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March 6, 1997

Second Federal Lawsuit Challenging Administration's Prohibition Of
Medical Marijuana Filed In U.S. District Court

Washington Post cartoon, 2-04-97

Washington, D.C., March 6, 1997:  A group of physicians, health organizations, and patients have filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the federal government's refusal to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana in states that permit them to do so.  The lawsuit is a direct response to the Clinton administration's February 11, 1997, announcement in the Federal Register threatening doctors who recommend medical marijuana to patients in compliance with state law with a wide range of punishments -- including criminal prosecution.
The defendants in the suit are: Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Director of White House Drug Control Policy; Thomas Constantine, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States; and Donna Shalala, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Representing the plaintiffs are the Washington D.C. law firms of Emord and Associates and Berliner, Corcoran and Rowe.
Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the federal policy prohibiting physicians from recommending or prescribing marijuana in accordance with state law violates the First, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.  Plaintiffs also seek a declaratory judgment that those aspects of federal policy that terminate a physicians participation in federal programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, and revoke their DEA drug registrations authorizing them to prescribe controlled drugs, violate the Administrative Procedure Act.  The plaintiffs request that the court enjoin the federal government from enforcing its policy against doctors and patients.
The lawsuit cites state laws in Connecticut, Virginia, and Arizona that permit physicians to prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from serious illness.  The suit also cites California's recently approved medical marijuana initiative allowing patients to use marijuana with a physician's recommendation.  The two health organizations named as plaintiffs, the American Preventive Medical Association and the Life Extension Foundation (LEF), represent numerous physicians from those states.
NORML's Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq., said this latest suit raises additional legal issues not addressed in the class action suit filed in California on January 14.  "In addition to the obvious First Amendment issues raised in both challenges, the D.C. suit also alleges Ninth and Tenth Amendment violations, as well as a violation of the Commerce Clause (Article I, Sec. 8, Clause 3) of the U.S. Constitution.  These are important issues for the federal court to consider," Stroup said.
For more information, please contact the law firm of Emord & Associates @ (202) 466-6937 or Berliner, Corcoran, & Rowe @ (202) 293-5555.  For additional information, please contact R. Keith Stroup of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.

Medical Marijuana Bills Heard Before Maine, Missouri Legislatures

March 6, 1997, Washington, D.C.:  Legislation that would allow seriously ill patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes was recently argued before legislatures in Missouri and Maine.
Missouri's measure (H.B. 601) states that, "No criminal or civil penalty shall apply to the patient or the patient's primary caregiver for the act of possessing or cultivating marijuana" provided that the patient's use is certified by a physician.  According to Missouri NORML President Dan Viets, Esq., the certification by the doctor may be made following an arrest and would provide an affirmative defense of medical necessity for patients against state marijuana charges.  The legislation does not limit marijuana's medical use to specific ailments and allows for "research project[s] related to the medicinal uses of marijuana" to be conducted at state universities.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Vickie Riback Wilson (D-Boone County) and is co-sponsored by Public Health Committee Chairwoman Mary Bland (D-Kansas City).
Viets, who serves on NORML's Board of Directors, and two others testified before the Missouri House Public Health Committee on February 18.  "The comments and questions by members of the ... committee indicate that there is support ... for the bill," Viets said.  "I am very optimistic we can get this bill through the legislature."
The committee has yet to vote on the measure, but is expected to shortly.  The Missouri legislature passed a resolution in 1994 requesting the federal government lift the ban on marijuana for medical purposes (S.C.R. 14).
In Maine, a pair of bills (L.D. 1059 and L.D. 1006) relating to the use of marijuana for medical use, were heard before the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services.  One measure, introduced by Sen. Ann Rand (D-Cumberland), would, "Create an affirmative defense [of medical necessity] to a charge of possession or cultivation of marijuana provided a licensed physician has recommended in writing the use of the drug to alleviate negative medical symptoms."  The law would limit the amount of marijuana possessed or cultivated by the patient to 4 ounces of usable marijuana and a total of 15 growing plants, of which no more than 6 may be mature.  The bill currently has eight co-sponsors.  "If there's something that can really relieve people of suffering, then it should be used," Rand told reporters earlier this year.  "It should be used properly and judiciously, but it should be used."
The second bill before the legislature, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Stevens (D-Orono), re-establishes the Marijuana Therapeutic Research Program, which was repealed December 31, 1987.  Such programs allow seriously ill patients who are not responding to conventional medications to receive marijuana from their state Board of Health for "research" purposes.  Currently, 13 states have laws allowing for the implementation of such programs; however, none are currently active.  During the early 1980s, patients in at least six states received medical marijuana through state-run research programs.
Testimony in favor of the bills was heard on March 3, including remarks from NORML Board Member John P. Morgan, M.D., of City University of New York (CUNY) Medical School.  Two current medical marijuana users also gave personal accounts to the committee.
No one spoke against the bills, although three state officials -- the commissioner of public safety, the director of the state Bureau of Health, and the director of the state Office of Substance Abuse -- issued a statement opposing them.
Maine legislators passed a medical marijuana bill in 1991 re-establishing Maine's marijuana research program and allowing licensed pharmacies to distribute marijuana to certified patients, but then-Gov. John McKernan vetoed it.
Maine's current governor, Angus King -- an Independent -- remains "skeptical but open-minded" to the issue, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald.
"Both historically and presently, states have been well ahead of the federal government on the medical marijuana issue," said NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre, who noted that similar bills are pending in at least five other states.  "It appears that both of these measures -- if passed -- will benefit thousands of seriously ill patients."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or Dan Viets of Missouri NORML @ (573) 443-6866.  For more information on current state medical marijuana laws or to request a copy of NORML's medical marijuana guidebook for state representatives, please contact Paul Armentano of NORML. Contact information for Reps. Wilson, Rand, and Stevens is available from the national office.



© copyright 1996, 1997 NORML NORML Home Page comments:

Regional and other news

Body Count

Five of the eight 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," March 6, 1997, p. 7, 3M-MP-NE). That makes the body count so far this year 42 out of 89, or 47.19 percent.


Multnomah County Medical-Marijuana Initiative Meeting

Portland-area activists interested in putting a medical-marijuana initiative before the voters in Multnomah County are invited to an organizational meeting beginning 3:30 pm Saturday, March 15, at Old Town Pizza, 226 NW Davis St.

Before California voters endorsed Proposition 215 in California last November, several California counties paved the way by voting to assign enforcement of medical-marijuana cases the "lowest priority." (The text of many such initiatives can be found in Clifford Schaffer's Medical Marijuana Archive at

Portland NORML is not a political organization and will not sponsor the initiative, but Director T.D. Miller can answer as many questions as anyone else at this point. For more details call him at (503) 777-9088.

[After raising funds to pay a lawyer to research the issue, Portland NORML learned that state law prohibits local initiatives such as Proposition P.]


Drug Policy Reform Takes A Hit

The Portland NORML World Wide Web site has broken through the thousand-hit-a-day barrier. As shown in the
"Access Statistics" currently linked to the top of Portland NORML's home page at, more than 7,000 pages were downloaded in the latest week. A record 1,315 "pages" were downloaded March 3 - perhaps about five to 10 books worth of information in one day. (Many "pages" contain more than 100,000 bytes.) Traffic has almost doubled just in the last month, not including the bandwidth from all the new graphics and animated gifs. (Including images, the current average is 5,222 hits a day.)

The Portland NORML World Wide Web site has been donated freely from its inception and serviced by the friendly folks at Pantless Productions (who are always looking for more clients - go to will become Terra Core Communications - - at the same time Portland NORML switches to its new domain,

Part of the Drug Reform Coordination Network, the world's largest online library of drug-policy information, the site is fed and cared for mostly by yours truly the editor (who has yet to crack a book on hypertext markup language) with the invaluable assistance of several contributors. The Portland NORML Web pages now include about 10 megabytes of news, documents and articles on various aspects of cannabis and drug policy, plus about another 10 megabytes of graphics.

The drug-policy debate has been controlled since prohibition began by powerful and self-interested elements in government, mass media, business and other antidemocratic bastions. The Internet puts an end to all that. Current drug policy is so costly and socially toxic that reform is inevitable if freedom of information prevails. Opponents of reform fear nothing so much as an informed discussion. That's why the Portland NORML World Wide Web pages exist.

Any suggestions on how to reach 2,000 hits a day are welcome.

New Survey On Kids And Pot

The New York Times, March 4, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) - Kids are beginning to use drugs, especially marijuana, at a younger age than ever before. While drug use for pre-teens is still relatively low, a survey released today reports a doubling in marijuana use by youngsters in the fourth through sixth grades and an increasing tolerance of drugs.

The survey, prepared for the New York-based Partnership for a Drug-Free America, found that kids in those grades, those aged 9 to 12, less likely than before to believe drugs are risky, more likely than before to believe they are acceptable and even more likely to experiment with them as they move into middle school and high school.

"Our new national research reveals for the first time that younger children are emulating the attitudes and behavior of their peers" when it comes to drugs, said Richard D. Bonnette, president of the group, which is a private organization of communications industry professionals.

"This is particularly significant because these children - most of whom don't use drugs now - are seeing fewer risks in drugs just as they're about to move from elementary school to junior high or middle school - where, according to the data, drug experimentation rates skyrocket," Bonnette said.

The study surveyed the practices and attitudes of 12,292 children, teens and parents. It was conducted by Audits & Surveys Worldwide Inc., a New York market research company, and paid for by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Among the findings for kids ages 9-12:

  • The trial use of marijuana increased from 2 percent to 4 percent last year. The foundation said that while the raw percentage may appear small, the increase is statistically significant and represents an increase from about 230,000 children experimenting with marijuana in 1995 to about 450,000 children last year.

  • They were less likely to agree with the statement that "people on drugs act stupid." Seventy-one percent agreed with that in 1995; just 65 percent in 1996.

  • The percentage of white children who agreed with the statement "Everybody tries drugs" increased from 21 percent in 1995 to 28 percent in 1996. Among black children that acceptance level dropped from 36 percent two years ago to 29 percent now.

  • Fewer children said they would tell their parents if someone offered them drugs: 63 percent in 1995 and 55 percent last year.

  • One of every four was offered drugs last year, but only 7 percent of parents believed such an offer was made.

  • The number of youngsters aged 11 and 12 who said they have friends who use marijuana increased from 7 percent to 13 percent between 1993 and 1996.

  • The children reported learning less about the dangers of drugs at school and from television shows, news programs, television commercials and friends.

  • While 8 percent of 6th graders reported experimenting with drugs, that number increased to 23 percent of seventh graders and a full third of eighth graders.

    Bonnette said that if children don't have the right attitude as they move into the higher grades they will be more likely to experiment with drugs.

    "Children are exposed to new friends, new pressures and new peer and social norms when they move into junior high," he said.

    The study appeared to dovetail with a new ABC-Washington Post news poll released Monday and finding that while 52 percent of parents rate drugs in the schools as a crisis or serious problem, only 34 percent of teen-agers do.

    The telephone poll was conducted Feb. 20-24 among random national samples of 527 teen-agers and 618 parents of teen-agers, most from the same household. The margin of sampling error was 4.5 percentage points.

    UN Confirms Drug Use Up Among US Youths

    By George Jahn

    VIENNA, Austria (AP, March 4, 1997) Increasing numbers of young Americans are using cocaine, marijuana and LSD, while the use of heroin and cocaine in Europe is decreasing, a panel of U.N. drug experts said Tuesday.

    The annual world survey by the International Narcotics Control Board confirmed the assessment of U.S. government studies that drug use is rising among young people in the United States.

    From 1994 to 1995, it said, cocaine use among young Americans more than doubled from 0.3 percent of the population to 0.8 percent. Cocaine use overall leveled off, with about 1.4 million people using it on a monthly basis in 1995, according to the report.

    Abuse of marijuana and LSD also rose among young Americans during the same period, after "positive results" in reducing drug demand and supply in the 1980s and early 1990s, the U.N. board said.

    The group didn't say how it defined young Americans.

    Among older Americans, cocaine use leveled off, while about 200,000 Americans used heroin in 1995, "an estimate significantly higher than that for 1994," the board said.

    The board is a 13-member group of experts, set up by the United Nations but independent of U.N. control. It bases most of its data on studies done in the individual countries. For the United States, most of the data came from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Drug Abuse Warning Network.

    Even as fewer Europeans used heroin and cocaine, more were using synthetic drugs, especially amphetamines, ecstasy and LSD, according to the report. Marijuana growing also is rising in Europe, it said.

    The U.N. board also warned that many people were becoming infected with the AIDS virus in Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics in Europe by sharing needles to inject drugs.

    The survey reported some progress in anti-drug enforcement, including a five-fold increase in global seizures of opiates and a 10-fold jump in cocaine seizures since 1980.

    It said the increasing seizures could be attributed partly to increasing use, but also partly to better law enforcement.

    But the U.N. board said that overall drug use was steady or increasing in most parts of the world.

    "Illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse have expanded into regions not previously affected," the board said in the 76-page survey. "New trafficking routes have emerged, new drugs of abuse have been developed, and drug trafficking organizations have replaced their jailed members."

    Why Is Drug Education Failing?

    The Drug Reform Coordination Network's Web site is currently featuring an exploration of the drug education issue - specifically, the general failure of current modes of drug education, the establishment's resistance to change, and the government's attempts to suppress critical research on the topic. Please visit and follow the link to "Why is Drug Education Failing?"

    Sections include:

  • "Listen to what young people are saying about drug use," Brenda Payton's March 6th column in The Oakland Tribune, featuring researcher Joel Brown's findings on kids' views on current drug education that the government didn't want to hear.

  • "Don't You D.A.R.E.," a summary of portions of Stephen Glass's cover article from the March 3rd New Republic about tactics used by the DARE program and some of its supporters to suppress evidence of the program's ineffectiveness and censor those those who criticize it.

  • "A Different Look at DARE," DRCNet's topics in depth section discussing the popular but ineffective program.

    If you are not already on DRCNet, please visit our "quick-signup" form at

    Eugene Teachers Oppose Drug Testing Proposal

    ACLU News, Feb. 25, 1997

    EUGENE, OR - Local schoolteachers say a proposed bill in the state Legislature to require mandatory random drug testing for teachers is absurd - not to mention unconstitutional, the Register-Guard reports.

    When House Bill 2464 came before the Oregon House education committee last week, it met resistance from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Oregon Education and the Oregon Confederation of School Board Administrators.

    The bill was introduced by a state representative acting on behalf of a constituent who told the Register-Guard that teachers would be serving as good role models if they submitted to the testing. "I don't understand why a teacher would be against it," the constituent, Marty Holstein, said. "If you're not doing it, you don't have any reason to fight it."

    Under the proposed bill, teachers would pay the cost of the tests and could see the charge taken directly out of their paychecks.

    Dave Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon, told the committee that government employees are generally protected against unreasonable searches - such as a drug test - unless authorities have probable cause for a search.

    One teacher, Becky Haskins, suggested an alternative proposal: "The solution doesn't fit the problem," she told the Register-Guard. "The problem is that kids are doing drugs. If they need role models, maybe it's the parents who should be tested."

    Medical Marijuana Group Charges PDFA With Railroading Amtrak-Conrail 'Hoax'

    Defending The Rights Of America's Medical Marijuana Patients
    1635 E 22nd St., OAKLAND, CA 94606, (510) 533-0605
    E-MAIL: Ed Rosenthal,

    March 2, 1997

    An Open Letter to ABC affiliates

    Please, don't air commercials from Partnership For A Drug-Free America that spread lies and hate towards medical marijuana patients such as myself. We are only trying to stay alive, using a medicine that our doctors tell us is helping. Every time you air a commercial from Partnership For A Drug-Free America, you place medical marijuana patients in grave peril.

    Remember the 1987 Amtrak-Conrail train accident, in Harrisburg Pennsylvania? Fifteen people were killed and another 176 were injured in the worst accident in Amtrak's history. Partnership For A Drug-Free America aired millions of dollars worth of free radio spots which proclaimed: "They say marijuana doesn't kill, but I lost my wife and two children in a train accident caused by marijuana."

    It was all a hoax. Dr. Delbert J. Lacefield, chief of the Federal Aviation Administration's forensic toxicology unit, later admitted to falsifying blood test results in the Amtrak-Conrail crash, as well as numerous other crashes. Lacefield's claims that THC had been found in blood samples taken from railway employees were exposed as fraudulent in court. Court records show that Lacefield never even performed the laboratory analysis required to detect THC. No one was ever found guilty of using pot and there is no evidence that pot is related to any increase in railway accidents. Since drug testing was instituted, as a federal response to the alleged use of pot in the Amtrak crash, there has been no decline in railway accidents. The engineer accused of smoking pot was, in fact, drunk and had been convicted of driving under the influence a few months earlier.

    Partnership For A Drug-Free America is also the group that got caught lying about dysfunctional brain waves from a fictitious marijuana smoker. Their record of lying about drugs sends the wrong message to kids, who want the truth, not lies.

    Stop the Lies! Please!


    Steve Kubby

    America's International Drug Strategy Online

    The International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, 1996, released in March 1997 by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, is posted on the World Wide Web at

    69 Percent Of US Thinks Marijuana Should Remain Illegal (The 69 Percent Allowed To Sit On Juries)

    Copyright © 1997, The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
    The Public Perspective February, 1997 / March, 1997

    Americans Rate Their Society and Chart Its Values: A Roper Center Review of Findings of the General Social Survey and the 1996 Survey of American Political Culture; American Society: Where Are We Headed?

    By Everett C. Ladd

    My colleagues and I are partial to surveys that look broadly at a society, examine the social and political values of its people, help us understand where important change is occurring - and, conversely, where the persistence of long-standing norms and behavior is the story.

    Question: Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?

    Should not be made legal

    1973 80%
    1975 75%
    1976 69%
    1978 67%
    1979 72%
    1983 77%
    1984 73%
    1986 80%
    1987 81%
    1988 79%
    1989 81%
    1990 81%
    1991 78%
    1993 73%
    1994 73%
    1996 69%

    [The misleading nature of polls that ask whether marijuana should be "legalized" has been noted here previously. To reiterate just one problem - marijuana is technically illegal even in the Netherlands - or California for that matter - so what makes our system of illegality better than the systems of illegality elsewhere? And when will the Roper Center start asking people if they know how much they will have to pay in taxes to lock up the 7.8 percent of the population that uses illegal substances? (In the West, according to the latest, 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse posted at However, the real question is, if American marijuana defendants are really entitled to a jury representing the community at large ("of one's peers"), how does the government get 31percent of jurors to subjugate their consciences to the state's? Why aren't Americans guaranteed freedom of conscience? If 51 percent of the population wants to sanction all gay people or women who have late-term abortions, for example, would the rest of us get excluded from juries in those cases? - ed.]

    Solving The Riddle Of Medical Marijuana

    Patients say their lives provide answers
    The Miami Herald, March 3, 1997
    By Stephen Smith
    Herald Health Writer

    It is the song of the stockbroker, prices bellowed in rat-a-tat-tat staccato, clients cajoled to buy, sell, hold.

    For the smallish man cloistered inside a pressure-cooker Boca Raton securities firm, life hurtles along - fall behind and you could squander millions of somebody else's dollars.

    His name is Irvin H. Rosenfeld. And he smokes marijuana, sometimes a dozen joints a day. Aided and abetted by the government of the United States of America.

    Rosenfeld - successful stockbroker, Elks Club stalwart - stands squarely on the fault line of a national debate that zigzags into medicine, law, morals. It is all about patients' rights, doctors' powers and the War on Drugs.

    Voters in California and Arizona told doctors last fall they could prescribe marijuana to patients. The nation's premier assembly of researchers spent two days last month investigating the medicinal properties of pot. And even the country's top drug warrior, who has branded marijuana "Cheech and Chong" medicine, authorized spending $1 million to review all we know about its effects - good and bad.

    Federal standards

    A thicket of studies conducted during the past three decades suggests that marijuana quiets nausea in cancer patients, reduces eye pressure in people with glaucoma, stirs appetite in AIDS patients. But few of the studies meet rigorous federal standards - in no small part because it's tough to perform lots of scientific reviews on an illegal substance.

    Irv Rosenfeld believes his life story provides the best answer to the riddle of medical marijuana.

    "I feel like without the marijuana, I would be dead," he said. "And I'm still a good and productive member of society."

    Tumors choke his body, the result of a rare congenital condition. From puberty to early adulthood, Rosenfeld endured seven operations to remove 40 tumors. They were all benign, and doctors suspect the 200 lurking inside him are noncancerous, too. But the pain still tortures as tumors strangle bone and muscle.

    Surprising relief

    He discovered marijuana by chance, as a college student in the '70s. One day, playing chess at his apartment near the Kendall campus of Miami-Dade Community College, he stood up after 45 minutes of sitting.

    "With this disease, I can't sit for more than 10 minutes," Rosenfeld said. "So I immediately thought, `What have I taken today?' And I thought, `I've smoked this garbage.'

    "The next day, I called my surgeon, told him what happened, and he said, `Well, you know, I've never heard of medical use of marijuana.' "

    Thus began an 11-year quest that concluded with the federal government agreeing to provide him marijuana harvested from a 5.6-acre chunk of land on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, a crop presided over by guard towers and police dogs. Today, eight people in the nation - two live in Broward, Rosenfeld and Elvy Musikka, a Hollywood woman with glaucoma - get monthly stashes of pot from the feds, 300 freeze-dried joints delivered in tins.

    To the foes of marijuana, people like Kansas drug-treatment specialist Eric Voth, the government might as well be trafficking in poison.

    "I absolutely do not support studying or considering the delivery of a medication by smoking it. Period," said Voth, chairman of the International Drug Strategy Institute, an anti-drug consortium. "If the tobacco companies had come forth and said we want to encourage doctors to prescribe smoked tobacco for weight loss, we'd all laugh at them."

    Government opposition

    Even as The New England Journal of Medicine last month embraced medical marijuana and deemed federal prohibitions "misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane," government health and drug-control agencies continued assailing the drug.

    The stance of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala embodies the essence of the opposition: "Research shows that marijuana is harmful to one's brain, heart, lungs, and immune system. It limits learning, memory, perception, judgment, and complex motor skills."

    Position papers provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse argue against medical marijuana use, enumerating concerns about nonsmokers' ability to inhale deeply, possible damage to the immune system and potential cancer-causing chemicals. No specific studies are cited to support the position papers.

    Voth and other marijuana critics direct patients in pain or with nausea to a synthetic form of marijuana's key active ingredient, THC, that's marketed as Marinol.

    The company that makes Marinol touts research showing the drug improved appetite and mood in AIDS patients and decreased nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Those studies hew to accepted scientific standards that call for one group to receive the drug, a second to get a placebo and for neither the patient nor the person giving the pill to know what's real and what's fake.

    Advocates of making marijuana a legally sanctioned drug point to other research - much of it not nearly so rigorous as the Marinol studies - reporting that smoked marijuana works better for some patients.

    "I helped care for a young woman, the wife of a dear friend, who was dying of metastatic breast cancer," said John P. Morgan, an internist and professor of pharmacology at City University of New York Medical School. "She tried Marinol. It didn't work or caused her to vomit or made her extremely goofy. If she took a couple of puffs off a marijuana cigarette, she was transformed - her nausea disappeared."

    Better than the pills

    A study published in 1979, one of the few involving smoked marijuana that followed the highest research standards, found that THC in the smoked form did a better job than the pill variety in stanching nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.

    Those results jibe with studies conducted by state health departments and cited by marijuana backers as constituting a sufficient mass of scientific proof to move the drug to the category that includes morphine and cocaine - addictive but available for prescriptions. Morgan concedes the state research is lacking in scientific rigor.

    Promoters of marijuana's healing power insist that even if there are negative consequences, that's no different than other drugs. The government regularly gives its imprimatur to medicines that, while largely beneficial, can have damaging side effects.

    All the arguments, for and against, ring with a haunting familiarity to psychiatrist J. Thomas Ungerleider, who has been studying marijuana for decades. He has also been treating people hooked on marijuana for decades. He doesn't support making marijuana legal for recreational smoking any more than he thinks that people should be able to pluck morphine off the grocery story shelf.

    "I don't think it's a wonder drug," said Ungerleider, professor emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles. "But my position is that it's kind of important to let a physician have the option to decide what to use for his patient and for those few patients who need it, I think it can be very helpful. They should have access, in the name of compassion."

    Elvy Musikka has access, compassion granted by the government. She was the third person in the nation to get a supply of marijuana from the Mississippi crop. But she'd been using marijuana to control glaucoma long before she won federal approval.

    And her doctor knew it. Paul Palmberg, MD, PhD, is a Presbyterian elder and conservative Republican. He doesn't like illicit drugs, doesn't use illicit drugs. But he became convinced of marijuana's power one day when he and his patient went to a fifth-floor porch at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, where he practices.

    Musikka smoked a marijuana cigarette. Palmberg did a before and after measurement of the pressure in Musikka's eyes (glaucoma causes pressure to burgeon so much it can damage the optic nerve). The reading dropped by more than two-thirds.

    Palmberg spent 40 hours completing the reams of paperwork required by the government before Musikka could become one of the handful of Americans to ever smoke pot legally.

    "As a Presbyterian elder, how did I feel about ordering marijuana for somebody? I felt uneasy, but I felt quite secure this was the right thing to do for this patient," he said. "You have to do what's best for the patient, and that's a complex issue."

    Still, he wishes science understood better how marijuana works. It's known that more than 400 chemicals can be found in a marijuana cigarette, and doctors like Palmberg wonder if there's something other than the THC that makes smoked marijuana beneficial for their patients.

    Musikka smokes marijuana and bakes it into all-natural brownies. Her daily regimen: four joints and three brownies, or six joints and two brownies. She has tried other glaucoma medication but says they made her feel poorly or stopped working.

    "It's a miraculous plant," Musikka said. "I really think it's one of God's greatest gifts."

    A pragmatic patient

    Rosenfeld views marijuana with the bottom-line pragmatism you would expect from a stockbroker. This is what works for me, he says. That doesn't mean it works for everybody. In fact, Rosenfeld argues that it should be a drug of last resort.

    For him, marijuana is pain reliever and muscle relaxer. Rosenfeld believes it has helped keep muscles loose, vitally important because if they get tense and stretch, veins can rip, causing hemorrhages.

    So in between trades, Rosenfeld clambers aboard an elevator that ferries him to the garage where his cobalt blue Ford Explorer sits. He gets in the driver's seat, places a towel over his lap so his pants won't get burned and uses a yellow Bic lighter to ignite his medicine.

    He takes long, steady drags. All his clients know he smokes marijuana because he's told them so - otherwise, if they lost money and weren't aware he smoked pot, they might take legal action.

    Rosenfeld has had lung tests and snapshots of his brain and neither showed damage. And Palmberg reports he can discern no impairment in Musikka.

    "I'm in a position now at age 44," Rosenfeld said, "where I've been using it for 25 years and I think maybe the other side should start saying, `You know, let's listen. He's not a druggie. Maybe the guy's onto something.' "

    Herald researcher Elisabeth Donovan contributed to this report.

    Doctors And Medical Marijuana

    The New York Times staff editorial, March 6, 1997.

    The tactic the Clinton Administration has chosen to head off the medical use of marijuana in California- threatening doctors who recommend marijuana to their patients- is a dangerous and unwarranted interference with free speech and a patient's right to hear the truth from a doctor. In its effort to enforce Federal narcotics laws, the Administration needs to make clear that it will do nothing to prevent doctors from delivering their best medical judgments to their patients.

    Proposition 215, approved by California voters last November, makes it legal under state law for a seriously ill patient to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor has advised, either orally or in writing, that the use of marijuana is medically appropriate.

    The Administration has not challenged the legality of the state statute directly in court. Nor has it brought new prosecutions against buyers' clubs that provide marijuana to the seriously ill or against patients suffering from AIDS, cancer and glaucoma who smoke marijuana for relief from nausea, vomiting and pain.

    Instead, the Federal government has said that it would clamp down on physicians. Threats of losing their right to prescribe drugs, exclusion from participation in Medicare and Medicaid, and Federal criminal prosecution have silenced many doctors. Last December the California Medical Association advised its members to make no recommendations on marijuana lest they be prosecuted.

    A recent lawsuit brought by prominent AIDS and cancer physicians in California argues that the Administration's threats violate their First Amendment rights and intrude on physician-patient communications. Last Friday the Administration issued a statement saying that doctors may discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana, but may not intentionally make oral or written statements or "recommendations" that enable patients to obtain it. That formulation seems to mean that, even if a doctor thinks marijuana the best treatment for a particular patient, he cannot say so because, under California law, a patient may use a doctor's recommendation as a defense against state prosecution for possession of marijuana. This is an improper restriction on medical judgment. After all, a doctor's recommendation does not place marijuana in a patient's hands. It is still the patient who procures the drug.

    Thousands of doctors have recommended marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients in past years. A 1990 Harvard survey of more than 2400 oncologists found that 44 percent of those responding has recommended marijuana to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors making similar statements in California now could become targets of Federal investigations and punishment.

    The Administration's policy issued last December said that any "action of recommending" marijuana would trigger Federal sanctions. Now Justice Department lawyers, facing a fierce counterattack from the medical community, are blurring the issue, saying that only doctors who make recommendations with intent to help patients get marijuana are liable. But how can one distinguish intent to help patients obtain the drug from intent to tell them the best therapy to use? The plaintiff doctors are right to press for clarity on this issue.

    The Administration says it does not want to gag doctors, but its stated policies lead in that direction. If there is truly no gag rule, then doctors should be free to say what they want, including advising the use of marijuana, without fear of reprisal, as long as they do not otherwise assist patients in getting the drug, which remains illegal under Federal law.

    Public Health Director Debunks Califano's 'Laetrile' Analogy

    "Medical Marijuana, Distinctively Speaking"

    by William M. London
    Director of Public Health
    American Council of Science and Health
    New York

    The Washington Post, March 3, 1997, p. A18

    As a longtime activist against health frauds such as laetrile as a cancer treatment and as a former director of drug abuse prevention programs, I read Joseph Califano Jr.'s op-ed piece "Medical Marijuana and the Lesson of Laetrile" [Feb. 17] with great interest - and outrage.

    Just as drugs can be abused, so can analogies. Comparing medical marijuana to laetrile is an example of analogy abuse. Consider:

    1. While there has never been a scientifically plausible basis for the extraordinary medical claims made for laetrile, as far back as 1982 the National Academy of Sciences noted "[marijuana has] shown promise in the treatment of a variety of disorders."

    2. Laetrile failed miserably when tested under controlled conditions and never received FDA approval. THC, the major active ingredient in marijuana, is, in capsule form, already an FDA-approved drug, even though capsules deliver THC less efficiently than marijuana smoking.

    3. Laetrile's toxicity is well documented; it causes cyanide poisoning. Marijuana was described as "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man" by the Drug Enforcement Administration's own administrative law judge in 1988 following two years of hearings.

    Mr. Califano insists that there is no scientific evidence that marijuana is superior to currently available therapies.

    But, why does marijuana have to be proven superior to other therapies to be considered a viable option?

    Considering that marijuana is inexpensive and relatively nontoxic, and it obviously provides relief to sick people, Mr. Califano's insistence that marijuana now pass stringent tests of its medical efficacy is inhumane.

    Increase Of Prescriptions For Marijuana In The Netherlands

    Mark Van Bergen, Feb. 28, 1997
    NRC Handelsblad

    The number of prescriptions for cannabis by doctors in the Netherlands has increased substantially during the last half year.

    One out of ten pharmacies in the Netherlands has supplied medical cannabis and this number is growing every day, according to representatives of the Maripharm Foundation in Rotterdam. The Ministry of Health, Wellbeing and Sport has provided Maripharm with a "tolerated" status to grow cannabis for pharmacies.

    According to Maripharm the demand for their medical cannabis is increasing substantially. They state that their product is purer and more reliable than the average cannabis obtained in coffee shops. Up to today 160 pharmacies have requested the substance where last year there were only about 20 cannabis-supplying pharmacies.

    Patrick van Uffelen (Maripharm): I have the impression that both the doctors writing the prescriptions and the patients that ask for one have overcome a barrier. Every day new pharmacies call us to request provision with cannabis. The demand does not just come from the bigger towns in the west of the Netherlands. Cannabis is also provided to pharmacies in small villages.

    Officially, cannabis is not medically prescribed in the Netherlands. The National Health Council has advised the Minister of Health to wait with reintroduction of cannabis in the Dutch pharmacopeia. The council reported that research is needed on the production of medical cannabis as well as the active ingredients.

    Cannabis is used for several diseases. Patients with cancer use it to fight being sick from chemotherapy and pain killers. AIDS patients use it to get an appetite so they can eat. People that have glaucoma use it to lower the tension in their eyes. Patients that suffer from the muscle disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS) use cannabis as a muscle relaxer.

    Pharmacy "Gein" in Amsterdam supplies cannabis about once each month, according to pharmacist H de Jong. "The patients in question, one suffering from MS and the other from AIDS, reacted positively to this medication." The National Association of General Practitioners refrains from comment. They say that they do not have adequate information on the medical provision of cannabis.

    Corruption In The United States Resembles Mexico's

    Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 28, 1997
    By Richard Rodriguez

    The army of the self-righteous has begun to gather in Washington - pompous senators and congressmen are pointing an accusing finger at Mexico, claiming that Mexico is a corrupt, unworthy ally in our famous war on drugs.

    In fact, Mexico and the United States are well-suited neighbors - comparably corrupt. The United States has the highest murder rate in the world; a federal government awash in corruption; and a drug habit second to none. Mexico has a criminal police force; a vast drug economy; and a federal government awash in corruption.

    Mexicans are a dark, cynical people, overly tolerant of human failure and moral compromise. Americans are a priggish, self-righteous people, moralistic and given to self-delusion. For decades, along the 3,000 mile border that separates the two countries, Americans slipped into neon-lit Mexico, whenever Americans needed whores or liquor or gambling or drugs. For decades, Mexico obliged.

    The Mexican and the American are, for all their differences, because of their differences, perfectly matched. And perfectly vulnerable to the excesses of the other.

    In recent years, Mexico has been devastated by scandal - murders and conspiracies at the highest level. The great political families of Mexico, various state governors, police officials - all are said to be lackeys of Mexico's notorious drug lords. Drug lords with mugs as ugly as pirates are said to be in control of the Mexican economy.

    Certainly, Mexico is falling apart. These are dangerous days, if also perversely optimistic times in Mexico. The old order - the PRI, the corrupt ruling party of Mexico - is collapsing. The PRI for all its corruptions was a known entity in Mexico; it enforced a kind of civic morality. Now, rather like Russia after the Soviet era, Mexico flounders toward criminal chaos. There are teen-age mobsters; old women are assaulted on the street. Villagers turn to vigilante justice because the police chief is nowhere to be found.

    Today's Mexico, despite various Indian insurrections, seems not to be tempted by revolution as much as by an older consoling cynicism. That cynicism may stand in the way of needed civic reform. The cynicism, in any case, exposes a Mexico that is extremely vulnerable now without a dependable civic society.

    Mexicans I know say they are embarrassed by the recent scandals, fed up by corruption on high. But, finally, Mexicans incline toward an old strategy of blaming others for their problems. In this case, blaming Mexico's current chaos on the drug appetite of the Norte Americano. It is, after all, the whore's excuse: the john made me what I am.

    Mexico has a point. The john is as guilty as the whore. If Tijuana were not so close to San Diego - not so near California's enormous drug appetite - Tijuana would not be ruled by drug lords.

    To my knowledge, no American president has ever apologized to Mexico for the way Americans have destabilized Mexico with our hunger for drugs. But then, Americans are not, by inclination, given to self-recrimination. Our self-righteousness inclines us to see the other's evil, as a way of blinding ourselves to our own state.

    Instead of moral grandstanding, America might do better working with those Mexicans - reformist politicians and honest police - who deserve our support. The irony, however, is that Americans are too busy becoming cynical - as cynical as Mexicans - to believe in reform. Americans are, for example, currently highly entertained by movies about murderous presidents, corrupt CIA operatives, and an FBI that is not to be trusted.

    Mexicans, average Mexicans of average ambitions and virtue (like most of humankind) are fascinated by America, want things American, want to be like us, wear our clothes and drive our cars, want our blond fantasies and our comic disrespect for the established order.

    It is no surprise. Mexico and the United States are neighbors. We are bound to influence one another. Mexico as the smaller and weaker country knows this - the way a whore must. It does not yet occur to most Americans to see in Mexico's calamity a reflection of our own soul.

    Richard Rodriguez is an editor with the Pacific News Service

    A Crusade That Spreads Corruption

    By Richard Cohen
    The Washington Post, March 4, 1997, p. A15

    In retrospect, that one marijuana cigarette Bill Clinton famously did not inhale has cost America plenty. It left the president with the unfortunate image of being some sort of 1960s-era liberal, and it left the country with a drug policy that Clinton can scarcely afford to question. If only he hadn't had that one nondrag, America might now have a drug policy that made some sense.

    It doesn't at the moment, though. The government continues to concentrate mostly on law enforcement both at home and abroad, going after the bad guys in a wonderfully telegenic but ultimately futile effort to put all the drug biggies in jail. At home we have stacked the jails with petty pushers and the occasional kingpin. Abroad, we have inadvertently managed to corrupt the police and the military - Mexico and Colombia being the two most prominent examples.

    Mexico, it now seems, is one vast Chicago, circa 1929. Police corruption is rampant. Last month, the director of the National Institute to Combat Drugs, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested for corruption - which is like Eliot Ness being on the take. What's more, the good general had recently been briefed by U.S. anti-drug officials.

    The war on drugs is a good fight, but it is a stupid one as well. It would be good to rid the world of drugs, lock up all the narco-banditos and rehabilitate all the addicts. But the folly of that effort is in the math. A Mexican police commander earns around $900 a month, a cop around $300 and a soldier a little more than half that. In contrast, U.S. News & World Report says that a narcotics bodyguard makes $2,000 to $3,000 a week and probably gets to wear those swell Ray Bans as well.

    The logic of the war on drugs must be hard for your average Mexican policeman to understand. For the sake of Newark or Detroit, Washington or Los Angeles, he's supposed to turn down the sort of money that could keep his family in groceries for a very long time. When, for instance, the Mexican police arrested the cocaine drug lord Oscar Malherbe de Leon last week, he was said to have offered the arresting officers a mere $2 million to be let go. The cops declined, leading me - cynic that I am - to conclude that Mr. de Leon did not have the cash on him.

    But who can believe that, in due course, de Leon's place in the gulf cartel will not be taken by someone else - or that another cartel will step into the void. The profit in cocaine is so huge that the Mexican barons are estimated to spend $500 million a year on bribes. Should you like to compare numbers, that's about 50 percent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's annual budget.

    It's utterly naive to believe that non-Americans will turn down great riches, or even, moderate bribes, so that American drug users will have to pay a bit more - maybe even go without drugs. After all these years of the so-called war on drugs, you would think we had learned a thing or two about corruption. A better policy has to be developed.

    But it is clear by now that the Clinton administration will not develop it. Back before the last presidential election, the administration moved to immunize itself against charges that it was soft on drugs. In fact, it had been - not in law enforcement, whose efficacy is in doubt, but in its education effort, which is a different matter entirely. The world's most famous non-inhaler clearly had an understandable problem with the entire subject and did not - until he was pressed - tape a single public service anti-drug message.

    Bob Dole and the GOP campaign opened fire anyway. Once again, we saw that grainy video of a younger Clinton laughing off his one-time marijuana experience. The result has been sadly predictable. Clinton became Narc-in-Chief, and when California and Arizona passed referendums permitting the medicinal use of marijuana, the administration proved that it would not allow a little scientific knowledge to sully its new anti-drug image. Never mind that some scientists favor the medicinal use of marijuana, the Clinton administration was opposed. For the sake of a failed drug policy, a certain number of people will not get a drug that possibly might help them.

    Given that, it's too much to expect that the administration will re-examine U.S. policy toward the countries we used to call "our friends south of the border." If it is true that only a certified anticommunist like Nixon could have gone to China, then only an anti-drug zealot or a truly brave politician could change the U.S. drug policy. Wherever that man is, he's not in the White House.

    Rebuffing US, Colombia Halts Drug Eradication Program

    By Diana Jean Schemo
    The New York Times, March 6, 1997

    BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia, the world's largest producer of cocaine, Wednesday suspended all aerial eradication of drug-producing crops in a sharp rebuff to the United States.

    The move was an unexpectedly swift and forceful reaction to the Clinton administration's decision to include Colombia on a list of nations not fully cooperating with the United States in the fight against drugs. In suspending the flights, Colombia shelved what American officials viewed as a cornerstone of its anti-drug programs.

    Joaquin Polo, Colombia's anti-drug czar, announced the decision in a radio interview Wednesday afternoon in which he said Colombia was reviewing any further cooperation with the United States on any anti-drug programs.

    "The work of fumigation is temporarily suspended while, as the government announced, the entire subject of international cooperation with the government of the United States is reviewed," Polo said.

    In Washington, a senior State Department official said that the United States learned of the Colombian government's decision to suspend aerial eradication only Wednesday morning.

    "We have not received any explanation for this decision, but hope that it has been taken for technical and not for policy reasons," said the official, who declined to be identified. "We urge the Colombian government to resume eradication operations as soon as possible."

    Polo said Colombian officials did not notify American Ambassador Myles Frechette of the decision in advance.

    Clinton administration officials have said the decision last week to decertify Colombia was largely a repudiation of President Ernesto Samper, who has been linked to drug traffickers. For his part, Samper consistently framed the American rebuke as a national insult.

    The aerial spraying of fields growing coca and poppies is a risky tactic in which helicopters escorting the planes must sometimes fire at the ground to deter attack from the growers. The United States has continued to finance virtually the entire fumigation effort in Colombia even though it decertified the country last year. It supplies all of the planes and helicopters, technical aid and training for Colombian pilots.

    When a country is denied certification as a U.S. ally in fighting drugs, it loses access to most American military and economic aid and may face trade sanctions. But the law exempts humanitarian and anti-drug aid.

    Some pilots and gunners in Colombia's last eradication flight Wednesday in the mountains of southern Colombia appeared discouraged by the poor marks the United States had given their country.

    "We're out here every day, fumigating and putting our lives at risk and the U.S. says we're not doing enough," said one pilot, who spoke on condition his name not be used.

    In its report, the United States criticized both Samper and the Colombian Congress, which cleared its president of charges he took $6 million in campaign contributions from Cali drug lords. The report said that coca crops last year had increased by 32 percent, despite fumigation efforts. The United States also estimated Colombia had fumigated 40,000 acres of illegal crops, rather than the 47,000 acres Colombia claimed.

    While the disparity in figures seemed minor, Polo said Wednesday afternoon that it was the main reason for breaking off all eradication efforts.

    "They work with our police hand-in-hand all year long, and then when it comes time for an evaluation there's a total ignorance of what we've done," Polo said in a telephone interview. "They have to value the work that we do together."

    According to State Department figures, more than half the cocaine-processing laboratories and 90 percent of the coca eradicated in Colombia since 1990 were destroyed during the administration of Samper, who took office in August 1994. But analysts described the suspension of aerial spraying as a thinly veiled retaliation for Washington's decertification and a way to divert attention from American criticism of Samper.

    "Suspending fumigation is mainly a way to turn what is really just a problem of Samper into a problem of the country," said Fabio Castillo, a Colombian drug expert and author of "The New Horsemen of Cocaine."

    While Colombia had warned that it would review the terms of its anti-drug cooperation with the United States, few here expected a decision so quickly. A spokesman said Samper and a close circle of his associates had decided to suspend the flights at a meeting earlier Wednesday.

    Colombian police and military commanders complain that decertification has meant they can no longer obtain ammunition from the United States to battle drug traffickers and their guerrilla allies.

    In the 1996 fiscal year that began last October, the State Department budgeted $44 million to give Colombia to fight drugs, of which $19 million was allocated for aerial eradication of coca and poppy fields.

    Pilots spraying the steep mountainsides where poppy is growing were clearly resentful at the American decision. One pilot said he had been shot at 15 times in the five years he has been spraying.

    Each time he flies, the pilot said, his single-seater plane is surrounded by three helicopters, with heavy guns trained on the ground below.

    Colorado Juror Laura Kriho Fined $1,200

    Jury Rights Project
    March 7, 1997
    Sentencing Hearing Report

    Laura Kriho was fined $1,200 at her sentencing today in Gilpin County. Fortunately, no jail time was imposed.

    The prosecutor asked her to be fined severely because he said Laura was "likely to re-offend."

    Laura did not make any mitigating statements on her own behalf, however former state Senator Lloyd Casey spoke eloquently for her.

    Laura and her attorney, Paul Grant, plan to appeal the conviction.

    Over 150 people attended her sentencing and a demonstration beforehand. Court TV, local channels 4 and 9, and many print media covered her sentencing.

    Laura says, "I am thankful they didn't put me in jail. I still feel I would never have been prosecuted had I voted guilty on the jury. I want to prevent this from happening to anyone else again, so we will appeal my conviction."

    About all her supporters, Laura says, "Thanks so much to everyone. All the support I have has made this ordeal tolerable. You are the best people in the world. Thanks for being!!!!"

    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

    PS - We thought you'd think it was interesting to note that the benefit held after Laura's sentencing netted $1,205, five dollars more than the fine imposed on her by Judge Nieto. Thanks to all of the people who attended!

    Drug Policy Foundation Questions Harvard On Award For Drug Czar

    For release: March 6, 1997
    DPF Questions Harvard on Award for Drug Czar
    McCaffrey should involve reformers in the spirit of Norman E. Zinberg Award

    WASHINGTON - The Drug Policy Foundation today questioned the logic in giving the Norman E. Zinberg Award to Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Barry McCaffrey, and asked the director to include drug policy reformers in policy-making decisions if he is to live up to the principles of Dr. Zinberg.

    The award is sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions and will be presented on Friday, March 7, in Boston. It was established to honor medical and scientific achievement in the field of addiction studies and treatment.

    "I believe there are more worthy candidates for this award than Barry McCaffrey," said Arnold Trebach, president of the Drug Policy Foundation, "but I would hope that the general learns the lessons that Professor Zinberg taught his students and the world - all scientific views should be utilized in formulating national drug policy, even when those views challenge conventional concepts. If the general expects a passing grade from Norman's intellectual heirs, he had better include them in formulating national drug strategies in the future. Now, Barry McCaffrey excludes Norman's colleagues from participating in policy-making. That is perverse in light of this award."

    Harvard has been severely criticized for deciding to give the award to the drug czar because he has supported policies directly at odds with Dr. Zinberg's positions. The award so disturbed Dr. Lester Grinspoon that he resigned in protest from the Norman E. Zinberg Center for Addiction Studies at Cambridge Hospital.

    Trebach noted, "I don't think Norman would appreciate Barry McCaffrey calling medicinal marijuana 'Cheech and Chong medicine,' and refusing to acknowledge the research that shows marijuana is medically beneficial. Nor has he acknowledged the research that shows that needle exchange programs are effective in curbing the spread of HIV among injecting drug users. The general doesn't even distinguish between drug use and drug abuse, the very basis of Norman's research."

    Norman E. Zinberg, M.D., is the author of Drug, Set, and Setting: The Basis for Controlled Intoxicant Use. He was an advocate for drug decriminalization, and a longtime critic of America's punitive drug policies. In addition, he was instrumental in the formation of the Drug Policy Foundation, which established its own Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine and Treatment in 1989.

    Trebach added, "We named an award after Norman because we wanted to honor a drug researcher who was willing to tell the truth about drugs and users. He could have chosen the path of political correctness like most drug researchers, but instead he decided to be honest: Drugs can be used in a controlled and non-destructive fashion, and criminalization has created much of the harm associated with drugs.

    "If Norman were alive today, he would probably be considered a heretic by Barry McCaffrey and President Clinton. While his research was funded by the federal government in the 1970s, it surely would be blocked by the ideologues running the drug research bureaucracy today. If Barry McCaffrey is serious when he says that 'drug policy must be based on science, not ideology,' then research and policy options must be broadened. If he is to accept the Norman E. Zinberg award with a clear conscience, then he must include drug policy reformers - as Norman was - in the policy-making process.

    "New ways of thinking about drugs since 1986"

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    The Great Zinberg/McCaffrey Debate

    Stanton Peele writes:
    On March 7, The Harvard Medical School will be presenting its Zinberg Award for career achievement in the medical and scientific study and treatment of drugs to General Barry R. McCaffrey.

    Gen. McCaffrey has spent his career in the military. He helped plan the invasion of Panama in 1989 and led the notorious U.S. Army Southern Command before his appointment as Drug Czar. In Latin America he specialized in drug interdiction, counterinsurgency, and clandestine military operations.

    Norman E. Zinberg, M.D., was a pioneering investigator into the effects of drugs, and particularly the way that attitudes, expectations, and social setting affected their use. He was a critic of American drug laws, and a founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

    Instead of receiving an award in Zinberg's name, McCaffrey should be learning what drug abuse and sensible drug policy are by studying Norman's writings, which he has obviously neglected to do. We therefore offer the General the benefit of Norman's words, as culled from his books "Drug, Set, and Setting," and "Drugs and the Public" (written with John Robertson). Once he sees the fundamental conflict between his approach and Norman's, he will obviously choose to decline the award (or else adopt reasonable attitudes and a sensible drug policy!).

    McCaffrey: We must acknowledge that drugs are wrong. They're not wrong simply because they're illegal; they're wrong because they destroy you physically, mentally, and morally. So we're going to have our law enforcement authorities uphold the law.

    Zinberg: Are the limitations on liberty that present drug laws impose essential to an overriding social purpose? In our view, not only are they not essential, but present laws do not even deal with the harm that undoubtedly flows from drug use. In fact, we suggest that the law itself imposes social as well as legal costs much graver than those of the drug use it seeks to prevent.

    McCaffrey: McCaffrey's view on legalization: "Nonsense!"

    Zinberg: Certainly decriminilization of marijuana should be extended beyond those few states which have adopted it, and federal penalties for use should be dropped.

    McCaffrey: There is no question that we will move ruthlessly to attack this threat to the American people.

    Zinberg: The overinclusive, punitive, and other condemnatory features of the law...conflict with existing knowledge about drugs and, more importantly, conflict with the practice of millions of users who find drugs to be something less than the monolithic horror defined by the law.

    McCaffrey: There is no reason why we can't return America to a 1960's level, a pre-Vietnam-era level of drug use.

    Zinberg: Society must learn to tolerate a reasonable amount of drug use by those members willing and able to make that decision.

    McCaffrey: Over 20,000 Americans die from illicit drug use each year.

    Zinberg: The addict who is a 'walking death' has been brought to that condition by the present state of the law.

    McCaffrey: 2/3 of the 100,000 people in the federal prison system are there for drug-related offenses.

    Zinberg: We have a vast self-fulfilling prophecy: by defining a huge number of people as antisocial (criminal), we change their motives and create hatred, disruption, and true rebellion.

    McCaffrey: 1.5 million Americans are incarcerated, many for drug violations. No nation in the world has a higher incarceration rate.

    Zinberg: Failing to take into account the problems created by the law causes the situation to deteriorate; this in turn leads to the call for more and stronger laws. This is the vicious cycle that we must break.

    McCaffrey: Dealing with the problem of illegal drug abuse is more akin to dealing with cancer.

    Zinberg: The hopes people place in policeman and doctors have a basis in reality when it comes to a crime like a holdup or a disease like cancer. But when we come to a crime whose victim is thought to be society, and a medical problem which consists in otherwise normal, law-abiding people ingesting a substance thought to be harmful, are we not asking policeman and doctors to do things that fall outside their professional role?

    McCaffrey: We have made $1 million available to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences to ask physicians and scientists for all that is known about smoked pot, and what questions need to be asked about it.

    Zinberg: The misconception is that we must be able to give a drug a clean bill of health - a 'final verdict' - before we stop criminalizing people who use it, and further that research can technically provide that answer.

    [By] Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky

    Police Return Marijuana, Supplies To AIDS Patient

    The gift
    by Marilee Enge
    The San Jose Mercury News, March 1 1997

    MOUNTAIN VIEW - Mountain View police returned an AIDS patient's medicinal marijuana crop Friday, two days after seizing the plants, a plant-growing light and a doctor's letter explaining his medical condition.

    Edward Willis' distraught wife had frantically sought a return of the six marijuana plants, saying her husband suffers from AIDS-related dementia that occasionally makes him violent. She said she had been told that the grow light, books, pipes and other paraphernalia would be held as evidence.

    But Friday afternoon, police reversed their position. Angelica Willis said a detective telephoned to say he wanted to return her husband's property. She drove to the Mountain View Police Department to pick up the items, including now-dead marijuana plants.

    "It's going to make him so happy," said an elated Angelica Wills. "This is so great."

    The change came at the direction of Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who said the county will not prosecute anyone who cultivates marijuana solely for medicinal purposes.

    And it shock medical marijuana advocates, who said they know of no other police agency that has returned the drug after seizing it.

    "If they give back the marijuana it would be a first, and it would be a violation of federal law," said William Panzer, an Oakland attorney who co-wrote Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative that passed in November. Growing and smoking marijuana is still against federal law, although the government said Friday that it will allow physicians to recommend medical marijuana to their patients.

    "Legally, I don't think there's a basis for demanding return of the marijuana, but if the cops do give it back, I think that's wonderful," Panzer said. "I applaud them."

    Sinunu said she does not think the police are on legally shaky ground. "This is a state law," she said. "We're just concerned about the state law."

    Edward Willis, 43, is a union electrician who began to get sick about a year ago. When his wife tried to buy him a life insurance policy, he was tested, and learned he had AIDS in August. The disease is full-blown, Angelica Willis said, but he has not yet developed the infections that are usually associated with AIDS.

    The dementia is the most severe manifestation of Willis' disease. "He's like a very old person. He agitates easily," his wife said. Marijuana helps calm him and also helps him gain weight.

    In a letter dated Nov. 6, Dr. Deborah Shih of Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, said she would consider prescribing marijuana for Willis if she were legally able to do so.

    Before the Willises began growing the drug, they obtained it through the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Co-operative, but having their own supply saves money, she said.

    In January, Willis attacked their 20-year-old daughter. Since then, he has been under a psychiatrist's care at Kaiser, and Angelica Vrillis said he has been more rational lately.

    After her husband left the hospital, Kaiser asked the Mountain View police to make occasional "welfare" checks at his home, to ensure that he was not harming his family.

    That was why officers visited the Willis apartment on Shoreline Boulevard Tuesday night. They seized six healthy plants, saying the crop appeared to be more than enough for personal use. Willis was taken to the police station, but was never charged with a crime.

    It took more than two days for investigators to verify Willis' condition with his doctor, according to Mountain View Police Sgt. Tony Lopez. Dr. Shih is on maternity leave and detectives' calls apparently went unreturned.

    "That has been the hang-up in this entire case," Lopez said. He added, "Obviously we haven't had a lot of experience with the new law."

    Finally, on Friday, Sinunu recommended the officers return Willis' marijuana and growing accessories.

    "We respect the voters' call that, in certain circumstances, upon a doctor's recommendation, we will honor a patient's right to use marijuana for medical purposes," Sinunu said. "It's a controlled substance now, and we have to make sure it's used only for that legal purpose."

    After The Bailout, A Flood - Mexico Is Drowning, But The US Won't Admit It

    By Jorge G. Castaneda
    The Washington Post, March 2, 1997, p. C01

    There they go again: by certifying that Mexico is fully cooperating with the United States on drug enforcement, the Clinton administration has shown that it intends to pursue long-standing American policy toward Mexico, no matter how obsolete. Given the choice of propping up the PRI regime, whatever the cost or consequence, or risking a transition which would put an end to PRI's 75 years of one-party rule, Washington will always choose the first option.

    No matter how much evidence is unearthed on corruption or the absence of the rule of law; no matter that the current system guarantees political instability, U.S. policymakers look the other way.

    And it's not just policymakers. For reasons that sometimes defy the imagination, the U.S. media and establishment continue to find silver linings behind every Mexican cloud. Yet poll after poll in Mexico shows that Mexicans have exactly the opposite sentiment; they believe few things are improving in the country. The Mexicans are right.

    We can start with the case of the celebrated loan repayment. The government of President Ernesto Zedillo won Bill Clinton's and the U.S. media's applause for paying back early the 1995 U.S. loan that helped them out of a monetary crisis. Yet all that Mexico did was to borrow the money on the European bond market and send it to the U.S. Treasury. Granted, the refinancing saves Mexico some interest, and Clinton some political heat, but it should not be viewed as a reflection of Mexico's economic recovery.

    This is only a small part of the current economic predicament. The U.S. loan represented 2.5 percent of an astronomical total foreign debt. At slightly more than $180 billion, that debt is a higher percentage of the national economy than in 1982, when Mexico's inability to meet payments inaugurated the Latin American debt crisis. If the country was over-indebted then, it is so in spades now.

    The good news in the Mexican economy is the export sector, which is showing impressive growth of 20 percent per year. But this, too, masks a much deeper problem. The domestic economy, completely decoupled from this thriving export enclave, remains stagnant. Domestic demand last year grew only 2 percent in relation to 1995, which was the worst economic year in the last half-century in Mexico. Beer sales, for example - a traditionally faithful indicator of consumption - only grew 2 percent in 1996; that's less than the expansion of the "beer-drinking" population. The domestic economy employs more than 80 percent of the job-holding population. Thus the export performance, which strongly influences aggregate statistics, has little impact on most Mexicans' lives. Those 80 million other Mexicans continue to see their incomes, standard of living and quality of life stagnate at best, and, in many cases, seriously deteriorate. Mexico's per capita income today, in constant dollars, is less than it was in 1980.

    No wonder then that so many Mexicans say they are worse off today than ever before; they are.

    The reasons go beyond the economy. Mexico is suffering a breakdown of law and order on the street and at the highest levels of government. Many mid-size communities in the provinces are spared this plague; life in cities from Aguascalientes to Merida is as safe and placid as ever. But in Mexico City, in the states of Morelos and Chihuahua, in Guadalajara and Torreon, crime and impunity have simply overwhelmed local inhabitants and authorities.

    In Mexico City (the world's largest city), kidnappings, bank holdups, automatic teller machine robberies and taxicab assaults are now commonplace. This is true not only in the shanty towns, but in middle class neighborhoods and in the wealthier areas - where tourists visit and magnates wine and dine. Kidnappings have become a business, and bodyguards are a status symbol. The explanation for this striking state of affairs - Mexico City was a safe place to live in and travel to just a decade ago - lies in two factors: the economic crisis, and the disintegration of the Mexican police and justice system.

    Joblessness, falling incomes and lack of opportunities are not new in Mexico, but they have gotten worse, and they have lasted too long. The incentive to survive through illicit means has soared. The corruption and incompetence of the Mexican police - local, state and federal - has created a situation where the risks of crime are increasingly low, and the rewards ever greater.

    The sense of chaos is exacerbated by political violence. There is virtually no likelihood that the various guerrilla groups in the country will ever pose a serious military threat to the government or to overall stability. But that does not mean that they are incapable of inflicting severe damage to the army or to the country's image abroad.

    The Zapatista threat in Chiapas has been largely neutralized, even though the political and cultural ramifications of the conflict in the indigenous communities continue to reverberate through Mexican society. But the Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR) that burst forth in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Hidalgo and Mexico last summer is a much more serious affair. The group has money - probably from the widely publicized kidnappings of 1994 - and guns - purchased from the drug cartels - and people able and willing to use them. Over the past few months, sources within the government confess that over 50 members of the armed forces have been executed by the EPR, some in gruesome circumstances. Several helicopters, including one carrying the commanding general of the Guerrero military zone, have been shot down.

    No matter how strongly the Mexican press and the government seek to limit news of the EPR's existence and activities, it is quite likely that during the approaching election campaign the group will seek to disrupt the process, or in any case to hold it hostage to its demands. It will make itself noticed.

    None of these problems stems directly from the exhaustion of Mexico's one-party political system. But the absence of a functioning political system makes it much more difficult to put in place the many necessary reforms. This is perhaps President Zedillo's greatest failure so far, in an administration that has few successes to show for itself. Initially hopes were high on two fronts: reform of the judiciary and of the electoral system. Both have foundered.

    The nation's three largest political parties negotiated new electoral legislation for almost two years. Finally, last summer, they reached agreement on a broad series of changes that still left intact the current party system and made it likely that the PRI would retain a majority in the congress. But when the time came to vote on the details, the consensus collapsed. Consequently, the degree of acrimony and mistrust between the opposition and the PRI is probably greater today than at any time since 1988.

    Official intolerance and governmental intimidation of critics and dissidents are also back to pre-Zedillo levels. Would-be PRI splinter group leaders are thrown in jail on corruption charges; publishers of critical newspapers are prosecuted for tax evasion; the president himself lashes out at critics, denouncing their "intellectual dishonesty" and publicly lambasting them for "entertaining foreign correspondents in their weekend homes and offering an inaccurate and negative image of Mexico." These are not quite the traits one would expect to see in a successful regime leading the country back to economic prosperity and democracy.

    It is on the issue of judicial reform that the Zedillo administration has most disappointed the country, with the embarrassing fiasco surrounding the Raul Salinas de Gortari affair providing the best example. It has made even the most jaded Mexicans more cynical.

    First, former president's Carlos Salinas de Gortari's brother, Raul, was arrested on charges of masterminding the assassination of a top party official. Then shocking revelations of hundred-million-dollar bank accounts and false identities surfaced; finally the presumed skeleton of the chief plotter of the murder was dug up in Raul's garden. It now turns out, however, that the skeleton had nothing to do with the murder, and that the witnesses who testified to his involvement were bribed by the police. To top it off, the federal prosecutor who built the case may well be jailed for trumping up the charges. Yet the former president's brother will surely remain in jail until this year's election, since freeing him would doom the PRI's already dim prospects. Thus the accused and accuser will be both be in prison.

    Mexicans tend to conclude one of two things, both equally damning to the Zedillo administration. Either the Salinas brothers are guilty of everything they are suspected of, but they are not being punished. Or the Salinas brothers are scapegoats for the current regime's incompetence and failure. Which version is correct is less important than the terrible reflection they both provide of a country and a government slowly but surely sinking into disorder and despondency.

    Why the Clinton administration continues to put the best light on all of this is a mystery. What is clear, though, is that it makes little sense for other Americans to keep pretending that nothing is wrong in Mexico, or that things are improving. They are not, no matter how often the American president claims they are, nor how upset the Mexican president becomes when his critics speak their mind.

    Jorge Castaneda is professor of political science at the National University of Mexico.

    The Other Mexican Drug Trade

    By Allen R. Myerson
    The New York Times, March 2, 1997

    NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico - As more reports of corrupt dealings between narcotics traffickers and top Mexican officials emerged last week, another, more open form of drug dealing continued to flourish along the border here.

    On a street steps away from the bridge linking this city's downtown with Laredo, Texas, up a narrow flight of stairs with exposed wiring leading to a bare bulb, was a doctor's office to which a visitor had been referred by a pharmacy around the corner.

    "Valium?" said a woman in a white doctor's jacket, who didn't seem at all to be the physician named Horacio whose name appeared on her prescription forms. The visitor confirmed his request with a nod.

    She filled out two forms, one for the drugstore, one for United States Customs. "Ten dollars, please," she said.

    She changed a twenty. Was she a doctor too, or perhaps a nurse? "The doctor's assistant," she said.

    Back on the street, half a dozen drugstores could be found nearby during a three-minute stroll, along with several more doctors' offices, at the ready to dispense prescriptions for American customers.

    They are outlets in the other, less-publicized Mexican-American drug trade. American retirees and pill-popping youths have becomes mules of a sort in a market with some of the same dynamics as the violent trade in illicit drugs.

    There is robust demand on the American side, cheap and ample supply on the Mexican and a casual regard for legal niceties.

    Though nobody keeps precise records, one recent study estimated that visitors legally brought back about 4 million Valium tablets through Laredo alone in a one-year period, along with large quantities of drugs like Halcion, Ritalin and Percodan.

    Law enforcement officials say that while some customers buy just for themselves, others go across day after day, stocking up on pills for pennies to resell illegally for $5 each back home.

    Traditionally, the buyers have been ailing elderly Americans whose Medicare insurance doesn't cover drugs and who can afford essential medicines only at Mexican prices. They sometimes ride buses for 14 hours or more each way, from as far away as Louisiana. Increasingly, however, the customers are hard-partying, drug-dealing youths in their own cars.

    Jose A. Garcia, a top Customs Service official in Laredo, said inspectors are nearly weaponless against such young buyers in what he calls the "pill war." Especially on weekends, swarms return from trips to Nuevo Laredo with 90-day supplies (the legal maximum) of drugs like Valium, each brandishing the Mexican doctor's prescription needed to make the purchase legal.

    "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah - you can't touch me," he said, loudly mimicking their attitude. "They look you right in the eye and say, 'I'm 19 years old and I have had a nervous breakdown.' "

    By now, Garcia looked like he needed some Valium himself. "There's nothing I can do," he said.

    Mexico has long been a destination for Americans seeking pleasures harder to obtain back home. Nuevo Laredo has a red-light "zona de tolerancia" and the old Cadillac Bar (albeit renamed in an ownership feud), a dusky refuge dating back to Prohibition.

    In border towns like this, however, the hawking of pharmaceuticals to Americans has become the growth industry, the more so since the peso's crash two years ago made drugs even cheaper for those with dollars.

    At Benavides Pharmacy in Nuevo Laredo, 90 Valium tablets come to $9.58. At a chain drugstore in Dallas, the same supply would cost $68.57. Fifty tablets of Zantac, the ulcer medication, costs $73.59 in the United States with a prescription, but only $23.74 in Mexico, no prescription needed.

    Explaining lower prices south of the border, drug companies point to lower production costs in Mexico, adding that they have to recoup research and development expenses in the more lucrative United States market. Many critics say these costs are overstated.

    Under Mexican regulations, all but mood-altering drugs are generally available without a prescription. And new, experimental and even doubtful drugs are approved more readily than they are in the United States.

    Decades ago, American cancer patients come south of the border for sham treatments like Laetrile. In the late 1980s, AIDS victims came to buy promising drugs that the Food and Drug Administration was slow to approve. Since then, the agency has speeded its approvals; the most advanced drugs are now available only in the United States.

    Three years ago, several American pharmacists' associations, smarting from their Mexican competition and eager to denigrate it, hired scholars from the University of Texas College of Pharmacy to study Customs declarations at Laredo.

    The 14 drugs most often purchased through the year ended June 1995 were all what the United States somewhat vainly calls controlled substances. Valium was the most popular, followed by Rohypnol, or "roofies" - a powerful anxiety-relief medication used in the commission of so many "date rapes" that the Drug Enforcement Administration banned the tablets a year ago.

    More than 60 percent of the buyers were men, median age 24.

    With such traffic growing over the last few years, Texas has been applying its own laws banning controlled substances not prescribed by a doctor licensed in the state. So those who clear the Feds at the border can still be pulled over and arrested by state troopers.

    As Sgt. Charles A. Haight of the Texas Highway Patrol, put it, "It's not grandma and grandpa getting their heart medicine out here."

    Colombian Jail To Crack Down On Courier Pigeons

    BOGOTA (Reuter, Feb. 28, 1997) - Courier pigeons are apparently being used to smuggle drugs into a jail in southwestern Colombia, prison officials said on Friday.

    The so-called "narco-pigeon" scandal was uncovered when a pigeon crashed into a wall near the municipal jail in the town of Buga in Valle del Cauca province on Thursday.

    The bird crashed because it was weighed down by packets of marijuana that it was ferrying towards the jail, a spokesman for the National Penitentiary Institute said.

    "It seems that a group of inmates has been using courier pigeons to smuggle drugs into the prison," the spokesman told Reuters. He said measures would be taken to prevent prisoners from having any further contact with pigeons sent in by friends outside.

    What Mexico Gave Up

    James Hammett writes:

    One of the recent objectives of US negotiations, with Mexico, has been to get permision for DEA agents to carry guns in Mexico itself. Mexico had been opposed to this idea. (Something to do with soveriegnty and armed US agents on their soil. (Anyone remember Poncho Villa?) It looks like they might have agreed to allowing this, in exchange for certification.

    Mexico Shifts On Agents' Gun Issue
    Discussions Continue After Certification

    The Washington Post, March 2, 1997, p. A24
    By Roberto Suro and Pierre Thomas
    Washington Post Staff Writers

    Mexico promised to allow U.S. drug enforcement agents to carry guns on cross-border operations under agreements reached in last-minute negotiations with the Clinton administration before the White House announced Friday that it had certified Mexico as a full-fledged ally in the drug war, administration officials said yesterday.

    Mexico also offered formal promises of greater cooperation in extraditing drug lords, shutting down money-laundering operations and attacking corruption in its government, the officials said.

    Mexico's frequent failure to deliver fully on these promises in the past figured prominently in congressional criticism of the certification decision. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) and dozens of other prominent legislators declared they no longer trust such pledges from Mexico and have vowed to overturn the certification.

    President Clinton defended his decision in his weekly radio address yesterday, saying, "make no mistake about it: Mexico has a serious drug problem, but Mexico's leaders recognize that problem and they have the will to fight it."

    In apparent recognition of the agreements reached late last week, Clinton said, "We will continue to press our Mexican partners to take tough actions that will protect all our people from drugs."

    The diplomatic talks resolved a matter of bitter frustration for U.S. law enforcement agencies when the Mexican government reversed itself and agreed to allow U.S. officials to carry guns in Mexico when they take part in joint task forces operating in the border region, administration officials said.

    As drug-associated violence mounted in Mexican border cities last year, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies participating in the task forces insisted their officers needed to be armed for their protection. But, until last week, the Mexican government had rejected the request as unnecessary and a violation of diplomatic practice.

    A high-level Mexican foreign ministry official said yesterday that negotiations over the arming of the task forces were still underway and denied there had been any quid pro quo for the U.S. certification. The Mexican government has insisted throughout the process that it was fully engaged in the drug fight out of self-interest.

    Loss of certification would have obliged the Clinton administration to cut off economic aid and oppose loans to Mexico from multilateral organizations, such the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.

    Rather than seeking a deal with Mexico that involved setting conditions for certification, administration officials said yesterday that the United States had used the certification process as a means of pressuring Mexico to pledge stepped-up cooperation on matters that have been the subject of long discussions.

    Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said Friday that full certification had been granted with "firm expectations of further progress in the near term." Mexico, she said, would be expected "to work with us to meet a series of objectives that have emerged from our cooperation in the past."

    The extradition of drug traffickers is expected to develop as one of the touchiest and most sensitive measures of Mexican cooperation in the future, according to administration officials and critics of the certification decision.

    In 1996, Mexico extradited 13 persons, including six for narcotics offenses. In 1995, Mexico extradited five, Justice Department statistics show, but how many of those were for drug-related offenses was not spelled out. Feinstein criticized the Mexican extradition record, noting recently that the United States has 52 outstanding requests for extraditions on drug-related charges.

    The extradition debate, like several others, has a familiar refrain. Last March, following U.S. certification of Mexico, Clinton administration and Mexican officials developed high-level working groups. Among their goals: better joint investigations of traffickers and extradition of known criminals.

    The Mexicans also committed to following through on prior pledges to step up the fight against money laundering by drug lords, including enactment of regulations requiring banks to report large and suspicious currency transactions.

    Within the federal government, Mexican pledges of cooperation are greeted most skeptically by law enforcement officials, and they often cite the border region task forces aimed at disrupting drug traffickers as a disillusioning example of broken promises.

    Although the concept of the task forces developed over two years of negotiations and was formalized in a signed agreement last May, "it never really got off the ground," said DEA Administrator Thomas A. Constantine in an interview last week.

    The task forces were supposed to identify drug traffickers and deny them the ability to shift back and forth across the border to elude arrest. The Justice Department proclaimed the task forces, "one of the best ways we have to make inroads against the Mexican-based criminal drug organizations."

    However, Constantine said. the Mexican government never fully funded its side of the operation, leaving a crew of enthusiastic young Mexican police officers without proper training or resources to do their job. Also, he said the Mexican government kept switching, sometimes quarterly, the police leadership at Monterrey, Tijuana and Juarez, three cities that are key distribution centers for the drug cartels.

    When the Mexicans refused to allow U.S. officers permission to carry weapons despite death threats against them, Constantine decided to pull the plug on the operation. "I have suspended travel authority for all DEA special agents to Mexico to participate in counter-drug investigations until they are provided appropriate protection that is commensurate with the risks inherent in these dangerous assignments," Constantine said in congressional testimony last week.

    Eduardo Ibarrola, Mexico's deputy attorney general for international relations, said in an interview, "I understand he [Constantine] is pretty mad. Probably if I were in his position, I'd be mad, too. But we have to work together with all of this."

    Foreign correspondents Molly Moore and John Ward Anderson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

    Caption: Albright says United States has "expectations of further progress."

    Worker Fights Dismissal For Medical Marijuana Use

    By Michael Janofsky
    The New York Times, March 2, 1997

    LOS ANGELES - When the letter from the Orange County government arrived the week before last, Rod Dunaway knew what it said even before opening the envelope.

    A heavy-equipment operator from Mission Viejo who smokes marijuana to relieve pain from glaucoma, Dunaway, 38, had recently taken a random drug test under a 1991 federal law that requires random testing of many transportation workers. He tested positive for marijuana, and is now being dismissed by the county.

    But this was no routine dismissal. After voters in a controversial statewide referendum last year approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor, Dunaway became the first person in California claiming to use marijuana for pain relief to lose his job as a result.

    On Monday, Feb. 24, he filed for an arbitration hearing through his union, a local of the Service Employees International. The county has two weeks to respond, but anticipating that his dismissal will not be reversed, Dunaway said he had already taken steps to sue the county in state court for discrimination.

    "It seems like they wanted to ignore 215," Dunaway said in an interview, referring to the proposition known as the Medical Marijuana Initiative, which was approved with 56 percent of the vote in November. "But maybe this will force the federal government and the state to sit down and put in guidelines that make sense."

    With evidence that marijuana has been helpful in controlling nausea in cancer patients on chemotherapy, reducing weight loss in people who have AIDS and easing pressure on the eyes of people with glaucoma, California and Arizona last year became the latest states to decide by referendum to legalize marijuana use in some medical circumstances. Other states, including Florida, Idaho, Ohio and Washington, have done the same through legislation.

    But Dunaway's case reflects a possible clash between state initiatives benefiting people who have exhausted other means of seeking pain relief and federal regulations intended to protect public safety. Also, it comes as the Clinton administration, led by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the president's chief adviser on drug policy, is fighting efforts to make access to illegal drugs easier.

    While Californians now have the right to use marijuana for medical purposes on a doctor's recommendation, and a bill introduced the week before last in the state Senate seeks $6 million to study the drug as a viable medical therapy, buying and selling marijuana remains illegal in all states under federal law.

    In addition, the IRS recently ruled that the cost of marijuana could not be deducted as a medical expense.

    For the last decade, Dunaway earned as much as $32,000 a year driving a 10-wheel dump truck, bulldozers, front-end loaders and other heavy equipment. A husband and father of two daughters, ages 13 and 4, he described himself as "a very conservative individual who believes strongly in family values."

    He said he began using marijuana to ease pain from glaucoma in 1980, at the suggestion of a friend who had tried it for the same reasons and found success. Until then, Dunaway had taken conventional medications prescribed by his doctor. None brought him relief, he said, and some made him feel worse, with side effects like an increased heart rate, headaches and blurred vision.

    The marijuana, he said, provided almost instant relief. He told his doctor about it, and for the next 15 years, just before going to bed, Dunaway said he lighted a small pipe with marijuana and inhaled three or four times. The pain relief around his eyes, he said, lasted all the next day and never left him feeling the effects of the drug that recreational users typically seek, like euphoria or giddiness.

    "I always did my job effectively," Dunaway said. "And I never smoked at any other time of day."

    In early 1995, Dunaway said, the county began random testing of employees whose jobs could affect public safety. A screen of his urine produced a positive result for marijuana, and he was suspended for 30 days without pay and put on a one-year probation. He was told that if he tested positive again, he would lose his job, and as a further condition of his probation, he agreed to be tested once every two months.

    For more than a year, Dunaway said he avoided using marijuana and tried fighting his pain with conventional drugs, only to suffer side effects again. By last October, a month before the proposition passed and with his doctor's recommendation, he said he returned to using marijuana.

    When Proposition 215 passed, he assumed he was on safe legal footing. But the measure tacitly acknowledges federal transportation safety laws by saying that the referendum does not "supersede legislation prohibiting persons from engaging in conduct that endangers others."

    After Dunaway tested positive a second time, the county began taking steps to discharge him, which culminated in the week before last's dismissal.

    "You can't be impaired in any way, driving something like that," said John W. Sibley, the director of the department, referring to the size of a dump truck that Dunaway drove, often along federal and state highways.

    Sibley, who described Dunaway as an otherwise competent employee, said that if Dunaway had notified his superiors that he was using marijuana for medical reasons, the county would have assigned him to a job that did not involve public safety.

    But Dunaway said he chose not to inform the county because his use of marijuana for medical purposes "was none of their business."

    Bill Zimmerman, who led the state campaign for Proposition 215, said the resolution of Dunaway's case would probably depend on his ability to show that his marijuana use had no bearing on his job.

    "He said he only smoked at the end of the day," Zimmerman said. "Marijuana can stay in your system for 30 days, but its psychologically active effects only last a couple of hours."

    'The Lancet' - Needle Exchange Neglect Infects 10,000 With HIV

    University of California San Francisco

    3333 California Street, Suite 103
    San Francisco, California 94143-0462
    Tel: (415) 476-2557
    Fax: (415) 476-3541

    Carol Fox, News Director
    Source: Rebecca Higbee (415) 476-2557

    March 3, 1997


    Needle exchange programs could have prevented nearly 10,000 HIV infections among injecting drug users, their sex partners and their children in the United States since 1987, according to a University of California San Francisco study published in the March 1 issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

    Expanding the Lancet study data, the authors reported today (March 3) specific data for 16 of the largest cities in the United States, estimating that the number of preventable infections range from 2,308 in New York City to 14 in Gary, Ind., for 1987-1995. Treatment costs related to these infection rates are calculated at $128,417,120 for New York City and $778,960 for Gary.

    Estimates of preventable HIV infection for other U.S. cities are Atlanta, 186; Baltimore, 499; Boston, 182; Chicago, 561; Dallas, 39; Detroit, 152; Houston, 260; Los Angeles, 95; Miami, 297; Newark, NJ, 397; Philadelphia, 641; San Juan, PR, 315; Seattle, 48; and Washington, DC, 646.

    If needle exchange programs (NEPs) were established now, study co-authors say an additional 11,300 HIV infections could be prevented in the United States by the year 2000.

    "Removing the U.S. government ban on NEP funding and accelerating the growth of NEPs in the U.S. are public health priorities as urgent as any in the HIV epidemic," state co-authors Peter Lurie, MD, MPH, a researcher at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and Ernest Drucker, PhD, professor of epidemiology and social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

    The team determined estimates for both the Lancet study and the additional analysis of the 16 cities based on a formula that accounted for NEP effectiveness, how often injecting drug users use NEPs, sexual transmission of the virus among them, and secondary HIV transmission to their sex partners and children. They obtained data from published epidemiological and mathematical studies, government reports and consultations with needle exchange researchers and drug abuse experts.

    As a model for their analysis, the researchers used the Australian NEP system, which receives substantial government support. Australia initiated a system of NEPs in 1987, early in the AIDS epidemic. By 1995, 50 percent of Australian injecting drug users were receiving clean needles through programs at least once a month.

    Lurie and Drucker estimated that the number of HIV infections that could have been prevented in the United States by NEPs between 1987-95 is between 4,394 and 9,666, depending of how effective NEPs are assumed to be. Of these infections, 88 percent would have occurred among injection drug users, with the remainder among their sex partners and children, according to the study.

    The researchers based cost calculations on the most conservative estimate of the current lifetime cost of treating an HIV infection - $55,640 - which does not take into account treatment with the new, expensive protease inhibitors. The cost of treating the preventable HIV infections that occurred between 1987-95 ranges from $244 million to $538 million, enough to have funded 161 to 354 NEPs, the study reports.

    "There are now seven federal government-funded reports concluding that NEPs can prevent HIV transmission without increasing drug use," Drucker says, adding that he believes study estimates are conservative.

    "Injection drug use is the number one cause of HIV infection in the U.S.," Drucker says.

    Be revoking laws that ban federal funding for NEPs, as well as those state laws that impede pharmacy access to sterile syringes, "we can still greatly reduce the number of HIV infections that will otherwise occur - possible preventing more that 11,000 additional HIV infections by the year 2000 if we act now," Lurie says.

    NOTE: Media wishing to interview the co-authors and to receive a copy of the study or spreadsheets for one or more of the 16 cities should call UCSF News Services, (415) 476-2557. A summary of preventable HIV infections and treatment costs for the 16 cities appears on the following page [Page not included].

    Biographical Statements of the Authors

    Peter Lurie, MD, MPH, is a researcher at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California San Francisco. He has completed residencies in Family Practice at UCSF and in Preventive Medicine from UC-Berkeley, where he also obtained an MPH. He was the principal investigator on a three-volume, 700-page study of needle exchange programs for the Center for Disease Control and continues to evaluate interventions for injection drug users in the United States and Brazil.

    Dr. Lurie has also written about ethical aspects of HIV vaccine trials in developing countries and the cost-effectiveness of HIV counseling and testing strategies. He is interested in the impact of socioeconomic status upon risk for HIV infection and has been involved in a number of HIV epidemiology studies in Africa and Brazil. He has also examined the relationship between the development policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and the spread of HIV in developing countries.

    Ernest Drucker, Ph.D., is Director, Division of Community Health and Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. He received his Ph.D. from the City College of New York in 1969. In his 28 years at Montefiore, Dr. Drucker has developed and directed programs in occupational health, primary medical care, drug addiction treatment, and AIDS. His research has focused on social problems and their health consequences: most recently, on the social epidemiology and geography of drug use and AIDS in the Bronx. Dr. Drucker is also involved in drug policy reform and in international associations for a public health and harm reduction approach to drug problems. He is Senior Fellow of The Lindesmith Center - a drug policy research institute in New York City.

    Dr. Drucker is a founder and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Doctors of the World, an international medical relief and human rights organization; a founding member of the Board of Directors of Housing Works, Inc., an AIDS housing organization in New York City; and a member of the Board of Directors of St. Benedict the Moor, a community-based AIDS and drug rehabilitation program in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. Dr. Drucker is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Addiction Research; Associate Editor of the International Journal on Drug Policy, and a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

    Mounties Bust Harm Reduction Club

    On March 4 Cannabis Canada magazine in Vancouver, British Columbia posted the ensuing bulletin:
    On Friday, February 28 at about 4:30pm, the "Dutch Embassy" storefront location of the Harm Reduction Club was raided by Burnaby RCMP.

    [See "Canada's First Marijuana Store Opens" in the Jan. 16, 1997 Portland NORML Weekly News Release. - ed.]

    Organizer David Malmo-Levine, co-worker Derrick and a customer were arrested. The customer was released after being harassed, Derrick spent the night in jail and was released on a promise not to go within 10 blocks of the Dutch Embassy, a 10pm curfew and to not communicate with David Malmo-Levine.

    David himself is still in Burnaby prison as of Monday evening, possibly to be released on a $4,000 bail bond tomorrow, if he will agree to whatever conditions the judge sets upon his release. Note that it is common practice for police to make this kind of "harassment bust" on a Friday afternoon, so that victim must spend the weekend in jail before a hearing can be held.

    The Dutch Embassy has remained open and active since the bust, although they've cut back their hours and supplies are limited at the moment.

    This is the first police bust at this location, which has been open and busy since December 20, 1996. They have been robbed by armed thieves four times at this location though, the last time the thieves came their was a scuffle with club members defending themselves, and that's how the club discovered the thieves' gun was loaded with blanks.

    It's worth mentioning that although the RCMP didn't pull their triggers like the thieves did, their guns are loaded with real bullets.



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