Portland NORML News - Saturday, January 10, 1998

California Pot Clubs Targeted - US Files Lawsuit To Close Centers
('San Francisco Chronicle' Observes, 'By Declaring That Any Marijuana Use
For Medical Purposes Is Illegal, The Clinton Administration
Is Directly Challenging California Voters,' More Of Whom Voted
For Proposition 215 Than For Clinton; Also, Lungren Delays Plans
To Raid Dennis Peron's Club On January 12)

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 12:52:03 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: California Pot Clubs Targeted
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Author: Sabin Russell
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: January 10, 1998
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/


The Clinton administration yesterday moved in federal court to shut down
California clubs that sell marijuana to cancer and AIDS patients under
voter-approved Proposition 215.

U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi, declaring that the sale of marijuana for
any purpose but research is strictly against the law, filed suit against
six pot clubs, and threatened future criminal penalties against their

While the legal action targets a handful of Northern California clubs,
Yamaguchi said the law applies to anyone in the state. The intent is to
close all medical marijuana centers.

``I have sworn an oath to uphold federal law,'' he said.

Six pot club operators, including San Francisco's notoriously flamboyant
Dennis Peron, were ordered to appear before a federal judge in 20 days for
a hearing on the Justice Department motion for an injunction barring
further sale of marijuana.

By declaring that any marijuana use for medical purposes is illegal, the
Clinton administration is directly challenging California voters, who
passed Proposition 215 in November 1996 by 56 to 44 percent.

The action sets the stage for a possible clash over the rights of states
and their citizens to make laws disapproved of by the federal government.

``The issue is not the medical use of marijuana,'' said Yamaguchi. ``It is
the persistent violation of federal law. Under our system of federalism,
laws passed by Congress cannot be overridden or supplanted by state law.''

Marijuana is listed in federal statutes as a Schedule I Controlled
Substance, along with heroin, mescaline and LSD. It is unlawful to grow it,
own it, sell it or smoke it.

The six civil complaints follow an extensive undercover investigation by
Drug Enforcement Administration agents who posed as patients and bought
marijuana from the clubs.

Targets of the federal subpoenas are the Cannabis Cultivators Club and the
Flower Therapy Medical Marijuana Club, both in San Francisco; the Oakland
Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, Oakland; the Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyer's
Club, Santa Cruz; the Ukiah Buyer's Club; and the Marin Alliance for
Medical Marijuana, in Fairfax.

Yamaguchi's declaration was made at a San Francisco press conference
arranged by Washington D.C.-based Justice Department staffers. He was
flanked at the podium by Michelle Leonhart, the DEA's special agent in
charge of Northern California, and by Mark Quinlivan, a Justice Department

Yamaguchi's stance against the medical use of marijuana goes a step beyond
that taken by California Attorney General Dan Lungren, who wants pot clubs
closed but concedes Proposition 215 allows personal cultivation of pot for
medical purposes.

Lungren yesterday delayed plans to raid Peron's Cannabis Cultivators' Club
in San Francisco on January 12 -- a deadline he had set for compliance with
a December state appeals court ruling. Instead, Lungren is returning to San
Francisco Superior Court to obtain an injunction against the club.

Lungren spokesman Rob Stutzman hailed the federal law enforcement action
against the California clubs, and said it does not conflict or interfere
with state efforts to shut them down.

Pot club operators were furious with Yamaguchi's actions. ``We're not
talking about just marijuana anymore,'' said Peron, at an impromptu meeting
with reporters just after the U.S. Attorney's press conference. Peron had
attempted to attend the session as a journalist with the Cannabis
Cultivators' Club newsletter but was denied entry by federal marshals.

Peron immediately blamed Lungren for the federal action, declaring that the
state attorney general had flown to Washington to arrange the court action.
``This takes him off the hook,'' said Peron. ``Now the feds can do it.''

Stutzman denied Lungren had met with federal officials. ``He's not `on the
hook.' He's enforcing state law.'' Peter Baez, executive director of the
Santa Clara Medical Cannabis Center, said he was ``shocked'' by the federal
action. Baez' club, which is strongly supported by San Jose civic leaders,
was not named among the six pot clubs targeted.

Although Baez has been critical of Peron's grandstanding on marijuana
issues, he conceded that the federal government now views them all as
criminals. ``The democratic process prevailed, and now the feds come in and
say it doesn't count. I find that appalling,'' he said.

Baez said he locked the doors of his center when he heard that federal
agents were fanning out to visit California pot centers. ``It's almost like
Waco, all over again,'' he said.

Lynette Shaw, executive director of the Marin Alliance for Medical
Marijuana, said she was incensed that the Clinton administration would
target a center that has tried so carefully to abide by the rules.

``We've got permits. We've got 85 conditions we've complied with,'' she
said. ``If they shut down the clubs, people will go blind, people will
suffer, people will die of AIDS wasting.''

US Attorney Files Suits To Close Cannabis Clubs ('Sacramento Bee'
Notes The San Jose Club Was The Only Major Dispensary In Northern California
Not Included In The Federal Suit)

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 18:26:25 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: BEE: U.S. Attorney Files Suits To Close Cannabis Clubs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: Sacramento Bee
Pubdate: January 10, 1998
Author: John Lyons
Contact: http://www.sacbee.com/about_us/sacbeemail.html
Contact: sacbedit@netcom.com
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/


SAN FRANCISCO -- The federal government struck a broad blow against
advocates of medical marijuana Friday, moving to shut down six major
marijuana dispensaries operating in Northern California.

Michael J. Yamaguchi, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District, filed
separate civil lawsuits charging the six "cannabis clubs" and 10 of their
operators with violating federal drug laws. The suits seek permanent
closures of two outlets in San Francisco and others in Oakland, Ukiah,
Santa Cruz and Marin County.

"The issue is not the medical use of marijuana," Yamaguchi said. "It is the
continued violation of federal law."

Calling the move a "measured approach," Yamaguchi said the suits stem from
an ongoing federal investigation into club activities, and do not rule out
the filing of future criminal charges.

Federal drug agents say the clubs are a front for black-market pot dealers
who operate with the support of some local officials.

A hearing on the request for a permanent injunction to close the clubs is
expected within six weeks.

The federal action comes as state Attorney General Dan Lungren has applied
increasing pressure on the clubs, winning a ruling last month targeting San
Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators Club -- and seriously jeopardizing the
legality of the other 20 or so clubs operating across the state.

A large marijuana distribution center in San Jose was not named in the
federal suit, although it openly dispenses marijuana to hundreds of
customers. It is the only major purveyor under the jurisdiction of the
northern district not to be included.

"The U.S. attorney does not have to criminalize every club," spokesman
Robert Stutzman said when asked about the omission.

"The San Jose club has had a particularly close relationship with that
city's district attorney, and the club's founder has helped prosecute
would-be pot smokers seeking to buy the drug with false documents," he said.

Cannabis Cultivators Club founder Dennis Peron, a defendant in the federal
case and co-author of the state's medical marijuana law, vowed to keep his
club open until he is "dragged" from his four-story downtown complex.

"Its a double-barreled assault," Peron said. "Essentially, they are
slapping the voters of California in the face."

In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 215, the medical
marijuana initiative, which essentially legalized the possession of
marijuana by the seriously ill and their caregivers.

But marijuana remains completely illegal under federal law. In the past
year, pot growers in Los Angeles and Siskiyou County who claimed to be
growing for medical use have been indicted in federal courts.

Since Proposition 215 passed, about 20 of the "cannabis clubs" have sprung
up across the state -- many with the tacit support of local law enforcement
-- as a practical way to distribute the plant to patients who can't grow it
themselves and would otherwise be forced to go to the black market to
obtain the drug.

Until now, federal officials had largely left the clubs alone.

Yamaguchi has yet to file criminal charges against San Francisco's Flower
Therapy Club, where federal agents seized more than 300 plants in April. He
also declined to take action against the Cannabis Cultivators Club after a
raid a few months before the proposition passed.

Michael Vitiello, a professor at McGeorge School of Law who has studied the
issue, said the clubs have taken hold largely because state officials did
not provide practical guidelines for implementing the law after it passed.

"Californians have said they want the sick to be able to get marijuana,"
Vitiello said. "The problem is, no one has thought very hard about how they
are to get it."

[Portland NORML notes - The federal law against possession of marijuana
includes a waiver if it's lawfully prescribed by a physician. So far, no court
has ruled that a written recommendation from a California physician is not
a lawful prescription under the terms of that statute.]

US Acts To Close Pot Clubs ('San Francisco Examiner' Says CBCs
Likely To Stay Open Until Federal Officials Receive Injunction By Courts)

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 17:01:02 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: SFX: U.S. Acts To Close Pot Clubs
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Pubdate: January 10, 1998
Author: Lisa M. Krieger
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com


In a major strike in the federal government's war on California's new
medicinal marijuana law, U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi filed suits to
close six cannabis clubs that distribute the drug to hundreds of Northern
Californians each week.

Despite the state's Proposition 215, passed by voters in 1996, Yamaguchi
said the federal Controlled Substances Act made it unlawful to cultivate,
distribute or possess marijuana.

"California's medical marijuana status has no effect on the applicability
of federal drug laws," Yamaguchi said in a Friday press conference.

"Although California appears to have decriminalized marijuana ... the
federal law governing the distribution, cultivation, and possession of
marijuana has not changed," he said.

Marijuana activist Dennis Peron, whose San Francisco-based club is targeted
by the probe, said he would fight the action in court and, if necessary,
with civil disobedience.

Federal officials said an investigation had revealed that the cannabis
clubs distributed marijuana to people who did not claim to be in severe
pain or suffering from serious illness.

They said the investigation had also found that the clubs were lax in
verifying patient identification and doctors' recommendations and did not
place a limit on the duration of time in which a patient could purchase

The six clubs targeted are: Dennis Peron's Cannabis Cultivators Cooperative
and Flower Therapy Medical Marijuana Club in San Francisco; Cannabis
Buyers' Cooperative in Oakland; Cannabis Buyers Club in Santa Cruz;
Cannabis Buyer's Club in Ukiah, and Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in

The other 11 clubs in the state, including major clubs in Los Angeles and
San Jose, were not named in the civil suit.

But federal investigators -- representing the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the Justice Department's Civil Division, and the U.S.
attorney's office for the Northern District of California -- said Friday's
action did not preclude future action against other clubs.

"All are being investigated on a case-by-case basis," Yamaguchi said.

The clubs are being sued in civil and not criminal court as a "measured
response," he said. "We want to send a clear message that they are in
violation of federal law."

Shares A Cell With Heroin

Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, along with heroin,
mescaline, LSD, and other drugs. Rescheduling into a lesser category would
require action by Congress.

The only way for marijuana to be distributed legally would be for it to be
proved safe, effective and reliable under a rigorous system of research and
testing. This would require approval by the U.S. Food and Drug

The clubs are likely to stay open until federal officials are granted an
injunction by the courts to stop operation. A court date has not been set,
but defendants have been told to appear within the next 20 days.

If the clubs do not close voluntarily, federal marshals will be called in,
Yamaguchi said.

If the Justice Department prevails in court, as expected, the clubs will
then face a choice: shut down or risk contempt of court. This could entail
a steep fine or time in jail. Simultaneously, the clubs are under fire by
state officials. Last month, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that
Peron's club violated the language of Prop. 215. State Attorney General Dan
Lungren, who took Peron to court, has asked local officials to enforce the
ruling, starting next Monday.

Government Moves To Close Marijuana Clubs (Marvin Chavez,
A Founder Of The Cannabis Co-op Of Orange County, Tells 'Associated Press,'
'State Government Is Not Protecting The People')

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 16:13:31 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: Government Moves To Close Marijuana Clubs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: 10 Jan 1998
Author: Bob Egelko - The Associated Press


MEDICINE: Six associations in Northern California are named in civil suits
filed by the U.S. attorney

San Francisco - The federal government renewed its battle against the
state's medical marijuana law Friday, moving to shut down six marijuana
buyers' clubs in Northern California.

U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi filed civil suits seeking to halt operation
of the clubs - two in San Francisco and one each in Oakland, southern Marin
County, Santa Cruz and Ukiah - for violations of federal laws against the
possession, cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

"The issue is not the medical use of marijuana. It is the persistent
violation of federal law," Yamaguchi said at a news conference. He said the
civil suits, which target only the clubs and their operators and not
individual patients, were a "measured approach" short of criminal charges.

Undercover drug agents had bought marijuana at each club and had seen
purchases by other customers, according to court papers.

Most of the clubs were started after the November 1996 passage of
Proposition 215, which changed state law to allow patients suffering from
cancer, AIDS, glaucoma or a variety of other illnesses to possess and grow
marijuana for medical use, with a doctor's recommendation.

But at least one, now called the Cannabis Cultivators Club, has operated
for years in San Francisco, with the tacit approval of local law
enforcement. In fact, Yamaguchi's office declined to file criminal charges
against the club in 1996, before Prop. 215 passed, determining that the
level of drug-dealing was too minor to justify federal involvement.

Around the same time, state Attorney General Dan Lungren's office raided
the club, had it closed by a judge and obtained a grand jury indictment
against its leaders, including founder and Prop. 215 sponsor Dennis Peron,
on charges of selling and transporting marijuana.

Another judge let the Cultivators Club reopen after Prop. 215 passed,
saying it could qualify as a "caregiver" that could legally supply
marijuana to thousands of members. But a state appeals court overturned the
ruling last month and said selling marijuana remains illegal. Peron plans
to appeal to the state Supreme Court on Monday.

Lungren welcomes Yamaguchi's action, said spokesman Rob Stutzman.
"Yamaguchi has gone a long way toward clarifying how federal laws will have
a real impact upon so-called marijuana clubs," Stutzman said.

Marvin Chavez, a founder of the Cannabis Co-op of Orange County, criticized
Lungren and other state officials for going along with the federal action.

"The state government is not protecting the people," Chavez said. "They're
letting the federal government come in here and tell us what to do. The
voters have spoken." Chavez contends that his group does not sell
marijuana, but distributes it to patients in return for "voluntary donations."

"What do you think people are going to do when they shut down these clubs?"
he asked. "Where are these patients going to go? Right back into the black

Peron, who is running against Lungren for the Republican nomination for
governor, told reporters that the federal government was "defying the
people of California."

"First they threatened the doctors, now they're threatening the patients,"
he said, referring to the Clinton administration's initial threat to act
against doctors who prescribed marijuana. Peron said federal courts should
respect the state law - but if a shutdown is ordered, "we are going to go
perfectly limp and be carried away" rather than cooperate.

US Files Suit To Shut Six Pot Clubs (No Timetable For Courts To Review Justice
Department's Lawsuits, Which May Be Consolidated Under One Judge, 'San Jose
Mercury News' Quotes Dennis Peron - 'A Show Of Contempt For States' Rights' -
And Dan Lungren - 'Welcomes Clinton's Decision To Move Against Pot Clubs')

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 16:52:19 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: Federal Drug Laws, State Initiative Are At Odds
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Author: Howard Mintz, Mercury News Staff Writer. Mercury News Staff Writer
Jeordan Legon contributed to this report.
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998


SAN FRANCISCO -- Putting its weight for the first time behind efforts to
undercut California's voter-approved Proposition 215, the Clinton
administration Friday filed a flurry of lawsuits seeking to shut down six
Northern California marijuana clubs.

The U.S. Justice Department filed the lawsuits in federal courts in San
Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, attempting to finally resolve a conflict
between federal drug laws and the state ballot initiative voters approved
in November 1996 allowing sales of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Federal officials did not move to close San Jose's Cannabis Center,
although word of the Justice Department's offensive created some panic
among the club's operators and patrons. ``I'm relieved (we were not sued),
but I know we're not out of the woods,'' said Peter Baez, the center's
executive director. ``The federal government will do everything it takes.
I'm sure our time will come.''

The lawsuits name two clubs in San Francisco, including the Cannabis Club
owned by Proposition 215 author Dennis Peron. Also named are the Oakland
Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyers Club and
operations in Marin County and Ukiah.

Justice Department officials are asking the courts to issue injunctions
that would force the clubs to stop selling pot, which presumably would put
them out of business.

Once decided, the lawsuits are expected to have implications for marijuana
clubs throughout California, as well as other states that have enacted
similar laws, such as Arizona.

In announcing the lawsuits, U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi did not explain
what led to the decision to target certain clubs, or why federal officials
elected to confine the initiative mostly to the Bay Area.

Other law enforcement officials said Friday, however, that Northern
California has been the focal point of the medical marijuana debate and was
a logical battleground for determining whether the pot clubs can survive
under federal law.

Prop. 215's weak spot

The lawsuits hinge on what has always been seen as the most vulnerable
aspect of Proposition 215: that marijuana is illegal under federal law,
trumping any state laws permitting its use or sale. ``The issue is not the
medical use of marijuana, it is the persistent violation of federal law,''
Yamaguchi said.

Despite that potential conflict, California voters approved Proposition
215, which allows the possession and cultivation of marijuana if its use is
recommended by a doctor. Since then, medicinal marijuana clubs have opened
in more than a dozen cities throughout the state.

Even though Peron and other club owners vowed Friday to fight the federal
government, most officials familiar with the issue say the Clinton
administration is certain to prevail in court.

``We've known all along that if the feds wanted to come in, there is a
conflict of law between California and the feds, and the feds rule,'' said
Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu, who supervises
the office's policy on the issue. ``It's first-year law student stuff.''

Since the passage of Proposition 215, federal law enforcement officials had
for the most part remained on the sidelines while California Attorney
General Dan Lungren led the charge against the clubs, particularly against
Peron and his operation. In fact, Lungren's efforts were given a boost just
a few weeks ago, when a state appellate court in San Francisco ruled that
clubs like Peron's cannot sell the drug to patients.

Peron, who plans to appeal that state ruling next week to the California
Supreme Court, defiantly called Friday's federal action a ``show of
contempt for states' rights.''

Lungren, meanwhile, said through a spokesman Friday that he welcomed the
Clinton administration's decision to move against pot clubs.

Earlier this week, Lungren also backed off from earlier pledges to shut
down all pot clubs in the state. Instead, he said he would take a selective
approach. ``The media has made Dan Lungren the czar against illegal
marijuana,'' he said. ``That's just crazy. I don't have the resources to do

Until now, the Clinton administration appeared unsure of how and whether to
back Lungren. Federal law enforcers have been locked in an internal
struggle over how to proceed against California's pot clubs since at least
this spring, when Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided San
Francisco's Flower Therapy Medical Marijuana Club.

Federal sources say that raid provoked heated debate within the Justice
Department. There was disagreement among various agencies over the best
way to enforce federal drug laws without appearing to trample on the
state's voters, who had enacted Proposition 215.

In May, a San Francisco federal judge described the Clinton
administration's drug policy as ``fickle'' when she blocked federal
officials from prosecuting California doctors for recommending marijuana to
their patients. But that ruling had no effect on how the federal government
approached the clubs' sale of the marijuana.

DEA operation

Court papers filed in connection with the lawsuits demonstrate that, at
about the same time, DEA agents began a five-month undercover investigation
to gather evidence that the clubs were violating drug laws by selling
marijuana. Yamaguchi said the ultimate decision to file civil lawsuits, as
opposed to charging club owners with criminal violations, was a ``measured
approach'' to the marijuana sales.

According to the government's court papers, DEA agents found that marijuana
was being cultivated in some of the clubs and smoked on the premises of
others, in addition to being sold. Like Lungren, federal officials allege
that the clubs have lax standards in distributing marijuana. Under
Proposition 215, it is supposed to be sold only to patients with medical
conditions such as pain and nausea associated with AIDS and cancer.

Operators such as San Jose's Baez say their clubs are set up like medical
clinics. In fact, the DA's office and San Jose City Attorney Joan Gallo
have closely regulated the club and found it to be in compliance with
Proposition 215. That, officials said Friday, was one reason they believe
the Justice Department decided against including Baez's club in its court

But even those club operators who must now square off against the Justice
Department say they have been wrongly targeted. And they are hoping groups
such as the American Civil Liberties Union come to their defense.

``I thought we were one of the tightest-run facilities in the state,'' said
Jeffrey Jones, head of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. ``We've
abided by all the local resolutions and have had no problems. I don't know
where this came from, but I thought it could happen.''

There is no timetable for the courts to review the Justice Department's
lawsuits. The first step in the process may involve consolidating the six
cases before the same federal judge.

US Launches Drive To Close Marijuana Clubs (When Dennis Peron
Tells 'Los Angeles Times' The Feds Also Want To Discourage
Fledgling Initiatives In Colorado, Alaska And Washington, DC,
US Department Of Justice Spokesman Bert Brandenburg Replies,
'If Friday's Action Hurts Those Efforts, Then More's The Better')

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 16:30:13 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: LAT: U.S. Launches Drive to Close Marijuana Clubs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Pubdate: 10 Jan 1998
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Author: Mary Curtius, Maria L. La Ganga, Times Staff Writers


Court: Civil lawsuits seek injunctions against six Northern California
centers. Operators promise fight.

SAN FRANCISCO--For the first time since California voters approved the use
of medical marijuana, the federal government Friday mounted a legal battle
to shut down six Northern California clubs that sell the weed.

The government wants to "send a clear message regarding the illegality of
marijuana cultivation and distribution," said Michael Yamaguchi, the U.S.
attorney for Northern California.

His office filed civil lawsuits Friday accusing the clubs and 10 of their
operators of distribution of marijuana, and seeking permanent injunctions
to close centers in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Ukiah and Marin.

The move comes as medical marijuana advocates in other states are pushing
to follow California's lead, seeking similar ballot initiatives to allow
patients to grow and use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

The federal government's action was praised by California Atty. Gen. Dan
Lungren and denounced by club operators.

"They are trying to thwart the will of the people of California, trying to
put out a brush fire before it sweeps into a forest fire," said Dennis
Peron, founder of the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club, the state's
largest club selling marijuana. Peron and other medical marijuana advocates
said that the federal government wants both to undermine the voters who
last year passed the medical marijuana initiative, known as Proposition
215, and to discourage fledgling ballot initiatives in Colorado, Alaska and
Washington, D.C.

In Washington, U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Bert Brandenburg said
that if Friday's action hurts those efforts, "then more's the better."

Yamaguchi said the government's action is a "measured response" to what he
characterized as the California clubs' repeated violations of federal drug

The federal government lists marijuana as a controlled substance that is
illegal to grow, possess or distribute.

"California's medical marijuana statute . . . has no effect on the
applicability of federal drug laws," Yamaguchi said. Federal law, he said,
"has supremacy over state law."

Constitutional scholars agreed with Yamaguchi's assessment. The only
question, after voters approved Proposition 215, was whether the federal
government would choose to get involved, said USC law professor Erwin

"Did the California initiative provide clubs with any protection from
federal law? No," said Chemerinsky, who teaches constitutional law. "It was
inevitable, if the federal government wanted to get involved," that the
clubs could be forced to close.

The federal action is the second recent setback for the clubs. Last month,
a state appellate court ruled that Proposition 215 did not make cannabis
clubs legal.

"All we are seeing here is an attempt to put out of business a commercial
operation engaging in violations of federal law," said professor Clark
Kelso of the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. "The state appellate
court ruling that held that commercial sales are not protected by 215 took
the political difficulties off of prosecuting them for the federal

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of
marijuana at the six clubs the government is seeking to shut down,
Yamaguchi said.

He said the agents found operators to be lax in identification of clients
and in scrutiny of recommendations from doctors. But he said how the clubs
are run is not the issue.

"The issue is not the medical use of marijuana, it is the persistent
violation of federal law," Yamaguchi said. "Under our system of federalism,
laws passed by Congress cannot be overridden or supplanted by state law."

He did not rule out the possibility of filing criminal charges against
clubs or their operators, or civil lawsuits against the nearly dozen other
clubs serving thousands of people around the state. "Our expectation is
that we will prevail [in court] and that many clubs around the state will
recognize the supremacy of federal law" and voluntarily close, Yamaguchi

Federal marshals served notices of the lawsuit to two clubs in San
Francisco and to clubs in Ukiah, Marin, Oakland and Santa Cruz.

Lungren welcomes the federal government's involvement, said Lungren
spokesman Rob Stutzman. "Their actions today certainly help clarify how
they believe federal law impacts upon these clubs."

Lungren has maintained since passage of Proposition 215 that cannabis clubs
are illegal under state law. He has been battling the San Francisco
Cannabis Cultivators club and its founder, Peron, in state courts since
1996 in an effort to shut down the club.

San Francisco officials were less enthusiastic about the federal action.

"If the goal of the U.S. attorney or the attorney general is to somehow
dissuade the people of San Francisco from supporting the medicinal use of
marijuana, then I think they are going to find themselves in a tough fight
regardless of what civil litigation they bring," said P.J. Johnston,
spokesman for Mayor Willie Brown.

Peron and other club operators, who say they carefully screen customers,
were defiant Friday.

"We will fight this," said Peron, who will appear in court in 20 days to
defend against the federal effort to shut his club. Asked what he intends
to do until then, Peron said: "Sell a lot of pot."

In San Jose, Peter Baez, executive director of the Santa Clara County
Cannabis Center, said he would resort to selling marijuana out of parking
lots if necessary.

The center was not a target of Friday's federal action. But he feared that
his club still might be sued.

"We've got our doors locked," Baez said.

He criticized federal officials as callous. "They have no compassion for
the sick people of this country," Baez said. "I'm almost ashamed to be

In West Hollywood, operators of the Cannabis Resource Center also reacted
with alarm.

"We're a little bit rattled," said club operator Scott Imler. The
government did not file suit against the club Friday, but Imler said he was
braced for the possibility.

And in Oakland, cannabis club operator Jeff Jones, who was served with
notice of the civil suit, pointed out that his club has had strong support
from local government officials.

"We're very meticulous in the people we screen. . . . we verify
everything," he said.

Assistance Needed (An 'Old Woman' Who Remembers Farmers Mixing Hemp
With Tobacco During Harvest Time Seeks Help From Activist Tom Hawkins
For Another Woman In Moses Lake, Washington, Persecuted Over Marijuana Laws)

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 10:58:55 -0800
From: Tom Hawkins (thawkins@televar.com)
Organization: Hawkins OnLine, Internet Services and more...
To: Hemp Talk List (hemp-talk@hemp.net)
Subject: HT: Assistance Needed
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Hi All,

I got this the other day and was wondering if anyone has any advice they
could offer this lady?

Keep fighting peacefully,

Tom Hawkins
Grand Coulee


Forwarded Message:

Subject: Innocent woman in pot bust
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 15:04:20 -0800
From: Centrist65@webtv.net (D. Daugert)
To: thawkins@televar.com

Dear Mr. Hawkins,

Although I've never met you I have heard about you and read different
articles about you and MAP.

I myself have never used drugs, alcohol but have tried tobacco and got
hooked, but this is not about me but about a lady in her 40's who was
given a ticket for possession of .5 gram of marijuana/by one source/and
.7 gram by another law agency.

She went to court and was told not to get in trouble and they would drop
the charge in a year. Three days later she received a ticket/letter in
the mail telling her she had to pay a $500 fine to DARE in one lump sum
or go to jail for 10 days.

She is the mother of five with one or two at home, one in school. She
was leaving a concert with her daughter and three friends and the police
pulled her over and asked if they could look in the car and she had no
reason to let them look other than there were five police cars, she was
intimidated, plus she had nothing to hide so she let them and they came
up with the above.

She is going to pay the $500 as even though it was not hers she is
paranoid as she smokes to help her pain from a dehabilitating diseases
and if asked for a UA she would have THC in her system and she is afraid
as her husband and four sons have been busted for marijuana.

I don't know about the effects of marijuana although as a child I
remember the farmers smoking it mixed with tobacco during their short
breaks during harvest time. They worked many long days and never seemed
to cause any trouble or fighting like the ones that drank.

Anyway, I'm an old woman getting carried away and I just want to ask if
you could let other people know what is happening to this woman in Moses
Lake. I know its probably not important but her daughter doesn't deserve
to know that the law is unjust because she knows it was not her mothers,
hers or her friends. Her mother would never tolerate anything in the car
because of the problems her husband and sons have and she is just afraid
and has no way to turn so I'm asking for your help and advise, maybe a
prayer or if you have the ability rile up people so they will help her
with this injustice.

Aren't their laws stopping the police from planting pot on people or is
this a ongoing process. When I lived in Germany before WW2 the soldiers
would come and take people away for no reason. Hearing this woman's
story reminds me of this.

Please help this old woman is this kind of thing could spread to many
other innocent people.

Thank you for any help you may do.

Full Text Of The Verdict In 'The People Vs Dennis Peron' Now Online
(December 12, 1997, California Appeals Court Decision Saying Author
Of Proposition 215 Does Not Qualify As Primary Caregiver)

From: chris.clay@hempnation.com
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 01:45:54 -0800
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Subject: Peron verdict online

Hey Mattalkers,

Full text of the verdict in "The People vs. Dennis Peron" is now online:

About 50 related stories are also online:


Europe Could Teach America Much About Drug Policy (Ethan Nadelmann Of The
Lindesmith Center In 'The International Herald Tribune')

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 11:51:58 +0000
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: Nadelmann in IHT
International Herald Tribune, Jan 10 1998
contact: iht@iht.com
Center of Editorial Page

Europe Could Teach America Much About Drug Policy
By Ethan A. Nadelmann

NEW YORK --- Both at home and abroad, the U.S. government has attempted to
silence critics of its official drug policy.

It has tried to suppress scientific studies that reached politically
inconvenient conclusions, and to block resolutions supporting the principles
of harm reduction.

In May 1994 the State Department forced the last-minute cancellation of a
World Bank conference on drug trafficking to which critics of U.S. drug
policy had been invited. That December the U.S. delegation to an
international meeting of the UN Drug Control Program refused to sign any
statement incorporating the phrase "harm reduction."

In early 1995 the State Department successfully pressured the World Health
Organization to scuttle the release of a report it had commissioned from a
panel that included many of the world's leading experts on cocaine. The
report included the scientifically incontrovertible observations that
traditional use of coca leaf in the Andes causes little harm to users and
that most consumers of cocaine use the drug in moderation with few
detrimental effects.

Hundreds of congressional hearings have addressed multitudinous aspects of
the drug. problem, but few have inquired into the effectiveness of various
European harm-reduction policies.

In Europe, informed, public debate about drug policy is increasingly common
in government, even at the EU level. In June 1995 the European Parliament
issued a report acknowledging that "there will always be a demand for drugs
in our societies" and that "the policies followed so far have not been able
to prevent the illegal drug trade .from flourishing."

The European Union called for serious consideration of the Frankfurt
Resolution, a statement of harm-reduction principles supported by a
transnational coalition of 31 cities and regions.

In October 1996 Emma Bonino, the European commissioner in charge of
consumer policy and health protection, advocated decriminalizing soft drugs
and initiating a broad prescription program for hard drugs.

Last February the monarch of Liechtenstein, Prince Hans-Adarn II, spoke out
in favor of controlled drug legalization. Even Raymond Kendall
secretary-general of Interpol, was quoted in London's Guardian newspaper in
1994 as saying:

"The prosecution of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year
is both hypocritical and an affront to individual, civil and human
rights.... Drug use should no longer be a criminal offense. I am totally
against legalization but in favor of decriminalization for the user."

One can, of, course, exaggerate the differences between attitudes in the
United States and those in Europe and Australia. Many European leaders still
echo President Jacques Chirac's punitive, U.S.-style anti-drug
pronouncements in France.

Conversely, support for harm-reduction approaches is growing in the United
States notably and vocally among public-health professionals but also, more
discreetly, among urban politicians and police officials.

But Europe and Australia are generally ahead of the United States in their
willingness to discuss openly and experiment pragmatically with alternative
policies that might reduce the harm to both addicts and society.

Public-health officials in many European cities work closely with police,
politicians, private physicians and others to coordinate efforts. Community
policing treats drug dealers and users as elements of the community that
need not be expelled but which can be made less troublesome.

Such efforts, including crackdowns on open drug scenes in Zurich, Bern and
Frankfurt, are devised and implemented in tandem with initiatives to address
health and housing problems.

In the United States, in contrast, politicians presented with new approaches
do not ask "Will they work?" but only, "Are they tough enough?"

Many U.S. Iegislators are reluctant to support drug-treatment programs that
are not punitive, coercive and prisonbased, and many criminal justice
officials still view prison as a quick and easy solution for drug problems

The lessons from Europe and Australia are cornpelling. Drug control policies
should focus on reducing drug-related. crime, disease and death, not the
number of casual drug users. Stopping th spread of HIV by and among drug
users by making sterile syringes and methadone readily available must be the
first priority.

American politicians need to explore, not ignore or automatically condemn,
promising policy options such as cannabis decriminalization, heroin
prescription and the integration of harm-reduction principles into community
policing strategies. Central governments must back, or at least not hinder,
the efforts of municipal officials and citizens to devise pragmatic
approaches to local drug problems.

All that remains is mustering the political courage.

The writer is director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy research
institute funded by George Soros, and the author of "Cops Across Borders:
The Internationalization of U.S. Criminal Law Enforcement." This article,
adapted from a longer version in Foreign Affairs magazine, was distributed
by the New York Times Syndicate

Needle-Exchange Programmes In The USA - Time To Act Now (Editorial
In 'The Lancet,' Britain's Leading Medical Journal)

Newshawk: Zosimos (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie)
Source: The Lancet - Volume 351, Number 9096
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998
Contact: lancet.editorial@elsevier.co.uk
Section: Editorial


One in three of the more than 570 000 AIDS cases reported in the USA since
the beginning of the epidemic has been caused, directly or indirectly, by
injection drug misuse. Although HIV-infection rates among homosexual men
have fallen, rates due to intravenous drug misuse have soared and about half of
new HIV infections now can be traced to that source. Those affected are not
only the drug misusers infected by contaminated needles but their sexual
partners (most of whom have been poor, black, and Hispanic women) and the
children of women infected by drug misuse or sexual contact with infected
drug misusers. Injection drug misuse is now the leading primary cause of
paediatric AIDS.

Yet, despite this epidemic, the USA remains one of the few industrialised
countries that refuses to provide easy access to sterile syringes. Of the 100 or
so US needle-exchange programmes most are small and underfunded, and some
are illegal. Most US states still have laws on drug paraphernalia or syringe
prescription that make it a crime to give a drug misuser a clean needle.

The Clinton Administration now has an opportunity to address this problem. In
1997 the US Congress banned the use of Federal funds for needle-exchange
programmes until March 31, 1998, but after that date the legislation allows
funding if the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines that
exchange programmes are effective in preventing the spread of HIV and do not
encourage the use of illegal drugs. But with the deadline fast approaching, the
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, has yet to make an
official determination, causing AIDS activists to wonder whether the
Administration will refuse to endorse needle-exchange programmes out of fear
that the step will open the President to the charge that he is "soft on drugs".

If this is true, it would be a remarkably callous decision for the Administration
to make. Yet, given the weight of the scientific evidence supporting the efficacy
of needle-exchange schemes, it is hard to attribute the reluctance to back such
programmes to anything other than political considerations. Study after study
has found that needle-exchange programmes reduce the risk of HIV infection.
In 1993, a study on needle-exchange programmes by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and the University of California, San Francisco,
concluded that "the time has arrived for federal, state, and local governments to
remove the legal and administrative barriers to increased needle availability and
to facilitate the expansion of needle exchange programmes in the US". In 1995,
the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, an independent
organisation set up by Congress for advice on scientific and technical matters,
concluded that needle-exchange programmes were effective and did not
encourage illegal drug use. In 1997 an independent consensus panel convened
by the National Institutes of Health found that "an impressive body of evidence
suggests powerful effects from needle-exchange programmes . . . there is no
longer doubt that these programs work".

Just last month, the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS issued a report
urging the Administration to move immediately to end the ban on Federal
funding for needle exchanges. "The debate at this time should no longer be if,
but how, needle exchange programs should be established", wrote the council's
chairman, R Scott Hitt. And the debate is not academic. A study published in
The Lancet last year by Peter Lurie and Ernest Drucker, who used conservative
estimates of interventions that give injection drug misusers access to sterile
injection equipment, concluded that if the USA had adopted such programmes
in 1987, it could have prevented between 4394 and 9666 HIV infections.
Moreover, they found that if current policies are not changed, an additional
5150-11 329 preventable HIV infections could occur by the year 2000 in the
USA. Who will stop these preventable infections? The Clinton Administration
should act now. Delay is costing lives.


US Censors United Nations Reports On Cocaine, Cannabis

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 08:41:30 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: Scuttled U.N. reports


Ethan Nadelmann wrote in the International Herald Tribune:

>In early 1995 the State Department successfully pressured the World Health
>Organization to scuttle the release of a report it had commissioned from a
>panel that included many of the world's leading experts on cocaine. The
>report included the scientifically incontrovertible observations that
>traditional use of coca leaf in the Andes causes little harm to users and
>that most consumers of cocaine use the drug in moderation with few
>detrimental effects.

I have found out that the U.S. also scuttled a recent chapter in the U.N.
report on cannabis. The chapter compared the relative harms of cannabis,
tobacco and alcohol. We should keep in mind that these instances of the
U.S. censoring reports provides us with info on what they are most afraid
of people knowing about... a potent weapon when writing LtEs in U.S. papers
and magazines.



Dave Haans
Graduate Student, University of Toronto
WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/

Legalize! Update - 'Global Anti-Prohibition Days' June 6-7-8
(International Drug Policy Reform Event Planned In New York
Immediately Preceding UNGASS - UN General Assembly
Special Session on Drugs - CORA, DRCNet, NORML, November Coalition,
MAP/DrugSense, The Legalize! Initiative And Other Organisations
Reportedly Intend To Endorse Gathering - GAD E-Mail List Announced)

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 00:36:11 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Russell, Ken KW" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: FW: UPDATE> LEGALIZE! UPDATE: The Global Anti-Prohibition Days: J


-----Original Message-----
From: Kath Williamson [mailto:bigk@it.uq.edu.au]
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 1998 2:50 PM
To: update@adca.org.au
Subject: UPDATE> LEGALIZE! UPDATE: The Global Anti-Prohibition Days:
June 6-7-8 ! (fwd)

Dear List,

One of my email addresses is currently the only Australian contact for
this worldwide activity scheduled for June this year.

I would appreciate advice regarding Hemp activist groups, in particular,

who have an internet presence and who would like to take over this
"contact point" and perhaps organize LEGALIZE events this year.
Though, of course, anyone is welcome to splurge their energy. The
LEGALIZE people are looking for contacts in different cities/areas.

Many thanks,

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 19:21:01 -0700 (MST)
From: Jimmy Mac 


News Update of the Legalize! Inititiative
January 10, 1998
Sender: jimmymac
Precedence: bulk

Legalize! Updates are sent to all members of the Legalize! Initiative.
For latest info, visit our web site legalize.org or send mail to
legalize-info@legalize.org. For info about unsubscribing see the sig.


Dear Legalizer,

This is the first in a series of updates to keep you informed about
the planning of the 1998 Global Anti-Prohibition Days (GAD for short),
which will be held on June 6-7-8, immediately preceding the UN General
Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS), which takes place in New York
June 8th, 9th and 10th.

Please consider signing on to your national mailing list; see section 2
at the end.


1. The 1998 Global Anti-Prohibition Days

As many of you already know, representatives of several reform organisations
are currently planning the Global Anti-Prohibition Days to take place June 6-7-8,
immediately preceding the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS),
which takes place in New York, June 8th, 9th and 10th.

The GAD will feature demonstrations, street parties, speeches, discussion
forums, and other types of manifestations, in many places at the same time.

To this aim we are forming a coalition of reform organisations. CORA, DRCNet,
NORML, the November Coalition, MAP/DrugSense, the Legalize! Initiative and
other organisations have already stated their intention to endorse the GAD.
We are currently contacting representatives of organisations such as DPF,
Lindesmith Center, IHRA, ENCOD (a coalition of European NGOs), the Independent
on Sunday, and a few others. The initiating organisations will be called
the 'The Coalition for Discussion of Alternatives to the Drug War', or some
such phrase.

We have written a call for participation, intended to be sent to many
organisations soon, inviting them to endorse the GAD as well and to
participate. This call will be signed by the committee.

The exact contents of the GAD will depend on the initiatives of the
participating groups and organisations. A 'grand finale' is intended
to take place in New York on Monday June 8.

One of the ideas for central action is to issue press statements containing
a declaration signed by all participating organisations. But many coordinated
actions are thinkable. We could e.g. address the UNGASS delegates. If all
goes according to plan, ENCOD, which will participate in UNGASS, will be
part of our coalition. Ideally the GAD as an ongoing project could, in the
months before UNGASS, channel information about reform activities going on
everywhere, and become a focus of attention for the media.

More information about the GAD, and about the organisations we cooperate
with, can be found at legalize.org.

There you can also find more information about the background of UNGASS,
and the reasons why we must not let this opportunity slip !
Let's make sure the UN will wish they had never scheduled this session!

We would like to ask you to start considering options for participation in the
GAD. We will provide you with suggestions in the next updates, but for first
hints we would like to point to the new action plan, which you can find at the
web site legalize.org. First advice would be to mail or call fellow activists,
get together, see what contacts you have, and invite them to a next meeting.
It all starts with a few phone calls; and it's fun, once you get the hang of it !


To those of you who have not already done so, we suggest you subscribe
to your national legalize list, so you can participate in discussion about what
you can do to make sure that things get off the ground in your country.

For instance, to subscribe to the list usa@legalize.org, send mail to
majordomo@legalize.org with subscribe usa as text of the message.
Similar for france, spain, deutschland, britain, nederland, sweden, israel,
italia, norway, finland, and others. To see which lists there are, send mail
to majordomo@legalize.org, with message text lists. If there's no list for
your country, let us know.

Harry Bego
The Legalize! Initiative


Legalize! Initiative is the international action forum for all people
concerned about the effects of current drug policy. Join us at legalize.org
and help organise the 1998 Global Anti-Prohibition Days.

To receive information by e-mail, send mail to legalize-info@legalize.org.

legalize-update@legalize.org is an irregular news update. Reactions can be
sent to jimmymac@legalize.org or to our discussion lists.

To unsubscribe from legalize-update, send a message to majordomo@legalize.org
with unsubscribe legalize-update as text of the message, and unsubscribe from
other Legalize! lists you are subscribed to.

Avoiding Sensationalism (Letter Complains To Editor Of 'Houston Chronicle'
About Lurid Report On Murder By Drug Addict)

Subj: PUB LTE: Avoiding Sensationalism
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 11:59:25 -0500
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.chron.com/


Regarding "Addict charged with murder: Man held without bail in killing
that followed sexual assault" (Metropolitan, Jan. 8): Why didn't the
reporter include statistics regarding murders committed by drug addicts to
reassure the public that events like this are vanishingly rare?

Clearly, such murders, albeit tragic for the people directly involved, are
not worth an article in a newspaper.

The Chronicle would be more useful if it avoided sensationalism in favor of
news that has an important effect on our lives.

Thomas L. Wayburn, Houston

Close Reading Of Statements From CASA, Califano And McCaffrey Suggests
A More Pessimistic Interpretation Is Warranted (Letter From David Hadorn)

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 22:42:34 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Subject: CASA Study

I wanted to add my two cents to the discussion about the just-released CASA
study showing that 80 percent of all US inmates are in prison for
"drug-related" reasons, as well as some of the on-air rhetoric associated
with that study. Some on these lists have seen reason to believe that the
study and associated rhetoric are reasons for optimism, but I'm afraid I
agree with Steve Young that overall the development is a negative one. It
seems evident that Califano et al are simply urging the addition of
prison-based drug treatment to the existing prison-centered drug policy --
in other words, more pork to suck on the drug war teat.

The ONLY exception to the "just add treatment in prison and everything will
be fine" rhetoric came in the cSPAN report on the press conference, where
either McCaffrey (according to Cliff) or Califano (according to Tom
Murlowski of the November Coalition, in a post forwarded by Richard Lake)
apparently said that perhaps a quarter million people are in prison who
don't deserve to be. This is an incredibly damning statement against the
status quo and we should follow up on it vigorously, ensuring the statement
is highlighted in discussions and letters. This would include follow-up
letters asking if McC/Calif supports a comprehensive review of non-violent
drug offenders' sentences. How could he not, given that he has just admitted
to one of the worst things a supposedly free state can do: imprisonment
people unjustly. But of course the outcome is likely to be akin to
Yeltsin's staff discounting and dissembling after he says Russia is going to
unilaterally dismantle 30 percent of their ICBMs. But nonetheless we should
hold their feet to the fire on it.

It's important to notice the persistent blurring of distinctions between
people who are in prison for consensual drug offences and those in for
violent or property crimes. Consider this snip from the PBS interview:

>JIM LEHRER: Mr. Califano, how strong are these connections between the 80
percent of the prisoners and drug and alcohol abuse?

>JOSEPH CALIFANO, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse: Well,
>they're very strong. We have 1.7 million people in prison in this country;
>1.4 million are there either because they violated drug and alcohol laws,
>because they were high at the time that they committed their crime, were on
>alcohol or drugs, because they stole money to buy drugs, or because they
>have a history of alcohol and drug abuse. So really we have prisons that
>are wall-to-wall with individuals with drug and alcohol problems.

Notice the casual "either" in the third line which effectively lumps all
categories together as if they were akin, and the equating of drug use with
drug "problems" in the last line.

>JIM LEHRER: And is it--is your report and your study, has it concluded that
>those people wouldn't be in prison if they had not been alcohol and drug

>JOSEPH CALIFANO: Two--of the 1.4 million 200,000 are drug dealers who do
>not use drugs. The other 1.2 million are people hundreds of thousands of
>whom would not be in prison if they did not use drugs and alcohol. And when
>we release them from prison without treating them, what we're really doing
>is visiting on society alcoholics and drug addicts who will commit crimes,
>who are visiting criminals on society. And when we release drug addicts
>without treating them, we're releasing from prison individuals who are
>supporting drug dealers and the drug market.

Here again, Califano conflates consensual drug offences with non-consensual
drug-prohibition related crime. He also assumes that everyone in prison for
consensual drug crimes needs treatment. Nor is the obvious fact that
prohibition is direct cause of almost all these (non-alcohol related)
incarcerations ever stated - either by Califano or in the report. These
obfuscations and misdirections are deliberate tactics, of course.

The report itself appears to break down conviction categories more clearly,
but of course few reporters actually read the actual report. Only the
foreword, intro and exec sum are available on the web
(http://www.casacolumbia.org/pubs/jan98/contents.htm) and these doesn't
really do as good a job as the full text apparently does, to judge from the
table of contents. Nevertheless, we read in the summary that 55 percent of
all federal prisoners were convicted of drug offences, as distinct from
being under the influence of drugs including alcohol during commission of
some other crime (23 percent) or stealing to get money to buy drugs (10
percent). The 55 percent figure seems more or less congruent with what I
remember seeing from other sources. Comparable figures for state prisons
and jail are about 20 percent convicted of a drug offence, 50 percent under
influence of alcohol (mostly) or other drugs, and about 15 percent convicted
of crimes related to obtaining money for drugs.

One particularly intriguing section in the full text of the report (but not
on the webbed sections) is entitled "Marijuana and the prison population",
which is within a chapter called "Feeders for Prisons". I wonder if someone
could get ahold of a copy of the report and scan this and other sections of
interest. Wonder why it wasn't referred to by Califano.

Finally, I think that the treatment-is-good-for-prisoners rhetoric
concerning the CASA study dovetails disturbingly with the
prison-is-good-for-drug users piece by "addiction psychiatrist" Sally Satel,
coincidentally (?) published a few days ago in the WSJ. The overall message
emanating from these pieces is that there is nothing wrong and indeed
everything right about continuing our (or rather, the United States')
present prison-based drug policies. They just need a bit of tweaking and
enhancing, that's all. This message is obviously evil and (because)

How to counter it? More of what we're doing: educating, lobbying,
referendumizing, etc. Although I sympathize with people's frustration at
the slow pace these tactics inevitably entail, I think that combined with
some pushing and innovation in other countries they will succeed in seeing
the US come around sooner than seems possible now.

OTOH, I wouldn't want to underestimate the power of money in perpetuating
the status quo. This is the same power that prevents the US from adopting a
national health system. Perhaps we'll see federal repeal of cannabis
prohibition in the US around the same time we see them adopt an NHS. In
other words, a long time from now, and maybe not before the next American
revolution. This is perhaps what Rick Adams is hinting at in his recent
post, and who can blame him? But let's hope it doesn't come to that.


CASA Converted? (Another Pessimistic View Of The Statements From CASA,
Califano And McCaffrey Notes Califano Didn't Argue For Any Less Coercion
In Drug Policy; Just A More Progressive Type Of Coercion)

Subj: Re: CASA converted?
From: Steve Young (theyoungfamily@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 01:36:27 +0000

I didn't see the CSPAN press conference yet, but I did see the PBS interview
with Joe Califano and U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum on the PBS Newshour yesterday.

I'm eager to watch the the CSPAN bit, the PBS segment wasn't terribly
encouraging. The debate was framed in this way: should prisoners be treated
for substance abuse in greater numbers? Califano said yes, prisoners should
be treated to keep them from committing more crimes and returning to prison
after being released, but he in no way asserted or implied that the
prisoners shouldn't be there in the first place. "We need a revolution in
the way we think about people in prisons," he said.

McCollum was skeptical about the usefulness of treatment, saying it was
about 10 percent effective in prison and less effective outside of prison.
He then sang the glories of truth in sentencing laws that keep offenders
behind laws for a longer time.

Host Jim Leher asked about the degree to which alcohol, as opposed to
illegal drugs, played a part in crime, and Califano said something like 21
percent of crimes involved alcohol, 3 percent involved crack, and 1 percent
involved heroin. This seemed startling coming out of his mouth, but there
was no follow up about misguided priorities. McCollum essentially
sidestepped the question, saying only that he had different information, and
he hadn't read the CASA report.

Both reiterated the idea that law enforcement is a crucial element of drug

There was some small pleasure in watching Califano seemingly wake up and
smell the tiniest bit of coffee, but I guess I was disturbed by the piece
because it allowed Califano to take the position of radical reformer vs. the
petrified, backward establishment represented by McCollum. This despite the
fact that Califano didn't argue for any less coercion in drug policy; just a
more progressive, dare I say, kinder and gentler, type of coercion. If
Califano continues to play the radical role with gusto, I fear real
reformers and their ideas will be pushed further to the margins of the debate.

I think reformers are definitely having an effect on the rhetoric of the
drug war, but in some ways drug warriors are responding by appropriating
reform rhetoric without embracing reform policy. The "debate" between
Califano and McCollum reminded me of a couple lines from the 1997 National
Drug Control Strategy: "The metaphor 'war on drugs' is misleading. Wars are
expected to end. Addressing drug abuse is a continuous challenge; the moment
we believe ourselves to be victorious and free to relax our resolve, drug
abuse will rise again. Furthermore, the United States does not wage war on
its citizens..."

In "Smoke and Mirrors," a Reagan official was quoted as saying something
like, "We need to close the debate," meaning all dissent over drug policy
was to be squelched by any means necessary. Nearly a decade later, hard core
drug warriors are beginning to realize this is simply not possible. They
know there will be some debate, and I think we are seeing the first attempts
to make sure that debate is restricted to the very tight parameters they
need to keep the war going.

Pessimistically yours,
Steve Young

CASA Report, 'Behind Bars' - Marijuana Section (Actual Report Downplays
Numbers In Prison For Pot Possession)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 20:58:49 EST
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: amarugia@drizzle.com
From: Deran Ludd 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: CASA Report: Behind Bars (MJ section)

Greetings Talkers,

Just got my copy of Califano/CASA's latest tome; Behind Bars. The section
regarding marijuana is mainly their attempt to deny that there is any sort
of significant number of persons in local state and fed incarceration
strictly for marijuana possession. The same applies to persons solely
incarcerated for possession of any other illegal intoxicant/stimulant--not
significant in their analysis. They count people in jail for trafficking
marijuana as hardcore criminals (!) and not in the same category as simple

I do not recall seeing this section of the CASA report posted to any dp
reform lists? Would folks want me to post that section to the lists? I am
going to scan that section tomorrow. I will have it in ascii and as a Word
doc. If any archive sites want it let me know. I also had CASA send me
their Legalization: Panacea or Pandora's Box? The section on marijuana is
nothing the prohibitionists haven't said before. Zimmer and Morgan did a
fine job of debunking all that. But I will scan that too an make it avb to
those that email me for it.

Having read the two CASA doc.s and also recently read the Northwest HIDTA
Marijuana Awareness/Education Effort propaganda, put out last year via WA
state's own wanna be drug czar, Lt Gov Brad Owen's office, I am struck most
centrally by the need of the Drug Warriors to control the discourse, their
intesnse fear of losing control of the public info on "drugs". especially
marijuana. Really that seems to be their main tool in the maintaining
marijuana prohibition. Control the discourse.

Deran Ludd

Re - CASA Report 'Behind Bars' - Marijuana Section (Complete Text)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 11:22:28 -0700
To: Phil Smith 
From: Deran Ludd 
Subject: Re: CASA Report: Behind Bars (MJ section)

Hey Phil,

I love PDX's site. Here's the marijuana section in ascii.


CASA -- Behind Bars, Chapter II-Crime Drugs and Alcohol: Joined at the Hip,
Section 3-Feeders for Prison, Subsection 3-Marijuana and the Prison
Population, pages 47-50, January, 1998

Concern is sometimes expressed that state and federal prisons and local jails are
overcrowded with many thousands of inmates whose only offense is possession
of a small amount of marijuana, and that as a result violent prisoners are released
early due to overcrowding and funds are diverted from the treatment and
training of inmates addicted to drugs like cocaine and heroin. In preparing this
report, CASA has extensively examined what data are available and, though
those data are limited, it appears that few inmates could be in prison or jail solely
for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Indeed the number is likely so
small that it would have little or no impact on overcrowding or the vast gap
between the need for treatment and training and available slots.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use is usually a
misdemeanor, and, in some states, it is a non-criminal infraction (53).
Accordingly, a simple marijuana possession case, unless the offender had a
history of violent or repeated serious convictions or were a dealer, is unlikely to
result in a prison sentence. Only 49,308 inmates-- 2.9 percent of the 1. 7 million
inmates in state and federal prisons and local jails--are incarcerated for any kind
of drug possession and do not have a history of violent crime, property crime or
at least two prior felony convictions (which could be for marijuana or other drug
possession--detailed information about prior convictions is not available from the
inmate survey). This suggests that the popular conception that large numbers of
individuals whose only crime is marijuana possession are incarcerated is
probably false.

The inmate survey data of the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice
Statistics do not distinguish between convictions for possession of marijuana and
convictions for possession of cocaine, heroin or other harder drugs. However, the
most recent state survey, one taken of Massachusetts inmates, found that 99.7
percent of incarcerated drug offenders had been convicted for violations
involving cocaine or heroin, not marijuana (54). The generalization of these
findings to other states is not yet known.

CASA's analysis of the 1991 state prison survey reveals that only 4.8 percent of all
state inmates--51,678 in 1996--claimed that they were in prison only on charges of
drug possession. Almost one in five of these inmates--8,682--had at least one
prior conviction for a violent offense and an additional 7,907 had at least one
prior conviction for a property offense. Another l,886 of these inmates had at
least two prior convictions, mostly for drug law violations. That leaves 2.2
percent of state inmates-23,685 in 1996--who were incarcerated for drug
possession and had no prior convictions for violent or property offenses and only
one or no prior conviction.

CASA's analysis finds a similar pattern among federal prison and local jail
inmates. In 1991, 10.9 percent of federal inmates--1 1,504 in 1996 - said they were
behind bars for drug possession. One in twenty of these inmates--610--had a
history of violent crime. Another 495 of these inmates had at least one prior
conviction for a property offense, and an additional 1,576 had at least two prior
convictions (including drug law violations). That means 8.4 percent of federal
inmates--8,866 in 1996--were incarcerated for drug possession and had no prior
convictions for violent or property offenses and only one or no prior

In local jails in 1991, 6.4 percent of inmates--33,183 in 1996--said they were behind
bars for drug possession. However, 3,916 had a history of violent crime, another
4,679 had a history of property crime, and an additional 7,831 had at least two
prior convictions (mainly for drug law violations). That means only 3.2 percent of
all jail inmates--16,757 in 1996--were incarcerated for drug possession and had no
prior convictions for violent or property crimes and only one or no prior conviction.

Counting state, federal and local jail inmates, that would mean that 49,308
Americans--2.9 percent of all inmates--were behind bars for drug possession who
said they did not have a history of violent crime, property crime or at least two
prior convictions. But, as the recent Massachusetts prison survey suggests, the
number of these inmates who have been convicted of marijuana possession and
have no other criminal history is certain to be considerably lower. First, many of
these 49,308 inmates were convicted of possessing a harder drug, such as cocaine
or heroin, or large quantities of an illegal drug, not a small amount of marijuana.
Since state and federal prisons hold only felons, it is unlikely that they hold
prisoners whose only offense was possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Second, some of these inmates were originally charged with drug selling or some
other crime, but pled down to drug possession in an agreement with prosecutors.

Third, more than two-thirds of state and local jail inmates and one-third of
federal inmates incarcerated for drug possession acknowledge having previously
used heroin, cocaine and other harder illegal drugs. Taking all of this into
account, it is likely that very few of the more than 1.7 million state, federal and
local jail inmates may be incarcerated solely for possession of small amounts of
marijuana. But until future surveys distinguish the type and quantity of the
illegal drug possessed, it is not possible to determine precisely how many
inmates are incarcerated for possession of small amounts of marijuana.


(53) Goode, E. (1997). "Between Politics and Reason: The Drug Legalization
Debate", NY, NY, St. Martin's Press, Inc.

(54) Brownsberger, W.N. and Piehl, A.M. (1997), "Profile of Anti-Drug Law
Enforcement in Urban Poverty Areas in Massachussetts", page 34

For Some Interests, The Drug War Is A Success (Letter To Editor
Of 'New York Times' Quibbles With Anthony Lewis' Column)
Subj: Anthony Lewis, Jan 5 From: "Tom O'Connell" Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 09:37:31 -0800 (PST) New York Times To the Editor: Monaco - Usually I agree with Anthony Lewis, especially on drug policy; one exception is the assertion in his (otherwise excellent) January 5th op-ed: "Americans eschew(ed) ideology (and)....judge(d) ideas by whether they work(ed)...a strange contemporary exception to that tradition is the war on drugs. By any rational test it is an overwhelming failure." There's considerable evidence that Americans are easily taken in by ideology, but that's subsidiary to my main point: the drug war's resounding success for a for a number of growing constituencies. Indeed, that success helps immunize the policy against the failures of which Lewis speaks, which mainly affect drug users, their families and others unfortunate enough to love them, including children whose parents are felons because of our drug laws. There are also residents of blighted inner cities, and much larger numbers of middle class children for whom college is placed out of reach by the cost of our prison system. Sufferers from failed drug policy are marginalized and voiceless: users, children and the unborn. The mass of uncomprehending Americans seduced by the "evil drug" paradigm also pay a price; they simply haven't recognize it yet (and may never). Compare those failed by policy to those it benefits: politicians seeking re-election, prosecutors seeking power, prison builders, prison guards and police of all varieties. Also, don't forget those directly enriched by the "prohibition" premium; producers of "illegal" drugs and the officials they are thus empowered to corrupt. In short, the most direct beneficiaries of the policy are the powerful. Their only problem is how to excuse or divert attention from its failures, even as they demand a bigger appropriation to accomplish its impossible dream. That these beneficiaries include both dupes who believe policy can "succeed" and cynics who do not is beyond question. There is no litmus test to separate them with certainty, nor is it necessary. It's only necessary to understand how they profit directly from its continuing expansion. Sincerely, Thomas J. O'Connell, MD San Mateo, CA

FBI Completes Probe Of Fatal Shooting Of Border Teen By Marine (The Shooting
Of The Teen Sheepherder In Texas Is Being Reviewed By Federal Civil Rights

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 02:19:23 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: FBI Completes Probe of Fatal Shooting of Border Teen by Marine
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/


PECOS (AP) -- The FBI has completed its investigation into the fatal
shooting of a border teen-ager by a U.S. Marine and forwarded the case to
federal civil rights investigators, an FBI spokesman said Friday.

The Department of Justice is trying to determine whether there were any
civil rights violations during the May 20 shooting of Esequiel Hernandez
Jr. in Redford, a rural community about 200 miles southeast of El Paso.

"Unless the Department of Justice requires additional information, our
investigation is complete," said Terry Kincaid, agent in charge of the FBI
office in Midland.

Military officials say Cpl. Clemente Banuelos killed Hernandez after the
teen-ager began shooting at a four-man Marine team conducting anti-drug
surveillance along the Rio Grande.

A Presidio County grand jury last year cleared Banuelos and the other three
Marines of any wrongdoing in the case.

The Justice Department then stepped up its investigation and a federal
grand jury in Pecos began hearing from witnesses.

Daryl Fields, a U.S. Attorney's spokesman in San Antonio, declined to
comment on the case beyond saying the investigation was continuing.

One-Third Of Homeless Are Veterans, VA Says ('San Jose Mercury News' Quotes
US Veterans Administration - Like Other Homeless Americans, 40 Percent
Of The Vets Are Mentally Ill, 50 Percent Have Alcohol
Or Other Substance-Abuse Problems)

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 15:26:58 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: One-Third Of Homeless Are Veterans, VA says
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Author: Newhouse News Service
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998


According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, one-third of the nation's
homeless -- 250,000 -- are men or women who served their country. They
might be black or white, from small towns or big cities. Some never saw
combat, while others walk the streets with battle scars from Vietnam or
even World War II.

They mirror the general homeless population at large: Some 40 percent have
mental illness while just over 50 percent have alcohol or substance-abuse
problems. Overall, 98 percent are men.

At least 10 percent are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a
reaction to combat that drives some to a self-destructive spiral of drug
abuse and anti-social behavior.

These conditions make helping the veterans all the more difficult,
according to Pete Dougherty, who manages the nation's homeless-assistance
programs for Veterans Affairs.

`It's not like breaking your leg, where it's fairly easy to repair,''
Dougherty said. ``Even with your best effort, the first attempt is not
always successful.''

Journalist Continues Writing After Assassination Attempt
(His Bodyguard Killed In the Last Attempt, Mexican Editor
Who Writes On Drug Cartels Spawned By Prohibition Now Telecommutes
From His Home, Surrounded By A Brick Wall And A Small Army
Of Mexican Police And Soldiers Carrying Shotguns, Automatic Rifles)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 03:06:51 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Mexico: Journalist Continues Writing After Assassination Attempt
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998


TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) -- Mexican journalist Jesus Blancornelas has returned
to writing about drug traffickers less than two months after an
assassination attempt as he was on his way to work.

But Blancornelas doesn't go to the office anymore -- he telecommutes.

And his home in this neighborhood of modest one-story homes is now
surrounded by a brick wall and a small army of Mexican police and soldiers
carrying shotguns and automatic rifles.

Blancornelas, 61, was shot four times on his way to work on Nov. 27. His
bodyguard, Luis Lauro Valero, was killed in the ambush. One of the gunmen,
David Barron Corona, also was killed in the attack just blocks from
Blancornelas' office. Barron was believed to be a top gunman for the
Arellano Felix brothers drug cartel, which has been targeted by
Blancornelas in the weekly newspaper Zeta.

In his first interview with an American newspaper since the attack, the
award-winning journalist told The San Diego Union-Tribune that details of
the shooting are still vivid, including the face and hairdo of one of the

"I remember everything," says the editor, who walks with a cane.

His driver and bodyguard, Luis Lauro Valero, tensed as he spotted three men
sitting in a green car parked along their route, two in front, one in the
rear. Then gunfire erupted as their Ford Explorer pulled alongside the
parked vehicle.

>From nearly point-blank range, Blancornelas looked into the face of one of
his would-be killers.

"His hair was combed back, greasy. He was wearing black lenses, round 'fly'
glasses. A goatee," he told the Union-Tribune.

Valero pushed him to the floor of the car and immediately drove in reverse
as the first volley of shots struck the bodyguard. The 34-year-old Valero
never had a chance to return fire. He died in the car.

Bullets kept flying as Blancornelas was on the floor of the car, crouched
as if kneeling in prayer.

"I felt something enter my back and my neck. I began to have trouble
breathing," Blancornelas recalled.

One the gunmen hit one of their own, mortally wounding David Barron Corona,
his shotgun still clutched in his gloved hands.

Blancornelas was rushed to Hospital Del Prado a short distance away.

"I did not know for another 15 days that Luis was dead," Blancornelas says.

A month before the attack, the Baja California State Judicial Police had
withdrawn the two bodyguards it had assigned to Blancornelas. State
officials had warned the bodyguard to distance himself from Blancornelas
because "something serious was going to happen to me," the journalist said.

Valero told his employer of the warning, but stayed with him.

The investigation into the shooting is continuing.

Some speculated that Blancornelas had gone too far in his newspaper's
reporting on the Arellano cartel, whose reputation for violence is
well-known on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Blancornelas believes it was the Arellanos who broke the unwritten,
unspoken rules between journalists and one of Mexico's most powerful
organized crime rings.

"I wasn't pursuing them," he says. "My view was, they were doing their work
and I was doing mine."

The attack hasn't hampered his determination to report on drug dealers.

"I'm not going to change. I have no reason to change. We're going to
continue to do what we can."



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