------------------------------------------------------------------- US Veterans Administration Hospital In Portland Says Marijuana Augments Pain Relief From Ibuprofen Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 12:51:56 EST From: "D. Paul Stanford" (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list
Last week I sprained my ankle for the first time since I was in the US Army, almost 20 years ago. I am classified as a disabled veteran with 10% disability based mainly upon a knee injury, but, to a lesser extent, also on the sprained ankle. I went up to the local Veterans Administration Hospital and, among other things, I was prescribed ibuprofen. For those of you who may not know, ibuprofen may cause one to test positive for marijuana on urinalysis tests. At this federal VA Hospital they gave me several pages of information on both my injury and my prescriptions. Under ibuprofen they listed: "----POSSIBLE INTERACTION WITH OTHER SUBSTANCES (Combined Effect)---- * Alcohol: Possible stomach ulcer or bleeding. * Marijuana: Increased pain relief from ibuprofen." These are the only substances that they listed for interactions with ibuprofen. So, at this federal hospital they give medical advice that one can expect "Increased pain relief" from marijuana, while the Drug Czar, also a veteran, says that the federal government doesn't recognize any medicinal applications for marijuana. Methinks that the left hand knows not what the right hand is doing. Someone should point this out at the National Institute of Medicine panels on the "Acute and Chronic Effects of Marijuana," Jan. 22-23, 1998 in New Orleans, LA. If someone is interested, I will fax you my VA Hospital information package for use as evidence that the federal government does recognize some medicinal applications for marijuana. FYI. Sincerely yours, D. Paul Stanford Oregon Cannabis Tax Act http://www.crrh.org/
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Day In The Life Of Tramp The Junkie (Verbatim Account By Portland Heroin Addict) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 18:00:19 EST From: Anti-Prohibition Lg
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: 'Tramp the Junkie!' A day in the life of 'Tramp the Junkie!' The AMERICAN ANTIPROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca "Drug War, or Drug Peace?" 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 503-235-4524/fax:503-234-1330/Email:AAL@InetArena.com Saturday, January 3, 1997 The following is a verbatim and un-edited transcription from an anonymous 4-page, handwritten manuscript. It was given to the League by the staff of a local needle exchange, the Harm Reduction Zone. Fact or fiction? You be the judge. Regardless its veracity, it's a stunning description of addiction sickness (physical and emotional) with the folly of drugs prohibition revealed in-between each line. Thanks to League volunteer Chris Lee for the transcription. Floyd Ferris Landrath - Director ====================================================================== A day in the life of 'Tramp the Junkie!' I woke up at 9:15am to the sound of someone banging on the door. Already being dope sick I'm in the mood to see nobody. Lying next to me, my friend, who also happens to be a female, groans softly and curses. Her habbit is larger than mine so I know she is really hurting. The large three storie house we have permission to be in is compleatly gutted with no Insulation or walls letting the cold mid- December wind whip right through it. So I set up a tent for us to sleep in and it stay about 25 to 30 degrees warmer in there. As I open the tent door a blast of cold air hits my sweat soaked shirt and chest. Then halfways down the stairs another attack of dieriea hits me with all the stomach cramps to go with. I open the front door and even colder blast of wind hits me. There stands George looking sicker than Edna and I put together. "Come on get in here" I says. "I need to use the bathroom or I'm gonna shit my pants" he says. So I let him go first. Then I quickly shit my guts out. "Let me use your phone to page the man O.K.?" Asks George "Yeah go ahead" I said hopeing he is getting enough to kick us down enough to get well. No such luck all he has is got is $20 so I'll let Edna have the $5 (maybe) that we will get for letting him use the phone, cop, and fix in my safe and sound domain. All of a sudden he says "Hey man I got some crystal if you want it since you gave the brown to Edna." I jump on that saying "Rite-on anything to take this god awful edge off." So he tosses 10 or 15 cents into my spoon. Smells real good as I put 20 units of water on it. It is a little hard to mix up but I attribute that to the cold weather. I draw back 35 units. Very good indeed. In the vein it goes. 10 seconds. Cough, gag, stomach flip flop and ass hole tighten- up. No more dieria and I've got a pretty good buzz. George goes out and meet dope man brings back the dank I help Edna get it in the rig and in her arm. All of a sudden George cant find his crystal. Him and I tear apart my room looking for it. After a short time he starts to think I took it. Even asks, "If you took it give it back and I'll give you half." "I did not take your dope man." Says I "I dont work that way. I couldn't stand to look over my shoulder for the rest of my life." Anyway he ends up calling dope man back and sure enough when he was in there car he had to show-off his crank and left it lying on the back seat. At least he apoliges and give Edna 10 or 15 cents of it. Damn I'm the one who gets accused and she gets the dope. She does not share the heroin or crank she get yet I still have to fix her. That's hard. She dosen't even really like crank. And 5 mins. after doing it is complaining about the headache it has given her. Oh well. I have to go to work to try and hustle some money. I do. I work for 8 hours, already owing this person 4 hours. Well it comes time to get paid and all he has got is $4. Damn what am I supposed to do with $4. I go home getting sicker by the minute hoping Edna had a better day. But no she's sicker than I am lying in bed, dying, she says, "I've got $10 is all." Well that turns out to be $9 and it is too late and too cold for anyone to be out downtown. Crap, so we both get to suffer. All night long she says, "There are some guys who come out at 5 or 5:30am downtown." Yeah, right. Lets see if she goes. I don't think I'll hold my breath and I am not going, at least not by myself. Not at all if I can help it. OH yes I will if she asks me, not alone though. Isn't this drug we do the most wonderful thing in the world. Why do I do it? Because I hate everything. I'm in love with my car and don't even have one. Maybe I'll get just a little too much of the really good stuff someday and have my wish of Going To Sleep And Never Wakeing UP Come True!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Editorial - Hemp Make Troubles Go Up In Smoke? (Editor Of 'East Oregonian' Demonstrates How Cannabis Makes Some People Mentally Unbalanced) Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:19:57 -0500 Subject: MN: US OR: Editorial: Hemp Make Troubles Go Up In Smoke? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "sburbank" (email@example.com) Source: East Oregonian Contact: Mail: East Oregonian, PO Box 1089 Pendleton, OR 97801 Phone: 541-276-2211 Pubdate: Saturday, Jan. 3, 1998 Note: Author Richard Hensley is editor of the East Oregonian HEMP MAKE TROUBLES GO UP IN SMOKE? If you could end global warming, fix the environment, provide a source of income for farmers and rural communities everywhere, provide raw materials for numerous uses and get this all out of one little plant, would you jump at the chance to use it? Boy, when you put it like that, who wouldn't? The only problem with all of this is that the plant required to provide all the answers to world problems is hemp, i.e. marijuana. At least all of these benefits are being claimed by the proponents for hemp. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, you can also get really high on it. Recently I received a packet from the proponents for hemp. And before the Pendleton Police want to come checkout this package, let me assure them that it was only a packet of documents they mailed me. Within these documents are some pretty impressive claims. However, before I was through reading it I had the munchies, blood- shot eyes and a strange desire to listen to reggae music. They make one heck of a case for using hemp in the propaganda they sent. Hemp has uses in clothing, paper, power generation, etc. It's easy to grow, and would be a boon to farmers. It'd also give the bong and cigarette paper industry a much needed shot in the arm. I imagine the potato chip industry also would benefit. Before the pro-hemp folks out there write to tell me that the kind of hemp used for ll the wonderful things they write about cannot get you high, I understand all of that. I also understand that many of the people pushing hemp as an environmental wonder also partake in firing up a big doobie when the time is right, such as just about anytime. I find it humorous that the people who make such a serious and legitimate case for hemp often look like they just stepped out of a Cheech and Chong movie. That doesn't make their claims illegitimate, but it's why politicians distance themselves from the movement. If they had people in three piece suits on Capitol Hill carrying brief cases and campaign money, perhaps the movement would gain momentum. While I might question how much some of the hemp proponents really might want to save the world and how many just want some good smoke. I do wholeheartedly agree with the folks who want to use marijuana for medical purposes. If a joint relieves the terrible side effects of chemotherapy, glaucoma or whatever. for goodness sake, fire it up. I'd feel the same way about any substance that provides such benefits. But is pushing hemp is just a way to try to make marijuana more acceptable, then I probably wouldn't be so enthusiastic about it. On the other hand, I do think plenty of legal drugs are just as dangerous-if not more so-than pot. I've known people who smoked pot and people who drank alcohol, and I'd have to say that alcohol had a much worse effect on those folks' driving, lives, ability to hold jobs and tendency toward violence. Also, alcohol abuse, too, is clearly bad news. The downside of marijuana is that it does lead to harder drugs. If people who use drugs honestly as themselves how they first got started illegally altering their mind, they'll most likely say they smoked pot first. But I'll admit that this conclusion probably isn't fair because someone with the tendency to artificially "feel Good" would probably find the other drugs sooner or later. Oh well, a drug expert I'm not. As for hemp, though, if what they say is true, why not? I'd just like some advance warning from Washington, D.C., on if they're going to make something like growing hemp legal. If so, I have some changes to make in my investment portfolio. Out goes my stock in polyester, oil and coal, and in goes all my money in paper-Zig Zag cigarette papers to be exact. [End] Portland NORML quotes: He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave. -- William Drummond
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rx Marijuana Hearing In DC On January 9 (DC Board Of Elections Schedules Hearings On Medical Marijuana, Voter Initiatives) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 14:15:18 EST From: VOTEYES57@aol.com To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Rx marijuana hearing in DC on Jan 9th On Friday, January 9th 1998 the DC Board of Elections will hold a series of hearings on the issue of medical marijuana. Two of the hearings deal with DC written and sponsored Initiatives. Details of our strategy at these hearings is being determined. The other hearing deals with the California written Soros funded initiative that was created to piggyback off of the work of the scores of DC activists that worked long and hard for Initiative 57. Please attend Friday January 9th Board of Elections and Ethics Hearing Room Room 270 North 441 4th Street NW One Judiciary Square for more information call us at 202-547-9404 thanks Steve Washington DC
------------------------------------------------------------------- SF Club's Style Rankles Medical Pot Advocates (One Of The Few Reporters To Just Say No Seeks Dirt On Peron From Other California CBCs) San Francisco Chronicle Saturday, January 3, 1998 · Page A1 http://www.sfgate.com/ Sabin Russell, Chronicle Staff Writer REGION At the close of a long interview at his Cannabis Cultivators Club in San Francisco, the affable Dennis Peron offered to roll a reporter a joint. The offer was politely declined, and the proffered buds of a substance that might have been marijuana were drawn back to the desk of club founder Peron, who has recently declared himself a Republican candidate for governor of California. It was a typical, and not wholly unexpected gesture from the bad boy of pot politics, but it underscored a tendency that is making Peron's colleagues in the medical marijuana business very nervous -- he bends the rules, and sometimes, they break. Peron's antics and incessant activism have fractured the coalition that in November 1996 engineered a decisive victory for Proposition 215, which made legal the personal use of marijuana in California for medical purposes with a doctor's prescription. Operators of medical pot centers around California, while lauding him as a visionary, are now afraid of the heat Dennis Peron is generating -- particularly Attorney General Dan Lungren's threat to shut down all clubs on January 12. For them, Peron's 1960s dance of liberation is out of step with the tightly managed 1990s. ``If you don't distance yourself from Dennis Peron, you are almost accused of being a `Dennis Peron,' said Peter Baez, executive director of the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center in San Jose. ``How can you support somebody who doesn't play by the rules?'' The four-story Cannabis Cultivators Club on Market Street has become a lightning rod for opponents of any use of marijuana. It not only distributes pot but celebrates it and allows its 8,000 members to smoke it on the premises. Although provocative to opponents of marijuana use, smoking pot at medical marijuana clubs is not illegal under Proposition 215. However, only patients with doctor's prescriptions -- not healthy reporters, for example -- may take the drug legally. Critics say Peron's medical record-keeping is not thorough enough to weed out purely recreational users. With thousands of paper cranes dangling from its ceilings, wall-size murals of cannabis leaves, and political posters proclaiming Peron for governor, the pot club is as much a shrine to Peron himself as it is to marijuana. Peron's uncompromising advocacy of full legalization of marijuana now irks some of his former allies. One of the Proposition 215 co- authors with Peron, Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center director Scott Imler, has publicly chastised the San Francisco club as a ``circus'' that threatens the existence of every medical marijuana provider in California. ``We're sick and tired of spending 90 percent of our time explaining away the excesses of Dennis Peron and 1444 Market Street,'' said Imler. ``We assured the voters over and over and over that we were talking about medical marijuana,'' he added. ``The minute the election passed, it was `Let's smoke a fatty,' and `All use is medical.' Basically, that's a betrayal of everything the voters did for patients.'' Scanning the polished bar, which serves up pot brownies and capsules of marijuana tincture to AIDS patients, Peron smiled and said, ``It does kind of look like a circus, now that I think of it.'' Peron said he follows the rules assiduously and believes there is nothing wrong with his patients having a little fun. ``I have people with 10 T-cells laughing for maybe the last time in their life,'' said Peron. ``I will never let people not have a good time. ``I could run this place as just a dispensary,'' he added. ``But then I wouldn't want to do it, because I want to treat the whole body.'' Although the dispute between Peron and other advocates of medical marijuana has been brewing for years, the issue has come to a head because of recent setbacks in his court battle to keep his club open, and his public baiting of Lungren -- also a Republican candidate for California governor. The court strategy relies on a novel interpretation of Proposition 215 that Peron says allows patients to designate a pot club as a ``primary caregiver.'' The approach initially worked: A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled one year ago that the club, which had been shuttered since an August 1996 raid by DEA agents, could reopen. But on December 12, a state appeals court tossed out the ruling, and Lungren promptly declared that every medical marijuana club in the state will be shut down on January 12. An expected Supreme Court appeal by Peron could delay the shutdown, and it is unclear how successful Lungren will be in garnering local law enforcement support for a statewide shutdown. But pot club operators are angry. ``It's incredibly frustrating,'' said Imler, who fears that Peron is setting dangerous court precedents that could sink all medical pot clubs. ``He risks ruining everything we've worked so hard for these last four years.'' Peron has rejected Imler's attempts to establish a code of conduct for medical marijuana centers. He did not attend an October meeting of ``Medical Cannabis Providers'' that attempted to set standards for ``legal ethical distribution'' of medical marijuana. ``I'm glad I didn't go,'' said Peron. ``They are trying to rewrite Proposition 215 to be stricter than it was.'' Ken Hayes, general manager of the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax, said he is saddened by the infighting. ``Dennis has chosen to separate himself from the rest of the community,'' he said. Peron does have defenders. ``Dennis has been grandstanding from Day One, and that's why we've gotten as far as we are today, said Jeff Jones, executive director of the Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative in Oakland. ``I would never turn my back on Dennis, unless he did something blatant.'' Jones said the recent legal setback for Peron is just part of the process. He said most of Peron's legal troubles have occurred because he has chosen to take the heat. ``When you are being entrapped by the government, there is not much you can do about it,'' he said. Peron, too, chalks up the rancor as the price of being a pioneer. ``No matter how we run this place, Lungren will hate us,'' he said. ``He is not used to losing, so he will carry this out to its illogical end.'' A reporter pointed out the blank space on his desk calendar for January 12. Peron took up a pen, and wrote in the space ``Get busted.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Alternative Pot Club Shuts Down (CHAMP CBC Closes In San Francisco) San Francisco Chronicle Saturday, January 3, 1998 · Page A11 http://www.sfgate.com/ Sabin Russell REGION Feeling the heat from law enforcement, a leading alternative to Dennis Peron's Cannabis Cultivator's Club in San Francisco has shut its doors. Cannabis Helping Alleviate Medical Problems, or CHAMP, which provided marijuana to 500 members from its headquarters at 194 Church Street, shut down for good Wednesday. ``We didn't feel a lot of support from the city to support its clubs,'' said Victor Hernandez, CHAMP executive director. Hernandez said members of the staff at the club were upset about a two-week period of surveillance by unidentified plainclothes police, who videotaped outside the club and trailed staff members. ``The biggest culprit in this thing is Dan Lungren, who refuses to carry out the will of the voters who passed Proposition 215,'' said Hernandez. Members of the organization were permitted to smoke marijuana for their medical conditions at the facility, but it did not foster a night club atmosphere like Peron's club. Hernandez said he sees nothing wrong with Peron's approach. ``In Dennis' situation, people seemed to be in much better spirits than they would be somewhere else,'' he said. Hernandez said the club offices will be open next week from Wednesday through Thursday, noon to 7 p.m., for members to pick up their medical records.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legalize Drugs (Letter To Editor Of 'San Francisco Chronicle') Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 12:08:44 EST From: "Tom O'Connell"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: LTE, SF Chron-1/3 This wonderfully concise attack on the logic of prohibition by Randi Givens was published in today's Chronicle The San Francisco Chronicle Saturday, January 3, 1998, p. A18 LEGALIZE DRUGS Editor -- In the real world, drug prohibition abdicates market control to criminals and corrupted officials. Prohibition laws control, suppress and regulate very little, unless you think chasing street level dealers from one neighborhood to another accomplishes something. Prohibition has not succeeded in attaining any of its original goals. The solution to most of our "drug problems" is to legalize drugs for adult use and license the dealers and manufacturers. Legalization won't eliminate drugs, but it will eliminate all the problems associated with an illegal black market. A licensing scheme similar to that used for alcohol would put the criminals out of business overnight. Bootleggers couldn't compete in the legal alcohol market after repeal and neither will the drug cartels be able to compete against licensed drug dealers regulated by the state. With legalization, drug use by children could be reduced considerably because licensed dealers won't risk their businesses selling to minors. With prohibition, children are totally vulnerable to drugs, because black market dealers have nothing to lose by selling to all comers. A legal market restricted to adults would greatly reduce drug use among the young, exactly the same way repeal stopped the epidemic of child drinking that went on during alcohol prohibition. The prohibitionists get excited by the word "legalization," but it really means returning some measure of control and regulation to society. It's time to abandon drug prohibition and regulate the drug market. REDFORD GIVENS San Francisco
------------------------------------------------------------------- Jammed Up At The Border (South Texas Businessmen Complain Of Increasingly Lengthy Delays At The US-Mexico Border Caused By Searches For Illegal Drugs) Date: Fri, 09 Jan 1998 20:21:06 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
Subject: MN: US TX: Jammed Up At The Border Newshawk: Kevin Zeese Source: Houston Chronicle XContact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 3 Jan 1998 Author: James Pinkerton JAMMED UP AT THE BORDER PROGRESO -- Free trade has taken a back seat to the war on drugs at border crossings, complain some South Texas business operators who say inspections and other delays are costing them money. The situation is only expected to get worse this week with a new requirement that suspicious trucks carrying grain and other hard-to-inspect cargo must be escorted to the town of Pharr, where a huge new X-ray machine is being used to detect hidden drugs. "Things aren't working too smoothly right now for commerce," said a glum Bill Summers, director of a business group called the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. "We feel that, sure, they have a job to do on drug interdiction, but they also have a commitment to honest people to get the trucks through as fast as they can because some are carrying perishable goods. "They have to remember it was trade that built these bridges." Increasingly, many of the Southwest's 37 international bridges along the 2,000-mile Mexican border are being swamped with long lines of cars and commercial trucks awaiting inspection. At one of the heaviest traffic points -- Laredo's two international bridges -- truckers sometimes wait up to eight hours to cross from Mexico into Texas. Near McAllen, on the Hidalgo bridge, the problem is less severe, but the average wait for a driver of a passenger car coming from Mexico is 40 minutes. Officials with the understaffed U.S. Customs Service, which conducts the vehicle inspections, would like to develop a more organized system of border crossings, with some bridges restricted to commercial trucks and others limited to passenger vehicles. But business leaders fear that approach may severely harm the economies of some border towns that have depended on a certain amount of commercial traffic. When the Customs Service announced last October that it would no longer allow commercial trucks to cross at Progreso, a small border crossing between Brownsville and McAllen, the resulting outcry and Washington lobbying effort forced customs to back down. Even so, the locals say customs has applied pressure through meticulous inspections to discourage the 20 or so trucks that cross daily through Progreso. "I have an importer of Mexican limes, and during (one) month he brought in 16 truckloads, and they required 100 percent unloading of 10 trucks," said William Cain, who operates Cain Customs' Brokers in Progreso. The $300 charged by stevedores to unload the cargo cut sharply into his client's profit. And all along the border, the inspectors' intensive search for drugs has sometimes meant damage to trucks and frustration for the shippers. In searching for hidden compartments where cocaine and other contraband might be concealed, inspectors often drill holes in expensive trailers but don't repair the damage or repay the trucking companies. "They drill the ceilings, the walls, they drill in floors, and they don't patch them, or tell my guys about them," said the owner of a Valley meat packing company. "You get a bunch of bloody water seeping into the walls, and the trailer starts to stink." "They're drilling all up and down the border," grumbled Cain. "There isn't as much drilling going on in the oil fields. "I think the authorities have gone overboard," he added, "and are hurting legitimate business in their efforts to stop the flow of illegal narcotics." Customs officials, like Maria Reba, who discussed the problems with merchants at a recent meeting, say they are "under incredible pressure to put drugs on the table." Texas Attorney General Dan Morales told law enforcement officers in November that the North American Free Trade Agreement is opening the border to a larger flow of illegal drugs. "Without thorough inspection of Mexican trucks, these Mexican cartels will feel like NAFTA means the North American Free Trafficking Agreement," Morales said. Nevertheless, customs remains under pressure from public and private bridge owners -- and border state congressmen -- to keep bridges open longer and reduce the waiting time to 20 minutes. Adding to the pressure is the fact that several new bridges are on the drawing board. "So when you ask me to open more bridges, which require more staff, you're essentially preventing my ability to bring the waiting down to 20 minutes," said customs official David Higgerson, who oversees operations at the Progreso and Pharr bridges. "We can't do that, we don't have the resources. We're stretched very thin." "They're stretched, but the answer is not closing bridges and shutting off traffic," said Larry Neal, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm. "The solution is better management, and the long-term answer is more people and better equipment." This month, Gramm plans to introduce legislation that would allocate $219 million over the next two years to hire 1,705 new customs inspectors, 1,100 of which would be assigned to the Southwest border, with 612 of those going to Texas, Neal said. In addition to the new inspectors, Gramm proposes to spend $56 million to acquire new technology to be installed at border crossings, including surveillance cameras, mobile and stationary X-ray machines to inspect trucks, and ultrasonic machines to scan containers. "We need to do what's necessary to increase the legal trade and shut off the flow of illegal drugs," Neal said. "That's going to take a great deal more equipment and people."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Legalize Pot (Letter To The Editor Of 'Creative Loafing' In Atlanta, On The Hypocrisy Evidenced By Georgia Senator Abernathy's Pot Bust) From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 22:44:47 -0800 WAY TO GO JAMES HARRIS!!!!! He hits 2 LTE's in one week, one with a circulation over 180,000 Newshawk: "James W. Harris" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Creative Loafing Contact: email@example.com Fax: 404-420-1402 Website: http://www.creativeloafing.com Pubdate: Saturday, 3 Jan 1998 Newshawk (and author) writes: Creative Loafing is a free weekly paper for the Atlanta area. Readership is 180,000, and it therefore claims to be the largest "alternative" city weekly in America. My op-ed appeared in their "Think Tank" editorial section. LEGALIZE POT The only thing Ralph David Abernathy III might be guilty of is hypocrisy I am no fan of state Senator Ralph David Abernathy III. But the holier-than-thou war being mounted against him for attempting to smuggle a tiny amount of marijuana through the Atlanta airport is making me sick. Gov. Miller has denounced Abernathy's act as "outrageous." Lt. Governor Pierre Howard is working with other oh-so-shocked legislators to craft new laws to punish lawmakers who commit similar sins. What's the big deal? Abernathy is an adult. What he chooses to put into his own body should be his own business. Some argue that Abernathy should be punished simply because he broke the law. But bad laws deserve neither our respect nor our obedience. The laws prohibiting the use, possession and sale of marijuana are similarly idiotic and despotic. Indeed, marijuana is far safer than the most popular legal recreational drugs in America, alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Those who today enjoy beer or wine, yet condemn Abernathy for possessing marijuana, should pause and reflect that, a mere few decades ago, booze -- not marijuana -- was illegal. Alcohol was outlawed between 1920 and 1933. Eventually the country came to its senses, and booze was re-legalized. Marijuana was perfectly legal in America well into this century. The federal government didn't outlaw pot until 1937, and then only after Congress was bamboozled by a sordid propaganda campaign of outright lies. Just as our grandparents rebelled against alcohol Prohibition, today millions of Americans are rebelling against pot prohibition. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, 10 million Americans smoke marijuana monthly, and about 20 million use it yearly. And many more Americans like me, who have never touched the stuff, view the war against it as a terrible injustice. Rather than attacking Abernathy, we should be aiming our deepest contempt at politicians like President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- all of whom smoked pot in college, suffered no ill effects whatsoever from it, and yet today wage a savage (and politically-motivated) war against others who merely choose, as they themselves once did, to smoke the same substance. Which brings me to the one good reason there might be for attacking Abernathy. Does he favor keeping marijuana illegal? If so, then he should indeed be booted out of office. Not for smuggling dope, but for outrageous and disgusting hypocrisy -- a hypocrisy unfortunately shared by many other politicians. James Harris freelance writer; editor, The Liberator and The Liberator Online (both published by the Advocates for Self-Government)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Political Noise Hides Real Issues In Weed And Seed (Three Letters To The Editor Of 'St. Petersburg Times' On Police Chief Goliath Davis's Recent Decision To Just Say No To $100,000 From The Government's 'Weed And Seed' Program To Intensify Drug-Related Arrests In Low-Income Areas Of South St. Petersburg, Florida) Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 20:09:42 EST From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: LTE's: Political noise hides real issues in Weed and Seed >From the 1-3-98 St. Petersburg Times http://www.sptimes.com email@example.com Letters to the Editors *** Political noise hides real issues in Weed and Seed Three times the Times has editorially criticized the mayor, police chief, sheriff, state attorney and U.S. attorney in some way because of the Weed and Seed controversy. I suppose some criticism is justified in terms of political and law enforcement decisions being communicated to the public in a rapid, confusing, uncoordinated and substantively vague manner. Assumptions of inherently racial tension may have basis in perception, but the facts underlying the charges were little disclosed in articulating the policies. The resulting political noise has obscured the two most important matters: how to achieve sustained social, physical and economic improvement in the Challenge 2001 area and how to combat drug trafficking there and citywide. Drug trafficking and use will be with us forever, but a combination of prevention/treatment and law enforcement can force some decline. At the height of the controversy, police Chief Goliath Davis publicly stated he would continue to fight street-level drug activity, and there should have been no reason to doubt this. His commitment is well reflected in the Dec. 30 story in the Times about 70 drug arrest warrants originating with an investigation Davis initiated (Street-level drug arrests are a "wake-up call," police say). Moreover, readers should note that information for the police operation came from residents contacting the police. This is no simple matter, if your readers will recall the past breaking of the Lee and Mathis family cases and drug dealers in the Tierra Verde area. America is a consumer of drugs, licit and illicit, and drug use, licit and illicit, is woven into our social and commercial fabric. Drug companies are considered sound legal investments, and illegal drug trafficking probably is the most profitable industry in the world. In the Dec. 30 story, Assistant Chief Gary Hitchcox stated that he doubted the 70 arrests would have a major impact on drug activities, which should tell the reader how difficult it is to reduce drug trafficking and drug abuse. This is a sensitive political and law enforcement matter, but openness is important. Perhaps our local public officials could do a better job of telling the residents more about the scope of the city's drug problems and their policies to reduce the destructive and corrupting activity. A better informed public usually understands and supports public decisions more readily. -- James R. Gillespie, St. Petersburg *** It's not the way to battle drugs St. Petersburg Police Chief Goliath Davis recently did what no other police chief in the country has had the guts to do: say "Thanks but no thanks" to $100,000 from the government's Weed and Seed program. The funds were to "intensify" drug-related arrests in a targeted area, specifically low-income areas of south St. Petersburg. By the political posturing and ballyhoo, you'd have thought the world was coming to an end. Politicians and law enforcement officials came out in droves to straighten him out and smooth this thing over. How dare he, they'd say, a lowly police chief of a medium-size city of mostly retirees, question the conventional wisdom of our nationally renowned war on drugs? Not to mention the political damage to the careers of friends who might stand by him. Even if he was thinking it, why would he say it? I hope I know why. I hope he realized that $100,000 is a drop in the bucket in terms of the law enforcement budget of the city, not to mention the job at hand. Couple that with a powder keg of race relations that has been fueled, at least in part, by an overzealous, 24-hour-a-day police presence, and you have a public relations nightmare. I hope that he wanted to explain why more of the same would not fix the problems of south St. Petersburg. I hope he knew that more of the same would not help the general mistrust of police by a community in which the residents are incarcerated at a rate far above that of the rest of the city. I hope he is tired of explaining to black families why a young family member will serve a much harsher sentence for possession of cocaine than his white counterpart in another part of the city. I hope he knew that without a meaningful, honest, unexaggerated dialogue about the "drug crisis" and the so-called "war on drugs" and the role of law enforcement with its citizens, little will change in St. Petersburg and the nation as a whole. Maybe, just maybe, he thought more isn't always better and maybe the solution lies deeper than more jail cells. I hope that's what he was thinking and if so, I applaud him for having the courage to say it. -- Jeff Beckham, Dunedin *** A devastating statement A good portion of reality has been lost. On Dec. 16, while attending a Weed and Seed community meeting at the Enoch Davis Center, a statement was made by a black gentleman from the community. He said that "the sheriff plays golf with the white dope dealers on Sunday who, in turn, bring the dope into the black community." I sat there as some of the audience embraced the statement with cheers. Sorrow fell upon me from the ignorance in the room. The statement was insulting at best and made me cringe with fear to where some of our people have lost touch with reality and the idea of accepting responsibility for their actions. That statement implies that our people have immunity from being looked upon as dope dealers in the community because we don't bring in the dope. That statement says that it is "okay" to sell dope to our own people, addicting them for profit and repeat customers. That statement says we as black people don't know right from wrong, have no morals or values, and that we would addict our own people because someone brings it into the community. That statement says black people cannot "say no" to the obvious risks of selling dope openly on the community corners. That statement says it is "okay" to recruit our youth for look-outs and runners with rewards of new designer gym shoes. In essence, it says the gold chains around our necks, gold rings on every finger, gold inlay over perfectly good teeth, lime-green and orange metal flake paint jobs and $2,000 wheel rims are more important to our people than family values, going to school and keeping a job. That gentleman's statement was devastating, and you don't have to have a high school education to know that one of the senior members of our community has given the green light to our youth, coupled with older adults, that "it's not your fault" that you sell dope to your own people. As mentioned before, it breaks my heart and goes against everything my parents taught me at an early age. So, all that I, along with the other good citizens of St. Petersburg, can do is observe and read about the continued damage we do to each other and then blame the results on the white community. In closing, I refer you to a passage in the Bible in which Jesus states that "the love of man will wax cold" before he returns. He states, "Be not alarmed, for the end is not yet." I say to our people, keep your attention upon Christ, not man, or our black leaders, for our true adversary delights in our division. -- Calvin Dennie, St. Petersburg
------------------------------------------------------------------- North American Streets Getting Safer (Canadian Trend Similar To That In US) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: North American streets getting safer Date: Sat, 03 Jan 1998 10:36:57 -0800 Lines: 116 Source: Globe and Mail (Toronto) Globe and Mail (Toronto) [http://www.GlobeAndMail.CA/] Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org North American streets getting safer Homicides and violent crimes fewer in 1997, but fraud and theft increase as criminals look for easy money Saturday, January 3, 1998 By Isabel Vincent Crime Reporter It may well be the safest time in decades to walk the streets of many major North American cities, but you'd better be really careful when you park your car or use a credit card. That's the story borne out by criminal experts and 1997 crime statistics that show a steady, and sometimes marked decrease in homicide and violent crime rates in many major North American cities, but a significant increase in commercial crime such as drug trafficking, car theft and fraud. An economic upturn coupled with better policing may have discouraged violent crimes throughout North America in the last year, but they have had little effect on just about every other criminal activity, crime experts say. "Why are we seeing an increase in commercial crime? Quite simply because it is easier to do than other kinds of crimes," said Sergeant Bryan Boulanger, a spokesman for the Edmonton Police Department, where officials were swamped with fraud and property offence cases. "You don't have to get a gun to rob a bank. Now we're looking at an increase in things that are much more difficult to patrol, such as fraudulent credit card use." Sgt. Boulanger said Edmonton police have seen such a significant increase in commercial criminal cases that the turnaround time for investigations now averages between three months and two years. "What we are seeing is a huge increase in property offences and frauds," Toronto criminal lawyer John Rosen said. "The homicide rate in this country is pretty steady and for the last 10 years it's been pretty much declining, but there seems to be a lot of pressure out there to make easy money." In Canada, homicide rates in the most populous cities either decreased in 1997 or remained stable compared with rates for the past several years. Police in Montreal reported 49 homicides in 1997 down from 54 in 1996. The decrease was attributed to a concerted effort by Montreal police, the RCMP and the Quebec provincial police to work together to solve homicides and prevent others from happening, said Constable Michel Fontaine, a Montreal police spokesman. Of the 49 homicides committed in Montreal almost half were related to the war between rival motorcycle gangs, which claimed 21 lives last year, Constable Fontaine said. Similarly in Edmonton, where police found that many of last year's 22 homicides were committed as a result of family disputes, police launched the Family Protection Service Division, which paired police officers with social workers to monitor severe cases of domestic abuse that they feared might end in homicide. Edmonton police also instituted a program two years ago whereby officers investigating a disturbance or crime can seize children if they are deemed to be in any sort of danger, such as from adults who have been drinking or using drugs. In Toronto, police reported 61 homicides in 1997, which represented a 2-per-cent increase over 1996. "Homicide rates throughout North America have plateaued since about 1975," said Neil Boyd, professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. He added that the generational impact of such events as the Vietnam war, the hippie movement and the expansion of illegal drugs led to a boom in homicides in most Western countries' cities between 1966 and 1975. However, Prof. Boyd said greater economic and political stability has led to a decrease in violent crime. "But we can't draw too many inferences about Canada's crime rate declining just yet," he said. "We have to examine things like changes to police procedure and the courts, and remember that the statistics we are seeing may be influenced by other factors." For instance, in the 1980s the RCMP decided to curtail their efforts to apprehend marijuana users in Vancouver, and go after distributors instead. This resulted in about half the rate of convictions for drug users but did not necessarily mean that drug use was down in the city, Prof. Boyd said. Moreover, Ontario Provincial Police recently reported a 20-per-cent increase in drinking and driving offences in the province in 1997. But many speculate that the increase reflects recent crackdowns on impaired driving. "When we look at the statistics we must remember that they do not reflect crime as experienced by Canadians but crime as it is reported by and to police," he said. Other critics cite cutbacks to law enforcement organizations throughout the country as a factor in weighing crime statistics. "There is more going on out there than ever gets reported," Toronto criminal lawyer Randall Barrs said, adding that cutbacks to law enforcement in areas such as commercial crime are contributing to the increase in these types of crimes. "Police simply don't have the budgets to do sophisticated surveillance of large-scale drug trafficking and theft operations in this country," he said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- We're Losing Drugs War, Police Admit (Australia's Police Chiefs Endorse Report By Australian Bureau Of Criminal Intelligence Conceding Police Have Almost No Impact On Drug Trade And Sometimes Make The Situation Worse) Date: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 09:56:13 EST From: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: ART: AU-We're losing drugs war, police admit >From the 1-3-98 Financial Review (AU) http://www.afr.com.au/ firstname.lastname@example.org We're losing drugs war, police admit By a staff writer Australia's police chiefs have endorsed a milestone report which concedes that police are having almost no impact on the trade in illegal drugs and in many cases are making the situation worse. The 160-page report, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence, looks at decriminalisation and more police tolerance of drug use. It also warns that "policing cannabis may be pushing cannabis users towards harder drugs". The Australian Illicit Drug Report gives a comprehensive overview of the drug scene, noting the cost of abuse is estimated at $1.6 billion. Meanwhile, the price of most drugs has remained stable or fallen and supplies have been steady or grown -- strong indications of the ineffectiveness of police activity. The ABCI's board comprises all of Australia's police chiefs and is chaired by the Victorian Police Commissioner, Mr Neil Comrie. In a foreword, Mr Comrie says the ABCI "is in the best position to provide comprehensive information [on] illegal drugs", and that the report is "the main vehicle for law enforcement reporting on the effectiveness of strategies being used to combat illegal drugs". But the report repeatedly questions the effectiveness of those strategies, particularly in relation to cannabis, heroin and amphetamines. It notes that police face a constant dilemma in dealing with drugs, especially at street level. "On one hand, there is the public expectation that they will uphold the law and proceed against drug offenders; on the other hand, it is widely recognised that street-level policing can actually lead to harm to both drug users and society." Police are questioning the effectiveness of traditional methods. For instance, Operation Noah -- which encourages people to anonymously call police with information about drug users and dealers -- has been hailed a success since it began in 1982. But, according to the ABCI report, "several police services have recently decided not to participate", in the wake of criticism that it is counter-productive. Likewise, the traditional police strategy of trying to reduce drug supplies by targeting dealers has been criticised. And, according to the report, it appears to have been singularly ineffective. Time and again, the report found, policing has had little effect on drug supplies or prices -- in part because demand is constant or growing. Cannabis •"There is little evidence of any reduction in the availability of cannabis as a result of law enforcement actions." •"Targeting of cannabis production [during one period in Western Australia] had an effect on the supply of cannabis, but not the use." •"The availability of herbal cannabis was high during 1996-97." Heroin •"Heroin remains generally available in Australia and anecdotal evidence suggests that law enforcement efforts are having only a limited effect on the amount of heroin offered at street level." •"Few shortages were reported anywhere and law enforcement activity did not appear to affect prices on the street." Amphetamines •"Amphetamines appear to be at least as available now as they were five years ago, despite tighter legislation and increased law enforcement efforts . . . Perceptions are that amphetamine use and availability have been increasing." •"Domestic seizures appear to have had little impact on the availability of amphetamines." Cocaine •"The availability of cocaine is reported to have risen in Victoria and South Australia, and in areas such as the Gold Coast and Sydney's Kings Cross."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Straw The Father Steps Out From The Shadows (British Anti-Drugs Minister Whose Son Was Busted Makes Public Statement) Subj: UK: Straw The Father Steps Out From The Shadows From: shug
Date: Sat, 03 Jan 1998 15:35:57 -0500 Pubdate: Sat, 3 Jan 1998 Source: The Scotsman, Edinburgh, UK Author: Andrew Parker - Political Correspondent Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com Website: http://www.scotsman.com/ STRAW THE FATHER STEPS OUT FROM THE SHADOWS English judge lifts injunction after The Scotsman names Home Secretary JACK STRAW last night told of his anguish and embarrassment after learning that his 17-year-old son had been accused of drug dealing. The Home Secretary was able to go public about the extraordinary affair after a judge scrapped the injunction which banned newspapers in England from identifying Mr Straw and his son William. The Scotsman and two other Scottish newspapers yesterday precipitated the judge's decision by naming Mr Straw north of the Border after ten days of legal farce. He was also named yesterday by newspapers in Ireland and France, and on the Internet. At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Toulson said that it was neither sensible nor appropriate to maintain an injunction which allowed people in Greenock to know the identity of Mr Straw, but not those in Carlisle. Tony Blair immediately threw his full weight behind Mr Straw, and insisted there was no question of him resigning or moving to another ministerial brief. Mr Straw, who has taken a particularly tough stance against legalisation of soft drugs, said he had never considered resigning. He said: "What it has done is strengthened my conviction against legalisation of soft drugs." The Mirror newspaper first claimed on Christmas Eve that a senior Cabinet minister's son had sold cannabis worth 10 UKP to one of its reporters in a London pub, but did not identify the father or the son. Mr Straw had already taken his son to a police station, where the youth was arrested and released on bail. Mr Straw spoke anonymously to the Mirror and the Sun on Wednesday and expressed profound frustration that he could not go public because of English law which provides anonymity to anyone under 18 facing legal proceedings. Speaking after the injunction had been lifted, the Home Secretary said that his son could expect no favours from the legal system, but should not suffer additionally for being the child of a prominent politician. He told a hastily convened press conference: "When the Daily Mirror first spoke to me I felt the same emotions as any parent would in such circumstances - shock and concern. "Being a parent means giving love and support and - where it's necessary - confronting children with their wrongdoing. "When a child does wrong, I believe it to be the duty of a parent to act promptly. That is what I sought to do. "My son went voluntarily with me to the police. He did not and should not expect any favours from the legal process. "He will accept and suffer any sanctions which arise, though of course like any parents we stand by him." He added: "Of course I was embarrassed by this. Any parent would be embarrassed by the information I was given. "We had a good Christmas, although it would have been a better Christmas without this, but there you go - that's life." Mr Straw refused to go into detail about the discussions he had had with his son, who, it emerged, had been offered a conditional place at Oxford University on the same day that the Mirror accused of him of drug dealing. The police are expected to either caution or take no action against William early next week. William later posed for pooled press pictures in the kitchen of the family's London home. His father was present during the photo shoot but did not pose with him and both looked tense throughout. On Tuesday, John Morris, the Attorney General, obtained an injunction in the High Court preventing the Sun from naming Mr Straw. The Scotsman was able to identify him because the injunction did not apply in Scotland. Mr Straw confirmed last night that the Government was reviewing the law in England which preserves the anonymity of children facing legal proceedings. But he insisted his ability to speak out about drugs, good parenting and youth crime in his capacity as Home Secretary had not been adversely affected by his son's actions. "This episode has not in any sense compromised my very firm belief about the legalisation of cannabis and other soft drugs. Cannabis is a dangerous drug which is internationally accepted as dangerous. It may not be as dangerous as some other drugs, but there is no question that it is dangerous and has narcotic qualities," he said. "It's a matter of incontrovertible evidence that there are plain links between the use and selling of drugs and the incidence of acquisitive crimes." Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister thinks Mr Straw has acted honourably and correctly throughout. It's been a difficult time for him and his family. The Prime Minister has given his full support throughout and continues to do so." During a day of dramatic developments, Downing Street initially said yesterday that the decision by The Scotsman and two other newspapers to identify Mr Straw had no bearing on the situation in England. A spokesman for Mr Straw said there was no question of him issuing a statement in response to the disclosure of his identity in the Scottish media. But hours later Mr Morris announced he was taking the case involving the Sun back to the High Court, after the newspaper decided to appeal. Mr Justice Toulson refused Mr Morris's request to maintain the injunction. He said in his judgement: "I have to ask myself whether it is sensible or appropriate for the court to maintain a position in which matters can be freely published in Greenock but not in Carlisle." Asked by The Scotsman if he welcomed the newspaper's decision to identify him, Mr Straw said: "It's not for me to comment on the process of the law in this case either in respect of the Scottish media or in other matters. What I have sought to do throughout this is strictly to observe the law and the legal advice I have been offered." He confirmed he had spoken to Mr Morris when the Mirror first informed him of the allegations against his son. Mr Morris, along with other legal advisers, is thought to have told Mr Straw he could not go public because the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act provided anonymity to children facing legal proceedings in England. But Mr Straw stressed that he had no discussion with Mr Morris about the injunction obtained on Tuesday. There had been claims that Mr Morris, who acts independently of the Government, had been put under political pressure to seek the injunction.
------------------------------------------------------------------- British Marijuana Law Comes Under Attack (Hypocrisy Exposed Begins To Inspire Open And Honest Discussion In England) Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 20:09:31 EST From: email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: ART: British marijuana law comes under attack >From the 1-3-98 St. Petersburg Times (Florida) http://www.sptimes.com firstname.lastname@example.org British marijuana law comes under attack By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN Times Senior Correspondent If ever there were an example of the hysteria over marijuana, it is a case in England that involves the press, the courts, the highest levels of British government and last, but certainly not least, a 17-year-old boy. Like politicians all over the Western world, Britain's new Labor government has been struggling with this question: Does it make sense to treat marijuana users as criminals when millions of people are legally harming themselves -- and potentially endangering others -- with their consumption of alcohol and tobacco? In private, many Labor politicians say no. In public, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Cabinet have taken a hard line against decriminalizing pot, contending it is a "gateway" drug that can lead to heroin and cocaine addiction. So it was big news recently when an undercover reporter for the Mirror, one of England's leading tabloids, went into a pub and bought some marijuana from the 17-year-old son of a senior British Cabinet minister. The Mirror contacted the official but did not identify him publicly because the boy is a juvenile. According to the paper, the minister took his son to a London police station and insisted that he receive no special privileges. The story ignited the debate over marijuana decriminalization, which has been spearheaded by another daily newspaper, the Independent. In an open letter to Home Secretary Jack Straw, the man in charge of Britain's criminal justice system, the Independent's editor urged the government to reconsider "how stupid the law is" and how much police and court time are tied up prosecuting people for pot possession. "As Home Secretary you must come across all sorts of terrible examples of violence and social breakdown. What proportion of them are caused by alcohol and how many are due to cannabis use? I am certain I know the answer. Yet society will reprimand this boy for possessing cannabis but ignore the fact that as a 17-year-old old he was in a pub where alcohol was being consumed." Straw's reply was swift -- he strongly reiterated the government's anti-pot position: "The more I examine the evidence, I am less and less convinced of the cause for decriminalization. . . . Drug abuse of all kinds, including abuse of cannabis, lies behind a huge amount of crime in this country. It would be utterly irresponsible to go down the road of decriminalization or legalization." The government was further embarrassed when one Labor member of Parliament acknowledged smoking marijuana as a teenager. Militant advocates of decriminalization have threatened to "out" other Labor politicians who also have used pot. In its decriminalization campaign, the Independent has the support of many notables, including Paul McCartney, billionaire Richard Branson, playwright Harold Pinter and even Howard Brookes-Baker, publisher of Burke's Peerage. A former member of the Greater Manchester Drugs Squad, one of the biggest in Britain, echoed the view of many that marijuana usage should be considered a public health problem, not a criminal one. "Toward the end of my service I saw that this was really a medicinal issue," said former Detective Chief Inspector Ron Clarke, stressing his own abhorrence of drugs and the drug culture. "I got tired of seeing otherwise innocent young kids from all walks of life getting criminal records for, in effect, doing nothing more than millions of other people in society were doing with alcohol." Advocates of decriminalization frequently point to Holland, where usage of "hard drugs" like heroin and cocaine actually dropped after marijuana was decriminalized. Moreover, glue sniffing and other forms of lethal-solvent abuse are rare among Dutch teens. In the past few days, the case has taken several bizarre turns. Police arrested the Mirror reporter, 30-year-old Dawn Alford, on suspicion of possessing cannabis. That prompted cries of outrage from the paper and allegations that the case, contrary to the minister's pleas, was in fact being handled very differently from others. Prosecutors have not decided whether to pursue criminal charges against the minister's son. Detectives purportedly have recommended he either be cautioned or face no action at all, given the small amount of marijuana involved. While the minister's identity quickly became known in government, media and Internet circles, no English news organization has yet named him because it would be tantamount to identifying his son. British law bans identification of suspects under 18. On Friday, however, three Scottish newspaper printed the minister's name on the grounds that Scottish law sets 16 as the minimum age for identifying juvenile suspects. "The situation has rapidly descended into farce," said the editor of Scotland's Daily Record. "It is time this whole story was out in the open so the public can make up its own mind." So, just who is the minister? None other than Britain's most ardent defender of strong marijuana laws -- Home Secretary Jack Straw. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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