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April 10, 1997

Virginia Legislature Likely To Study Industrial Hemp
Other Bills Still Alive, Gaining Momentum In States

April 9, 1997, Richmond, VA:  Virginia House Agriculture Chairman Mitchell Van Yahres (D-Charlottesville) is moving forward with plans to establish a joint subcommittee to study the economic benefits of industrial hemp production despite having faced opposition from the House Rules Committee.  As Agriculture Committee Chairman, Van Yahres has the authority to appoint a commissioned study without legislative approval.  Van Yahres is currently trying to obtain funding for the study from the legislature.
"There is more than a good chance this commissioned study will go forward," an aide to Van Yahres told NORML today.
"We are extremely pleased to see that Virginia has joined the growing number of states that are investigating industrial hemp," said local hemp activist and businessman Eric Steenstra.  "Given the long history of hemp in Virginia and the fact that so many farmers here now depend on tobacco, growing hemp makes good sense.  Farmers are struggling to make ends meet and we believe that hemp will be an excellent alternative to tobacco."
"Domestic sales of imported hemp products raked in approximately $25 million dollars in U.S. sales in 1994 alone and the American Farm Bureau now calls hemp 'one of the most promising crops in half a century,'" said NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre.  "The explosion of industrial hemp legislation at the state level is a direct result of growing awareness among legislators and the public that this is a viable crop for American farmers."
Similar legislation requiring North Dakota State University to study the feasibility and durability of industrial hemp production was signed into law on March 23.  Prior studies have been commissioned by state legislatures in Hawaii and Vermont.

Hemp field

Status of Industrial Hemp Legislation in Other States


The Senate Agriculture Committee introduced legislation on March 6 authorizing Iowa State University to conduct research on the production and marketing of hemp.  The bill now stands before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate Bill 340 explains that: "Industrial hemp historically has contributed to the economic welfare of this country, and is a renewable resource manufactured for textiles, pulp, paper, oil, and other products.  The purpose of this act is to promote the economy of this state by providing for research necessary to develop industrial hemp as a viable crop."  It further states that "research shall ... be determined by experimental trials when appropriate."
A companion bill introduced by Rep. Cecelia Burnett (D-Ames) was approved by the House Agriculture Committee on March 10 by a 18-3 vote, but later died in the House.  Both measures were encouraged by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.


Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL-Erksine) introduced legislation on March 10 that would classify industrial hemp as an "agricultural product" and allow licensed farmers to cultivate the crop for "commercial uses."  The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee approved the measure on March 18 and the bill is now awaiting action by the full Senate.
Senate Bill 1181 states, "The legislature finds that the development and the use of industrial hemp is in the best interest of the state economy and agriculture and that the production of hemp is regulated so as not to interfere with the strict control of controlled substances in this state."
A companion bill also remains alive in the House of Representatives.


Sen. Jerry Howard (D-Dexter) pre-filed legislation in December to allow the state's Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow hemp for industrial and research purposes.  The Senate "perfected" Senate Bill 79 on April 7 and attached an emergency clause stating that: "Because of the immediate need for the department of agriculture to authorize crop planting for this growing season, this act shall be in full force and effect upon its passage and approval."
The bill is expected to be a priority for the full Senate.


Rep. Floyd Prozanski (D-South Eugene) introduced legislation on March 26 to allow licensed farmers to cultivate and possess hemp for industrial purposes.  The bill is awaiting action before the House Judiciary Committee and a hearing is expected shortly.
"Rep. Prozanski has been laying the base for this measure for the last two years," an aid told NORML.  She explained that the passage of this bill could be a first step in replacing Oregon's timber-based economy with one supported by industrial hemp production.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500 or visit NORML's website at:

Medical Marijuana Research Efforts Moving Forward In
California, Massachusetts

April 9, 1997, Washington, D.C.:  A state Senate committee approved legislation establishing a $6 million, three-year research program at the University of California to study the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana.  The goal of Senate Bill 535, sponsored by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D-Santa Clara), is to determine a "safe and affordable" way to distribute marijuana to doctors and patients whose physicians approve it.  The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill on April 2 by a 5-2 vote.
"We owe it to the people of California to find out under what circumstances marijuana works as medicine," Vasconcellos said.
In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health held hearings to determine proposed regulations to support an affirmative medical defense for certain medical marijuana patients and to develop a blueprint for a state-run medical research project.  In addition, State Public Health Commissioner David Mulligan sent a letter to federal Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna Shalala requesting that the agency either provide the state with medical marijuana or permit it to grow its own.  Gov. William Weld has publicly stated that he supports the current effort.
"The feds keep telling us verbally -- they have never put it in writing -- that they would supply [marijuana] for a well-designed clinical trial," said Nancy Ridley, assistant health commissioner.  "We [have now sent] another batch of letters to the federal government to try to get them to be more specific about what it would take to access their supply.  It would be absolutely wrong not to try."
In 1992, The Massachusetts Department of Health made a similar request to federal officials and was turned down.
For more information on state medical marijuana research efforts, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500.



© copyright 1997 NORML NORML Home Page comments:

Regional and other news

Body Count

Three of the six 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, ("Felonies," April 10, 1997, p. 9, 3M-MP-NE). That makes the body count so far this year 58 out of 124, or 46.77 percent. The body count would be five out of six, but two felons convicted for manufacturing a controlled substance and related offenses each received three years of probation and fines - but no hard time.

Is the public interest served by making felons of people we don't put in jail? Is the public interest served by prosecuting people who are charged with crimes in which there is no victim, when just one in three crimes of violence are solved? When will a news service with sufficient resources report on how much such prosecutions cost local taxpayers? Is the public interest served by the expenditure of limited resources on three years of probation for a non-jailable offense? What will that cost the taxpayers and the victims themselves? In short, what are the expected costs and benefits?

You'll never know. Welcome to Oregon. Things look different here, since political "leaders" and major mass media seem to share a mutual interest in covering up the numbers and any open and honest discussion of them.

Oregon Legislative Committee Recommends Recriminalization

HB 3643 and SB 636, a joint bill to recriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Oregon, encountered little ostensible opposition as the GOP-led Senate Crime and Corrections Committee and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Law orchestrated shamefully one-sided public hearings on the afternoon and evening of April 7 at the Capitol in Salem.

The bills in question have many bad qualities. Supposedly HB 3643 and SB 636 would cost Oregon taxpayers just $1.5 million, since cannabis offenders would purportedly pay for their own obligatory drug rehab. However, nobody was allowed to ask how the cost of recriminalization could be kept to just $1.5 million when tens of thousands of casual marijuana offenders in Oregon would now have every incentive to fight such charges with expensive jury trials. Nobody was allowed to point out that many if not most of such offenders would demand and be entitled to representation by public defenders.

The afternoon hearing, which began at 1 pm, was supposedly "public" but with one exception the only people who were allowed to speak were self-interested police and drug-rehab professionals, plus an irrelevant clutch of teenagers obviously handpicked for their malleability and ignorance. (They didn't even know what the current penalties are for cannabis possession.) The hearings were chaired by two Republicans, Representative John Minnis, currently a Portland police officer, and Senator Shirley Stull, a former law-enforcement official. Anyone who had any doubt that Oregon has become an out-and-out police state was quickly disabused as the hearing proceeded.

The concept of an open and honest discussion was obviously foreign to Minnis and Stull. Oregonians who might expect their legislators to solicit the most credible and knowledgeable witnesses would have been shocked. Nobody with medical credentials or much of any other credentials testified. Instead, cops and kids from the rehab industry who looked like they were barely out of two-year community-college programs were invited to testify to the supposedly proven dangers of marijuana. It was a sham, a kangaroo court, the most corrupt display of willful ignorance this observer has ever seen. Nobody who witnessed the travesty could ever be proud of calling himself or herself an Oregonian again. Minnis and Stull brought shame not only upon themselves and the Oregon Legislature, but upon an entire state that elevated two such buffoons.

After Minnis and Stull wasted the whole afternoon with what amounted to suborned perjury, they said no more testimony would be heard. Reform proponents who had driven to Salem from all over the state were effectively shut out. After protests by other committee members, Minnis and Stull finally allowed that more testimony would be heard at 5:30 pm.

For those who were able to stay for the second hearing at 5:30 pm, it was much the same. Only a few opponents to the recriminalization measures were allowed to testify. Minnis specifically and explicitly barred admittance and testimony from several handicapped medical-marijuana patients using wheelchairs. Minnis explicitly overruled protests by other legislators who observed that such tactics violated the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In the next few days, HB 3643 passed out of subcommittee with a "do pass" recommendation. SB 646 still must pass the Senate, where more testimony may still be allowed, but few observers expect the GOP-led Senate to wield more scrutiny than the House. Unfortunately, Democratic Governor John "Prisons" Kitzhaber seems the last best hope to put an end to the atavistic idiocy in the House and Senate. And that ain't much hope at all.

Forget pot. If you prefer to live under some form of government other than tyranny, it's time to vote with your feet.

Otherwise, the only realistic hope for reform in Oregon is the initiative process. The sole obstacle there is the state's mass media - which in general show about as much impartiality as Minnis and Stull.

Don't Forget

The 4:20 Hemp Fest and Earth Day Celebration to benefit the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act happens Sunday afternoon, April 20 (guess what time?), at The Temple in Portland, Southeast 39th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard. Sponsored by Think Good Thoughts, the benefit features live music by Trillian Green and Other Living Things. Tickets cost $12 at the door or $10 in advance through Fastixx outlets (503-224-8499), the Dragon Herbarium and Think Good Thoughts. For more details point your browser to

At Least The Wall Street Journal Admits It Willfully Promoted Ignorance...

The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1997
Your editorial-page article (Marijuana is the Wrong Medicine," March 11) opposing medical use of marijuana is replete with misunderstandings and erroneous information, reflecting either ignorance of the medical and scientific research or a cynical decision to ignore the facts.

Foremost, the authors claim that marijuana actually enhances pain because it does not interact with the brain's "endorphin" system. Millions of Americans who have smoked it would probably disagree. But beyond the anecdotal evidence, there are decades of neuroscientific research into marijuana's pain-relieving properties. Researchers have discovered an entire brain system for marijuana, including receptors and neurotransmitters. A few years ago they mapped the brain nuclei responsible for the drug's pain-relieving effects. The authors are purportedly scientists: Did they forget about this research? Have they not read a neuroscience journal since 1985? This is well-founded, government-funded research, which the authors distort or simply ignore. This offense against good science reporting is not excused by the expression of antidrug sentiments.

Philip O. Coffin
Research Associate
The Lindesmith Center

Death Penalty For Drug Smuggling In Kuwait Gets Results

"Kuwait airport heroin haul doubles in 1996"

Beheading KUWAIT (Source unknown - Reuter? April 7, 1997) - Kuwait airport authorities seized 60 kg (132 lb) of heroin in 1996, double the amount detected the previous year, an official was quoted on Monday as saying.

Khaled al-Mousa, head of Airport Customs Administration, told the Arab Times newspaper that heroin smuggling was now the biggest concern for authorities at the Gulf Arab state's only international airport.

Drug smuggling was made a capital crime in Kuwait in 1995 but no related executions have been reported.

Moslem conservative Kuwait, which bans alcoholic beverages, has a population of some two million people, including about 1.2 million foreign residents.

Pot Prohibition Is Genocide

"Heredity May Determine Whether Marijuana Feels Good"

The Sowers WASHINGTON (Reuter, April 4, 1997) - Heredity may determine whether people feel good or bad when they use marijuana, and the same genetic influence might also apply to alcohol and cocaine, U.S. scientists reported on Friday.

"The finding that genetic factors contribute to how an individual feels after using marijuana opens new avenues for prevention and treatment research," said Dr. Alan Leshner, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the marijuana study.

In the research, male identical twins were found more likely than non-identical male twins to report similar responses to marijuana use. Identical twins share all the same genes; fraternal twins share about half.

More than 600 pairs of twins who reported using marijuana more than five times were asked if they experienced each of 23 possible reactions, ranging from confused or paranoid to relaxed or mellow, after marijuana use.

The study found that those who responded positively tended to use the drug more often, but the reactions to marijuana were more similar for identical twins than fraternal twins. This led the study's authors to believe that genes may control individuals' responses to the drug.

The study's authors also believe their finding might apply to the use of other substances such as alcohol and cocaine, the institute said in a statement.

The specific gene that influences response to marijuana could not be identified in this study.

[End of article]

Bob Melamede commented:
Consciousness results from the composite mosaic of numerous receptors and their ligands. To presume that all individuals would have the same balance would be absurd. Hence some people will naturally enjoy marihuana and others will not. I think that the article above simply confirms the genetic component of the mosaic. What I find very interesting is the hypothesis that I have put forward on the DRC net in the past, that being that the drug warriors are what I called THC receptor deprived. The importance of confirming this hypothesis is that, if true, the drug war essentially amounts to genocide.

Bob Melamede, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Dept. of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405
802 656-8501

Anyone who has studied marijuana usage-rate surveys, whether in the United States, the Netherlands or other countries, is aware that the vast majority of people who experiment with marijuana do not enjoy the experience at all. Anecdotal reports invariably support the same conclusion: People who enjoy cannabis are a biochemical/genetic minority.

One might speculate genetics are the real reason behind reports saying kids are more likely to use marijuana if their parents use or used marijuana.

The same situation exists with regard to alcohol - probably at least 10 percent to 30 percent of the population finds alcohol thoroughly unpleasant.

The common perception among many hempsters as to the disingenuousness of public figures who say they "tried pot but didn't like it" is thus quite possibly misguided. Most people don't like pot. Most people never will. Even in the Netherlands, only 4 percent of the population uses cannabis, without fear of punishment, compared to 7 percent in the United States, where small-time pot offenses get people locked up for life.

The proclivity to enjoy cannabis also seems to fade with age - surveys in both the United States and the Netherlands, for example, show that the vast majority of people who consume cannabis regularly in their 20s quit or greatly reduce their usage by their late 30s.

Conceivably, illness could also alter a person's biochemistry sufficiently so that what formerly would have been an unpleasant experience proves otherwise.

The implications of this report could be far-reaching in other ways. For example, in terms of scientific research into marijuana as a medicine, one wonders if cannabinoid researchers who use human subjects might consider changing their methodology so that subjects who clearly find marijuana unpleasant are excluded from future studies.

In any case, the threat supposedly posed by marijuana use is really a threat posed by a minority of people with certain genes. As always, the fear-mongering assertions by prohibitionists that reform will lead to increased usage is rebutted by the facts.

But one wonders: How many prohibitionists are motivated by their own unpleasant experiences with cannabis, who assume other cannabis users are some kind of masochists? - ed.

Barney Frank Introduces 'Safety Valve' Retroactivity Bill

On April 10 Martha and Nora wrote:
Representative Barney Frank introduced legislation on April 8th [H.R. 1237] that would give retroactivity to the Safety Valve of the 1994 Crime Bill!

Please visit this site to learn more - and support our efforts to see it pass. There are at least 1,600 men and women now in federal prison who would receive sentencing relief. Multiply that by their loved ones and that number soars into the thousands...

Please post this message - spread the word and the loved ones of thousands of prisoners of the war on drugs thank you.

Please study the issue and write letters to your legislators and the House Judiciary Committee.

The prisoners of the war on drugs and their loved ones thank you.

Martha & Nora

"Enduring The Tortures Of Prison"

On April 4 Paul Freedom wrote:
This was forwarded to me from the Militia of Montana.

Paul Freedom


Penn-Pals Prison Inmate Service Network

Received from an inmate at Utah State Prison, Draper Utah. If you would like to contact this person drop us an e-mail or visit our web site listed above.

Received: April 1997

Enduring the Tortures of Prison

As I was in the process of writing this plea to the world when a sad thing occurred here in the Utah State Prison. In fact it had to do with the very thing this paper is about.

On March 21, 1997, Michael Valent, who was a prisoner, died shortly after being released from "the chair" after spending what the prison officials say was 16 hours in it.

Four days in this instrument of torture are not uncommon.

Well we all know that after committing a crime of whatever degree, a person enters prison by way of the justice system. At this time the prisoner usually pleads guilty thereby saving the courts time and the taxpayers money. Punishment is then affixed, a certain number of years, fines, etc.

In the Utah State Prison this is not the case. The punishments continue to be assessed long after a person enters the gates. The prison officials (O. Lane McCotter; Director, and J. Terry Bartlett; Deputy Director) have instituted a very mean little behavior modification system. The whole prison system is so obsessed with control that it has affected and changed personalities to where they have become anal retentive in nature.

We all know that the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution says "nor cruel and unusual punishment be inflicted." The Utah State Constitution is in line with this. Only Utah further states that "persons arrested or imprisoned shall not be treated with unnecessary rigor." Very humane isn't it? As we all know preaching and practicing do not often coincide.

I'm in the Utah State Prison's (USP) Control Unit, Unita I, prisoners are treated unnecessary rigor and cruel punishment daily. Let me give you some examples of what we are experiencing in The Control Unit.

Prisoners housed in the Control Unit are subjected to sensory deprivation, no human contact except for speaking that is allowed during the few hours out of cell time during the week. Two sections don't even have this.

When a prisoner goes out to see a caseworker, doctor's assistant, or clergy member, he is handcuffed behind the back, shackled at the feet and chained to the wall. There are no television or radios unless a person can afford it, few can. They are denied newspapers, magazines and books. There is no type of motor activity. We are talking about people who spend years in this type of environment. Communication with the outside world has been steadily cut off.

I have witnessed the Nazi like actions of the goon squad, with support from the other guards and administrative staff. They run in on a prisoner, who most of the time is non-violent, and tackles him. They then handcuff, shackle, put a hood over their head, hook a leash to them and finally drag them off to Section 4.

It's not finished this is through. When the prisoner is brought here he is stripped naked and placed in a cell that is completely enclosed. The only thing visible is the inside of the cell.

The unlucky ones get placed in one of two torture devices called "The Chair" or "The Board." These instruments come right out of those 19th Century insane asylums. A person is strapped in so that the only moveable part of the body is the head. The person is kept in these for many days. They are fed liquid Ensure, water three times a day, maybe 6 ounces, and often must live in his own excrement. The A.C.L.U. is attempting to file a civil action against the D.O.C. for this type of torture as you read this. Not to mention investigate the death of Michael Valent on March 21, 1997 who wasn't able to endure the torture of "The Chair."

(Note: A diagram of the "The Chair" accompanied this report and it illustrates that the person strapped in is reclined slightly, apprx. 30 degrees, the torture is the lack of head support that must be sustained for the duration. The same for "The Board" only the victim is laid flat with no head support.)

Mass punishment is also practiced by the officials in the U.S.P. For instance, if one or two persons cause a commotion, the officials will turn off everyone's water, block the windows, put everyone on short rations of food (denying liquids to drink) and not give showers. I was involved in just such a situation that lasted three days.

You must also be made aware that in this control unit only one person is out at any given time. Not much chance for a major disturbance or riot. And it is common practice to punish prisoners en masse. Added to this is the sleep deprivation caused by guards who bang on doors and shine lights in the eyes during the middle of the night.

It has also been reported to me by several of the prisoners in this control unit that a form of psychological manipulation is being performed on them called psychotronics. This manipulation is often augmented by psychotropic drug enhancement.

Many of the prisoners currently housed in this Control Unit, and who are subject to these punitive and degrading measures shouldn't be here. This is suppose to be for the troublesome, violent and out of control. I contend 30% - 40% do not belong or fall under this category.

There is plenty more but I will stop here. Affidavits can be produced. The things I relate here are well known and supported by prison policy. And of course, the A.C.L.U. should have many reports on the abuses.

I wrote to the Salt Lake Tribune about these same things, as well as "The Chair," but they ignored my pleading's and warnings. This was some two months ago. They did, however, cover the story on the chair after a death occurred.

I guess what I'm looking for is that the public not support these types of human rights abuses. Not only here in Utah, but all over the U.S. It used to be that we only heard of such mistreatment of prisoners in countries we saw as our enemies. Countries like China, South Africa, Russia or some in South America. Have we turned into the enemy within?

If you have questions or concerns please direct them at those responsible:

1) O. Lane McCotter, Director
2) J. Terry Bartlett, Deputy Director
3) Hank Galetka, Warden

c/o Utah State Prison
P.O. Box 250
Draper, Utah 84020

"Beat Poet Laureate Ginsberg Dies"

The Washington Post, April 5, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) - Allen Ginsberg, the poet laureate of the Beat Generation whose writing and lifestyle shaped the music, politics and protests of the next 40 years, died this morning. He was 70. He died at 2:39 a.m. surrounded by family and friends at his Lower East Side apartment, said Bill Morgan, his friend and archivist.

[End of article]

Regarding Ginsberg's death from a heart attack, New York drug-policy reformer Aaron D. Wilson wrote:
Folks may not be aware, but Allen Ginsberg was the grandfather of the modern anti-prohibition movement. He started LEMAR (Legalize Marijuana) here in New York in the early 1960's, and organized some of the first smoke-ins. His 1965 essay "The First Manifesto to End the Bringdown" remains one of the most eloquent and effective arguments for the positive value of the marijuana experience, and the foolishness of its prohibition, that I have ever read.

Much respect to Allen Ginsberg...

Aaron Wilson

The editor is given to understand that Ginsberg left behind a huge archive of marijuana-related research, including some previously unpublished, long-suppressed government stuff. Stay tuned.

Drug News Digest Now Available By E-mail

Mark Greer of the Media Awareness Project writes:

Please Copy And Distribute Widely To All Reform Individuals And Organizations

Major MAP Announcement

Drug News Digest (DND), A Daily Drug News Digest, Is Now Available

Your Life Just Got A Little Simpler

I am very pleased to announce that the long awaited DrugNews-Digest (previously MAPBrief) is now a reality. This is a daily compilation and synopsis of virtually every reform or drug-related news article in the world that we can find and post. It is now available from MAP, by subscription, for a very reasonable price (free). A lot of time and effort has gone into creating this news synopsis. Once you have seen it I believe you will agree that it has been well worth the effort.

We believe that this new service will be extremely valuable to busy activists worldwide. It will help our entire movement become more informed and alert to drug reform news and it will require spending less time to do so. It will also simplify responding to the articles, and will hopefully encourage increased letter writing and other activist efforts. In a few minutes a day you will be able to stay completely informed on all drug related issues by subscribing to this digest. In a few more minutes you will be able to select and reply to the article(s) you deem most important. Once it is fully implemented it will dramatically reduce bandwidth in all reform mailing lists because posting full articles to news lists will become obsolete.

Note: If you are subscribed to MAPTalk you need do nothing. MAPTalk has DND added to it and you will begin receiving it automatically on a daily basis beginning today.


We need every ones continued cooperation in continuing to post all drug related articles to Kiril Dubrovsky ( Our efforts are only as good as our news collection capabilities and your help is essential. Our network of dedicated NewsHawks, combined with electronic searches, is what makes DND work as well as it does


The mapnews-digest archive is the long-term repository of all news articles and is searchable! All articles will be saved here indefinitely and you will be able to find what you are looking for within a digest of 5-10 articles. This collection is located at:

Articles less than 2 weeks old are kept, article by article, in "Drugnews Online"

And of course DrugNews-Digest is the daily synopsis of all these articles.

If, in reading DrugNews-Digest (called DND for short), you find that you need more specific or complete information on any article then MAPNews is the answer. Each article on the DrugNews-Digest will have a URL (web page address) to which you can go to read the entire article. (in many current email programs you can simply click on this url to go directly to the article) Most articles are posted to MAPNews with Email addresses, fax numbers or other contact info included to allow easy replies for your letters to the editor, editorials, op-eds etc.

Perhaps best of all, all news articles are archived and searchable on the MAP web page in MAPNews. So the next time you need to know what Gabriel Nahas said in the Wall Street Journal last March 8, for example, you will be able to do a simple search and find that very article or even all articles that mention Nahas, if you are conducting more detailed research.

I don't think I need to point out what an incredibly valuable tool this will become to our movement over time. We will, for example, have an archive of every lie ever told by our adversaries with cites, dates, and sources. We will also be able to develop a database list of media "friends and foes" for a wide range of uses.

How To Subscribe To DND

MAP has made subscribing to most reform lists the ultimate in simplicity. This is also true for DND. Just go to the MAP list subscription web page at (this takes you directly to the form at the bottom of the page. Click on the little down arrow and select DRUGNEWS and fill in your email address. Click on the "Send Command" and you are subscribed that's all there is to it. This is also a great way to subscribe and unsubscribe to all DRC and MAP mailing lists.

As an alternate method of subscribing, send a message to with the message: subscribe drugnews-digest in the body of the message

Fear Of God Blocks Washington Judiciary

By Joel Coffidis
The Olympian [Olympia, Wash.], circa April 8, 1997

"Authorities Alarmed:
A marijuana defendant's claim of religious freedom could endanger drug laws, prosecutors say."

The Scream In a case that one Thurston County deputy prosecutor contends could topple the state's marijuana laws, a Tumwater man is using a religious-freedom defense for his possessing the drug.

Prosecutors are so concerned that they asked the state Court of Appeals to issue an emergency stay Friday. The court granted the stay, halting the trial of Gene Ross Balzar in county Superior Court.

Balzar, 32, was arrested Nov. 24 by Olympia police after a traffic stop. Police found a pound of marijuana in his car. Balzar contends he is a shaman with the Rainbow Family of Living Light and was on his way to a religious rite where the drug was to be given out.

The stay was granted during the prosecution's closing arguments, after Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks found that Balzar could claim as his defense that his actions were protected under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Hicks' ruling then left it to jurors to decide whether the defense has merit. Because the state would lose the right to appeal if Balzar were acquitted, Deputy Prosecutor William Halstead took the unusual step of seeking the stay, said Jon Tunheim, a deputy county prosecutor.

"It could certainly render the (state's) marijuana laws useless," Tunheim said. Future defendants could simply say they are smoking marijuana for religious purposes, he said.

Defense attorney Paul Reed said Tunheim's interpretation is ridiculous. Each case would be different, and defendants would need to prove their marijuana use is a focus of their religious beliefs, Reed said.

"It has to be a deeply held religious belief," Reed said.

Balzar was charge with possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of cocaine. The religious defense applies to the pot charges but not the cocaine charge, Reed said.

Prosecutors contend that Balzar testified that his marijuana use is limited to such things as assisting with meditation.

"His use of marijuana is not central or required for his religious practice," Tunheim said. Thus, the state is not burdening his ability to practice his religion, which is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Reed disagreed.

"It's a sacrament he used for ceremonial purposes," Reed said.

According to the Encyclopedia of American Religions, the Rainbow Family of Living Light is a loosely organized network of people, informal groups and communes that grew out of the counterculture movement of the late 1960s.

Marijuana is on of the God-created herbs, and it's viewed as having sacramental value, said Gideon Isreal, owner of the Rainbow Valley peace-gathering site near Littlerock and a Rainbow Family adherent.

"I believe when you smoke marijuana it does open up a channel that makes it easier to communicate with God, or the loving spirit within you," Isreal said.

The case is the first use of the 1993 religion act in a pot possession case in Washington.

The 9th U.S. circuit Court of Appeals in San Fransisco has rejected the act as a defense in a case involving possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, but it left open the act's use for possession of the drug, Tunheim said.

However, Reed noted that the 9th Circuit didn't do an in-depth analysis in the decision involving the possession-with-intent ruling, leaving open the use of the act as a defense on that charge as well.

At A Glance

What's Next

On Monday, the state Court of Appeals will review whether the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act can be used as a defense in the marijuana-possession case, or whether the Superior Court trial should resume before the state court hears the appeal.

"A Heartless Drug Law Can Be Nullified"

By Paul Carpenter
The Morning Call [Allentown, Penn.], March 25, 1997

The chilling photograph ran on the front page nine days ago. It showed a hooded government gunman terrorizing a motorist at a checkpoint in Albania. Thank God, you say, we don't live in such a place.

But then you remember that a hooded government gunman, Scott Fraley, did the same thing to innocent motorists in Monroe County, except that Fraley did it at night and the thug in Albania at least had the grace to do it in daylight. Fraley was, and still is, a state drug agent. He works, in fact, out of the Allentown office to this day. (I called him Monday to ask if he was still running around with his hood, but he didn't get back to me.)

Anyhow, hooded government gunmen at checkpoints represent what we have degenerated to. In the war on drugs,we cannot boast of being better off than Albania.

Hold that thought as we consider the case of Denise Smith, who, by coincidence, lives in Monroe County. If Fraley, or anyone of his ilk, catches her, she may go to prison.

I told you about Smith on Sunday. She has AIDS and suffers from agonizing symptoms, including the inability to eat without immediately throwing up. Prescription drugs did not help much and by last year she was painfully starving to death. Then she tried marijuana, which restored her appetite and eased her nausea.

On Sunday, I reported that Smith is not worried about getting arrested. "I don't see myself as being a criminal," she said. "It (marijuana) makes me feel better. I know it's illegal, but it makes me feel better." That's not the way Monroe County District Attorney Mark Pazuhanich looks at it. "Right now, that would make no difference," he said when I asked him about the therapeutic use of pot. "The penalty is going to be the same as with any other use of marijuana."

Pazuhanich said the penalty for possession of a tiny amount is 30 days in prison. For possessing an ounce or so, it's as much as a year.

How actively, I asked Pazuhanich, would you pursue such a case?

"I don't think there is any special effort to uncover that kind of thing," he said. But if police arrest someone for using pot for medical purposes, he said he'll prosecute.

Lehigh County DA Bob Steinberg was more concise when I asked if he'd actively pursue such cases.

"No," he said. Steinberg added, however, that whether marijuana is permitted for therapeutic purposes is ultimately for the Legislature to decide, and thus far it is still illegal.

"Would I be sympathetic? Yeah. But at the same time, I don't have the luxury of legislating," he said.

And if you catch terminally ill people using pot to ease symptoms?

"I'm not inclined to pull them out of their deathbed," he said.

But Steinberg's most important observation is that prosecutors are not legislators. They don't make laws and we cannot fault a DA, even if he has a heartless attitude about people like Smith, for enforcing a law.

My personal preference would be to find a way to induce Smith's symptoms in every state legislator and then see how long it takes them to endorse a less heartless approach to the therapeutic use of marijuana.

California and Arizona have done just that, and Oregon seems ready to, although the Clinton administration has threatened any doctor who dares comply with the laws in those states, the 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights be damned.

If enough states take the merciful approach, even the feds may relent. But it is the usual practice of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to be dead last when it comes to doing anything worthwhile.

So maybe we should ask that other legislative body - juries in criminal trials - to step forward. Only one juror on each jury is necessary to nullify an unjust law.

Am I asking, egad, that individual jurors ignore the law and refuse to convict people like Denise Smith?

That is exactly what I'm asking.

Church Of Scotland Appeals For Decrim

"Blair At Odds With Church Over Drugs; Kirk's Soft Line On Cannabis"

The Herald [Glasgow], March 26, 1997, p. 1
By Carlos Alba and Robbie Dinwoodie, Scottish Political Correspondent

A Church of Scotland report has called for a more liberal approach to cannabis smoking.

The report, which followed a two-year study into soft drug use, concluded that using cannabis was no more sinful than drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or overeating. Its publication yesterday threw open the debate over the legalisation of soft drugs, coming on the same day as Labour leader Tony Blair announced plans for a US-style anti-drugs "supremo." Mr Blair and his Shadow Scottish Secretary George Robertson disagreed with the report's conclusions and considered them dangerous.

The man tipped as the likely candidate for Mr. Blair's drugs fighter, Grampian chief constable Dr. Ian Oliver, gave a broad hint he would like the job if offered, and also responded sharply to the Kirk report, saying there was "no justification whatsoever" for its view.

It called for the creation of a Royal Commission to highlight anomalies in the courts' treatment of soft drug offenders and a Department of Health review on the medical uses of cannabis.

While advocating the decriminalisation of cannabis, the Kirk report stopped short of calling for legalisation which would mean the drug was on open sale.

It claims the law unjustly targets social users and that the punishment often does not fit the crime. It suggests there should be standardised strategies to replace fines and prison sentences such as warning letters and social work counselling. The Rev. Jim Cowie, who led the study, said: "We do not believe that the consumption of cannabis is unduly detrimental to people's health or to society.

"Indeed the cost to society if people choose cannabis instead of alcohol and tobacco, to both legal and health services, would be greatly reduced."

The report was given a mixed reaction. Roman Catholic priest Father William Slavin, who spent 10 years working with drug addicts in Barlinnie Prison, said: "If you take cannabis out of the legal equation it leaves you a clear field to deal with the really serious things."

Rev. Richard Holloway, the leader of the Episcopalian church in Scotland, said: "The report seems eminently sensible."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace said his was the only party to have a long standing commitment to a Royal Commission on drugs.

The Kirk study, conducted by the board of social responsibility, will be presented to the General Assembly in May.

It followed a survey of 2,581 13 to 17 year-olds from secondary schools across Scotland. Some 50% of the pupils questioned admitted they had experimented with drugs, including cannabis, by the age of 14 and 25% claimed to be still using. Of the total responses, 56% were in favour of decriminalisation on the grounds that the drugs they used were "harmless" or had "no ill effects."

Rev Bill Wallace, convener of the board of social responsibility, said the Kirk was not encouraging people to smoke cannabis.

He said: "Since there are increasingly vocal groups advocating the decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis we recommend that a Royal Commission should be set up to look at all aspects of such a step. We are, in effect, saying look before you ever consider leaping into the unknown. The experience of legalising alcohol and tobacco would indicate that such a change would be well nigh irreversible."

Rev. Cowie added: "Medical use of cannabis, which the Government recently voted against, is recommended."

However, the father of teenage ecstasy victim Leah Betts criticised the Kirk. Mr. Paul Betts said. "I am not convinced that it is the harmless little weed everyone would have us believe." Mr. Betts, visiting Scotland with his wife Jan to promote a Drugs Awareness Seminar, reacted favourably to Mr. Blair's plan to appoint a national co-ordinator to lead the war against drugs, and admitted he would consider putting himself forward for the post.

Dr. Oliver, another supporter of Mr. Blair's idea, said: "It is an important post which coincides with my own views."

On the Kirk report, he stated: "It is a non-starter and does not deserve public debate. All we would be doing is legalising an addictive process."

While not against a public debate, or even the possibility of a Royal Commission, he condemned any "pandering to a liberal attitude."

Earlier Mr. Blair told teachers and pupils at Dyce Academy that the drugs "Czar" would have clout, and direct access to the Government.

Minnesota Judges Retake Courts From Prosecutors

"Law: Bitter Debate Over Judicial Discretion Divides Minnesota"
The Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1997
By Barry Siegel, Times Staff Writer

Judges are taking justice into their hands, giving a break to defendants deemed deserving. Appellate courts endorse the practice, so prosecutors have turned to the Legislature.

Whom to charge with crimes? When to cut some slack? Which culprits get branded felons, which get a second chance? Such subjective questions are usually left to a prosecutor's discretion, which in varying degrees may be governed by politics, ambition, values, temperament and even, on occasion, the law.

In Minnesota, however, certain county judges are balking at this arrangement. There's an uprising going on in the state's judicial ranks that has as much to do with matters of the heart as the law. Judges who think a prosecutor too tough are flat out refusing to enter judgments against guilty defendants. You should have given this one diversion, the judges essentially are saying. So we're going to do it for you.

The result, not surprisingly, is a constitutional battle that, gathering steam and bile, has spread from county courthouses to the state Legislature. At a recent hearing before the state Senate's Crime Prevention Committee, Dakota County Atty. James Backstrom, railing at the judges, declared nothing less at stake than "one of the most basic principles of our government, the separation of powers." But others see a different sort of virtue hinging in the balance: the furtherance of justice.

It was in Carver County, just south of the Twin Cities, that this brouhaha began. The facts of the case are undisputed. On three occasions in December 1993 and January 1994, one Billy Jim Krotzer, 19, engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with his 14-year-old girlfriend. Then the girl's mom found out; the sex stopped but the relationship continued, with the mother's blessings and strict rules.

Someone outside the family, not satisfied with that amicable resolution, soon after notified the Chaska Police Department. A detective arrived to interview all involved parties. The Carver County Attorney's office - over the objections of the girl and her family - in time charged Krotzer with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

By law, a conviction or guilty plea would have required Krotzer to register as a predatory sex offender, and for 10 years notify authorities whenever he moved. Appalled, the girl's mother urged the judge to "let it end" without any legal action, calling her daughter and Krotzer "good kids" who had "made a mistake, then learned a lesson." Even a Department of Corrections investigator, not known around the county as an easy touch, thought the whole thing "inappropriate" because "there is no history of aggressiveness" and "the defendant seems to have a non-delinquent personality."

That's also what Judge Philip Kanning came to think. After Krotzer entered a guilty plea and the corrections officer submitted his pre-sentence investigation, the judge did what they both urged: He imposed a two-month jail sentence, put Krotzer on five years' probation, forbade unsupervised contact with girls younger than 16, then "stayed adjudication" of the charge. In essence, this meant he officially declined to accept or enter Krotzer's guilty plea; he punished the young man but spared him a criminal record and a sexual-predator label. It was a carefully calculated ruling: If the judge had simply dismissed charges, the prosecutor could have refiled them.

It was also, as even Kanning allowed, a ruling of uncertain legitimacy greatly opposed by the county attorney. It falls to legislators to define crimes and penalties, after all, and to prosecutors to decide when and whom to charge. No Minnesota statute expressly permits judges to stay adjudications over prosecutors' objections. And yet, the final disposition of a criminal case is ultimately a matter for the presiding judge.

Facing such conflicting mandates, Kanning invited appellate review, "so maybe we'll all know where we're going." He soon got it: First, the state Court of Appeals soundly supported his ruling, then last May, so did a more divided state Supreme Court. In the end, both appellate courts - after expressing puzzled regret over the prosecutor's refusal to divert Krotzer's case - affirmed Kanning's "inherent judicial authority" to act in the "furtherance of justice."

Thus the uprising began. Encouraged by the Krotzer ruling, dozens of judges in recent months have started staying adjudications. Dakota County - where Backstrom takes pride in calling himself a "tough prosecutor" with a "very restrictive" diversion policy - has seen the most: 80 stays in all, 67 of them felonies. The great majority involve welfare fraud; a good number involve first-time offenders who failed to report part-time jobs and other sources of income. One, a woman who wrongfully received $797 in welfare benefits and food stamps, won a stay because a judge feared she'd otherwise lose her education grants. Another, a Hmong immigrant who claimed she didn't understand certain documents she signed, inspired a stay because Judge Edward Lynch felt "God knows, life for her is hard enough without a felony." Crimes of poverty, the public defenders like to say; a felony conviction "only makes their lives more difficult."

Yet it is also possible, thumbing through the available records, to see where a judge - fearing a family would otherwise be deported - granted them a stay despite their having wrongfully collected $21,453 by hiding all manner of assets, including six cars. It's possible as well to see where judges, in isolated instances, have stayed charges involving third-degree assault, forgery, theft, stalking and terroristic threats. Each such case has an explanation, of course, but in the end, it doesn't matter much. What's riling prosecutors and politicians isn't which cases the judges block; it's that they're blocking cases at all.

A backlash undeniably has set in. Angry prosecutors speak out regularly now; at the urging of the Minnesota County Attorneys Assn., a state senator has proposed a bill that means to abolish stays of adjudication altogether. "The courts simply don't have the power to conclude that no crime should be charged," Backstrom said. "What we have here is our judges basically making prosecutorial decisions. I'm a tough prosecutor. They don't like it; they're trying to get around me. They can't do that."

Whether that's so, in truth, is a matter still to be resolved. No one yet has explained how a legislative bill can eliminate an "inherent judicial authority." Then again, no one yet has shown where in the lawbooks that "inherent judicial authority" resides. Whom to trust for wisdom, whom to give power over others' fates, how to balance advocacy with mercy - such questions swirl around just now in Minnesota, unanswered and perhaps unanswerable.

This dispute finally transcends the law, and that's what makes it uncommonly interesting. For a passing moment, at least, we have an intriguing glimpse of sober-minded judges striving not for what they deem legal, but for what they feel is right. "It would be unfair," they offer, by way of explaining themselves. The venerable custodians of the legal system, dissatisfied with what it sometimes yields, for once are rebelling against the rules of their game.

Florida AIDS Patient Challenges Prohibition Law

"Man Seeks Right to Smoke Marijuana;
Lakeland Man With AIDS Says Synthetic Marijuana Isn't As Effective As The Real Thing."

The Ledger [Lakeland, FL], March 26, 1997, p. B1
By Rick Rousos, The Ledger

LAKELAND - A Lakeland man who is terminally ill with AIDS will challenge a state law that forbids him from using marijuana for medicinal purposes.

David "Mike" Tucker, 42, is prescribed Marinol, a synthetic marijuana. But he says Marinol is slower and far less effective at easing AIDS-related nausea than the real thing. Tucker was charged with possession of marijuana on Feb. 6 when police stopped him driving on Lake Parker Drive with one taillight. He allowed police to search his car, and they found half a marijuana cigarette under the seat. Tucker said he'd smoked the cigarette the day before in St. Petersburg, but not in the car, and forgot he'd left the remaining half under the seat.

Tuesday in Polk County Court in Lakeland, Tucker pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge. Judge Charlie Brown found him guilty, fined him a standard $223 and revoked his driver license. Tucker can apply for a hardship license, Brown said.

Even though he pleaded no contest, Tucker has 30 days to appeal his conviction, and the Public Defenders Office says an appeal is certain. It will be based on "the constitutionality of the statute as it relates to people with terminal illness," said Assistant Public Defender Cynthia Sullivan.

The no-contest plea, which is not an admission of guilt, was entered because Tucker faced the possibility of jail and the likelihood of probation if he lost at trial, Sullivan said.

"I don't think jail is the place for Mr. Tucker," Sullivan said. "And on probation, he would fail any drug testing" because of the Marinol. Tucker says the conviction won't stop him from continuing to smoke marijuana.

"It's the only way I can swallow my medicine," he said. "I wouldn't smoke if I didn't have to. But if I have to, I will."

Tucker, an unemployed mechanical designer, said he was diagnosed with AIDS five years ago, and at one point lost 32 pounds because of the nausea. He said he gained the weight back because of marijuana and Marinol. But Tucker said he's too weak to work or do a lot of things that healthy people do.

Marijuana can be used for legitimate medical purposes, according to some physicians. The New England Journal of Medicine has endorsed the notion of medicinal marijuana use.

Supporters in the medical community say the drug can combat the severe weight loss experienced by some AIDS patients, ease the nausea suffered by people with AIDS and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and help relieve internal eye pressure in glaucoma sufferers.

But Florida and most states make no provision for allowing terminally ill patients to legally smoke marijuana, or for medicinal use of the drug. In November, voters in California and Arizona passed initiatives approving the medicinal use of marijuana. But those provisions came under fire from the federal government. Attorney General Janet Reno told doctors that they still must follow federal rules prohibiting prescribing marijuana - or risk losing their licenses.

The U.S. government announced in January it would spend $ 1 million to gather scientific evidence on marijuana's effectiveness as a medical treatment.

Sullivan said Florida should be added to the list of states, along with California and Arizona, that acknowledge that marijuana benefits some terminally ill people.

And Tucker agrees.

"I don't think what I'm doing is criminal," he said. "I don't really have a choice. This is survival."

Seeley Case Nears Decision In Washington

"He made the case for pot"

The Seattle Times, April 9, 1997
by Carol M. Ostrom
Seattle Times staff reporter

Ralph Seeley searches for words.

Once, he had more than he could use, sharp-edged words that more often than not made things happen his way. Now, heavy-duty prescription drugs dull his brain along with the pain, and the words don't come as easily.

For a lawyer, that's frustrating. But after radiation, four rounds of chemotherapy and 12 surgeries that resulted in the loss of some of his spine, one lung and a part of the other, and several nerves in his back, Seeley is learning to be more patient. Ten years with cancer can do that.

Ten years with cancer also pushed him to court. In Pierce County Superior Court in 1995, Seeley argued that he had a right under the state constitution - which decrees that government exists to "protect and maintain individual rights" - to smoke marijuana.

Painting a vivid picture of himself lying on the floor after chemotherapy treatment, covered in his own vomit and excrement, Seeley told the judge that smoking marijuana was the only way he could control his nausea and that he had a right to have the medicine he needed.

The judge agreed with him - stunning Seeley, the state's lawyers and observers. Now, the case is in front of the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Seeley waits. Life now is a sort of waiting game: trying to stay alive until someone, somewhere, comes up with a cure for his cancer before it kills him.

The surgeons' slicing and snipping have taken their toll on his body, now a lanky 6 feet twisted into a sort of corkscrew. His hair, once bushy, is short and sparse thanks to chemotherapy. The surgeons tell him there is no more hope the tumor on his spine can be excised.

Seeley has never talked to his doctor about his death, about how he wants to die. He has been too busy fighting "this damn disease."

Last week, Seeley was in the hospital, trying a new kind of chemotherapy, just approved, with no track record, but he's optimistic. Along with pain medication, he brought to the hospital his little brass pipe and his stash of marijuana. After the court decision, he figures his possession is at least a gray area, although he smoked before that, he freely concedes.

Hours after he was admitted, his music instructor arrived to give him a cello lesson. The rental and lessons were an inspired gift from his mother, he says.

"Aesthetics is a big part of staying positive, staying out of the doldrums with this damn disease. And man, when you get four notes in a row just right on a cello. . . . I mean, you practically wear the thing, it touches both legs and your chest as well as your hands. It's just incredibly beautiful."

Now, at 48, Seeley is doing a lot of things that are new for him, but then, he has always done that.

An Air Force "brat" who joined the Navy, he once tended a nuclear power plant on a submarine. Later, he enrolled at free-spirited Evergreen State College, and worked as a columnist for a couple of Northwest daily newspapers. He backpacked and fished for trout, rode horses and flew a plane, and now he's learning to walk again after his most recent surgery paralyzed a leg. Now the tumor itself is cutting off nerves he needs to walk. Most times, he walks with crutches with arm braces.

In December, he married again. Judith Tuffias Seeley, 51, is as tough and intense as her husband and, like him, is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with breast cancer four months after she opened a family-law office in 1995. She had a double mastectomy and finished chemotherapy in July.

Law-school classmates at the University of Puget Sound's night school, where Ralph got his law degree in 1993, Seeley & Seeley forged their partnership from a friendship.

Judith, like others in Seeley's class, was well aware of this fiery man who was quick to include lawyers among those he termed "scuzzbuckets" or "sleazeballs." Seeley had enrolled in law school after becoming outraged at a case he had written about: a day-care operator wrongly sent to prison, he contends, on the basis of flimsy testimony bolstered by bad lawyering and over-zealous prosecution.

By the time he had his first lung surgery, just a few weeks into the first semester, Seeley had built a reputation as an iconoclast. During his absence, Judith remembers, law-school classmates took turns invoking his name in answers to questions posed by the professor. "I'd like to make `the Ralph Seeley hypothetical,' " someone would say. "It's because the lawyers are sleazy."

Early last year, Judith and Ralph Seeley moved to a comfortable rental house in North Tacoma. Like the lawyers they were, they agreed they should look into the tax consequences of marriage. But one night, Ralph reordered his priorities. "Ralph turned to me and said, `I don't care what the tax consequences are. Let's get married.' "

Both of them say cancer - his or hers - wasn't an issue.

His cancer, chordoma, is a rare bone cancer. When he was diagnosed 10 years ago, his doctors gave him a 17 percent chance of living five years, he recalls.

The only time he thought about killing himself, he says, was when both the pain of his disease and the stupor of the painkilling drugs whacked him. "I'm thinking: If I had to live like this, I would rather die. When it's so excruciating, there's no sense in living like that."

He laughs, a mirthless laugh, when he recalls the jokes people make about his smoking marijuana. He gets his from a group that supplies the illegal substance to people whose doctors - like Seeley's - say they would prescribe it if it were legal.

"People think it's fun to be high, and it is, but not all the time and not in the wrong places," he begins, his voice breathless from his lack of lung power. "It's fun to be high and watch the sun go down, and eat good food and make love. But nobody wants to be high 24 hours a day.

"What people don't understand is that the prayer of the cancer patient is, `I just want to be normal.' "

That is one big issue with marinol, the synthetic "marijuana pill" that doctors can legally prescribe to patients like Seeley. He tried it, and quickly found that a queasy patient most often vomits up any pill. If one of the $12 pills finally stays down, Seeley says, it takes two hours to kick in. Then "it makes you extremely high - higher than I've ever been from smoking marijuana, higher than I want to be. And it lasts 12 to 14 hours."

The next morning, perhaps arguing a case before a judge, he'd still be high.

Before the pain medication muddled his memory, Seeley was having considerable success at civil-rights law, which, he says, he learned while working with Tacoma lawyer Neil Hoff and his associate, Paul Lindenmuth.

Seeley's first jury trial resulted in a $9 million award for his client; later reversed by the appeals court, the case is pending review in the state Supreme Court.

Now he is on leave from Hoff's office. In his one remaining case, another lawyer checks his work because of the drugs he takes. The drugs include some heavy-duty painkillers that make him forgetful and affect his judgment.

As a lawyer, he may have taken a turn for the worse. But as a human being, Seeley insists, he has improved and is "more likable." He says he's slower to become angry or offended, or to jump to conclusions.

That doesn't mean he has quit referring to those on the official Ralph Seeley Wrong Side as "sleazeballs" or worse. And he huffs himself into indignation when he considers the "lies and misinformation being slung around" about marijuana.

Opponents of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes say it's addictive, he scoffs. Seeley says he knows what addiction is: After only nine days on a narcotic prescription drug, he says, he quit and for three days suffered chills and illusions of cockroaches climbing his legs.

In contrast, he smoked marijuana every day for almost three months during one semester of law school. Not only did he make the dean's list, he had no symptoms when he quit, he says.

On the other side of the issue, Assistant Attorney General Melissa Burke-Cain argued to the courts that no scientific evidence exists to prove that smoking marijuana helps control nausea; there are legal drugs that can do the job. Seeley, she said, has no fundamental right to choose which drugs should be legal. And the Legislature, she argued, was within the power given it by the state constitution to accept the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like LSD and heroin, considered to have no therapeutic use and a high potential for abuse.

If the judges decide for Seeley, doctors would be allowed to write prescriptions for marijuana for medical reasons. But in California and Arizona, where restrictions on marijuana have been relaxed for medical use, the federal government has warned doctors that they could be prosecuted, stripped of drug-prescribing licenses and barred from Medicare and Medicaid programs for prescribing drugs the federal government considers illegal, no matter what state laws say.

In Seeley's view, the Washington Constitution, with its strong protection of individual rights, tips the balance to the patient.

When asked by a justice during the September court arguments what fundamental right he was advancing, Seeley answered: "My right to be free from needless suffering."

Now, more than six months later, he's still passionate about the subject, and still using marijuana to quell his queasiness. This isn't, after all, an academic issue for him.

"Tell me," he demands, challenging his invisible adversary, "if I don't smoke marijuana, what is the benefit to the state?" Tell me, he taunts, "and I'll throw up on myself and will not smoke marijuana."

"Progress On Marijuana"

The Orange County Register [California], April 3, 1997
Editorial Page

Key Orange County law enforcement officials argued during the election that Prop. 215, the medical marijuana initiative, could not be enforced, given that medical marijuana would still be illegal under federal law.

Now we find their initial resistance diminishing and steps being taken toward an enforcement policy. In fact, communities around the state seem to be finding workable ways of reconciling the fact that voters passed Prop. 215 - now Section 11362.5 of the California Health and Safety Code. Voters clearly signaled that they want sick people to have access to marijuana while possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal for the rest of us.

In Orange County, Sheriff's deputies are given some discretion as to how the law is applied, according to Lt. Ron Wilderson. If deputies find people in possession of marijuana but with a doctor's note, no citation is to be issued if the note seems legitimate, but a report is to be written for the Narcotics Detail. "Under no circumstances will the aforementioned report be submitted for prosecution by any member of the Department other than a member of the Narcotics Detail," a Feb. 24 department memo says. The department to date has no written policy on turning over information on possessors or doctors to federal authorities.

Orange County District Attorney Michael Capizzi told us recently he had no written policy but planned to follow the law. His office declined to prosecute a woman who had a small amount of marijuana and a doctor's note, but referred the doctor's name to federal authorities because he was a V.A. doctor. Future incidents will be handled on a case-by-case basis, with the emphasis on whether a person has a valid recommendation from a licensed doctor, a narcotics division spokesman said Wednesday.

Other communities have taken various approaches. The Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco, which had begun operating before the election and was closed by state authorities just before the election, is back in business with the blessing of the San Francisco Superior Court.

In Berkeley, the Berkeley Police Department on March 20 issued a Training and Information Bulletin on the subject.

It notes that the proposition contained two elements - that "a medical doctor (an M.D.) must have recommended the use of marijuana" and that "the amount of marijuana that is possessed or is being cultivated must be commensurate with the personal medical use of the patient."

The bulletin also summarizes the San Francisco Superior Court ruling that a buyers club can be designated as a "primary care giver" under the new law, but only if it is really a non-profit organization as documented by financial records, maintains records showing that its members have formally designated the club as a "primary care giver" and its members really have a doctor's recommendation.

In San Jose, the city government is treating "medical marijuana dispensaries" like any other business, authorized to operate in commercial areas and to grow plants on-site.

Despite threats from federal officials - none carried out so far - California doctors, patients and law-enforcement agencies are finding ways to harmonize Sec. 11362.5 with existing law. It would be nice to see further guidelines in Orange County dealing with buyers' clubs, doctors and their recommendations and federal issues.

Most encouraging, various efforts to date suggest that enforcement of the new law will not present insuperable problems.

California Supply Question Continues To Crop Up

200 Pot Growers Agree To Supply Cannabis Club State,
County Officials Pledge To Prosecute Under Drug Laws

The San Francisco Chronicle, April 4, 1997, p. A21
Dan Levy, Chronicle Staff Writer

In a new effort to test the legal limits of last year's successful medical marijuana initiative, about 200 pot growers in California have signed a deal to supply San Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators Club with thousands of pounds of high-quality dope.

San Francisco club officials said the agreements, reached over the past two months between the group and independent pot growers in Mendocino, Humboldt and other northern counties, will provide its 4,000 members with marijuana that is cheaper than what they currently use to help relieve pain.

State and local law enforcement authorities immediately announced that cannabis club "contracts" will not shield pot growers from prosecution under drug laws.

Mendocino County Sheriff Jim Tuso yesterday released details of a huge marijuana seizure in Boonville last month. The total take of 108,918 plants was the largest pot bust in county history.

"It's business as usual," said Humboldt County Sheriff's Sergeant Steve Knight. "We've been instructed from our district attorney that a contract with the San Francisco cannabis club is not going to prevent us from taking the marijuana and arresting the person for cultivation or possession for sale."

With the statewide passage of Proposition 215 in November, marijuana use for medical purposes was decriminalized. The measure also allowed cannabis to be grown by the "primary caregiver," who may then give the marijuana to sick people and still be exempt from prosecution.

The language of the cannabis club contracts "assign" caregiver rights to pot growers, who are restricted to a 49-plant yield. The club is planning to reimburse the growers for production costs.

Yesterday, the club said demand for medical marijuana is skyrocketing. Another 4,000 patients - with maladies ranging from cancer and AIDS to "anxiety" and "stomach aches" - are expected to join the club within the next two months, said legislative advocate John Entwistle.

Entwistle downplayed the harsh reaction from law enforcement officials in Mendocino and Humboldt.

"To the extent that some grower decides to use this contract as a shield to peddle marijuana irresponsibly, I say `hang 'em,' " Entwistle said. "But I think the sheriff might benefit from coming to the club to see our members. He'd be moved by the humanity of their situation and the enormity of their need."

Legal experts said the contracts are treading in a gray area of the law.

"Having such contracts is clearly pushing the envelope," said Allen St. Pierre, deputy director of Washington, D.C.'s National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws . "I think the people of California voted to give doctors the authority to recommend cannabis to sick or dying persons."

Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights in Santa Monica, the group that sponsored Proposition 215, said the move was simply a way to publicly address how the marijuana is to be supplied to patients and cannabis clubs.

"This looks like an effort to bring the supply above ground, and we applaud that" Fratello said. "For people who have a problem with these contracts, we advise them to lean on the federal government to reschedule marijuana."

Pot is currently classified along with heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, regarded as having no medical use. Fratello's group advocates moving it to Schedule II, with drugs such as cocaine and morphine, that do have a medical use.

State Attorney General Dan Lungren, who achieved widespread attention when his agents busted the San Francisco club last year, was not available for comment.

Former Czar Bennett Says "Screw Democracy"

Vote was `mistake,' says past drug czar

By Shaun McKinnon
The Arizona Daily Star, April 10, 1997

PHOENIX - Arizonans who voted to allow the medical use of marijuana and other drugs made a mistake and should let the Legislature fix it, former drug czar William Bennett said yesterday.

"It's not a great heretical act to say people make mistakes," Bennett said. "I think the people who voted for this made a mistake. It's not the only mistake that was made in November. It's a free country. It happens."

He said proponents of Proposition 200 crafted a slick advertising campaign that obscured the facts and duped many people into supporting a dangerous initiative.

"That this initiative passed is a scandal," he said. "It's also understandable given the promotion and advertising that were used. Many of us would have been taken in."

As for voters who believed they understood what they were doing: "They were wrong," Bennett said.

His remarks drew scorn from one of Proposition 200's chief proponents, who said Bennett and others were in denial over the failure of their war on drugs.

"The people have spoken," said Sam Vagenas, who helped organize the group Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform. "They made all these points before the election - it just didn't take. I think it is a smoke screen for their gutting of the will of the people."

Proposition 200 passed by a 2-to-1 ratio, garnering more than 800,000 votes, Vagenas said. That should convince opponents that Arizonans knew what they were doing and don't want anyone trying to second-guess them, he added.

Bennett, President George Bush's drug czar and Education Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, appeared at a news conference with Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley to lobby for a bill in the Legislature that would blunt many of Proposition 200's provisions.

Romley and others are enlisting Bennett, federal drug czar Barry McCaffery and possibly even President Clinton in a last-ditch attempt to save House Bill 2518, which is struggling in the Senate as the legislative session nears an end.

The bill would require approval from the federal Food and Drug Administration before a physician could prescribe marijuana or any other Schedule I drug, such as heroin, LSD or PCP.

Proposition 200 allowed such medical uses for seriously ill or dying patients. The initiative mandated treatment for first- and second-time drug offenders and made non-violent offenders already in prison eligible for parole.

The Legislature has passed bills limiting prisoner releases and restricting treatment and probation to offenders willing to participate in such programs.

Sen. John Kaites, R-Glendale, said requiring physicians to wait for FDA approval before prescribing drugs is reasonable. "We think that this legislation is clearly within the spirit of Proposition 200. It does not thwart the will of the people," he said.

Kaites said he has 11 votes in the Senate for HB2518 and he's working on finding the other five he needs to send the bill to the governor.

Bennett called on "my Republican friends" in the Senate to help pass the bill.

"Republicans need to understand this is a constitutional republic in which we live," he said. "People are owed the best judgment of their elected officials."

Vagenas called Bennett's intervention "a full-throttle thwarting of the will of the people," and said Arizona voters aren't going to stand for it if it continues.

Proposition 200 proponents have said they are considering launching an initiative effort that would allow voters to block the Legislature from making any changes to a ballot measure for at least three years.

"I think the bottom line is that voters believe the war on drugs is a failure," Vagenas said. "People like Bennett and Romley who are the generals in this war have failed and they are just making excuses for their failure."

British Physician, London Ad Firm To Promote Medical-Marijuana Reform

"Doctor Supports Cannabis Adverts"

The Press & Journal [Aberdeen, UK], April 5, 1997

A North-East pharmacologist last night welcomed a planned advertising campaign calling for the legalisation of cannabis for medical use in Britain.

Dr Roger Pertwee of Aberdeen University has conducted research which revealed claims by multiple sclerosis sufferers that using cannabis helped ease their pain.

And now the promotion, which is believed to be the first to back an illegal product, is being planned by a top London advertising firm.

The research at Aberdeen University involved 112 people from the UK and America being questioned on the drug's medical benefits. Dr Pertwee said: "We sent questionnaires to sufferers of MS whom we knew used cannabis to self-medicate and they said it reduced their pain and their spasms.

Therapeutic [??? dropped -ed.]

"We would now like to conduct a clinical trial of cannabis-related compounds and their effects and their potential therapeutic benefits. "People are already self-medicating with cannabis and I would rather see them having it prescribed by a Doctor than them having to break the law and go to dealers.

"There needs to be more experiments carried out, but the patients feel they cannot wait. "As far as they are concerned, they have found a drug that works for them, but it is illegal for them to use it. It's a terrible quandary and it must be terrible for them."

The advertising campaign will call for the legalisation of cannabis for treating chronic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and cancer.

It is being conducted on behalf of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics.

US Mayors Want More Funds For Treatment, Less For Police

"U.S. Mayors Mount Fight On Drugs"

GARY, Ind. (Reuter, April 5, 1997) - Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors said they have put together draft recommendations for a war on drugs that emphasized treatment for addiction rather than law enforcement.

The announcement Friday was made after Gary Mayor Scott King, co-chairman of drug control task force for the mayors' group, met with other mayors and retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the White House anti-drug fight.

The session - held in a drug-plagued Gary which in some years has had more homicides per capita than any other U.S. city - was designed to plan for the White House Mayors Conference on Drug Control in Washington next month.

The draft action plan developed by the mayors called on parents, business leaders and school systems to develop broader drug reduction strategies, and recommended additional drug treatment facilities.

The plans suggested addiction treatment should be made available to those without health insurance, and called on the country's insurance industry to provide better coverage for substance abuse treatment.

"I think what we've done here today is our level best to formulate a bottom-up strategy to combat together the scourge of drugs," said King. "We see that cities both large and small throughout the United States have some of the same very serious problems."

McCaffrey said money in the 1997 federal budget for drug prevention and education amounts to about $3 for child, and is "simply not enough."

Final Salvo In The March Against ABC

On April 8 Kevin Zeese wrote:

Please share this with your media contacts. Thanks to Dick Evans of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers for the extra credit question (No. 16)


Common Sense for Drug Policy
3619 Tallwood Terrace
Falls Church, VA 22041
703-354-5694 (phone)
Quiz show 703-354-5695 (fax) (email)

Robert E. Field - Chairman
Kevin B. Zeese - President

For Immediate Release
April 9, 1997
For Further Information: Kevin B. Zeese
Michael Shellenberger

Drug Test Sought for ABC Personnel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Common Sense for Drug Policy, a leading critic of ABC's March Against Drugs, called for all ABC personnel to take a drug test. The purpose of the proposed test was to determine whether ABC personnel learned anything about drugs or drug policy during the month-long focus on drug issues.

The test, which was sent to David Westin, President of ABC Television, along with other ABC personnel, reviews many of the major drug control issues. These include the effectiveness of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America's television advertisements, the DARE program, the incarceration strategy, AIDS prevention efforts and the Clinton drug strategy's budget priorities.

A final extra credit question (No. 16) asks: "If ABC's 'March Against Drugs' turns out to have had no discernible effect on adolescent use patterns, what will ABC do next?" The question gives ABC executives four choices to encourage them to think about their options.

ABC's March Against Drugs was heavily criticized in the media. Among the criticisms were the following:

  • "ABC News's preference for propaganda over journalism during the 'March Against Drugs' was a lost opportunity." "Nor did ABC News want to question the current Administrations' inconsistent and losing prosecution of the drug war." "This isn't journalism so much as a mutually self-serving exercise in image enhancement at a time when both a floundering network and a scandal-scarred Administration need it badly." Frank Rich, "ABC Does Drugs," The New York Times, April 3, 1997.

  • "A child watching ABC's 'March Against Drugs' propaganda campaign this month would likely conclude that smoking marijuana is deadly but that alcohol addiction is just terrific." "Indeed, to create its 'March Against Drugs' campaign ABC turned to the Omnicom Group advertising agency, the same agency that handles the Anheuser-Busch account, which spends $156 million a year on network advertising." Robert Scheer, "Fighting Abuse Only When it Doesn't Pay," The Los Angeles Times, March 11, 1997.

  • "[The March Against Drugs is] compromising the integrity of ABC news shows. Reporters are supposed to investigate with an open mind, not start with a predetermined answer." "ABC's partners in the anti-drug blitz advocate 'zero tolerance' for illegal drugs. Will ABC interview drug educators who say 'zero tolerance' doesn't work." Joanne Jacobs, "A month is not enough to 'March on Drugs,'" The San Jose Mercury News, March 6, 1997.

  • "When two of the most addictive and abused substances know to man - television and money - mix, we're all at risk. . . Antidrug advertising itself has become a media fix, promising a feel-good rush, a sense of being in control - not to mention a shot in the arm for ratings." Leslie Savan, The Village Voice. "The Spin: This is Your TV Network on Antidrug Ads" March 18, 1997.

    A Drug Test for ABC Television Personnel

    The purpose of this test is to determine if ABC personnel learned anything about drugs and drug policy during their March Against Drugs which concluded on March 31. The test is only 15 questions long. Please make sure your colleagues take this drug test. The answers are on the last page. Note the Extra Credit question (No. 16) at the end of the drug test.

    1. On which program does the federal government spend the most money?

    A. The War on Drugs
    B. Pollution control and abatement
    C. Elementary, secondary education
    D. Higher education spending for disadvantaged
    E. Community and regional development
    F. Environmental Protection Agency

    2. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has saturated the electronic and print media with over $200 million worth of advertising annually since 1987. During how many of those years has adolescent drug use gone up?

    A. 0 The Partnership has been totally effective at reducing adolescent drug use.
    B. 2 The Partnership is very effective at reducing adolescent drug use.
    C. 4 The Partnership is marginally effective at reducing adolescent drug use.
    D. 5 Adolescent drug use has gone up during a majority of the years the Partnership has operated. There is no evidence that Partnership is effective.

    3. The DARE program receives $600 million earmarked from the federal government. How many credible studies have shown it to be effective at reducing adolescent drug use. How many show it to be ineffective?

    A. 4 effective; 0 ineffective
    B. 3 effective, 1 ineffective
    C. 2 effective, 2 ineffective
    D. 1 effective, 3 ineffective
    E. 0 effective, 4 ineffective

    4. Which country has the highest percentage of its population behind bars?

    A. China
    B. Russia
    C. United States
    D. North Korea

    5. What percentage of Americans born today will spend time in state or federal prisons (do not include local jails, which account for one-third of the prison population).

    A. 1 in 500
    B. 1 in 300
    C. 1 in 100
    D. 1 in 75
    E. 1 in 20

    6. What percentage of African-American males born today will spend time in state or federal prisons?

    A. 1 in 300
    B. 1 in 100
    C. 1 in 75
    D. 1 in 20
    E. 1 in 3

    7. Approximately how much money is spent annually to keep drug offenders incarcerated?

    A. $500 million
    B. $1 billion
    C. $5 billion
    D. $ 8 billion

    8. According to the CDC half the AIDS cases in the United States resulted with the sharing of a contaminated syringe by a drug user. Almost all of the cases involving women and children started with a dirty needle. How much can needle exchange programs reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS?

    A. They do not reduce HIV/AIDS.
    B. The reduce HIV/AIDS by 10 percent.
    C. They reduce HIV by up to 20 percent.
    D. They reduce HIV by up to 50 percent

    9. It costs $125,000 per year to treat one AIDS patient. The average needle exchange program costs how much per year?

    A. $500,000
    B. $300,000
    C. $200,000
    D. $100,000

    10. Which President has spent the most per year on the war on drugs?

    A. Richard Nixon
    B. Ronald Reagan
    C. George Bush
    D. Bill Clinton

    11. The number of drug overdose deaths was highest during which President's tenure?

    A. Richard Nixon
    B. Ronald Reagan
    C. George Bush
    D. Bill Clinton

    12. The number of drug emergency room mentions was highest during which President's tenure?

    A. Richard Nixon
    B. Ronald Reagan
    C. George Bush
    D. Bill Clinton

    13. Under which President did adolescent drug use increase for four years in a row?

    A. Richard Nixon
    B. Ronald Reagan
    C. George Bush
    D. Bill Clinton

    14. Two-thirds of the federal drug control budget goes to law enforcement and interdiction. Rank the following drug control strategies in order of cost-effectiveness.

    Arrest and Incarceration
    Methadone Maintenance

    15. What is the evidence that shows marijuana to be an effective medicine for the seriously ill?

    A. General McCaffrey was right when he said "there is no clinical evidence."

    B. Ninety studies and reports since 1970 show marijuana to be a safe and effective medicine.

    16. Extra Credit Question [rhetorical]

    If ABC's "March Against Drugs" turns out to have had no discernible effect on adolescent drug use patterns, what will ABC do next?

    A. Nothing. We made a valiant effort, and if it was ineffective, let the government or somebody else do something about it. We'll keep showing beer commercials that work and anti-drug ads that don't.

    B. Turn up the volume, and devote further programming to a more intensified anti-drug campaign. Forget about any pretense of accuracy, fairness or balance - just say whatever we think will scare kids away from drugs.

    C. Undertake to find out why the nation's anti-drug efforts are failing so badly, looking critically at programs like DARE to determine what they are doing wrong, and how they can be fixed.

    D. Re-examine the wisdom and efficacy of drug prohibition, and the war being waged for its sake, questioning whether the generally accepted goals of drug policy can be achieved with any amount of police, prisons and propaganda.


    1. A. The Drug War costs taxpayers the most. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the budget for the war on drugs will be $16.1 billion.

    B. Pollution Control and Abatement includes funding in regulatory, enforcement and research programs; state and tribal assistance grants; hazardous substance superfund; other control and abatement activities: Total $7.8 billion, Budget FY, 1998, OMB, pg 223, 225.

    C. Elementary, secondary and vocational education for the disadvantaged: Total 8.1 Billion, Budget FY 1998, OMB, page 232, 234.

    D. Higher education spending includes student financial assistance, higher education account, federal family education loan program and other higher education programs. Total $13.2 billion, Budget FY 1998, OMB, pgs 233, 235.

    E. Community and regional development includes loan guarantees, community development block grant, community development financial institutions, other community development programs $5.1 billion, Budget FY 1998, OMB, page 265-66.

    F. EPA $7.7 billion, Budget FY 1998, OMB, page 325.

    2. D. According to NIDA adolescent drug use has gone up for the last five years. The Partnership cannot show its advertising is effective, it can only show that adolescents (at a time of consistent increases in use) are aware of its advertising.

    3. E. Studies show that DARE's zero tolerance message does not prevent adolescent drug use. See, J.H. Brown and M.D'Emidio-Caston, "On Becoming at Risk Through Drug Education," Evaluation Review, 1995; Susan Ennett et al., "How Effective is Drug Abuse Resistance Education," American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 84, No. 9, Sept. 1994; Earl Wysong et al, "Truth and DARE," Social Problems, Vol. 41, No. 3, August 1994; Dennis Rosenbaum et al, "Cops in the Classroom," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 31, No. 1, February 1994.

    4. C. The United States has the highest percentage of its population incarcerated in the world. Marc Mauer, "Americans Behind Bars: The International Use of Incarceration, 1992-1993," The Sentencing Project (1994).

    5. E. One in 20 people born today in the United States will spend time in state or federal prison. This does not include local jails and is based on 1991 incarceration rates. Thomas P. Bonczar and Allen J. Beck, "Lifetime Likelihood of Going to State or Federal Prison, " Bureau of Justice Statistics, March 1997.

    6. F. 28.5 percent of African American males born today in the United States will spend time in state or federal prison. This does not include local jails and is based on 1991 incarceration rates. Thomas P. Bonczar and Allen J. Beck, "Lifetime Likelihood of Going to State or Federal Prison, " BJS, March 1997.

    7. D. There are approximately 400,000 people incarcerated for drug offenses today. A very low estimate of the cost of incarceration is $20,000 annually per inmate. This totals $8 billion. See, Bureau of Prisons, 1994, U.S. Sentencing Commission report, 1991.

    8. D. Needle exchange reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS by up to 50 percent and does not increase drug use. Donna Shalala, Report to the Committee on Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, "Needle Exchange Programs in America: A Review of Published Studies and Ongoing Research, February 18, 1997.

    9. D. The cost of running a needle exchange program and treating one AIDS patient are roughly equal.

    10. D. President Clinton has been a record-breaking drug war spender (whose tenure has seen record drug arrests and record incarceration - but not a success in any area of drug control).

    11. D. According to NIDA, President Clinton has presided over record overdose deaths. (This does not include drug-related deaths due to the record spread of HIV/AIDS during his tenure.)

    12. D. According to NIDA, President Clinton has presided over record emergency room mentions

    13. D. According to NIDA, President Clinton is the only president to have adolescent use go up in every year of his tenure.

    14. Treatment is the most effective and methadone maintenance is the most cost effective treatment. It is seven times as effective as arrest and incarceration and 30 times as effective as interdiction. See, Rydell, C. Peter and Everingham, Susan S., "Controlling Cocaine: Supply versus Demand Programs," The RAND Corp., (1994). The CALDATA (1994) study found that for every dollar spent on treatment the taxpayer gets a return of $4. When comparing modalities: outpatient counseling, therapeutic communities and methadone treatment - methadone gave the highest return $12 for every dollar spent.

    15. B. While on December 30, 1997, General McCaffrey said that "No clinical evidence demonstrates that smoked marijuana is good medicine." He was misinformed. In fact, since 1970 90 studies and reports have demonstrated the effectiveness of marijuana as a medicine. Kevin Zeese, "Research Findings on Medicinal Properties of Marijuana," Common Sense for Drug Policy, March 1997.

    Kevin B. Zeese
    Common Sense for Drug Policy
    3619 Tallwood Terrace
    Falls Church, VA 22041
    703-354-5694 (phone)
    703-354-5695 (fax)

    The Ethics Of Drug Testing

    On April 7 Kelly T. Conlon wrote:
    Hiya folks,

    Check out the following:

    This is an outstanding resource on drug testing from the legal and ethical perspective.


    "'No Knock' Formula Guarantees High-Octane Leadfests"

    The News And Observer [Raleigh, NC], March 29, 1997
    by Barry Saunders, Staff Writer

    Whoever said dope will make you dopey was right.

    Drugs can obviously make you forgetful and addle your brain to the point that you disregard important stuff - like people's rights and the U.S. Constitution.

    And those are just the folks trying to stop drugs! Sometime this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether police have the right to batter down someone's door to make an arrest in a felony case without knocking first or identifying themselves.

    This dubious right is being sought not in cases involving subversives trying to overthrow the government, or child molesters, or even murderers. No, this "no-knock" rule applies solely to drug dealers and is being touted by some as a necessary weapon in the war on drugs.

    What it is, though, is an unnecessary suspension of the Fourth Amendment right against illegal searches.

    Oh, and it's also a way to ensure that undertakers and casketmakers have a profitable quarter.

    Because if nothing else, having police officers invade homes of suspected drug dealers without knocking first is going to result in shootouts that will cost the lives of drug dealers, police officers and innocent citizens, as people react naturally - i.e., violently - to protect the sanctity of their homes.

    Granting police blanket no-knock privileges in drug cases, a skeptical Justice David Souter pointed out during oral arguments on the case, would invariably lead to law enforcement officials seeking the same right in other cases. Indeed, many people might consider the apprehension of suspected child molesters, murderers and the like equally - or, dare I say it? - more important than arresting drug dealers.

    Yet Souter and his colleagues on the bench weren't unsympathetic to the no-knock idea, going so far as to suggest that police seek approval of such raids on a case-by-case basis instead of as a blanket policy.

    Ironically and nonsensically, proponents argue that the tactic would actually save officers' lives, by catching drug dealers off guard before they can grab their high-powered weaponry.

    Pshaww. Those people have obviously viewed one episode too many of the "FBI" television series - the old one starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., not the newer, less revered real-life version directed by Louis Freeh. No drug dealer worth his gold chains is going to be caught dead without his trusty gat or Uzi nearby.

    After all, these are individuals engaged in an illegal enterprise in which paranoia is an occupational requirement. People who think police can launch a successful sneak attack upon a usually fortified house are deluding themselves. But it is not the attacks on drug dealers that make me break out in a cold sweat. Most pushers that I know are human toe jam for whom it would be hard to work up sympathy under any conditions.

    No, it is the attack on an innocent family - and that family's natural reaction - that makes me shudder.

    Five years ago, I thought my well-armed pal Ivan in Gary, Ind., was overreacting when he told me of his plan to exact horrific vengeance on a neighbor. Seems this neighbor thought Ivan was dealing drugs from his home because of the heavy automobile traffic near his house. He reported Ivan to police.

    Fortunately, the police realized the cars were visiting one house down from Ivan's and executed their assault on the correct house.

    Common mistake, right - one that could be easily forgiven?

    Not by Ivan, and as I listened to the frighteningly realistic scenario he laid out, I myself became less forgiving. "Look man," he said. "I've got my wife and son in there, and if I hear somebody trying to enter my house without saying who it is, I'm going to start shooting and I won't stop until they stop me or I'm out of bullets."

    Being a frequent visitor to his home (he was a great shade-tree mechanic) I knew it was physically impossible for him to run out of ammo.

    Knocking the "no-knock" law is no knock on cops. Most of them are conscientious public servants who take no glee in rousting innocent people from their beds in the middle of the night. But mistakes happen, and with a no-knock rule, they'll happen more frequently.

    During the 1980s, then-FBI director William Webster warned Americans that they should, in so many words, be prepared to give up some of their liberties in the war on drugs. At the time, I thought he was joking. But depending upon what the Supreme Court decides this summer, the joke could be on us.

    And drug dealers will still be laughing at the inept war on drugs.

    Georgia Senator Proposes Five-Nation New World Order For Drug War

    Partnership Urged To Fight Drugs;
    Sen. Paul Coverdell's Vision Of A Five-Nation Alliance Is Gaining Bipartisan Support

    The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 27, 1997, p. 1B
    By Ken Foskett, Washington Bureau

    United Drugs of America An unusual coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans is pushing a proposal by Sen. Paul Coverdell (R- Ga.) to create an international alliance in the war on drugs. Under Coverdell's proposal, the United States and its regional partners would coordinate military strategy, set goals and negotiate outstanding disagreements over drug enforcement jurisdiction.

    "This is the time to strike on this," said Sen. Christopher Dodd (D- Conn.), who next to Coverdell is the proposal's most vocal backer.

    Democrats such as Dodd like the idea because they think more regional cooperation would help avoid the annual partisan battles over certification, when the administration decides which countries have cooperated in the drug war and are worthy of U.S. aid.

    Many Democrats believe certification fights such as the one Congress just picked with the administration over Mexico do more harm than good, alienating the United States' Latin American neighbors.

    Conservative Republicans such as Coverdell argue that a multilateral drug warstrategy would be more effective in cutting and interdicting supply. It also would give the drug war higher visibility in the region.

    "It allows the rest of the hemisphere to come to us as partners in the battle rather than a situation that tends to make everyone stand off," said Coverdell.

    Coverdell's alliance would include the United States, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. The institutional framework still has not been worked out, but Coverdell envisions an entity based in a neutral country such as Panama or Guatemala and staffed by representatives from all five nations.

    The alliance might, among other things, help eliminate barriers to international interdiction by, for example, developing agreements to allow U.S. Coast Guard boats to pursue suspected drug traffickers in the territorial waters of neighboring countries.

    The Senate resolution expressing concern over Mexico's progress in fighting the drug war that was passed last week calls on the Clinton administration to explore formation of "a coordinated multilateral alliance."

    The language, drafted by Coverdell, was the Senate's first official recognition of the drug alliance concept and represented a significant victory in Coverdell's two-year effort to win Senate backing.

    Independent analysts offer guarded praise for Coverdell's proposal, but they warn that most Latin American countries are likely to regard it as simply another attempt by the United States to impose its policies on them.

    "The United States will always feel that its drug control agenda should be followed more strictly than others," said Peter Sanchez, a political scientist at Loyola University in Chicago.

    "These countries in their heart of hearts do not see this is a problem of supply. They see it as a problem of demand," added Swarthmore College professor Kenneth Sharpe, author of " Drug War Politics: The Price of Denial." "A really multilateral policy might put the kinds of conditions on the United States that the United States couldn't meet."

    Sharpe argues that any drug policy that focuses on interdiction and enforcement without tackling demand is doomed to fail. He notes that even if the United States could cut the cocaine supply by one-half, an impossible goal, the street price of cocaine would increase only 3 percent to 4 percent.

    But Coverdell argues that the current bilateral approach to thedrug war, in which the United States deals independently with Mexico, Colombia and other drug-producing countries, ignores the new laws of supply and demand. The United States is now one of the largest suppliers of drugs, producing perhaps as much as one-half of the marijuana consumed here and increasing amounts of methamphetamine. Latin American countries such as Mexico now also have big demand problems, as drugs invade urban neighborhoods just as they have in the United States.

    "Consumption is growing there and production is growing here," Coverdell said.

    For the moment, no one on Capitol Hill is arguing that an international drug alliance would replace the certification process. But some observers believe the two would quickly collide.

    "Certification and multilateralism are incompatible," says Robert Pastor, director of the Latin American program at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta. "If you are going to have a partnership to fight the war on drugs, you cannot hit back and grade your other partners without realizing that you will undermine your collaborative efforts."

    How Interdiction Increases Supply

    HID lamp Police losing fight against home-grown marijuana:
    Pot luck: Hydroponic systems make in-home cultivation easy and profitable.

    By Jake Rupert
    The Ottawa Citizen, April 8, 1997, p. A1

    Illustration: Black & White Photo: Lynn Ball, the Ottawa Citizen / William Sutherland, owner of a hydroponic equipment store in Vanier, uses his system to grow fresh herbs, not marijuana
    A marijuana smoker gets tired of paying top dollar and decides to start growing the plant himself. With a few hundred dollars in his pocket, he heads to his local hydroponic shop.

    Six weeks later, he has all the marijuana he can handle and extra to sell to friends at below-dealer prices.

    Police are all too aware of the trend - and are powerless to stop it. Selling hydroponic units to legitimate gardeners is legal. Catching retailers in the act of selling for other purposes is next to impossible.

    Staff Sgt. Doug Wilkinson, head of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Drug unit, says that 10 years ago, about 25 to 30 per cent of marijuana consumed in the Ottawa area was grown locally. Now, 70 to 80 per cent of the marijuana smoked is grown here thanks to cheap hydroponic systems available at nurseries and specialty shops.

    It's not just for personal use, either. Police say major traffickers are in the hydroponic business. Almost every major marijuana bust in eastern Canada in the last three years involved a hydroponic system. For example:

  • On March 24, RCMP charged a 48-year-old Ottawa man after finding $160,000 worth of marijuana and a sophisticated laboratory in the basement of a Fisher Avenue home.

  • On March 18, RCMP charged a Vanier man after finding $80,000 worth of marijuana growing in a hydroponic laboratory in his apartment.

  • On March 14, Ontario Provincial Police arrested and charged a 26-year-old man near Morrisburg after 157 marijuana plants were found growing in a hydroponic lab in his home.

  • On Feb. 19, Gatineau police found 71 marijuana plants being grown with $2,000 worth of hydroponic equipment. One man was charged with cultivating for the purpose of trafficking.

  • On Feb. 17, a 23-year-old Cornwall- area woman was charged with cultivating marijuana for the purpose of trafficking after police found hundreds of marijuana plants and $10,000 worth of hydroponic equipment at a residence near Cornwall.

    Last September, the biggest hydroponic bust in Canada took place in Quebec's Eastern Townships after a four-month RCMP, Surete de Quebec and Canadian Armed Forces operation culminated in the seizure of 17,000 marijuana plants, two hydroponic greenhouses, two processing laboratories and several other pieces of equipment linked to marijuana cultivation. Twenty people were charged.

    The motive behind the explosion in the use of hydroponics is the same as for any other drug-producing activity: profit for those who want to traffic, and convenience for people who grow for personal use.

    "Some plants can be worth $1,000 each, so it can be very lucrative," says RCMP narcotics Insp. Dale Begbie. "And it's relatively easy to do. Just get some seeds, a couple of hundred dollars worth of equipment and you're in business."

    Hydroponic systems involve applying liquefied nutrients directly to the roots of a plant and the use of artificial grow lights. They can be used for ny plant, from orchids to tomatoes. But the cost of setting up a basic system is steep, ranging from $400 to $1,000 - a lot of money to grow better tomatoes.

    In Ottawa-Carleton, there are a handful of specialty shops dedicated to selling only hydroponic equipment. Toronto and Montreal have seven each.

    "Obviously, we'd rather they not be selling these things, but it's not illegal, so there's nothing we can do about it," says Insp. Begbie.

    Owners of hydroponic shops say that if they think customers are looking to start a pot-growing operation, they won't sell the equipment to them.

    But a quick tour of Ottawa-area shops by a reporter posing as a potential customer found staff at two stores openly talking about the merits of growing pot, how to do it and what the legalities are.

    "Don't let your paranoia get the better of you," said one employee, when asked whether police could catch you by monitoring your increased hydro bills. "If you do it right, there's nothing to worry about. It's not like you're going to be growing a hundred plants."

    Ottawa-area hydroponic shops buy radio ads on local rock `n' roll stations, which have target audiences of young adults, and their print ads are in alternative publications such as Xpress, a small newspaper devoted mainly to twentysomething culture and music.

    "I don't know if (hydroponic companies) are buying time on our station to reach younger people because they might want to grow pot or maybe the companies buy the time because younger people are more likely to embrace the new technology," says Gary Aube, general manager of rock station The Bear.

    Mr. Aube added that he hasn't received a complaint about the ads at the Bear or at other stations where he has worked.

    "I used to work at Q107 in Toronto," he says, "and there we had a hydroponic ad that was very cutesy and marijuana-suggestive, frankly was it pretty blatant, and we never got a call."

    Staff Sgt. Wilkinson says there has never been a bust at a hydroponic shop because proving store owners know what people are buying the units for is almost impossible.

    "If they know what the person is buying the system for, it could be proven they were abetting a criminal activity. But getting evidence to support that would be hard, and it would be extremely difficult to make it stick in court."

    Staff Sgt. Wilkinson says the use of hydroponic growing systems has jumped sharply in the Ottawa area in the last five years. This follows the pattern across Canada.

    "It used to be, you could only get hydroponic equipment through specialty magazines. Now it's so simple. The equipment is there, and, if you have access to the Internet, you can get step-by-step instructions on how to grow it."

    He couldn't put an exact dollar figure on the marijuana trade in Ottawa-Carleton, but estimates it is "well into the millions" yearly. He said the number rises to more than $1 billion a year nationally.

    Police acknowledge, however, that most hydroponic equipment users only grow enough marijuana for their own use. Typically, they set up small hydroponic labs in their basements, closets or garages. If they do get caught, they get a slap on the wrist, if they are charged at all.

    Another reason for the popularity of hydroponic equipment for growing pot is the high-quality product produced. Years ago, pot smokers would scoff at the suggestion of smoking homegrown weed because of its low levels of THC, the active ingredient in the smoke that gets people stoned.

    "The levels of THC in hydroponic marijuana are way higher than stuff grown in regular soil," Staff Sgt. Wilkinson says. "The nutrients people feed the plants can be altered to produce the maximum amount of THC."

    Barring some unforeseen change in the law, the sale of the units will continue to be a thorn in the side for police.

    "We've lived with this for a number of years, and it looks like we're going to have to live with it in the future too," Insp. Dale Begbie says. "Whether it's right or wrong isn't really important because it's not against the law, but definitely makes our jobs that much harder."

    US Pours Resources Into Puerto Rican Interdiction

    The Orlando Sentinel, April 4, 1997, p. 33

    More federal agents, patrol boats and aircraft are on their way to Puerto Rico in an attempt to plug the pipeline funneling South American drugs to Florida and the rest of the U.S. mainland. FBI Director Louis Freeh and other federal officials pledged millions of dollars' worth of help Thursday at a congressional hearing aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Gallatin in San Juan Harbor.

    The promise comes five years into a wave of unprecedented violence that island officials blame on warring drug gangs.

    "Puerto Rico has had the misfortune to become a springboard and a staging area for the deadly drug cartels," island Attorney General Jose Fuentes Agostini testified. "Let this devastation advance no further. Help us end the agony here, on America's Caribbean frontier."

    The federal officials warned it might take five years, however, to significantly reduce the amount of drugs reaching Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States.

    U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, who chaired the hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, applauded the renewed focus on stopping drugs before they reach U.S. waters.

    "Successful interdiction means fewer kids in San Juan, Orlando and Chicago using drugs," said McCollum, R-Longwood. Colombian heroin is blamed for 123 deaths in Florida last year. With 33 in Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties, the Orlando area had the highest rate of heroin fatalities in the state.

    Drug smugglers have moved increasingly to Puerto Rico in recent years to evade law enforcement pressures in South Florida, the Bahamas and along the Mexican border, authorities said.

    Up to 12 1/2 metric tons of cocaine are shipped through the Caribbean monthly - and 20 percent of that is used by Colombian cartels to pay traffickers who work for them in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

    Drug seizures that would be staggering anywhere else in the United States are common in Puerto Rico. Since October, Coast Guard vessels have seized 11 tons of cocaine in local waters. U.S. Customs Service officials have seized another 16 1/2 tons of cocaine and 151 pounds of heroin in the past year.

    Fuentes told the subcommittee that drugs have given Puerto Rico the highest murder rate in the nation. Of the 868 people killed on the island last year, 80 percent were drug-related, he said. The attorney general read a statement from Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello, who has been hospitalized and could not attend the hearing. To counter the drug problem and violence, island authorities are beefing up police and prison programs, in addition to setting up drug courts and joining federal task forces. Violent crimes such as robbery and rape have dropped as a result, Fuentes said.

    U.S. Drug Enforcement Administrator Thomas Constantine, U.S. Customs Service Commissioner George Weise and Adm. Robert Kramek, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, joined Freeh in testifying about federal plans for the Caribbean drug war.

    The FBI chief said 103 FBI personnel, including more than 60 agents, and $13 million in funding will be sent to the island. The agency also will set up two more anti-drug squads and join other federal and local police agencies in forming four regional teams to better attack drug smugglers and gangs on the island's coasts.

    Constantine announced he was increasing the number of DEA agents on the island from 28 to 53 to help combat Colombian drug syndicates and the Puerto Rican and Dominican Republic gangs they employ. He called the Colombian cartels "the most powerful organized crime syndicate the world has ever seen." Weise said 92 new customs officers, inspectors and pilots will be added in Puerto Rico. Seven new patrol boats, two helicopters and more radar and cargo X-ray equipment is on the way, he said.

    Kramek and his staff asked for more patrol boats, aircraft, manpower and aerial infrared tracking equipment to better patrol the 311-mile island coastline. But a reduction in the size of the U.S. Navy and a cut of 4,000 Coast Guard personnel forced a reduction in Caribbean patrols that opened the door to drug smugglers, he said.

    Kramek, who estimates the cartels make at least 760 metric tons of cocaine annually, said 58 percent enters the United States through Mexico and about 25 percent through Puerto Rico and the eastern Caribbean.

    Estimates on the percentage of drugs flowing through the Caribbean vary widely, however. McCollum set the amount at 40 percent last year.

    Kramek also said he thinks federal, state and local agencies are seizing one-third of the drugs being produced - three times the estimate of many authorities. But half of the drug output would need to be intercepted to force drug prices up, he said. Cocaine prices nationwide dropped from $110 a gram in 1993 to $94 last year, McCollum noted.

    Drug fighters would like an over-the-horizon radar planned for Puerto Rico that would spot drug planes leaving Colombia and Peru. That project has been stalled for two years, however, because of health concerns about radar raised by island residents.

    Freeh asked the panel to expand the federal wiretap law to allow tracking of drug dealers who use cellular phones, phone cards, cloned phones or multiple pay phones. He also urged the Puerto Rico government to lift the prohibition on local police conducting wiretaps, which is part of the island's constitution.

    Constantine remarked that islanders are paying a high price in the drug war - living in fear of crime.

    "Swiss Link Jailed Salinas To Drugs"

    The Times [London], April 4, 1997
    By David Adams in Miami

    Raul Salinas de Gortari Swiss prosecutors investigating the frozen funds of Raul Salinas de Gortari, the jailed brother of Mexico's former President, say they have linked him to the smuggling of "40 to 50 tons" of cocaine to the United States.

    According to a letter leaked to the Miami Herald , the Swiss believe Salinas, the brother of Carlos Salinas - Mexican President from 1988 to 1994 - "received enormous amounts of money for his help in connection to drug trafficking". The letter, from Carla del Ponte, the Swiss Attorney-General, to her Mexican counterpart, is the first official indication of a drug connection to Mexico's former first family. If proven, the allegations would be highly embarrassing to Citibank, which handled the Salinas accounts, and would also confirm widespread suspicions of high-level drug corruption in Mexico.

    They would also provide ammunition to those in the US Congress pressing the Clinton Administration to punish Mexico for its slackness in the drug war. President Clinton is due to make his first official visit to Mexico next month.

    Rumours about Raul Salinas's unexplained wealth have circulated since late 1995 when officials froze more than $ 100 million in his accounts in Swiss, German, French and American banks.

    "Former Mexican President Implicated In Brother's Scandals"

    By Julia Preston
    The New York Times
    as published in The San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 1997

    MEXICO CITY - Mexican prosecutors released evidence Wednesday suggesting that former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari took part in a cover-up of the role his brother is accused of playing in a 1994 political assassination.

    The special prosecutor said Wednesday that, according to new testimony, the former president was officially informed early on that his older brother's name had come up repeatedly in the investigation of the shooting death of a prominent politician.

    Within days of the murder, Carlos Salinas arranged a meeting at the presidential palace for his brother, Raul, and the Mexican attorney general, and at that meeting, Raul Salinas asked to be left out of the inquiry, according to the testimony.

    The disclosures mark the first time that government investigators have directly implicated the former president in the expanding scandals involving his brother.

    Prosecutors did not say that they have opened an investigation of the former president, who has never been charged with a crime. Rather, they presented the evidence to revive the case against Raul Salinas, which had been on the brink of collapse. He is charged with being the mastermind of the slaying.

    When Carlos Salinas was in office, he was embraced as a close ally by the United States, but soon after his term ended in 1994, he plunged into disgrace and was forced into exile.

    Carlos Salinas has maintained that during his presidency he was unaware of most of his brother's business and personal dealings. Recently he has remained silent rather than defend his brother against mounting charges of graft and fraud.

    But he has continued to say that he is convinced his brother is innocent of the murder of the politician, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu. Ruiz Massieu had been married for a time to a sister of Carlos and Raul Salinas and was a close friend of Carlos.

    The new evidence includes a recently discovered audio cassette and a statement given in January by former President Salinas. The prosecution entered the evidence into the court record Wednesday, said the special prosecutor, Jose Luis Ramos Rivera.

    The evidence refers back to events surrounding the Ruiz Massieu killing and its first investigation. President Salinas hastily appointed Ruiz Massieu's own brother, Mario, to be the first special prosecutor in the case, with orders to report directly and exclusively to the president.

    After Carlos Salinas left office, a new attorney general brought charges against Raul Salinas as the person planning the slaying. He also accused the first special prosecutor of twisting the investigation to conceal any mention of Raul Salinas.

    Mexico tried unsuccessfully to extradite Mario Ruiz Massieu from the United States to face charges of cover-up and abuse of authority, among others. He is living in New Jersey.

    Part of the new testimony comes from Victor Humberto Benitez Trevino, Mexico's attorney general in the last years of the Salinas presidency. He testified that he strongly objected to President Salinas' choice of Mario Ruiz Massieu to investigate the killing of a member of his own family.

    Benitez said in testimony in February that President Salinas summoned him to his offices in the presidential palace a few days after Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu's murder in a Mexico City street on Sept. 28, 1994.

    But instead of seeing the president, the attorney general was ushered into a side office where he found Raul Salinas, "who expressed his concern that he might be connected to the investigation," Benitez said.

    In Carlos Salinas' statement, taken in Dublin, Ireland, where he is living, he acknowledged that Mario Ruiz Massieu told him soon after taking over the investigation that Raul Salinas' name had been mentioned more than once in connection with the slaying.

    A former special prosecutor who was building the murder case, Pablo Chapa Bezanilla, is a fugitive from justice, accused of bribing witnesses and conspiring to frame Raul Salinas by planting a body on his horse ranch.

    The prosecutors who took over from Chapa last December said Wednesday that they had found an audio tape of a session in which investigators questioned a key witness one day after the killing. The witness is serving a jail sentence as accomplice to murder for buying the weapon. On the tape, the witness can be heard twice naming Raul Salinas as the man who ordered the killing.

    Samper Seeks US Extradition For Colombian Kingpins

    I Want You "Colombia's Samper raises stakes in drug war"

    By Tom Brown

    BOGOTA (Reuter, April 9, 1997) - President Ernesto Samper has raised the stakes in Colombia's drug war by calling for an end to the country's constitutional ban on the extradition of cocaine kings and other criminals.

    The move, which could clear the way for jailed Cali cartel traffickers to be put on trial in the United States, must still be approved by Congress, however.

    And political analysts say it promises to be the subject of months of heated debate carried out under the constant threat that cartel bosses, who have brought pressure to bear on legislators in the past, will re-launch the campaign of terror that was waged against extradition in the 1980s and early 1990s.

    "This is going to be a long, uphill battle," one Western diplomat said of the upcoming congressional debate, noting that many lawmakers have been accused of shadowy links to the drug trade.

    The ban clamped on extradition by Colombia's constituent assembly in 1991 was passed after hundreds of people, including three presidential candidates, a justice minister, high court judges, journalists and scores of police were killed in a campaign of assassinations, kidnappings and bombings carried out by the now defunct Medellin drug cartel.

    Samper referred to the threat of a new wave of terror in announcing his decision to call for a lifting of the ban in an open letter to top government, military and police officials made public late on Tuesday. "Painful images of the years when the word extradition was synonymous with death, suffering and the anguish of thousands of innocent people are still fresh in the minds of many Colombians," he said, The embattled Colombian leader, whose 1994 election campaign is alleged to have received millions of dollars in Cali cartel drug money, has failed to support efforts to revive extradition in the past.

    But he suffered the public humiliation of having his U.S. travel visa revoked in July of last year, a month after he failed to respond to Washington's request for the extradition of jailed Cali cartel kingpins. And U.S. officials cited his government's failure to enforce a U.S.-Colombian extradition treaty, signed in 1979, as among the reasons for the decision last February to leave Colombia on a U.S. drugs blacklist for a second consecutive year.

    U.S. lobbying and behind-the-scenes pressure tactics are widely seen as the reason for Samper's about-face on extradition, a practice that public opinion polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of Colombians oppose.

    Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus, who stepped down last weekend to launch an independent bid for the presidency, summed up the issue perhaps better than anyone else when asked why he would approve of extradition if he won the country's top job.

    "The gringos have got us by the balls," he said.

    If lawmakers approve of lifting the ban on extradition, and making it applicable under domestic law, the move is unlikely to come before December since constitutional reforms can only be enacted by two consecutive periods of Congress.

    At that point, and only after it, government sources say Samper would propose implementing legislation spelling out exactly how the practice will work and in what specific cases.

    According to Justice Minister Carlos Medellin, a leading proponent of extradition, the mere elimination of Article 35 of the constitution, the one prohibiting extradition of Colombian nationals, would give bilateral treaties like the one with Washington the full weight of international law.

    The only major Colombian trafficker extradited to the United States to date is Carlos Ledher Rivas, a founding member and mastermind behind the Medellin cartel. He was bundled off by U.S. drug agents in February 1987 and is serving a life sentence in the maximum security prison in Marion, Illinois in the company of other celebrated criminals like New York's "Dapper Don" John Gotti.



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