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December 3, 1996

Rhetoric Mounts Over Medical Marijuana Issue

December 3, 1996, Washington, D.C.: Voter-approved initiatives in California and Arizona regarding medical access to marijuana are not only garnering national headlines, but also the ire of various federal and state officials. Most recently, the initiatives were the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which federal elected officials and representatives from law enforcement reaffirmed their opposition to the notion of medical marijuana and warned of the potential for similar initiatives to crop up in other states.

"[This ballot measure] begins a road to destruction of people's lives in this country," said Sen Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), one of only three senators who attended the hearing. Kyl called the Arizona and California drug-law reform campaigns classic examples of "bait and switch" tactics and alleged that the voters in those states were "deceived" by proponents.

"The contention that the public was duped is absurd," countered Marvin S. Cohen, who testified on behalf of Arizonans for Drug Policy Reform. "Voters knew exactly what they were doing on November 5."

"Rather than accept the outcomes of the initiatives as a mandate that Americans want access to medical marijuana for the seriously ill, some elected officials on both the state and federal level are in a state of denial," charged NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "It is more convenient for them to claim that voters were somehow misled by initiative proponents rather than to acknowledge that they are out of step with their constituents. The voters of America strongly favor allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana."

Since the initiatives' passage, there has been considerable public speculation as to whether the federal government will target physicians and patients who comply with the new state laws. To date, no specific recommendations have come from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Both Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and Drug Enforcement Administrator Thomas Constantine testified that federal law prohibiting cultivation and possession of marijuana remain in full force despite the states' actions. Constantine also threatened that the federal government could "take both administrative and criminal actions against doctors who violate the terms of their DEA drug registrations that authorize them to prescribe controlled substances." However, both officials also admitted the federal government lacks the manpower to enforce the federal marijuana laws on a wide scale within the states.

The California initiative says 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." It further provides that, "Physicians shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege for recommending marijuana to a patient for medical purposes." The Act does not supersede state legislation prohibiting persons from possessing or cultivating marijuana for non-medical purposes. California voters approved the measure by a vote of 56 to 44 percent.

Proposition 200 in Arizona, known as the "Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act," is broader than California's measure and would essentially "medicalize" Arizona's drug policy. The Act calls for mandatory, court supervised treatment and probation as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent drug users and provides expanded drug treatment programs. It also permits doctors to prescribe controlled drugs such as marijuana to patients suffering from serious illnesses such as glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS. Arizonans voted in favor of the initiative by a vote of 65 to 35 percent.

Fallout from the ongoing medical marijuana debate has quickly branched out to other states. In Ohio, lawmakers have threatened to repeal a 1995 provision that provides patients with an "affirmative defense" in court if they can prove they were using marijuana under the prior written order of their physician. NORML activists in Ohio lobbied the state legislature for nearly two years on behalf of the measure which took effect on July 1, 1996. To date, no medical marijuana users have had to utilize the new law.

"If it is repealed, there is every reason to believe that the voters will get a chance to put the law back on the books in 1998, through an initiative," said Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights (AMR), which sponsored the successful Proposition 215 campaign in California. "Our group will work with local patients' rights advocates and medical groups to examine the options if repeal happens."

Northcoast NORML President John Hartman, who lobbied for the provision, is hopeful that such action will not be necessary. Currently, he is mobilizing citizens to urge legislators to keep the present law.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Chief State's Attorney John M. Bailey warned Monday that a similar referendum regarding medical access to marijuana could develop in that state as well. "People who are promoting legalizing drugs will be coming into Connecticut," he told the press in reference to the successful Arizona and California campaigns. Ironically, Connecticut already has a law on the books that allows physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from glaucoma or cancer chemotherapy. Because of apparent conflict with federal law and the fact that the state measure fails to make provisions regarding a legal supply of marijuana, the law has never been used.

"It is somewhat presumptuous for the Connecticut State Attorney General to claim that medical marijuana reformers will be coming to his state, specifically when Connecticut is one of the few states that already has a law on the books allowing physicians to prescribe marijuana." said St. Pierre. "I am unaware of any current plans by medical marijuana proponents to target Connecticut."

"The outpouring of national debate and public sympathy regarding medical marijuana since the election has been tremendous," said NORML Publications Director Paul Armentano. "The American people have spoken and our state and federal officials have an obligation to listen, not to plot against them."

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. For further information about medical marijuana initiatives, please contact Dave Fratello of Americans for Medical Rights at (310) 394-2952. For further information about Ohio's medical marijuana laws, please contact John Hartman of Northcoast NORML at (216) 521-9333.



Regional and other news - December 5, 1996

Body Count

Seventeen of the 26 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, distributed in the central metropolitan area (Dec. 5, 1996, p. 8, 3M-MP-SE). That makes the body count so far this year 354 out of 644, or 54.96 percent.

The first felon listed received 10 years simply for possession of a controlled substance. In the same paper, "Owner of gun in killing gets jail sentence" notes that "The person who shot [18-year-old Demarcus] Mitchell, Jesse A. Guerra, was sentenced Nov. 7 to nearly six years in prison for second-degree manslaughter" (p. D6), and the person who gave Guerra the gun was sentenced to 10 months.

Synopsis Of Orrin Hatch's December 2 US Senate Judiciary Hearing
On California And Arizona's Successful Medical-Marijuana Initiatives

On December 4 Mark Greer wrote:

Subject: December 2 Senate Hearing on 215/200 (long message)

Following is an outstanding synopsis of the MMJ hearings yesterday by Chuck Thomas of MPP

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

DATE: 12/3/96 5:54 PM

RE: December 2 Senate Hearing on 215/200 (long message)

Dear Friends,

Yesterday (12/2/96) the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing, "A Prescription for Addiction? The Arizona and California Medical Drug Use Initiatives" from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The posting is a synopsis of what happened.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this, but yesterday was my birthday and I just had to force myself to have fun after the hearing.

It was every bit as unbalanced as I thought it would be, with Sen. Hatch interrupting and yelling at the only pro-reform witness (out of 6 witnesses). Media coverage was extensive, with at least 20 reporters and about 8 television cameras in the hearing room. (I'm not sure how much was actually printed or aired.)

The gist of the hearing was that Hatch set out to establish the following: The initiatives are a dangerous step toward legalization, and may actually have achieved some de facto legalization. They will be a major hindrance to law enforcement and create terrible problems for the people of those states. They did not really reflect the will of the voters, but rather the voters were "duped" by the legalizers through fraudulent commercials, etc. The impetus behind this was not a legitimate grassroots effort of concerned citizens, but a few millionaires and billionaires from out of state. These same rich, legalization pushers must be stopped as they try the same thing in other states.

Before listing the highlights of the hearing, here is what I heard Hatch say to a few reporters after the hearing:

When asked if the federal government will likely take legal actual to overturn the initiatives because they contradict federal law, Hatch said, 'I don't think so.' [NOTE: Throughout this message, " " = exact quote, ' ' = near-exact quote, and no quote marks = summary in my words.] Hatch instead said that he prefers action within each state, such as overturning the initiatives with other initiatives or legislation.

The following are excerpts from the hearing, which many of you have already seen in person or on C-SPAN.

Panel I -- witnesses:

(1) "The Honorable Barry McCaffrey, Director, Office of National Drug Control Strategy, Washington, D.C.";

(2) "The Honorable Thomas A. Constantine, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C.

Sen. Hatch:

* blamed "philanthropists in drug legalization movement" using "stealth campaign"

* said hearing will answer: What states will legalizers target next?; What can be done in CA and AZ?; and, What message will this send to other countries regarding their enforcement of international drug laws?

* U.S. Attorneys' offices don't have the resources to prosecute everyone that the state will overlook

* Hatch believes in research, and will do "everything . . . in my power to devote resources to medical science."

* showed CA & AZ pro-initiative TV commercials, first criticizing that they 'focus on emotion rather than facts,' [as if this something new in political advertising -- ed.]

* called Soros the "quote -- sugar-daddy of the drug legalization movement -- unquote" [why he actually said "quote" and "unquote" is not clear -- perhaps he was quoting the Readers' Digest or something, but he made it sound like dpr advocates call him the suggar-daddy -- ed.]

* slammed Soros and other funders for not accepting Hatch's invitation to testify [NOTE: no pro-initiative doctors or patients were invited]

Senator Kyl (AZ):

* "Extraordinarily embarrassed" by the initiative outcome in his home state

* "I believe most of [the voters] were deceived"

*** kept stressing that Prop. 200 is "a lot broader than marijuana" [as if to say that perhaps he recognizes that marijuana is not as bad as other illicit drugs? -- ed.]

* the initiative "begins a road to destruction"


* blamed insufficient press coverage of the anti-initiative people

* lamented the rise of marijuana use rates among young peo.

* promoted gateway effect with bogus CASA statistics

* also called alcohol and tobacco gateway drugs

* "hoax proposition"

* "Cheech and Chong show" [I forget if this was in the hearing or in front of cameras in the hall -- ed.]

* quoted Peron as saying, "Let's hang around, get stoned, and wait for more votes."


* "not local grassroots effort by concerned citizens," but of national legalization movement

* "every single chief of police" in the U.S. signed a resolution against the initiatives

* Why the DEA opposes med mj: (1) it was rejected by all major national medical associations, (2) it is smoked, (3) no medical studies established its medical efficacy

* "sponsors sit in luxury"

* "can't think of more mixed message to teenagers" than med mj

* rattled off huge list of Rangel-esque questions regarding the ramifications of the med mj initiative, esp. to law enforcement (e.g., 'what if a highway cop stops a little league coach with four blunts in the ashtray and a car full of kids, and the coach tells the cop he has an oral recommendation from his doctor?')

First panel Q & A:

*** Hatch: What will happen in other states?

McC: CO, HI, & TX have pending initiatives, but otherwise the CA pro-initiative people renamed themselves as a 'national committee'

* H: What are the main organizations behind these efforts?

McC: didn't name any by name, but said he'd submit a list for the record

* H: Is intent of organizers only on helping the gravely ill?

McC: No [He's a mind-reader! He can testify as to the intent of other people and organizations, which he couldn't even name for some reason in response to the previous question !?! -- ed.]

* H: What about THC pill?

McC: Not used very often because it's not as good as other medicine. Using smoked marijuana as medicine is "preposterous"

* Sen. Kyl: How will McC deal with prop's in other states?

McC: Babbled aimlessly, but didn't really answer question. Said they'd monitor data in CA and AZ regarding teen drug use, people operating machinery on drugs, etc. [NOTE: After the conference, Hatch slammed the Clinton administration for not having a concrete plan to defeat init's in other states or deal with the CA & AZ situations.]

* Kyl: Why didn't Clinton sign resolution against 215 that was signed by Bush, Carter, and Ford? [all re-election losers -- ed.]

McC: Because Clinton and Dole both opposed 215, so there was no need to make it a presidential election issue

* Hatch: How will fed laws be enforced?

Constantine: It will be difficult for the users, but for doctors, there may be action taken against their licenses. Possible grand jury investigations of doctors writing large numbers of recommendations for the motive of personal profit

* Hatch: Who was responsible for these initiatives?

Const.: Soros-funded foundations. Said use of terms "harm reduction" and "medicalization" are shams.

* H: Are initiative efforts underway in other states?

Const.: Only "self-proclamations" by CA organizers with no specific states known [NOTE: I hope they're unpleasantly surprised by the activity emerging in state legislatures! -- ed.]

* Kyl: Will the DEA enforce federal laws in AZ & CA?

Const.: talked about broader efforts and enforcement against large amounts

*** Kyl: urged Const. to consider more widespread federal enforcement, perhaps of smaller amounts than the DEA usually targets, and also hinted at getting the DEA more money to pick up the slack

* Sen. DeWine (R-OH): What is the status of DEA's research into how state law may be trumped by federal law?

Const.: DEA is almost done reviewing the issue. The big question is can state enforcers make arrests and turn over the person to federal prosecutors? So far, it look like they can NOT. But state enforcers probably can seize the contraband.

* Hatch requested a DEA memo on federal policy options "by the first of they year," as well as efforts to repeal state laws.

Panel II -- witnesses:

(1) "Mr. John Walters, President, New Citizenship Project, Washington, D.C." [NOTE: This is a rabidly prohibitionist organization, which even opposes medicinal marijuana research!];

(2) "Mr. Richard M. Romley, Maricopa County Attorney, Phoenix, Arizona" [NOTE: An anti-200 prosecutor];

(3) "Mr. Brad Gates, Orange County Sheriff, Santa Ana, California" [NOTE: Major anti-215 campaigner]; and

(4) "Marvin Cohen, Treasurer, Arizonans For Drug Policy Reform, Phoenix, AZ." [NOTE: The only "good guy" to testify all day, conveniently placed at the end when a majority of the media have already left.]


* submitted list of all funders of initiatives

* said, "Where's the president?!?," slamming Clinton for not doing more, like 'calling the funders into the White House, explaining why this is bad for the country, and asking them to cease and desist.'

* slammed McC for 'not having a plan' to override the initiatives

* "Prevent the body count in California"

* typical rhetoric about how initiatives will increase teen use, accidents, etc.


* federal law prohibits prescription of Schedule I drugs, and all major medical associations oppose medical use of these drugs

* "Consider the message that we send to other countries" re: drug law enforcement

* said AZ initiative was not needed because violent offenders already must serve "most" of their sentence and treatment is an option for 'many' non-violent drug offenders [NOTE: AZ initiative requires ALL violent offenders to serve their full sentences, and MANDATES treatment, INSTEAD of prison for first-time, non-violent drug offenders -- so the initiative was necessary, in addition to the medicinal aspects]

* Made five recommendations:

(1) agressive prosecution of doctors and patients who violate federal law

(2) specific request by DEA to state enforcers to seize contraband

(3) consider federal legal challenges to new CA & AZ laws

(4) develop national strategy against legalization efforts

(5) establish an info clearing house [on what, was not clear -- ed.]


* typical rhetoric heard throughout 215 campaign

* '75% of the 215 funding came from out of state'

* more Rangel-esque questions about ramifications of new laws

* CA attorneys say 215 is in direct conflict with federal law

*** CA legislature cannot close loopholes, only another initiative can

****** There's an FDA code prohibiting written recommendations, as well as prescriptions [NOTE: I didn't get this whole part -- Did anyone else get the reference from C-SPAN? Someone should look this up ASAP and get to CA lawyers.]


* "AZ voters knew exactly what they were doing on November 5"

* Cohen did an excellent job of forcefully defending AZ initiative and the integrity of the campaign

* described the process of researching the wording of the initiative -- polls, focus groups, etc. -- to "enable voters [to change the laws according to] what they already believed"

*** Hatch interrupted Cohen's reading of an AZ poll question when Cohen read, "Schedule I controlled substances, such as marijuana." Hatch said, 'What about drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, [etc.],' "that are killing our kids?" [Hatch argued with Cohen for several minutes about one question in one poll, which gave one example instead of every example. He clearly was struggling to find something to get excited about. Interestingly, this implies that Hatch at least recognizes that marijuana is not as dangerous as other Schedule I drugs, and perhaps that marijuana is not "killing our kids." -- ed.]

* Cohen defended position very well, and when talking about marijuana, kept refering to Judge Francis Young's 1988 decision that marijuana is "one of safest therapeutically active substances known."

* attacked federal focus on enforcement and incarceration, which the AZ voters rejected

Panel II Q&A:

* More of same old garbage, with Hatch and Kyl grandstanding against any and every facet of reform, and giving the prohibitionist witnesses opportunities to blame legalizers and big money and complain about the problems the initiatives will cause. For example,

Walters: viciously attacked Cohen, prop 200, legalizers, etc.

Romley: said that treatment experts assert that threat of punishment is a fundamental component for treatment

Gates: attacked DPF through Fratello link to CA and funding link to AZ, and said "we need to [look at funding] to get to the real goal of [who is behind the initiatives."

*** Hatch used a MAPS newsletter to show that there is some psychedelic research being conducted, arguing that this will give some "pot-head doctors" grounds to prescribe LSD, etc., under the provisions of the AZ initiative. Hatch said, "I'm not saying that these studies shouldn't be made," but that the AZ initiative wording is dangerous because it may allow doctors to prescribe drugs based on the mere existence of a few studies.

*** For a large part of the Q&A, Cohen was under attack by two senators and three witnesses simultaneously. It was very ugly, and by the end, only a half-dozen or so reporters remained.

******* Hatch said that he'll have to have more hearings, and compel Soros, Sperling, and other funders to testify!!!

*** After the hearing, I gave Hatch a brochure explaining how research is being thwarted by the federal government, and asked him to invite patients and doctors to testify next time. He said that doctors were invited. In front of the reporters, I said that I know that no pro-215/200 doctors were invited, to which he replied that he doesn't care about patients' testimony, just "researchers." [What b.s., considering there were no researchers from either side at the hearing.] I gave him my card and told him that I can put him in touch with doctors, patients, researchers, and anyone else who were the real impetus behind the initiative.

That's all, folks!

Chuck Thomas
Director of Communications
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

Teen Who Informed Police About Parents' Use Of Cannabis
Sues City Of Searsport, Maine, For Rights Violation

Dallas Morning News, November 30, 1996


(From Wire Service Reports)

SEARSPORT, Maine -- A teenager says her rights were violated when police used her as an informant against her marijuana-smoking parents. Crystal Grendell, 17, contends in a lawsuit that she was assured that her parents would not be arrested when she turned them in six years ago through a school drug-education program. Drug agents raided her home and arrested her parents, Preston and Gail Grendell, on charges of cultivating marijuana. Mr. Grendell pleaded guilty and received a 90-day suspended sentence; Mrs. Grendell's charges were dismissed. Crystal and her mother sued the town and the police chief in U.S. District Court in Bangor this week, seeking unspecified damages. Crystal still feels guilty, said the family's lawyer, Jed Davis, and Mrs. Grendell lost her job as a result of the investigation. Town Manager Fred Breslin declined to comment on the lawsuit.

'Fed Dope Bureau Censors Drug Info'

Confident that the end justifies the means, the government has been lying, dissembling and distorting the record since Day One in its war on some drugs. When the Marijuana Tax Act instituted federal pot prohibition in 1937, only two questions were asked on the House floor: "What is this bill about?" The answer given by the Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, was, "I don't know - it's about something called marijuana - I think it's a narcotic or something." And, "What is the AMA's position?" The answer given by one of the subcommittee members (who later became a Supreme Court Justice) was, "They're behind us 100 percent." (The AMA's letter of protest against the tax act is posted at

To help show how institutionalized this sort of chicanery has become for the drug warriors, Portland NORML has posted the High Times article of April (you guessed it) 1984 in its Web pages at Why would so-called public servants resort to such tactics? William Mayer of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration said the purge of 1970s NIDA titles had to be undertaken because back then there existed "people who worked for NIDA who were actually advocating normalizations involved with marijuana laws."

US Government Now Grows, Gives Away Cannabis To Eight Medical-Marijuana Patients

"Spotlight Hits Quiet Program to Supply Marijuana as Medicine"
The New York Times, December 1, 1996

The passage of voter initiatives in California and Arizona allowing the medical use of marijuana has caused renewed interest in a little-known government program at the University of Mississippi that supplies marijuana for medicinal purposes to eight people across the country.

"There has definitely been more public attention to medical marijuana," said Allen St. Pierre, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "But the increased attention has been bittersweet because there has been so much misinformation on the subject. We get so many calls when people hear of the program and want to know how they can apply or how it can be legal for eight and not for others."

Under contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse for 26 years, the University of Mississippi has grown marijuana for the eight patients and for research. It is the only legal marijuana plot in the country.

And 20 years ago, the university began supplying a select group of patients with marijuana under a separate program, overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, to provide "compassionate care" to relieve symptoms from diseases like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma and rare genetic diseases. Even though federal law classifies marijuana as an illegal narcotic with no recognized therapeutic value, the university's garden today supplies the eight patients with up to 300 marijuana cigarettes a month.

Created in 1976 when Robert Randall, a glaucoma patient, won a court ruling in Washington that marijuana was a medical necessity for his condition, the program stopped taking new patients in 1992 when the Department of Health and Human Services began its official policy of disavowing marijuana as a legitimate form of treatment.

Five of the original 13 patients have subsequently died.

One of those patients, Corinne Millet, a 65-year-old woman who has glaucoma, believes smoking marijuana saved her sight. After two operations and "trying every drop on the market," Ms. Millet was told there was nothing more that could prevent her from going blind. Ms. Millet believes that prognosis was nullified on Oct. 14, 1989, when she was accepted into the federal program that provides her with five marijuana cigarettes a day along with, she says, her sight.

Although the new state laws allow doctors to prescribe marijuana in Arizona and recommend it in California, federal law makes it illegal for patients to get it. By federal definition, marijuana is a controlled substance with high potential for abuse and no medical value. Proponents of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes argue that this classification seems illogical when forms of cocaine and morphine are listed as drugs that can be prescribed despite the risk of abuse.

But the very existence of the compassionate-care program contradicts Federal policy and puts the Food and Drug Administration in an "awkward position," said Don McLearn, a spokesman for the agency. Despite its name, the Compassionate Investigative New Drug program, known as compassionate IND, is not a research study with any goals of evaluating the medicinal value of smoking marijuana.

"It is not a clinical trial," McLearn said. "There was never any intent of using reports from the compassionate IND's to reach approval for the drug."

In fact, the reports submitted regularly by the participants' doctors are used only to evaluate whether to keep them in the program. The reports have no effect on a policy that discounts the medical value of smoking marijuana, McLearn said.

The compassionate-care program exists today because of the FDA's "longstanding policy" to keep an individual in an investigative drug program "as long as they and their doctors think they're benefiting," McLearn said.

Advocates of medicinal marijuana wonder why the government has not used this copious information.

Washington State Medical Marijuana Study Nears End

"Limiting Legalized Marijuana - McCaslin Pushed WSU Study In Case Medicinal Use OK'd"

The Spokesman-Review, [Spokane, Wash.], Dec. 1, 1996, p. B1
by Rich Roesler, Staff writer

PULLMAN - If Washington ever follows the lead of California and Arizona, legalizing marijuana as medicine, how could the drug be kept out of the hands of the healthy who just want to get high?

That's the focus of a nine-month study, commissioned by the state Legislature, at Washington State University.

The bill was co-sponsored by conservative Sen. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane, a 70-year-old legislator whose wife, Wanda, died in 1995 from cancer.

The $70,000 study, which will be complete in about six weeks, will likely suggest the state try to ease federal restrictions on marijuana research.

I really don't know if it will benefit any of them (sick people). We need to know more," said Mahmoud Abdel-Monem, dean of WSU's College of Pharmacy, which is doing the research.

"There have been some studies in the past, but none of them have been conclusive."

The study will also include specific plans for growing marijuana in Washington, if lawmakers decide they want to go that far. Researchers suggest a five-acre farm, costing $1.5 million, with guard towers and double fences to guard the crop. It would cost about $500,000 per year to guard the marijuana and track it to prevent misuse.

Some studies suggest marijuana eases the pain and nausea from cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatment, as well as AIDS. The drug is also believed to be helpful in treating glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

The only federally approved marijuana farm in the nation is a five-acre plot at the University of Mississippi, where researchers have grown the bushy plant for nearly three decades. The farm, run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, supplies marijuana cigarettes to a handful of sick people. It once supplied marijuana for medical research. That stopped four years ago for political reasons, according to Abdel-Monem.

He said researchers, although they can get approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency to do marijuana research, cannot legally get marijuana. The same is true in California and Arizona. On Nov. 5, voters there approved [initiatives] allowing chronically or terminally ill people to use the drug. But growing or possessing marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

It's a so-called Schedule 1 drug, classified as having no medical use and having a high potential for abuse. LSD and heroin are also Schedule I drugs. The new laws in California and Arizona stipulate that a doctor must recommend or prescribe the marijuana. In the wake of the vote, some ill people are reportedly forming clubs and selecting a member to grow the marijuana.

Pharmaceutical companies have developed a synthetic form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. But since the THC is partially filtered out by the liver, it's not as effective as smoking, injecting or absorbing the drug through a membrane under the tongue, Abdel-Monem said.

One possible way to minimize misuse of medical marijuana would be to provide it in suppository form, he said. "That's not going to be viewed as a recreational use," he predicted.

WSU's study has been limited mainly to studying literature and interviewing legal marijuana farmers in Mississippi and the Netherlands. Since this issue is so highly charged, the final step in the study will be a panel discussion between marijuana proponents and foes.

"There are very strong advocates on both sides of the aisle," Abdel-Monem said.

Word of the research has also triggered many calls to the College of Pharmacy, he said. "I'm trying to keep a low profile. When this first came out, I was getting at least a dozen calls a day from people wanting to know if they could get marijuana," said Abdel-Monem." "A guy was growing it in his basement and wanted to know if I wanted to use it."

He said no.

Orange County Sheriff Vows To Turn Over Patients, Doctors For DEA Prosecution

Official to Keep Fighting New Marijuana Law
The Los Angeles Times, Dec. 2, 1996
By Eric Bailey, Times Staff Writer

Police: Orange County sheriff vows to turn over anyone citing Proposition 215 as a legal defense to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

SACRAMENTO - Pot as medicine may now be the law in California, but that doesn't mean Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates has to like it.

Gates was a statewide leader in fighting the state's new medical marijuana law, approved by voters as Proposition 215 on Nov. 5. Now he is trying to make it as tough as possible to use medical cannabis under the new state rules.

His chief ally is federal law.

Proposition 215 legalized marijuana for medical use in California. but growing or possessing marijuana remains illegal under U.S. statutes. So Gates plans to make sure anyone attempting to use Proposition 215 as a legal defense is handed over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

In effect, local law officers such as Gates would be doing the police work for federal drug officials, who have the law on their side but lack the officers to make widespread arrests. "We're obviously going to provide the name of any doctor involved with marijuana to federal drug agents," Gates said. "It will be local law enforcement's responsibility."

But it remains to be seen whether the federal government will take an active role in such a scenario.

Federal officials such as drug czar Barry McCaffrey have talked tough, but have yet to offer concrete plans to deal with new medical marijuana laws in California and Arizona. They say to stay tuned, that they will unwrap their plans as early as the end of the week.

"We're still in a process of reviewing the initiatives and options that are out there," said Gregory King, a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno. "The attorney general has made it clear that federal law still applies, and that prosecutorial decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis." ...

Lungren is not confident that the federal government will become an active player in policing small-scale violations of U.S. marijuana laws.

"When I hear things [from federal officials] like, 'Well, we want to make sure this doesn't happen in other states,' it almost sounds like some people are saying, 'There's nothing we can do about California, let's protect the rest of the country.'"

Federal drug officials normally do not become involved in marijuana cases unless a substantial amount - typically in the kilograms - is involved. But with the passage of Proposition 215, Lungren said, "they have a different scenario, a different reality now" to deal with.

He said it remains unclear whether a doctor's federal license to dispense drugs might be put in jeopardy by recommending the use of marijuana to a patient.

Proposition 215 was written so doctors could simply make a recommendation - and not prescribe marijuana - thus circumventing federal rules. Lungren questioned whether a recommendation might be found "legally tantamount" to a prescription.

Jack Lewin, California Medical Assn. chief executive, said he remains hopeful that a constructive solution can be reached with federal officials to ease any threat to doctors.

He estimates that 300 to 400 physicians in the state are interested in medical marijuana. Lewin has suggested to the federal government that a research project be initiated to provide marijuana for patients.

Lewin said such a study would free physicians and patients of any threat and perhaps settle the long dispute over marijuana's medical effectiveness.

"We may just find out that medical marijuana isn't everything that people think it will be," Lewin said. "We certainly need to be unafraid to look at this objectively. The politicization of marijuana has almost made our nation afraid to find out if it has some therapeutic value."

Backers of medical marijuana, meanwhile, doubt that the federal government has the officers or political willpower to step in and arrest physicians and sick people who use marijuana.

"Sheriff Gates is not going to succeed in getting federal officials to come after California doctors," said Bill Zimmerman, who directed the pro-Proposition 215 campaign.

"Politically it's not viable. Nothing would unite organized medicine more than having a couple doctors arrested. You'd quickly have a couple hundred more doctors standing up and saying, 'OK, arrest me too.' No government could stand up to that."

Zimmerman suggests that the new law's biggest threat isn't from law enforcement, but rather from one of Proposition 215's most ardent supporters--Dennis Peron, the impassioned founder of the now-closed San Francisco Cannabis Buyer's Club.

Peron, who was among those arrested by state drug agents in August when they raided the controversial emporium, has aggressively pushed for widespread distribution of medicinal marijuana in the weeks since the measure was approved.

He has worked to set up a new sort of buyer's club, the San Francisco Caregiver Cultivation Co-op, sporting a written pledge to provide "the highest standards of cultivation," low prices, lawyers "should you be arrested," and ready availability of "plants, clones and seeds."

Peron also suggested in a recent interview that marijuana is a superb stress reliever and thus "all marijuana use is medical."

Zimmerman said such talk damages the credibility of the medical marijuana movement and could trigger a backlash.

"We have much more to fear from Peron right now than we do the police," Zimmerman said. "While he's arguing for the broadest interpretation of the law possible, we feel it should be kept narrow."

Other medical marijuana advocates are likewise testing the limits of the law.

In Berkeley, a pro-marijuana group began marketing medicinal marijuana on the Internet after Proposition 215 passed. Gates said an unidentified man walked into a United Parcel Service office in Orange County and tried to ship 10 pounds of marijuana to a friend alleging medical need.

Zimmerman is concerned about how such excesses will play on the national stage.

Although dozens of state legislatures have passed bills supporting medical marijuana, many of those are nonbinding resolutions that have not been tested in the courts.

Zimmerman's group wants to sponsor initiatives in about a dozen states in 1998. He doesn't want the effort to stumble in California before it even gets out of the gate.

Peron was out of the state and unavailable for comment, but an ally said his actions spring from a compassionate belief that marijuana can provide relief from a broad range of ailments, among them the nausea caused by chemotherapy, AIDS wasting syndrome and increases in eye pressure prompted by glaucoma.

"I don't think Dennis is making any statements without forethought," said Jeffrey Reed, outreach coordinator for Californians for Compassionate Use and a registered nurse who has AIDS. "There are so many benefits from medical marijuana that have yet to be discovered. We shouldn't put on restrictions early on."

Such differences between the two camps in California's medical marijuana movement are nothing new.

Peron was one of the authors of the measure, but when efforts to put it on the ballot flagged, he was pushed aside. Wealthy benefactors hired Zimmerman and created their own group to boost the measure Peron wrote.

Now that it has been approved, Zimmerman and others want to plug loopholes in the new law. His group is already working with state legislators to draft a bill clarifying ambiguities left by Proposition 215.

Changes they hope to make include ensuring that a minor could only have marijuana recommended for an ailment with parental permission.

Zimmerman also wants the law to more clearly specify that a recommendation for marijuana may be made only by a licensed physician, and that doctors should be required to closely monitor patients using the drug.

One issue Zimmerman doesn't want tinkered with is the measure's lack of limits on cultivation and consumption. "Personal use is ambiguous," he said, "but so are patients' needs."

10th Amendment Safeguards Proposition 215

"Anyone who wanted marijuana would get it even without 215"

The San Diego Union-Tribune, Nov. 29, 1996

Do you really believe that anyone in this state who wants to smoke pot isn't doing so already? Is someone going to seriously tell me that, if Proposition 215 had failed, there would be a 16-year-old somewhere telling his buddies, "Hey, man, I dunno, maybe we shouldn't - ya know, that medical marijuana thing didn't pass."

A couple of the things that make me glad to be a Republican are, first, we still believe in individual liberty and we trust that citizens, in the long run, are far wiser than any autocratic oligarchy. Second, we think there is a little matter of the 10th Amendment, which reserves those powers not specifically assigned to the federal government, for the states.

The people of this state, across a broad political spectrum, have deliberated this issue and made their decision.

Peter J. McMullen
San Diego

[This is an opportune time to mention that, for various reasons, Portland NORML has posted the complete text of the U.S. Constitution at Most other online versions of the Constitution are broken up into multiple pages, but Portland NORML's version takes up just one page, amendments and all. However, thanks to the wonders of html, a link can be created for each section and article. For example, to go directly to the 10th Amendment point your browser to]

Scott Imler Of Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club Urges Bong Boycott

The Associated Press, circa December 3, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A health advisory warning on the dangers of smoking marijuana in bongs came from an unusual source: the Cannabis Buyers' Club.

The club urged members to stick to tried-and-true joints, saying smoking marijuana through bongs, or water pipes, leaves harmful tar and tends to remove medically useful chemicals -- also the chemicals that get smokers high.

``We urge all medical marijuana users to boycott these devices as a simple matter of economy and harm reduction,'' said Scott Imler, the club's director.

California voters last month approved the use of marijuana for medical reasons, opening up a new legal market for the drug. The club only sells to patients with a prescription.

But it felt compelled to issue the warning Thursday in response to a Los Angeles Times article on the recent boom in the marijuana paraphernalia trade -- particularly bongs.

Judging from seizures, there's plenty of stuff to puff. Through the first six months of 1996, Los Angeles police seized nearly 30,000 pounds of marijuana, 20 percent more than in all of 1995.

And paraphernalia dealers are trying to capitalize on that demand by going upscale, marketing pipes on the Internet, on cable TV and in arty coffee shops. It's illegal, but police say they would rather catch cocaine or heroin dealers.

Many pipe shops use tongue-in-cheek warnings on the bongs to steer clear of the law.

``They can say, `Not for use with narcotics' or `For use with tobacco' and they skirt the issue. They beat the law,'' said Lt. Bernie Larralde of the police narcotics unit.

Others are more brazen.

``Can't we all get a bong?'' Craig Rubens asks in a cable commercial for his 2000 B.C. shop, parodying a line made famous by Rodney King.

Noriega Will Get To Appeal Case Wednesday

ATLANTA (Dec 3, 1996 8:36 p.m. EST) -- Manuel Noriega might be free today if the deposed Panamanian leader had been allowed to tell jurors how he earned $10 million working as a CIA informant, a defense lawyer said Tuesday.

By doing so, Noriega could have refuted allegations that he hoarded drug money, another of his lawyers said on the eve of an appeals court hearing to argue that his 1992 conviction should be thrown out. Noriega is serving a 40-year prison sentence for protecting drug shipments.

Noriega's lawyers claim that his payments from the CIA, where he was on the payroll as an informant during the 1980s, were much higher than the agency acknowledged.

Barred from revealing classified information regarding his back-door dealings with the U.S. government, Noriega couldn't explain to jurors why he would have received unrecorded payments, they said.

"If he couldn't discuss those things, what was he going to get up there and say?" said defense attorney Frank Rubino. "His defense was that he'd worked with the United States government, what he'd been paid by them to do and what he did for them."

Noriega was convicted in April 1992. He did not testify during his trial, and he will not appear Wednesday when his lawyers present their arguments before a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Part of the hearing, dealing with classified issues, will be heard behind closed doors.

Government records show Noriega was paid only about $800,000, according to prosecutors, who emphasized Noriega's unexplained wealth after the defense was barred from telling jurors the spy funds totaled much more than that.

Government lawyers have argued that Noriega was not precluded from testifying, but only from disclosing government secrets.

Defense attorney Jon May said the jury also should have heard that prosecutors had agreed to shorten the prison sentence of a Cali cartel kingpin's half-brother if the cartel provided a witness against Noriega.

That witness was in turn paid a $1.25 million bribe by a Cali cartel kingpin for testifying against Noriega, who was convicted of dealing with the rival Medellin cartel, May said.

"The government had almost no evidence to corroborate the testimony of their witnesses," May said. "Their case was very much subject to attack on the grounds that they had made fire-sale deals with their witnesses."

Wilfredo Fernandez, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Miami, declined to comment Wednesday. But prosecutors have said they didn't know of the bribe during the trial and contend the sentencing deal was a minor defect that wouldn't have changed the jury's verdict.

Noriega was taken into U.S. custody in 1990 after he surrendered to U.S. troops who had invaded Panama. The invasion occurred after Noriega was indicted on federal drug trafficking charges in Miami in 1989.

Ibogaine - The End Of Addiction

River North News, Chicago, October 5, 1996 "From Post - Ibogaine - the End of Addiction"
By Richard A. Webster

"His brain was working overtime," said Deborah Mash, a University of Miami neuroscientist. "He was viewing his past as a detached participant, observing where he went wrong, reintegrating it. He didn't want to speak or be interrupted. I spoke to him but didn't want to be intrusive."

Mash is the head of FDA-approved human testing of the drug Ibogaine, a supposed cure for addiction to heroin, cocaine, methadone, alcohol and tobacco to name just a few substances.

It is only the second psychoactive drug, MDMA being the first, to get the green light on the road to FDA approval, according to an article written by Nina L. Diamond.

According to the International Coalition for Addict Self-Help, Ibogaine eliminates the toxic effects of drug abuse, withdrawal symptoms and the craving to seek and use drugs, permitting the addict a rapid, pain-free detox.

"A negative bias has evolved surrounding the use of psychoactive drugs because of recreational uses of substances like LSD," said Lee Hearn, a laboratory director of the Metro-Dade Medical Examiner's Department and a member of Mash's team. "It's a mistake to label them as bad because they're mind active. Maybe Ibogaine will change some misperceptions and open the door to research with psychoactive drugs."

Ibogaine is derived from the Eboga plant, which was discovered 3,000 years ago in the forests of Africa. According to an article by Brother Shine, Rommel Washington and Raquel S. Rogers, it is used as a sacrament in the only growing black African religion: Bwiti of the Replublic of Gabon.

"Gabon is to Africa what Tibet is to Asia," said Dr. Bureau, a noted French researcher, "the spiritual center of religious initiation."

Tribes used the plant in small dosages for alertness while on the hunt and in bigger dosages during sacred rituals, but in the early 1900s, the French recommended it as a treatment for heart and nervous conditions.

The research of Ibogaine marched on and into the United States where, in Lexington, Ky., Dr. Harris Ibell of the Federal Narcotics Hospital, under CIA contract, gave eight morphine addicts doses and requested additional supplies, but all his work and information mysteriously vanished into the Department of Defense or CIA files.

In the 1970s, psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo and psychologist Leo Zeff treated more than 700 patients with Ibogaine and determined it to be "the most valuable drug they had ever used in the treatment of psychiatric disease."

"(Ibogaine) may be used to reprogram an addict's life," said Hearn. "Anecdotal reports indicate that while on Ibogaine, he or she is detached from childhood recollections, but is reexamining, coming to grips with it, perhaps understanding it for the first time. All neuroses are potentially solvable this way. Drug addiction is an illness of the spirit. If you're going to cure it, you have to do so at that level."

"I call (Ibogaine) a chemical bar mitzvah," adds Mash. "It's a psychoactive drug, but not a hallucinogen like LSD. It puts you into a thirty-six hour waking dream state. During this altered state of consciousness, you relive your childhood experiences, get to the root of your addictions."

In the 1960s, a middle-class junkie who had been experimenting with all forms of narcotics was given a dose of Ibogaine. Cured of his addiction for a period of time, he administered the drug to several of his addict-friends -- five of seven stopped their use of heroin or cocaine for almost six months -- this from only one dose. He received several doses, stayed clean for 3-1/2 years -- he became readdicted, but through his past usage of Ibogaine he better understood his addiction, detoxed and went on to live a clean life.

"We don't understand craving, although it's tied to relapse," said Mash. "An addict will tell you it's triggered by certain clues. We think it's similar to classic conditioning.

"The International Coalition for Addict Self-Help ran underground testing on Ibogaine," said Mash, "and it was found to cure addiction to heroin, cocaine and other substances."

In 1993, after much resistance, the Food and Drug Administration gave Drs. Mash, Glick, Broderick, Dzolijic and Sanchez-Ramos of the University of Miami approval to begin human studies with Ibogaine. "Right now, we don't have any other candidate that looks as good as Ibogaine," said Dr. Curtis Wright of the FDA.

However, "the National Institute in Drug Abuse (won't give) any grants to researchers whose work would demonstrate that Ibogaine was effective and refused to make financial grants or contracts available to the Miami research group for the hospital studies. The NIDA old boys' networks didn't want any part of the 'not invented here' Ibogaine."

But Ibogaine is too important to overlook -- besides curing addiction, which every politician swears he wants to do, it would slow the spread of AIDS by reducing the amount of injection-drug users.

And the down side to Ibogaine is minimal -- side effects include mild intaxia (inability to coordinate voluntary bodily movements), nausea and dizziness, along with visual and auditory distortions -- but these last for only a few hours, abate and do not recur. Ibogaine is not a narcotic or habit-forming. "I've found that most people who work in the therapeutic community tend to back away when they hear the word

"Ibogaine," said Brother Shine, a representative of the African Descendants' Awareness Movement. "This is because most people have been misinformed about Ibogaine, if they know anything about it at all. Many people think we are saying that Ibogaine is a magic bullet, a cure-all; when what we believe is that when a person is treated with Ibogaine they really need a good therapeutic counselor. Anyone can stop using, but if they don't change their life-style, if they are not resocialized, it will just be a matter of time before they resume usage."

Drugs have become a major issue -- Bob Dole laughably claims he will reduce drug use by 50 percent if he is elected president. He will wave big guns at people and they will be scared and toss their naughty cocaine into the ocean.

The fact is there is a cure for drug addiction -- it is not building hundreds of prisons or bull-whipping crack heads -- it is Ibogaine. And until the rat-politicians put aside their career-furthering goals and simple-minded Puritan beliefs, it will never see the light of day.

For information on Ibogaine call (212) 340-1196 and do what you can for the millions of people desperately in need of salvation from the horrors of their everyday lives.

[Portland NORML notes - For more information go to the World Wide Web sites for Cures Not Wars, a New York harm-reduction organization, or The Ibogaine Dossier.]

Marijuana Club

'Drug Smugglers Frustrate Interpol Sleuths'

DOHA (Reuter, Nov. 29, 1996) - New ways of smuggling drugs are frustrating Interpol, the international police organisation which spends more than half its time and resources waging war on the illegal drugs trade and organised crime.

"Despite some successful efforts by our member countries and unprecedented inter-governmental cooperation, the problem of drug trafficking continues to pose new and complicated challenges in several regions," said Raymond Kendall, Interpol secretary general.

Kendall, a former British police officer, told a recent anti-drugs conference in the Qatari capital Doha that the problem was changing dimension.

"Interpol spends over 60 percent of its time and resources fighting drug trafficking and the rest is divided between combating international organised crime, terrorism, economic crime and trafficking in stolen vehicles, works of art, human beings, guns and other weapons and more recently, but to a limited extent, nuclear products," Kendall said.

"We are living in a time when the trade in illegal drugs is estimated to be second only to the international arms trade, in financial terms, with annual turnover of $500 billion," he added.

In 1995, law enforcement authorities throughout the world seized thousands of kilogrammes of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and psychotropic substances.

Yet the operations and methods of drug smuggling and dealing in drugs are becoming more determined, complex and sophisticated and the trafficking has defied all boundary lines, says an Interpol document.

Heroin abuse is becoming more widespread worldwide with the increased production of opium in source areas in Asia, and with transit routes from southeast Asia to North America and from southwest Asia through the Balkans to Europe.

Increased trafficking in cocaine is no longer linked solely to the multi-billion-dollar North American market or Colombian drug cartels. Sizeable quantities are being shipped to Europe and most other parts of the world.

Despite intensified drugs law enforcement activities, including eradication of cannabis cultivation, multi-tonne consignments of cannabis resin continue to be shipped from several countries in Asia, Africa and South America to the consumer markets in the Western hemisphere.

The illicit manufacture and abuse of psychotropic substances is also on the rise in most parts of the world. They include such substances as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and methamphetamine, with the latter also being produced in the more potent crystalline form known as "Ice."

Amphetamine analogs referred to as designer drugs have become very popular among young people, particularly in Europe and the United States. A matter of concern with regard to psychotropic substances is that legally-produced material finds its way to the illicit drug markets.

Interpol views Afghanistan as the largest single producer country of illicit opiate drugs - heroin, cocaine and morphine. Intelligence reports show that in 1996 Afghanistan harvested close to 4,500 tonnes of opium.

Extensive illicit cultivation was carried out in Helmad, Nimroz, Nangahar, Kandahar and Badkhashan provinces.

Pakistan estimates its current annual opium production at around 120 tonnes. The government has taken steps to restrict cultivation in the North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, but the remoteness of the mountainous area combined with manpower restraints make law enforcement difficult.

Other producing areas which worry Interpol authorities include Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, and Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Bolivia in Central America.

'Iowa Group Studying Industrial Hemp As Crop'

"A Farm Bureau resolution supports research of the crop, which was widely grown in Iowa before being outlawed in 1937."

The Des Moines Register, Dec. 4, 1996, p. 10S
By Jerry Perkins, Register Farm Editor

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation wants to look into adding industrial hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant, into Iowa's crop rotation.

On Tuesday, Farm Bureau delegates meeting in Des Moines voiced tentative approval of a resolution supporting research of industrial hemp, which was widely grown in Iowa before a 1937 federal law outlawed its cultivation.

Industrial hemp has much less of the psychoactive chemical THC than its cousin in the cannabis family known as marijuana, said Bondurant farmer Tom Towers, who introduced the resolution Tuesday.

"This is not the kind of hemp you smoke, folks," Towers said in introducing the resolution. "We know marijuana isn't such a hot item, but industrial hemp has had the hallucinogens removed so you can inhale it if you want."

Bill Horan, a Calhoun County farmer, said the American Farm Bureau Federation approved a similar resolution at its annual meeting last January.

"We want Iowa State University to get started doing the research," Horan said. "In 1937, when hemp was outlawed, all the seedstock and germplasm was destroyed."

Other countries, most notably Germany, are far ahead of the United States in growing hemp for industrial uses, Horan said, and other states have research projects going.

"We need to catch up," he said.

Industrial hemp is worth looking into as a possible way to diversify agriculture and add another cash crop to Iowa's Big Two crops of corn and soybeans.

"We may be on to a legitimate third crop here," Horan said. Horan said the United States used to grow a lot of hemp for industrial use.

The Declaration of Independence was written on paper made from hemp, he said, and Henry Ford made a car body out of soybeans and hemp.

Paper made from hemp can last 1,500 years, he said, while paper from wood pulp lasts just 25 years.

The Farm Bureau resolution was promoted by Roger Gipple of Des Moines, who owns farmland and is a member of several farm and environmental organizations.

Gipple said industrial hemp can be grown without pesticides, unlike cotton, and is better for the environment.

"As environmentalists, we've prohibited farmers from doing so many things," Gipple said. "Here's something they can do. We can give them hope instead of fear."

And, he said, rural communities could process the hemp into industrial products and create jobs in Iowa's small towns.

"This could be the basis of a whole new value-added industry in rural communities," he said.

Hemp Production

  • Iowa Farm Bureau supports research of growing hemp. Fiber products:
  • Textiles Denim Shoes Working clothes
  • Technical textiles Twine Canvas bags Carpets
  • Other industrial products Compression-molded parts Brake/clutch linings Caulking
  • Paper Cardboard and packaging Newsprint Fine and specialtiy papers
  • Building materials Insulation Fiberglass Cement blocks
  • Foods Salad oil Margarine Ganola Source: Nova Institute, Germany

  • Domestic Violence Victims At Higher Risk For Substance Abuse

    Substance use tied to violence against women The problem has gone unrecognized for years.
    London Free Press [Ontario]
    By Mary-Jane Egan, Free Press Health Reporter

    Women who experience violence are at higher risk of turning to booze, prescription drugs or both to numb their pain and that knowledge has sounded a wake-up call for agencies serving victims of physical, sexual and mental abuse. ...

    While hints of a correlation between violence against women and substance abuse have long been evident, it's only "really come to the forefront in the past year," says Sandi Harmer, health promotion co-ordinator of Ottawa's Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre ....

    COPING DEVICE: Helping stir the dialogue are recently released 1994 Statistics Canada findings that more than one quarter of women who had ever been married and who lived with violence reported using alcohol or drugs to help cope with their plight. The challenge now, Harmer says, is to stop treating the two problems in a vacuum and establish new links between treatment of violence and substance abuse.

    But at a time when government cutbacks are leaving social agencies mired in a financial crisis, Harmer says there are no easy solutions, particularly since the two most common substances abused women turn to - alcohol and prescription drugs - are legal and readily attainable.

    Statistics Canada reports that of the percentage of women who were subjected to violence and resorted to substance use, 12 per cent used alcohol, nine per cent used drugs or medication and five per cent used both.

    On Friday, Harmer plans to target what she considers a bent on the part of doctors to over-prescribe for women, drugs such as tranquilizers and anti-depressants. She says studies show these drugs are prescribed twice as often for women, as opposed to men and she says the culprit is "old stereotypes" that suggest women need "calming down for an emotional problem."

    ATTITUDES: "A man walks into his doctor's office and says he stressed out about downsizing at the office and losing his mortgage and being unable to sleep and the doctor's likely to suggest he hit the squash court or get in a round of golf. A woman walks in with the same problems and the doctors likely to write out a prescription," says Harmer. "We've got to look at changing those attitudes. It's becoming almost like standard practice."

    Harmer is particularly concerned about what she views as a growing tendency to prescribe anti-depressant drugs for everything from PMS to the blues.

    "They've become so readily acceptable, you can take a tranquilizer at a restaurant, in church, no one's going to think anything of it. But we're not looking at the negative side effects of these drugs," she says, citing addictiveness and the dangers of using bandaid solutions to mask the pain of violence -- potentially creating a climate that puts a woman at further risk of abuse.

    Harmer is quick to stress that not all women who suffer violence turn to substance abuse and not all female substance abusers have suffered violence.

    SOCIAL BARRIERS: But she says women face particular social barriers in seeking help for substance abuse -- especially if they have children and fear the stigma of being labeled "a bad wife and mother" along with the possibility of losing their children. Women whose substance use has escalated to abuse may need in-patient detoxification treatment but unlike a women's shelter, those facilities don't accept children, says Harmer.

    "These are often women in low-paying or part-time jobs which offer no benefits so they're afraid to go for help, for fear of losing custody of their kids. When people ask, why don't you just leave an abusive situation, that's easier said than done."

    Kristine Hollenberg, Addiction Research Foundation program consultant in London, said another complicating factor is that London is the only major urban centre in Ontario that lacks residential detoxification facilities for women-only. She says many women who have been exposed to violence don't feel safe in a co-ed treatment centre.

    STRETCH RESOURCES: With the province closing shelters and treatment centres to squeeze down the costs of social programs, Hollenberg says now isn't the time to seek new facilities. She hopes Friday's conference will help existing agencies find new ways to co-ordinate and stretch their resources.

    Harmer says the move to further cuts could ultimately prove even costlier, considering the end burden on the health care and judicial systems.

    "It's why I believe health promotion is so important. It's like pay now or pay later and when you pay later, it usually costs a lot more."

    When people ask, 'why don't you just leave an abusive situation?', that's easier said than done."

    Sandi Harmer,
    Ottawa women's addiction centre


    What: Women of Substance Conference.

    When: Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

    Where: Central Library, lower level, 305 Queens Ave.

    Goals: To raise awareness of the coexistence of substance use and violence against women and discuss co-operation of available help agencies.

    Admission: $35 for individuals, $20 for seniors, students and those on fixed incomes. The fee will be waived for women who are in an abusive situation or need substance abuse help.

    More information: call 433-3171.

    Sponsors include: Addiction Research Foundation, Women's Community House, Alcohol and Drug Services of Thames Valley.

    Fired Northwest Airlines Worker Sues, Wins $400,000

    The Contra Costa Times [California], Nov. 29, 1996

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP, Nov. 29, 1996) - A federal jury ordered Northwest Airlines to pay a former baggage handler nearly $400,000 after determining he was subject to a drug test because of his race.

    Robert Landon was fired by the airline after the test came back positive.

    On Wednesday, the six-member jury decided that Northwest had illegally tested Landon for drugs because he is black.

    "Racism hurts everybody and they need to realize that,: Landon said after the verdict. "they need to get rid of racist managers."

    Northwest spokesman Jon Austin said the drug test was not racially motivated. "In no way do we condone discrimination against anyone," he said. He said the airline will appeal the verdict.

    Landon, who worked at the San Francisco airport, was tested in March 1992 after a door handle on a jet's cargo been hit the belt used to unload luggage and snapped off.

    Landon said he was told by his supervisor, Cliff Van Leuven, that he would be suspended and was taken to an airport clinic for the drug test. It came back positive for a small amount of marijuana, although Landon has maintained that the test was in error.

    Landon testified he had difficulties with Van Leuven before, which Landon thought were racially based.

    Other witnesses testified they heard Van Leuven mock the way minorities talked and made statements such as, "The only reason you people work here is because of affirmative action." Van Leuven denied making such statements.

    Van Leuven denied making such statements.

    Under federal law and Northwest policy, employees in a non-safety sensitive job get tested after accidents only if they appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Landon's attorney said. All of Landon's colleagues who saw Landon the night of the accident said he appeared normal.

    Northwest's attorney said Landon looked like he was under the influence of something after the accident, was properly tested and was found to have marijuana in his system. When he lied about his drug use, he was fired, the airlines' attorney said.

    "Military Seeks Balance In Delicate Mission - The Drug War"

    "As Involvement Expands, Law and History Are Basic Guides"

    The Washington Post, November 29, 1996
    By Jim McGee
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    FORT BLISS, Tex. - Through night-vision goggles, the drug smugglers resembled a pack team in an old Western movie: three riders and nine horses, winding single file down a rugged ravine in the Coronado National Forest near Nogales, Ariz.

    U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers, watching the remote mountain pass from two camouflaged observation posts in the trees, waited until the procession had sauntered past before issuing an alert over a secure radio channel.

    At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, a U.S. Forest Service officer sitting in the base command center jotted down the Green Berets' information and relayed it to a National Guard OH-58 helicopter crew, which took off and headed for the ravine. Using an infrared radar system and map coordinates provided by the Army, the helicopter crew soon spotted the horses and riders. Within minutes, a posse of sheriff's deputies and Forest Service officials driving Ford Broncos had arrested the smugglers and seized their booty: 2,404 pounds of cocaine.

    The Coronado Forest episode, which occurred last year, may have had more dramatic sweep than most drug busts. But the case was typical in illuminating the extent to which the U.S. military has become embedded in the nation's drug war, as the Pentagon increasingly is drawn into domestic police missions long considered the province of civilian law enforcement agencies.

    With little public fanfare and scant congressional scrutiny, the military's domestic role has become broad and deep. Since 1989, when Congress and the Bush administration formally ordered the military into the drug fight, the Pentagon has spent more than $7 billion on counter-drug operations. Last year, more than 8,000 active duty and reserve soldiers, sailors and Air Force personnel - a force almost equivalent to an infantry division - participated in 754 counter-drug support missions on U.S. soil that led to 1,894 arrests.

    Special Forces teams monitor the Rio Grande, Marines patrol the California desert and Army intelligence officers watch for criminal activity from investigative centers in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Greenbelt, Md. The Army squad that spotted the smugglers in Arizona was part of Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6), the Defense Department headquarters that links the nation's military forces with domestic law enforcement agencies. In promoting a partnership between military and civilian forces, JTF-6 circulates to police departments a 55-page "Operational Support Planning Guide" marketing the use of Green Beret units, Navy SEAL teams and Marine reconnaissance patrols.

    Many supporters of the military's involvement in drug enforcement, citing the threat to the nation's social and economic order, believe the Pentagon's role should be even greater. "I think it should be getting larger," said Rep. Bill Zeliff (R-N.H.), chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight national security, international affairs and criminal justice subcommittee. "We should use the military. It all boils down to: Do we want to declare war on drugs or don't we?"

    For some military commanders, counter-drug operations provide useful training while making soldiers feel that they're involved in a vital mission. Civilian law enforcement officials are generally grateful for the technological acumen and professional competence the armed forces provide, particularly with sophisticated surveillance and communications systems.

    "Even if there was an argument that someone else ought to be doing it," said retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, "the fact that (the military) is there argues for it being used."

    But others are wary of entangling the armed services in an open-ended task that isn't central to the primary mission of preparing to fight foreign enemies.

    "Right now the military is very well respected by the American people and we certainly don't want to do anything that would lead people to question that respect," said Air Force Col. Henry L. Hungerbeeler, second-in-command of JTF-6.

    The billions spent mustering the military for anti-drug duty has yielded an uncertain dividend. The availability of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in U.S. cities has not decreased, according to federal drug officials. And critics contend the military has edged toward a legal threshold that has been a singular feature of U.S. civil-military relations for more than a century: a general ban on military involvement in routine domestic law enforcement.

    "The constitutional issue is the breakdown of the bright line that we have traditionally maintained between the military and law enforcement," said James X. Dempsey of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington. "There is a very strong claim that we are already pressing the outer bounds of what is constitutionally desirable." Even an ardent drug warrior like McCaffrey expresses wariness about overstepping a legal tradition that has its roots in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The statute was a response to post-Civil War abuses by occupation troops in the South during Reconstruction. The law prohibits Army involvement in domestic arrests or searches and seizures, a ban since extended to the other services.

    "The biggest limitation, it seems to me, is our constitutional and political uneasiness with getting the armed forces involved in domestic law enforcement," McCaffrey said in an interview. "Obviously we've got a law against it - Posse Comitatus Act. But also it makes us all very uncomfortable to see uniformed military units getting heavily involved."

    Military units are involved, however. Active duty forces are complemented by thousands of National Guard troops, who have become the hidden support strut inside federal law enforcement. Unless called to federal duty, the National Guard is not covered by Posse Comitatus and has more latitude in undertaking law enforcement missions. The Guard inspects cargo for U.S. Customs, analyzes intelligence for the FBI and translates wiretap intercepts for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Guard now has more personnel assigned to counter-drug activities than the DEA has special agents on duty, according to Col. David Friestad, the Guard's counter-drug coordinator.

    Lawrence J. Korb, an assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration, argues that the open-ended nature of the military's commitment is the greatest potential hazard. "It should (have been) a temporary stopgap," Korb said, "but it's been institutionalized."

    Moreover, there is new pressure to extend the military's domestic role to counter terrorism. During the Olympics last summer, a Marine Corps chemical, biological and nuclear warfare response team was deployed to Atlanta. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh recently urged Congress to "to take that infrastructure, which was specific to the Olympics, and expand it into a much larger framework." Congress appropriated $350 million for the Defense Department to begin training state and local authorities against such threats.

    Even early enthusiasts for a vigorous military role in the drug war, such as Jon R. Thomas, former assistant secretary of state for international narcotics matters, are uneasy about the drift.

    "Where does it stop?" Thomas said. "Posse Comitatus was a real smart idea. It was basically saying, look, we don't want the military with police power."

    Political Ebb And Flow

    For more than 20 years, enthusiasm for flinging the military into the drug war has ebbed and flowed in Washington. In the late 1970s, the Carter administration provided military assistance to source countries, such as Mexico, to help eradicate marijuana fields, but left in place strict prohibitions against more overt military involvement.

    President Ronald Reagan, faced with a burgeoning cocaine trade, first mustered the Pentagon for the drug war in 1981 by declaring international drug trafficking a threat to national security and assigning his vice president, George Bush, to head a drug task force that advocated extensive use of military assets. The military's role grew slowly, however, constrained by the Pentagon's discomfort with the new mission and modest funding from Congress.

    But in 1989 the concept gained new traction. President Bush ordered the Pentagon to participate vigorously in the drug war and Congress more than doubled the Defense Department's counter-drug appropriation, from $200 million in 1988 to $438 million in 1989. For fiscal 1997, Congress appropriated $947 million, a 16 percent increase over the previous year.

    Initially, the Pentagon favored a massive deployment of radar ships and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes to set up a virtual blockade in the Gulf of Mexico. The operation led to some large seizures, but proved expensive and had little impact on the availability of cocaine in U.S. cities. The Colombian drug cartels boosted production and modified their smuggling tactics.

    Concluding that such massive interdiction was fruitless, President Clinton ordered a shift of military counter-drug assets from transit lanes to source countries. AWACS counter-drug flight hours in the Caribbean plummeted from a peak of 5,265 in fiscal 1991 to 1,448 in fiscal 1996, according to the U.S. Atlantic Command in Norfolk; the new strategy relied more on "targeted interceptions" cued by military radar, such as the Relocatable-Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR) system originally designed to detect attacking Soviet bombers.

    This approach fostered a new network of interagency task forces, such as the one occupying a new $13.5 million command center in Key West, Fla., which put military officers in seats next to federal agents. The modified strategy has resulted in thousands of pilots, soldiers and military commanders cross-training in a civilian law enforcement specialty that is increasingly viewed as a permanent part of the Pentagon's job. Of the operations receiving Pentagon support in fiscal 1996, about half involved military intelligence assets.

    Such integration has occurred on a scale both small and large. In Utah, 125 soldiers work to translate telephone conversations garnered by DEA eavesdropping, often on Colombian, Mexican or Nigerian suspects. Military analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency work beside their civilian counterparts at DEA headquarters in Arlington. And at the investigative center in Greenbelt, military intelligence officers assemble files on drug gangs in Baltimore and analyze financial transactions by suspects in Fairfax County.

    The District of Columbia National Guard has four dozen full-time soldiers assigned to drug missions, such as intelligence analysis for the police department and inspection duty at the Dulles Airport mail facility; another 30 Guard troops deploy portable high-intensity lights intended to disrupt street drug sales.

    Some 50 Maryland Army and Air National Guard soldiers work full time on counter-drug operations; they operate radios for the DEA, inspect cargo at ports for Customs and fly four helicopters to help police look for marijuana fields. More than two dozen members of the Virginia National Guard help with similar missions, as well as tracking money laundering operations from a Treasury Department financial crimes center.

    "Once the military was told by the Congress and the president that this was part of their mission," Dempsey said, "then they were institutionally bound to make it permanent and pervasive."

    A Night Of Surveillance

    Shortly before midnight on Sept. 6, Chief Warrant Officer Tommy Owens spied a thin white line inching up the black scope of his radar screen inside a classified U.S. Navy surveillance center near Norfolk.

    Owens watched intently as the radar sweep scanned a 2 1/2 million square-mile swatch of the Gulf of Mexico. The white line - symbolizing a small, unidentified airplane heading north from Colombia - snaked across Haiti and headed toward the Bahamas. At 2:50 a.m., Owens was sufficiently suspicious of the mysterious aircraft - which proved to be a Cessna outfitted with extra fuel tanks - to click on a special icon with his computer mouse.

    That simple gesture set in motion an intricate choreography of military radar and military communications, military intelligence and military aircraft. The Cessna's radar image was flashed over a secure military network to two command centers, one in Key West, the other in Riverside, Calif. As in dozens of similar missions over the past year, the operation that unfolded demonstrated both the extent to which the military is an integral player in counter-drug police actions and the routine, elbow-to-elbow interplay of civilian and military agencies.

    Inside the Domestic Air Interdiction Coordination Center in Riverside, Customs officer Larry Butts turned to an array of 28 screens that blends the images of 60 military, intelligence and law enforcement radar systems into a panorama of all air traffic bound for the United States. Within minutes, a Navy radar plane on patrol in the Caribbean was homing in on the Cessna.

    Since the suspicious plane was outside normal commercial routes and had not filed a flight plan, Butts decided to launch an interceptor. At Guantanamo Naval Air Base in Cuba, a flight crew hustled out to a waiting U.S. Customs P-3 Orion aircraft. Within minutes the P-3 was shadowing the Cessna and transmitting another radar image to the Key West command center.

    There, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Donovan Williams followed the Cessna's flight on an 8-by 6-foot color television screen. When the aircraft began to circle over Bahamian waters - as if to make a drop - Williams alerted a DEA base in the Bahamas, which launched a helicopter carrying DEA agents and Bahamian police. But as the helicopter closed in, the Cessna abruptly turned north again.

    During the next 12 hours, the plane was tracked by a succession of Customs radar surveillance aircraft, which continued to beam the radar image back to Williams in Key West. When the Cessna veered past Maine toward New Brunswick, further alerts were flashed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa.

    Four F/A-18 fighters soon lifted off from Bagotville Air Force Base in Quebec. Without alerting the Cessna, the Canadian jets shadowed it to a remote area 200 miles north of Ottawa where, officials allege, the airplane began to drop large bundles into a lake.

    In Montreal, heavily armed Mounties clambered into two military helicopters and headed toward the lake. In the days that followed, the Canadians would arrest nine suspects and seize 1,100 pounds of cocaine.

    On The Front Lines

    Fort Bliss, Tex., sits on a rocky, windswept plain near El Paso and is home to JTF-6, the military's counter-drug headquarters. After seven years of operation, JTF-6 is deeply embedded in the drug enforcement infrastructure. The agency has a $24 million annual budget, more than 120 lawyers and action officers who monitor military deployments, and an Army Special Forces company for quick-reaction operations.

    Last spring, that Green Beret unit conducted 37 domestic missions at a total cost of $692,000, the highlights of which were the seizures of 360 pounds of marijuana in Arizona and a methamphetamine lab in California, according to after-action reports. Whether or not the relatively minor haul of contraband was worth the investment of money and manpower, the work remains dangerous. Hunters on two occasions have accidentally shot and wounded soldiers involved in JTF-6 missions.

    JTF-6 commanders say they enforce rules the Pentagon hopes will keep its active duty forces out of harm's way, both physical and legal. Military intelligence officers can help local police assemble a drug case, for example, but cannot keep Defense Department files on U.S. citizens. Marines concealed in camouflaged observation posts can spot drug traffickers for the Border Patrol, but cannot make arrests.

    Other military units around the country have grappled with legal nuances. There has never been a prosecution for a violation of the Posse Comitatus statute, although the military has been on the periphery of several highly controversial domestic confrontations. Military advisers were present at the FBI's 1973 standoff with members of the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee, S.D. More recently, Army Special Forces soldiers were on the scene during the FBI's bloody raid in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. And National Guard troops flew reconnaissance missions during the initial raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Texas, then helped load tear gas launchers during the final assault.

    Whether combing through a drug dealer's bank records or watching for terrorists in Atlanta, soldiers on domestic duty find themselves caught between the deep American suspicion of the military "man on horseback" and a yearning for domestic tranquillity.

    "Americans have a tradition, born in England and developed in the early years of our nation, that rebels against military involvement in civilian affairs," Charles Doyle, a Congressional Research Service analyst, wrote last year. "Striking the balance . . . has never been easy."

    [End of article]

    [Sidebar:] Joining Forces

    An incident in the Coronado National Forest illustrates how U.S. armed forces are being employed to aid in the capture of drug smugglers within U.S. borders.

    1 Shortly after midnight, Green Berets spot nine horses and three riders carrying more than a ton of cocaine. Using a secure radio channel, they alert the command center at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson.

    2 At the base, Greg Lelo, supervisory law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service, takes down the information, then joins a National Guard flight crew waiting on the tarmac with an OH-58 helicopter.

    3 National Guard flight crew, using night-vision goggles, flies to the coordinates. Lelo then uses infrared radar to locate the horses and riders.

    4 From the air, Lelo radios directions to Forest Service police and sheriff's deputies on the ground, who drive to the scene, surround the smugglers, and seize the cocaine.



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