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. . . a weekly service on news related to marijuana prohibition.

July 4, 1996

NORML did not distribute a press release this week.

Regional and other news

Body Count

Only five of the 16 felons sentenced by Multnomah County courts in the most recent week received jail or prison terms for controlled-substance violations, according to the "Portland" zoned section of
The Oregonian, delivered to subscribers in the central metropolitan area. (July 4, 1996, p. 5, 3M-MP-SE). That brings the total so far this year to 185 out of 342, or 54.09 percent. As documented with government statistics in the June 13 Portland NORML news release (available on request or point a Web browser at, "Let's Do the Numbers"), that means there are still at least 31,806 illegal-drug users in Multnomah County, of whom 81 percent, or 25,763, would be marijuana consumers.

'Drug Policy Ignites Debate In Montgomery County'

[Jon Gettman, a cannabis researcher and former director of National NORML, writes:]

The news article below really goes to the heart of the problems confronting policymakers on-the-job today, and the clash between political rhetoric and cost/benefit analysis. Grist for many a mill . . .

Montgomery County is a suburb of Washington, D.C. and is one of the top ten counties in the United States for per capita income. This article is from The Washington Post. The article suggests that this is an unpublicized trend elsewhere. The county prosecutor says he is not going to waste any more time on petty drug offenses. He is an elected official, and with several successful re-election attempts behind him, one who is considered one of the strongest political figures in Montgomery County.

Jon Gettman


Drug Policy Ignites Debate in Montgomery

Prosecutor Plans to Shift Enforcement Away From Minor Offenses

By Brian Mooa and Manuel Perez-Rivas
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, July 4 1996; Page A01
The Washington Post

Montgomery County State's Attorney Andrew L. Sonner said yesterday that starting next month, his office will prosecute fewer petty drug crimes and will concentrate instead on drug violators who carry weapons, are repeat offenders or operate in high-crime areas.

Few prosecutors across the nation have announced such a policy because the issue is so politically charged, but experts say that a growing number already are doing what Sonner (D) wants to do starting Aug. 1 - clear cases of nonviolent drug users and small-time dealers from the dockets.

The proposal immediately provoked a testy debate within the county. Opponents argued that the prosecutor is abdicating his role as a leader in the drug war, while proponents touted the plan as a tool to save taxpayer dollars and ease jail crowding.

"Clearly, we're not going to" stop arresting small-scale drug offenders, an outraged County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said yesterday. "This county has had a zero-tolerance policy for drugs for a long time, and we're not going to change that as long as I'm county executive."

"Many of our officers are young, and they're anxious to get out there and enforce the law," said county Police Chief Carol A. Mehrling. "We cannot tell our officers not to enforce the drug laws. What our officers are doing they will continue to do; what Mr. Sonner does he will have to live with."

Sonner outlined the plan to about a dozen community leaders Tuesday during a secret dinner meeting in Bethesda. People at the meeting, who have been asked to form an advisory board to monitor the plan after it takes effect Aug. 1, included representatives of county civic groups, the legal profession and the NAACP. Representatives of municipal police departments and other law enforcement agencies that operate in Montgomery also participated -- with the notable exception of the county police, who would be most directly affected.

"Sonner is really concerned that 40 percent of his resources are going into these drug cases . . . in a time of shrinking budgets," said a source who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He's telling the police department, `You've got to come in here with better cases, not [make drug arrests] like a fire engine going from fire to fire to fire without any plan."

Sonner confirmed the change yesterday and said he planned to discuss the policy with newspaper editorial boards and hold a news conference within the next month in an effort to explain his rationale and build support.

"Right now, [police] are just randomly arresting [drug suspects] with no other purpose than to arrest as many people as they can," Sonner said. "That's been the policy for a good 10 years. Everyone who's observed this has said it was a failure; it's simply crowding the jails and making our dockets more heavy without any benefit to the community. Drugs are still readily available."

Sonner's decision to eschew widespread prosecutions of small-time drug dealers in favor of a more targeted approach comes at a time when law enforcement officers across the country are coping with a resurgence of drug problems and when prisons are full and budgets are tight.

No one disputes that Sonner, the county's elected prosecutor and top law enforcement officer, has the discretion to put the policy into effect.

Paul F. Rothstein, a Georgetown University Law Center professor who has served as an adviser on criminal law policy to both the U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees, said Sonner's proposal reflects a quietly emerging trend in law enforcement -- one that Rothstein applauds.

"It's a new wave and an accelerating wave," Rothstein said. "Sonner's [proposal] is among the more specific that I have heard; some of them are quite general. The decisions are being made quietly because they are not very popular. People do not like to hear that drug users and petty thieves are not being arrested when in some neighborhoods people might feel that is the primary problem."

He went on to say: "This is a good idea, and it should be encouraged. We are as a society very much in the position of emergency medics on a battlefield, where priorities have to be adopted because there are not enough resources to go around. You have to decide what are the most compelling and needful cases and devote your medical attention to them. As a society, we're going to bleed to death if we spread our resources around to both important and unimportant cases."

According to a draft of Sonner's proposal obtained by The Washington Post, Montgomery drug arrests would have to meet at least one of five criteria to be considered for prosecution in Circuit Court. Cases would have to:

The proposal has focused attention again on the long-running political feud between Sonner and Duncan. Duncan's administration provoked Sonner's outrage last year during the discussion of the budget for the state's attorney's office and the need for a new county jail.

Sonner tried yesterday to distance himself from past politics, saying the new policy is the fairest way of allocating his office's resources in terms of both law enforcement and economics.

Sonner said 383 of the 1,270 cases his office prosecuted in Circuit Court last year were drug cases.

He said police originally presented 524 drug cases, many of which were not strong enough for prosecutors to take to Circuit Court.

He would not speculate, however, on how his new policy might affect the numbers of arrests and prosecutions for Montgomery drug cases.

Duncan said Sonner's proposal "just formalizes what he's been doing for a long time. The feeling among our police department is that, on drug cases, the state's attorney from Montgomery County is more of a defense attorney than a prosecuting attorney. . . . If anything, he should be doing the reverse and stopping the low-level criminals before they get to a higher level."

United Methodist Church Conference Endorses Medical Marijuana Initiative

From Scott Imler ( of Santa Cruz Citizens for Medical Marijuana:

California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Endorses Prescriptive Medical Use of Marijuana for the Chronically Ill

At its annual gathering at the University of Redlands (June 12-16), the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church adopted a resolution supporting the right of people with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and other serious illnesses to use marijuana under medical supervision.

Resolution #104, which was sponsored by Reverend Tom Griffith and Scott Imler of Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood, calls for "enactment of state and federal legislation to establish a legal and safe system of prescriptive medical access to marijuana with appropriate safeguards against diversion for non-medical use."

"This is not a controversial issue in the faith community," said Reverend Griffith. "It's really a matter of basic Christian compassion. When people are suffering we have a moral obligation to speak out."

The resolution also supports the 1996 Compassionate Use Act which is slated to appear on the November '96 statewide ballot and urges the Methodist Conference's Board of Church & Society to "consider marijuana's legitimate medical uses when developing and implementing drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs."

Imler, the Lay Member of the Conference from Crescent Heights U.M.C., uses marijuana to control seizures caused by a 1983 skiing accident. Imler presented the resolution before the Conference's 100-member Legislative Committee which voted 99% concurrence. The resolution was approved by the conference's 1500 delegates on unanimous consent.

The California Pacific Annual Conference represents over 400 congregations and 113,000 members throughout southern California, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan.

Resolution of the California/Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in support of the 1996 California Compassionate Use Act (June 12-16, 1996)

WHEREAS, significant scientific and medical studies have demonstrated that marijuana is safe for use under medical supervision and that the cannabis plant, in its natural form, has important therapeutic actions that are often of critical medical importance to persons afflicted with a variety of life- and sense-threatening illnesses, and

WHEREAS, various state and federal courts have recognized marijuana's medical value and have ruled that marijuana can be a drug of "necessity" in the treatment of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiples sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious and debilitating illnesses, and

WHEREAS, the California Legislature has previously enacted bills recognizing marijuana's therapeutic value for certain medical conditions, only to have the will of the people as so expressed vetoed by the governor, and

WHEREAS, seriously ill California's and other Americans are unnecessarily suffering because of state and federal policies which prohibit marijuana's medical availability and subject them, their families, and physicians to criminal penalty and sanction; now therefore, be it

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California-Pacific Annual Conference supports enactment of state and federal legislation to establish a legal, safe, and affordable system of prescriptive medical access to marijuana with appropriate controls to safeguard against diversion for non-medical use;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California-Pacific Annual Conference supports the current Initiative effort in California to exempt seriously ill patients and legally-defined caregivers from criminal prosecution or sanction through passage of the 1996 California Compassionate Use Act which will appear on the November 5th statewide ballot;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California-Pacific Annual Conference urges its Board of Church and Society to consider marijuana's legitimate medical uses when developing and implementing drug and alcohol abuse prevention and education programs and materials.

Rev. Tom Griffith and Scott Imler
Crescent Heights United Methodist Church
1296 N. Fairfax Av.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Farm Bureau News: 'Hemp Could Be A Promising New Ag Commodity'

The following article was published June 17 in American Farm Bureau Federation's national weekly newspaper, Farm Bureau News:

By Debora Thomas Hood

Despite support from the Colorado Farm Bureau and other organizations, the Colorado House Agriculture Committee killed a bill this spring that could have launched one of the most promising crops in half a century for the state's agriculture producers.

The crop was hemp - industrial hemp, not marijuana - but lawmakers were stopped in their tracks from passing legislation that would have designated a properly monitored test plot for development of the crop, because of concerns of Drug Enforcement Agency officials.

Colorado is one of several states, including Vermont, Kentucky and Missouri, where agriculture producers and other proponents are currently seeking legal recognition of industrial hemp.

Currently, hemp production is treated as a felony in the United States because it is assumed that all hemp crops will produce marijuana, which contains high concentrations (more that 1 percent) of tetrahydrocannabinois (THC). THC is the psychoactive chemical found in Cannabis sativa, which produces euphoric effects. Legislation is needed to establish a recognized research area for the crop, according to local, state and federal regulations.

Research from the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (CHIP) shows that industrial hemp, harvested at a profit of $514 per acre, would add $87 million to the state's farm economy annually. Those figures were based on estimated production of 5 percent (170,000 acres) of Colorado farmland currently devoted to wheat, corn or lying fallow.

CHIP pegged non-farm impact, through creation of textile production and manufacturing, product trade and advancement of allied products, at $20 million, for an overall impact to Colorado's economy of $107 million.

According to CHIP, research shows industrial hemp, while classified as Cannabis sativa, contains less than 1 percent THC and has no psychoactive properties. Many new, registered varieties of the plant, available throughout Europe, contain less than 0.3 percent THC, even in the flowers. CHIP information says that European farmers have been growing hemp for over 20 years without any problems related to marijuana.

Used for centuries around the world for its strong, wear-resistant fibers, hemp provided the rigging and sails for the world's ships form the discovery of America through World War II. Until the late 1800's, most of the cloth produced in the United States, and nearly all its paper, was made form hemp, grown primarily in regions of Kentucky and Wisconsin.

According to CHIP research, invention of a machine to mechanically separate hemp fiber form the stalk in the 1930's prompted magazines of the time to hail hemp as the "New Billion Dollar Crop" and "The Most Desirable Crop That Can Be Grown."

But production, research and further development of hemp's industrial uses in the United States were halted abruptly by passage of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which established a tax of $1 per ounce on hemp manufacturers and distributors as well as on hemp transactions.

Bob Winter, Weld County (Colo.) Farm Bureau president, offered five acres of his land for the Colorado test plot, and worked closely with researchers to develop a cultivation and fertilization plan.

"Industrial hemp could be the alternative crop farmers are looking for now," he said of the plan. He noted industrial hemp is currently grown in China, India, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Canada, among other countries. The United States imports raw product from many of those countries for manufacture here.

"The lion's share of products made from industrial hemp is here in the United States," Winter said. "It's a shame that we continue to import the raw product in the form of hemp pulp, and that we cannot grow this crop on our own soil."

Note: Debra Hood is an agricultural Journalist in Canon City, Colo. She produces the Colorado Farm Bureau News for the Colorado Farm Bureau.

Editorial Comment

Clearing the smoke on industrial hemp By Bob Winter

Industrial hemp provides a window of opportunity for U.S. agricultural producers to take advantage of a highly profitable fiber crop whose many uses include clothing, rope, paper, cosmetics, livestock feed, insulation, wood-substitute particle board, plastics and fuel. It costs about $300 an acre to grow and can yield a profit of more than $500 per acre. Those facts got my attention in a hurry!

International trade agreements (GATT and NAFTA) recognize the designation of 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannibinois (THC) as the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana. But current U.S. law does not differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana. Thanks to these laws, the United States lags behind other world powers in hemp production and must import raw hemp pulp for manufacture here, while U.S. farmers are prohibited from growing a highly profitable crop without government subsidy.

Canada is finishing its third year of test research on the crop, and will soon shift to commercial production. Industry will then move to Canada to build processing facilities. Now that Canada is on the verge of growing industrial hemp, with NAFTA opening North American trade, we will not be able to compete if we don't get on the bandwagon soon.

Hemp production could be a boon to American farm communities all across the country. Industrial hemp could be the alternative crop farmers are looking for, as they rethink their crop and marketing practices in light of the end to farm support payments under the 1996 farm bill.

NOTE: Bob Winter is a farmer in northeastern Colorado and president of the Weld County Farm Bureau.

[End quotes]

Orange County Register Endorses Medical Marijuana Initiative

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - According to Californians for Medical Rights, on June 14, Orange County's conservative daily, The Register, endorsed California's Medical Marijuana Initiative in a staff editorial. Calling the measure a "welcome opportunity for the state's voters," The Register editorial noted that "the evidence is quite strong that at least some patients with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other diseases can receive benefits from marijuana that are not available from other medications.

"It is only humane," the Register concluded, "to allow patients - in consultation with their physicians - to use it legally.

Californians for Medical Rights (CMR), a non-partisan committee formed in 1996, is managed by political consultant Bill Zimmerman. CMR's focus is on protecting the legal rights of doctors and patients who find marijuana useful in medical treatment. CMR was instrumental in gathering sufficient signatures to place the Medical Marijuana Initiative on the ballot -- over 775,000 signatures were turned over to county registrars on April 24.

For more details contact Bill Zimmerman or Dave Fratello of Californians for Medical Rights, 310-394-2952; or Stephen Hopcraft of Hopcraft Communications, 916-457-5546, for Californians for Medical Rights.

Drug Czar Revises 'Gateway' Theory

A press release about the 1996 National Drug Control Strategy issued by the Marijuana Policy Project, from its May/June 1996 "Marijuana Policy Report," contains some interesting news. (The entire text of the press release is available at the MPP's World Wide Web site at

The 1996 National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) is the first strategy that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has produced under its new director, former Army General Barry McCaffrey. Calling the national illicit drug situation a "cancer" that will take at least 10 years to cure, McCaffrey offers a similar strategy to those of his predecessors.

The ONDCP is an office of the executive branch of the federal government, established to guide and coordinate the efforts of all federal drug control agencies. The annual NDCS evaluates the national drug situation and sets the tone and pace of all national drug control efforts. It functions primarily as a guide for Congress to use in preparing the federal drug control budget. ...

Clinton's strategies dress the wolf in sheep's clothing. In actuality, the NDCS allows the drug war to continue unabated. Though McCaffrey has repeatedly stated that "we cannot arrest our way out of this problem," no part of his strategy would curb the 500,000 annual marijuana arrests in the United States.

Later in the report, domestic marijuana cultivation is discussed. The report claims that "as much as 25 percent of the marijuana consumed in the United States is domestically grown," while acknowledging that such estimates are uncertain because no national cultivation surveys exist. The report implies that all domestically grown marijuana is intended for sale, completely ignoring the fact that many people grow it for their own consumption.

To further analyze domestic marijuana cultivation, the ONDCP will be forming a working group comprised of representatives from federal law enforcement agencies and the departments of defense, interior, and agriculture. It has been predetermined that "[t]he group's mission will be to decrease the availability of domestically produced marijuana through eradication."

If a study group is to be formed, why not include people who don't have a financial stake in eradication efforts? Why not leave open the possibility that an objective study group may discover that domestic cultivation just might be a step in the right direction that the harms associated with marijuana could be *reduced* if adults were allowed to grow their own marijuana?

Interestingly, the 1995 NDCS explained why marijuana use was "considered problematic" -- interference with short-term memory, pulmonary damage, and so on -- but this year's report does not. The only mention of the harmful effects of marijuana is found in the accompanying "Program, Resources, and Evaluation" volume, which states, "Marijuana has not been proven to be a gateway drug; once an individual initiates marijuana use, the individual already has 'stepped through' the gateway." Yet the "gateway" phenomenon was cited as the primary harmful effect in 1995.

In general, the 1995 report briefly mentioned marijuana's specific harms but did not delve into specific marijuana policies, while the 1996 report does the opposite. This year's report periodically lists the societal costs of "drug abuse" -- health-care costs, crime, homicide, and so on -- without exploring how much of this harm is worsened or even directly caused by prohibition. Moreover, it assumes that marijuana shares equal responsibility for most of these problems, though the real culprit is sometimes other illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin -- but most commonly alcohol.

Nowhere does the report discuss the many problems directly caused by the drug war, such as police corruption and widespread civil liberties abuses. Furthermore, the medicinal marijuana issue is conspicuously absent. ...

The 1996 NDCS calls for a record $15.1 billion in federal drug control spending for 1997. This is a 9.3% increase over the estimated 1996 spending of $13.8 billion. Last year's NDCS requested $14.6 billion, but only $13.8 billion was appropriated by Congress. The cuts came primarily from treatment and prevention programs.

The NDCS budget is divided into "supply" and "demand" categories. "Supply reduction" -- which includes all efforts to intercept and eradicate illicit drugs at home and abroad and to arrest and incarcerate users, manufacturers and traffickers -- comprises 67% of the budget. "Demand reduction" -- which includes all treatment, research, and prevention efforts combined -- comprises only 33% of the budget.

For all the talk about a public health approach, ONDCP Director McCaffrey is asking for a higher ratio of supply to demand spending than did his immediate predecessor, Lee Brown. After all, this is an election year.

To order the "National Drug Control Strategy: 1996," and the accompanying "National Drug Control Strategy, 1996: Program, Resources, and Evaluation," call the Drugs and Crime Data Clearinghouse at 800-666-3332.

[End excerpts]

Reward Deficiency Syndrome In American Scientist

Ralph Hodges writes:

The March/April 1996 issue of American Scientist (Volume 84) includes a 14-page article titled "Reward Deficiency Syndrome." The thesis of this article is the proposition that several seemingly unrelated disorders may have a common genetic association. The authors make a persuasive case that reward deficiency syndrome can manifest itself in:

1. Addictive behavior (severe alcoholism, multiple substance abuse, smoking, obesity);
2. Impulsive behavior (attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity, Tourette syndrome, autism);
3. Compulsive behavior (aberrant sexual behavior, pathological gambling); and,
4. Personality disorder (conduct disorder, antisocial personality, aggressive behavior)

The caption of the article's figure 1 (showing an alcoholic person) provides a good summary: "Alcoholism is partly a consequence of a genetically based deficiency that affects the pleasure and reward areas of the brain, according to the authors. The deficient genes code for receptors and transporters for the neurotransmitter dopamine. Recent studies suggest that the same genetic variants are associated with a spectrum of disorders involving compulsive, impulsive and addictive behavior, which comprise a reward deficiency syndrome. The authors propose a neurobiological mechanism to account for the manifestation of the syndrome and suggest possibilities for treatment."

Supported by their own research and a reference list 73-strong, they cite many correlations between the presence of a certain genetic variant of one of the dopamine receptors, and the incidence of the behavioral disorders listed above. Dopamine is a key neurotransmitter associated with reward, such as the sense of well being when one feels safe, warm, and having a full stomach. The authors state that "If these needs are threatened or are not being met, we experience discomfort and anxiety. An inborn chemical imbalance that alters the intercellular signalling in the brain's reward process could supplant an individual's feeling of well being with anxiety, anger or a craving for a substance that can alleviate the negative emotions. This chemical imbalance manifests itself as one or more behavioral disorders" for which the authors have coined the term "reward deficiency syndrome."

In more technical terms, there are at least five physiologically distinct dopamine receptors (called D1 through D5) found on the synaptic membranes of neurons in the brain. The one called D2 has four known genetic variants, or alleles, called A1 through A4. Basically, the authors report a strong association between the presence of the A1 allele of the D2 dopamine receptor and the incidence of various behavioral disorders.

The article's Figure 10 shows that the presence of the A1 allele results in only one-third as many dopamine D2 receptors as occurs normally with the A2 allele (although the text says 70% as many). The Figure 10 caption states that "The authors propose that a decreased number of dopamine D2 receptors in the reward pathways of the brain results in anger, anxiety and a craving for substances, such as cocaine, alcohol or nicotine, that increase the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain."

Alleles A3 and A4 are rare, whereas the A2 allele is found in nearly 75% of the general population and the A1 allele in about 25%. Among severe alcoholics, the authors found that 69% had the A1 allele vs. 31% with A2, whereas among nonalcoholics the ratios reversed to 20% A1 vs. 80% A2. They state that "These findings do not prove that the A1 allele of the dopamine D2 receptor gene is the only cause of severe alcoholism, but they are a powerful indication that the A1 allele is involved with alcoholism."

The authors give detailed discussions of similar research statistics regarding drug addiction and smoking, compulsive binging and gambling, and attention-deficit disorder, in each case related to the A1 vs. A2 allele of the dopamine D2 receptor gene.

Because the A1 through A4 alleles are inherited from one's parents, the authors' thesis helps explain the many studies which show the hereditary nature of the behavioral disorders cited. For example, the authors state that "investigators found that if one identical twin had attention-deficit disorder, there was a 100% probability that the other also had the disorder. In contrast, the incidence of concordance among non-identical twins was only 17%. This result has been supported by two other independent studies of identical twins." They go on to state the high probability of the A1 allele being present among those with attention-deficit disorder.

Summing it all up, the authors state that "A1 carriers may not be sufficiently rewarded by stimuli that A2 carriers find satisfying. This may translate into the persistent cravings or stimulus-seeking behavior of A1 carriers. Moreover, because dopamine is known to reduce stress, individuals who carry the A1 allele may have difficulty coping with the normal pressures of life. In response to stress or cravings, A1 carriers may turn to other substances or activities that release additional quantities of dopamine in an attempt to gain temporary relief. Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine and carbohydrates (like chocolates) all cause the release of dopamine in the brain and bring about a temporary relief of craving. These substances can be used singly, in combination or to some extent interchangeably."

To quantify the magnitude of the problem, the authors say that "In the United States alone there are 18 million alcoholics, 28 million children of alcoholics, 6 million cocaine addicts, 14.9 million people who abuse other substances, 25 million people addicted to nicotine, 54 million people who are at least 20% overweight, 3.5 million school-age children with attention-deficit disorder or Tourette syndrome, and about 448,000 compulsive gamblers. We believe that recognizing the role of dopamine and the D2 receptor in the manifestation of these addictions and disorders is the first step toward rational treatment for a devastating problem in our society."

The authors close with the proposition: "Identifying individuals with the A1 allele offers the possibility of helping individuals before alcoholism or substance abuse affect their lives. We foresee the possibility for better treatment, new forms of prevention and the removal of the social stigma attached not only to alcoholism but also to related 'reward-seeking' behaviors comprising the reward deficiency syndrome."

The authors, however, do not seem to foresee the use of pre-employment testing for the A1 allele as a criterion for rejecting candidates for employment. I personally think it is only a matter of time. -- Ralph Hodges

Reference information


Kenneth Blum, professor of pharmacology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78284. He is a former editor of the American Journal of Human Genetics and past president of the American Society of Human Genetics.

John G. Cull, co-founder of the Neurodevelopmental Institutes of North America/NeuRecovery International.

Eric R. Braverman, on staff at the Department of Psychiatry at New York University Medical School.

David E. Comings, director of the Department of Medical Genetics at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California.

Special thanks: Maggi Carter-McLemore for faxing the article to me, and to her husband Alan McLemore, who discovered it in the prison library at Fort Worth Federal Medical Center.

Alan McLemore is serving a 5+ year federal sentence for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, with which he self-medicated very successfully for years to treat his clinical depression, alcoholism and migraines. He states that this article is the best he has seen so far at describing his condition. While awaiting trial a year ago, the county jail psychiatrist prescribed Marinol (synthetic THC) for him, with extremely positive results. However, the federal prison authorities have refused to allow him to receive his lawfully-prescribed Marinol, and he has shown very unsatisfactory response to the various medications they have administered. His weight has fluctuated between 120 and 190+ lbs. (160 is normal for him), and he continues to suffer from severe depression and migraines. Prior to his arrest on in February, 1995, McLemore had a very successful ($100,000+/yr) law practice in Beaumont, TX. Instead of paying taxes, he is now housed at taxpayers' expense.

[End quote]

Police Infallibility And Roadside Stops

American judges through the years have found various "drug exceptions" to the U.S. Constitution. The increasing ease with which police in many areas can legally stop cars and search them for illegal drugs is just one example. Generally the government and media have fostered the impression that police use judicious restraint in such cases. Does sacrificing civil rights really increase law enforcement effectiveness? Here and there, some jurisdictions have actually studied the results. South Carolina reported that they found drugs in fewer than 15 percent of the 4,000 vehicles they searched in 1991. That's a one in seven success ratio. In Pennsylvannia, 583 stops yielded less than three ounces of cocaine. Car searches are such an outrageous violation of civil rights that many states do not keep stop/search records in order to hide their 6 to 1 failure rate. (Source- San Francisco Examiner, September 6, 1992, p. A2.)

The Carroll O'Connor Story

Television actor Carroll O'Connor appeared on ABC's Primetime on Wednesday, July 3, talking with Diane Sawyer about his son's drug addiction and suicide.

Richard Evans writes:

Carroll O'Connor's central point is that the drug dealer who sold cocaine to his son was an "accomplice to murder," despite the fact that he did himself in with a handgun. The theory, of course, is that the cocaine depressed him and drove him to reach for the gun.

Well, at the tail end of the interview - after extensive demonizing of the drug dealer - some VERY interesting facts come out:

1. The parents and wife knew the son was struggling with drugs, and decided to use "Toughlove:" the wife and kid move out of the house, everybody cut him out of their lives pending his "recovery."

2. A short while before the deed, Hugh calls his dad, Carroll, and says he is suicidal. Dad claims not to have believed him, but what does he do? He calls the COPS!

3. The cops arrive, knock on the door. Hugh talks to them through the door, but doesn't let them in. They say if he doesn't, they'll have to call for a SWAT team in. They turn ostensibly to do so; BAM.

Okay, kids, here's the quiz: What killed Hugh O'Connor?

a. cocaine
b. the dealer
c. depression, probably caused by drug abuse
d. a gun
e. Toughlove
f. the cops
g. prohibition
h. all of the above

Easy, right? Here's an easier one: Who gets blamed?

a. the drug dealer
b. all of the above

To her credit, Diane Sawyer elicited an admission from Mr. O'C that gun dealers and alcohol merchants were equally "accomplices to murder," but she failed to follow-up and ask if we should not wage war on them as well.

My impression? Great TV, lousy journalism. Carroll O'Connor desperately needs someone or something to blame. One can only hope that someday he will admit that buying into "Toughlove" and foisting the LA police on his son at such a moment of crisis had to be two of the stupidist decisions he ever made. -- Dick Evans

[End excerpts]

'Dole's Golden Chance To End The Drug War'

Robert Scheer, a
Los Angeles Times contributing editor, penned the ensuing editorial for the Tuesday, July 2, 1996 Times Home Edition, Metro Section, p. B7:

Dole's Golden Chance to End the Drug War;
His libertarian tobacco philosophy should apply to legalizing narcotics

Finally, a reason to vote for Bob Dole: He will call off the war on drugs. Here at last is a leader with the insight to end a destructive drug policy that has accomplished nothing but the waste of tens of billions of dollars while leaving our nation with the highest percentage of its citizens in jail. Dole will set them free.

How do I know this? Because Dole has said it is up to the individual and not the federal government to decide whether a particular drug is good or bad. Just look at Dole's continued insistence that we don't need additional federal regulation of tobacco, even for teenagers.

First, he argued that the risks to kids from smoking were comparable to drinking milk. Then last week, ABC newsman Peter Jennings confronted Dole with a 1988 internal document in which a Phillip Morris lobbyist called the former Senate majority leader "a valuable friend and a good supporter of tobacco," and Jennings asked Dole if tobacco was addictive. Dole replied: "Some people who've tried it can quit easily, others don't quit. So I guess it's addictive to some and not to others." Exactly the point made by those who want to legalize marijuana, which clearly is less addictive than tobacco. There are more than 60 million Americans who can attest that smoking marijuana did not prove addictive for them, and that includes the current president of the United States. That figure comes from the surveys of the Drug Enforcement Administration and represents the difference between those who have tried marijuana sometime in their lives and those who currently use it.

Legalizing marijuana will allow Dole to declare victory in the drug war, since potheads make up almost 90% of the regular drug-use population.

Some will argue that all illicit drugs are too dangerous to legalize. But as a matter of consistent health policy, if Dole can't justify a war against tobacco, surely he will want to go easy on cocaine, heroin and marijuana, which together claim only one life to every 60 lost to nicotine.

Dole could confront the misplaced emphasis of the drug war because he is not one of those antidrug crusaders who is also a nicotine addict, a prime example being Bill Bennett, who, before he was reincarnated as Mr. Virtue, commanded the drug war in the Bush administration.

As former Wall Street Journal reporter Dan Baum recounts in his new book "Smoke and Mirrors, the War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure," nicotine addicts are hardly in a position to make the case against illicit drugs: "The year chain-smoking Bennett became drug czar, tobacco killed some 395,000 Americans--more than died in both world wars. Alcohol directly killed 23,000 and another 24,400 on the highways. . . . Cocaine, on the other hand, killed 3,618 that year, heroin . . . 2,743. . . . And no death from marijuana has ever been recorded."

Perhaps Dole will see through Bennett's rationale that drugs are different because drug addicts commit crimes. If cigarettes were banned and cost a fortune, you can be certain nicotine addicts would commit crimes to pay for their fix, just as alcoholics did during Prohibition. Even with alcohol being legal, it is far more closely associated with the commission of crime than are drugs. Baum points out that alcohol is used by more than half of those who commit murder, while drugs alone accounted for less than 6% of that crime.

Baum's is a provocative, well-documented book that Dole will want to incorporate in his campaign speeches. He wouldn't want to miss this chance to introduce facts to the drug debate.

It won't come from Clinton, who is so chicken on the drug issue as to be terminally opportunistic. Remember Clinton's desertion of his surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders, for daring to suggest that "we need to do some studies" on the ramifications of legalization? Only last week, he said he wants to give $1,500 a year to college students as long as they maintain a B average and pass a drug test. What if the kid pulls straight A's and fails a urine test? Do you yank his money, turn him in or congratulate him?

This is Dole's opportunity to reach out to younger voters. End the war on the young, which is what the drug war has become, and treat all substance abuse the same, as a medical problem. Those who are addicted need help. Those who aren't, don't. Isn't that the point Dole's been trying to make about tobacco? Dole will want to be consistent on this if for no other reason than to prove that he was not swayed in his judgment on the benign effects of nicotine by the $477,000 he has received from the tobacco lobby that has long considered him such a "valuable friend."

'US Funds Drug Treatment Experiment'

The Los Angeles Times
Thursday, July 4, 1996, Page A-16

By Josh Greenberg, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - Grant: Clinton administration provides $1 million to see if mandatory therapy after arrests curbs abuse. Some critics say effort is doomed

The Clinton administration Wednesday awarded the University of Alabama a $1-million grant for a novel experiment in which every person arrested in Birmingham will be tested for illicit drug use. Those who test positive will be required to attend treatment programs.

Jeremy Travis, director of the National Institute of Justice, which will administer the grant, called the Birmingham program a "quantum leap" in national drug policy.

The grant reflects the administration's emphasis on drug treatment over interdiction, and it is sure to fuel debate over whether drug treatment is effective for those who do not enter into it voluntarily.

"It's not just volunteers [in the Birmingham program]. It's not just nonviolent offenders. It isn't just prior to a court appearance and a conviction," said Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy. "Every offender that comes in gets tested and, if he's positive, he's in the program. . . . It's not a maybe. He will receive treatment."

Portland NORML notes: "Quantum leap" is right. Extended to the rest of the United States, such a new "welfare" program would cover at least 12 million recipients, and bankrupt the war on drugs in short order. Probably the $1 million seed money will be spent in administrative costs before the first urine ever hits glass, leaving Birmingham on the hook for many millions more in operating costs down the road. Of course, the vast majority of pot smokers and other illegal-drug consumers are never arrested for anything, so the experiment is based on a false assumption anyway.

'In This Drug War, The Bad Guys Won'

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 17, 1996, editorial, p. 12B:

The drug-related convictions of Manuel Noriega, former president of Panama, were once hailed by the Bush administration as a blow to powerful drug cartels.

In fact, American officials now report, the "friendly" government that replaced the deposed Noreiga isn't much better. President Ernesto Perez Balladares' administration is said to be conducting business as usual, with members of his ruling party and government involved in both money laundering and cocaine smuggling.

Actually, that's only half the bad news. The other part involves the stench surrounding the deals this government made in order to put Noreiga behind bars. He was sentenced to 40 years after being convicted of several counts of drug trafficking and racketeering. Yet, it must be said that this nation took a very questionable step and paid a heavy price when it decided to nab the leader of a sovereign government in order to make a point.

Reviewing court records and confidential prison documents, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the United States government made deals with criminals far more notorious than Noreiga. Some faced prison sentences stretching into the 22nd century. In exchange for ratting on Noreiga, most got extremely light sentences, immunity from further prosecution and relocation assistance inside the United States. Most also were allowed to keep assets obtained through drug trafficking.

Contrast those outcomes with how many Americans are treated under drug-forfeiture justice. The government usually insists on seizing everything but the kitchen sink from any American found guilty of possessing even small amounts of drugs.

Just two of the cases cited by the newspaper show a disturbing pattern of government deals. Jose Cabrera, for example, was described as a lieutenant in the old Medellin drug cartel. Facing a 133-year prison sentence, he chose to testify against Noriega. He served about five years, was put into a witness protection program and was allowed to keep his assets. Moreover, he got immunity from the IRS.

Floyd Carlton Canceres was a major in the Panamanian Air Force and owner of an air charter service that transported cocaine out of Colombia. He was looking at life with no parole plus 145 years when he testified against Noreiga.

His sentence was cut to two years, plus three years of probation. In addition, he got witness protection for himself, at least 20 members of his family and even the family baby sitter. The federal government also gave him $ 211,681 in living expenses and agreed not to seize any of his property.

The court documents make it clear that the bad guys won.



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