Portland NORML News - Monday, December 29, 1997

DC Activists Vow To Hit The Streets Of Washington Again (Initiative 57
Medical-Marijuana Initiative 800 Signatures Short)

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 08:35:12 EST
From: VOTEYES57@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: DC Activists vow to hit the streets of Washington again

Washington Post
Monday, December 29, 1997; Page C04

More Petition Drives Planned For D.C. Marijuana Initiative

Three weeks after their drive to collect enough petition signatures to get a
medical marijuana initiative on the D.C. ballot apparently failed, activists
are gearing up to start the process all over again.

They had until Dec. 8 to gather the signatures of 17,070 registered D.C.
voters to get their measure -- called Initiative 57 -- placed on the
September mayoral primary ballot. They delivered hundreds of pages of
signatures to the city's Board of Elections and Ethics, but organizer Steve
Michael, of ACT UP Washington, said last week that they fell short by at
least 800 names.

Board officials will not issue their final ruling until Jan. 7, but Executive
Director Alice Miller said that "on the face of it, it seems that they did
not make it." Miller said Michael has refiled the initiative, which would
legalize the possession, use, distribution and cultivation of marijuana if
recommended by a physician for illnesses such as AIDS, cancer and glaucoma.
The board will consider the matter next month, and if the activists get the
go-ahead, volunteers could hit the streets in search of signatures by early

"Our folks are excited. They're geared up to go at this again," Michael said.
To get the measure on the September ballot, they would have to turn in
signatures by May 15. Michael's group may not be the only medical marijuana
supporters running around town this spring with clipboard and pens. Americans
for Medical Rights (AMR), a California group that ran a successful medical
marijuana initiative there last year, is launching its own ballot initiative
in the District.

AMR has filed a measure with the elections board and hired a D.C. lawyer and
a professional organizer to drum up support. Dave Fratello, a spokesman for
the group, said AMR plans to spend at least $40,000 and perhaps as much as
$500,000 to get its initiative passed.
But don't look for AMR and the local activists to join forces. They differ on
several points. Michael's group is staunchly opposed to a provision in AMR's
initiative that would require medical marijuana users to register with the
D.C. government and carry identification cards. In addition, the local group
is accusing AMR of trying to capitalize on its grass-roots work.

"If they continue with their initiative, there will be a war, and we will
win," Michael said. "The people of D.C. can't let these big-money outsiders
come in and make local law."

He added: "If the [elections] board allows both of us to gather signatures,
voters are going to be confused. Everyone agrees on that."

-- Julie Makinen Bowles

DEA Will Yank Doctor's Licenses (Letter To Editor Of 'The Nation'
Cites Threat Against Oregon Doctors Who Assist Suicide)

Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 22:31:03 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: DEA Will Yank Doctor's Licenses
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Deran Ludd (dludd@scn.org))
Source: The Nation
Page: Letters, inside page
Contact: info@thenation.com
Pubdate: December 29, 1997
Website: http://www.thenation.com/


In "Affirmative Action" you contend that the "political import is hard to
read" at the recent passage, again, of Oregon's assisted-suicide law. Not
for our beloved Drug Enforcement Administration! The DEA has already
announced that it interprets federal statutes to mean that it can (and will)
yank the prescription license of any physician prescribing lethal doses of
controlled substances, especially in Oregon.

It's not the men in black knocking at your door, dear. It's the DEA come to
torment you while you die. Secret police as caregiver? I feel better

Deran Ludd

The Dangerous Expansion Of Forfeiture Laws ('Wall Street Journal' Reports
Congress Knows About Abuses But Does Nothing)

Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 17:17:10 EST
From: James Hammett 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: FWD: Wall Street Journal - Property Forfeiture Abuse
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 11:48:05 EST
Subject: Wall Street Journal - Property Forfeiture Abuse

Sender's note: In case some of you in the e-mail groups see the reform of civil
asset forfeiture law as a trite matter... please read the following. Understand
that nothing will be done about it until everybody starts screaming at their
Congressmen and it starts costing them votes. The following public article
shows you that Congress knows all about the abuses and still does nothing
meaningful about it. Many will be posting this article on every single
bulletin board on the Internet they can find. I suggest you all do the same
thing if you wish to preserve the freedom and due process of law our
Forefathers fought and died for. Please keep forwarding this article
everywhere just as it was forwarded to me by a Reform Party member... the
fighting for you Party. Also check out http://www.fear.org/ for more
information on Hyde's HR 1965 reform bill mentioned in this article... which
includes property forfeiture with NO PROBABLE CAUSE, nor defense
provision for the indigent.


The Dangerous Expansion of Forfeiture Laws
By James Bovard

Asset forfeiture laws have been spreading like a computer virus through
the nation's statute books. Until a decade or two ago, such laws targeted
primarily customs violators, but today more than 100 federal laws authorize
federal agents to confiscate private property allegedly involved in
violations of statutes on wildlife, gambling, narcotics, immigration, money
laundering, etc. The vast expansion of government's forfeiture power
epitomizes the demise of property rights in modem America.

Federal agents can confiscate private property with no court order and no
proof of legal violations. Law-enforcement officials love forfeiture laws
because a hefty percentage of the takings often go directly to their
coffers. The Justice Department alone bequeathed $163 million in
confiscated assets to state and local law enforcement last year.

Forfeiture policies achieved national scandal status beginning in the
early 1990s. A federal appeals court complained in 1992: "We continue to
be enormously troubled by the government's increasing and virtually
unchecked use of the civil forfeiture statutes and the disregard for due
process that is buried in those statutes." In 1993 another federal appeals
court questioned whether "we are seeing fair and effective law enforcement
or an insatiable appetite for a source of increased agency revenue." A
September 1992 Justice Department newsletter noted: "Like children in a
candy shop, the law enforcement community chose all manner and method of
seizing and forfeiting property, gorging ourselves in an effort which soon
came to resemble one designed to raise revenues."

In many forfeiture cases, innocence is irrelevant. The Supreme Court
further tilted the legal playing field against ordinary people last year in
a decision in a case involving the innocent co-owner of confiscated
property. John Bennis stopped on his way home from work to daily with a
prostitute in his Plymouth; 'Detroit police descended on the scene and
seized the car, whose co-owner was Mr. Bennis's wife, Tina. The court
ruled 5-4 that the seizure did not violate the wife's constitutional rights
even though she clearly was not complicit in her husband's illicit behavior.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote: "The government may not be
required to compensate an owner for property which it has already lawfully
acquired under the exercise of governmental authority." By asserting that
the government had already 'lawfully acquired" the Bennises' car simply
because it had a law authorizing seizure of the car, Justice Rehnquist
basically granted government unlimited power to steal: If it wants to
"lawfully acquire" private property without compensation, all it needs to
do is write more confiscatory laws.

This term the Supreme Court is considering another forfeiture case,
involving $357,144 seized from a Syrian immigrant, Hosep Bajakajian, who
was searched at the Los Angeles airport prior to heading back to Syria.
The money consisted of profits from his two gas stations as well as loan
repayments for relatives in Syria.

Both a federal district court and an appeals court concluded that the
money had been honestly acquired and ordered most of it returned to Mr.
Bajakajian. The Clinton administration insists that the fact that the
money is untainted is "not relevant" and that the government has a right to
confiscate the money solely because the immigrant failed to fill out a
required form disclosing that he was taking more than $10,000 in cash out
of the country.

Mr. Bajakajian's case is not unusual. The Customs Service confiscated
$56 million from outbound travelers in 1996. Immigrants are among the
people most susceptible to such penalties, since, often coming from nations
with corrupt customs services, they can be leery of making any declaration
of cash on hand. According to the administration's view, because someone
does not trust the government, the government somehow thereby acquires the
right to rob the person.

Rep. Henry Hyde (R., Ill.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
took the lead on forfeiture reform several years ago. He offered a bill to
moderate some of the worst abuses, declaring: "Some of our civil asset
seizure laws are being used in terribly unjust ways and depriving innocent
citizens of- their property with nothing that can be called due process."
His bill had the support of Democrats such as Barney Frank who rarely agree
with Mr. Hyde.

The Justice Department strongly objected to the bill and lobbied Mr. Hyde
to enact sweeping expansions of prosecutors' forfeiture power. The day
before marking up the bill last June, Mr. Hyde sidetracked his 15-page
reform bill and pledged himself to a new 64-page bill-with almost all the
new material written by Justice Department lawyers. This is like letting
burglars write the laws on breaking-and-entering, since many of the worst
forfeiture abuses are committed by justice Department employees.

Mr. Hyde pushed the new bill through the Judiciary Committee on June 21
by a 26-1 vote. The lone dissenter, Rep. Bob Barr (R., Ga.), a co-sponsor
of Mr. Hyde's original bill, says the new bill "seems to be, precisely what
the Department of Justice wanted." He adds, "The problem is that it has a
good title [the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act] and with the reputation
of Chairman Hyde behind it, that carries a lot of weight."

Stefan Cassella, the Justice Department's chief negotiator on asset
forfeiture, characterizes most of the new provisions as "noncontroversial
good government additions." However, the new bill greatly expands
prosecutors' power to seize people's assets before a trial (thereby
potentially crippling a persons ability to hire defense counsel), makes it
much more difficult for citizens to get summary judgments against wrongful
seizures, and greatly increases the number of crimes for which government
can seize a person's or a corporation's assets. The National Rifle
Association warned its members: "Virtually any business that has any
substantive inventory and that is extensively regulated by the government
is in danger of having its good seized-even for non-criminal regulatory

Asset forfeiture reform is an acid test of whether Congress and the
Supreme Court truly care enough to protect the American people from the
federal government. Property rights are too important to cast overboard
with each new passing political frenzy. The U.S. can't afford to give law
enforcement agents a blank check to violate the Fifth Amendment.

Mr. Bovard, author of 'Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty'
(St. Martin's), has written often about asset forfeiture.

Local Hospitals Team With Teens In Anti-Tobacco Education Effort
($5,000 From The Alameda County Tobacco Control Program
Will Teach Oakland, California, Students To Spot 'Deceptive Advertising
Used By Tobacco Manufacturers To Entice Young People Into Smoking')

Subj: US CA: Local Hospitals Team With Teens in Anti-Tobacco Education Effort
From: Jerry Sutliff
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 15:19:11 -0800
Source: Oakland Tribune
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Pubdate: Tue, Dec 29 1997


OAKLAND - Youth church groups and local boys and girls clubs are the
primary target of a collaborative anti-tobacco education effort launched by
Summit Medical Center, Children's Hospital Oakland and Kaiser Permanente.
Backed by $5,000 from the Alameda County Tobacco Control Program and $1,000
from the American Cancer Society, the three hospitals designed a media
literacy project focused on smoking for children 11 to 14.

Next month, eight students will learn to spot deceptive advertising used by
tobacco manufacturers to entice young people into smoking, said Patti
Miller, public affairs director with Children's Hospital.

In pairs, the youth will visit five other teen organizations and become
peer educators, teaching their young colleagues how to steer clear of
manipulative tobacco advertisements.

Each will earn a $5 hourly stipend while participating in the main
training. Each youth group take pre- and after-tests to determine how much
they learned from their peers.

"Media literacy has definitely become really big in the last five to 10
years, Miller said. "Media have a lot of influence in people's lives. We
would like to expand this to include other public health issues like body
image, youth violence arid violence prevention.'

The project concludes in May when a 30-second public service announcement
about tobacco advertising tactics will air to demonstrate how cigarette
manufacturers try to hook teenage smokers.

Five young people, selected in addition to the eight chosen as peer
educators, will work with a local broadcast consultant to write and produce
the spot. Miller said.

With a potential to reach thousands of young people, the Oakland Youth
Media Literacy Project is filling an unmet need in Alameda County, where
public schools lack such educational tools, organizers say.

In the fall of 1995. Children's Hospital, Summit and Kaiser formed the East
Bay Collaborative to address community health needs.

The three hospitals have collaborated on a variety of projects. including
the present one on tobacco-use prevention.

Farmers Expect To Receive Go-Ahead To Plant Hemp (Ontario Health Minister
Releases Proposed Regulations For First Commercial Crop In 50 Years)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Farmers expect to receive go-ahead to plant hemp
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 10:57:34 -0800
Lines: 36
Pubdate: Monday, December 29, 1997
Source: Canadian Press


SARNIA, Ont. (CP) -- If everything goes according to plan, farmers could be
planting seeds this spring for Ontario's first commercial hemp crop in 50

Health Minister Allan Rock released proposed regulations on the weekend for
a commercial hemp industry in southwestern Ontario.

Area MPs have been lobbying for action on the crop for years.

Rose-Marie Ur, who represents Lambton-Kent-Middlesex riding in southwestern
Ontario, said the final regulations should be proclaimed in time for spring

"Unless there's major, major problems, we still can meet our spring
deadline," she said.

Farmers grew hemp in the Forest area in Lambton County in the 1940s but a
backlash against marijuana led the government to regulate hemp production
out of existence.

Hemp, grown for fibre and oil, is related to -- but not the same as --
other cannabis plants grown for the production of marijuana.

"Not only is it a good alternative crop, it has been a crop in the Lambton
part of my riding in the earlier years," said Ur. "It's not like we're
re-inventing the wheel here."

She said Ontario will be several years ahead of jurisdictions in the United
States in hemp production, and that will provide millions in export revenue
for Canada.




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