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May 16, 1996

Hawaii State Legislature Passes Hemp Resolution

May 1996, Honolulu, Hawaii: For the first time in its history, the Hawaii State Legislature has passed a resolution to conduct a study on the economic potential of growing industrial hemp as an agricultural product.

House Resolution 71 and House Concurrent Resolution 63 describe the study as a fact-finding and information-gathering forum that would examine the following aspects of industrial hemp: 1) the commodity value, 2) economic potential and other benefits, 3) comparison of the economic potential with that of similar crops, 4) interest of Hawaii landowners, businesses, and other parties in growing industrial hemp, 5) federal procedures for obtaining a permit to grow hemp, and 6) the barriers that prohibit the growing of hemp.

"Thousands of acres of former sugar plantation land still await the arrival of a viable alternative crop," stated Rep. David Tarnas (D-6th District), a chief backer of the measure. "Industrial hemp should be allowed to prove itself as a successful commodity here in Hawaii - as it is doing in other places around the world."

The joint Senate Committees on Agriculture, Labor, and Employment and Ways and Means stated in their committee report that "given the State's current economic crisis, the viability of alternative cash crops should be explored to the fullest extent possible."

The Hawaii Agribusiness Development Corporation will be initiating the research project at the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture.

Earlier this year, Rep. Tarnas introduced legislation to amend the state law to authorize the production, possession, and commerce of non-psychoactive industrial hemp in Hawaii. However, the House Agriculture Committee voted to postpone deciding on that bill until next year.

For more information, please contact Rep. David Tarnas at (808) 586-8510.

California Secretary Of State Issues Raw Count For Medical Marijuana Petition

May 15, 1996, Santa Monica: A raw count by the California Secretary of State demonstrates that a statewide initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use has well over the necessary number of signatures to appear on the November 1996 state ballot. Although the total number of signatures will not be certified by the State for another six or seven weeks, the Secretary of Sate announced that raw count figures indicate that more than 758,000 signatures were collected - well over the 433,269 required to qualify the initiative for the 1996 ballot.

California's medical marijuana initiative came about in response to Governor Pete Wilson's decision to veto legislation passed by the California Legislature in 1995 that would have allowed for the controlled compassionate use of marijuana for those diagnosed by a physician to be suffering from the diseases of AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and multiple sclerosis. The 1996 initiative maintains that patients or defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana for medical treatment recommended by a physician are exempt from the general provisions of law which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana. In addition, the initiative declares that physicians shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege for recommending marijuana to a patient for medical purposes.

If the initiative is passed by California voters this fall, the measure will become law immediately and cannot be vetoed.

For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858 or Dennis Peron of Californians for Compassionate Use at (415) 621-3986. Additional information regarding the 1996 Medical Marijuana Initiative may be accessed on the World Wide Web at

Oregon Marijuana Initiative Approaches Required Number Of Signatures To Be Placed On Ballot

May 9, 1996, Portland, OR: An Oregon state campaign to regulate the sale of marijuana to adults appears to be well on its way toward qualifying for the November 1996 general election.

Headed by local NORML activists and the Political Action Committee Pay for Schools by Regulating Cannabis (PSRC), a proposal to comprehensively reform marijuana laws in the state has gathered in excess of 65,000 signatures - more than three quarters of the number needed to place the initiative on the ballot. The PSRC must gather at least 73,261 registered Oregon voters' signatures by July 5, 1996 to qualify.

Known as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA), the PSRC proposal would tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults, license farmers to cultivate the drug for sale to the state, permit physicians to prescribe marijuana as a therapeutic agent to seriously ill patients, and allow farmers to grow industrial hemp for fiber, oil, and protein production.

The OCTA would authorize the sale of marijuana to take place in state-run liquor stores where the age limit of 21 can be strictly enforced. The PSRC estimates that the profits generated from the regulated sale of marijuana could amount to $500 million a year or 20 percent of Oregon's total state budget. The OCTA would direct 65 percent of that money toward funding primary and secondary education. In addition, 30 percent of the revenue would go to state and community colleges, four percent would go to fund drug abuse treatment programs, and the remaining one percent would be used to implement realistic drug education programs in the schools.

According to Chief Petitioner Paul Stanford, the Oregon initiative is drafted to effectively stand up to the barrage of court challenges that it will presumably face. The OCTA is written in compliance with the restrictions imposed by several international anti-drug treaties and the bill provides numerous constitutional protections in its comprehensive preamble to ensure that the act will be upheld in court. Moreover, the OCTA even provides funding for the inevitable legal battles that await it by collecting revenue through the issuing of cannabis license fees, Stanford notes.

Preliminary surveys indicate that the OCTA has a realistic chance of passing. School funding is a very urgent issue in Oregon and a poll conducted by the state's largest television station, KATU-TV, showed that 55 percent of the respondents answered yes when asked, "Should marijuana be sold in liquor stores to fund education?"

"The war on drugs is the issue on which the future of freedom in America swings," stated Stanford. "Families and individuals are being destroyed by this misguided civil war. The war on drugs is not about drugs, it's about money and the continued centralization of economic and political control. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act is the first big step toward a solution."

For more information, please contact the PSRC at (503) 235-4606 or write to P.O. Box 86741, Portland, OR 97286. The organization may also be contacted on the World Wide Web at:

Railroad Accident Data Shows Few Benefits From Random Drug Testing

May 13, 1996, San Francisco, CA: An examination of Federal Railroad Administration accidents statistics demonstrates that random drug testing has had no apparent effect on railroad accident safety, reports California NORML. The FRA data shows that prior to the introduction of random drug testing in 1990, the number of accidents due to human error declined steadily, from 3.8 per million rail miles in 1978 to 1.4 in 1986. Since then, however, the accident rate has held steady at around 1.4 to 1.8.

"This data calls into question the supposed safety benefits of random drug testing," said California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer. Unlike alcohol tests, drug urinalysis tests cannot detect actual impairment, but only whether a drug was used in the past. In the case of marijuana - the drug detected in the overwhelming majority of positive tests - urine tests can register positive for days or weeks after last use, long after the euphoric affects of the drug have faded.

Random drug testing was imposed on the nation's railway workers in the wake of a highly publicized 1987 Amtrak-Conrail collision in which the crew were determined to have smoked marijuana. The responsibility of marijuana for the accident was never clearly determined, however. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that better equipment and personnel management would have prevented the accident, but did not recommend drug testing. Nonetheless, Congress promptly rushed to require drug testing for all of the nation's transportation workers following the accident.

"The effectiveness of this regulation has never been scientifically proven," states Gieringer. "While proponents say that testing has reduced the number of transportation workers testing positive for drugs, there is no indication this has had any [significant] safety benefits. Problems include: substitution of alcohol and other untested drugs for tested drugs such as marijuana; unreliability of tests in discriminating drug abuse; cheating and evasion by drug abusing workers; and lack of relation between test result and job performance."

For more information, please contact Dale Gieringer of California NORML at (415) 563-5858 or via e-mail at:

Drug Czar Critical Of Amount Of Money Spent Fighting Drugs -
Calls Record Setting FY 1997 Budget Lean

May 8, 1996, Washington, DC: Responding to criticism that the federal government isn't spending enough money to fight drugs, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey admitted that he believed President Clinton's record high $15.1 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 1997 to be "a lean ... request."

"Could more money be used on international and interdiction programs? There is no question," McCaffrey told a House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. McCaffrey's remarks were made despite the fact that Clinton's budget request allocates nearly $10 billion to be used in 1997 solely for law enforcement here and abroad.

"How much is enough," questioned NORML's Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "Twenty billion, 30 billion, when will it end? Despite claims that this new, anti-drug strategy focuses on youth prevention and education, the Office of National Drug Control Policy will spend a record high $10 billion dollars on law enforcement - a figure that the Drug Czar now claims to be too little.

"Since 1988, federal spending on anti-drug programs has increased more than 300 percent, yet according to government statistics illicit drug use has remained virtually unchanged among adults and has actually increased among adolescents. We cannot continue to keep throwing money at the problem and expect any sort of positive results."

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.

Dealers Caught Close To Churches To Face Stiffer Penalties

May 7, 1996, Springfield, IL: Legislation that will stiffen penalties for those convicted of selling marijuana or other illicit drugs within 1,000 feet of a place of religious worship will take effect in 1997 under a measure signed by Gov. Jim Edgar.

"This legislation takes our efforts to take drug dealers off the street a step further by creating another safe zone where those dealers know they will pay an even bigger price for their crimes," Edgar said.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. John Jones (R-Mount Vernon) and Sen. William O'Daniel (D-Mount Vernon), increases the penalty by one level for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a place of religious worship. The legislation is similar to current laws providing enhanced penalties for those convicted of selling drugs on the grounds of schools, public parks, and public housing, or within 1,000 feet of them.



Regional and other news

Body Count

Only five of the 14 felons sentenced to jail or prison in the most recent week by Multnomah County courts were controlled-substance offenders according to the "Portland" zoned edition in Thursday's
Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area. (May 16, 1996, p. 9, 3M-MP-SE). That brings the total so far this year to 140 out of 243, or 57.61 percent.

Suspected Drug Smugglers Go Free

(Sunday, May 12, 1996) LOS ANGELES (Reuter) - Despite a year-long crackdown on drug trafficking from Mexico, hundreds of suspected drug smugglers have been set free even though they were arrested with substantial quantities of narcotics, according to a published report Sunday.

The Los Angeles Times, citing border records and interviews with law enforcement officials, said about 2,300 suspected drug smugglers were taken into custody, but more than one in four were released and sent home to Mexico because of jail overcrowding or prosecutorial discretion.

The newspaper said two suspects with 32 pounds of methamphetamine, and another with 37,000 Quaalude tablets were deported from the United States after the drugs and vehicles were confiscated.

Authorities attribute the decision to chronic prison overcrowding and a new initiative aimed at going after large-scale smugglers.

"Generally prosecution is deferred if the amount is below 125 pounds (of marijuana) or if the defendant is a Mexican citizen, or if in the opinion of the prosecutor, it's not a strong case,'' Jeff Casey, Customs deputy special agent in charge of San Diego, told the newspaper.

If the suspected smuggler is arrested a second time, the earlier charges are reinstated, regardless of the quantity of drugs found.

However, The Times, citing U.S. Customs Service records, said some smugglers have been caught two or more times, even in the same week, and have not been jailed or prosecuted.

The newspaper said the influx of illegal immigrants into California from Mexico often leads to prison overcrowding, prompting officials to release some suspected drug traffickers rather than prosecute them.

Last week, nearly half of the inmates housed at one U.S. border prison were charged with immigration law violations while 36 percent were being detained for drug offenses, the newspaper said.

[End quote]

The Economist - Prohibition Has 'Collapsed'

"... in the case of many drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin the policy of prohibition has already collapsed almost as comprehensively as it did in the case of alcohol, and a lot more violently. Tobacco may be a scourge. It is also, oddly, a worked example of a better way for liberal societies to live with drugs." -- The Economist, p.14, May 11th-17th 1996.

Tobacco Causes Crime?

Alan B., a drug-policy reformer on the Internet (e-mail address available on request), posted some interesting numbers he came across recently while debating someone about the percentages of people who were under the influence of drugs at the time of their arrest. While researching his response, he came across some interesting data indicating that criminals are more likely to use tobacco than any other substance.

What does this mean? Nothing, but it makes for a fun response to those saying that illicit-drug use leads to crime (that is, that the drugs themselves lead to crime rather than the prohibition-related high cost of drugs leading to crime).

Data from the Texas Commission for Alcohol and Drug Abuse suggests that 95 percent of female inmates entering the Texas Department of Corrections used tobacco at some point during their lifetimes and 78 percent reported tobacco use within the past month. Here are some other substances used:

                      Females                        Males
                Lifetime   Past Month         Lifetime    Past Month

Tobacco          95%         78%                90%          74%
Alcohol          94%         46%                98%          54%
Marijuana        83%         14%                85%          19%
Cocaine/Crack    77%         31%                60%          19%
Another invalid inference one could make from this data would be that people who have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives but quit are more likely to commit crimes.

Peril Of Prohibitionist Taxes

The Des Moines Register, Tuesday, May 14, 1996, p. 4A:
"Cigarette mafia" battles claim seven

Berlin, Germany (AP) -- Seven Vietnamese men were killed execution-style in what police on Monday called the latest flare-up in violent battles with Berlin's "cigarette mafia."

The bodies of six men - each shot in the head - were found Sunday night in a two-room apartment in eastern Berlin, police said. Also Sunday, two horseback riders found the body of another Vietnamese man in a meadow just south of Berlin.

Feuds between criminal bands over protection money and access to the lucrative market for smuggled cigarettes have claimed 32 Vietnamese victims in Berlin alone since 1992. Six had been killed already this year.

[End quote]

Correction (Sort Of) Re - 'Ancient Americans Wove Hemp'

Last week's news release included an item quoting a story in the May 5 Washington Post about a 10,000-year-old American Indian mummy, "under (which) was a finely woven mat of hemp and split tules that stretched the length of the body." However, subsequent queries by Dave West to the archaeologist involved revealed that the fiber in question was apocynum cannabinum, alias "Indian hemp," alias dogbane. "Hemp" in the past has been loosely applied by American archaeologists to designate many plants used for fiber. Indeed, this confusion has cropped up so often for so long that it's surprising archaeologists are still contributing to the confusion.

However, there is considerable evidence that Cannabis sativa was brought to America prehistorically and cultivated by Indians, as the ensuing quote from researcher Jack Frazier in the "Letters" section of the November 1992 High Times (p. 8) suggests:

Did Indians Smoke Pot?

If Ed Rosenthal will take time out from a very busy business career and read my book, The Great American Hemp Industry, very carefully, he will find that I have documented the use of hemp by Native Americans and others long before the Johnny-come-lately Christopher Columbus (see Letters, Aug. '92 HT). On page 27 I quote the 13th Report of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of Ethnology (1891-1892) concerning prehistoric hemp grave goods: "This fiber has been identified as that of cannabis sativa, or wild hemp. That the well-preserved fabrics just illustrated represent fairly the textile work of the mound-builders is practically demonstrated by the evidence furnished by the mounds themselves..." As far as hemp appearing in pre-Columbian pollen samples, only those plants that have wide distribution and are grown in sizeable acreage appear in pollen samples. That is the reason tobacco and other smoking herbs rarely appear in pollen samples from the Americas. The reason that hemp, tobacco and other plant designs don't appear on Native American pottery is because they were sun worshippers, not tobacco and hemp worshippers. Tobacco played a very small role in the culture of most tribes. And no, tobacco was not "an integral part of Indian ritual" as Rosenthal would have us believe. Weston LaBarre, the author of The Peyote Cult, says, "the American Indian knew some forty local species of hallucinogens, whereas all the inhabitants of the rest of the world had scarcely half a dozen." Tobacco was small potatoes indeed until the Spanish began marketing it. Partly as a result of my research and writing, American and Canadian archaeologists are beginning to scrape the interior of pre-Columbian pipes with the expected results. Yes, they are finding that some of them contain hemp residue. I knew I was blowing a bunch of ultra-conservative anthropologists out of the water with my discoveries, but I hadn't expected to wound "the guru of ganja."

Hopefully, he will recover soon.

Jack Frazier
Peterstown, WV

[End quote]

HR 2618 - US Representative Slaughter, D-NY, Makes 17

A May 11 press release from the Marijuana Policy Project ensues. Note the current list of U.S. representatives who have co-signed H.R. 2618, the bill to regulate medicinal marijuana. Please take a few minutes to write a brief letter to your U.S. representative (again) asking him or her (again) to co-sponsor HR 2618. If you have not received a written response to your previous request to co-sponsor HR 2618, please press politely for a reason why, in writing. If you prefer, form letters for your use and other background material are available from the editor or check out the MPP's and National NORML's Web pages on how to lobby for HR 2618, linked to Portland NORML's page of links at in the section "Marijuana - the Forbidden Medicine."

Please consider also joining the Marijuana Policy Project - information is included at the bottom. While the National NORML office in Washington, D.C. is no stranger to Congress, lack of funding prevents National NORML's five-person staff from including even one full-time congressional lobbyist. That is why the MPP was established - its sole mission is to lobby Congress, which has always been our biggest obstacle to reform. While joining and supporting National NORML and Portland NORML is also important, the MPP could really use your $25 membership. It also has all sorts of resources available to anyone on this list interested in spending serious time organizing support for HR 2618. After one year, the MPP has already averted several disasters and is due credit for several major successes, such as the U.S. Sentencing Commission's decision that set free hundreds of convicted marijuana offenders. Read about the MPP in their Web pages at

Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 21:52:04 -0400
From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG)

We are pleased to announce that U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York) has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2618, the medicinal marijuana bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and currently pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Slaughter -- the 17th member of Congress to co-sponsor the bill thus far - represents New York's 28th congressional district, in and around Rochester. She is the first co-sponsor from the state of New York. We are strongly urging that activists and organizers in New York City redouble their efforts at this time.



U.S. Rep. Anthony Beilenson .. D-California U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray ...... R-California U.S. Rep. George Brown ....... D-California U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell ....... R-California U.S. Rep. John Conyers ....... D-Michigan U.S. Rep. Ron Dellums ........ D-California U.S. Rep. Steven Gunderson ... R-Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Harry Johnston ..... D-Florida U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy ..... D-Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren ........ D-California U.S. Rep. John Olver ......... D-Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi ....... D-California U.S. Rep. Bernard Sanders .... I-Vermont U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter ... D-New York U.S. Rep. Pete Stark ......... D-California U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds ....... D-Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey ....... D-California =============================================================


If your U.S. representative has not already co-sponsored H.R. 2618, please write a letter asking him or her to do so. If you need help writing a letter or finding out who your U.S. representative is, please e-mail us a message including your full street address, including zip code.

Write a letter to both of your U.S. senators asking them to introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate that uses the language of H.R. 2618, the medicinal marijuana bill now pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Representative [NAME]         U.S. Senator [NAME]
U.S. House of Representatives      U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515             Washington, D.C. 20510
Please fax or mail the MPP copies of any responses - favorable or otherwise - that you receive from your members of Congress.


To support the MPP's work and receive the bimonthly (hard-copy) newsletter, "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to:

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
P.O. Box 77492
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20013

202-462-5747 TEL
202-232-0442 FAX

South Australian Director Of Public Prosecutions Seeks Reform

The Advertiser (South Australian Murdoch paper), Sunday, May 5, 1996, pp. 1-2:

DPP's radical drug trade plan

The Director Of Public Prosecutions wants the State Government to grow Cannabis and manufacture and distribute heroin. In an exclusive interview with The Advertiser, Mr. Paul Rofe, QC, said the controversial measures were needed because law enforcers were losing the war against drugs. And last night the Government admitted the drug laws should be reviewed. "We never really had a chance (in trying to stop drug use)." Mr. Rofe said yesterday, "We've just got to do something drastic." He said government manufacture of heroin would ensure "quality control" and allow variations in the strength of the powder.

It is believed there are up to 30 heroin deaths in SA every two months. "People are dying because they don't know what they are getting," Mr. Rofe said. He said his proposal was prompted by "his frustration of doing this job and watching particularly kids going down the drain. I just don't think we can paddle along as we are, accepting deaths that occur, accepting that it's decimating our young population" Mr. Rofe said. Also under his plan, heroin addicts would be registered and then supplied and injected with heroin at State-run clinics.

Mr. Rofe said criminal involvement in the cannabis trade could be cut by the government either growing the drug or issuing licenses for its manufacture. Mr. Rofe said the cannabis could be bought across the counter like cigarettes with scientific opinion suggesting its dangers were on a similar level as alcohol and cigarettes. The move would also cut the "underground" attraction of smoking cannabis.

Prohibiting drugs was driving users underground and into the hands of criminal organisations whose leaders were escaping prosecution. "It would stop these people who are making huge amounts of money," Mr. Rofe said. "The big people are not, in the majority of cases, being touched. "We are talking about big organisations which manage to cover their activities pretty well."

But the Police Commissioner, Mr. David Hunt, said last night that Police had not "lost the drug war." "Police do apprehend major identities in the drug world; they are simply not identified as such on court lists," he said."How much worse would the situation be if not for the detection and prevention programs by Police?"

However the Health Minister, Dr. Armitage conceded it was time to consider different strategies. "Nobody wants to see a continuation of a situation where crime bosses make a lot of money and unfortunate victims are subject to health risks," he said. "We are open to looking at better ways of doing things." Dr. Armitage would not detail specific changes being considered, but said an ACT Government proposal to give heroin to addicts was being closely monitored. "If there is decreased crime, better health outcomes...I would certainly take a message up to the Government for consideration," he said. Mr. Rofe acknowledged that all changes would have to be introduced at a State level with uniform laws being imposed nationwide to stop users crossing borders for drugs.

[End quote]

Judge Hoisted On Own Petard

Dallas Morning News, May 11, 1996, p. A39
By Patrick Barta, Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News:
Council to Decide Future of FW Judge Who Had a Positive Random Drug Test

As a Fort Worth municipal judge, Francine Lyles hears her share of cases involving misdemeanor drug offenders. Now City Council members are hearing their own drug case - and it involves Judge Lyles.

The municipal court judge tested positive for marijuana use in a random test conducted two weeks ago, city officials said.

[End excerpt]

Corruption At Portland FBI Office

According to an article titled "FBI accuses employee of stealing thousands" in the May 7 Oregonian (p. B1):

Authorities charged a 24-year-old FBI employee with an inside job Monday: stealing $20,593 in cash from the agency's evidence room in Portland.

Ryan Michael Phillips, a computer specialist for the FBI for five years, faces one count of stealing government property, a felony. ...

[S]aid Lee Teitsworth, who has headed the Portland FBI office since June 1994[,] "[w]hat this does is go to the core of our credibility." ...

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Caldwell estimated that Phillips could face six to 12 months in prison if convicted. ...

...the cash disappeared from evidence being held for two bank robbery cases and one drug case. ...

An audit also concluded that a few grams of heroin could not be found. Phillips is not charged with taking the small amount of drugs.

Teitsworth said it is not known what happened to them, but they probably were mistakenly destroyed during routine destruction of evidence that was no longer needed.

[End excerpts]

It's hard to imagine a system of credible justice under which the FBI could still get convictions for anything based on the testimony of anyone employed at its Portland office during this period, in 1993. Teitsworth's talk of "routine destruction" is hardly credible, and since Phillips wasn't charged with stealing the heroin, any competent lawyer should be able to impeach the testimony of anyone else who worked at the Portland FBI office during this period. However, the May 7 article reported that "The disappreance did not damage the prosecution of those cases," so the credibility of the legal system is also open to question. A subsequent news item in the May 14 Oregonian titled "Former FBI worker says he stole" (p. B5) reported that Phillips would remain free until he is sentenced on July 22.

US Justice Department - Big Government Keeps Getting Bigger

The Washington Post, Friday, April 5, 1996, p. A17
By Jim McGee Washington Post Staff Writer:

Old "news," hard figures - At the Justice Dept., Big Government Keeps Getting Bigger

As a staunchly anti-crime member of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.) has enthusiastically supported sending ever-larger pots of money to the ever-expanding force of federal crime fighters. In a period that included an eight-year tenure as chairman, Hollings watched the Justice Department's budget climb from $3.9 billion in fiscal 1986 to $13.7 billion last year. No other Cabinet department had such rapid growth.

But not even Hollings was prepared for the Clinton administration's proposal to boost the Justice Department's fiscal 1996 budget by an eye-popping 20 percent. Hollings took to the Senate floor in September to express new-found misgivings. "We are throwing money at a problem without being responsible," he said. "We have got to slow down and take a look at where all this money is going."

When President Clinton declared in his recent State of the Union speech that the "era of big government is over," he could not have been talking about federal law enforcement. ....

Over the past 16 years, a time in which both parties have controlled Congress, the Justice Department's budget has grown by nearly 600 percent and its work force has expanded from about 55,000 employees to 94,000, according to a department analysis. Even adjusted for inflation, the department's spending has increased nearly 300 percent since 1981, while spending at the departments of Defense, Energy, Agriculture, Transportation and Labor has declined. ...

Exhibit A of this multiplier effect might be the Bureau of Prisons. Tougher drug laws and mandatory sentencing have led the prison system to double its staff during the past six years, to 30,000 employees. To handle the increase in prisoners, the Justice Department is asking for $225 million in 1997 to open five new prison facilities and create 9,100 new inmate beds. ...

Technology is another accelerant. In the next five years the Drug Enforcement Administration will spend $33 million to acquire sophisticated digital equipment that will enable its field offices to greatly expand the use of telephone wiretaps. Because many of DEA's wiretaps pick up conversations of foreign-born drug dealers speaking in languages other than English, Congress also has approved $5 million for a new facility in Utah where linguistic experts from the U.S. military will translate the tapes.

To follow the money used just for domestic drug enforcement is to watch a wide river drain into many streams. In fiscal 1995, $6.7 billion was spent on federal domestic drug enforcement. More than $1.3 billion of the money flowed to the FBI and the DEA, but other money went to less obvious agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In all, agencies in 12 departments contribute to the drug war, with activities from piloting Coast Guard cutters to patrolling public housing projects. ...

[End excerpts]

McCaffrey Endorses Drug Treatment?

Jerry Sutliff wrote (on May 10):
I believe in giving credit when and where it is due. For example, I credit Ronald Reagon with having a sense of humor. Barry McCaffrey said some intelligent things the other day, as reported by AP in the Oakland Tribune. He was commenting in support of the grants given to create local drug courts, "If you don't like paying for jails, if you don't like waste of tax dollars, then you'll like the concept of drug courts. This is an initiative that's been working." [The "drug courts" make me think of "Clockwork Orange" but that's a quibble.]

McCaffrey went on to say that the drug court treatment and supervision program cost "$1,000 a year to run this concept, versus $15,000 a year to simply lock up a nonviolent, first-time drug offender."

McCaffrey was critical of those he said deride drug treatment as trying to win a war by tending the wounded. "I'm enormously uncomfortable with that," McCaffrey said. "In combat, our wounded don't burn down our rear area."

[End quote]

McCaffrey has been quoted by both National NORML and Portland NORML several times expressing unexpected but welcome sentiments. For the sake of realism, however, it's worth remembering National NORML's May 2 news item titled,
White House Unveils New Drug Strategy, about the record $15.1 billion budget recently requested for McCaffrey's office:

"Although both the President and the Drug Czar emphasized that the new strategy is chiefly focused on 'motivat[ing] America's youth to reject illegal drugs and substance abuse,' a comprehensive breakdown of the 1997 budget request illustrates that the plan's largest component remains domestic law enforcement."

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the President is requesting $8.3 billion in fiscal year 1997 for domestic enforcement." In the same budget, funding for drug treatment programs is so small it's listed in a subcategory. It looks like McCaffrey has quickly adopted the customary Washington fashion of talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Prozac Kills 2,394 (Pot 0)

As printed in Health & Healing, the newsletter of Dr. Julian Witaker: "As of December 1995, 35,230 adverse reactions to prozac .... and 2,394 deaths had been reported."

DEA Judge Francis L.Young's 1988 ruling of fact has been quoted here before: Pot has never killed anyone, in 5,000 years of recorded psychoactive use:

Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.

This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.

By contrast aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year.

If anything, the best evidence suggests cannabis consumers live a year or two longer than everyone else. Guess which mood adjuster earns millions of dollars for doctors and pharmaceutical companies and which one is classified as having a "high potential for abuse" by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act?

Pollution Kills 'Hundreds' of Oregonians (Pot 0)

"An environmental group says air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of hundreds of people each year in Portland, Medford and Eugene," according to an article titled "Report links pollution, early deaths" in the May 10 Oregonian (p. A 31).

"The locations were among 239 U.S. cities studied by the Natural Resources Defense Council for levels of dust, smoke and microscopic particles from emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides as well as from volatile organic compounds.

"The study says the pollution contributes to about 307 premature deaths from heart- and lung-related illnesses annually in Portland, 96 in Medford and 89 in Eugene-Springfield."

[End excerpt]

In the entire state of Oregon, a record 183 people died in 1995 from all illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and behavior attributed to their use, according to an article in The Oregonian titled
Oregon sets high in '95 for drug-related deaths (Jan. 26, 1996, pp. C1 & C5). Apparently the government's concern over "dangerous" chemicals entering your body ends where polluters' political contributions and clout begin.



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