Ferris Landrath
    Tel. (503) 235-4524

    Government Releases 134,000 Convicted Sex Criminals
    To Lock Up Pot-Smokers Instead, Libertarians Charge

    News From The Libertarian Party
    2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
    Washington DC 20037

    For release: February 5, 1997

    WASHINGTON, DC -- More than 134,000 sex criminals are roaming the streets of America -- preying on innocent women and children -- thanks to the War on Drugs, the Libertarian Party charged today.

    "How many women and children will be raped or sexually molested because, instead of keeping sexual predators behind bars, politicians have filled our nation's jails with non-violent drug users?" asked Steve Dasbach, the party's national chairman.

    His question followed a report released this week by the Department of Justice, which revealed that 134,300 violent sex criminals were released on parole or probation in 1994.

    Astonishingly, only 99,300 sex criminals remained behind bars, according to the same report -- meaning the government set free more rapists and molesters than it kept in jail.

    "Why were those 134,300 sex criminals released?" asked Dasbach. "Because the government's War On Drugs is filling the nation's prisons at a rapid rate -- while acting as a 'get-out-of-jail-free card' for rapists."

    For example, Dasbach noted:

  • One year after releasing the 134,300 sex criminals, the government arrested 589,000 individuals for possession of marijuana, according to the FBI.

  • 400,000 Americans are currently jailed on non-violent drug charges, according to federal figures.

  • Of that number, 50,000 people are now in prison for mere possession of marijuana, according to drug policy experts.

    "Every one of those non-violent drug prisoners occupies a cell that could be used by a sexual predator instead," Dasbach noted. "If we pardoned non-violent drug users, every one of the 134,300 sex criminals the politicians released could be locked up again -- without spending one more dollar or building one more jail cell."

    Instead, the politicians apparently made the decision to put tens of thousands of American women at risk, Dasbach said.

    "One Justice Department study says the recidivism rate for parolees is 69%," he said. "At that rate, those 134,300 freed rapists will victimize another 92,000 American women. But, sadly, few of those victims will know that the attack could have been averted if politicians focused on preventing violence instead of punishing vice."

    The 1994 exodus of rapists is partly attributable to that year's Crime Bill, Dasbach noted, which mandated life sentences for many drug law violators.

    "Before the Crime Bill passed, 34 states were under court orders to reduce prison populations, often requiring the release of violent criminals," he said, "Along came the new legislation, with more mandatory life sentences for drug crimes. The longer jail terms for drug offenders compelled prison officials to set more sexual predators free.

    "It's ironic that the Crime Bill, which Bill Clinton bragged would put 100,000 new cops on the beat, actually helped put 134,300 rapists on the street," he said. "It's even more ironic that politicians also passed the so-called Violence Against Women Act in 1994 -- which increased federal funding for streetlights and domestic violence hotlines -- at the same time they were turning loose tens of thousands of rapists.

    "America's women are paying a terrible price because politicians would rather keep a person in jail for smoking a marijuana cigarette than for rape," said Dasbach. "Thanks to the politicians, the War on Drugs has become a War on Women."

    For additional information:
    George Getz, Deputy Director of Communications
    (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
    The Libertarian Party
    2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100
    Washington DC 20037
    voice: 202-333-0008
    fax: 202-333-0072

    Juror Laura Kriho Found Guilty of Contempt

    Colorado Daily, Feb. 12, 1997
    By Becky O'Guin
    Colorado Daily Staff Writer

    Nearly four months after the end of her trial, Laura Kriho was found guilty of contempt of court Monday.

    Gilpin County District Court Judge Henry Nieto released his decision in a nine-page document to a local reporter, who then informed Kriho.

    Kriho was charged with contempt of court after serving as a juror in a drug possession charge. During deliberations, Kriho revealed to other jurors that she had looked up the possible sentences for the defendant. She continued to hold out as the sole dissenter in deliberations, refusing to convict the woman.

    One of the jurors went to Judge Kenneth Barnhill to ask him if Kriho's conduct was permissible. Barnhill called a mistrial and, two months later, charged Kriho.

    "We are disappointed in the verdict, but not surprised," said Paul Grant, Kriho's attorney.

    He said the ruling makes it the first time a person has been convicted for not confessing past crimes or sins, even if she was not asked about them.

    "This opinion creates a legal duty for a juror to reveal their beliefs and experience if they have any thought the court might want to know," Grant said. "It will chill deliberations in the jury room. It will encourage people to keep their mouths shut."

    Kriho said she is "devastated and depressed" about the verdict. She said jurors should be advised of their rights because, "anything they say can and will be used against you."

    In the decision, Nieto did not rule that Kriho had committed perjury or that she had disobeyed an order of the court. He did rule that she obstructed justice because she did not tell of her opinions on drug laws or juror rights.

    Nieto cited a 1985 drug charge against Kriho and her connection with the Boulder Hemp Initiative Project as evidence of her views on drugs. Kriho was never convicted on the drug charge.

    His decision stated: "Ms. Kriho deliberately and willfully withheld and concealed information which was relevant and important to selecting a fair and impartial jury, and that Ms. Kriho did so with the intent of serving on the jury for the purpose of obstructing justice..."

    Grant said he intends to appeal Nieto's decision.

    "I will take it as far as we can to get it reversed," he said.

    Pam Russell, public information officer for the 1st Judicial District, said the district attorney's office is pleased with the decision.

    "It is very thoughtful and considered," she said. She added that Nieto correctly saw the problem was in the jury selection process and not the deliberation process in finding that Kriho obstructed justice.

    A sentence hearing is expected to be scheduled shortly. Kriho could receive up to six months in jail and a fine determined by the judge.

    Re-distributed by the:
    Jury Rights Project (
    To be added to or removed from the JRP mailing list, send e-mail.
    Background info.:
    Donations to support Laura's defense can be made to:
    -- Laura Kriho Legal Defense Fund --
    c/o Paul Grant (defense attorney)
    Box 1272, Parker, CO 80134
    Phone: (303) 841-9649

    Statement From Kriho's Attorney

    Laura Kriho's Conviction -- First Conviction on Newly Created Crime
    Jury Rights Under Assault

    February 12, 1997

    On February 10, 1997, Colorado 1st Judicial District Court Chief Judge Henry Nieto found Laura Kriho guilty of contempt of court, for failure during jury selection, to volunteer information concerning her opinions and experiences. The court found Ms. Kriho deliberately withheld and concealed her views on drug laws and her own prior experience with a drug arrest - despite the fact she was never asked questions on these matters.

    Statement From Paul Grant, Kriho's Attorney

    A new legal duty has been created in Colorado by the Court in convicting Ms. Kriho: the duty of potential jurors to volunteer information during jury selection, concerning their political beliefs and attitudes, and concerning their life's experiences, if they think the court wants the information - despite the fact they are not specifically asked pertinent questions.

    Laura Kriho is the first person convicted of violating this newly minted crime of failure to volunteer information during jury selection. Evidence that Ms. Kriho harbored secret views on the wisdom of the drug laws was obtained from statements Ms. Kriho allegedly made during jury deliberations.

    Ms. Kriho was acquitted of perjury during jury selection, but found guilty of concealing her beliefs. No longer is it enough to honestly answer the questions you are asked - now you also have to answer the questions you were not asked, but that you "knew" the judge wanted answered.

    If this new legal duty is affirmed by Colorado's appellate courts, future jurors will need to be advised of their rights during jury selection. Even worse, jurors will need to be advised that any statement made during deliberations may later be used against them in a criminal prosecution, for failure to volunteer an opinion or experience during jury selection.

    One wonders whether Colorado courts will have counsel available for jurors unable to afford a lawyer.

    Laura Kriho's prosecution and Judge Nieto's vedict will have a chilling effect on jury service and jury deliberations. Fewer citizens will be willing to serve, and open and honest discussion in the jury room will be suppressed. We hope that Colorado's appellate courts will reverse Laura Kriho's outrageous conviction, and repudiate the trial court's attack on the jury system so essential to the American system of justice.

    Paul Grant
    Attorney At Law
    11911 Highway 83, Suite 205
    Parker CO 80134
    (303) 841-9649 (phone)
    (303) 841-9671 (fax)

    'Work In American Prisons - Joint Ventures With The Private Sector'

    The National Criminal Justice Reference Service has a World Wide Web page at describing the benefits to corporations of hiring prisoners. They are never late to work and consider a fast-food meal at the end of the month adequate reward for reaching quotas. Prison manufacturing costs less than manufacturing overseas, but still allows the "Made In USA" label on products.

    The government Web page also documents that 'Third Generation, Inc., a contract garment maker, produces products for J.C. Penny and Victoria's Secret. It further documents that Trans World Airlines and Best Western International use prisoners for the ticket & reservation centers.

    'Reefer Madness' In Rolling Stone

    Check out "Reefer Madness 1997: The New Bag of Scare Tactics," a National Affairs special report by Ethan A. Nadelmann of The Lindesmith Center, in the Feb. 20, 1997 Rolling Stone magazine. On the stands now! The article will also soon be posted at the Lindesmith Center's Web site,

    Medical Marijuana On 'Chicago Hope'

    Circa Feb. 11, 1997, Eric Garris wrote:
    Tonight's Chicago Hope episode had a subplot about medical marijuana. One of the doctors mentioned Prop. 215. Four doctors argued about getting it for a chemo patient, then three of them tried to get it, unsuccessfully. In the end, the fourth doctor (who had been the most against it) got it for her and everyone was happy.

    The segment played through all the fears and hysteria regarding medical marijuana.

    It started with the cancer patient taking a bong hit. Dr. McNeil (Mark Harmon) caught her and called hospital security who removed her cannabis. This was protested by Dr. Grad (Jayne Brook) who said the patient had the right to smoke it under Prop. 215 passed in California (the patient was from California).

    There was a disagreement among the doctors as to whether marijuana was an effective medicine. Dr. Kronk (Peter Berg) talked about how all his friends that used marijuana were losers. Dr. Grad countered by saying that alcohol caused far more damage and commented on the amount of beer consumed by Dr. Kronk.

    Later in the program, the cancer patient spoke of how she thought that marijuana was a terrible substance but realized she was wrong when she found that it was the only substance that relieved her nausea. They named other medications [but] she said she had tried them all without results. She firmly stated that cannabis was the only thing that worked.

    In the end, it was Dr. McNeil that walked into hospital security and stole the woman's cannabis back for her. Then the doctors all commented on the quality of her stash. The patient asked Dr. Harmon if he had taken any. He told her that he had taken just a little for a friend.

    Toward the end of the show, Dr. Watters (Hector Elizando), was loading his pipe. He looked at it funny, took a sniff, frowned and then the show cut to a commercial.

    If anyone wishes to write the producers commending them on a very fair presentation of medical marijuana, the address is:

    Chicago Hope
    c/o 20th Century Fox
    10201 West Pico Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90035

    Marijuana As A Medicine Finding New Support Among Older Californians

    "Weeding-Out Of Stigma And Relief"
    The Oakland Tribune, Feb. 9, 1997
    By Yasrnin Arnwar
    Staff Writer

    When hippies toked on joints and made love, not war, Gloria Brown was doing martinis and cigarettes. Pot was the domain of musicians and protesters, she thought.

    Now, three decades after that psychedelic era, the 62-year-old Brown is about to commit her first act of civil disobedience, and not just to get high. It's because after 14 chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer, the fatigue and nausea are becoming intolerable.

    "My psychotherapist suggested I try it now," said Brown, who uses a partial pseudonym to protect her identity. "I said, 'Great, how can I get it?' "

    Brown could be a poster child for Proposition 215, which legalizes marijuana for medicinal use in California and has boosted activity at Bay Area cannabis buyers' clubs in Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Marin County.

    Yet the reality is, fewer than 10 percent of the region's club members are elderly, first-time pot users like Brown. Part of the reason for that is their long-held belief that use of the spiky-leafed plant is illegal and immoral.

    "It's still so stigmatized," said Jeff Jones, the 22-year-old co-founder of the 900-member Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Club, which has grown by about 150 members since November's passage of Proposition 215.

    Feds relentless

    Despite a state law sanctioning marijuana for a wide array of medical problems - from chronic pain to migraine headaches and depression - federal anti-drug warriors continue to ban the drug and threaten to penalize doctors who recommend it.

    Many cancer support groups don't talk about pot as an alternative to anti-nausea drugs, and many doctors don't breathe a word about the drug to their patients.

    Those bold enough to cross the threshold of cannabis buyers' clubs are mostly in their 30s and 40s. They've smoked pot before, they know its limitations, and they've decided it beats being doped up on morphine or other painkillers.

    They also realize that marijuana whose sticky resin induces calm and euphoria via its main active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol - can be scary to people who have spent their lives heeding "Reefer Madness" warnings.

    To be 70, and smoking a joint for the first time, you'd be taking a big leap of faith, said Helen Reading, 43, a volunteer at the Oakland club who smokes marijuana daily for an "attitude adjustment" and to help her endure chemotherapy for breast cancer.

    A study by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in North Carolina shows the median age of Oakland club members is 41 and that 65 percent of them are AIDS patients.

    Across the Bay at the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivator's Club, an estimated one in 10 members is using pot for the first it time. The average age is around 35. The top five ailments. listed in order of frequency, are AIDS, mental disorders such as depression, substance abuse, multiple sclerosis and arthritis, and cancer.

    But proponents of the medicinal marijuana law predict those demographics will change dramatically in the next decade as more elderly people with life-threatening diseases and chronic debilitating conditions turn to the drug.

    Once pharmaceutical companies start marketing the drug - possibly in the form of an orally-ingested tincture or capsules, moral barriers will come tumbling down, just as they did following alcohol prohibition, speculates Tod Mikuriya, an East Bay psychiatrist and outspoken critic of the federal crackdown on doctors who recommend marijuana.

    "It's a good geriatric medicine," said Mikuriya, who was in charge of the federal government's research into cannabis in 1967.

    At the Oakland cannabis club, members rhapsodize about their conversion to marijuana therapy like born-again evangelists. The drug delivered them from their deathbeds, many say, and gave them the will to live.

    They say it's futile to tell someone in terrible physical or emotional pain that their drug of choice is immoral or bad.

    "We should be able to decide what makes use feel better," said club volunteer Stacy Noss, 22, of Walnut Creek, who suffers from chronic pancreatitis and uses pot to boost her appetite.

    The club's busiest time of the week is lunchtime Friday. That's when members stock up at the bud boutique on the fifth floor of a drab downtown Oakland building, where pot smoking is banned.

    After flashing their membership cards at the front door, and again at the portal of the club, they line up in the bud bar, where everything from $2-a-gram Mexican weed to pungent, high-grade, $20-a-gram buds is displayed under a glass counter.

    One regular customer is 57-year-old Milton Jeffries of Oakland, a retired sound engineer with high blood pressure, retina problems and poor appetite. He's looking for some premium "skunk," the aromatic champagne of pot.

    Pot changed his life

    Jeffries says pot changed his life when he was a teen-aged delinquent. He started listening to world music. Later, he became so mellow it drove his wife nuts, and they divorced.

    Now he uses pot to help him relax and increase his appetite.

    "I'm lucky because my doctor is young and sympathetic," he said. "He understands."

    Unlike Jeffries, 34-year-old Sunao T, didn't try pot until he tested positive for HIV in 1993.

    When he first came to America, he was a party boy. But after his student visa expired, he found himself an illegal immigrant, sick and alone.

    "It was a rude awakening," he said.

    A friend suggested marijuana might help his anxiety and loss of appetite. He tried it and liked it, because it gave him energy and made him eat. He even formed a Japanese drum group to satisfy his spiritual craving.

    "I'm in control again," he said.

    Prosecutors Withdraw Charges Against Diabetic Medical-Marijuana Patient

    Skagit Valley Herald [Mount Vernon, WA], Feb. 13, 1997
    By Ian Ith - Staff writer

    "We're talking about someone who was trying to survive the ravages of a disease." - Keith Tyne, deputy Public Defender

    Dying man won't face charges for raising pot Prosecutors say they couldn't have won conviction from jury

    Mount Vernon - Prosecutors have withdrawn marijuana-growing charges against a Concrete man who said he uses the drug for relief from terminal diabetes.

    "The defense was there, and I think it would have been very difficult for a jury to reach a guilty verdict in this situation," Skagit County Deputy Prosecutor Thomas Seguine said of the unique case.

    Douglas Bajurin, 34, of 685 Skagit View Drive, was charged in 1995 in Skagit County Superior Court with manufacturing marijuana, a felony.

    Skagit County Sheriff's deputies seized 36 pot plants on Bajurin's rented property after they spotted them from an airplane in September 1995.

    But Bajurin said medical necessity drove him to grow the plants. End-stage diabetes has left his internal organs, especially his stomach, damaged beyond repair and malfunctioning, court documents say. Dajurin said he relies on smoking marijuana to relieve the nausea of his debilitating stomach disorder.

    "We're talking about someone who was trying to survive the ravages of a disease, in a very remote area, all by himself," Bajurin's lawyer, deputy Public Defender Keith Tyne said. "This is a guy who wasn't buying or selling. He used the drug with no one."

    For a medical necessity defense, Bajurin would have had to prove that he reasonably believed marijuana was necessary to alleviate his symptoms; that no legally available drug was as effective as marijuana; and that the benefits of marijuana outweighed the harm caused by breaking the law.

    To meet that test, Bajurin's doctor, Christian Herter of Everett, was prepared to testify that Bajurin tried many anti-nausea medications without success, a court document said. A prescription for orally administered, synthetic marijuana wasn't helpful because Bajurin couldn't digest it, the doctor said.

    The doctor also said he doesn't expect Bajurin to live more than four more years.

    "I was convinced," Seguine said. "The defense attorneys were very emotional about this one. This guy would have had a very good defense. I hope he's not growing plants again. It's hard to say."

    Seguine said the dismissal shouldn't be interpreted as a softening of enforcement of marijuana laws locally. Bajurin's case was unique, Seguine said.

    California's Cannabis Market Not Yet Legitimized

    "Underground Turning More So"
    The Oakland Tribune, Feb. 9, 1997
    Matt Richtel, Staff Writer

    In the dark, clandestine world of the marijuana trade, people using phony names and whispering code words meet in parking lots and elsewhere to do the deals. Stashed inside their knapsacks and briefcases are thousands of dollars.

    Sometimes they "carry" everything from a five-shot, .22-caliber handgun to far more menacing 60-round, banana-clipped, automatic assault weapons.

    Could Proposition 215, the medical marijuana use initiative that California voters approved by a 56-44 percent margin in November, change this seedy scene?

    Supporters of the law hope it will. But, so, far, it has not.

    The business of growing and supplying marijuana hasn't gotten any easier in the three months since its passage. If anything, the trade has moved deeper underground as suppliers try to avoid the controversy swirling around the controversial law.

    Still, the law's strongest proponents predict an early end to cloak-and-dagger affairs. They contend Proposition 215 will clear the road to a legitimate, multimillion-dollar market in medicinal marijuana.

    They envision legal greenhouses growing hundreds of pounds of cannabis. One Berkeley activist talks of delivering the marijuana in a fleet of vans painted with green-leaf logos.

    "It's going to be the difference between bathtub gin and alcohol factories," said John Entwistle, legislative advocate for the San Francisco Cannibas Cultivator's Club.

    State law enforcement officials do not dispute the prediction. But they promise no letup in their war against suppliers, and promise to continue torching marijuana fields, arresting traffickers and charging them with felonies.

    'Exemplary prosecution'

    "There's a supremacy clause (in the U.S. Constitution) ... and the national government prevails," said Franklin Zirmring, professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. "When the feds show up, (medicinal use) isn't a defense at all. It's a wing and a. prayer.

    Zimring said federal officials might even well. come the chance to put a supplier of medicinal marijuana on trial, viewing the spectacle as "an ideal case for exemplary prosecution."

    The stakes are immense: The marijuana trade commands at least a $2.5 billion market nationwide that is fed by thousands of growers and distributors.

    In 1995, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 480,000 pounds of marijuana in the United States. That was conservatively worth $500 million, only 10 percent to 20 percent of the street trade, DEA officials estimate.

    The size of the medicinal marijuana trade is even harder to guess. At its peak last year, the,, San Francisco cannabis club sold 100 pounds of, marijuana a week, worth roughly $250,000. About 12,000 people bought it during the year.

    Entwistle said that reorients only a fraction of the demand for medicinal marijuana in Callfornia. He said legalization of marijuana for medicinal use is creating substantial competition among suppliers seeking a cut of the business from about 10 cannabis clubs in the state.

    Since Proposition 215's passage, Entwistle said, the price of high-grade marijuana at the San Francisco club has dropped 20 percent, from $80 for one-eighth of an ounce to about $60.

    Helping lead the charge to a more open trade is Oakland resident Ed Rosenthal, who envisions building a legal marijuana greenhouse to supply the San Francisco club. Rosenthal, a senior contributor to High Times magazine, has talked to the club about becoming its exclusive supplier.

    "I'm going to grow in a controlled area in a building or in an industrial park," Rosenthal said. "I'm not talking about the black market. I'm talking about supplying medical-grade marijuana. ... It'll be like a pharmaceutical company."

    Avoiding attention

    But, at least until the attention surrounding the Initiative starts to fade, the clubs and their suppliers intend to keep a low profile.

    Some (suppliers) are really paranoid," said Jeff Jones, president of the Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Club. "They want to meet out of town at a grocery store in the produce section, or at the pay phone next to the grocery market. Or we meet at a coffee house and then go on a walk for 10 minutes to discuss the transaction."

    Like most street dealers, cannabis clubs buy from numerous suppliers who bring marijuana grown primarily in Me)dco, Oregon and Northern California's so-called "Emerald Triangle" Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. The trade, unlike the top-down, military-style cocaine cartel operated out of Colombia, is not centralized. It consists of hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller entrepreneurs.

    Distribution usually is informal. Growers contact friends, who sell to friends. Bulk sales are avoided because they attract attention.

    The cultivation of marijuana also is hard to police because the plants can be concealed so easily; Growers in the Emerald Triangle typically disperse crops in dense national forests to escape detection by police patrolling in helicopters.

    Tricks of the trade

    Trickery also works. One former grower who lives in Berkeley recalls how, in the early 1990s, he and friends were able to harvest 250 pounds or $500,000 worth - of marijuana a year in Mendocino County. One ploy was to plant lowgrade marijuana in a plot near their prize crop.

    "They came and took the decoy plot and thought they were done with the area," the grower said. "It was marijuana they got, but not our good stuff." Plants also are grown in buildings under ultra ' violet lamps - a potentially risky venture given the ability of police, working with utility companies, to track large consumers of electricity.

    "The grow lights require so much energy," said Michael Van Winkle of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. "It's like running 15 t0 20 air conditioners at one time, all of the time." But for every action by law-enforcement officials, growers seemingly have a reaction. The, Berkeley grower grew his plants inside a barn connecting the lamps to a backup generator.

    Such deception and secrecy likely are to remain part of the marijuana trade so long as federal officials continue their resolve to pursue all traffic in the trade -- medicinal or otherwise.

    Suburban Chicago Police Chief Guilty In Drug Scandal

    CHICAGO (AP, Feb. 11, 1997) - A former police chief was convicted Tuesday of taking bribes and protecting drug dealers in his impoverished Chicago suburb.

    Jack L. Davis, 58, was the first to be tried of 10 current or former Ford Heights police officers accused of bribery, extortion and racketeering. A federal jury found him guilty after four hours of deliberations.

    Guidelines call for a sentence in the 20- to 25-year range, said assistant U.S. attorney Jonathan Bunge.

    Prosecutors said Davis gave drug dealers advice, warned them about police investigations, fixed cases and arrested rival dealers. They said he took at least eight bribes totaling nearly $8,000.

    "Jack Davis ... betrayed the residents of Ford Heights and corrupted his office by selling his shield to crack cocaine and heroin dealers," Bunge said during his opening statement.

    Davis' lawyer, Sergio Rodriguez, said the case against his client was based mainly on the testimony of convicted drug dealers willing to lie to exact revenge on the police chief.

    Ford Heights is a community of about 4,000 residents that is deeply embedded in poverty. Sheriff's deputies and state police were sent into the community after nearly half the police department was indicted.

    Joycelyn Elders Backs Medical Marijuana Efforts

    SAN ANTONIO (UPI, Feb. 8, 1997) -- Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders has lined up behind efforts in San Marcos, Texas, and California state to legalize medical use for marijuana.

    The Clinton Administration's controversial former top doctor told physicians at an AIDS conference on Saturday, "Marijuana never killed anybody," and doctors prescribe substances daily that are potentially more dangerous.

    Elders was forced out of the Clinton administration for her controversial views on teen contraception and other practices. Elders told the doctors if her mother needed marijuana for medical purposes, she "would not hesitate to break the law to get it."

    The promoter of a petition drive in the Central Texas town of San Marcos to legalize medical marijuana use said Thursday he had enough votes to put the question to a vote, and the city council next week could weigh whether to allow it on a May ballot.

    Last year California passed a proposition allowing for marijuana use to alleviate the symptoms of certain ailments and diseases.

    Southwest Texas State University Prof. Harvey Ginsburg said that if the San Marcos ordinance passed, it would not become legal merely to possess the drug within San Marcos city limits.

    He says the measure encourages police to show tolerance in enforcing marijuana laws when people suffer from half a dozen designated diseases, including certain cancers, glaucoma and AIDS. Ginsburg suggested police would be directed to strictly enforce anti-drug laws in all other cases.

    Federal law strictly forbids marijuana use.

    Florida Finds The Gateway Drug

    "Florida study: teen smokers use drugs"

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UPI, Feb. 12, 1997) - Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles today released findings from a state study that indicate teen smokers are far more likely to abuse alcohol and illegal drugs than non-smokers.

    A state Department of Children and Families survey of more than 22,000 Florida middle and high school students found teens who smoke or use other tobacco products are three times more likely to drink alcohol, six times more likely to smoke marijuana and eight times more likely to use cocaine.

    Chiles is using the survey results to push his proposed $94.4 million education program that promotes drug- and alcohol-free living for children by focusing on tobacco as a gateway to illicit drugs.

    The program, called the Tobacco, Education and Child Health Project (TEACH), would be funded by a 10-cent-per pack increase in Florida's cigarette tax, which would generate an estimated $120.9 million in its first year.

    Both the education program and the tax increase require approval by the Legislature.

    Some 85,500 Florida children and adolescents are in need of drug and alcohol treatment, but officials say current federal and state funding lets them treat fewer than 37,000.

    Chiles says the TEACH Project would provide treatment to an additional 12,771 teens.

    The governor also cited a University of Chicago study that estimates each dollar spent in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.14 in future costs by reducing hospitalizations, emergency room visits and

    'Drug Czar Won't Budge -
    McCaffrey Rejects Doctors Settlement On Medical Pot'

    The San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 9, 1997
    By Eric Brazil of The Examiner staff

    Dispelling any notion that he is open to compromise on the issue of medical marijuana, U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey has rejected a settlement offer by a group oi prominent Bay Area physicians who have sued to prevent the government from punishing them for recommending pot to patients.

    The physicians-plus a San Francisco prosecutor who has AIDS-sued McCaffrey in federal court last month after he announced that the government regards giving advice on medical marijuana as a criminal offense, which will be prosecuted.

    In offering to settle the case, the plaintiffs asked McCaffrey and the Justice Department to stipulate to an injunction barring prosecution of a physician "who discusses or recommends medical marijuana in the physician's best medical judgment and in the context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship."

    The injunction is in the public interest, they said, "if the federal government's interest is only in preventing abusive practices, while leaving responsible physicians to practice medicine in their best judgment."

    McCaffrey's response, delivered through his Justice Department attorney, Kathleen Muller, was blunt: Forget it.

    "Doctors cannot evade the prohibitions of the Controlled Substances Act by claiming that they are merely providing their patients with 'recommendations' in accordance with their best medical judgment," Muller wrote on Feb. 7.

    Besides, she said, the "government can't agree to limit its discretion to bring criminal prosecutions so compromise is unlikely.

    "Forget all the nice thing McCaffrey's been saying about doctors lately," said plaintiffs' attorney Graham Boyd. "Any doctor, no matter how much he believes in medical marijuana and believe that it helps the patient, still faces imprisonment."

    Boyd said that his clients will file for a preliminary injunction Monday.

    "It's a straightforward First Amendment case," he said. "The First Amendment protects the right of doctors and patients to talk about the full range of medical treatment, and the feds have no basis for interfering with that statement."

    Among the physician plaintiffs in the case are Dr. Marcus Conant, a UC-San Francisco professor who heads the nation's largest AIDS practice; Dr. Milton Estes, medical director of San Francisco's Forensic AIDS projects; and Dr. Arnold Leff of Santa Cruz, a deputy associate director for the White House drug abuse office during the Nixon administration.

    San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan said last week that he would support The City's Public Health Department physicians if they were prosecuted by the government for prescribing medical marijuana.

    Hallinan's announcement came in the wake of a decision by the San Francisco Health Commission to establish a protocol for marijuana distribution centers in The City.

    The commission acted in response to the passage of Proposition 215, the initiative legalizing medical marijuana last November.

    Where There's Smokin' Joe Califano, There's Fire

    "Democrat [Califano] Advised Haig To Burn Watergate Tapes"
    Los Angeles Times, Feb. 8, 1997, p. A15

    BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Joseph A. Califano, Jr., a former White House official during Democratic administrations, acknowledged Friday that he advised Nixon aide Alexander M. Haig Jr. a quarter-century ago that the Watergate tapes should be burned....

    Califano was an attorney for the Washington Post and the Democratic Party when he offered the tape-burning advice during an informal phone conversation with Haig, who once was a colleague at the Pentagon.

    "I suggested to him that they do burn the tapes," Califano said. "It was the only chance they had. We could not understand why the tapes were not destroyed. It would have been a terrible 10 days, but then it would have been over."

    -- from a roundtable featuring Bob Woodward, former Wash. Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, John Dean and Leonard Garment of the Nixon White House, and Califano.

    [Before he created work for himself by founding the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, Califano had been vocal about his fight with nicotine addiction, once known simply as "being a smoker." Some have taken to calling him "Smokin' Joe," for that reason. If you ever wondered what made Califano such a drug-war zealot, maybe the combination of his longtime establishment ties and his righteousness-in-recovery provides some illumination. - ed.]

    'Boston Police Officer Arrested On Drug Charges'

    BOSTON (AP, Feb. 10, 1997) - A Boston policewoman was arraigned on drug charges Monday following a weekend arrest.

    Patrol Officer Linda Hill, 38, of Boston, faces charges of distributing cocaine in a school zone, Police Department spokesman Jerry Vanderwood said.

    Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans said Hill, an 11-year veteran of the force, will continue to be paid, but will work desk jobs pending the outcome of the charges.

    Hill was arrested Saturday evening in the city's Jamaica Plain section. Evans said the arrest was not part of a sting.

    'Farm Scene - North Dakota House OKs Hemp Study'

    By Dale Wetzel, Associated Press, Feb. 11, 1997

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - If hemp was acceptable to the founding fathers as a farm crop, it's at least good enough for a study today, North Dakota lawmakers say.

    The House voted 58-30 to require North Dakota State University's agricultural experiment station to research the potential of industrial hemp as a crop.

    "Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were both industrial hemp producers," said Republican Rep. David Monson.

    Legislatures in several states are discussing hemp as an alternative crop, especially for tobacco farmers, whose main crop has an uncertain future because of health concerns.

    If the study wins final approval, the research would have to include an analysis of possible markets, soil and growing conditions, seed availability and police concerns. A report would be due by Aug. 1, 1998.

    The university estimated such a study would cost $75,000, but Monson said it need not necessarily involve growing test plots of hemp, which would make the idea much less expensive.

    He believes the legislation could help attract private investment in hemp research, Monson said.

    "Although lots of jokes persist, I am serious about" the bill, Monson said. "This is as American as baseball and apple pie."

    After it won approval, the legislation was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, which will examine its budget impact.

    Industrial hemp is a relative of marijuana, although it has very little of the substance pot smokers rely on to get high, noted Rep. RaeAnn Kelsch.

    Police worry about distinguishing between the legal and illegal stuff, said Kelsch, who argued against the measure.

    "We thought it was best that we just took this bill, rolled it up and smoked it," she said.

    But Monson and Rep. Ron Nichols said industrial hemp could be a valuable alternative crop. Monson said it was produced in the United States until after World War II. It has been used for paper, building materials, plastics and medicine, he noted.

    Nichols said farmers in North Dakota's northern tier need more options in growing crops.

    "As we have more and more problems with disease and midge and those types of things with our mainstay of hard wheat and durum, we're going to need some alternative crops to work for us as well," Nichols said.

    Canadian Officials Ease Hemp Restrictions

    "Feds easing restrictions on hemp growing"
    The Vancouver Province, Feb. 9, 1997, p. A4
    By Suzy Hamilton, Special to the Province

    NELSON -- Hemp could be grown for commercial use as early as next year, a federal health department spokesman says.

    "It's expected that commercial regulations will be in place by 1998," Steve Jeffries said from Ottawa. "The regulations are being written right now."

    That's good news for Winnipeg hemp entrepreneur Martin Moravcik and Nelson resident Alan Middlemiss. Two years ago they grew nearly eight hectares (20 acres) of hemp under licence in southern Manitoba for fibre and oil research.

    "It's wonderful news for Western Canada, especially for the farmer," said Middlemiss. Last year, experimental plots of hemp were grown in nearly every province but B.C., he said.

    "Because of the smaller land base, I see B.C. getting into seed cultivation, research and breeding."

    Moravcik is already in the seed business. He buys low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) seeds from Europe and China for farmers who have obtained licences.

    Marijuana, illegal for recreational use, contains up to 10 per cent THC, the ingredient that gives its buds mind- altering properties, Moravcik said.

    Industrial hemp -- whose stalks are used for fibre and seeds for food and oil -- contains less than half a per cent of THC. It is ineffective as a drug.

    "There's going to be a new vocabulary to learn if you want to be in on this," said Moravcik. "We're going to get a chance to put our money where our mouth is."

    New Jersey's Senator Bassano Endorses Medical Marijuana

    "Let's find out if marijuana can ease pain"
    By Sen. C. Louis Bassano
    The Star-Ledger [Newark, New Jersey], Feb. 9, 1997

    During the early '70s, when I first ran for local office in Union Township, the wife of my running mate died of cancer after enduring seven months of agonizing pain. I will never forget that torturous ordeal and the suffering of family members who had to stand by helplessly because of the limits on medical treatment in blunting excruciating pain.

    A few years later, after I was elected to the state assembly, the Carter administration convened a task force on intractable pain, a panel put together to determine if certain controlled dangerous substances, marijuana among them, could be used as weapons in the battle against pain from specific sources, i.e., glaucoma, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis. No one claimed that schedule-one substances, defined as being highly addictive with no medicinal benefits, would cure illness, merely that they might be effective in easing pain.

    My interest in investigating any possible means of easing the suffering of the desperately ill and dying prompted me to fly to Washington and meet with representatives of the National Institute of Health, which had been authorized to undertake the controlled dangerous substance therapeutic research program. I wholeheartedly supported this national effort and pledged New Jersey's willingness to participate.

    Shortly thereafter, I introduced legislation in the Assembly that permitted the state's participation, through the Health Department, in the national program. Senate and Assembly members from both sides of the aisle unanimously supported the bill and it was signed into law on March 20, 1981.

    Unfortunately the Legislature's eagerness to move forward was not matched by the Reagan administration, which had taken control of the White House a few months earlier. The task force and research program were put on hold; 16 years later, the question of whether marijuana and like substances are safe and effective in fighting the unpleasant side effects of serious illnesses is still unresolved. The effort to find an answer has been stalled by enthusiasm for the drug war and a determination to prevent young people from abusing drugs including marijuana.

    Clearly, given Dr. Jack Kevorkian, California Proposition 215 and the millions of people who risk jail every time, they illegally obtain marijuana for medical purposes, the time has come to end the debate over whether it is an effective therapy in certain instances.

    This is different than debating the issue of whether marijuana should be legalized. I oppose decriminalization.

    However, I fully support the state's participation in a comprehensive and conclusive research program that can answer the question of whether certain controlled dangerous substances are safe and effective in fighting pain from specific illnesses and what dangers might be associated with their use.

    Remember that up till now the claims that marijuana alleviates pain are not proven, despite a growing consensus that the medicinal benefits outweigh the dangers and the potential for the drug to become addictive and be abused. Last week's Interact column in The Star-Ledger gave the public plenty of opportunity to express a range of opinion on the subject and gave many of us more food for thought. Some excerpts:

    "Just because marijuana is a widely abused drug does not mean it should be prohibited for legitimate purposes."

    "Longtime medical studies in Europe, especially in the Netherlands, already have proven the medicinal value of marijuana."

    "I've had cancer; I know marijuana is medicine."

    But popular opinion is not the only gauge of the drug's effectiveness. Just last week, the New England Journal of Medicine, a highly respected barometer of medical opinion, declared that "federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed and inhuman (sic)."

    More and more, it appears as though government regulation and public and professional opinion are not in sync. Still, I agree with Barry McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who believes it would be premature to determine that specific drugs are safe to use as medicine until they are tested.

    Like Valium, Xanax and Percodan, marinol, an active ingredient in marijuana, is already available through prescription after meeting rigorous standards applied following exhaustive testing by the Food and Drug Administration.

    Under terms of the law that I sponsored in 1981, a highly controlled program would be created in the state Health Department for research into therapeutic use of certain schedule-one controlled substances in certain situations. About t a dozen doctors would be asked to participates and each would be required to include a specified number of patients who meet the eligibility criteria.

    The federal government would have to be involved because schedule-one substances are manufactured outside the United States and would have to be obtained by the National Institute of Health and provided to state-run programs. A federally run research program would ensure that uniform drugs are used for controlled purposes.

    Patients would have to be certified by a doctor as facing a life-threatening or sense-threatening situation and not responding to current drug treatment. The identities of the patients participating in the study would be confidential.

    A Therapeutic Research Qualifications Review Board would be established to certify participating physicians. Research findings would be submitted to the state health commissioner, who would report to the National Institute of Health.

    This would not be a complex, expensive program. We are talking about researching a drug for medicinal purposes, not unlike the testing done for many other and, in some minds, more dangerous drugs. Morphine, for example, has been legal for therapeutic purposes for years.

    For now, though, I believe we have an obligation to explore every avenue that might offer relief to many Americans, regardless of whether it is a traditional course of treatment. Only if testing proves the power of marijuana in easing pain and suffering should we open the debate over how to make it legal.

    Sen. C. Louis Bassano, a Republican, represents the 21st District in parts of Union and Essex counties.

    Industrial Hemp Bill Passes Colorado House Agriculture Committee

    Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
    For Immediate Release
    February 12, 1997

    Denver, CO -- In a vote of 8 to 4, the Colorado House Agriculture Committee today voted in favor of HB 1274, the Fiber Crop Development Act, sponsored by Rep. Kay Alexander (R- Montrose). HB 1274 authorizes Colorado State University to research industrial hemp alongside two other fiber crops: kenaf and sunnhemp. The bill also establishes the Colorado Fiber Crop Development Committee to research potential markets for fiber crops and to work with law enforcement to develop regulations regarding industrial hemp.

    The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee. If it passes Appropriations, the bill would go to two readings on the floor of the House and then on to the Senate. All bills in Colorado which originated in the House must pass through the House and into the Senate by Feb. 24. In 1996, the Colorado Senate voted in favor of a similar bill sponsored by Senator Lloyd Casey.

    The passage of the bill by the House Agriculture Committed today came as a surprise to hemp proponents. The same committee killed the hemp bill in 1996, after it had passed through the Senate. The death of the hemp bill in 1996 was attributed mainly to strong opposition from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The DEA testified again this year against the hemp bill. Tom Ward, new acting Special Agent in Charge of the Rocky Mountain Region DEA, testified that industrial hemp and marijuana were the same and that in order to produce industrial hemp, federal law must be changed.

    Despite this testimony, the House Agriculture Committee passed the bill 8 to 4.

    What is industrial hemp?

    Industrial hemp refers to genetic varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant that have no psychoactive properties but produce high fiber and seed yields. HB 1274 would authorize test plots of industrial hemp seed varieties that are registered for use in the European Union. These strains are certified to contain less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive chemical found in Cannabis sativa.

    Presented as a Public Service by the:

    Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
    P.O. Box 729
    Nederland, CO 80466
    Vmail: (303) 784-5632
    Web Page:
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    with 10,000 years of history and facts."
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