Portland NORML News - Monday, January 12, 1998

Update From The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Campaign (http://www.crrh.org/)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 04:10:35 -0600 (CST)
From: wbruceh@ix.netcom.com (William A.B. House)
Subject: OCTA Update 1/12/98
To: octa99@crrh.org

Hello All,

We're still at it.

I'm still doing my best to work at the OCTA office Monday thru Friday,
10am till 3pm. Less writing on the Internet means more progress on
the ground.

We're still getting about 20 calls per week, basically from the
Cannabis Common Sense show that airs on cable channel 11 at 9 pm on
Mondays now.

We put a classified ad for three weeks in The Willamette Weekly
(circulation of 75,000) that reads like this:


Legalize Marijuana
Signatures and donations needed for ballot Initiative.
Please call for a petition package: (503) 235-4606


It is supposed to be in this Wednesday's issue.

If you would like to donate an ad in the paper advertising to mail out
OCTA petition packages PLEASE DO! We need classified or other ads in
every paper in Oregon!

You can use our phone number, or if you are placing an ad outside the
Portland calling area, you can use our phone number or use yours and
e-mail use the addresses you receive so we can mail out petition


We still have a 10,000 name database - we need to mail out to all of
those people! It will cost $3,500 if we get the printing done


We are working hard on the ability to increase our weekly requests and
mailouts and the ability to produce bulk mail.

For me, this week has been consumed with working on the printing garage
getting it insulated, heated and cleaned. It has been quite a job, but
our printing problems demand it. Working on the foundation can seem
slow at times, but once it is ready things can happen.

In fact, a lady is supposed to come by Wednesday and show Paul and I
how to use a printer ourselves. We still have another 1,300 piece
mailout waiting on printing - for a month and a half!

The OCTA New Year's Eve Party grossed about $100. It cost $200 to rent
the building. OCTA is still $1,300 in debt - but we are down from a
$2,400 debt. In our mailout a month and a half ago, we placed the debt
at $1,500 but two phone bills adding up to $700, and a couple of people
we owed for paid petitioning this summer, were not counted at the time
due to misplaced records. We are doing our best to pay down the debt
while working on making progress, but paying off the debt is a big
priority. I wish I would have moved to Portland to help in the office
last year, but I'm here now and God willing I'll be here to help OCTA
LEGALIZE IT in 1999!

It can happen.

Persistence is the key.

Progressive got the referendum on the ballot in 5 weeks, we have 6
months - but - we've got to get the signature count up some-how.

I'll keep knocking on the door, how about you?

I now want to mail again to the last 1,000 piece we did a month and a
half ago. I'd like to include return postage paid envelopes with S. O.
S. written on it! Send OCTA Signatures!

We've only gotten 388 signatures in the mail over the last month and a
half - and that sux. But, I will be persistent if it takes another two
and one half years - what we are doing now is all good!

Even still, if there is a way to get OCTA on the ballot, THIS JULY 2nd;
I pray it be so.

It is taking longer than I thought, or hoped, to get things on a roll -
and then I went home two weeks for the holidays - but Persistance is
the key - and a good foundation.

I better get some sleep now, I want to finish the insulation in the
printing garage tomorrow - we've got about 50 letters backed up now to
mail out (it will be done this week). And, the add in the paper comes
out Wednesday.

If you have any questions or would like to get more involved in helping
get the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act on the Ballot, please e-mail me and
let's get it ON!

With Peace,

Bruce House

Cops Hurt Coke Trade (A Two-Year Vancouver RCMP Undercover Investigation
Leads To The Arrest Of Three Men, But 'North Shore News' Offers No Evidence
Of Any Impact On Cocaine Market)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Cops hurt coke trade
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 12:05:06 -0800
Lines: 81
Source: North Shore News (Vancouver)
Contact: editor@nsnews.com
Pubdate: Jan. 12, 1998

Cops hurt coke trade


Anna Marie D'Angelo

News Reporter

A two-year Vancouver RCMP undercover investigation has resulted in
charges against a North Vancouver man for allegedly attempting to import
cocaine through Colombia and Mexico.

Noel Sale, 50, who lived in the 700-block of Edgewood Road in Upper
Capilano, is charged with conspiracy to traffic and import cocaine,
according to the Vancouver RCMP Drug Section.

Two other North Vancouver residents, Robert Windatt, 44, who lived in
the 1800-block of Belle Isle and Paul Searle, 40, of the 1200-block of
Premier Street, are also charged with conspiracy to traffic and import

According to the Vancouver RCMP Drug Section, Sale was the
"facilitator" who allegedly tried to establish, through his Colombian
and Mexican contacts, ways to bring cocaine into the Lower Mainland by
land, sea and air.

Vancouver RCMP's Drug Section seized 24 kilograms of cocaine in the
province in connection with the investigation.

The cocaine is estimated by police to be worth $480,000.

"We try to de-emphasize looking at the value and look at the degree to
which these type of enforcement efforts destabilizes drug operations,"
said Sgt. Russ Grabb, spokesman for the Vancouver RCMP, which is
the headquarters for the national police force in B.C.

Grabb said a Whistler resident, Milo Rusimovic, was arrested in
California and charged in connection with the cocaine importation

The undercover investigation was called "Project Esquire" and involved
police in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration , the Los Angles
Impact Team, the Mexican Federal Police, the Colombian Federal Police,
Milton Ontario Drug Section and the Integrated Proceeds of Crime
Section of Vancouver RCMP. United States Immigration and
Naturalization Services and Canada Customs staff were also involved.

The three charged North Vancouver men were slated for appearances in
North Vancouver provincial court on Friday, according to Vancouver
RCMP drug section. Police say more charges may be laid.

Another two-year Vancouver RCMP drug undercover investigation also
wrapped up last week.

The investigation called "Project Exigent" resulted in cocaine
conspiracy, trafficking and importation charges against eight people.
Vancouver RCMP say 462 kilograms of high-grade cocaine valued at $36
million on the street was seized in Fresno California, Los Angeles and

Police also seized 159,000 units of the depressant drug, diazepan,
valued at $1.2 million, $300,000 of American money and vehicles
allegedly used in the drug trade.

Charged with various counts of conspiracy, trafficking and importation
of cocaine are: Todd Kernan Robinson, 39, of Vancouver; Lindsay
William "Lee" Moffat, 39, of Vancouver, Charles Edward Nance, 43, of
Richmond, Richard Grant, 38, of Renton Washington, Patrick Alexander
LeBlanc, 55, of Vancouver, Jimmy Rodriguez, 28, of Los Angeles,
California and Cali, Columbia, Dennis Leong, 47, of Vancouver and
Brent Robinson, 42, of Ladner.

Project Esquire and Project Exigent were offshoots of Project EYESPY,
a 42-month money laundering investigation set up by Vancouver RCMP at
a Burrard Street currency exchange office.

Neither Side In Pot Debate Has Proven Case (First Of Several Letters
To Editor Of 'Toronto Star' Notes Logical Flaws In Previous Columns)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:33:54 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Canada: LTE: Neither Side in Pot Debate Has Proven Case
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Kelly T. Conlon" 
Source: Toronto Star
Contact: lettertoed@thestar.com
Pubdate: 12 Jan. 1998
Editors note: There were no LTEs on the NO side of the question. Over half
of these letters are by participants in MATTALK, the discussion list of the
Canadian Media Awareness Project:


Dana Larsen and Neil and Phillip Seeman are talking at crossed purposes.
Larsen believes marijuana laws cause more damage than benefits to society,
which is a basis for decriminalization rather than legalization. He also
believes that smoking marijuana has been shown to be effective and safe for
treating many medical conditions.

The Seemans do not address the societal harm that arises as a result of the
criminalization of marijuana and point out that marijuana is of unproved
safety but this alone does not prove that possession should be a criminal
offence. There is no shortage of evidence suggesting that cigarettes are
associated with many diseases but they are legal. Nor is it convincing that
there is no role for marijuana in medical practice. In palliative care,
where long term adverse effects are less important, their argument is
difficult to support.

Larsen has argued that marijuana should be decriminalized but he failed to
show that it should be legalized, while the Seemens have argued that
smoking marijuana has not been proven to be safe but have failed to show
that possession should be a criminal offence.

Stephen Workman, M.D.
Mississauga, ON.


I have to chuckle whenever learned men like Neil Seeman and Philip Seeman
(who oppose legalizing marijuana) prattle on about the need to prove the
medical efficacy and safety of cannabis.

Cannabis has been safely used by humans for over 5,000 years without one
directly attributable fatality. The same can't be said for common pain
relievers such as ASA and acetaminophen. Whose interests are Seeman and
Seeman trying to defend?

Carey Ker Toronto


Do the misinformed authors, Seeman and Seeman, believe that we should
criminalize people for engaging in less than healthy activities such as
watching TV and eating snack foods? Is it their opinion that cannabis
should be distributed by biker gangs? I agree with Dana Larsen who wrote
the Yes column. Cannabis should be legalized.

Matthew M. Elrod


Common sense seems to elude the Seeman brothers. The use of marijuana as a
drug delivery system to combat nausea and the AIDS has two distinct
advantages over synthetic, oral medications. First, it is cheap to grow.
Second, people experiencing severe nausea cannot easily swallow pills.
Common Sense suggests that all available forms of cannabis should be
available to the sick.

The fact that THC has accepted theraputic benefits is evidence enough to
end the criminal prohibition on cannabis, and the sooner the better.

Kelly T. Conlon


I certainly must agree with the Yes side on this issue. The fact that
marijuana is not perfectly safe for human consumption does not hold water.
If the health issue is the primary consideration against the
decriminalization of pot, then why in the name of all things sensible are
cigarettes not criminal?

John Monaghan South Porcupine, Ont.


The Seemans' argument against legalizing marijuana fails on
many points, but space allows me only to address the
following two. Their focus on the alleged dangers of
smokable marijuana completely ignores modern, safer, methods
of cannabis consumption, such as vaporization, which
produces no cancerous smoke. Advocating synthetic
replacements for cannabis fails to take into account that
the benefits of marijuana therapy occur due to the
combination of substance in the plant, not just the active
ingredient delta-9 THC. The bulk of scientific evidence does
not support their assertion that marijuana is unsafe.

Timothy Meeghan
Toronto, Ont.


When will enough Canadians realize that pot/marijuana/
cannabis is a greatly beneficial herbal medicine, just like
garlic, St.Johns Wort, and Evening Primrose Oil? Do they
know that it can be taken orally, in tea, tincture, or
rubbed on? It should be available to responsible adults at
health-food stores and pharmacies, or in their own back
yards, without 	fear of being labelled criminals. Please
help to spread the truth so this terrible war against people
can end.

Kathy Galbraith
Raymond, Alberta


I find it hard to believe that people are still propagating
the same old myths about marijuana. A real look at the facts
shows the source of the "public health hazards" mentioned in
the Jan. 5 No column to be either dated studies or reefer
madness-like propaganda. I challenge the authors of the No
column to provide valid sources for the "hazards" they cite.

Adam Schiffman
North York


Alcohol prohibition does not work. Drug prohibition does not
work. Illegal drugs are a trillion dollar-plus industry,
most of which flows into the coffers of organized crime, the
only beneficiary of the drug laws. Who is the government
trying to benefit by refusing to end this travesty?

Ian MacMillan
Toronto, Ont.


I certainly must agree with the Yes side on this issue. The
fact that marijuana is not perfectly safe for human
consumption does not hold water. If the health issue is the
primary consideration against the decriminalization of pot,
then why in the name of all things sensible are cigarettes
not criminal?

John Monaghan
South Porcupine, Ont.


To our shame, "caring and compassionate" Canada imprisons
thousands of innocent citizens who happen to prefer drugs
not approved by the sanctimonious and uncaring majority.
Incredibly, even sick Canadians, who find relief from these
substances, are made to feel the sting of the majority's

Alan and Eleanor Randell
Victoria, B.C.

California Petition Drive Begins To Make Hemp Use Legal
(Petitioners Must Collect Verified Signatures Of 433,269 Registered Voters
By May 18)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:34:15 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: California Petition Drive Begins to Make Hemp Use Legal
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Hemp News Service http://hemptech.com/
Pubdate: Monday, 12 January 1998
Source: (1) San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune
(2) The Sacramento Bee
(3) San Jose Mercury News
Contact: (1) slott@sint01.sanluisobispo.com
(2) sacbedit@netcom.com
(3) letters@sjmercury.com


A proposal to legalize the growing of hemp for industrial purposes is the
38th initiative certified to collect voter signatures for a place on
California's 1998 general election ballot

The petition drive, which started Friday, must collect verified signatures
of 433,269 registered voters by May 18.

The proposal by Sam H. Clauder II of Garden Grove would legalize the
growing, harvesting, storage and use of hemp for use as a building material
or in the production of cloth, paper, fuels and various building materials
and industrial chemicals.

It contends that California's current ban on hemp, a member of the same
plant family as marijuana, prohibits the state from participating in a
thriving global market for industrial hemp.

It raises the number of initiatives in circulation for the November ballot
to 38. Five initiatives are expected to be certified for the June ballot.

Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyers' Club Puts New Members On Hold
(Records Audit And Protocol Review Announced
After Feds Launch Effort To Close California CBCs)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 18:30:28 EST
Reply-To: simler97@ix.netcom.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: simler97@ix.netcom.com (Scott Imler)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Announcemt: Santa Cruz CBC

Cannabis Club Closes Doors To New Members
Announces Records Audit And Protocol Review

Today, the Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyers' Club announced, effective
immediately, that it will no longer accept new applications for membership
in its medical marijuana distribution program.

The action is being taken in response to the federal government
lawsuit, filed last Friday, to close six of Northern California's cannabis
clubs by civil injunction.

"The US Attorney has agents posing as patients and presenting
forged documentation," said 74 year-old center director Fred Seike.
"Couple that with the local medical community's ongoing reluctance to even
take our phone calls, and we can no longer insure the integrity of our
verification process."

Founded in March of 1993, as the Santa Cruz Medical Cannabis
Cooperative, it was the first such organization in the state and initially
only provided material and technical support for patients to grow their own
marijuana at home. Two years later, with demand far outstripping home
cultivated supplies, the group switched to a "buyers' club" model and began
bulk-purchasing and non-profit retail distribution.

"Our program isn't perfect," said Seike , "but we're a family and
we're just trying to take care of ourselves under very difficult
circumstances." "We're sorry we sold marijuana to a DEA agent, but he
tricked us."

Seike, who uses medical marijuana for stroke-related paralysis and
spasticity, also announced a comprehensive audit of the buyers' club
membership files and is requesting the cooperation of local physicians in
re-verifying the authenticity of the many doctors letter currently on file.

While Seike said the center has no current plans to end its buyers
club program altogether, and promised a spirited defense against the
injunction in federal court, new patients in need will be referred to the
areas two other community-based medical marijuana programs which were not
named in the lawsuits: the Women's Alliance for Medical Marijuana in
Davenport and the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center in San Jose.

For information about how you can help, please contact Gilbert
Baker @ 408-429-8819.


Help Sought For Medical Pot Users (UPI Reports
California State Senator John Vasconcellos Held A Sacramento
News Conference Monday To Announce Six New Measures
To Implement 11362.5, The Medical Marijuana Law Approved
By 6 Million California Voters In November 1996)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 21:02:56 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: Wire: Help Sought For Medical Pot Users
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Dave Fratello <104730.1000@compuserve.com>
Source: United Press International
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


SACRAMENTO, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- State Sen. John Vasconcellos has stepped up
his effort to get help for users of medical marijuana.

The Santa Clara Democrat held a Capitol news conference today to announce a
half-dozen measures to implement Proposition 215, the medical marijuana law
approved by 6 million California voters in November 1996.

Vasconcellos says he's outraged by state and federal efforts to thwart
distribution of marijuana to patients of AIDS, cancer and other diseases
who want the drug to ease their pain.

He cited the recent U.S. Justice Department closure of northern California
cannibis clubs under a federal law that conflicts with Proposition 215 --
an action he promises to appeal.

The lawmaker also announced plans for a Public Safety Committee "summit" on
the distribution issue in hopes of reconciling diverse viewpoints, and new
implementing legislation based on the meeting.

Vasconcellos promised renewed efforts to move a bill off the Assembly floor
that would authorize a three-year University of California study on medical
use of the drug.

The Senate passed it last year, but it fell short in the Assembly despite
support from state Attorney General Dan Lungren.

Vasconellos is also asking colleagues to sign a protest letter to President
Clinton, and appealing to citizens to do the same.

Feds Begin Civil War In California (News Release From American Medical
Marijuana Organization Includes Details For Activists On Who To Write To
About The Federal Attack On CBCs)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 18:30:13 EST
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: AMMO 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: ACTION ALERT: Feds Begin Civil War in California

ACTION ALERT: Feds Begin Civil War in California

Feds try to cut-off supply of cannabis to thousands of patients.

American Medical Marijuana Organization (AMM0)
January 12, 1998

Please re-distribute this announcement.

On January 9, 1998, six federal civil lawsuits were filed against cannabis
buyers' clubs in the Northern District of California.

In November 1996, voters passed the California Compassionate Use Act (Prop.
215) which ended the state prohibition on medical uses of marijuana in
California. Prop. 215 allows patients and their primary care-givers to
possess and cultivate medicinal cannabis upon recommendation from a
physician. Cannabis "buyers' clubs" have since supplied the needs of
thousands of medical patients. Since there are no statewide guidelines for
cannabis distribution, these herbal dispensaries operate under the auspices
of their local governments. The cannabis is either cultivated on site or
supplied by local horticulturalists.

The federal lawsuits filed on Friday are aimed at shutting down the
cannabis buyers' clubs in California by enforcing the federal Controlled
Substances Act, which lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance,
along with heroin and LSD.

The Feds are thwarting the will of the voters in California by attacking
the supplies of medicine for thousands of seriously-ill people who rely on
cannabis to alleviate suffering caused by cancer and AIDS treatment and to
alleviate symptoms of other illnesses like glaucoma and chronic pain.

The Feds have started a CIVIL WAR against the sick people and voters of

The People must win this war or be governed by federal tyranny. Is the
U.S. a republic or a totalitarian dictatorship? It's up to the People to


Donations to fight these federal lawsuits are urgently needed. At this
point, no central defense fund has been set up to fight this federal
harassment. Make checks payable to the name of the individual buyers'
clubs. Note: Pending potential asset forfeiture against the clubs, your
check may not be cashed immediately or it may be signed over directly to
the attorneys who are representing the clubs.

Please send any amount you can, even if it's just a few postage stamps.

The six clubs and ten individuals are named in the federal lawsuits are:

1) Cannabis Cultivators Cooperative
Dennis Peron (named defendant)
1444 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 621-3986
Fax: (415) 621-0604
Email: cbc@marijuana.org
Web: http://www.marijuana.org

2) Flower Therapy
John Hudson, Mary Palmer, Barbara Sweeney, Gerard M. Buhrz (named
3180 17th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 255-6305
Email: flowert@pacbell.com

3) Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative
Jeff Jones (named defendant)
P.O. Box 70401
Oakland, CA 94612-0401
Phone: (510) 832-5346
Fax: (510) 986-0534
Email: ocbc@rxcbc.org
Web: http://www.rxcbc.org

4) Santa Cruz Cannabis Buyers' Club
201 Maple Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (408) 429-8819

5) Ukiah Cannabis Buyer's Club
Cherrie Lovett, Marvin & Mildred Lehrman (named defendants)
40A Pallini Lane
Ukiah, CA 95482
Phone: (707) 462-0691
Fax: (707) 468-4336
Email: dirtroad@lightspeed.net

6) Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Lynette Shaw (named defendant)
School Street Plaza
Building 6 - Suite 210
Fairfax, CA 94930
Phone: (415) 256-9328



1) Write LETTERS TO THE EDITOR of these California newspapers. Express
outrage at the persecution patients in California. Tell them to STOP THE
WAR ON SICK PEOPLE!! For help on letter-writing, see the Media Awareness
Project at http://www.mapinc.org.

California Newspapers (compiled by Jim Rosenfield: jnr@insightweb.com)
cctletrs@netcom.com(Contra Costa County Times Calif.)
chronletters@sfgate.com(San Francisco Chronicle)
feedback@smctimes.com(San Mateo Times)
letters@blk.com(BLK, LTE's)
letters@examiner.com(San Francisco Examiner)
letters@latimes.com(Los Angeles Times)
letters@link.freedom.com(The Orange County Register)
letters@modbee.com(Modesto Bee)
letters@sfbayguardian.com(San Francisco Bay Guardian)
letters@sjmercury.com(San Jose Mercury News)
letters@TheReporter.com(Vacaville Reporter)
letters@uniontrib.com(San Diego Union Tribune)
pdletters@aol.com(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
viewpoint@asucla.ucla.edu(Daily Bruin UCLA Viewpoint)


2) SEND POSTCARDS to and CALL federal and state elected officials.
SEND EMAIL to the few who have email.

Use this short email list to cut and paste into the Bcc: field of your
email program. Save the list and periodically remind these officials that
you won't remain silent in this civil war on your family and friends.

Governor Pete Wilson
State Capitol, 1st Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 445-4633
Email: petewilson@ca.gov

Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis
State Capitol, Room 1114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-8994
Fax: (916) 323-4998
Email: gray.davis@ltg.ca.gov

Attorney General Daniel E. Lungren
1300 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-9555
Fax: (916) 324-5205

Attorney General's Office Public Inquiry Unit
Web: http://caag.state.ca.us/piu/mailform.htm
Email: piu@hdcdojnet.state.ca.us


Email list:

Other lists:



U.S. Senators of California:
Boxer, Barbara (D) senator@boxer.senate.gov
Feinstein, Dianne (D) senator@feinstein.senate.gov

For U.S. Senators in other states, see:

U.S. Representatives:




U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICENorthern District of California
Michael Yamaguchi, U.S. Attorney
11th Floor - Federal Building
450 Golden Gate Avenue - Box 36055
San Francisco, CA 94102

Central District of California
Criminal Division
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Email: tmrozek@usdoj.gov

Executive Office for United States Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Room 1619
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
Phone: (202) 514-1020
Fax: (202) 514-0323

U.S. Attorneys Home Page


a) San Francisco Division
450 Golden Gate Avenue
P.O. Box 36035
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 436-7900
Subdivisions: (Fresno, Monterey, Sacramento, San Francisco Airport TF, San

b) Los Angeles Division
255 East Temple Street - 20th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 894-2650
Subdivisions: (Riverside, CA; Santa Ana, CA; Ventura, CA; Honolulu, HI;
Guam; Las Vegas, NV; Reno, NV; N. Lake Tahoe TF; S. Lake Tahoe TF)


For information on medical uses of cannabis, see:

Medical Marijuana Master Reference - Cliff Schaffer's Online Drug Library

The Medical Marijuana Magazine

American Medical Marijuana Organization
(Read the Department of Justice Press Release on the filing of the lawsuits
at: http://www.alpworld.com/AMMO/Clubs.html)

Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative

Cannabis Cultivators Cooperative (San Francisco)

Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies

Media Awareness Project

Drug Text

The Lindesmith Center


Defending The Rights Of Medical Marijuana Patients
Board of Directors:
--Steve Kubby ,
--Ed Rosenthal 
--Laura Kriho 

For subscription changes, please mail to  with the
word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

New Attack On California Pot Clubs ('Philadelphia Inquirer' Contrasts
Dennis Peron's Club In San Francisco With Scott Imler's In Los Angeles)

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 22:39:47 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: Inquirer: New Attack On Calif. Pot Clubs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Author: Nita Lelyveld, Inquirer Staff Writer
Contact: inquirer.opinion@phillynews.com
Pubdate: 12 January 1998
Website: http://www.phillynews.com/


State Voters Approved Medicinal Use Of Marijuana. They Didn't Approve
Buyers Clubs, Say Law Enforcers.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Three days a week, behind an unmarked office door
above an auto-parts store, the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers' Club discreetly
goes about distributing medical marijuana to people with serious illnesses
and pain.

The nonprofit collective has 764 members, most of whom have HIV or AIDS.
All have major health problems -- as recorded in writing by their doctors.
Staff members carefully vet each application, verifying doctors' letters,
checking doctors' licenses with the state medical board. To get through the
front door, each person must pass through three security checkpoints.
Members arrive, get their marijuana, and take it home to use. Up the coast
in San Francisco, a giant green pot leaf is painted on the street-level
front door of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club on busy Market Street.

Inside the 8,000-member club, people pass joints in crowded smoking
lounges, visit the head shop and greet staff members, some of whom wear
green cloth pot-leaf wreaths on their heads. They travel from floor to
floor on the Jerry Garcia Memorial Elevator, and hundreds of origami cranes
in all the colors of the rainbow hang from every ceiling. Since
Californians voted in 1996 to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana,
cannabis clubs have popped up across the state, to get the drug to those
who qualify. But the future of the clubs is in jeopardy.

In recent weeks, state and federal authorities have cracked down on the
clubs -- saying their existence is illegal and unprotected by the
medical-marijuana initiative. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in San
Francisco began legal action against six Northern California clubs and
their operators, saying they flagrantly violated the Controlled Substances

California Attorney General Dan Lungren, whose agents raided the San
Francisco club and temporarily got it shut down in August 1996, last month
successfully pushed a state appellate court to declare the club illegal and
reinstate the injunction that closed it. That decision goes into effect
today, although a Superior Court still has to reinstate the injunction.

Lungren says he plans to use the decision to close every club in the state.

The looming threat of closure is fracturing the medical-marijuana movement,
whose diverse elements have always barely coexisted.

On the one side are people like Dennis Peron, an author of the initiative
and director of the San Francisco club, who openly tells anyone who asks
that he believes all use of marijuana is medicinal.

On the other are those like Los Angeles club director Scott Imler, who
argues that the only way to continue to supply marijuana to those it can
help is to run very strict and businesslike operations.

"We have more rules than all the other clubs put together," Imler said.
"The people who come here have cancer, seizures and epilepsy, multiple
sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease, chronic pain from botched surgeries. Their
problems are not what I would call trivial or marginal or temporary. This
isn't about fun, and this is not the kind of club you want to be a member of."

Proposition 215, the medical-marijuana initiative passed with 56 percent of
the vote in November 1996 -- does not legalize cannabis clubs. In fact, it
does not provide for a method for patients to get the drug. It states
simply that marijuana can be used medically in the treatments of AIDS,
cancer, anorexia, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine
"or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief." Patients, with
recommendations from their doctors, are granted the right to possess and
cultivate marijuana for medical use, with a doctor's recommendation. The
patients also can pass that right on to designated primary caregivers.

A section of the initiative encourages federal and state authorities to
come up with plans for "safe and affordable distribution of marijuana," but
such plans have not been forthcoming.

That angers many club directors, who say that sick people would be forced
to approach dealers on the street if the clubs were forced to close. They
are quick to admit that making marijuana available in pharmacies would be a
much better way to distribute the drug than their clubs, which are forced
to buy much of what they give out from dealers, often at exorbitant prices.

"What has the attorney general done besides raid clubs and try to prosecute
patients?" said Jeff Jones, director of the 1,000-member Oakland Cannabis
Buyers' Cooperative, which was one of the clubs targeted Friday. "He hasn't
offered a single alternative to what we do."

Not all anger is reserved for the government. Some within the
medical-marijuana movement are increasingly angry at Peron for pushing the
limits of what the authorities might tolerate. State officials say
undercover police have bought marijuana at that club without prescriptions,
have found evidence of club marijuana being resold on the streets, and
witnessed minors on the club premises.

Some club directors believe such lax standards in San Francisco put the
other clubs in jeopardy.

"Dennis is widely credited with being the father of the whole movement,
and, unfortunately for the rest of us, whatever sticks to Peron sticks to
the medical-marijuana issue," Imler said.

"We call his club Peron's-town, like Jonestown, which was another San
Francisco-based nightmare. It's a three-ring circus." (He was referring to
the 1978 mass suicide in Guyana of more than 900 members of the People's
Temple cult, including leader Jim Jones.)

Hoping to make his club less vulnerable to attack, Imler works closely with
West Hollywood officials, who support him. He carefully tracks every bit of
marijuana he distributes and advocates total disclosure.

In October, he organized a conference of organizations involved in the
distribution of medical marijuana. Meeting in Santa Cruz, they drafted an
affirmation of 25 principles, resolving to, among other things, "diligently
verify all applicants," "observe responsible and accountable business
practices" and "refrain from behavior and statements blurring lines between
medical and nonmedical use of marijuana."

Peron's club did not sign on, but 28 other organizations did. Among them
was the Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center in San Jose, started by
Peter Baez and Jesse Garcia, who was diagnosed with AIDS six years ago.

Garcia began taking marijuana when his illness led to severe malnutrition.
He was losing weight rapidly. He couldn't eat or digest the drugs he was
prescribed. He had chronic diarrhea, which lasted for more than three years.

"I couldn't get my body to help repair itself," he said.

Marijuana changed that, stimulating his appetite.

"My whole health condition made a 180-degree turn. Marijuana changed my
life," he said. "Even my mother quickly noticed the difference. She's a
68-year-old Latino woman. Marijuana isn't something she'd approve of. But
when she saw how I was improving, she said, 'Don't stop taking your
medicine.' "

Garcia persuaded Baez to open the center after he found he could no longer
make the trip easily to Peron's club in San Francisco, 85 miles away.

The San Jose club, which does not permit marijuana smoking on its premises,
is housed in a nondescript four-room office, wedged between doctors'
offices in a single-story office block. As in Los Angeles, the club has
worked hard to ease the discomfort of local officials, even going so far as
agreeing to allow law-enforcement authorities to come in without warrants.

On two different occasions, when people came to the center with forged
letters, Baez and Garcia turned them in to police. Both forgers were

"We don't play games with the rules or the issues. We run a very tight
ship," Baez said. "We had hoped that the authorities would recognize that
when they started talking about shutting clubs down. But it doesn't look
like they're going to make any distinctions."

Peron is unapologetic about the way he runs his club and unwilling to take
the blame for the crackdown.

"The biggest criticism of what I do is that I allow people to hang out and
enjoy the atmosphere," he said. "I don't see anything wrong with that.
They're sick and they're suffering. Why not let them experience a little joy?"

"If I could go to jail and allow the rest of these clubs to continue to
serve sick and dying people, I surely would. But in the end it's not just
me they're after, it's all of us."

The Many Implications Of Friday's Surprise (Tom O'Connell And Others Ponder
The Federal Lawsuits Against Six California CBCs)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 00:33:54 EST
From: "Tom O'Connell" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: The Many Implications of Friday's surprise

The late Friday lateral of responsibility from Dan Lungren to the feds,
raises a long list of questions with many layers of nuance; DrCtalkers
have already spotted a number of them:

1)This move sets the stage for a possible test case in the US Supreme
Court, something the feds seemed intent on avoiding right after the passage
of 215. It would first go to the Ninth Circuit in SF, a fairly liberal
panel, as these groups are measured.

Alan Bryan posted an old (July 96) John Mathews post predicting that mj
"legalization." could ensue from a court test of mj prohibition.
> What do you think the half-life of the "legalization"
>movement would be if pot (but not other drugs) were decriminalized
>tomorrow? My guess is, not long. How about THAT for a clever policy
>option? ;-) >>
>We'll probably get the chance to find out in my lifetime, though not in '96
>as some might be hoping. My guess is that the "domino effect" from pot
>to other drugs won't exist. My prediction (an educated guess, actually)
>is that the resolution of the drug policy problem will eventually come
>in some courtroom - probably the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
>maybe one of the California courts. Probably in a marijuana case, and
>this will be the "wedge" the reformers need to open the door. I believe
>this will take place before 2000.
Kelly Conlon very astutely noted that the Constitutional playing field has
changed since the CSA, which was based on the ubiquitous "Interstate
Commerce" justification when rewriting "taxation-baed" drug prohibition in

Lisa Krieger had written in the SFX:

>> The federal action has much broader implications than previous state
>> interventions. The U.S. Justice Department isn't debating the language
>> of Prop. 215. Rather, it charges the clubs with violating the sweeping
>> federal Controlled Substances Act, which states it is unlawful to
>> cultivate, distribute or possess marijuana.
>> Federal law supersedes state law, the Justice Department said.

Kelly observed:

>Yeah, and I bet they thought that way about the Gun Free Schools Act prior
>to the Lopez decision.


Peter Webster, In conversation with Chris Donald asked:

>Are you then saying that the narcs have done this of their own accord with no
>input from the top of the heap? That seems dubious, or otherwise the action has
>intended consequences beyond the obvious. They seem to be upping the ante in a
>very perilous way, and a way quite likely to
>discredit the whole drugwar
>shebang, especially in the eyes of the rest
>of the world who are now watching
>closely, and on the verge of
>significant changes. It seems a desperate
>move...but then the way in
>which the govt backed out of Vietnam was also rather

It also raises several local and national political questions in addition
to the Federal Judicial can of worms. Lungren is the leading candidate for
the Republican gubernatorial nomination. He will probably be opposed by
Diane Feinstein. Both must be worried that they were on the wrong side of a
measure which commanded 54% of the state vote in'96. Did Lungren ask the
feds to take some heat off him, or did the feds pre-empt him against his
will? Whose idea was this? At what federal level was this approved? Was
McCaffrey consulted? Reno? The Prez? They all stand to lose a lot if a
fiasco ensues.

The present Supreme Court has been inclined to give the drug war a blank
check, but they would have some trouble writing an opinion upholding drug
prohibition in the light of their Lopez (Texas gun) decision. As Peter
notes, this raises the medmj ante considerably. Even if a pusillanimous
Court should uphold the warriors, we know that medical marijuana commands a
lot of public support nationally. A decision directly contrary to public
opinion could act just like the Dred Scott case, in which a politically
inept court attempted to uphold folly with an unpopular judicial "solution."

This could also dramatize the (administrative/legal) issue at the core of
Jon Gettmann's petition: marijuana simply does not qualify as a "Schedule
1" agent, under the feds *own rules.* Surely an argument could be made that
the Supremes (or some lower court) should instruct the Dept. of Justice to
follow the law, even though that law might be found constitutional.

My, how things can change in a flash.
Tom O'Connell


From: Phillizy (Phillizy@aol.com)
Subject: Re: The Many Implications of Friday's surprise

In a message dated 98-01-12 00:38:47 EST, tjeffoc wrote:

<< Lungren is the leading candidate for the Republican gubernatorial
nomination. He will probably be opposed by Diane Feinstein. Both must be
worried that they were on the wrong side of a measure which commanded 54% of
the state vote in'96. Did Lungren ask the feds to take some heat off him >>

I doubt this administration is moved to pull Lungren's chestnuts out of the

What's more, Lungren's chances of winning the California State House are a
tossup between nil and none. Lundgren is on the wrong side of voters on
every major issue from a woman's right to choose (favored by 69% of CA voters)
to medical marijuana (an issue garnering more CA votes than Clinton in the
last election). In addition, Republicans have managed to further alienate
not only the black and latino communities with Prop 187, but conservative
Asian-Americans, as well, with their strident Congressional Election Finance
Hearings. Lungren can't win the next election without a lot of democratic

If the democratic nominee, DiFi or Leon Panetta (Leon could split Lungren's
Catholic base, 28% of CA voters), will not veto legislated medical marijuana,
then Lungren is DOA.


Is The Government's War Against Marijuana Justified As Public Policy?
(Debate In 'Washington Post' Between Mark Souder, Vice Chairman Of US House
Government Reform And Oversight Subcommittee On National Security,
And Lynn Zimmer, Associate Professor Of Sociology At Queens College
In New York, Coauthor Of 'Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts - A Review
Of The Scientific Evidence')

Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 17:46:23 -0800 (PST)
From: bc616@scn.org (Darral Good)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: ART: lynn zimmer
Reply-To: bc616@scn.org
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

>From Mailer-Daemon@epub.med.iacnet.com Mon Feb 2 17:09:45 1998
Full content for this article includes photograph and illustration.

Source: Insight on the News, Jan 12, 1998 v13 n2 p24(4).

Title: Q: Is the government's war against marijuana justified as public
policy?(Symposium)(Panel Discussion)
Author: Mark Souder and Lynn Zimmer

Abstract: Critics of the war on drugs say it is ineffective, despite
penalties for marijuana possession that are far too harsh. Supporters of the
drug war say comparing it to Prohibition is unfair, and that tough law
enforcement is a key to neighborhood revitalization.

Subjects: Legalization of narcotics - Political aspects
Narcotics, Control of - Political aspects
Crime prevention - Political aspects
Marijuana - Laws, regulations, etc.

Electronic Collection: A20121867
RN: A20121867

Full Text COPYRIGHT 1998 Washington Times Corporation

Yes: Protect the public from the practitioners of `Cheech-and-Chona'medicine.

Rolling Stone magazine noted in its May 5, 1994. issue that currency
speculator and billionaire philanthropist George Soros gave the Drug Policy
Foundation, one of many recipients of his "charitable" largesse, suggestions
to follow if they wanted his assistance: "[H]ire someone with the political
savvy to sit down and negotiate with government officials and target a few
winnable issues, like medical marijuana and the repeal of mandatory minimums."
Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws, or NORML, told an Emory University audience in 1979 that medicinal
marijuana would be used as a red herring to give marijuana a good name.
Richard Cowan, writing for the pro-drug High Times magazine, described the
"medical model as spearheading a strategy for the legalization of marijuana by

According to public-opinion polls, legalization of marijuana is not supported
by the American people. This explains why the drug lobby carefully steers away
from using the term "legalization," preferring cryptic terms such as harm
reduction, decriminalization and medicalization. The goal of the drug lobby
has not changed; it only is camouflaged. The public sensibly and resolutely
remains opposed to recreational marijuana use, but drug legalizers shamefully
are trying to con voters through deceptive ballot referenda exploiting the ill
and dying.

Marijuana legalizers commonly claim America's prisons teem with young people
whose only come was simple possession of marijuana, and that drug arrests
disproportionately affect minorities. The recent debate about crack-cocaine
sentencing disparities sparked similar claims of racism by the criminal
justice system. The drug lobby ignores the obvious fact that a war on drugs
hits inner-city traffickers foremost and helps law-abiding residents of
neighborhoods who have the least resources with which to fight back. Despite
the inescapable conclusion that placing drug dealers behind bars protects
neighborhoods against criminals, violent crime and social ills attendant with
drug use, drug legalizers such as University of California at Los Angeles'
Mark Kleiman absurdly claim: "Locking up a burglar does not materially change
the opportunities for other burglars, while locking up a drug dealer leaves
potential customers for new dealers."

The drug lobby frequently compares the drug war to Prohibition. But as a
publication at the turn of the century (when the United States had a raging
drug problem) observed, "a drunkard may retain his moral equilibrium between
debauches . . . but the `dope fiend,' once thoroughly addicted, inevitably
drops into utter debasement." Unlike illegal drugs, alcohol and drinking were
embedded in Anglo-Saxon and European social customs. While the temperance
movement prevailed after heated debate, drug restrictions passed during the
same period widely were regarded as uncontroversial and needed. Western states
passed marijuana-prohibition laws in response to a rash of crimes and violence
linked to cannabis use among Mexican immigrants. A medical exemption existed
then to the import of marijuana, but soon states and politicians appealed to
the federal government for help in confronting -- the "loco weed." Legendary
New York journalist Meyer Berger in 1938 summed up expert medical opinion at
the time: "Marijuana, while no more habit-forming than ordinary cigarette
smoking, offers a shorter cut to complete madness than any other drug."

Drug legalizers recently lost a ballot initiative in Washington state on Nov.
4, a setback from victories to legalize illegal drugs last year in California
and Arizona. The Washington-state referendum -- I-685, which failed by a
margin of 60 percent to 40 percent --combined the worst aspects of the
legalization initiatives in California and Arizona by not only seeking to
legalize marijuana but also cocaine, heroin, LSD and other narcotics on
Schedule T of the federal Controlled Substances Act, drugs judged to have no
medicinal benefit and high potential for abuse. I-685 also would have released
drug offenders from prison. I-685 was bolstered by millions of dollars in
contributions from a handful of out-of-state millionaires, including Soros --
dubbed the "Daddy Warbucks" of drug legalization by former health, education
and welfare secretary Joe Califano -- and Arizona millionaire John Sperling.
The measure failed even though drug legalizers outspent antidrug advocates by
a ratio of nearly 15-to-1.

Washington state antidrug activists warned against complacency in fighting the
legalizers. They acknowledged the battle against I-685 was significantly
buoyed by the zealotry of the legalizers to delist Schedule I substances and
by the National Rifle Association's successful multimillion-dollar campaign
against a gun-control referendum also on the ballot.

The District of Columbia is threatened with a marijuana "medicalization"
initiative next November, sponsored by a homosexual advocacy organization, the
AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. AIDS activists should take note of pioneering
research by Dr. Thomas Klein at the University of South Florida who showed
marijuana alters the immune system and may accelerate HIV-infection into
full-blown AIDS cases. D.C.'s Measure 57 would permit up to 20 people to
cultivate and sell unlimited quantities of marijuana for an individual
suffering from an amorphous range of conditions-essentially shielding drug
dealers from prosecution.

As drug czar Barry McCaffrey argues, the ballot box is the wrong place for
decisions about efficacy and safety of medicines. The Food and Drug
Administration, or FDA, was created to protect the public against snake-oil
salesmen, and consumer-safety laws require proper labeling of ingredients and
dosages. The sale of crude marijuana circumvents those protections.

The pro-drug lobby successfully described Proposition 215 in California as
"medical" marijuana for the sick and dying, preying on the compassionate
nature of the American people, but Prop. 215 legalized marijuana with no age
limitation for "any illness for which marijuana provides relief," including
ailments of dubious nature and severity such as memory recall, writers cramp
and corn callouses. The FDA has approved the only psychoactive ingredient of
marijuana, THC, found useful for pain relief as Marinol, in pill form through
prescription. Marinol, a Schedule IT drug with limited medical use and high
potential for abuse, is an antinausea drug for cancer patients who fail to
respond to other drugs, and an appetite stimulant for people suffering from
AIDS wasting syndrome. THC has not, however, been shown to be safe and
effective for any other condition ether than nausea and wasting due to AIDS.
In a double-blind study, patients preferred Marinol over smoking marijuana
2-to-1. A marijuana study by the Institute of Medicine concluded risks of
marijuana on the immune system were such that it favored development of a
smoke-free inhaled delivery system to provide purer forms of THC, or its
related compound, cannabinoids.

The drug lobby, however, rejects legal use of THC in Marinol and continues to
promote use of crude marijuana cigarettes as medicine. One doctor, explaining
why marijuana is not medicine, gave the analog of eating moldy bread in an
attempt to get penicillin. A prominent oncologist professed he could manage
pain with legal drugs in 99 percent of his patients, and that there are newer
and better medications for chemotherapy patients than Marinol, describing one,
Zofran, as a "miracle" drug.

Crude marijuana consists of more than 400 chemicals which, when smoked, become
thousands of chemicals. Drugs from a pharmacy are of a single ingredient and
of a known dosage. Pot advocates often cite the fact that morphine, available
under a doctor's care, is a heroin derivative. What they neglect to mention is
that morphine received FDA approval and underwent rigorous clinical testing, a
public-safety standard approved drugs must meet.

Drug legalizers often cite Americans participating in an ongoing federal
experiment at the University of Mississippi to evaluate any benefit from
medicinal marijuana, implying that the federal government believes marijuana
could be medicinal. But to date, despite 12,000 studies of the medical utility
of marijuana, an overwhelming consensus exists in the scientific community
that smoked marijuana never can be a medicine. The federal experimental
program, consisting of eight people, has declined new admissions since 1992.
Congress, in its reauthorization of the drug-czar's office, banned further
studies of marijuana as medicine, a provision which I sponsored.

While the Clinton administration campaigns vigorously against cigarettes and
chides the tobacco industry for its marketing techniques, marijuana cigarettes
rarely are targets of condemnation. Ironically, the tobacco industry, like the
drug lobby today, once promoted cigarettes as medicine until the Federal Trade
Commission halted this practice in 1955.

Marijuana is addictive, leading to the use of other drugs such as cocaine and
heroin, and is a major cause of accidents and injuries. It can cause
respiratory disease and mental disorders including depression, paranoia,
decreased cognitive performance and impaired memory. Babies born to women who
smoked marijuana during pregnancy have an increased incidence of leukemia, low
birth weight and other newborn abnormalities. The National Institute of Drug
Abuse's director frequently mentions brain scans showing that lower cerebral
activity seems to account for some of the reported learning disturbances found
in chronic marijuana users.

As a New York Times editorial recently put it, parents need to realize today's
marijuana is more potent than the version they may have smoked in their youth,
and "research has shown the drug to be far more dangerous to young people than
was known in the 1960s and 1970s, with a higher THC content. It can be
particularly harmful to the growth and development of teenagers."

There is a solid reason for scientific studies and FDA approval -- to avoid
medical catastrophes such as thalidomide. Good medicine is not conceived at
the polls, but through routine clinical trials. Since marijuana is far more
carcinogenic than tobacco cigarettes, it's not compassionate to recommend it
to sick people -- it's cruel.

Souder is vice chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight
subcommittee on National Security, which has focused on the U.S. narcotics


No: This costly battle is a waste of government money and human capital.

A friend of mine allows his teenage son to smoke marijuana. The boy gets
intense nausea from the chemotherapy for his cancer, and marijuana works
better than the medications prescribed by his physician. My accountant, a
35-year-old man with AIDS, smokes marijuana before dinner to stimulate his
appetite and help him gain weight. A 77-year-old woman who lives near my
mother smokes marijuana to treat her glaucoma. A multiple-sclerosis patient,
whom I met last week at a conference, told me he uses marijuana to reduce
muscle spasticity.

Under federal law and the laws of most states, these people are committing
criminal offenses. In 1996, voters in California and Arizona passed
referendums to prevent state law-enforcement officials from arresting people
who use marijuana as a medicine. Washington-state voters recently defeated a
drug-policy referendum which, among its provisions, allowed patients access to
medical marijuana. In exit polls, however, more than half of those voting "no"
said they would have voted "yes" if the initiative had been for medical
marijuana alone. Next year, voters in several other states will get to approve
or reject proposals to decriminalize marijuana's use as a medicine.
Public-opinion poll data available today suggests they overwhelmingly will
approve. Still, unless federal law is changed, medical marijuana will remain
illegal throughout the United States.

Federal officials, including drug czar Barry McCaffrey, oppose leniency on the
question of medical marijuana claiming it "sends the wrong message" and
undermines government efforts to suppress marijuana's recreational use. By all
objective measures, these efforts already are a dismal failure. In 1995,
federal agents seized I million pounds of marijuana along the U.S. border and
spent millions of dollars to find and destroy marijuana grown domestically.
Nonetheless, the following year McCaffrey's Office of National Drug Control
Policy reported that "high-quality marijuana is widely available in all parts
of the United States." On government surveys, about 85 percent of high-school
seniors say it is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to obtain marijuana -- the same
as it has been every year since the early seventies.

During the last 20 years, state and local police have arrested nearly 10
million people for marijuana offenses, about 85 percent for possession.
Supporters of this approach claim that criminal sanctions keep some people
from using marijuana. However, the data show no relationship between the
number of arrests for marijuana possession or the severity of sanctions
imposed and the number of people who use marijuana.

Following legal changes since the seventies, researchers have compared the
rates of marijuana use in states which have decriminalized marijuana with the
rates in states which still had criminal sanctions for simple possession. They
found no difference. Marijuana use increased throughout the United States
during the seventies, irrespective of the policy in individual states. After
1979, marijuana use started declining. This downward trend, like the upward
trend that preceded it, occurred in states both with and without criminal
penalties for possessing marijuana.

In the mid-eighties, while marijuana use continued to decline, President
Reagan launched a new war on marijuana. Congress recriminalized marijuana
possession, setting a penalty of one year in federal prison for possessing a
single joint (or less) of marijuana the same penalty as for possessing small
amounts of cocaine or heroin. Two of the states that decriminalized marijuana
in the seventies-Oregon and Alaska reinstated criminal penalties for marijuana
possession. In addition, Congress and state legislatures created a variety of
new civil sanctions which could be applied to persons arrested for marijuana

Today marijuana offenders, including those charged with simple possession, can
be denied college and or small business loans, farm subsidies, occupational
licenses and government grants, contracts and fellowships. More than half the
states have enacted "possess a joint loose your license" laws, which
automatically revoke the driver's license of anyone convicted of any marijuana
offense, even if it was not driving-related. People on probation or parole for
any criminal offense can be returned to prison on the basis of a urine test
showing them to be marijuana users. Following a marijuana arrest, government
officials can seize people's property, including cash, cars, boats, land and
houses. And, they can keep the property even if there never is a criminal

After remaining fairly stable throughout the eighties, arrests for marijuana
offenses increased dramatically during the nineties. In 1992, state and local
police arrested about 269,000 people for marijuana possession. In 1996,
marijuana-possession arrests exceeded 545,000 nearly a doubling in a five-year
period. Arrests for marijuana distribution and sale also increased during
these years. But about 85 percent of marijuana arrests, the same as always,
were for marijuana possession. In New York City, marijuana arrests doubled
between 1990 and 1996, reaching 18,000. Most New York City arrests, such as
those across the country, are misdemeanor arrests, for either possessing
marijuana or smoking marijuana in public.

This war on marijuana has had no apparent impact on marijuana's popularity.
>From 1992 to 1996, while arrests were doubling, the number of adult marijuana
users remained stable. During the same five-year period, adolescent marijuana
use increased, after declining for more than a decade. In 1992, 8 percent of
12- to 17-year-olds said they had used marijuana during the last year. By
1996, the rate of past-year marijuana use among adolescents had risen to 13

Rather than admitting defeat, drug warriors argue that more enforcement and
tougher penalties for marijuana offenses are needed. Most marijuana users,
they say, never get arrested. And those arrested seldom get sent to prison.
Instead, judges give marijuana users suspended sentences, put them on
probation or sentence them to community service. A real war on marijuana, drug
warriors claim, will produce the deterrence that currently is lacking.

The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse in 1972 decided that
whatever marijuana's harms to users, they paled in comparison to-the harm of
being arrested. In addition, commission members understood that
"marginalizing" even a small minority of marijuana users did not serve the
best interests of society. Consider, for example, how many of today's
political leaders smoked marijuana in their youth. President Clinton, Vice
President Gore and House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among them. If, rather than
escaping detection, they had been arrested for marijuana possession, what they
now refer to as a "youthful mistake" might have ruined their career

Even if marijuana were a highly dangerous drug, criminalizing its use would do
more harm than good. Fortunately, marijuana is far less dangerous than
prohibitionists insist. In Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts. A Review of the
Scientific Evidence, coauthor John P. Morgan and I conclude, based on the
evidence, that although marijuana it not completely harmless it has an
extremely wide margin of safety.

Marijuana's only clear health risk is respiratory damage from smoking, and
this risk is confined to long-term, heavy marijuana smokers. Claims of other
biological harms -- for example, brain damage, infertility and immune-system
impairment -- are based on animal and cellular studies using doses of
marijuana up to 1,000 times the psychoactive dose in humans. None of these
harmful effects have ever been found in studies of people who use marijuana.
Unlike most other drugs that humans consume, no dose of marijuana is fatal.

All psychoactive drugs are used in an addictive fashion by some people.
Marijuana is no exception. However, compared to other drugs, marijuana has a
low addictive potential. Using a synthetic cannabinoid drug which resembles
marijuana, researchers recently have reported physical withdrawal in animals.
However, to achieve this effect, researchers also administered a blocker drug
which immediately strips cannabinoids from receptors. When people stop using
marijuana, the drug leaves receptors gradually and they do not experience
physical withdrawal.

Even without being addicted, some marijuana users use too much --meaning their
use interferes with other life events and activities. Such people,
overwhelmingly, had troubled lives before they began using marijuana. There is
nothing about marijuana, per se, that causes people to become bad students,
poor workers or dysfunctional members of society. Nor is there a
pharmacological basis for marijuana's long-alleged "gateway effect." People
who have used the least-popular drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, tend also
to have used more popular drugs, such alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and
marijuana. However, most marijuana users never use another illegal drug.
According to government surveys, for every 100 people who have tried
marijuana, only one currently is a regular user of cocaine.

The only clear social risk of marijuana is that people will have accidents
during the period of intoxication. Marijuana is not as debilitating as alcohol
or many prescription medications. Still, during the few hours after using
marijuana, most people show some psychomotor impairment. The data indicate
that marijuana is not a major contributor to highway accidents. Nonetheless,
criminalizing marijuana-impaired driving makes good social sense. A
public-service campaign of the sort now used to deter alcohol-impaired driving
might also prove useful. A disadvantage of strict prohibition, which defines
all marijuana use as equally wrong and equally illegal, is that it makes such
a campaign practically impossible. An advantage of decriminalizing marijuana
is that it would allow the dissemination of rules for safer marijuana use.

In the current political climate, government officials won't even discuss
marijuana decriminalization as an option. But outside government circles, the
country is buzzing with decriminalization conversations. Recent public-opinion
polls show that half of adults favor eliminating criminal penalties for
marijuana possession and use. Nearly three-quarters support immediate removal
of the federal ban on marijuana's medical use. They understand, even if
government officials don't, that the war on marijuana is unjust, ineffective,
unnecessary and far too costly.

Zimmer is an associate professor of sociology at Queens College in New York,
and coauthor of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific

US Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals Expands Drug Testing Of Students
(A School Board Is Allowed To Randomly Test Not Just High School Athletes,
But Now Also All Students Involved With Extracurricular Activities
And Those Who Drive To And From School - Text Online)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 14:53:41 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Kelly T. Conlon" 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: 7th Circut Court of Appeal expands drug testing of students

On January 12th, the 7th Circuit upheld a school board's policy to randomly
drug test all students involved with extracurricular activities and
students who drive to and from school. This expands the doctrine of the
Supreme Court decision Vernonia School District vs. Acton to include
students not involved in athletics.

The case name is Todd vs. Rush County School District.

See http://www.kentlaw.edu/7circuit/1998/jan/97-2548

for the full decision.



Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Phillizy (Phillizy@aol.com)
Subject: Re: 7th Circuit Court of Appeal expands drug testing of students

In a message dated 98-01-19 14:53:52 EST, conlonkt wrote:

>On January 12th, the 7th Circuit upheld a school board's policy to randomly
>drug test all students involved with extracurricular activities and
>students who drive to and from school.

Miami schools just instituted a less expansive drug testing program. Parents
are given a form to sign, which only allows their child to be tested. Their
child can refuse to be tested, in which case parents are simply notified. If
parents don't sign the form, their child may not be tested.

This policy was a compromise between the ACLU and the school district. The
ACLU threatened to sue if drug testing was made mandatory.


Drug Testing Of Workers Keeps Rising ('ACLU News' Comments On Yesterday's
'Chicago Sun-Times' Article, Citing Federal Survey Reporting 44 Percent
Of Workers Around The US Say Their Employers Require Drug Testing - Profits
For SmithKline Beecham, Psychemedics Booming)

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 22:02:22 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Drug Testing of workers Keeps Rising

ACLU News Wire 01-12-98 -- Drug Testing of W...

CHICAGO -- Though it was virtually unheard of 15 years ago, the Chicago
Sun-Times says that mandatory drug testing in the workplace has spread
faster than marijuana smoke at a Grateful Dead concert.

Testing requirements now blanket millions of people nationwide --
especially job seekers. And technology is improving to the point that it's
difficult, if not impossible, for drug users to escape the net of some
advanced tests.

The Chicago Police Department is the most recent employer here to crack
down on drug users. But the latest sweep isn't in the streets, the
newspaper says. It's in the recruitment ranks. Job applicants are now
screened through hair samples, a cutting-edge technology that can extend
the reach of a drug test almost 90 times for most substances.

No profession, it seems is immune. Virtually all of the Fortune 200
companies -- the nation's largest firms --require their employees or job
candidates to submit to some kind of drug testing, the Sun-Times said.
Pre-employment screening -- requiring a job applicant to take a drug test
as a condition of employment--is the most common practice.

Nationwide, 44 percent of workers say their bosses require some form of
drug testing, according to a federal survey. It's no different in Chicago.
Of the area's 10 largest private employers surveyed by the Sun-Times, the
nine firms that responded all require some kind of drug testing.

Despite the nationwide testing boom, civil liberties groups remain
staunchly opposed to any form of testing -- even for cops.

"You might as well crumple up a copy of the Bill of Rights and put it in
the cup before you [urinate] into it," said William Spain, a spokesman for
the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. An employer's sole concern,
Spain told the Sun-Times, should be whether a worker is impaired. And drug
testing, he said, won't measure impairment on the job.

"We don't approve of airline pilots flying stoned or drunk -- or even
depressed, for that matter," Spain said. "But simple dexterity tests for
transportation workers, which would simply tell employers whether you were
capable of working that shift, are much more effective."

All the drug testing -- and acceptance of drug testing --has created a boon
for the testing industry.

SmithKline Beecham, one of the nation's largest testing firms, has done 24
million drug tests in the last 10 years. Boston-based Psychemedics Corp.
holds the patent for the hair-drug analysis process and has been using the
technology since 1987. Though urinalysis remains the most common method of
testing, Psychemedics' sales have boomed in the last few years.

In 1992, Psychemedics had $3.9 million in sales. By 1996, sales had tripled
to $12.2 million, according to company reports.

The company says it has more than 1,000 corporate clients nationwide,
including big names such as General Motors Corp. and Chicago-based WMX
Technologies, parent of Waste Management.

More than 30 police departments, including New York City and Chicago, use
Psychemedics to test police recruits, said Raymond Kubacki Jr., president
and chief executive officer of Psychemedics.

The hair test can detect drugs that were taken 90 days before a sample was
gathered. Most drugs can escape detection through urinalysis within a few
days. The test requires a swath of hair that is roughly the width of a
pencil and about 1.5 inches long. If someone is bald, body hair samples
are taken.

Source - Chicago Sun-Times, January 11, 1998


Mr. Spain has given me an idea. I come in contact with many commercial
drivers at my part-time job.

I've printed up some handouts with the Fourth Amendment on one side and
"Flush your sample......not your rights! RESIST RANDOM DRUG TESTING" on
the other.

Easier to crumple up and put in the cup if they feel they must piss away
their rights and mine.

I doubt if many will risk their job as I did, but at least it may put a bee
in their bonnet.

Mike Clark

A Drug-Testing Blunder Versus Why Not Test Students? ('USA Today' Contrasts
Its Position Opposing Random Testing Of High-School Students In Miami,
Florida, With That Of Renier Diaz de la Protilla, A 26-Year-Old
Miami-Dade County School Board Member)

Newshawk: Jerry Sutliff
Source: USA Today
Contact: editor@usatoday.com
Pubdate: 12 Jan 1998



When Miami schools decided to crack down on drug abuse, they instead found
a way to squander money.

School districts around the country are watching Miami this week as the
nation's fourth largest school system puts the finishing touches on an ill
conceived program to randomly drug test its high school students.

Miami school officials are pushing the $200,000 plan as a bold new way to
fight teen-age drug abuse.

Too bold, in fact. The drug testing plan presents a flagrant threat to the personal
liberties of 82,000 mostly law-abiding Miami high school students. So to head
off predictable legal challenges, school officials are watering down their testing
procedures to the point of uselessness.

They're asking parents to okay drug testing for all high school students, not just
those suspected of abusing drugs. And to prevent charges that the program
discriminates, children will be selected for the urine tests randomly using a

The absurdity of the program doesn't stop there. To ensure that students provide
their own urine samples, parents must accompany their kids to drug testing

And in the cruelest irony, students who test positive for drug abuse won't be
offered follow-up treatment. Officials say the school district can't afford to get
into the drug rehab business. In fact, only parents will know if the student
failed. School officials will be given cumulative results.

In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled it's legal for high schools to require student
athletes to undergo random drug testing. Until now, though, school districts
have wisely avoided testing overall student populations because the programs
are ineffective and hugely expensive.

Instead, most school districts are fighting the drug problem using established
anti-drug educational programs. Districts administering drug tests, have found
programs most cost-effective when offered voluntarily to students suspected of
abusing drugs who can be helped through school-based programs.

Like other urban districts, Miami schools have plenty of problems. An Education
Week study released last week found; 10% of Miami high schoolers drop out
every year, students score below the national average on standardized tests, and
the area's inadequate schools are the major reason businesses refuse to locate in

None of these flaws will le corrected by the school system's expensive entry
into the drug testing field.

And until the school system can come up with a cost effective way to help
students with drug problems, there are better ways it can spend its money.



by Renier Diaz de la Protilla ( a 26 year-old Miami-Dade County School Broad

Why not test students?


In sports, business, industry and government, drug testing is an increasingly
common weapon in America's fight against drugs. That is why it is perplexing
and disturbing that our children, who are the most vulnerable to drug use and
its attendant evils, are largely left out.

The pilot drug and alcohol testing pro-gram I proposed to the Miami-Dade
County School Board targets abuse among high school students. No student
will be tested without parental consent. None will be punished for opting out.
Only parents will get results of the random tests, along with information on
where to get help.

Research shows testing will deter students from using, as well as leading those
who test positive to help. The program will cost less than current anti-drug

Last year, for example, Miami-Dade America's fourth targest school district
spent $4.5 million in anti-drug education and peer counseling programs whose
effectiveness is hard to evaluate.

The numbers gathered confidentially through the drug-testing program will be
invaluable in guiding future anti-substance abuse programs. Although parents
can test their children without school involvement, it is erroneous to assume
that parents have the time or the resources to do so.

Critics may challenge this flexible policy with privacy or constitutional
arguments. But what about a parent's right to information? I seriously doubt
there are court rulings which deny a parent's right to know if his or her child's
life is in danger.

Consider the 15-year-old Miami girl, pregnant and already a longtime drug
abuser, who drowned in her bathtub after smelling glue. And a Miami boy, age
17, who shot himself in the head after years of alcohol, marijuana and LSD
abuse. Both since 1995. Both could have been saved if their families had
detected drug use earlier.

"Just Say No" and other 'rah-rah" campaigns no will longer cut it. More
aggressive and pro-active measures are needed if we are to save more of our

Israelis Skip Out On Drug Trial ('Associated Press' Reports Three Men
Expected To Link Israeli Mob To Colombian Cocaine Cartel
Abscond From Florida Trial Involving $44 Million In Money Laundering)

Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


MIAMI (AP) -- Three Israeli citizens hopped an El Al flight to Jerusalem over
the holidays, skipping out on a $44 million money-laundering trial Monday that
promised to link the Israeli mob to a Colombian cocaine cartel.

With just one defendant left and a busy trial calendar, U.S. District Judge
Lenore Nesbitt postponed the trial until June 8.

But since Israeli law bars extradition of that country's citizens, the future of the
Miami money-laundering case remained uncertain.

The stalled extradition from Israel -- in an unrelated case -- of a Maryland
murder suspect also fed concerns over the ability of U.S. prosecutors to bring
back the Miami case suspects: an Israeli couple and a man with dual
U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Gregorie, prosecutor in the laundering case,
said Monday he fears that criminals with Israeli citizenship would use their
own country as ``a safe haven, and abuse that protection in Israel.''

Yehuda and Kineret Kashti and Danny Fisher all faced trial on charges that cash
was laundered through Kashti family jewelry businesses in Miami. Gym bags
filled with bundles of $20s were dumped up to three times week with bank
tellers who were told that the cash came from jewelry sales.

Prosecutors said the laundering was masterminded in the United States by Mrs.
Kashti's father, Eli Tisona. Federal officials believe Tisona is a high-profile
figure in Israeli organized crime.

Investigators tracked some of the tainted cash to a fish company owned by
Tisona and Phanor Arizabaleta, a reputed leader of Colombia's Cali drug cartel.
Smugglers allegedly tried to ship frozen liquid cocaine inside gel packs that
were used to chill seafood shipments.

Tisona was detained in Colombia after he was indicted in October 1996, sent to
Miami and has been jailed pending trial. He's now the only defendant now
available for trial in the case.

The judge agreed Monday to issue bench warrants for the three fugitives, and
Gregorie said he was filing for Interpol arrest warrants, too.

At the time they fled to Israel, the Kashtis were free on $150,000 bond each.
Fisher was free on $35,000 bond.

All three had complied with bond conditions requiring them to report to U.S.
authorities in person twice a week, and once by phone until Christmas week.

``It appears that they traveled on the 22nd or the 23rd,'' of December, Gregorie
said. A pretrial agency that tracks defendants out on bond told prosecutors on
Christmas Eve that their three defendants were missing.

Fisher and the Kashtis had surrendered their passports, as required, Gregorie.

But, he added: ``El Al will allow Israelis to fly back to Israel with nothing more
than a citizenship paper.''

Dan Haezrachy, the deputy Israeli consul in Miami, said he was not familiar
with the case. But, he said, U.S. prosecutors wanting extraditions will have to
``approach the Israeli police, and then a decision shall be made in Israel.''

Still, Gregorie said he remained hopeful.

``The Israeli consulate has been very helpful thus far, so we're hoping we'll be
able to do something,'' the prosecutor said.

Clinton Orders Steps To Combat Prison Drug Use ('Reuters' Says Clinton
Will Propose $197 Million In New Spending In His 1999 Budget Request
To Promote 'Coerced Abstinence,' Also, Reno Will Write Legislation
Requiring States To Increase Penalties For Drug Trafficking In Prison)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 21:55:08 EST
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Clinton's goes after prison drug use

Another missile on the CASA/Satel coerced-abstinence prison-drug-treatment
front has been fired by Bill Craven, er, Clinton. And it didn't take long,
did it?



Monday January 12 8:50 PM EST
Clinton Orders Steps to Combat Prison Drug Use
By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton Monday ordered new steps to crack
down on drug use by prison inmates and the White House said he would propose
nearly $200 million in additional measures to fight drugs in prisons.

"Fighting drugs in our prisons and among prisoners is absolutely critical
ultimately to keeping drugs off the streets and away from our children,"
Clinton said at an Oval Office ceremony.

Clinton ordered Attorney General Janet Reno to require states to report
annually on their progress in fighting drugs in prisons.

He also asked Reno to develop legislation requiring states to boost
penalties for drug trafficking in prison, and to make it easier for states
to use federal prison-construction aid for anti-drug programs.

The White House said Clinton would propose $197 million in new spending in
his fiscal 1999 budget request to promote "coerced abstinence" and drug
treatment for prisoners. Some of that money would go toward measures
announced Monday, but most is for plans to be announced later, White House
aides said.

"Jail time has to be cold turkey for those who are addicted, and must
represent unemployment for those who are drug dealers," Barry McCaffrey,
head of the White House anti-drug effort, told reporters before Clinton
signed the order.

Clinton To Order States To Fight Prison Drug Use ('Los Angeles Times'
Reports The White House Credits UCLA Professor Mark Kleiman
For Inspiring The President's Anti-Drug Efforts In Prisons)

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 00:16:15 -0800
Subject: MN: US: LAT: Clinton to Order States to Fight Prison Drug Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 12, 1998
Author: Elizabeth Shogren, Times Staff Writer


Directive will reportedly require studies of problem, plans to correct it.
Cutting rate of abuse will reduce recidivism, expert says.

WASHINGTON--In an effort to break the link between drugs and crime,
President Clinton plans today to order the states to assess the prevalence
of drug use in their prisons and chart their success at reducing it,
according to a senior White House official and a draft of the presidential

Last year, as a condition of federal prison grants, Clinton and Congress
gave the states until March to spell out their plans for combating drug use
behind bars. Taking that a step further, the directive the president is
expected to sign today would require studies of the level of drug use in
prisons and annual progress reports so that the public and the federal
government can judge how well the states are doing.

The evidence is conclusive that criminals continue abusing drugs and
alcohol while in prison and, once released, "go back out and commit crimes
to feed their habits,' said Rahm Emanuel, a top Clinton domestic policy
advisor. The president's goal, Emanuel added, is to "rip the habit out of
them" while they are in prison through a combination of mandatory drug
testing and treatment.

"Convicted offenders who undergo drug testing and treatment while
incarcerated and after release are approximately twice as likely to stay
drug- and crime-free as those offenders who do not receive drug treatment,"
Clinton said in a draft memorandum to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno dated Jan. 12.

The presidential action follows by a few days the release of a national
report driving home the connection between heavy drug and alcohol use and
crime. The study by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse shows that alcohol abuse and addiction played a part in the
crimes committed by 80% of the 1.7 million men and women now behind bars in
the United States.

The White House had been working on the directive, but the president
decided to announce it now because of the Columbia report, which is
expected to increase pressure for mandatory substance abuse treatment for
inmates while they are behind bars and on parole, Emanuel said.

In his state budget released Friday, California Gov. Pete Wilson proposed
several new programs for combating drug use in the prison system, including
new random drug testing for inmates and the use of dogs to intercept drugs.
State prison officials said the annual reports would not tax them.

"We have no problem reporting whatever we determine on prevalence," said
Thomas Maddock, acting secretary of the California youth and adult
correctional agency.

The White House also plans to renew its effort to press Congress to let
states use their prison funds for drug testing and treatment. In his draft
memo to Reno, Clinton asked for legislation to be submitted to Congress
that would enable states to use their "federal prison construction and
substance abuse treatment funds to provide a full range of drug testing,
drug treatment and sanctions for offenders under criminal justice

Although Congress and the president agreed to require the states to come up
with plans, the GOP-controlled Congress balked at allowing states to use
prison funds for this purpose. California officials, too, opposed this
idea. "That's mixing apples and oranges," Maddock said. "There's a dramatic
need for prison construction money too. [Clinton] should step up to the
plate and fund both separately."

The president's memo also directed the attorney general to work with
states on legislation to create "stiffer penalties for drug trafficking
into and within correctional facilities." Clinton is also expected to
announce that he will ask Congress for $192 million in his fiscal 1999
budget for a series of initiatives to promote what the White House calls
its "coerced abstinence" programs and treatment in the criminal justice

The White House credits UCLA professor Mark Kleiman for inspiring the
president's anti-drug efforts in prisons. Kleiman argues that rooting out
drug use among inmates and parolees is the most effective way to decrease
demand for drugs in the United States. Eighty percent of the cocaine and
heroin is consumed by a relatively small number of chronic users, about 3
million, who spend an average of $15,000 per year on their addictions,
Kleiman said.

"Since few of them can generate that much after-tax disposable income
legitimately, about three-quarters of the hard-core users get arrested in
the course of a year," Kleiman, professor of policy studies at UCLA's
School of Public Policy and Social Research, wrote in a commentary in the
Los Angeles Times.

"When not in prison or jail, they are usually on bail, probation or parole.
Therefore, about 60% of the cocaine and heroin sold in this country is sold
to people who are nominally under the supervision of the criminal justice
system." This makes the prison system an ideal place to try to root out the
kind of drug abuse that leads to crime.

However, Kleiman argued, "many hard-core users don't want treatment if they
can get cocaine or heroin instead. "They have to be pushed into abstinence;
talking and offering treatment aren't enough."

Kleiman said probation and parole departments should make abstinence a
condition of continued liberty. He noted that few had set up consistent
systems of screening and punishment.

President To Order States To Assess Prison Drug Use, Chart Battle Plan
('Houston Chronicle' Version Of 'Los Angeles Times' Report Notes Last Year,
As A Condition Of Federal Prison Grants, Clinton And Congress Gave States
Until March To Announce Plans For Combating Prison Drug Use)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 21:29:24 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: President to order states to assess prison drug use, chart battle plan
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998
Author: Elizabeth Shogren, Los Angeles Times

President to order states to assess prison drug use, chart battle plan

WASHINGTON -- In an effort to break the link between drugs and crime,
President Clinton plans today to order the states to assess the prevalence
of drug use in their prisons and chart their success at reducing it,
according to a senior White House official and a draft of the presidential

Last year, as a condition of federal prison grants, Clinton and Congress
gave the states until March to spell out their plans for combating drug use
behind bars.

Taking that a step further, the directive the president is expected to sign
today would require the plans to include a study of the current level of
drug use in prisons and annual progress reports so that the public -- and
the federal government -- can judge how well the states are doing.

The evidence is conclusive that criminals continue abusing drugs and
alcohol while in prison and, once released, "go back out and commit crimes
to feed their habits," said Rahm Emanuel, a top Clinton domestic policy

The president's goal, Emanuel added, is to "rip the habit out of them"
while they are in prison through a combination of mandatory drug testing
and treatment.

"Convicted offenders who undergo drug testing and treatment while
incarcerated and after release are approximately twice as likely to stay
drug- and crime-free as those offenders who do not receive drug treatment,"
Clinton said in a draft memorandum to Attorney General Janet Reno.

The presidential action follows by a few days the release of a national
report driving home the connection between heavy drug and alcohol use and
crime. The study by Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse shows that alcohol abuse and addiction played a part in the
crimes committed by 80 percent of the 1.7 million men and women now behind
bars in the United States.

The White House had been working on the directive, but the president
decided to announce it now because of the Columbia report, which is
expected to increase pressure for mandatory substance-abuse treatment for
inmates while they are behind bars and on parole, Emanuel said.

The White House also plans to renew its effort to press Congress to let
states use their prison funds for drug testing and treatment.

In his draft memo to Reno, Clinton asked for legislation to be submitted to
Congress that would enable states to use their "federal prison construction
and substance-abuse treatment funds to provide a full range of drug
testing, drug treatment and sanctions for offenders under criminal justice

Although Congress and the president agreed to require the states to come up
with plans, the GOP-controlled Congress balked at allowing states to use
prison funds for this purpose.

The president's memo also directed the attorney general to work with states
on legislation to create "stiffer penalties for drug trafficking into and
within correctional facilities."

Clinton is also expected to announce that he will ask Congress for $192
million in his fiscal 1999 budget for a series of initiatives to promote
what the White House calls its "coerced abstinence" programs and treatment
in the criminal justice system.

Drug Use - Prisons ('Associated Press' Rewrite Of 'New York Times' Article
Notes Clinton Also Asked Attorney General Janet Reno To Draft Legislation
Allowing States To Use Federal Money Earmarked For Prison Construction
To Test And Treat Prisoners And Parolees For Drugs)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:23:38 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Drug Use-Prisons
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Dave Fratello <104730.1000@compuserve.com>
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


NEW YORK (AP) -- Seeking to break "the cycle of crime and drugs" in
prisons, the Clinton administration may withhold federal funds from state
prisons that fail to report the extent of illegal drug use among inmates,
The New York Times reported today. The information the prisons provide is
to be used as a barometer of their efforts to reduce inmate drug use, the
newspaper said.

President Clinton was scheduled today to sign the directive, a copy of
which was obtained by the Times. The document reflects the administration's
belief that reducing inmates' drug use might also reduce their demand for
drugs once they are released.

"With more than half the individuals in our criminal justice system
estimated to have a substance abuse problem, promoting coerced abstinence
within the criminal justice system offers us a unique opportunity to break
the cycle of crime and drugs," the document says.

A report last week by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
at Columbia University estimated that alcohol and illegal drugs contributed
to the incarceration of 80 percent of the 1.7 million inmates in the
nation's prisons.

The report also said that most of them were not being treated for addiction
before being released. The administration has increased to 42 from 32 the
number of drug treatment centers in federal prisons and more than tripled
the number of federal inmates undergoing substance abuse treatment -- from
5,450 in 1993 to 19,943 in the last fiscal year.

The Clinton plan also proposes that Attorney General Janet Reno draft
legislation allowing states to use federal money earmarked for prison
construction to test and treat prisoners and parolees for drugs.

Clinton Targets Inmate Drug Use ('Orange County Register' Version
Of 'New York Times' Article)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:28:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Clinton Targets Inmate Drug Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Author: Christopher S.Wren - The New York Times
Section: news, page 11


The president plans to link federal funding to states' reporting of
substance abuse data.

Seeking to cleanse prisons of illegal drugs,the Clinton administration
plans to tell the states that they have to determine and report the extent
of illicit drug use among their inmates before they can receive more
federal money to spend on prisons.

The information that states provide will be used to create a baseline to
measure progress in reducing drugs inside prisons, which in turn will
qualify them for more federal money.

President Clinton is scheduled to sign the directive in the Oval Office
today. A draft copy addressed to Attorney General Janet Reno was provided
by a senior administration official who said it had been circulating in the
White House, the Justice Department and other interested agencies for the
past month or two.

The document reflects a belief within the administration that crimping the
supply of drugs in prisons will cut the demand for them after the convicts
are released. "With more than half the individuals in our criminal-justice
system estimated to have a substance-abuse problem," the draft says,
"promoting coerced abstinence within the criminal-justice system offer us a
unique opportunity to break this cycle of crime and drugs."

The directive builds on legislation Clinton promised in the 1996
presidential campaign and pushed through Congress last year. The law
requires states to draw up comprehensive plans to test and treat prisoners
and parolees as a condition of receiving money for prisons from the
federal government. The states have to present their plans by March and
implement them by September.

The directive would go beyond that in requiring that states report on drug
use by inmates and demonstrate progress toward eliminating it. The
directive further proposes that Reno draft legislation that would let
states spend some of the federal money earmarked for prison construction to
test and treat prisoners and parolees for drugs if the states increased
penalties for smuggling drugs into prison.

"This is about testing and coerced abstinence," Rahm Emanuel, a White House
senior adviser, said in acknowledging details of the draft directive. "We
have to slam shut the revolving door between drugs and crime.

"You have a number of drug users who commit a lion's share of the crimes in
this country in a controlled environment, and that time should be used to
advantage," he said. "Through mandatory testing, you will force a change in
their behavior that will break the link."

Re - Clinton Goes After Prison Drug Use (Commentary From List Subscribers)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:05:56 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Ken Russell" (russell.ken.kw@bhp.com.au)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Re: Clinton's goes after prison drug use

I found the Clinton report to be quite distressing. A very large portion of
the proposed $200 million is for increased drug testing. $10 million will
be used for "treatment". None of the programmes appear to say anything
about attacking alcohol use and abuse.

Of course, Clinton's simply responding as one might have expected.

The report on CNN gives some different information to that provided by
Reuters...it has a break down of some of the areas the money will be used.



Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:39:02 EST
From: "Charles P. Conrad" (cpconrad@thegrid.net)
Subject: Drugs in Prison

Clinton just paved the way for us!

Let's take out a full page ad somewhere announcing that if they can't keep
drugs out of maximum security prisons, THE WAR IS OVER!

If we put everyone in prison, we still couldn't stop drugs. Time to quit!

Peace, love, and solidarity


From: "Ken Russell" (russell.ken.kw@bhp.com.au)
Subject: Re: Drugs in Prison

>If we put everyone in prison, we still couldn't stop drugs. Time to quit!

Pah, 'course we can, we've just thrown $200 million at it.

Another point worth keeping in mind of course. Spending on the war on drugs
has just risen again.



From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Subject: Clinton's goes after prison drug use

Another missile on the CASA/Satel coerced-abstinence prison-drug-treatment
front has been fired by Bill Craven, er, Clinton. And it didn't take long,
did it?



From: "R. William Davis" (randy@ka.net)

It seems ironic that at the same time our government is undermining the
freedoms of the general population to "combat" drug use, they have such a
problem to prevent that same drug use in the totalitarian environment of
prisons. Are the Drug Warriors expecting to recreate the prison environment
throughout America, and achieve a different result?


From: "Kelly T. Conlon" (conlonkt@mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA)

> He also asked Reno to develop legislation requiring states to boost
> penalties for drug trafficking in prison, and to make it easier for states
> to use federal prison-construction aid for anti-drug programs.

Gee, I hate to ask rhetorical questions; Why would convicted drug felons
be deterred from selling drugs in prison by the use of "boosted
penalties" in the first place?



From: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)

It's clear that the CASA "study," the Satel WP op-ed, and the appearance
of Califano on the News Hour were all carefully orchestrated to introduce
Clinton's directive. Who's pulling the strings on all these marionettes?
He/she is a great coordinator, I'll say that for them.

The written justification for all this can be found in DuPont's book.

Better Sense On Drugs (Letter To Editor Of 'San Francisco Examiner' Questions
Why Abstinence Needs To Be Coerced)

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 00:06:43 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Better Sense on Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


Regarding the article "Nonabstinence programs seem to work for many" (by
Christopher D. Ringwald, Opinion Page, Jan. 2), I wonder why we insist on
enforcing drug abstinence by law and order rather than simply encouraging
it through education and treatment.

"Harm-reduction" models seem much more humane and effective. We know prison
is unlikely to solve drug abuse but, rather, has a tendency to make matters

I don't really know why we choose the "zero-tolerance" approach. Perhaps we
do not want to feel humanity toward those who have drug problems. We may
only see them as a menace that needs to be eliminated.

We know our current approach, the war on drugs, does not work. It creates
many more problems than it is intended to solve. Not only are we fighting
drug abuse, but we've created a worldwide black market flooded with guns,
violence, corruption and conspiracy.

Is our heavy-handedly enforced abstinence policy so necessary that we are
willing to take on an army of criminals looking to profit from it? Wouldn't
a humane public health approach be much easier and sensible?

Joel W. Johnson San Jose

Chris Farley Remembered As A Loyal Friend Who Helped Many Kick Drug Habit
('Associated Press' Report On Comedian's Funeral In Santa Monica, California,
Notes He Died From Mixing Morphine And Cocaine, With A Narrowing
Of Heart Arteries Also A Significant Contributing Factor)

Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- Comic Chris Farley, who died from an
accidental drug overdose after helping others kick their drug habits, was
remembered during a memorial Monday as a rambunctious performer who is
``starting a new comedy club in heaven.''

``You can hear the angels laughing right now because of him,'' said the Rev.
Michael Rocha, speaking before hundreds at Saint Monica Catholic Church.

Among those attending the public memorial were Gary Busey, Jay Leno, Ben
Stiller and Jim Belushi, whose brother John Belushi was Farley's idol. John
Belushi also died of an overdose at age 33.

Farley, a cast member on ``Saturday Night Live'' from 1990-95, was found
dead Dec. 18 in his Chicago apartment.

The 296-pound, 5-foot-8 actor comedian died from an accidental overdose of
morphine and cocaine, with a narrowing of the arteries supplying the heart
muscle also a significant contributing factor, according to the medical
examiner's findings.

Farley's big appetite, wild lifestyle and over-the-top comedy prompted
inevitable comparisons to John Belushi.

``He was every bit as brave as his idols, John Belushi and Jackie Gleason,'' said
actor Tom Arnold, who delivered the eulogy.

Farley was a loyal friend who helped countless others struggling with drug
dependencies, including his brother Kevin Farley, Arnold said.

``He helped a lot of people during his sobriety, including me and hundreds of
strangers who he shared his experience, strength and hope with,'' Arnold said.
``His brother, Kevin, who just celebrated four years of (being) clean and sober,
knows and told me he couldn't have done it without Chris.''

The crowd erupted in laughter when Arnold recalled the time Farley showed up
at his son's black-tie bar mitzvah in a powder-blue tuxedo and flirted with all
the women, including the rabbi's wife.

``So long, Chris, we will miss your laugh and your beautiful blue eyes,'' said
Arnold, his voice shaking with emotion. ``But most of all, we will miss your

Galbraith Asks Judges OK Pot As 'Natural Remedy' (The Kentucky Lawyer,
Former Gubernatorial Candidate And Self-Proclaimed Lover Of The Weed
Files Motions In Five Counties, Asking Judges To Recognize Cannabis As
A Medicine And 'The Safest Therapeutic Substance Known To Man')

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:53:00 -0800
Subject: MN: US KY: Galbraith Asks Judges OK Pot as 'Natural Remedy'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader
Contact: hledit@lex.infi.net
Pubdate: Monday, January 12, 1998
Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/
Author: John Cheves


Prosecutors in five counties want to put Gatewood Galbraith's
marijuana-smoking clients on trial.

So, in his inimitably colorful and passionate way, Galbraith plans to seize
the initiative and put Kentucky's marijuana laws on trial instead.

Galbraith -- a Lexington lawyer, occasional gubernatorial candidate and
self-proclaimed lover of the weed -- has filed a flurry of motions in the
criminal cases in Allen, Butler, Clark, Rowan and Trimble counties. He's
asking the judges to recognize marijuana as a medicine and "the safest
therapeutic substance known to man."

Each of Galbraith's clients claims to have cultivated and used marijuana
for personal medical use, not for sale to the public. It's illogical to
deny people access to a plant that grows naturally in the ground if it can
improve their conditions, Galbraith said this week.

"If Jack Kevorkian can walk around and dispense his particular brand of
medical cure, I don't see why my clients can't use this God-given,
all-natural remedy," said Galbraith.

The challenge to the state's marijuana laws comes one year after California
and Arizona voters opted to permit the medical use of marijuana in those

Marijuana is widely recognized to assist people suffering from chronic
pain; ease the suffering of AIDS victims and cancer patients who are
undergoing chemotherapy; and sometimes nullify the symptoms of ailments
such as glaucoma, arthritis and migraine headaches.

But area lawmakers on the state Senate Judiciary Committee said the
Bluegrass State is a far cry from California, and citizens here are not
prepared for legalized marijuana.

Cultivation of four or fewer marijuana plants is a misdemeanor in Kentucky
and can bring up to a year in jail; cultivation of five or more plants is a

"I do not want to legalize controlled substances. I would not be inclined
to do so," said state Sen. Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington.

Added state Sen. Tim Philpot, R-Lexington: "I don't think the people of
Kentucky are ready to follow Gatewood anywhere."

However, Galbraith's crusade to change the law may not be all that
far-fetched. Just last summer, in a case prompted by actor Woody Harrelson,
Lee Circuit Judge William Trude ruled that part of a state law lumping
industrial hemp with marijuana is unconstitutional.

That decision is pending before the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The next logical step, Galbraith's clients argue, is to realize that
marijuana itself isn't the evil substance its critics claim.

Randell Carter, 39, is a self-employed handyman in Allen County. He
suffered for years from stress and extreme nervousness, to the point that
his hands shook uncontrollably when he tried to work.

Since he started smoking marijuana in 1994, Carter said he's found relief
that drugs like Valium couldn't deliver.

"I'm not so stressed out anymore," Carter said. "The nervousness wears off
for about three or four hours after I smoke -- longer than the actual high

The prosecutors said they're skeptical about some claims to medical use of
marijuana. If the need truly was legitimate, though, authorities might show
some tolerance, said Rowan Commonwealth's Attorney George Moore.

"I'm not interested in cookie-cutter justice," Moore said.

"If I had some guy who was 45 years old and into the last stages of cancer
with three months to live, and he was using it to offset the chemotherapy,
would I prosecute? I don't know," he said.

But allowing broad marijuana use is likely to lead to an increase in
addiction to more serious drugs, said Butler Commonwealth's Attorney Greg

"It's a gradual progression," Seelig said. "That's why legalization is a
bad idea. I've seen what drugs do to our society. Probably one-third of my
cases are drug-related, and another third of the cases are burglaries and
thefts related to people who need money for drugs."

Mexican Drugs - Don't Blame Free Trade For Their Increase In Texas
('Dallas Morning News' Editorial Suggests Interdiction Is Still Feasible -
'Take Aggressive Yet Reasonable Steps To Ensure Mexican Trucks
Carry No Drugs')

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 13:24:51 -0800
Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Mexican Drugs:
Don't Blame Free Trade for Their Increase in Texas
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: adbryan@onramp.net
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Pubdate: Monday, 12 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Discussion forum: http://forums.dallasnews.com/dallas (It's HOT - says our


Is free trade with Mexico causing increased drug trafficking in Texas?

That's what some Texas and U.S. drug enforcement officials think. They
blame increased truck traffic from Mexico under the North American Free
Trade Agreement for the surge in cross-border flows of heroin, cocaine and

Assume for a moment that what the officials say is true. The natural remedy
would be to repeal the agreement. No free trade, no problem. Right?

Wrong. Mexican drug trafficking is more complicated than that.

Everyone wants a panacea. But repealing North American free trade would
not be one.

Suppose that the United States and Mexico returned to the status quo
before the free-trade agreement took effect in 1994. Would that reduce high
U.S. demand for drugs? No.

Would it significantly reduce imports of legal Mexican goods, which were
rising even before the advent of free trade and which traffickers use to
piggyback their illicit wares into the United States? No.

Would it stop Mexican trucks from crossing the border. Again, no.

Mexican traffickers would still apply their ingenuity to getting drugs in.
U.S. customs agents would still have their hands full trying to keep drugs

The officials are right about one thing: Mexican drug trafficking is up in
Texas. But free trade is only one factor. U.S. demand is another. So is the
crackdown on drug trafficking in Florida, which has forced Colombian
traffickers to seek new infiltration routes.

The solution to the problem of Mexican drug trafficking has never been to
seal the border or to hamper legitimate trade. It is to take aggressive yet
reasonable steps to ensure that Mexican trucks carry no drugs.

In this, the United States is still not doing its best. It only recently
began to use X-rays to peer into Mexican trucks. And it has not created
"inland ports of preclearance," where customs agents from both countries
could inspect cargoes, seal containers and demand detailed travel
itineraries. Trucks that arrived at their destinations late or with broken
container seals would be reinspected.

Mexican drugs were a problem before free trade; they would remain so even
if the United States were so foolish as to scuttle it.

Philadelphia Marching To The Beat Of Hope ('New York Times' Feature
On The North Philadelphia Foot Stompers, A Neighborhood Drill Team Hoping
To Promote Urban Revitalization)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:44:14 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US PA: Philadelphia: Marching to the Beat of Hope
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Pubdate: Monday, January 12, 1998
Author: Sara Rimer


PHILADELPHIA -- The sound of drums echoed through the streets, signifying
the hope and renewal of one north-central Philadelphia neighborhood
devastated by lost work, poverty and drugs.

Inside the rowhouse on 23rd Street where she has lived for 63 years, Alice
Barry, 81, put down her sewing and pulled back her curtains. "There goes my
children," said Mrs. Barry, who had stitched their first uniforms four
years ago.

Vicki Thompson, 40, heard the familiar drumbeat in her office in the
community center that used to be a Roman Catholic rectory, just up the
block from Mrs. Barry. "It's a different noise," Ms. Thompson said. "Years
ago it was gunshots."

She hollered out the window: "Go, Foot Stompers! Go, Foot Stompers!"

On the street, Audra Holbrook, 11 and all legs, was leading the girls, high
stepping in her red and white pleated skirt and white boots with red
plumes. LaMark Shorts, 17, the captain of the boys, brought up the rear,
the drummers marching tall, pounding out their message: The North
Philadelphia Foot Stompers have arrived.

Up and down the block one recent morning, people went to their windows and
doorways to soak up the energy of their own drill team, 16 girls and seven
boys, more welcome than any fancy parade. They were practicing, marching
through the neighborhood's past and its unfolding future, past abandoned
buildings and newly renovated brick rowhouses, past vegetable and flower
gardens that will bloom come spring in what used to be vacant lots prowled
by drug dealers and prostitutes.

"The neighborhood is rising," said Helen Brown, 56, who kept house for a
rich family on Society Hill for years, and went home at night to fight to
hold her battered block of 23rd Street together so it could rise again.

Nothing symbolizes the rebirth more vividly than the Foot Stompers, not
just a drill team, but the heartbeat of the emerging 33-block north-central
Philadelphia neighborhood known as St. Elizabeth's-Diamond Street. The
story of the Foot Stompers reflects the rebuilding that has required, in
addition to money and political muscle, all the organization, creativity,
drive and discipline that makes a drill team.

It is a rebuilding amid an urban battlefield. A man was fatally shot the
day after Christmas only a block from where the Foot Stompers were
marching. The unemployment rate is 29 percent. The median family income is
less than $9,000 a year. In this setting, a drill team, with its military
roots and rigor, is more fitting than any string band.

"Get those legs up! Get in line!" Mrs. Brown, who lost her only son, Earl,
to AIDS and poured her grief and love into the drill team, was commanding
the troops from a wheelchair. The cast on her left leg, which she injured
while marching, has not held her back, any more than all the other

When Mrs. Brown and a neighbor, George Maginault, started the drill team
four years ago, the young people had nowhere but the streets to play. "The
girls used to jump rope," Mrs. Brown said. "They were arguing among
themselves -- 'Who's next?' They were hollering and hooting. All that
energy. I said, 'Why don't you get a drill team?"'

Mrs. Brown being Mrs. Brown, the girls knew it was not a question. "We
said, 'All right,"' recalled Sharnae Johnson, 12.

"After the jobs left, the drugs moved in," said Mrs. Brown, who went to
work as a housekeeper after the electronics factory where she had worked
for 26 years shut down, one more statistic in the neighborhood's downward
economic spiral.

Thousands of residents had fled. In 1994, over bitter protests, the Diocese
of Philadelphia closed St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church and school,
long an anchor on 23rd Street.

"People had gotten so discouraged," said Sharnae Johnson's grandmother,
Evelyn Johnson, 69, whose 24-year-old grandson was shot to death in 1989.
"They had lost hope. When a person is without hope, they don't do

There were no after-school programs for the children. There was certainly
no money for a drill team. Without drums, the boys practiced by beating
sticks against the Philadelphia phone book.

"The phone book is a very good drum," Maginault said.

The drill team was only one idea Maginault, Mrs. Brown and others had for
the neighborhood. "We had all this vision," Mrs. Brown said, "but we didn't
have resources."

Sister Mary Scullion had both.

A Catholic nun and community organizer, she moved into what had been the
convent of St. Elizabeth's around the time the drill team got started.
Project Home, the community development corporation she founded with an
accountant, Joan Dawson-McConnon, to help homeless men and women, was
transforming the abandoned convent into a residence for 24 recovering drug

At 44, Sister Scullion has crawled down manholes and into the darkest
alleys to invite the homeless to Project Home's shelters.

"Sister Mary, she doesn't come in and say, 'We're going to do this,"' Mrs.
Brown said. "She comes in block by block and asks you, 'What can Project
Home do to help you?"'

Three years ago, Sister Scullion had her first meeting with the residents
of Mrs. Brown's block at Mrs. Brown's home. "Mrs. Barry, she said she
wanted ceramics classes," Mrs. Brown recalled. "We said we didn't want any
more houses to be torn down on our block. We said we would like to see our
houses rehabbed."

Everyone wanted a place for the youth. As meetings were repeated on every
block, neighbors who had grown wary and withdrawn through the bad times
began to reconnect.

"The energy just multiplied," Sister Scullion said.

She knew that the Philadelphia Plan, established by Mayor Ed Rendell and
Gov. William Casey in 1994, represented a huge opportunity for St.
Elizabeth's-Diamond Street. The plan has linked corporations -- the city
gives them tax breaks -- with nine community development corporations
working to redevelop devastated neighborhoods.

The Crown Cork and Seal Co., an international can company in northeast
Philadelphia, made a 10-year, $2.5 million commitment to the St.
Elizabeth's-Diamond Street neighborhood through Project Home.

The money has helped pay for the opening of the community center in the
former rectory on 23rd Street, along with another community center on
Diamond Street. Alice Barry got her ceramics classes. There are also
aerobics and adult learning classes, computers and health care provided by
a part-time nurse.

A youth center has opened in the former Catholic school. A $1 million
donation from the Sisters of St. Francis has helped finance the renovation
of four houses in the last year, with plans to renovate 10 a year for the
next 10 years.

Sister Scullion made Mrs. Brown a professional community organizer. "She
said I was doing it anyway, why not get paid," Mrs. Brown said.

Mrs. Brown hired Ms. Thompson, who went to school to learn mortgage
counseling so she could help working poor families buy the renovated
three-story houses that sell for $25,000. The first family, a formerly
homeless woman and her son, who works two jobs, at an auto-parts store and
driving a food service truck, will move in soon.

"I've been here through the bad," Ms. Thompson said. "I want to be here
through the good."

The drill team has new uniforms, and money to travel to competitions. The
Foot Stompers have become ambassadors for the neighborhood -- a drill team
with a roomful of trophies, instead of the drug dealers many outsiders have
come to associate with north Philadelphia.

"They call us the City of Brotherly Blood, North Filthy," said one of the
drummers, Ron Young, 15, known as D.J. "The first thing they see is the
graffiti, and it's dirty, and they think people don't care about

The Foot Stompers came marching down Ron's block two summers ago. "The
noise, the marching, the drums," he said. "It was like something I'd never
seen before. It was a good noise. I just looked and said, 'Dag, I wish it
was me."'

LaMark Shorts taught him how to play the drums, and soon Ron Young was a
drummer, too.

The Foot Stompers say people look at them differently when they march.
"They see you as a smart and active kid," Sharnae said.

"When I'm marching, people are like, 'Ooh, you play the drums,"' Ron said.

It is not how everyone sees him when he is in his usual baggy jeans and
parka. "They think I'm going to rob them," said Ron, who talks of becoming
a lawyer or a doctor.

Nate Robinson, 40, a recovering drug addict in Sister Scullion's residence,
was answering the phones at the community center when he heard the drums.
"It wakes me up," said Robinson, a forklift operator and gospel singer who
is marking seven months without drugs.

The neighborhood is awakening too, but the struggle is only beginning.
Drugs are still sold openly. The sound of gunshots has faded, but not
disappeared. There are still no supermarkets, dry cleaners or banks, though
Mrs. Brown and her neighbors hope businesses will begin to return as the
improvements continue.

Mrs. Brown, whose son was 32 when he died, knows that the young members of
her drill team will have to fight to survive. "We might can't save them
all," she said. "But we might can save half of them."

Farmers To Debate Hemp (The American Farm Bureau Federation,
Which Has 4.6 Million Members, Is Reconsidering Its Endorsement Of Research
Into Hemp At Its Annual Convention In Charlotte, North Carolina)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:48:55 -0800
Subject: MN: US NC: Farmers to Debate Hemp
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: The News and Observer Raleigh, North Carolina
Contact: forum@nando.com
Pubdate: January 12, 1998
Website: http://www.news-observer.com/daily/
Author: Emery P. Dalesio, The Associated Press


The Farm Bureau will reconsider its endorsement of research into the
outlawed plant's potential as a crop.

CHARLOTTE -- The nation's largest farmers' group is buzzing about hemp
production as it meets to hash out stands on pocketbook issues such as
property rights, taxes and foreign imports.

Delegates to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention, which
began Sunday in Charlotte, will revisit a policy statement supporting
research into the economic potential of industrial hemp production in the
United States. The group has 4.6 million members.

Farmers supporting the current policy say they just want to explore a hardy
crop that shows promise for use in fibers, fuel and foods. Opponents of
hemp production and research are citing the concern of law-enforcement
agencies, which say it would be difficult for agents to distinguish between
hemp and its cousin, marijuana.

"I would believe there would be a lively discussion on this issue," said
Dennis Stolte, the federation's senior director of governmental relations.
"This has been pretty much a state issue up until now." Hemp is a term
applied to a number of different fiber-bearing plants. The species at
issue, cannabis sativa, contains an ingredient called tetrahydrocannabinol,
or THC, which produces the high when the plant is used as a drug. Breeding
for marijuana boosts the THC content to as high as 15 percent, while in
commercial hemp it can be less than 1 percent.

Farm groups in Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Virginia
in recent years have proposed exploring whether a crop grown for hundreds
of years and still harvested from France to China could be a domestic
moneymaker. Vermont has given researchers a blessing to study the plant's
profit potential.

In California, a petition drive aims to let voters decide in November
whether to legalize hemp production for industrial purposes. Federal
law makes no distinction between hemp and marijuana; neither can be grown
legally. Even research requires approval by the federal Drug Enforcement
Administration, which demands intense security.

President Clinton's chief drug policy adviser, Barry McCaffrey, told
Congress in July that advocates of industrial hemp were aiding efforts to
relax marijuana laws.

"Drug-legalizers seek to revoke this prohibition against the cultivation of
hemp in order to camouflage drug crops," McCaffrey said. "Lifting the ban
on hemp cultivation in the United States would promote increased
availability of marijuana, not legitimate commerce."

Valerie Vantreese, an agricultural economist at the University of Kentucky,
said that even if it were legal, industrial hemp would not be a guaranteed
moneymaker for American farmers. Growers would face uncertain prices,
global competition, a limited market and the lack of a domestic industry to
process the product, she said last year.

Hemp's boosters respond that it is not a viable crop now because of the
prohibitions and the lack of investment since it was outlawed in 1937. It
is a hardy, low-maintenance plant that grows rapidly, has high resistance
to diseases and pests, and can return nutrients to the soil if crops are
rotated appropriately, they say.

Because hemp may be legally imported into the United States, its fibers,
oils and other byproducts are already being used to make carpets, beer and
auto parts. Supporters also point to potential markets including
construction materials, cosmetics and paper. Imports totaled about $1.2
million in 1996, McCaffrey said.

A vote on the Farm Bureau's hemp policy is expected Wednesday or Thursday.
It will be decided by a majority vote of 376 farmer delegates.

Second International Industrial Hemp Conference
Happens February 18-19, 1998, In Vancouver, BC

From: MJDOCDLE@aol.com
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 19:24:13 -0500 (EST)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: 2nd International Industrial Hemp Conf.
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Just got notice of the upcoming 2-day INDUSTRIAL HEMP SYMPOSIUM which
will take place18-19 FEB. 1998 at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre,
Vancouver B.C. Canada.

Day One: 18 Feb.98

- Agricuture/Primary processing/Canadian research JOHN HOBSON,
Hemcore Ltd. (U.K.) - The British Experience: growing, processing & marketing.

NICOLE CHAREST, Agriculture Canada (Ontario) -Hemp: Markets, The next

CANADIAN RESEARCH PANEL (Stan Blade, - Alberta; Jack Moes - Manitoba; Gordon
Schiefele - Ontario) - Experimental plots.

PROF. PAUL G. MAHLBERG, (Indiana) - Genetics

JACE CALLAWAY (Finland) - Health and oil seeds.

CANADIAN RESEARCH PANEL (Dr.Kenneth W. Domier - Alberta; Jean M. Laprise -
Ontario; Ruth Shamai - Ontario; Jerzy Prytyk - Quebec) - Experimental


Day Two: 19 Feb 98 - Trade, Technology transfer, Issues & possible

PROF. DR. RYSZARD KOZLOWSKI, (Poland) - Fibre plants & their diversified
applications: Present & future prospects.

KIETH McKELLAR, Industry Canada (B.C.) - Canadian pulp markets: a domestic &
international review & outlook

GERO LESON, Consolidated Growers & Processors (Germany) - Hemp in Europe -
Acreage, processing & emerging markets.

ERWIN LLOYD, BioComposite Solutions (B.C.) - Manufacturing Industrial
materials from Hemp

GEOF KIME, P. Eng, Hempline, Inc. (Ontario) - " How to apply for a hemp

DON WIRTSHAFTER, Ohio Hempery,Ltd. (Ohio) - The Hemp Charter: Reaching
broad-based consensus.


This an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in Industrial Hemp to get
up to speed on this fast changing issue. I got a lot of info and background
and contacts out of it last year and would encourage interested folks to

For information and application forms and info about reservations etc.,

Wiseman Noble Sales & Marketing
909 Windermere St.
Vancouver, B.C.
E-mail: events@wisenoble.com
Phone (toll-free): 1 (888) 718-5577

Spread the word.

US To Fund Crack Honduran Police Drugs Unit ('Reuters' Says US Ambassador
James Creagon Makes Announcement - Interdiction Funding To Honduras
Doubles To $195,000 This Year)

Newshawk: David Isenberg (disenber@cdi.org)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: 12 Jan 1998


TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (Reuters) - The United States will fund and
support the training of a crack unit of Honduran police to combat drugs
trafficking, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras said on Monday.

``We are going to support the creation of this unit, training its members in
techniques of tracking and detecting drugs trafficking,'' ambassador James
Creagon told reporters.

Honduras wants a special police task force to clamp down on drugs smuggling
along its Caribbean coast, especially around the Bay Islands tourist area.

Washington has doubled its anti-narcotics funding to Honduras to $195,000
this year to stem the flow of drugs such as cocaine shipped through Honduras
to the United States.

Officials have said that the Caribbean coast of Honduras is a key route used by
Colombian drug cartels. Tawhakas Indians living in coastal regions have
claimed the region is full of clandestine landing strips that traffickers use to
move drugs.

In another development, about 100 Lenca Indians protested in front of the U.S.
Embassy against the continuing U.S. military presence and troop maneuvers in
Honduras. They shouted anti-U.S. slogans and held up banners.

The Indians have long condemned the presence of around 500 U.S. troops at
Palmerola, north of the capital, a base in operation since 1983 and close to the
Lencas' ancestral lands.

Minister's Son Admits Sale Of Hash ('Associated Press' Notes The Warning
To British Home Secretary Jack Straw's Son Will Be Deleted
From His Record If He Commits No Further Offenses For Three Years)

Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family (mmfamily@ix.netcom.com)
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998


LONDON (AP) -- A Cabinet minister's son admitted to police Monday that he
sold hashish to a newspaper reporter.

William Straw, 17, made the formal admission at Kennington police station in
south London. He was accompanied to the station by his father, Home
Secretary Jack Straw, who has sharply criticized any liberalization of Britain's
drug laws.

Scotland Yard said the younger Straw signed a form admitting the offense and
agreeing to an official warning.

The warning will be deleted from his record if he commits no further offenses
for three years, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said, speaking with customary

On Dec. 24, The Mirror, a mass-circulation tabloid, reported that a journalist
bought .07 ounces of hashish for $16.50 from the young Straw, although he
wasn't identified at the time.

Mirror reporter Dawn Alford said she posed as a real estate agent in training
looking for drugs, and struck up a conversation with the youth in a London

Alford, 30, was charged with possession of hashish. But Scotland Yard said
Monday that she had been notified that no further action would be taken.

When the paper informed the minister of the story, he took his son to the police
station where he was arrested and released without bail.

As a juvenile, William should not have been identified under English law. But
his identity became the worst-kept political secret in Britain and after his name
was published in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe, a High Court judge on Jan.
2 lifted a ban on naming him.

The elder Straw issued a statement Monday expressing hope that William will
not suffer additionally ``simply because he is my son.''

``William is now learning the lessons of this episode and he, of course, has my
support in doing so,'' the minister said.

Oxford University has informed William that he will still be able to enter New
College later this year.

Straw has opposed any move to relax laws on marijuana, and has often said that
parents need to take greater responsibility for their children's behavior. While
he admitted being embarrassed, he said his son's behavior did not change his
attitude about drug laws.

Straw said he had no intention of resigning, and Prime Minister Tony Blair has
given him his full support.

Nine Letters To The Editor Of Britain's 'Daily Mail' (Special Section
Responds To The Arrest Of Jack Straw's Son For Selling Cannabis)

Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 22:11:20 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: 9 PUB LTEs in Daily Mail special section
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: webbooks@paston.co.uk (CLCIA)
Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 1998
Souce : Daily Mail (UK)
Section : Letters special
Contact : letters@dailymail.co.uk


I am once again appalled at the amount of time and public money being spent
deciding whether or not to prosecute a person for an offence involving a
harmless plant - cannabis.

By now it should be quite clear that cannabis is remarkably safe. This has
been confirmed by every major Government and scientific investigation
including our own 1968 Royal Commission Report.

Our laws are meant to protect people and society, not simply impose the
will of the Government on its citizens. Recently they have banned beef on
the bone - that, like cannabis, has been declared dangerous. Yet known
poisons and dangers, not only the likes of alcohol and tobacco but also
mercury fillings, clingfilm, pesticides, pollutants and food additives, are

Let's get the matter straight. The act of the Minister's son in supplying
cannabis, had no victim, nobody was hurt (except possibly the pride of his

The only victims will be the lad himself - a victim of a nonsense law - and
the public who will foot the bill.

Ann Clarke, Norwich



William Straw's case has reopened the tedious debate on the legalisation of
cannabis. I have smoked almost every evening since I was introduced to it
at the age of 17.

It has not led me to use other drugs, nor smoke cigarettes, nor break the
law, nor to be unable to hold a job (I run my own successful video company
and have never claimed the dole), nor fail my family duties.

I do not, however, wishe to see it legalised and after several broken New
Year's resolutions, this year I am again trying to stop? Why? Because I am
worried about the effect of the tobacco and cannabis smoke on my lungs.

I carve the relaxant effect and the tobacco rush, but I am helped by the
fcat that I cannot smoke in public, cannot buy it in shops and I am not
bombarded with advertising.

A packet of cigarettes carries tax, yet we still have no cure for lung
cancer. I urge the Government not to legalise a drug which is as dangerous
to the nation's health as tobacco but to invest its resources in reducing
the use and effects of one damaging drug already on the market. Inhaling
smoke causes cancer.

Name and address supplied



The arrest of William Straw, Daily Mirror journalist and another man, for
alleged small cannabis offences, illustrates the injustice of the law which
bans the plant.

In a public house where alcohol - a dangerous, addictive, legal drug - is
sold, a small amount of a plant product recently described as "remarkably
safe" by Professor Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School, yet illegal,
was sold.

Prosecution of this is surely the height of hypocrisy and nonsense.

The fact that the journalist asked the youth to get some cannabis as a
basis for a story makes the reporter the only one of the three so far
arrested upon whom any allegation of harm could possibly be laid.

The annoying thing is the cost - both economic and to police time - will
come out of the public pocket. To what end? Punishing someone for a crime
without a victim. A fine example of continuing British justice!

Now that the cannabis laws can be seen clearly for what they are, let's get
rid of them and the concept that the Nanny State is more capable to decide
what we can smoke and bring in the right tofreedom of choice,

Tina Smith, Norwich



I disagree with the two points Ann Leslie made in favour of
decriminalisation of cannabis. The law criminalising it may have been
passed in some hysteria at the time, but it is much more relevant now.

Until the contraceptive Pill came onto the market, families were larger and
everyone, including teenagers, had very little money to spend. Since then,
one or sometimes two children is the norm and parents indulge their
children very much more.

Market research groups have proved that a substantial part of the money in
circulation today is in the hands of teenagers, with cannabis being such an
ideal drug for seduction.

Hard drug dealers would be delighted if cannabis were decriminalised: they
could then expect an expanding market for hard drugs.

Ann equates Prohibition in America - where more than 50 pc of the adult
population broke the drink laws - with slightly over 4 pc who break the
cannabis law in this country, most of them vulnerable teenagers or in their

I don't see that it proves her point that the cannabis law is in disrepute
in this country.

L.P Woods, Loanhead, Midlothian



Ann Leslie's view on cannabis (Mail) is flawed as she is an ex-cannabis
users (by her own admission). I can visualise the spot in her brain.
Burned out by weed, it is a gap, a void, a broken pathway that causes the

The main issue as regards state legalisation of any 'soft' drugs is one of
control. Live on the top floor of a tower block? No job? Feeling bad about
things? Worked hard all your life for what little you have and find that
society outside your front door is so uncaring, you must close the door on it?

No problem. The state will provide you with an arsenal of mind-altering
drugs to make you feel better. Just go away in a corner and use them.
That's the issue.

Tony Schubmehl, Dinbych



What the pro-cannabis lobby seem to forget is while alcohol and tobacco in
reasonable amounts do no harm to the user and absolutely none to anyone
else, one smoke of cannabis, because it is mind-altering, makes the user
incapable of rational thought or action.

This presents a serious danger to both the user and those with whom he or
she associates and, unlike alcohol, is virtually undetectable. Legalising
it would be madness.

Furthermore, as a lawyer, I fail to understand the oft-made distinction
between decriminalisation and legalisation. Can someone please elucidate?

William C. Hogg Killin, Perthshire



When I was an RAF cook on Maserah Island from 1959 to 1960, I had Arab
kitchen hands working with me. They regularly smoked cannabis, which put
them constantly in a dopey and docile frame of mind.

To get them to move themselves and do their jobs was a job in itself. They
were useless when they were using the stuff.

I was 21, which was the average age of the camp. We did 12 months there,
with no resident doctor or dentist and nowhere to go, but we never resorted
to drugs.

Joe Watson Staunton, Glos.



The arrest and treatment William Straw, for supplying cannabis demonstrate
the unfairness of the present law. It seems that there may well be one law
for the rich Londoners and another for the rest of the country.

I know a man who was arrested for having less than half a gram (worth about
1.50). He had his house thoroughly searched by police with dogs and was
locked up and interviewed.

He had to wait many months before getting to court. To what aim? The cost
of taking a man to Magistrates Court is 200 to 300, and then to Crown
Court was 2000 - 3000.

Was Mr Straw's house searched to confirm that there were no other drugs there?

Is the pub landlord to be prosecuted for allowing his premises to be used
for illegal drugs. Was the pub searched?

What is behind these senseless prosecutions? Could it simply be that many
in the criminal justice system profit from the fees they charge? There
seems to be no other justification for keeping a remarkably harmless and
beneficial plant illegal.

Levi McCarthy, Norwich



Jack Straw is on record as saying that cannabis is a 'dangerous drug' and
that drugs 'lead to the break-up of family life'. Perhaps he could tell us
what damage cannabis has done to William and the people whom his son
supplied? The answer, as he well knows, is no damage.

The Lancet has stated that 'the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not
harmful to health'. And the 1968 Royal Commission into cannabis stated:
'The long-asserted dangers of cannabis are exaggerated and the realted law
is socially damaging, if not unworkable.'

The only way in which cannabis can lead to the break-up of family life is
if you are an MP who is trying to justify the drug laws, and whose son is
smoking a harmless substance enjoyed by thousands.

Gary Stimson, Sheffield

Editorial In 'Wellington Evening Post' (New Zealand Paper Warns Youth
About Pot By Noting International Travel Restrictions For Those
With Criminal Records, Response From David Hadorn)

Subj: Editorial in Wellington Evening Post
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 23:45:37 +1300 (NZDT)

The feature editorial in tonight's (Jan 12) Evening Post, entitled "The
consequences of drug conviction", describes how Ralph Opetaia was recently
denied permission by Australian authorities to travel from NZ to Aussie for
his mother's funeral because of prior criminal offences, namely assault,
burglary, and drugs possession in 1984 and drunk driving and giving a false
name in 1996. (For some reason, the editorial only mentions the drug
offence!) The editorial cites two other examples of people whose prior drug
convictions caused travel difficulties, including a New Zealander who wanted
to travel to the US and was able to get his second NZ cannabis charge
revoked because "the US Immigration and Nationality Act allows authorities
to waive one minor cannabis charge but not two."

The editorial states:

"Like it or not, that's what happens to anyone caught using or dealing in
drugs. New Zealand does the same in reverse: it doesn't want people it
regards as criminals crossing its borders either, just in case they bring
their nasty habits with them . . . [I]nternational travel is not a right,
but a privilege. Most countries carefully screen those who want to visit,
and take a dim view of those with drug convictions. . . Governments
worldwide are under pressure from lobby groups to legalise at least
marijuana. Some proponents argue it on medical grounds - cannabis is said
to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis sufferers - and others say simply
it's no worse than alcohol. But drugs are seen by Customs and police
agencies everywhere as a scourge of the earth. . . That may be wholly
ludicrous from some people's point of view. But if there's anything to be
learned from the Opetaia case it is surely this: even youthful folly has its
consequences. And when it comes to being caught using or selling drugs,
that consequence may well be that travel plans must go on hold.
Indefinitely. [end]"

I'll try to get the whole thing scanned and submit it to Richard for the
DND. In the meantime, if anyone feels like dashing off a letter, the
address is editor@evpost.co.nz I've attached my own effort.

To the editor:

Your editorial "The consequences of a drug conviction" (12.1.98) was long on
finger-wagging but short on reasoned analysis and psychology.

Do you really expect New Zealand's young people to say "Gee, if I smoke
cannabis I might get caught and if I get caught I might get convicted and if
I'm convicted I might have difficulty traveling in the future -- therefore I
better not smoke cannabis."? Surely you jest.

You would have done better to ask whether it makes sense for nations
entering the twenty-first century to adhere to archaic laws that
discriminate against people caught smoking the flowers of a natural herb
that has been used for medicinal and social reasons for thousands of years
in hundreds of cultures. By deferring to the biased viewpoint of Customs
and the police you failed to answer the fundamental question: Is it
reasonable, based on what we know today, that people should be kept from
traveling because of previous cannabis "offences"?

Surely when over half of our young people are using cannabis at least
occasionally (as documented in a recent University of Otago study) and
similar use rates are found in most other countries, the answer to this
question must be "no".

Is it so difficult to acknowledge that times have changed and that policies
must change with the times?

David Hadorn
[contact info]



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