------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com Pubdate: January 10, 1998 Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ CALIFORNIA POT CLUBS TARGETED U.S. FILES LAWSUIT TO CLOSE CENTERS 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 operators. 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 lawyer. 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: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ U.S. ATTORNEY FILES SUITS TO CLOSE CANNABIS CLUBS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com U.S. ACTS TO CLOSE POT CLUBS 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 marijuana. 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 Fairfax. 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 Administration. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: 10 Jan 1998 Author: Bob Egelko - The Associated Press GOVERNMENT MOVES TO CLOSE MARIJUANA CLUBS 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 market." 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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 U.S. FILES SUIT TO SHUT 6 POT CLUBS FEDERAL DRUG LAWS, STATE INITIATIVE ARE AT ODDS 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 that.'' 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 fight. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times Pubdate: 10 Jan 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Author: Mary Curtius, Maria L. La Ganga, Times Staff Writers U.S. LAUNCHES DRIVE TO CLOSE MARIJUANA CLUBS 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 laws. 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 Chemerinsky. "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 government." 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 said. 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 American." 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 (email@example.com) Organization: Hawkins OnLine, Internet Services and more... To: Hemp Talk List (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: HT: Assistance Needed Sender: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 01:45:54 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Peron verdict online Hey Mattalkers, Full text of the verdict in "The People vs. Dennis Peron" is now online: http://www.hempnation.com/focus/perondec.html About 50 related stories are also online: http://www.hempnation.com/focus/focus-1228.html Chris HEMP NATION http://www.hempnation.com/
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: The Lancet - Volume 351, Number 9096 Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 Contact: email@example.com Section: Editorial NEEDLE-EXCHANGE PROGRAMMES IN THE USA: TIME TO ACT NOW 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Haans (email@example.com) Subject: Scuttled U.N. reports Hi! 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. Cheers, Dave. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Russell, Ken KW"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: FW: UPDATE> LEGALIZE! UPDATE: The Global Anti-Prohibition Days: J fyi -----Original Message----- From: Kath Williamson [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 1998 2:50 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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, kath ---------- 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 email@example.com. 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 ! 2. THE NATIONAL MAILING LISTS 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, send mail to email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, with message text lists. If there's no list for your country, let us know. Harry Bego Coordinator, The Legalize! Initiative email@example.com *** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com is an irregular news update. Reactions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to our discussion lists. To unsubscribe from legalize-update, send a message to email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.chron.com/ AVOIDING SENSATIONALISM 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: email@example.com 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 >abusers? >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) status-quo-protecting. 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. David
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 policy. 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: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 possession. 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 conviction. 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. FOOTNOTES: (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 Investigators) Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 02:19:23 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: FBI Completes Probe of Fatal Shooting of Border Teen by Marine Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Art Smart
Source: Houston Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.chron.com/content/chronicle/ FBI COMPLETES PROBE OF FATAL SHOOTING OF BORDER TEEN BY MARINE 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: San Jose Mercury News Author: Newhouse News Service Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 ONE-THIRD OF HOMELESS ARE VETERANS, VA SAYS 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: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Mexico: Journalist Continues Writing After Assassination Attempt Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos
Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 JOURNALIST CONTINUES WRITING AFTER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT 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 assassins. "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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