Portland NORML News - Tuesday, January 6, 1998
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Donald Christen Of Maine Vocals Responds To Biased Media Reports Promoting
Mainers For Medical Rights' Inadequate Medical-Marijuana Initiative Petition
Over That Offered By Maine Citizens For Medical Marijuana

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 00:09:08 EST
Sender: medmj@drcnet.org
From: Donald Christen (mevocals@somtel.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Maine Response to Bangor Daily Article

This letter is in response to an article in the Bangor Daily, by Sharon
Mack, entitled "Freeport veterinarian used pot for cancer relief".

It is fortunate veterinary Dr. Michael Lindey listened to either
his peers or advocates and disregarded the law not to self medicate.
He did so in spite of the fact he could have his license to practice
medicine revoked, possible civil sanctions and fine, and the racist
label of being a "Druggie" or "Pot Head" .

The Dr. doesn't seem to realize who has brought this issue to the public
in the first place. Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana, Maine Vocals,
Maine BACH, and Maine Cannabis Alliance all have been involved with the
medical marijuana issue in our state for years. (MCMM 1 Yr.) We have
educated many " ignorant" legislators and citizens to the truth and
facts, just as you may have found out indirectly through us or another
who has the same knowledge. Either way, if many activists, nationwide
had not been pushing the issue AMR would not be here today. Now you
would have us go sit at the back of the bus? Oh Really

I have gotten a label, not because I have been busted, but because I
have been an outspoken and aggressive activist for ending cannabis
prohibition, as well as for medical marijuana, and I stand by my
principles that prohibition is wrong. Depriving sick or injured citizens
of medical marijuana is not only wrong, it is a "real" crime, but the
government still doesn't even want to admit marijuana is a medicine.
Remember Dr. that is why we are petitioning, because we no longer are
willing to accept their rhetoric. We The People are writing this law,
and we are not writing it for the legislators' approval, the governor's
approval, the judiciary's approval or the cops' approval. (they're already
frothing at the bit to oppose any marijuana legislation ) We want the
politics and cops removed from the Drs. offices and our medicine cabinets.
They are not qualified to diagnose, or recommend therapy, are they?

The AMR proposal is an unworkable plan, and will endanger patients
either by putting them at risk of being constantly oversupplied, (a
crime and jailable offense) or under-supplied because they are
constantly worried about breaking the law and going to jail. Experts
have been quoted saying, "The AMR plan is botanically impossible", and
anyone who knows anything about marijuana cultivation is in agreement.
Also they limit the patients to 15 to 20% of those who can benefit from
medical marijuana. and the most obvious thing is there is NO DISTRIBUTION
PLAN, which the Dr. mentions in his statements as being needed. The
initiative defeats itself before it even gets to the polls, but only if
people know what they are signing or voting for. They plan to
sneak this initiative though without informing the public of all these
facts. Just compare the two initiatives and you will see.

The MCMM proposal is not open ended as some would lead you to believe.

First, there is no need for limits, the patients should be able to have
what they need.

Current law provides the protections against sales and furnishing, which
apply to all non-medical transactions. Patient can have a bale of marijuana
and as long as they use it for themselves, what's the big deal?

Second, this proposal is for all medically needy, not just a select
few. If we can't pass legislation to benefit more than 15 to 20% of the
population, something is wrong, we can and must do far better.

Third, we have the mechanism for a distribution plan which will be the
first of its kind in the nation, actually providing medical marijuana
for the patients of Maine, in direct opposition to the federal laws.
This is an essential part of any medical marijuana initiative, and one
only needs to check out this now existing problem in California. No
distribution plan for Prop. 215 threatens to close down all the buyer's
clubs, leaving thousands of patients without anywhere to turn to get
their medicine. We cannot allow this to happen in Maine.

Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana are all local Maine patients and
residents, who are all volunteers, and care about what they are doing.
In contrast, Mainers for Medical Rights are a puppet org. for Americans
for Medical Rights, an out of state PR firm. All people are on the
payroll and they are paying by the sheet for their signatures. These
people are bought and paid for, and would not be here doing what they
are unless they are getting paid. Big money is trying to sell an
unsuspecting public down the river, and will unless the public is
informed. Never thought I'd be an informer, but we will be very VOCAL
about AMR's deceitful plan in Maine. (AMR is also doing the same thing
in Alaska, Wash. DC, Colorado, and any/all other states that have an
initiative process. All these states advocates, org. and groups are also
opposed to AMR's initiative language for their states and will also
actively oppose them.)

We would be willing to debate the issue any time, any place to inform the
public of the facts about these competing initiatives. Why doesn't the
Bangor Daily, in the interest of public knowledge and information, set
up a debate or two with the MMR people and MCMM. Let's let a well-informed
public decide instead of this chicanery.

Sincerely Vocal,
Don Christen
MV/MCMM
Tel 207-696-8167
E-mail mevocals@somtel.com
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Diplomat Favored For Mexico Post (Clinton To Nominate Jeffrey Davidow,
A Career Diplomat, As Ambassador To Mexico, Former Candidate William Weld
Having Withdrawn Due To Opposition By Helms Due To Weld's Stand
On Medical Marijuana)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US DC: Diplomat Favored for Mexico Post
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:13:49 -0800
Lines: 65
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: January 6, 1998

DIPLOMAT FAVORED FOR MEXICO POST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Clinton apparently has settled on career
diplomat Jeffrey Davidow for the long-vacant post of ambassador to Mexico,
administration officials said Tuesday.

Davidow directs the State Department's Latin America bureau and is a former
ambassador to Venezuela and Zambia.

He is reported to have edged out former Houston Mayor Bob Lanier for the
assignment. Officials decided it was preferable to have an experienced
diplomat in Mexico City as opposed to a political appointee. Lanier stepped
down last week after six years as Houston mayor.

The Mexico City post has been vacant since the departure last June of
former Rep. James Jones, D-Okla. Opposition by the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., blocked the confirmation of
Clinton's first choice for the job, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

Davidow won Helms' backing in 1996 when he was nominated for his current
post. Helms' office declined immediate comment Tuesday on Davidow's
expected nomination to go to Mexico.

Last week, Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations subcommittee on Latin America, expressed concern about the
vacancy in Mexico City and called on Clinton to name a career diplomat to
fill it.

Davidow, 53, was named in an ``action memo'' sent to Clinton for final
approval, The Washington Post said in a story attributed to unidentified
senior administration officials.

White House press secretary Mike McCurry said: ``The president's been
interested in finding someone who would ably represent the interests of the
United States government at a time in which we are building a very strong
partnership with the government of Mexico and, of course, Assistant
Secretary Davidow has been involved in exactly that.''

In Venezuela a decade ago, Davidow served under Ambassador Otto Reich, who
said Tuesday that Davidow ``is as qualified for the job as anyone we have.

``He reports the truth. If it's bad news, he'll report it. If it's good
news, he'll report it,'' Reich said.

Drug trafficking is the most divisive issue in U.S.-Mexican relations. As
part of an annual procedure, the administration must decide by March 1
whether to certify Mexico as a cooperating partner in the drug war. A
finding that Mexico is not fully cooperating would carry economic penalties
and produce a crisis in relations.

Despite bitter criticism about Mexico's anti-narcotics performance by some
members of Congress, the administration has complimented Mexico's
performance. A decision to recertify Mexico is expected.

Last September, Weld's bid for the post was defeated when Helms refused to
schedule a confirmation hearing.

Helms contended that Weld's stances in favor of legalizing marijuana for
medical use and needle-exchange programs for addicts made him an
inappropriate choice as ambassador to a nation where drug trafficking is a
serious problem.
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The War On Drugs Is Being Lost (Columnist Anthony Lewis Reports
On Ethan Nadelmann's New Article In 'Foreign Affairs')

Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 16:21:01 +0000
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: ART: The War on Drugs Is Being Lost
Resent-From: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com

International Herald Tribune, Jan 6, 1998
contact:iht@iht.com

The War on Drugs Is Being Lost
By Anthony Lewis

BOSTON -- Practicality has been a feature of American life from the start
and a reason for the country's success. Americans on the whole eschewed
ideology. We judged ideas by whether they worked. When they didn't, we tried
something else.

A strange contemporary exception to that tradition is the war on drugs. By
any rational test it is an overwhelming failure. Yet leading politicians
persist in calling for ever more stringent measures to enforce the policy of
total prohibition, doing their best to prevent even a discussion of
alternatives.

In 1980, the federal government and the states spent perhaps $4 billion on
drug control; today the figure is at least $32 billion. The number of people
in prison on drug charges has also multiplied by eight, from 50,000 to 400,000.

Yet the use of forbidden drugs remains a reality of American life. Supplies
are plentiful despite costly attempts to stop the production of drugs in
other countries.

The human cost is worse than the financial cost. In 1996, 545,000 Americans
were arrested for possession of marijuana, giving these mostly young people
a criminal record for use of a drug as accepted in much of their culture as
alcohol in ours.

Many thousands of people are serving long terms in prison for a first,
nonviolent drug offense.

Is there an alternative way of dealing with the grave human and social
problem of drug abuse? Yes, there is. It is explored in the new issue of
Foreign Affairs, in an illuminating article by Ethan Nadelmann, director of
the Lindesmith Center in New York, a drug policy research institute.

The alternative is to acknowledge what Americans came to understand about
alcohol after 14 years of the noble experiment Prohibition. That is, as Mr.
Nadelmann puts it, "that drugs are here to stay, and that we have no choice
but to learn how to live with them so that they cause the least possible harm."

The harm-reduction approach to drugs is in growing use throughout Europe.
That includes a country as conservative as Switzerland.

In 1994, Switzerland began an experiment allowing doctors to prescribe
heroin morphine or injectable methadone for 1,000 hardened heroin addicts.
The results, reported last July, showed that criminal offenses by the group
dropped 60 percent, illegal heroin and cocaine use fell dramatically, health
was greatly improved, and stable employment rose.

Another policy adopted in much of Western Europe Australia and Canada is to
allow exchange of used needles for clean ones. This has had an important
effect in reducing HIV infections. In the United States, despite proposals
for needle exchange by commissions starting under President George Bush, the
White House and Congress have blocked the use of drug-abuse funds for that
purpose. The result, Mr. Nadelmann says has been the infection of up to
10,000 people with HIV.

Similarly with marijuana, the practice in much of Western Europe is not to
prosecute for mere possession.

"Most proponents of harm reduction do not favor legalization," Mr. Nadelmann
says. But "they recognize that prohibition has failed to curtail drug abuse,
that it is responsible for much of the crime corruption, disease and death
associated with drugs and that its costs mount every year."

A good many Americans including police chiefs and doctors, believe that it
is time for a change in our failed drug policy. It is our political leaders
who are afraid to change. It will take someone with the courage to say that
the emperor has no clothes (someone like Senator John McCain, Republican of
Arizona) to end our second disastrous noble experiment.

The New York Times
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For Addicts, Force Is The Best Medicine (Prohibitionist Sally Satel,
In 'The Wall Street Journal,' Fails To Address Exactly How Many Addicts
We Should Spend How Much On To Lock Up To Take Care Of The Problem)
Link to responses
To: mattalk@islandnet.com From: "Mark D. Walker" Subject: ART: Force is the Best Medicine Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 17:26:24 -0500 For Addicts, Force is the Best Medicine Wall Street Journal January 6, 1998 By SALLY SATEL Autopsy reports confirmed last week that actor and comedian Chris Farley died Dec. 18 of an overdose of cocaine and morphine. Farley was 33, the same age at which his idol, Jdhn Belushi, fatally overdosed on cocaine and heroin in 1982. Two weeks before Farley's death, another actor, Robert Downey Jr., came before a Los Angeles County municipal judge in a Malibu courtroom on a drug-related charge. The judge,, Lawrence Mira, jailed him for six months, having gone easy on him after several earlier convictions. "I'm going to incarcerate you in a way you won't like," Judge Mira told Downey, "but it may save your life." 'Chris Kept Trying' Indeed it may. And if Farley had had the good fortune to be arrested and come before a tough judge, he might well be alive today. As a psychiatrist who treats drug addicts, I have learned that legal sanctions - either imposed or threatened - may provide the leverage needed to keep them alive by keeping them in treatment. Voluntary help is often not enough. After all, Downey and Farley had already been to some of the nation's finest rehabilitation centers, but their stays were far too brief. "Chris kept trying, and he would go into rehab and he would come out, and sometimes he'd be really healthy," Al Franken, who worked with Farley on "Saturday Night Live," told a reporter after his death. It's an all-too-typical story: Addicts avoid treatment for years or take it in small doses, enough to refresh themselves before starting out on another binge. According to the federally funded Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study, patients report being addicted for 10 to 15 years on average before first entering treatment. When they do enroll, only one in seven completes a program. Downey, for example, once bailed out after a few days. At the root of the problem are the misguided though well-meaning attitudes of many drug-treatment professionals. They believe in waiting until a drug user is "motivated" to get help, allowing him to reject help until he is no longer "in denial," and telling addicts that treatment won't work until they "want to do it for themselves." At the same time, the prevailing view holds that an addict is someone suffering from a chronic illness, rather than someone whose behavior can be influenced by meaningful consequences. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, even goes so far as to call addiction a "brain disease." In truth, drugs do affect the brain, but even many of my patients know that stopping is a matter of personal responsibility. In encouraging users to take that responsibility, coercion can be the clinician's best friend. Without it, our work is often in vain. In the methadone clinic where I work, many patients continue to use cocaine and heroin while receiving counseling and group therapy. Short of ejecting them from the clinic, there is little we doctors can do about this. But sometimes a patient will get a lucky break: He'll get arrested and put on probation with the requirement that he take frequent urine tests and the stipulation that he goes to jail if he fails. With this threat hanging over their heads, patients often test clean-no great surprise to anyone not steeped in therapeutic ideology. Some addicts themselves recognize the benefits of coercion. One patient told me he planned to get a job as a truck driver. "At least they'll test my urine, and I'll know someone's watching," he said. This patient put his finger on the crying need for built-in controls and individual accountability. When they're there, imposed by a judge or an employer, I can do my job better. The patient and I don't waste time bargaining over how many drug tests he can fail - "C'mon, doc, next week I'll be clean." I don't have to risk straining the treatment relationship by threatening the patient with discharge from the clinic. Instead, with externally imposed limits and expectations, I am clearly the patient's ally. We are working together toward his recovery, developing strategies to resist temptation and ultimately discovering larger reasons to stay clean, because we both know that there are serious consequences for failing. And it's a myth that addicts have to want treatment. Ample evidence from large-scale studies shows that when they are compelled to treatment by judges or mandated by their employers, these coerced addicts do at least as well as their counterparts who voluntarily enter and complete the program. It is also well documented that the longer a patient stays in treatment, the more likely he is to avoid future criminal activity and drug use. For example, any patient-whether treated voluntarily or under court order -staying 18 to 24 months in Phoenix House, a residential community program, has a 90% chance of being employed and out of legal trouble and a 70% chance of being completely drug-free five to seven years after discharge. The Brooklyn, N.Y.. district attomey, who routinely sends nonviolent drug felons to mandatory residential treatment programs instead of prison, finds they remain in treatment two to four times longer than their noncoerced counterparts. They also fare better than their imprisoned counterparts, whose re-arrest rate one year after release is more than twice the rate of those who have completed treatment. Treatment is one-third cheaper than incarceration, to boot. The idea of "harm reduction" - decriminalization, along with medically supervised heroin distribution, needle exchanges and other such measures-has been gaining currency in the drug debate of late. But addicts would be better off if more of them were arrested and forced to enroll in treatment programs. "I wish the cops could bust an addict for jaywalking or littering," a colleague of mine says, only half-jokingly. "At least then he would get placed in a treatment program where the court would make sure he'd stay." Civil judges can, without arrest, commit some addicts to treatment for their own protection if they are clearly out of control-as Farley appears to have been. More than half the states have statutes, seldom used, that allow civil commitment for alcoholics and drug addicts on the basis of grave disability or a threat to oneself or others. Payoff Is Immense To be sure, being forced Into a program and losing autonomy-either in a residential, a jail-based or a probationary treatment program-can seem harsh. But the payoff is immense: an opportunity to develop the social competence, trust in others and optimism about the future that are the prerequisites for a life without drugs. The payoffs for society are substantial, too. Numerous large-scale cost-benefit analyses reveal that every dollar spent on, drug treatment saves between $2 and $7 on law enforcement, corrections, health care, lost productivity and welfare. To my dismay, some of my treatment colleagues oppose coercion as "punitive." I suppose it may seem that way if one thinks addicts are helpless victims of a brain disease. But addiction is a moral condition as well as a medical one. If we view it in this light, then predictable consequences for failure and rewards for success are the essence of humane therapy. Dr. Satel is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction.
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Clinton Says He Will Offer Tobacco Proposals ('Reuters' Reports Rich,
Fat Cigar Addict Will Renew Drive To Curtail Youth Smoking By Offering
Legislation To Congress Making Tobacco More Expensive For Everyone)

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 21:33:41 -0800
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Clinton Says He Will Offer Tobacco Proposals
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998
Author: Laurence McQuillan

CLINTON SAYS HE WILL OFFER TOBACCO PROPOSALS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton said Monday that he would press
his drive to curtail youth smoking by offering tobacco proposals to
Congress that aides said would renew a call for higher cigarette taxes and
fees.

``My first priority is to protect our children from the dangers of tobacco
-- from the illegal dangers of tobacco,'' Clinton said during an exchange
with reporters.

``I will propose a plan that I believe is best designed to do that that
will build on the settlement agreement that was reached earlier,'' Clinton
said.

``I will work with members of Congress in both parties in good faith to
try to pass comprehensive tobacco legislation that I think will achieve
that goal,'' he said.

Last June the major tobacco companies and some 40 states suing them agreed
to a plan that would have the industry pay $368.5 billion over 25 years and
make health concessions, in exchange for settling lawsuits and winning
immunity from certain types of future legal cases.

Clinton will include his tobacco plan in the budget proposal he submits to
Congress in February. Officials said, however, that he will not submit
formal legislation.

After a review by a special White House task force, Clinton in September
rejected aspects of the proposed settlement as inadequate and called for
tougher measures to combat smoking, especially among teenagers.

Clinton listed his goals for a national tobacco policy and called for the
price of a pack of cigarettes to rise by $1.50 through unspecified taxes,
fees or penalties.

White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton continues to back a
$1.50 increase on a pack a cigarettes. ``The president has proposed that as
part of the way of structuring the settlement that the parties have
reached. That has been his view and has not changed to my knowledge.''

Some Republicans in Congress have faulted Clinton for a lack of leadership,
and said it would be extremely difficult to enact complex tobacco
legislation without more White House input. Senior White House officials
said that although Clinton said he would submit a ``plan'' to Congress, he
will not present his own formal legislation.

``He will present detailed proposals but not legislation,'' one senior
White House official said. ``We want to work with the Congress. This will
create a give and take situation.''

Three major bills have already been introduced in the Senate, one modeled
closely on the state-industry agreement and two others that would require
greater concessions from the industry.

Clinton declined comment on a Wall Street Journal report that he would
propose higher cigarette taxes and other revenue increases that would raise
nearly $10 billion in 1999 when he submits his budget proposal that fiscal
year next month.
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Factors Predict AIDS In HIV-Positive Drug Users ('Reuters' Reports
New Study In 'The Journal Of The American Medical Association' Shows
HIV-Positive Black Intravenous Drug Users Should Receive Same Level
Of Aggressive Therapy As Other Demographic Or Risk Groups)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
Subject: MN: Factors Predict AIDS In HIV+ Drug Users
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:25:25 -0800
Lines: 49
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998

FACTORS PREDICT AIDS IN HIV+ DRUG USERS

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A study of injection drug users (IDUs) indicates that
plasma levels of HIV, as measured by HIV RNA, can predict risk of
progression to AIDS.

The study published this week in The Journal of the American Medical
Association, also shows that the combination of HIV RNA load and CD4 cell
measurements also provide "...powerful prognostic information for
progression to AIDS and death."

"This study is unique because in contrast to prior studies of this type,
largely involving white homosexual men, this study includes mostly
African-American men and women as well as large numbers of active IDUs,"
according to a report in the journal.

Dr. David Vlahov of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues
followed 522 HIV-positive IDUs residing in the local Baltimore community.
Most were African-American (96%) and reported using injection drugs within
the last six months (96%). None of the subjects had been previously treated
with combination antiretroviral therapy.

Over an average follow-up of about six years, 146 subjects developed AIDS
and 119 patients died. The researchers then compared the patients' initial
HIV RNA and CD4+ levels with the length of time it took to develop AIDS and
time to death from infectious disease.

Their results confirm that, as reported in other patient subgroups such as
the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, which is composed primarily of upper
middle-class white homosexual men, plasma HIV RNA and CD4+ cell levels
independently predicted disease outcome.

The researchers believe that "...an important finding is that the same
basic relationship between virologic and immunologic factors applies in
African-American IDUs as in nonminority persons from other risk groups."
Therefore, "...the same level of aggressive therapy should be offered
irrespective of demographic or risk group."

These results complement the report by Dr. Michael Saag and colleagues in
the January issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases in which they
confirmed the value of using both viral load and CD4+ cell counts to assess
the prognosis of HIV-positive patients and their response to treatment.
SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association (1998;279:35-40)
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Court Limits `Three Strikes' Judicial Power (California Supreme Court
Narrows Its June 1996 Decision Letting Judges Refuse To Impose
'Three Strikes' Sentences, Now Says Law Applies To All Those Whose Past
And Present Conduct Shows Them To Be 'Within The Spirit
Of The Three-Strikes Law')

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: US CA: Court limits `three strikes' judicial power
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:12:38 -0800
Lines: 62
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998

COURT LIMITS `THREE STRIKES' JUDICIAL POWER

State ruling: Judges' discretion in exempting repeat criminals is curtailed.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The state Supreme Court put limits Monday on judges'
power to exempt repeat criminals from sentences of up to life in prison
under the ``three strikes, you're out'' law.

The unanimous ruling appears to narrow the court's June 1996 decision that
let judges refuse to impose ``three strikes'' sentences they considered too
harsh, based on the facts of the case. Monday's ruling said a defendant
whose past and present conduct showed him or her to be within ``the spirit
of the three-strikes law'' must be given a full sentence, with no reduction.

Using that standard, the court said a Los Angeles-area man who was arrested
for driving under the influence of drugs -- and who had a long criminal
record but no violent felony convictions in 13 years -- faced a mandatory
``three strikes'' sentence if convicted.

Adopted in 1994

The law, approved by the Legislature and the voters in 1994, increases the
sentences of criminals who have previously committed serious or violent
felonies, or ``strikes.''

Monday's case involved a prosecution appeal of the nine-year sentence of
Reginald Eugene Williams, charged in 1995 with driving under the influence
of PCP in Norwalk. The charge can be treated as either a misdemeanor or a
felony.

Williams, 32, had three previous convictions for driving while intoxicated,
in 1991 and 1992, and also had been sentenced to jail or prison 10 times
since 1981 for various crimes and parole violations, including convictions
for rape and attempted robbery -- both ``strikes'' -- in 1982. He had been
sentenced to jail earlier in 1995 on a misdemeanor conviction for spousal
battery.

One strike disregarded

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Hickok said he would treat the DUI
charge as a felony because of Williams' record. But Hickok said he might
disregard one of Williams' ``strikes'' because they dated from 1982 and
because Williams had not committed any violent crimes since then --
apparently ignoring the recent spousal battery conviction, the court said.

Williams then changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to nine years --
six for a second strike, double the normal term, and three for his previous
prison terms. His sentence for a third strike would have been 28 years to
life.

A state appellate court ruled that Hickok had abused his authority in
disregarding the previous conviction. The state's high court agreed.

A judge can reduce a ``three strikes'' sentence only if, in light of the
defendant's current and past crimes ``and the particulars of his
background, character and prospects, the defendant may be deemed outside
the spirit'' of the three-strikes law, the court said.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Informant Says He Got Drugs From City Councilman (Duvall, Washington,
City Councilman Dave Zumwalt's Attorney Vigorously Challenges
Informant's Account)

From: "W.H.E.N." (when@olywa.net)
To: "Talk Group" (HEMP-TALK@hemp.net)
Subject: HT: ART: Informant - Councilman dealt drugs
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 20:20:08 -0800
1997 The Seattle Times Company
Tuesday, Jan. 6, 1998
Informant says he got drugs from city councilman
by Ronald K. Fitten
Seattle Times staff reporter

An informant testified yesterday in King County Superior Court that he
purchased a half gram of cocaine from Duvall City Councilman Dave G.
Zumwalt.

The informant, who said he has known Zumwalt 11 years, testified he made
the purchase inside a tavern last July while police watched outside in
parked cars.

He said he was riding with Duvall's police chief when he spotted Zumwalt's
van outside the tavern and suggested he try to purchase cocaine from the
councilman.

"I told him . . . I could go down and make a buy from Ernie (Zumwalt)
because there wasn't a lot of people around," the informant told King
County Deputy Prosecutor Cindi Port and a jury during Zumwalt's trial for
alleged drug delivery and possession.

The informant said he received $40 from a detective to buy the half gram
from Zumwalt, and another $5 from the police chief to purchase a beer, "so
it (the drug buy) wouldn't seem suspicious."

After police positioned themselves outside the tavern, the informant said
he walked up to Zumwalt in the bar and told him he wanted to buy cocaine.
He said Zumwalt told him he'd have to wait because the police were parked
outside.

The informant said he slipped Zumwalt $40. The councilman "broke" (shot)
the first ball in a game of pool, then walked out to his van and returned
with the cocaine, the informant testified.

Zumwalt then allegedly gave him the cocaine in the bathroom, he testified.

Defense attorney Tony Savage vigorously challenged the informant's account
of the July 25 incident, and questioned why the man would walk up to
Zumwalt and ask to purchase cocaine within earshot of two other people. He
also questioned why the informant had attempted to conceal the transaction
from police - when he was working as a police informant.

Ronald K. Fitten's phone message number is 206-464-3251. His e-mail
address: ronf-new@seatimes.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------

When Property Seizure Goes Too Far
(Letter To Editor Of 'Atlanta Constitution')

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 22:33:30 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US GA: PUB LTE: When Property Seizure Goes Too Far
Source: The Atlanta Constitution
Contact: constitution@ajc.com
Fax: 404-526-5611
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998

Sender's note: The Constitution is, I believe, the largest daily paper in
the South.

WHEN PROPERTY SEIZURE GOES TOO FAR

The article "Seized assets a cash cow for police" (State News, Dec. 28)
rhapsodized about how much money the practice of asset forfeiture is
bringing to Georgia police. Unfortunately, the article failed to emphasize
that much of the money and property state and federal police seize for
supposed drug crimes is not taken from convicted criminals; rather, it is
seized from people only *suspected* of committing crimes. It may be hard to
believe, but according to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), in his book titled
"Forfeiting Our Property Rights," "80% of those who lose property to the
government through civil forfeitures are never charged with any crime."
Furthermore, although it is easy for police to seize our property on little
more than suspicion, an innocent owner, to get this property back, must
prove his innocence through a difficult legal process.

In the name of "fighting drugs," billions of dollars have been seized from
Americans who have never been convicted of any crime -- or even been
charged with one. By legalizing such tactics, the War on Drugs is turning
America into a police state and turning our police into robbers with
badges.

James W. Harris
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug Profits Support Colombia's Rightist Groups (Letter To Editor
Of 'New York Times' Cites 1995 Colombian Law Enforcement Report Saying
Drug Trafficking Is Paramilitary Groups' 'Central Axis' Of Financing)

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 22:12:20 -0800
Subject: MN: US: LTE: Drug Profits Support Colombia's Rightist Groups
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Pubdate: Tue, 06 Jan 1998
Website: http://www1.nytimes.com/

DRUG PROFITS SUPPORT COLOMBIA'S RIGHTEST GROUPS

To the Editor:

You write (editorial, Jan. 3) that Colombia's rightist paramilitary groups
maintain clandestine ties with the country's army as they carry out human
rights abuses, but that only some of these paramilitary groups "traffic in
cocaine and get money from traffickers."

In fact, a 1995 Colombian law enforcement report about paramilitaries
nationwide says drug trafficking is their "central axis" of financing. You
mention only one paramilitary leader, Carlos Castaqo. Another mentioned in
another Colombian police report, published by Human Rights Watch in 1996,
is Victor Carranza. Each man has been implicated in drug trafficking and
massacres.

This should come as no surprise. In 1989 Colombian Government investigators
found that the country's paramilitary groups had been taken over by Pablo
Escobar and his Medellin cartel.

Colombia's leftist guerrillas have also been involved in the drug trade, as
you say. But according to the second police report, so are some Colombian
military officers, including Maj. Jorge Alberto Lazaro, a former rural army
base commander.

Yet the Clinton Administration ignores these links as it provides
Colombia's army with new arms and advisers, ostensibly to fight drugs.

FRANK SMYTH
Washington, Jan. 5, 1998
The writer is a freelance journalist.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Scenes From December Hemp BC Bust In Vancouver, BC, Available
From Web Site

From: Ian_Monroe@cocc.edu (Ian Monroe)
To: octa99@crrh.org
Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 12:27:21 -0700
Subject: Hemp BC
Organization: COCC

I had been out of the country for a month, so this might seem a bit
late, but did anyone hear about the protesting, beatings, and just
general chaos that surrounded the bust of HempBC in Vancouver? (in mid
Dec.) It is a real interesting (and disgusting) example of what sort of
things the police stand for vs. the stand of the freedom fighters.
Check it out at their site at http://www.hempbc.com/ There's a good
account plus some neat pictures of the event, and its even possible to
get a video copy of parts of it!

--Ian Monroe 3000@mail.excite.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------

'Cannabis Let-Off' For Straw Son (Britain's 'Sun' Reports The 17-Year-Old Son
Of The Home Secretary Will Face No Legal Repercussions
For Selling Hash To A Reporter In A Tavern)

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 21:22:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: 'Cannabis Let-Off' For Straw Son
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: webbooks@paston.co.uk (CLCIA)
Source : The Sun (UK)
Contact : letters@the-son.co.uk
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998

'CANNABIS LET-OFF' FOR STRAW SON

Jack Straw's son is set to receive a caution for possessing cannabis.

The Crown Prosecution Service will tomorrow tell police there is not enough
evidence to charge 17-year-old William Straw with supplying the drug.

The Home Secretary's son will escape a criminal record - but the caution
will be logged with the police.

He is likely to return to Kennington police station, South London, later
this week.

A source said : "If cautioned he will have to admit the offence."

Reporter Dawn Alford - who was allegedly sold cannabis by William - will
escape further action after her arrest for possession.

Oxford University yesterday said that William's offer of a place to study
at New College next year is safe.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Should We Legalise Cannabis? (London's 'Sun' Queries Its Readers; In Debate,
82-Year-Old Labour Peer Fails To Persuade Son, 33-Year-Old 'Reefer Addict')

Date: Tue, 6 Jan 1998 21:42:42 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: UK: Should We Legalise Cannabis?
Source : The Sun
Contact : letters@the-sun.co.uk
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998
Section : The Page 6 Debate

The Sun writes: NOW TELL US WHAT YOU THINK? SHOULD CANNABIS BE LEGALISED?
OR WOULD THIS INCRESAE DRUG PROBLEMS?

WRITE TO DRUG DEBATE, THE SUN, PO BOX 487, VIRGINIA STREET, LONDON, E1 9BW.
YOU CAN DICTATE YOUR LETTER BY PHONING 0171 782 4056. 10 AM TO 5 PM, FAX
YOUR VIEWS TO 0171 782 4170 OR E-MAIL : letters@the-sun.co.uk WITH YOUR
NAME AND ADDRESS.

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS?

It's the big talking point of the day - should cannabis be legalised?

The debate has been thrust back under the spotlight by the furore
surrounding allegations that Home Secretary Jack Straw's son sold the drug
to a reporter.

Here, a father and son give their views. See if you agree with 82-year-old
Labour peer Michael Young or his journalist son Toby, 33.

YES SAYS FATHER MICHAEL YOUNG Britain is a nation divided over drug use
because the law insists on branding anyone who smokes marijuana a criminal.

This is particularly hard to accept when, as a recent survey revealed, 37
per cent of British teenagers have tried it at least once.

How can the authorities devise an effective policy on drugs when drug-users
are too scared to contribute to the debate?

How can William Straw be expected to discuss cannabis with his father when
smoking it is illegal?

The unease many adults feel about the legalisation of cannabis is due to
their fear of losing control of their children. And the reason why adults
have been losing out on this battleground is that we've allowed ourselves to
be cast as the bogeyman.

By identifying ourselves with the repressive and illiberal law on soft
drugs, those of us who would resist this trend are seen as scolds and
killjoys, the enemies of fun.

But it is not difficult to see why older people have made their final stand
as "customs officers." Young people do seem out of the control of their
elders.

The difference with drugs is that if the youngsters become addicted they're
out of control of themselves and quite beyond the reach of other people.
They've escaped into a world of heir own.

Hence the desperate attempts of the older generation to clamp down.

I think they are bound to fail. The parallel with the US prohibition of
another drug, alcohol, is uncomfortably close. Prohibition was a wonderful
gift to racketeers. The same thing is happening again but on a colossal
scale. For every Al Capone who flourished in the twenties and thirties,
there are scores of drug barons today.

To a large extent their empires are built on the profits from the sale of
soft drugs.

However draconian the law, it shows no sign of being more effective in the
next decade than it has been for the last thirty years.

The law is impotent, and whenever a law is disregarded it brings into
disrepute the law in general.

EVEN SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS LIKE COMMANDER JOHN GRIEVE OF SCOTLAND YARD,
CALL FOR REFORM OF THE LAW. THEY RECOGNISE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT HASN'T
STOPPED THE VIOLENCE LINKED TO DRUG CRIME. (emphasis in original)

One result of reform is that drugs made legal could be taxed as heavily as
cigarettes and the proceeds spent on education and health.

Marijuana has a number of medical benefits in its own right. And
scientific studies have yet to establish that cannabis is harmful,
particularly compared to alcohol.

But the strongest argument of all is that there can be no widespread
education about drug use and treatment of addiction until the subject is
out in the open.

And the subject cannot be out in the open as long as taking drugs is
illegal and anyone who admits to being a drug-users is liable to
prosecution.

NO SAYS HIS DRUG USER SON TOBY

Going over my father's article, I can't quite dismiss the suspicion that he
wrote it when he was stoned.

Next time, when reflecting on these weighty matters, I suggest he fill his
pipe with tobacco.

Honestly, parents today! You can't leave them alone for five minutes
without them breaking out their stash, skinning up a joint and getting
stoned on wacky backy.

To be serious, if the people currently clamouring for the legalisation of
cannabis had smoked half as much of the stuff as I have they might well
think twice about it.

As a recovering reefer addict, I want to be protected from myself.

My father refers to alcohol as a "drug" - a favourite diversionary tactic
of the pro-legalisation lobby.

Alcohol may destroy one of your vital organs but it doesn't make you think
Stonehenge is evidence of extra-terrestrial life.

Booze has killed off some of the greatest writers of the century - F Scott
Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Malcolm Lowry - but it didn't prevent them
writing great books.

The only literature inspired by cannabis is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance.

As for the prohibition argument of course you will reduce crime if you
legalise a widespread form of criminal activity.

My father wisely only deals briefly with the so-called medical argument.
The claim that cannabis can alleviate the suffering of the sick is a
complete red herring.

In their day, laudanum, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol and LSD have all been
touted as medicine. The brother of Conservative MP Alan Clarke recently
revealed that their mother was prescribed a nasal spray of heroin and
cocaine to calm her nerves.

On the street, that particular cocktail is known as a speedball.

I just can't adjust to the shock of my father arguing in favour of
legalising a practice I've spent such a large part of my life feeling
guilty about because I thought he disapproved of it.

I AM CURRENTLY IN THROES OF TRYING TO GIVE IT UP, ALONG WITH ALL THE OTHER
DRUGS, BECAUSE I RECOGNISE WHAT A DESTRUCTIVE FORCE THEY HAVE BEEN.
(emphasis in original)

The main cost, apart from huge sums of money, is that it wastes so much
time. You do as little work as you can without jeopardising your
livelihood and spend the rest of the time taking drugs.

Friday evenings are spent getting stoned. Saturdays are spent sleeping and
recovering, then making plans to do what you did on Friday night all over
again. Sundays are just spent recovering.

People like me would find it much harder to reform if cannabis was
available in Sainsbury's and people took it openly.

My father writes that "anyone who admits to being a drug user is liable to
prosecution." Is that really true? I sincerely hope not!
-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Great 1998 Cannabis Quiz (Britain's 'Independent' Invites Readers
To Drug Test The Home Secretary)

Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 06:26:02 -0800 (PST)
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: The Great 1998 Cannabis Quiz
Resent-Sender: mattalk-request@listserv.islandnet.com
Pubdate: January 6, 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: Letters@independent.co.uk
URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/stories/C0601801.html

Dr Phil Hammond - The Great 1998 Cannabis Quiz

Just been invited round for Pot Noodles at the Straws? Then
why not amaze the whole family with your pot knowledge. These
fascinating snippets are sure to fill even the most
embarrassing conversational pause. Please note, the quiz is
only suitable for adults and those studying for a curfew
violation.

Starter for 10:

1 Cannabis is derived from:

a An animal; b A mineral; c A bushy plant, Cannabis sativa,
found wild in many parts of the world and easily cultivated in
Britain

Well done, Keeble, your questions on Cannabis start now:

2 The most powerful psychoactive ingredient is:

a The tetrahydrocannabinols;

b Cannabis sulphate; c Louise Botting

3 Hashish is:

a The commonest form of cannabis in the UK; b Resin scraped or
rubbed from the plant and compressed into blocks; c easily
mistaken for a bogey.

4 Marihuana is:

a Spelt incorrectly; b Stronger than resin but not as strong
as dubin; c Dried plant material

5 Sinsemilla is:

a Derived from resin containing roots; b Derived from the
flowering tops of unfertilised female plants; c Particularly
strong

6 Cannabis can be:

a Smoked, drunk or eaten; b Injected; c Worn

7 Cannabis was first documented as a herbal remedy in:

a Luke 4 vs 7; b A Chinese pharmacy text in the first century
AD; c Boots, Lowestoft, 1906

8 Cannabis:

a Is available on an NHS prescription for treating certain
conditions (eg strangulated piles); b Was available on
prescription until 1973; c Has never been prescribable on the
NHS

9 The non-medical use of cannabis in Britain was prohibited:

a In 1902 after the Boer War; b In 1928 after Egyptian
objections at an international opiate conference; c In 1958 by
Harold Macmillan

10 In the UK, it is legal to cultivate cannabis:

a Never; b For decoration only; c If you have a Home Office
licence

11 Your chances of getting a Home Office licence from Jack
Straw are:

a Zero; b Less than zero; c Less than mine, because I'm a
doctor and I can cultivate it for research purposes

12 Cannabis usage is greater than the national average by
those who:

a Have experienced full-time further education; b Have
ovaries; c Attend Age Concern luncheon clubs

13 Skunk weed is:

a Half cannabis, half dandelion; b A particularly strong home
variety, grown from imported seeds; c Something I've made up to
catch you out

14 If you're a quarter-of-an-ounce-of-resin-a-day
person, you're:

a All over the place; b A sissy; c On about a joint an hour
round the clock

15 While intoxicated, a user may do less well on tasks
requiring:

a Short-term memory; b Concentration; c Manual dexterity

16 The risk of fatal overdose is:

a Virtually nil; b Between 1 and 2 per cent; c 5 per cent

17 Long-term use of cannabis has been linked with:

a Nothing definite; b Lung cancer; c BSE

18 At street level, if you paid 50 an ounce for herbal and
14.25 a quarter of an ounce for resin, you'd be:

a Getting it at retail prices

b Ripped off

c Very careful

19 What is a Camberwell carrot?

20 Who said, "Today there are those who see in society's
attitude to drug taking the opportunity for questioning
traditional values and social judgements of all kinds. This
seems to be the real challenge of soft drugs, and it is
growing. It is time to make clear that teenage drug taking is
ill-advised, if not dangerous to personality and health":

a Jack Straw; b Michael Howard; c Alice Bacon, Home Office
Minister 1967

Correct answers:

1c, 2a, 3abc, 4c, 5bc, 6ac, 7b, 8b, 9b, 10c, 11bc, 12a, 13b,
14ac, 15abc, 16a, 17a, 18ac,

19 a 12-skinned amalgamation of a toilet roll and an ice-cream
cone stuffed with dope, invented by Danny from 'Withnail and
I', 20c
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Unjust Cannabis Law (Three Letters To The Editor Of Britain's 'Independent')

Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 06:26:14 -0800 (PST)
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: Letters: Unjust cannabis law
Resent-From: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Pubdate: January 6, 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: Letters@independent.co.uk
URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/stories/C0601810.html

Unjust cannabis law

Sir: The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, says that if
campaigners can show that cannabis is not a dangerous
drug, then the Government may reconsider its stance on
cannabis prohibition ("Straw's challenge over cannabis
drugs", 5 January).

The evidence has always been there. In 1968, the UK Royal
Commission, the Wootton Report, concurring with other
major reports on cannabis, said that cannabis ought not to
be illegal and its use did not pose unacceptable risks.
Since then other reports have concluded that cannabis is
not addictive, does not lead to hard drug use, does not
detrimentally affect memory or motor skills (including
empirical testing of the effects on drivers), does not
cause cancer or damage the lungs, and is not associated
with any particular lifestyle.

Maybe the arrest of Jack Straw's son has achieved
something after all. Maybe now people will wake up to the
fact that this unjust and unworkable cannabis law may
eventually lead to the arrest of their own sons and
daughters, for using a safe plant in preference to
dangerous intoxicants, a crime without a victim.

Jack Girling, Chairman, Campaign to Legalise Cannabis
International Association, Norwich

***

Sir: I did not wish to know the name of the young man
arrested on a charge of dealing in cannabis. Learning his
identity, and that of his father, told me nothing useful
about the Government, its policies, its probity or any
other matter of legitimate public concern.

Michael Streeter recognises (Saturday Story, 3 January)
that "there are good reasons to protect juveniles facing
criminal allegations". He then adds, "in cases of
teenagers accused of similar offences . and named by the
media, government law officers have not stepped in and
sought protective injunctions". If it is true that the
media are so lacking in wisdom and compassion, then the
correct conclusion is that more such injunctions should be
sought, and vigorously upheld.

The Rev Paddy Benson, Heswall, Merseyside

***

Sir: When 19 years old, I was convicted and fined 100
for possessing (not dealing) less than one-sixteenth of an
ounce of cannabis at the Reading Festival. I too come from
a "good family".

Now 27, I wish to study for a PGCE and teach primary
children. Does the Home Secretary think I would be
suitable for such a post? I find myself hoping that
William Straw is also convicted. The weed will not harm
his prospects as it has mine.

K Selby, Leeds
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Drug-Related Crime Soars In Russia ('Associated Press' Quotes
Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, The Country's Top Anti-Drug Official,
Saying That Despite A Declining Crime Rate Overall,
Drug-Related Offenses Nearly Doubled In 1997 - Send More Rubles)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
Subject: MN: Drug-Related Crime Soars in Russia
Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 23:24:32 -0800
Lines: 30
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Tue, 6 Jan 1998

DRUG-RELATED CRIME SOARS IN RUSSIA

MOSCOW (AP) -- Despite a declining overall crime rate in Russia, the number
of drug-related offenses nearly doubled in 1997, the country's top
anti-drug official said Tuesday.

Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov said law enforcement agencies need more
money to combat the growing illegal drug problem. Kulikov heads a
government anti-drug commission and his ministry is in charge of police.

The number of drug users in Russia has soared to 2 million since the 1991
breakup of the Soviet Union, with the fastest growth among women and
teen-agers, Kulikov said, according to Russian news agencies.

Increasing drug abuse and trafficking has led to more drug-related crime,
he said. He did not provide any figures.

The overall crime rate dropped 9 percent last year.

The drug trade brings in more than $1 billion a year in profits to criminal
groups, Kulikov said.

Russia has become a major drug market and key transit route, with the
largest flow coming from Afghanistan. Opium is refined into heroin as it
works its way through the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and on to
Russia, Western Europe and the United States.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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