Portland NORML News - Sunday, January 4, 1998

Another Costly, Destructive Waste (Writer Of Letter To Editor
Of 'Spokesman-Review' Will Also Put A Light In Her Window
Until The Drug War Is Over)

Newshawk: Nora Callahan 
Source: Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington state)
Contact: editor@spokesman.com
Pubdate: As shown below.
Note: Our newshawk writes: These letters have been published as a result of
the "Light in the Window" project: http://www.november.org/light1.html

Sunday January 4, 1998


I too have a light in my window that will burn until the Drug War ends.

My children missed their father's presence this Christmas as we miss him
every day. It has been a year since he was sent to federal prison 2,000
miles from home. We've eight long years of separation left.

As in other wars, there are children falling casualty to this one. The
Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents estimates that on any given day
more than 1.5 million children in our country have a parent in jail or
prison. Susan Phillips the director laments, "If that many children were
touched by any other war, the evening news would show their pictures and
humanitarian relief efforts would be underway."

But this is the Drug War, described as "unwinable" by many public
officials, as a "colossal failure" by Ann Landers and "waste and nonsense"
by senior federal judge, John H. Kane. And yet, it rages on.

Industry and corporate profits fuel this war, just as every other war. We
have rising numbers of jobs connected with law enforcement, prison
industries, drug testing, prison construction, jailers and guards, to name
but a few. Even the D.A.R.E. program has become a multi-million dollar

Meanwhile, my husband will serve a longer prison term than a rapist or
murderer. Our children are denied a father. It is time to end the drug war
and bring peace to America.

Consuelo F. Doherty Kettle Falls, Wash

Pot Zealot Should Save His Breath ('Maine Sunday Telegram'
Sides With Mainers For Medical Rights' Inadequate Medical-Marijuana
Initiative Petition, Uses Ad Hominem Attack Against Petition From Maine
Citizens for Medical Marijuana)

Date: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 09:58:11 EST
From: "Cara Williamson" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Maine/Excellent Article

Pot zealot should save his breath

Maine Sunday Telegram
January 4, 1998

If he truly cared about people with cancer, glaucoma and AIDS, Don
Christen would go home, fire up a joint and keep his mouth shut.

But for Maine's premier pothead, medical use of marijuana is more
than just an idea whose time has come. It's a foot in the door, a step
toward that glorious day when all of the world's troubles will disappear
in a cloud of cannabis.

In other words, it's the best reason yet to ignore Don Christen.

But that, unfortunately, won't be easy. Maine is caught in a tug of war
between two petitions calling for statewide votes on the medical use of
marijuana - and while they may sound like the same thing, they aren't.

One is supported by Mainers for Medical Rights - a coalition ranging
from doctors and patients to the Maine AIDS Alliance, the Maine Civil
Liberties Union and a growing number of political leaders. Like the
national effort on which it is based, it would allow doctors to
prescribe marijuana for those specific diseases - epilepsy, multiple
sclerosis, glaucoma, cancer, AIDS - where the drug clearly provides some
patients a welcome measure of relief.

Patients like Dr. Michael Lindey, a Freeport veterinarian who in 1995
underwent four major operations and six months of chemotherapy for
cancer - and in the process watched his 180-pound frame shrink by 50
pounds before he turned to marijuana.

''I had a tremendous, tremendous turnaround,'' said Lindey, who beat the
cancer into remission, regained his lost weight and stopped using
marijuana ''with no trouble at all.''

The other plan, a smoke screen for a much larger objective, comes from
Christen and his Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana.

First, they argue that doctors should be allowed to prescribe pot to
anyone for anything. Then they propose that patients be allowed to
possess as much marijuana as they want (the MMR plan limits possession
to 1 ounces and six growing plants).

And, lest we forget all the healthy people who also might benefit from
an occasional buzz, Christen and his followers continue to circulate
another petition advocating their ultimate goal - legalize marijuana for
it everyone.

''We need to take the politics and the cops right out of it,'' Christen
said last week. Especially the cops - in the past seven years, he's been
jailed three times on charges ranging from trafficking in marijuana to
lighting up on the steps of the Somerset County Courthouse.

The problem here isn't just that Christen's crusade confuses the issue -
although it certainly does that. The problem is Christen.

At a time when voters need a calm, reasonable discussion of the merits
of marijuana for people far more interested in staying alive than
staying high, Christen's confrontational style serves only to stoke his
own hyperventilated ego. (On a radio talk show last week, he taunted one
caller with the claim that he was smoking a joint as they spoke.)

And at a time when many people find themselves torn between their
sympathy for sick people and their disdain for illegal drugs, Christen's
far-out agenda and tarnished reputation could easily turn
support for a clearly noble cause into rejection of a glassy-eyed

If Christen truly wanted to help, he'd listen to Lindey and other
patients who see medical use of marijuana as a goal, not a tactic. Then
he'd see himself for the liability he is and get out of the way.

''All we're saying is let the people decide,'' Christen insisted between
tokes last week.

Lindey, for one, already has. The issue is medical marijuana for sick
people - not party time for Don Christen.

''I think they're hurting us,'' Lindey said.


Portland NORML notes - You think that hurts, wait 'til you get diagnosed with
cancer and you have to wait six months for your six plants to mature. Then the
cops bust you because your six plants add up to more than one ounce. And
how are you legally going to get seeds or clones in the first place?

Addicts Getting Banned Needles (Lawrence Participants In Massachusetts
Needle Exchange Program Get State Identity Cards To Protect Them From Arrest)

Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 20:05:34 EST
From: dan@nhhra.mv.com (Dan Sundquist)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Art: Addicts getting banned needles
The Eagle-Tribune (Lawrence, MA)
January 4, 1998 - Sunday Edition
SECTION: Local News; Pg. C01, C02
LENGTH: 605 words
HEADLINE: Police are trying to figure out how local addicts are getting
state-issued needles when the city rejected the idea.

BYLINE: Liz Anderson, Eagle-Tribune Writer

BODY: Although Lawrence officials have rejected attempts to bring a needle
exchange program to this city, some local addicts appear to be getting clean
needles from the state anyway.

The addicts may be commuting to programs in Boston and Cambridge, then
returning to Lawrence with both the needles and state-issued cards
identifying them as study participants, police say.

Lawrence police, who began encountering a handful of people carrying the
needles and the cards last month, are trying to determine how to handle the
situation, Sgt. Anthony F. Palmigiano said.

It is illegal under Massachusetts law for a person to possess needles and
syringes. Exceptions are made for people with medical needs, such as diabetics.

The state identification card the Lawrence addicts are carrying, however,
tells police that the addicts are not violating the law by possessing the
state-issued needles because they are participating in the state's pilot
needle-exchange program.

These programs allow addicts to exchange dirty hypodermic needles for clean
ones. Promoters hope such exchanges will reduce the spread of HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS, by reducing the number of people sharing needles
contaminated with the virus.

State Sen. James P. Jajuga, D-Methuen, has championed such programs and
tried to bring one to the Lawrence area. City officials, including former
mayor Mary Claire Kennedy, opposed bringing a needle-exchange program here,
saying it condoned drug use and that the threat of AIDS alone should keep
people from sharing dirty needles.

Massachusetts, which began a pilot needle-exchange program in 1995, now has
four such sites: Boston, Cambridge, Provincetown and in the Springfield
area, according to James H. Hill, associate commissioner for management for
the state health department.

Although the majority of people at each site come from those communities,
Lawrence residents can participate if they can get themselves to the
exchange site, Mr. Hill said.

Addicts can only pick up as many needles as they turn in, he said. There is
no set requirement for how often they can visit the exchange site, Mr. Hill

The wallet-size identification cards have a code number on them, not the
name of a participant, Mr. Hill said.

He said a police department could call the state to confirm that a number on
the card is legitimate. It might be more difficult, but necessarily
impossible, to confirm the person with the card is actually the person to
whom it was issued.

Lawrence police want to confirm whether the state program does exist, and
whether the cards they are seeing are not just something addicts have
"concocted" on the streets, the sergeant said.

Sgt. Palmigiano noted that the cards only allow an addict to possess the
needle - not any drugs.

"If they're carrying drugs with them, that's a different story," he said.

Mr. Hill said he could not speculate why Lawrence police were just beginning
to encounter program participants. He said there was no effort to recruit
people from Lawrence.

For now, police are honoring the cards, Sgt. Palmigiano said. He hopes to
get an opinion next week from the Lawrence city attorney on whether this is

This report was prepared by Liz Anderson. If you have any questions
comments or material to add on this subject, please feel free to
contact her by phone at (978)685-1000, by mail at Box 100,
Lawrence, MA 01842, or by e-mail at landerson@eagletribune

Taking A Fresh Look At DARE (Orange County, California Schools
Reexamine The Program)

US CA: Taking a Fresh Look at DARE
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Pubdate: 04 Jan 1998


Questions about the cost and effectiveness of the main anti-drug program
taught in Orange County elementary and middle schools are prompting a
reexamination of the curriculum.

Proponents of DARE, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, say the large
number of cities using the program across the country demonstrates support for
having uniformed police enter the classroom and discuss the dangers of
cocaine, alcohol and other drugs.

But, in recent years, the decision of cities such as Seattle, Spokane and Oakland
to drop DARE indicates that some officials are wondering if the lectures to
schoolchildren do deter them from drugs.

Several Orange County school districts are taking fresh looks at the program,
which is a good idea.

There should be no rush to end DARE, but looking for possible supplemental
programs to help it operate more effectively is warranted.

A DARE spokesman said the program, which began in Los Angeles more than a
decade ago, was never expected to solve America's drug problem. Seventeen
one-hour lessons in fifth grade are no match for the availability of drugs.

Parents need to supplement the no-drugs message in any program. Some
educators say parents also need anti-drug programs of their own to help them
discuss the issue with their children.

Garden Grove schools report that DARE is a good vehicle for the district to
meet the state requirement that drug and alcohol awareness be taught in school.

But Buena Park dropped the program last year when the City Council said
tough economic times meant it couldn't justify paying city police to teach
DARE. A committee in the Buena Park school district has developed a new
program to teach drug and alcohol awareness to students in grades six through
eight and hoped to cover much of the same material as DARE.

The federal and state governments are now requiring school districts to test the
effectiveness of the anti-drug programs they sponsor. Several studies have
concluded that DARE is ineffective by itself. But when coupled with peer
counseling and training of teachers, judges and other adults to identify
problems that may lead to substance abuse, the program works better.

Although it is difficult to measure whether lessons taught in fifth grade have an
abiding effect on an adult, especially in so elusive a field as drug use and abuse,
anti-drug programs are important. They do deserve frequent testing of their
effectiveness, difficult though that may be.

Just saying no is not enough; explanations, counseling and effective role
models can help get beyond mere preaching in the needed effort to steer
youngsters away from drugs.

Let's Get Past Hysteria, Pandering (Letter To Editor Of 'Spokesman-Review'
Deflates Fond Memories Of Nancy Reagan And The 'Just Say No' Campaign)

Newshawk: Nora Callahan (nora@november.org)
From: Magic (magic@hemp.net)
To: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
cc: maptalk@mapinc.org
Source: Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington)
Contact: editor@spokesman.com

Sunday January 4, 1998


Michael Wiman (Letters, December 26) yes, I do remember the "just say no to
drugs" campaign of the Reagan years. These were the same years that ushered
in a rash of minimum sentencing and sentencing guidelines so barbaric and
unjust that today 87% of our federal judiciary is opposed to them.

Clearly the vast majority of these disillusioned judges were appointed by
republican presidents.

As to blaming Clinton for a failed drug war, no single politician bears the
entire blame. Drug war hysteria has been a convenient tool for our
presidents and our congress and state lawmakers as well. War rhetoric and
escalation passes freely between partisan lines. Why? Appearing tough on
crime gets votes.

Drug addiction has remained a constant in 5% of our population since the
drug war began.

Drug enforcement dollars have not been "slashed". On the contrary, drug war
spending has increased exponentially each year since "war" was declared
over thirty years ago. Last year direct costs were $15.2 billion while
indirect costs are no longer calculable. Clinton is increasing spending for

These are the facts. What are we getting for our money besides destruction?

Solutions could be found in pragmatism - they will never be found in

Public recognition of the facts will be the first steps of reform. At
present rates of incarceration, within fifty years half of our citizens
will be behind bars. We had better start looking beyond the hysteria and
pay attention to these facts. Our freedom depends on it.

Nora Callahan, Colville, Wash


(Below is the letter to which Callahan responded:)

> Spokesman-Review, December 26, 1997
> Re: "End futile, failed drug war," by Nora C. Callahan (Letters, Dec. 16)
> I wonder if Callahan remembers how effective the Reagan administration's
> "just say no" campaign was during the 1980s. The movement was characterized
> as too simple to work. The liberals could not, however, deny that drug
> usage dropped more and more every year. When the program was dropped, the
> real drug war ended.
> Along came Bill Clinton in 1992. Hidden in the bravado of his
> well-publicized slashing of federal employees was the 75 percent cut in
> drug enforcement field officers. Drug usage didn't just increase, it
> spiked. No wonder Callahan thinks Clinton's drug war isn't working.
> I agree with her opposition to jail sentences for drug offenders, but only
> concerning first-time possession of small amounts of drugs - that is, the
> users. Possession of large amounts, indicating dealing activities, should
> be dealt with harshly. Similarly, repeat small-amount offenders should
> receive jail time.
> First-time offenders could be required to wear electronic devices so they
> could be monitored. They would be required to find work. If they were
> receiving welfare, it would be revoked. They would be subject to drug tests
> at any time during their probation. This tough life, brought on by their
> own actions, would allow them to return to productive society instead of
> burdening it.
> Michael G. Winman, Spokane, Wash

Eight In 10 Britons Favour An Easing Of The Law (Only One In Six Approves
Of Continuing Cannabis Prohibition As Is)

Newshawk: Zosimos (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Pubdate: Sunday, 4 Jan 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: cannabis@independent.co.uk


IF Jack Straw decides to back the decriminalising of cannabis, he will find that
the overwhelming majority of Britons are behind him, to judge from a Mori
poll for the Independent on Sunday which revealed that 80 per cent want the
law relaxed.

Almost half of those polled (45 per cent) said they were in favour of the law
being changed for those who need cannabis for medicinal purposes, while 35
per cent wanted cannabis legalised for recreational use. Only one in six (17 per
cent) approved of the Government's policy of maintaining the status quo.

Mr Straw would be particularly popular among under-45s, 45 per cent of
whom believe cannabis should be available for personal use. The belief among
ministers and their advisers that our campaign appeals chiefly to middle-class
intellectuals was not borne out by the poll. More than half of
working-class respondents (55 per cent) thought a debate on a change in the law
was a good idea.

Further evidence that the Government is wrong to dismiss the cross-class
support for decriminilisation came from a phone-in poll published around the
same time of the IoS Mori poll. The Labour-supporting Mirror showed its
readers voting by nearly two to one in favour of decriminalisation.

Nearly six out of 10 (59 per cent) Conservative voters and seven out of 10 (68
per cent) of Labour were in favour of a debate; 64 per cent applauded the
unprecedented call by Lord Bingham, the Lord Chief Justice, last October for
an open debate on legalising cannabis.

School Will Not Punish Straw's Son (Son Of British Home Secretary
'Has Been Punished Enough' For Selling Hash)

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 00:15:03 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: School Will Not Punish Straw's Son
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Source: Sunday Times UK
Contact: editor@sunday-times.co.uk
Pubdate: Sun, 4 Jan 1998
Authors: Zoe Brennan and Nicholas Rufford


THE HEADMASTER at William Straw's school says he has no plans to suspend
or discipline the teenager because he has been punished enough by media

Philip Barnard, head of Pimlico school, said the 17-year-old had been under
pressure from friends to take drugs to fit in and had probably made a
simple mistake.

The news will be greeted with relief by Jack Straw, the home secretary, who
spoke yesterday of his anguish and his concern that his son may acquire a
criminal record.

Barnard said that although not condoning drug-taking, he regarded the
alleged cannabis selling as not very serious. "I really don't think it is
the end of the world," he said. "It isn't fair to penalise him. I have
sympathy with his family and with him. There may be people who disagree,
and I may be being a bit liberal . . . The difficulty for me is that Jack
Straw represents: one, a father; two, the chairman of governors; and,
three, the home secretary. I will try to talk to him as much as possible
as a father."

Barnard said further action against William could disrupt his moc A-levels,
which begin this week. He would discuss with William's parents whether to
take the teenager out of school during his exams to avoid further

Jack Straw repeated yesterday that he was implacably opposed to the
decriminalisation of cannabis, and said his son would have to face the
legal consequences of his actions.

It was inevitable for a parent in his situation to try to "rewind the
clock" and wish the incident had not happened.

Straw admitted that "quite a lot" of pupils used cannabis at the school,
where he was re-elected chairman of governors last month.

William has been one of the brightest stars at the 1,300-pupil London
comprehensive. He took his mathematics A-level a year early and is to take
physics, politics and religious studies this summer.

Fellow pupils say he used to be regarded as a "swot" but changed after
entering the sixth form. One said he had recently abandoned his academic
image. "He used to be pompous and nerdish," said another. "In the upper
sixth he has become much more trendy and goes to parties. There is no
stigma about drugs."

A third said: "Will doesn't deal. He would never buy drugs to sell them on.
In this case he was just doing some girls a favour. He fancies himself as a
bit of a ladies' man."

Barnard said William had been subjected to extraordinary peer pressure to
be "hip and part of the group". He endured extra pressure because of his
father's job. "It is why William has got dragged into this. It goes from
skateboards to clothes to drugs, across class barriers. There was a
particular pressure on him because his father is home secretary."

The Crown Prosecution Service decision on whether to charge William is
expected next week. Police are understood to have recommended no action or
a caution.



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