Portland NORML News - Friday, January 23, 1998

Town Vows To Weed Out Drug Dealers ('The Oregonian' Seems To Applaud
As Pilot Rock, Oregon Shows It Takes A Village To Raise A Mob -
But Fails To Explain How Things Got Worse Than Ever
After Last Intervention)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:26:43 -0500
Subject: MN: US OR: Town Vows To Weed Out Drug Dealers
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "sburbank" (sburbank@orednet.org)
Source: The Oregonian
Author: Richard Cockle. Correspondent, The Oregonian
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Pubdate: Friday, 23 Jan 1998


Residents Of Eastern Oregon's Pilot Rock Spearhead An Effort Similar To
Their 1995 Campaign To Kick Out Gang Members

PILOT ROCK -- The Eastern Oregon town of Pilot Rock dealt with a street
gang problem three years ago by chasing the gangs out of town.

Now the townspeople are going after drug dealers.

"We're back at it again," Police Chief Ron Layton said Tuesday. "It's very
difficult to be a drug dealer in a residential neighborhood when all your
neighbors are taking photographs of your customers and writing down your
tag number and turning them over to the police."

Complaints about underage drinking and teen-age use of marijuana and
methamphetamine in this sawmill and ranching town south of Pendleton have
increased in recent months, prompting a public meeting at the Pilot Rock
Junior High School gym last week.

About 100 attended, and some angry residents said the problem is getting
out of hand.

One resident said he could name 15 locations in town where drugs are
available, which Layton said probably was an exaggeration. "I think what
they are saying is, we are not going to tolerate this anymore," Layton
said. "I was relatively surprised at the attendance. There were some real
issues that people brought up."

Since the meeting, about 30 residents have volunteered to act as an
advisory group responsible for coming up with ways to rid the community of
drug dealers.

"It's going to be the community, not the police force, that is the driving
force," Layton said. "This is something the community has asked for and

In early 1994, the 1,540 residents of Pilot Rock became convinced they had
a street gang problem after a wave of vandalism, graffiti and thefts by
local teens, coupled with reports of guns and increasing violence. About 50
local teen-agers had started dressing in low-riding baggy pants,
backward-facing ball caps and Oakland Raiders jackets. They congregated at
a downtown mini-mart, where they traded insults with gang members from
Milton-Freewater, Pendleton, WallaWalla and the Tri-Cities, Wash.

After a series of town meetings in 1995, a group of residents began working
with police. A handful of local people called the parents of the worst
troublemakers and advised them to leave town. About 40 students left the
local schools before classes began that fall, according to the school
district. The police received no complaints and none of the departing
parents mentioned threats. They told school officials they were moving for
their jobs.

Meanwhile, Layton and his three police officers made a point of citing
out-of-town gang members for underage smoking and other minor offenses.

The townspeople also changed the weeknight curfew from 11 p.m. to 9 p.m.;
created a "Committee of Vigilance" to produce a newsletter on youth
activities: adopted a "parental accountability ordinance and started a
five-member Juvenile Accountability Board, the first of its kind in the
state, to hear cases involving juveniles charged with minor offenses.

It wasn't long before Pilot Rock's teens stopped dressing like gang
members, and the estimated 220 gang members in Umatilla and Morrow counties
stayed away.

"We have decided to take the same tactics and apply it to the drug
problem," Layton said. "I notice many of the same people who were involved
with our anti-gang effort are also the same people who are coming to the
front in the anti-drug effort."

Layton said most of the local drug dealers were born and raised in Pilot
Rock. The community's goal is to put so much pressure on them that they
will decide it is impossible to function in the area, he said. "There is a
tendency in a small community like this to throw up your hands and say
there is nothing you can do," Layton said. "But if people commit and dig in
their heels and say, 'We aren't going to stand for this anymore,' they can
get rid of it. "It can be dealt with."

Whitaker Students View National Anti-Drug Campaign ('The Oregonian'
Prints A Characteristically Uncritical, Smiley-Face Story About The Premiere
In Portland Of The New $195 Million US 'Anti-Drug' Advertising Campaign -
Reporter Mystified When Students Laugh At First Of Four TV Spots
Among 17 Prepared For National Campaign Aimed At Ages 9 To 17 - Lots Of
Oregon Politicians Show Up At School System Plundered By Drug War
To Take Credit)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:17:11 -0500
Subject: MN: US OR: Whitaker Students View National Anti-drug Campaign
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "sburbank" 
Source: The Oregonian
Author: Joe Murphy of The Oregonian staff
Contact: letters@news.oregonian.com
Pubdate: Friday, 23 Jan 1998

I wonder how they arrive at the fact that marijuana is the main problem
(70% worth)? No mention of the increased use of alcohol and tobacco.

"Could it possibly be an attempt to influence the vote in '98?" I say with
tongue in cheek. They're going to spend this amount in addition to the
$650,000 they already spend on the DARE program. And it's only a



Photo: Accompanying photo (serious looking girl with arms crossed) has this

Nicole Hothcoata, a Whitaker Middle school seventh-grader, asks leaders of
a new national youth anti-drug campaign if marijuana will be legalized. The
new media campaign made its Portland debut at the school Thursday.


Federal, State And Local Officials Kick Off Portland's Segment Of A $195
Million Project At The Northeast School

The new national anti-drug campaign that Stormed Whitaker Middle School's
auditorium Thursday told students what they've already heard: Drugs are bad.

But this time, there was more to it 'than a "Just Say No" slogan.

National, state and local officials started Portland's segment of the $195
million National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign before about 600 students
at the Northeast Portland school. Officials spoke to students and showed
commercials that began airing Thursday in Portland.

Students gave the commercials mixed reviews.

In fact, after the first commercial, a serious message about the effects of
heroin use, the students laughed.

Although many students were skeptical of what they saw, they thought the
campaign could be successful with one key ingredient: specifics.

"They should show people using stuff," seventh-grader Georgio Lambert said,
"and then show them in the funeral home, so kids can know how devastating
drugs are."

Among those speaking about the harm of drug use were Dennis Greenhouse, an
official with the White House National Drug Policy Office, Republican Sen.
Gordon Smith; Democratic Reps. Elizabeth Furse and Darlene Hooley: Portland
Mayor Vera Katz; Portland Police Chief Charles Moose; and Whitaker
eighth-grader Shauncey Mashia.

Students viewed four of 17 commercials prepared for the national campaign
aimed at students 9 to 17 years old in 12 cities.

In one, a woman crushes an egg with a frying pan and then wreaks havoc on
her kitchen, smashing plates and a clock while talking about how drags
destroy people and their relationships.

Others target the "average teen," telling students they don't have to take
drugs to be cool.

'There are commercials that depict what happens to you (if you use drugs),"
Greenhouse said. "Messages have a target audience in mind. A lot are

Seventy percent of the commercials aired in Portland target marijuana users
because that's Portland's largest problem, he said.

The other 30 percent are aimed at methamphetamine users or at adults,
urging them to be involved with their children.

Although drug use has decreased by half nationally since 1979, it's rising
among youth, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

From 1991 to 1996, illicit drug use more than doubled among eighth- and
10th-graders. Less than 6 percent of eighth-graders had used drugs within
30 days of being surveyed in 1991, compared with 16.4 percent in 1996.
Thirty-one percent of eighth-graders have used drugs in their lifetime, the
study showed.

Many Whitaker students already had decided they would never use drugs
before they saw the commercials. "They mess up your life." seventh-grader
Latoya Cunningham said.

Some said the commercials were helpful, but the message wasn't as
applicable to them as it might be to others. "The people who'll be using
drugs will probably stop," seventh-grader Josue Vicente said of the
commercial's effect. "But I don't use drugs."

Vicente and his friend Jorge Ceballos, 13, said they both had brothers who
were jailed for drug use. They said that their close experience with the
effects of drug use taught them more about drugs' harmful effects than
commercials did.

The officials talked about the opportunities wasted by drugs. "Those that
come to sell you drugs are monsters in human form," Smith said. "They will
take your life, if not your soul."

Katz emphasized four essentials of success: "Dream big dreams, stay in
school, don't use drugs and stay out of gangs."

Moose said education and encouragement are the most effective means of drug
prevention. "We can encourage each other to make good choices," he said.

Commercials are only one facet of the $195 million plan. Multiple layers of
involvement, from television to the classroom, will add depth to the
anti-drug message, depth that the "Just Say No" campaign lacked, Greenhouse
said. It will work because "there are concerned adults and organizations
that want to help the kids, something I don't think we had in-the past," he

"This goes beyond 'Just Say No,'" Whitaker Principal James Brannon said.
"Hopefully it will be effective."

Marijuana And The Media - A Reporter's Inside Story (By Jeff Meyers
Of 'The Los Angeles Times,' Exclusive To Marijuananews.com)

Date: 	Fri, 23 Jan 1998 17:43:31 -0400 (AST)
From: Chris Donald 
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com,
Subject: Exclusive ART on MJ and Media: Dick Cowen's site


Dick Cowan's site is proving to be as worth a daily perusal as
the DND. The following piece is an exclusive to the site, and he plans on
continuing with daily news updates, including material canvassed from
activists, indefinitely.

IMHO it is certainly worth a bookmark for any serious activist:


A Personal Newsletter on the Cannabis Controversies
Date: 01/23/98
Richard Cowan, Editor and Publisher

Marijuana and the Media - A Reporter's Inside Story
By Jeff Meyers -- Exclusive to Marijuananews

Ed. Note: I am particularly pleased to run this story by Jeff Meyers
because it documents something that I have been complaining about for
many years -- the journalistic malpractice that has done so much to
create and sustain the fraud of marijuana prohibition. It is important
to note that what Meyers is reporting did not happen in some backwater
Podunk Daily Sludge. These are the best newspapers and other media in

Also see: [17] A Victory in Ventura: "Underdog Battles Forces Of
Darkness" by Jeff Meyers

January 23, 1998

The federal government's primary witness at the 1937 Marijuana
Hearings was a Treasury Department bureaucrat named Harry Anslinger,
the nation's first drug czar. Anslinger testified that all the world's
marijuana experts agreed: this "vicious drug" could induce a murderous
rage. And damn quick. "One cigarette would develop a homicidal mania,"
Anslinger told the House Ways and Means Committee. "Probably some
people could smoke five before it would take effect …. it's
entirely the monster Hyde."

As absurd as Anslinger's statements sound today -- they were taken as
Biblical truth 60 years ago, enabling Pot Prohibition to sail through
Congress. Despite opposition by the AMA -- which saw great promise in
cannabis -- the bill was passed unanimously in both houses,
deliberation lasting a scant 92 seconds. President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signed it into law on Aug. 3, 1937. Pot was outlawed.
Medical research was banned. It was now legal to hunt down and
imprison pot-smokers. Specifically, Negro musicians and Mexican
immigrants. Most white people hadn't even heard of marijuana. It
wasn't until the '60s that they turned on and got arrested in mass
numbers. In just the last 30 years, over 11 million people of all
races and creeds have been arrested on marijuana charges.

Like Congress in 1937, the media of the day swallowed Anslinger's
rendition of "Reefer Madness." Not one newspaper bothered to
investigate his sources or check his dubious facts. If anything, big
city papers embraced his fiction and even embellished it, terrifying
Middle America with lurid, and patently false, horror stories. While
Hearst's San Francisco Examiner sounded the alarm for parents with
headlines like "Marijuana Makes Fiends of Boys in 30 Days," other
papers fanned the flames of racism with similarly outlandish tales of
pot-crazed Mexicans committing acts of depravity.

For six decades, mainstream media continued to shape the public's
perception of marijuana by promoting every myth and scare tactic
supplied by the government. Pot leads to violence. Pot leads to
lethargy. Pot leads to hard drugs and death. Pot is a hard drug. Pot
kills brain cells. Pot hooks our children. Pot grows breasts on boys.
Pot has no known medical use.

Although today's major newspapers and TV networks are far more
circumspect than their predecessors thanks to the medical marijuana
issue and California's Proposition 215, they still don't get it right.
Far too many government spokesmen and press releases continue to be
handled with kid gloves. And too much erroneous anti-pot rhetoric
still gets published and aired, while an inordinate amount of pro-pot
news is left out. The public is not being told the whole story.

My hobby is tracking marijuana news worldwide on the Internet. Every
day I read news stories, letters-to-the-editor, editorials and op-ed
pieces in foreign and U.S. papers. I monitor pot stories on TV. I also
know the issue from the inside, having worked 10 years as a staff
writer for the L.A. Times.

I saw how marijuana myths become institutionalized. Any Times reporter
today who researches pot in the paper's online library will ingest a
lot of mistakes and exaggerations. Articles written in the last few
months have reported that the passage of Proposition 215 "may have
contributed to the increase in marijuana use by our youth," that "this
is not the marijuana kids smoked in the '60s," that "we see people
involved in much more dangerous drugs who were involved in marijuana
first," that bongs "increase the effect of marijuana." Since no
corrections or clarifications accompanied the stories, these "facts"
are assumed to be correct by the reporter who looks them up online and
they get passed on once again to the reader.

When I was a news reporter for the Times' Ventura County Edition a few
years ago, I made the mistake of pitching an anti-DARE story to the
city editor. I told him DARE was wasting taxpayer money. I said
reputable studies show that DARE not only has no effect whatsoever on
whether kids do or don't do pot, but it may also be counterproductive.
Red-faced, he marched me into his office, closed the door and directed
my attention to a framed certificate hanging behind his desk. It was a
DARE commendation for his cooperation in helping save children from
the scourge of drugs.

I was frustrated in my efforts to educate editors at the Times. Not
one top editor was willing to let me write a balanced, objective, fair
pot piece despite my reporting credentials (numerous front-page
stories and Sunday Magazine covers). Even worse, editors allowed
mistakes to get into the paper even when I e-mailed warnings in time
to make the corrections. Nobody wanted to believe there was another
side to the story.

I continually read stories in the New York Times and Washington Post
that expose the gullibility of these pillars of journalism. Last
summer, a NIDA press release heralded two NIDA-sponsored rat studies
suggesting that marijuana may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine
and leave users "primed" for other drugs of abuse. The lead paragraph
in the New York Times article was almost a carbon copy of the NIDA
press release. The Post also acted like the government's lap dog,
trumpeting that "marijuana may be a far more insidious drug than
generally thought."

Neither paper had sought out experts with opposing viewpoints -
something cub reporters are taught the first day of J-School. It was
up to the alternative media to carry stories on the flaws in NIDA's
spin, pointing out that the studies actually proved marijuana is NOT
an addictive substance. Neither the New York Times nor the Post ran a
follow-up amending their original story.

What defines the media's bias the most is what doesn't get into the
paper or on the air. Such as any good news about pot. In late October,
an L.A. Times science writer was in New Orleans covering a medical
convention when researchers announced the results of a startling new
pot study. As he reported, the scientists have shown that THC "could
serve as an effective remedy for the millions who suffer serious pain,
without the unwanted side effects of more traditional morphine-like
drugs …. it is not addictive, nor does it appear to carry the
risk that patients may develop tolerance for it and require increasing

Although the study was done using synthetic pot (research with the
real stuff is still highly restricted), it still scientifically
verified marijuana's medical value, dealing a major blow to the Feds
by undermining their bedrock reason for keeping marijuana a Schedule I
drug: They claim it has no known medical use. I turned on the tube
that night expecting to see the story on the networks. Nothing. Not on
the L.A. stations. Not CNN, usually the most diligent media source
when it comes to pot news. I scanned newspaper sites on the Internet
the next day. Even though the Associated Press sent out its version of
the story, most papers had closed their eyes and plugged their ears.
Including the Seattle Times -- which was in the midst of an editorial
campaign against a Washington State initiative that would legalize
marijuana for medical use (the initiative failed)

The media makes little attempt to cover marijuana as thoroughly as
other beats. Pot is hot in many countries today, especially Canada and
in Europe, where decriminalization movements have begun reaching
critical mass, but the story goes unreported in America. Not even
marijuana atrocities in this country have gotten the media's
attention. In 1997, an Oklahoma father of three was sentenced to 93
years in prison for growing pot to use medicinally for rheumatoid

He was arrested when Tulsa police busted in his door on a bogus tip
that he was dealing methamphetamine. They found none and only $28 in
the house. But in a small basement room, they discovered a few dozen
pot plants, many of them seedlings. Will Foster, a 38-year-old
computer dealer and ex-Army MP who had never been in trouble with the
law, now sits in a Texas jail cell for the rest of his life. Americans
are unaware of his story because the mainstream media have chosen not
to cover it.

The great shame of American journalism is that we condemn China for
human rights abuses but ignore Will Foster and the rest of the victims
of this country's War on Marijuana.


Longtime journalist Jeff Meyers, a documentary filmmaker living in
Ventura, Ca., is the producer of "The M Files," a short dramatization
of the absurd origin of marijuana prohibition. He is currently working
on "The Emperor Wears No Clothes - the Film."
See: [18]California Firm Acquires Film Rights to "The Emperor Wears No
Clothes" -- Seeks Funding

Freedom has nothing to fear from the truth.


Marijuana Cures Hiccups ('The Lancet' Reports On A Case
Of Intractable Hiccups - A Complication Of AIDS -
That Cannabis Smoking Ameliorated When Nothing Else Worked)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 01:07:09 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: Marijuana cures hiccups
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0 -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: DRCTalk is the planning forum for DRCNet.

This "research letter" is in this week's Lancet:

Marijuana for intractable hiccups
Ian Gilson, Mary Busalacchi

A patient with AIDS and a history of oesophageal candidosis underwent
minor ambulatory surgery. He was on indinavir, and he received
perioperative intravenous midazolam and dexamethasone. The following
morning he developed persistent hiccups. Chlorpromazine controlled the
hiccups only during sleep. Oral nifedipine, valproate, lansoprazole, and
intravenous lidocaine had no effect. Glabellar acupuncture on day six and
nine terminated the hiccups for less than an hour. Removal of a hair from
the tympanic membrane on day 8 and irrigation of marcaine into the
external auditory canal on day nine gave only brief relief. On day eight the
patient, who had not smoked marijuana before, smoked marijuana, and his
hiccups stopped. They recurred on day nine and on day ten the patient
again smoked marijuana; hiccups stopped immediately and did not recur.
On day 14 he was found to have fluconazole-resistant oesophageal
candidosis on oesophagoscopy, and was treated with oral itraconazole
solution and oral amphotericin B.

Intractable hiccups has been reported as an uncommon complication of
AIDS; in the largest series, most cases were attributed to oesophageal
candidosis and other oesophageal diseases.1 This patient did have
oesophageal candidosis, but it was longstanding and his hiccups stopped
before a change in treatment, so this is unlikely to be the cause of his
hiccups. Midazolam2 and dexamethsone3 are the drugs most commonly
associated with iatrogenic hiccups. The patient received both shortly before
the onset of hiccups, and indinavir may have prolonged the effect of
midazolam by inhibiting its metabolism. Although midazolam is
contraindicated in patients on protease inhibitors, it and other proscribed
drugs may be inadvertently administered if the potential for drug-drug
interactions is not considered.

Anecdotal reports support the use of marijuana in AIDS-related nausea
and anorexia, and dronabinol is approved for treatment of AIDS wasting.
Because intractable hiccups is an uncommon condition, it is unlikely that the
use of marijuana will ever be tested in a controlled clinical trial, and blinding
would be difficult. Despite federal policy which forbids the use of marijuana
therapeutically,4 this report should be considered for hiccups refractory to
other measures.

1 Albrecht H, Stellbrink HJ. Hiccups in people with AIDS. J Acquir
Immun Defic Syndr 1994; 7: 735

2 de Mendonca MJT. Midazolam-induced hiccoughs. Br Dent J 1984;
157: 49

3 Vasquez JJ. Persistent hiccup as a side effect of dexamethasone
treatment. Hum Exp Toxicol 1993; 13: 32.

4 Kassirer JP. Federal foolishness and marijuana. N Engl J Med 1997;
336: 366

Aurora Medical Group, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA (I Gilson)

Important News From DC (Steve Michael, A Sponsor Of Initiative 59
Medical Marijuana Campaign, Indicates Americans For Medical Rights
And Initiative 59 Still In Competition For Washington Voters, But AMR
Has Missed Filing Deadline And Fallen Behind)
Link to earlier story
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 16:45:13 EST Reply-To: VOTEYES57@aol.com Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org From: VOTEYES57@aol.com Subject: Important news from DC Attention Everyone I just checked out the current issue of the DC Register and discovered that AMR's DC attorney failed to move to consolidate the hearings for their medical marijuana initiative. That means that they will not be able to hit the streets until April--at the earliest. That means that on February 4th the Board of Elections will approve the petition sheets for the Initiative I sponsored (Initiative 59). The Board will then rule on the other two medical marijuana initiatives as appropriate matters for initiative. They must then come back to at least two more board meetings before AMR can gather signature one. It is clear that the only game in town is Initiative 59. Even AMR's Zimmerman and Fratello admit that the September 15 DC primary is the best election for us to be on in DC. In order to qualify an initiative for that ballot signatures must be turned in by May 15th. ACT UP Washington members will have three and one half months to gather the needed signatures. AMR's will have no more than five weeks. Even AMR cannot ignore these facts. I call on everyone to contact Amr and help convey to them the importance of working with those of us that live here in DC. I call on AMR to accept reality and get on board the Initiative 59 bandwagon. Steve Michael Sponsor, Initiative 59

Re - Dying Need Compassion (Letter To Editor Of 'Oakland Tribune' Agrees
With Earlier Letter That California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Deserve Protection)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 19:38:03 -0500
Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: RE: Dying Need Compassion
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Gerald Sutliff 
Source: Oakland Tribune
Author: Joel W. Johnson
Pubdate: 23 Jan 97
Contact: triblet@angnewspapers.com
Editor's note: Besides being published everywhere, Joel also is one of the
editor@mapinc.org forlks processing the news for this service. As the
number of articles per day keeps growing, his help is most welcome. Joel
currently processes news from California, Texas and Canadian sources. We
have a great team, but could use a few more volunteers. If you are
interested in helping, processing the news from your state, area, or
country, please drop me a note: rlake@mapinc.org

Re: Dying Need Compassion

To the Editor:

Robin Bryant's editorial is all the reason we need to defend the cannabis
buyers clubs from the attack of Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren and the federal

While the clubs may not be the best method to distribute marijuana to the
sick, at very least, they take business away from drug dealers and provide
a safe, accountable means to provide treatment.

Bryant's heartfelt account clearly shows that California's vote on
Proposition 215 was propelled by compassion and humanity. Unfortunately, it
will take more and more stories about a "loved one [who] vomited
uncontrollably due to chemotherapy. . . or watched them sink into a
vegetative depression which was unresponsive to prescription drugs" to sway
our stubborn atty. general from his position to attack the sick simply
because marijuana is the cure that ails them.

My only consolation from Lungren's motion to squelch the clubs is my
confidence in his failure: you can't defeat the needs of the sick and dying.


Joel W. Johnson

Medical Marijuana - The Will Foster Case In Oklahoma (Reprint
From 'AIDS Treatment News' Notes Foster Was Using Cannabis
As An Antiinflammatory Drug, Just As AIDS Patients Often Do)

To: canorml@swbell.net, canorml@igc.apc.org, mgreer@mapinc.org
From: "John S. James" (jjames@dnai.com)
Subject: Medical Marijuana: The Will Foster Case in Oklahoma
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 98 22:18:30 +0000

Medical Marijuana: The Will Foster Case in Oklahoma
by John S. James
Reprinted from AIDS TREATMENT NEWS #287, January 23, 1998.

The new information on antiinflammatory effects of marijuana
[see "Marijuana, Inflammation, and CT-3 (DMH-11C): Cannabis
Leads to New Class of Antiinflammatory Drugs," AIDS TREATMENT
NEWS #287] is also relevant to the case of Will Foster in
Tulsa, Oklahoma. This case shows the need for legal
recognition of medical marijuana, and other law reform.

In January 1997 Will Foster, who ran a software business and
was formerly a military policeman, was sentenced to 93 years
in prison for growing marijuana in his basement to treat his
severe rheumatoid arthritis. He had no criminal record.

The sentence consisted of 70 years for growing the plants, 20
years for doing so in the presence of children (his own, who
according to Foster never saw or knew about the marijuana,
which was in a locked room), and three years for
miscellaneous marijuana offenses. While researching this case
we looked for indications of anything else that could explain
the severity of the sentence, but could find nothing. Foster
refused to plead guilty and accept a 12-year sentence, and
instead had a jury trial--said to be unheard of in Tulsa in a
marijuana possession or cultivation case, which usually leads
to a plea bargain.

Will Foster's wife Meg had difficulty finding a lawyer in
Tulsa to handle an appeal, but an appeal was filed on
September 6, 1997. Two weeks later Foster was transferred to
a prison in Texas, 400 miles from his family, where he
remains today. He was unable to get his prescription
medications or even minimal medical care for his arthritis,
until public pressure was organized. The Oklahoma governor
rejected requests for clemency.

More information about the case, including updates, a
detailed statement by Will Foster, a 2000-word article in
REASON magazine, and how people can help, can be found at:


Copyright 1998 by John S. James. Permission granted to post
or distribute this article online, provided that the article
and this permission statement are not changed. AIDS Treatment
News can be reached at P.O. Box 411256, San Francisco CA
94141, phone 415-255-0588.

Maine Medical Marijuana At Issue (Complete Version Of Letter To Editor
Of 'Morning Sentinel' By Don Christen Of Maine Vocals,
About Competing Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiatives)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 08:00:35 EST
Originator: medmj@drcnet.org
Sender: medmj@drcnet.org
From: Donald Christen 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Maine Medical Marijuana at issue
Organization: Maine Vocals

Hello All,

This letter was run Jan. 23 in The Morning Sentinel, Waterville, Maine.
Just the beginning.

Don C.

This letter is in response to a letter by Stephany Hart, from
Mainers for Medical Rights, and an in house editorial which was written
by the Sentinel staff, (unsigned) partially entitled "Legislature Works
Best". We think it is correct that the voters are being confused, and they
should read what they are signing and voting for, but they are wrong
insinuating that the "legislature works best", and should read in this
issue and some others is, legislature fails to do their job, people
want polls to decide. Obviously this shows the need for the initiative
process here in Maine, and is needed in every other state also to
counter this type of inaction by "our representation" at state level.

It is fortunate for Veterinary Dr. Michael Lindey, who supports
the AMR/MMR initiative, listened to either his peers or advocates and
disregarded the law to self medicate himself. He did this in spite of
the fact he could have his license to practice medicine revoked,
possible civil sanctions and fine, and the racist label of being a
"Druggie" or "Pot Head" .

The Dr. and MMR coordinator don't seem to realize who has brought
this issue to the public in the first place. Maine Citizens for Medical
Marijuana, Maine Vocals, Maine BACH, and Maine Cannabis Alliance all
have been involved with the medical marijuana issue in our state for
years. (MCMM 1 yr.) We have educated many " ignorant" legislators and
citizens to the truth and facts, just as the Dr. may have found out
indirectly through us or another who has the same knowledge. Either way,
if many activists, nation wide had not been pushing the issue AMR
would not be here today.

Now you would have us go sit at the back of the bus? Oh Really

Best spokesman for the issue, maybe not, but who wants the job? In
the last decade , not many have stepped forward. I have gotten a label,
not because I have been busted, but because I have been outspoken and
aggressive activist for ending Cannabis prohibition, as well as for
medical marijuana, and I stand by my principals that prohibition is
wrong. Depriving sick or injured citizens medical marijuana is not only
wrong, it is a "real" crime, but the government still doesn't even want
to admit marijuana is a medicine. Remember Dr. that is why we are
petitioning, because we no longer are willing to accept their rhetoric.
We The People are writing this law, and we are not writing it for the
legislators approval, the governor approval, the judicials approval or
the cops approval. ( their already frothing at the bit to appose any
marijuana legislation ) We want the politics and cops removed from the
Drs. offices and our medicine cabinets, they are not qualified to
diagnose, or recommend therapy, are they?

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

The Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana initiative, to avoid any more
confusion, will be called prop. 1014. (This was the birthday of departed
activist and glaucoma patient Carol Hurley.)

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

First, their is no need for limits, the patients should be able to have
what they need... Current law provides the protections against sales
and furnishing, which apply to all non-medical transactions. Patient can
have a bale of marijuana and as long as they use it for themselves,
what's the big deal?

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

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

Maine Citizens for Medical Marijuana are all local Maine patients
and residents, who are all volunteers, and care about what they are

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

We would be willing to debate the issue anytime, anyplace to inform
the public of the facts about these competing initiatives. Why doesn't
the Bangor Daily, in the interest of public knowledge and information,
set up a debate or two with the MMR people and MCMM.

Let's let a well informed public decide instead of this chicanery...

Sincerely Vocal,
Don Christen
Tel 207-696-8167
E-Mail mevocals@somtel.com

Ex-Agent's Past Catches Public Agencies Off Guard ('San Diego Union Tribune'
Examines Latest Entrepreneur Set To Get Rich Off Drug-Testing - Former DEA
Agent Rene De La Cova, The Man Who Slapped Handcuffs On Manuel Noriega
In Panama - And Then Served Time For Stealing $760,000)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 23:35:14 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Ex-Agent's Past Catches Public Agencies Off Guard
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Tom Murlowski
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jan 1998
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Author: Joe Cantlupe, Staff Writer


As a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Rene De La Cova was a hero
who slapped handcuffs on Manuel Noriega, helping turn the Panamanian
strongman into a convict.

A few years later, De La Cova himself became a criminal, serving prison
time for stealing $760,000 in laundered drug money while a DEA agent in the
Miami area.

Now he has surfaced in San Diego County -- in the drug-testing business.

De La Cova is a representative of Drug Testing Network, which collects
specimens for alcohol and drug tests on behalf of dozens of clients,
including San Diego Transit and the cities of Carlsbad and Oceanside.

The Vista-based company, owned by De La Cova's wife, Theresa, touts an
inexpensive mobile service that sends samples to independent laboratories
for testing.

Theresa De la Cova also is a former DEA agent. She was forced to resign in
1994 when her husband pleaded guilty to stealing the funds while working on
an undercover drug sting, according to court records in Miami.

Rene De La Cova, a supervisor of the DEA's Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office at
the time of his arrest, remains on probation after being sentenced to a
two-year federal prison term. The 48-year-old former agent has reimbursed
the government since the theft and served a partial term, records show. His
wife was not accused of wrongdoing.

Legally, there is nothing improper with De La Cova working in the
drug-testing field -- and, by all accounts, he's doing a good job. But The
San Diego Union-Tribune's inquiries about his record have stunned
representatives of local public agencies, raising questions about the
credibility and thoroughness of their reference checks of drug-testing
collection businesses.

It also points to the lack of regulations in this part of a
multibillion-dollar industry that generally is heavily scrutinized across
the nation.

"To tell you the truth, it shocks me," said Steve St. Pierre, manager of
human resources for San Diego Transit, which recently hired Drug Testing
Network, attracted by its comparatively low costs and mobile services.

The transit agency has budgeted about $20,000 annually for the services
under an arrangement St. Pierre said he would review. The cities of
Carlsbad and Oceanside spend less than $2,000 annually in contracts with
Drug Testing Network.

"Our program has never run smoother," St. Pierre said. "They are right on
the ball.

"When we were going through the process, I checked a number of references.
They had a list of clients. I called several of them to ask their
experience, and I got nothing but good remarks."

Arlene Berman, employee services manager for Oceanside, said she was
surprised by Rene De La Cova's past.

"They are very accommodating, and willing to go out of their way, very easy
to work with," Berman said of Drug Testing Network.

A federal court order filed in Miami states: "As directed by his probation
officer, De La Cova shall notify third parties of risks that may be
occasioned by defendant's criminal record."

Theresa De La Cova said she was assured by probation officials that
disclosure was not a requirement. Probation officials declined to comment
for this story.

St. Pierre and other officials in San Diego County said they were unaware
of the criminal conviction until informed by the Union-Tribune this week.

A consultant familiar with the drug-testing field expressed concern that
the felony conviction may have an impact on potential litigation.

"I don't mind that he is working, but he shouldn't be in the drug-testing
business; there are no checks and balances," the consultant said.

The federal Department of Transportation, which has initiated stringent
drug-testing procedures for "safety sensitive" employees, has no licensing
requirement for collection agencies, said Donald Carr, a safety specialist
for the agency.

Theresa De La Cova said her company has abided by the law.

"Would you bring up your past?" she asked.

"He made a mistake and paid for it going to hell and back," she said, her
voice breaking, in a recent telephone conversation. "It has nothing to do
with the business. We have a wonderful company.

"This is my business, my company. There are no regulations that prevent
him from being here."

As an employee, Rene De La Cova handles various duties for Drug Testing
Network, from marketing to watching over the collection process, to talking
at local schools about running a small business, said officials of some
agencies that have contracts with the company.

In 1989, while a station chief in Panama, Rene De La Cova made headlines
around the world when he placed the handcuffs on then-Panamian leader
Noriega, who was arrested on drug charges. Noriega was convicted in 1992
and is serving a 40-year prison term near Miami.

In 1993, Rene De La Cova's own fortunes reversed.

It started smoothly -- and legally. Posing as a money launderer, he
negotiated with drug traffickers, seizing $3 million for the federal
government. The DEA thought the case was wrapped up.

But then came another call.

According to court records:

(Picture) The drug trafficker told De La Cova that there was an additional
$760,000 to be picked up. De La Cova did not tell his superiors about the
extra cash.

(Picture) De La Cova picked up the money in Houston, stuffed the cash in
his luggage and flew back to Miami.

(Picture) Over the next few weeks, the money was placed in safety deposit
boxes or in bank and stock brokerage accounts around the country. De La
Cova arranged trips, and the money was used to buy airline tickets, meals
and jewelry.

Within 45 days, De La Cova pleaded guilty. Eventually he reimbursed the

"I have no excuses for what I did," De La Cova told a judge. "I've had
pretty much an impeccable career. "

While her husband was in prison, Theresa De La Cova struggled to begin a
new business and moved full-time to San Diego's North County. She founded
a private investigation business, Kristy Investigative Services, of which
Drug Testing Network was a part.

Besides the drug-collection work, Drug Testing Network offers
drug-education programs.

"Join the growing number of businesses that are saying NO to drugs in the
workplace," says its brochure that helped win a contract with the city of

Cop Indicted For Dealing Crack Cocaine ('Post-Dispatch' Says The St. Louis,
Missouri Policeman Also Sold Cannabis - FBI Has Videotapes - 34-Year-Old
Had Been Suspended Since 1996 After Coming Under Suspicion
Of Shaking Down Drug Dealers)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 15:10:46 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Anti-Prohibition Lg (aal@inetarena.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Cop indicted for dealing crack cocaine (fwd)

Police officer is indicted on drug charges

By Bill Bryan
Of The Post-Dispatch
Friday, January 23, 1998

In a long-awaited development, a St. Louis police officer
was charged Thursday in a federal indictment with distributing crack
cocaine and marijuana.

The officer, Reginald Chandler, 34, has been suspended
since June 1996 after he and another St. Louis police officer and a former
officer all came under suspicion of shaking down drug dealers.

The three men - all of whom worked at one time in the
city's Fifth District - were charged in state felonies in August 1996.
Those charges were dropped when federal authorities took over the case.

Police sources said the FBI had videotapes of one or more
of the three taking money and drugs from drug dealers.

Chandler was indicted by a federal grand jury on three
felony counts of distributing and selling narcotics. The indictment alleged
that Chandler distributed and sold crack and marijuana.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in
prison and a fine of $2 million.

Chandler is expected to surrender today.

The police department's internal affairs division worked
with the FBI in the investigation. Police said the federal investigation
was continuing into the roles of the other two men, Officer Michael Butler
and Derrick Mack.

Butler was suspended in June 1996. Mack resigned in May 1996.

New Findings - DEA's Five-Year Record Is Off, But DEA Appears
Somewhat More Effective Than FBI In Drug Enforcement
(US Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse - TRAC - Report)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 14:45:46 EST
Reply-To: Gettman_J@mediasoft.net
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Jon Gettman 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: DEA Performance Data

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) is a data gathering,
data research and data distribution organization associated with Syracuse

The criminal justice data they provide can be very useful, and this is a
superb reference to cite for statistics.

Free access to performance data and graphs on the DEA., FBI, BATF, and the
IRS is available - however you must register a username and a password first.

Here is there summary of DEA performance:


New Findings: DEA's Five-Year Record Is Off,
But DEA Appears Somewhat More Effective
Than FBI In Drug Enforcement

Justice Department performance data appear to indicate a moderate decline in
the overall effectiveness of the Drug Enforcement Agency from 1992 to 1996,
according to analysis by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse

At the same time, however, the analysis shows that the DEA has outperformed
the FBI in the drug area during the same five year period.

Evidence concerning the decline in the DEA's enforcement effort included the

The proportion of all DEA referrals accepted for prosecutions by United
States attorneys has dropped from 84 percent in 1992 to 79 percent in 1996.

During the same period, referrals resulting in conviction at the federal
level went from 62 percent to 59 percent.

Median DEA prison sentences -- after holding steady at 60 months in 1992,
1993 and 1994 -- have declined in the last two years: 57 months in 1995 and
54 months in 1996.

The volume of DEA referrals for prosecutions was also down during this same
five-year period. However, the number of DEA criminal investigators also
consistently declined from 1992 through 1995, only returning to its peak 1992
level by the end of fiscal year 1996.

Although TRAC's analysis of the Justice Department's year-to-year data
indicated an erosion in the effectiveness of the DEA from 1992 to 1996, a
second analysis of drug enforcement actions during the entire five-year
period showed that the DEA was outperforming the FBI in the drug area.

This analysis examined the outcomes of the referrals made by the agencies
under the government's two most frequently used drug statutes. Looking only
at the matters disposed of where those statutes were the lead charges during
the last five years, the DEA got the green light from prosecutors 81 percent
of the time, compared with 75 percent of the time for the FBI. The DEA's 60
percent conviction rate also was a bit better than the 55 percent achieved by
the FBI. While DEA investigations led to prison sentences 54 percent of the
time, the FBI percent was 49. In only one significant area did the DEA not
look measurably better than the FBI. In this comparison, again looking at the
overall five year record, the median sentence for both agencies was exactly
the same: sixty months.

Because current law severely limits the discretion of judges in setting
prison sentences and because almost all convictions result from agreements
between the prosecutors and the defendants, the gradual decline in median
sentences from 1992 to 1996 is not thought to be the product of judicial
whimsy. More significant, it is believed, is the quality of matters being
presented by the DEA and how these matters are handled by federal

Rescued Man Now Facing Pot Charges ('Denver Post' Reports On Colorado
Snowmobiler Lost Four Days In Blizzard - Larimer County Sheriff's Deputies
Cite His Subsequent 'Bizarre Manner' As Cause To Search His Home,
Finding Cannabis Growing)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 22:04:16 -0500
Subject: MN: US CO: Rescued Man Now Facing Pot Charges
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
Source: Denver Post
Author: Katherine Vogt, Special to The Denver Post
Contact: letters@denverpost.com
Fax: (303) 820-1369
Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.denverpost.com


Jan. 23 - Christian George, the 30-year-old snowmobiler who survived four
days in a blizzard near Steamboat Springs last week, was arrested early
Thursday on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Larimer County Sheriff's deputies who responded at 2:12 a.m. to a report of
a person shouting in the street near George's home in the small town of
Wellington found him "acting in a bizarre manner,'' according to a police

As they took him into custody, deputies found evidence that marijuana was
being grown in George's home. They obtained a search warrant and found more
than a half-pound of marijuana, enough to merit a felony charge. Growing
lamps for plants and several guns were also found, police said. They kept
the guns for inspection as a routine measure. 9News reported Thursday night
that while deputies were removing the evidence, a package containing a case
of Snickers bars was delivered to the house from the Mars Candy Co. George
had previously told reporters that he had survived his mountain ordeal with
two cigarette lighters to start fires and a king-sized Snickers bar for food.

"We had no prior suspicion of George,'' said Undersheriff John L.
Kammerzell. He said he was not aware if George had any prior criminal
record. George is being held for 72 hours at a mental health facility for

Kammerzell said Wellington, a town of about 1,300 people just north of Fort
Collins, and surrounding communities are no different than other rural
areas in Colorado in terms of the frequency and seriousness of drug-related
arrests. George made headlines Jan. 15 when he was rescued after 92 hours
on Buffalo Creek Pass during a blizzard that dumped 7 feet of snow.

He had become separated from his companions during the storm and hiked
about 6 miles of steep terrain during the ordeal. He was rescued after a
helicopter equipped with an infrared detection device spotted his fire.

He was in remarkably good shape with few signs of exposure. He was praised
for his outdoor savvy and ability to stay calm in a life-threatening

Needling Giuliani ('New York Post' Editorial Says Needle-Exchange Programs
'Bankroll People's Drug Habits, Facilitate Addiction And Condone
Hard-Core Drug Abuse' - Sidesteps Allegations In January 26
'New York Observer' That New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani Withheld
A Report Prepared By His Own Office Calling For Needle Exchange)

From: hcatania@mail.sorosny.org
To: #TLC__ACTIVIST_at_osi-ny@mail.sorosny.org, tlc-activist@soros.org,
cc: enadelmann@sorosny.org
Sender: owner-tlc-activist@soros.org
Subject: N.Y. Post: Needle exchange editorial
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 98 16:31:01 +0000

The following Editorial appeared in 1/23/98 NY Post. Send your
75-100 word letter to the editor to:

The Editor, The New York Post, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York,
NY 10036

New York Post

Please include your name, address and daytime phone number. No
unverifiable letters will be published. The Post reserves the right
to edit and condense all letters.


Say that Mayor Guiliani got a report last June issued by one of his
outside advisory councils - a report recommending that the city
bankroll people's drug habits, facilitate addiction and condone
hard-core drug abuse.

If the mayor had seen such a report, would he have buried it? No, he
would have attacked it and gotten himself an easy headline in the
midst of an election: "Mayor Attacks Advisory Council/"Soft on Drugs,'
Guiliani Says."

It turns out that an outside advisory council did issue such a report,
which surfaced this week in a New York Observer story. The report was
called "Needle Exchange Programs: An Analysis of Benefits and Costs,"
and it was the handiwork of the Mayor's Office of AIDS Policy
Coordination. The Observer claims that Giuliani and his aides buried
the report.

The only problem with the story is that Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro says
no one in the Mayor's Office ever heard of the document. But if it had
crossed his desk, Mastro says, he'd have proudly nixed it. And New
Yorkers would have had reason to be grateful.

The report recommended that the city fund and publicize
needle-exchange programs. It argued that some studies indicate such
programs help slow the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users.

What is a needle-exchange program? It's a trade-in service. A junkie
comes in with a polluted needle and trades it for a shiny new rig. The
folks who go to exchange programs make no secret that they use their
needles to inject heroin and other illegal narcotics. Do they get
busted? Quite the opposite. They're given a pat on the back and told
to go out and shoot safely.

Nine private programs in the city currently distribute this drug
paraphernalia. But the report concluded nine just wasn't enough. It
urged City Hall to spend $2.5 million of taxpayer money on more
needles. It even encouraged the city to make needles more easily
available by having hospitals and other "relevant city service
entities" distribute them.

Hey, these aren't sewing needles. They are hypodermics, used
exclusively for the abuse of drugs whose very possession is a felony.
Furthermore, it's a crime in New York state to use or possess needles
without a prescription. So when junkies walk in with their tainted
needles, they are already breaking the law.

Guiliani believes needle exchanges reinforce drug addiction and muddy
the struggle against illegal narcotics, and he's right. He has launched
a sweeping crackdown on narcotics, and handing out paraphernalia to
junkies would basically end a drug war right where it must begin - in
City Hall.

By wrongly charging the mayor with a cover-up, The New York Observer
and its reporter, Joe Conason - yes, Joe Conason, better known as the
nation's most embarrassing Clinton suck-up - have done
the mayor a disservice.

[Portland NORML notes - For more details on the cover-up, see related item in
'The Week Online With DRCNet, below.]

Needling Giuliani (Physician Criticizes Ignorant 'New York Post' Editorial
Opposing Needle Exchange)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 23:53:29 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Needling Giuliani, Jan. 23

New York Post, Jan. 23, 1998

To The Editor:

Quite apart from arcane local political details of little interest to those
living outside New York City, your editorial on needle exchange is
remarkable chiefly for its arrogant display of ignorance. Does your
editorial writer read anything beyond comic books and the Racing Form? If
he did, he might be aware that numerous peer reviewed studies, some
completed as long as 5 years ago, have shown that needle exchange programs
significantly reduce the spread of AIDS.

Your huffing about the illegality of paraphernalia misses the point that
laws banning needles and drugs have failed miserably to control, or even
reduce intravenous drug use, which is now the most common mechanism for
spreading AIDS. The inevitable conclusion is that you, your city, and your
mayor should prepare to pay a price for "cracking down" on drugs and
paraphernalia. That price will be many more cases of AIDS next year and
years hence. Those cases will not all be drug users, many will be their
lovers, spouses and children. Some might even be your children.

Perhaps, instead of issuing a sterile call for yet another futile crackdown
on drug use, you should call for a critical look at the abundant evidence
that present drug policy is a failure. Check out some of your own
columnists, say Wm. F. Buckley Jr.- you might be surprised.

Thomas J. O'Connell, MD
San Mateo, CA

Re - 'New York Post' - Needle Exchange Editorial (Another Response
To The Purveyors Of Ignorance In Manhattan Cites Studies On Efficacy
Of Needle Exchange)

From: Joey4rigs (Joey4rigs@aol.com)
To: ARO@drugsense.org (AllianceofReformOrganizations
Sender: owner-aro@drugsense.org
Subject: ARO: Re: NY Post: Needle Exchange Editorial
Organization: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 98 04:49:34 +0000

The Editor
The New York Post
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
email letters@nypost.com

Dear Editor:

We, as a people, have failed to make a significant dent in addictive drug
use even though we have turned America into the most imprisoned nation on
earth at nearly incalculable cost; in the process, we have failed to
arrest the spread of HIV infection among drug injectors, while we have
watched virtually every European country do so with the implementation of
practical and sensible harm reduction strategies. As I see it, this is
not a source of pride.

In The Post's negative assessment of the report entitled: "Needle
Exchange Programs: An Analysis of Benefits and Costs," which recommended
that New York City fund and publicize needle-exchange programs, you
reported the fact that "some studies indicate such programs help slow the
spread of HIV among intravenous drug users. " What you failed to say was
that these studies were conducted by the most respected scientific bodies
in America, led by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) the research
arm of the U.S. Congress, with the major global study of syringe
exchange subsequently conducted by the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC). The outcome of these investigations is supported by literally
thousands of other studies in almost unbroken succession. The result of
scrupulous study of syringe exchange, as an effective intervention to
protect the public's health, has been endorsed by literally hundreds of
medical and scientific associations including the National Academy of
Science and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Does anyone on the N.Y. Post's editorial staff have the academic standing
or actual expertise to competently debate the scientific findings
evaluated in the report you attacked? If so, please, ask that person to
sign the next editorial on this subject, for this is essentially a
scientific debate which should properly be decided according to what is
best for the health of the City --- not what comforts the bigotry of
short-sighted citizens or what serves to advance the interests of
politicians. The HIV epidemic is real --- arrogant ignorance has
protected no one. The longer we play political games with this fact, the
more of our children will live with HIV disease and die of AIDS.

In your editorial disparaging syringe exchange, the New York Post put a
smug, ugly and complacent face on a situation which is, by any rational
standard, a national disgrace.


Joey Tranchina

The World Is Watching You (Letter From Abroad To Editor Of 'New York Post'
In Response To Its 'Needling Giuliani' Editorial Suggests Ignorance Has
Evolved From 'Better Dead Than Red' To 'Rather AIDS Than Aid)

From: Petur Thorsteinsson (petur@ismennt.is)
by way of Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 18:36:40 -0500

Contact: letters@nypost.com

The world is watching you

The New York Post

The slogan "better dead than red" was fashionable in the good old days of
political McCartyism. After reading your editorial, NEEDLING GIULIANI, I
got the feeling that a new slogan, "rather AIDS than aid" might fit the
mentality of your era of chemical McCarthyism. The pipedream of your
government, that the war against drug users can be "won" by more cops,
tougher punishments and more suffering and death among sick people, is
sustained by journalism like yours. To quote William O. Douglas, from his
excellent book, The Right of the People, written in the middle of the cold

"The individual needs a protection from government itself - from the
executive branch, from the legislative branch, and even from the tyranny of

These words are shockingly true in the time of drug war, but after reading
your ramblings against sick individuals in New York it seems to be
necessary to add the mass media to the list of Mr. Douglas.

Petur Thorsteinsson
(contact info)

'Dark Alliance' Update ('San Jose Mercury News' Web Site
Featuring Gary Webb's Series On CIA-Cocaine-Contra Scandal
Says US Attorney General Reno Won't Release Report)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 16:28:50 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Dark Alliance update

The San Jose Merc-News site has an update today on the Dark Alliance saga
including Janet Reno's decision not to release the report and lots of links.
Check it out at


Barkeeps Fuming Mad ('San Francisco Chronicle' Says Defiant Barflies
Up And Down California Are Openly Blowing Smoke In The Face Of New Law
Prohibiting Tobacco Use In Saloons - Hundreds Of Embittered Bartenders Say
The Ban Is Hurting Business)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 22:38:51 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Barkeeps Fuming Mad
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Pubdate: Fri, 23 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Author: Torri Minton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Page A13


Many openly flouting new smoking ban

Bar owner Christy O'Connell broke the law the other day -- three times in
30 minutes.

O'Connell's crime: smoking and allowing his customers to light up in the
Abbey Tavern in San Francisco.

His revolt was repeated all over California, where defiant barflies are
openly blowing smoke in the face of a new state ban on puffing in saloons:

-- More than half the bars in Humboldt County refuse to recognize the ban,
said Loreen Hamilton, owner of the Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville. County
saloon keepers are so steamed at the state that they are pulling the plugs
on their Lotto machines.

-- Nearly 150 Alameda County pub owners and managers protested the tobacco
prohibition in Hayward last week.

-- Bold ``Smoking Permitted'' signs are posted at all four Lucky John's Too
taverns in Orange County.

The 22-day-old law is the nation's toughest against smoking in bars,
taverns and card clubs.

The only exception is for the relatively few owner-operated bars that have
no employees.

The law is ``barbaric, stupid (and) un-American,'' O'Connell said, echoing
the sentiments of hundreds of embittered fellow bartenders.

The smoking ban, critics said, is hurting business. They claim it is
ruining the last indoor hangout for cigarette addicts in California.

``If I complied, I would probably have to close,'' said Hamilton in
Humboldt County. ``I don't make any profit off this bar anyway. My husband
has to work to keep us going.''

Alameda County bar business has slumped 25 percent to 40 percent since the
smoking ban took effect New Year's Day, said Vern Atkinson, bar manager at
Grand Lanes Bowling Center in Hayward.

``We have one gal here that does not smoke, and she's even crying because
her tips are down,'' said Atkinson, who organized the Hayward protest.

``Two of these gals are single mothers. If they don't have the tips, they
can't make it on 7 1/2 bucks an hour,'' Atkinson said.

In Albany, an unemployed writer illegally exhaled in a bar the other day.
He did it, he said, because he is tired of having to smoke in his car.

``I resent being denied my last refuge,'' he said. ``I resent being denied
my vices. . . . It's unnatural to sit down for a drink and not be able to

To elude the ban, some barkeeps are giving smokers empty beer cans and
water-filled Dixie cups to serve as incognito ashtrays. The cans and cups
also hide smoldering butts when strangers show up.

Next week, the state Assembly Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote
on a bill by Assemblyman Edward Vincent, D-Inglewood, which would let
smokers once again light up in bars, at least through Jan. 1, 2001.

But smokers beware: Palo Alto and San Francisco each issued citations over
the last week for violating the ban.

Palo Alto police gave $100 tickets to the owner of Rudy's Pub and to two
customers at Antonio's Nut House.

The San Francisco Health Department ordered the owners of Capps Corner, the
Occidental Grill and Reflections to appear at a hearing next Tuesday.

No one in San Francisco was fined. But if they are, the cost could be
stiff: $76 for the first offense, $540 for the second and $1,350 for the

Under the state law, local jurisdictions have a degree of latitude in
setting the fines.

About 75 complaints have been received about illegal lighting up in some of
San Francisco's 1,000 bars, said Thomas Rivard, a senior environmental
health inspector for the city's health department.

``They'll comply,'' Rivard said. ``Or they will be very unhappy.''

But many barkeeps hate to make patrons stand out in the cold. They said
warning smokers makes them feel like mean snitches.

``They're making us police it, and that's not fair,'' said David Daher,
owner of the Last Day Saloon in San Francisco. ``I don't want my employees
getting in fights with the customers. . . . It's such a vague law that I,
as a bar owner, don't really know what to do.''

Kathy Wright, a bartender at Fizzees in the Richmond District, agreed.
``I'm not a bouncer,'' she said, while a home health nurse puffed on a
cigarette at the counter.

``No smoking in the bar,'' Wright told the nurse, in a gravelly smoker's voice.

The nurse, a regular, smiled and kept puffing.

``Why should the bar get a fine when I've told people not to smoke?''
Wright said.

But like in Palo Alto, scofflaw patrons can expect a visit from the police,
Rivard said.

Bar owners ``just have to make a good faith effort to ask them to go
outside,'' he said.

Some bartenders, however, like the law. They say their curtains and carpets
no longer stink. They like being able to see across the room.

``I've had people come by and say they wanted to come in here for years,
but it was too smoky,'' said Jack Webb, owner of Ireland 32 in San

Webb had lung-cancer surgery nine years ago. ``If I lost 5 percent of my
business and I saved some lives, good,'' he said.

In Oakland, 385 Club owner Craig Kennedy especially likes the law. Patrons
are smoking legally since his bar is owner-operated.

Kennedy said he has worked 12- to 16-hour days, seven days a week, in his
bar for 6 1/2 years. ``I get tired,'' he said, but he added that his
business is good.

Anti-Smoking Groups Appear To Close Ranks ('Los Angeles Times' Says
Congressional Approval Of 'Immunity' Deal That The Tobacco Industry
Has Been Desperately Seeking Is Endangered By Increasingly Unified Opposition
Of Anti-Smoking Groups, Allegations Of Misconduct Against Clinton)

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 22:30:17 -0800
Subject: MN: US: Anti-Smoking Groups Appear to Close Ranks
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 23, 1998
Author: Alissa J. Rubin and Myron J. Levin, Times Staff


Feuding factions move toward unified opposition to legal protections for

WASHINGTON--Fractious anti-smoking groups, seeking to heal an internal
rift, appear to be moving toward unified opposition to legal protections
for the tobacco industry, a stand that could further complicate prospects
for congressional approval of the giant tobacco truce that the industry is
desperately seeking.

In another potential blow to settlement prospects, several analysts said
Thursday that allegations of misconduct involving President Clinton's
relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky will distract
the president at a time he is being called on for leadership in brokering a

The allegations against Clinton have "put the tobacco deal at risk," said
Gary Black, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., who had consistently
predicted a deal would be ratified this year.

Prodding anti-tobacco groups to close ranks are some members of Congress
who want a clear statement of position from the public health lobby.

Efforts to unify the feuding groups have been led by former Surgeon General
Dr. C. Everett Koop and Matt Myers of the National Center for Tobacco-Free

Koop is a leader of a faction that opposes any legal protections for
tobacco companies. Myers has been a major force behind the Effective
National Action to Control Tobacco, or ENACT, coalition, which had been
willing to grant tobacco firms immunity from class-action lawsuits in
return for curbs on tobacco advertising and multibillion-dollar payments by
the industry to reimburse tax funds spent treating sick smokers and to fund
anti-smoking programs.

"I think we're very close to being on the same wavelength," Koop said Thursday.

"The importance of a public-health coalition reaching a common position on
the details of the settlement and implementing legislation cannot be
overstated," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a letter sent last weekend
to 34 groups. McCain chairs the Commerce Committee, which will be heavily
involved in crafting tobacco legislation.

With that in mind, the factions appear be trying to put aside lingering

"Dr. Koop is working very hard to bring all the public health groups
together," said John R. Garrison, managing director of the American Lung
Assn., who spoke at a news conference Thursday to announce the formation of
the Save Lives Coalition, which represents 200 national, state and local
groups that have taken a hard line on the immunity issue.

Said Myers of the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids: "Neither our organization
nor any others is interested in giving the tobacco industry immunity or in
any weakening of the civil justice system. . . . We are working with other
organizations to clarify that position and bring people together."

Myers, the only public health activist who took part in talks that led last
June to the proposed tobacco settlement, said his view and that of others
in the ENACT coalition had changed about what could be accomplished against
the once-impregnable tobacco industry.

"What is achievable [in Congress] is something we would have answered
differently two months ago or 12 months ago," said Myers. "It would be a
mistake for us to shoot too low," he added.

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 26 (News Summary For Activists,
From The Drug Reform Coordination Network - Original Reports Include
'New York City Mayor Giuliani Is Caught Suppressing Report Of His Own
AIDS Commission On Needle Exchange'; 'New Hampshire Man Kept Behind Bars
For Refusing To Acknowledge God In His Recovery'; And An Editorial
By Adam J. Smith, 'From Dr. King's Dream To Drug War Nightmare')

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 16:54:39 EST
Sender: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet manager@drcnet.org
To: Multiple recipients of list drc-natl@drcnet.org
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #26


Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
Rapid Response Team

Please copy and distribute.


January 23, 1997 - ISSUE #26

This bulletin can also be browsed on our web site at

(To sign off the list, mailto:listproc@drcnet.org with the
line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message. To
subscribe, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html on the

Notes: Two boxes of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts, are on
their way to DRCNet, and will be going out to those of you
who ordered them later this month or early next month.
We've extended this special offer -- donate $30 or more to
DRCNet, and get a free copy of this exciting book. For your
free copy, or just to make a donation, visit our secure
credit card form at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html, or
send your check to DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615,
Washington, DC 20036.

Yesterday we distributed a short member survey to our
subscribers in the state of Virginia, in preparation for an
action alert going out sometime this weekend. If you didn't
receive, that means we don't have your state. Please
contact us so we can put you "in the loop" for state action.








IN $20 MARIJUANA SALE: Excerpt from the NORML Weekly
News Bulletin.

STATUS: Excerpt from the NORML Weekly News Bulletin.

release from the Marijuana Policy Project.

8. FORUMS: Boston 1/29, Minneapolis 2/5, San Francisco, 2/5




12. EDITORIAL: From Dr. King's Dream to Drug War Nightmare



According to a story in the January 26 New York Observer (on
newsstands 1/22) the administration of New York City Mayor
Rudolph Giuliani has withheld a report, prepared by his own
Office of AIDS Policy Coordination last June, calling for
the city to invest in needle exchange. The 37 page report,
obtained by The Observer, finds that a $2 million investment
by the city in needle exchange programs would likely prevent
at least 2,000 cases of HIV, and would ultimately save the
city in excess of $54 million in Medicaid expenditures.

The Observer reports that the report was written under the
auspices of the H.I.V. Health and Human Services Planning
Council of New York City, a federally mandated 45 member
body which is charged with determining spending priorities
for anti-AIDS funding that the city receives under the Ryan
White Act. It was apparently never shown to the Council,
however, as one member told The Observer that she "had never
heard about it." Apparently, only high-level aides of the
Mayor had ever seen the document prior to this.

It is not surprising that the report was covered up, as
Giuliani was engaged in a mayoral campaign during and after
which he has touted his plan for a "zero-tolerance" drug
war, which will include approximately 1,600 new police
officers paid for with federal money. In a story in the New
York Daily News (1/22), Giuliani denied having read the
report, or having suppressed it. About needle exchange, the
Mayor said, "It's something I'm skeptical about, but it
doesn't mean I'm not willing to look at the argument on the
other side. But I don't think it's a good idea to give
people needles in order to inject heroin into their arms."

Keith Cylar is the Co-Executive Director of Housing Works, a
full service harm-reduction agency working specifically with
an HIV positive population. He spoke with The week Online
concerning the report and its suppression.

"The nicest thing that I can say is that this is just
another indication of the fact that Rudolph Giuliani has
blood on his hands. He is a murderer, not only for the
suppression of the information contained in this report, and
for his refusal to support syringe exchange in the face of
all of the evidence which supports it, but for his
continuous attacks of the budget for vital services for
those suffering from this disease. It goes without saying
that most of these people are substance users or are gay or
lesbian. Where is the quality of life under this
administration for these people? Clearly their lives are
not the mayor's concern."



On January 15, President Clinton announced that the Justice
Department would be giving $120 million to the city of New
York to pay for the 1,600 additional cops that Mayor
Giuliani promised in his inaugural address. The money
represents more than the total of $118 million in Justice
department money which will be divided up among 620 other
law enforcement agencies around the country.

Giuliani said the money, and the additional police, would be
used to target illegal drug use and sales. New York City's
crime rate has dropped precipitously in recent years, but,
according to the mayor, the drug trade "is probably the
thing that's holding us back the most right now."


IN 1997

As of June 30, 1997, there were more than 1,700,000
Americans behind bars, up from 1,600,000 one year earlier,
according to figures released by the Justice Department on
Sunday. That total means that as of the middle of last
year, one of every 155 Americans were incarcerated either in
federal or state prisons, or in local jails. At the dawn of
the War on Drugs, in 1972, there were 200,000 Americans

The increase of 6% was only slightly below the average
increase of 6.5% during the years 1990-1997. The largest
increase was in local jails, at 9.4% while state and federal
prison populations grew by about 4.7%.

Jerome Miller, author of Search and Destroy: African
Americans and the Criminal Justice System, a fellow at the
National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, spoke with
The Week Online about these figures.

"That number, one in every 155 Americans incarcerated is
shocking in its own right. But if they wanted to let the
public in on a real tragedy, they could have easily included
the fact that the number for African American males is one
in ten incarcerated. Almost 600,000 in prisons alone. And
it's very clear that the drug war is the driving force
behind these numbers."

"According to the FBI statistics, only 23% of new admissions
to jails are for violent offenses, and even that is inflated
to a large degree both by how we define a violent offense,
and by the fact that prosecutors are encouraged by the
system to overcharge. Somewhere between 70 and 80% of those
involved no actual physical contact, but only a threat or
perceived threat. Of course, much of the real violence, and
that certainly does exist, is itself driven by the black
market in drugs and the effects of prohibition."



Marvin Chavez, founder of the Orange County Cannabis Co-op,
was arrested in his home last Thursday night and has been
charged with eight felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana
sales. Chavez, who has operated the co-op out of his home
since the passage of proposition 215 in November of 1996,
was released Friday on his own recognizance. In order to
comply with a recent court decision which declared sales of
medicinal marijuana, the co-op has been accepting donations
from patients rather than charging for their services.

In Thousand Oaks, California, Mayor Mike Markey and City
councilman Andy Fox sent a letter requesting that federal
prosecutors investigate the Ventura County Medical Cannabis
Center. "Since our society has spent considerable time and
effort to teach children to 'Just Say No' to these drugs, we
fear the impact that these unregulated facilities will have
on our local children" the letter said.

Advocates note that the only reason "unregulated" medical
marijuana outlets exist in the first place is that despite
the passage of the initiative, there has been no regulated
distribution scheme put into place by state or local
officials in California. The recent federal court decision,
which has led to a civil lawsuit against six currently
operating outlets, makes it illegal for patients to procure
marijuana by any means outside of growing their own, or
having a friend grow it for them. This, according to
medical marijuana patients and activists, constitutes an
unreasonable burden on an affected population which includes
many seriously and terminally ill people.

Supporters of Chavez insist that the Orange County Co-op
provided marijuana only to those with a demonstrated medical
need. Chavez, through his attorney, Bob Kennedy, said that
"the club will continue to meet its obligation for those
unfortunate individuals who are in need of medicinal
marijuana." Prosecuting Deputy D.A. Carl Armbrust, however,
seemed determined to make sure that everyone involved would
face criminal penalties. "We know that Chavez has some
volunteers" he told the Orange County Register, "we're
trying to figure out where they are and if they're going to
continue this co-op."

Dave Fratello, spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights,
told The Week Online, "For the police, shutting down these
distribution facilities is like shooting fish in a barrel.
They have been operating openly and counting on the good
will of local officials to work with them in finding the
most appropriate ways to implement the law. Obviously, that
faith is not being rewarded. The truth is, however, that
even if federal and local authorities are successful in
shutting down every one of these outlets, the need for, and
the procurement of marijuana for medicinal use is not going
to disappear, it will simply recede back underground, which
will, of course, have serious consequences for a lot of
seriously and terminally ill people. What will disappear is
the opportunity to regulate distribution, and thus to insure
that medicinal marijuana stays out of the hands that the
government claims to be so concerned with."



(From the NORML Weekly News, 1/22, courtesy the NORML
Foundation, http://www.norml.org)

January 22, 1998, Fayette, MO: A Missouri judge sentenced
an adolescent first time offender to ten years in state
prison after finding him guilty of selling $20 of marijuana
within 2,000 feet of the Central Methodist College. State
law classifies the offense as a Class A Felony that carries
a sentencing range of ten years to life.

Billy Polson, 17, helped Alex Martinez acquire 3.4 grams of
marijuana from students at the Missouri college campus.
Martinez -- who dated Polson's sister at the time -- later
revealed that he was working undercover for the Boonville
Police Department. He also admitted purchasing malt liquor
for the defendant shortly before Polson agreed to sell him

Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets -- who
represented Polson -- called the felony conviction "horribly

"I told the judge that if he wanted to help Polson get along
with his life, then giving him a felony conviction record
was the worst thing he could do," Viets said. He explained
that the judge had the option of placing Polson on probation
without a conviction. Viets also said that the prosecutor
in the case, Greg Robinson, could have charged Polson with a
lesser offense to avoid the excessive sentence. Viets said
that Robinson wished to make an example out of Polson before
the upcoming elections.

Attorney Tanya Kangas, Director of Litigation for The NORML
Foundation, questioned why law enforcement would use its
limited resources to target someone like Polson. "Alex
Martinez was a reserve officer with the Boonville Police
Department," she explained. "He was paid to become intimate
with a young woman to gain the trust of her younger brother.
The police department paid Alex to encourage a minor to
drink alcohol. The department paid Alex to arrange a
transaction close to the college to increase Bill's sentence
under a law designed to protect elementary school children
from drug dealers. Except here in this case, the law served
to incarcerate a kid who is younger than the attendees of
the nearby school. Since when is this the proper role of
law enforcement?"

Polson is presently serving his ten year sentence in a
Missouri Department of Corrections bootcamp facility. The
judge has the option of placing Polson on probation within
120 days.

For more information, please contact either Tanya Kangas of
the NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or Dan Viets of The
NORML Legal Committee @ (573) 443-6866.



(From the NORML Weekly News, 1/15, courtesy the NORML
Foundation, http://www.norml.org)

January 15, 1998, Washington, D.C.: The Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) recently determined that sufficient
grounds exist to justify proceedings re-evaluating
marijuana's prohibitive Schedule I status. As a result, the
agency has formally requested the Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) to conduct "a scientific and medical
evaluation of the available data and provide a scheduling
recommendation" for marijuana and other cannabinoid drugs.

The DEA's action is in response to an administrative
petition filed by former NORML National Director Jon Gettman
and Trans High Corporation -- publisher of High Times
Magazine -- on July 10, 1995. The petition argues that
marijuana and cannabinoid drugs lack the "high potential for
abuse" required for Schedule I and Schedule II drugs under
the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Gettman notes that the DEA has never before voluntarily
referred a marijuana petition to HHS for binding review.

"People are sent to jail every day because of mistaken
assumptions about the abuse potential of marijuana," Gettman
said. "[This] petition observes that HHS has never
produced a finding that marijuana actually has the high
potential for abuse similar to heroin or cocaine required
for Schedule I or Schedule II status. Furthermore, the
legislative history of the CSA indicates that Congress only
intended for marijuana to remain in Schedule I or Schedule
II if such a finding could be produced. This petition
challenges the government to produce such a finding or be
legally required to end marijuana prohibition by removing
marijuana from Schedule I."

Gettman initially asked the Department of Justice in 1994 to
request this evaluation from HHS. At that time, DEA
Administrator Thomas Constantine argued that the agency was
"unaware of any new scientific studies of marijuana that
would lead [it] to re-evaluate [marijuana's] classification
at this time." Constantine then challenged Gettman to
provide documentation indicating that new research had taken
place. Gettman responded by filing his 1995 petition.

"The recent referral of the petition to HHS is an
acknowledgment by DEA of deficiencies in their familiarity
with scientific studies of marijuana, and of the validity of
[my] argument and its documented scientific basis," Gettman

Petitioners are represented by Michael Kennedy, Esq. of New
York City, a member of the NORML Legal Committee. For more
information, please contact either the law offices of
Michael Kennedy @ (212) 935-4500 or Allen St. Pierre of The
NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.



(Press release from the Marijuana Policy Project,

January 22, 1998

NEW ORLEANS -- Two of the eight patients in the entire
nation who have legal permission to use medicinal marijuana
testified at the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) public
hearing on Thursday, January 22, in New Orleans at the
Marriott Hotel.

IOM is conducting an 18-month "comprehensive review" of "the
health effects and potential health risks of marijuana use."
This research and subsequent report was commissioned for
$1 million by the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy in January 1997.

IOM's first hearing was held in California in December, and
another is scheduled for February 23-24 in Washington, D.C.
The topic of the New Orleans hearing was "Acute and Chronic
Effects of Marijuana," which focused mainly on the potential
health risks of marijuana use.

IOM is not allowed to address policy and legal issues.
Instead, the study is limited to scientific and clinical
issues. Nevertheless, Marijuana Policy Project Director of
Communications Chuck Thomas says, "It is important to make
the study investigators aware that thousands of marijuana-
using patients are living in fear of arrest and prison --
and IOM's recommendations should reflect this emergency."

Barbara Douglass and Irvin Rosenfeld receive legal marijuana
from the federal government to treat multiple sclerosis and
pain caused by bone tumors, respectively. This program,
which now serves eight (8) patients nationwide, has been
closed to all new applicants since 1992. Douglass and
Rosenfeld testified that their marijuana use has not caused
any negative health effects, despite their use of several
joints a day for decades.

Greg Scott, an illegal user of medicinal marijuana,
explained how marijuana helped treat his AIDS conditions and
contrasted the effects of marijuana with the debilitating
effects of the many prescription drugs he has taken,
including morphine. Scott said, "Every day, I risk arrest,
property forfeiture, fines and imprisonment."

Jim Montgomery, who was imprisoned for using medicinal
marijuana, will explain how the horrendous health conditions
in prison caused him to have his leg amputated -- which is
unquestionably more damaging than his medical use of

The MPP's Chuck Thomas said, "Patients face one year in
prison for a joint, five years for a plant. Marijuana works
as a medicine for some people. Research should not detract
from the number one goal of getting smokable marijuana
approved as a legal medicine."



Boston, Thursday, 1/29: IS THE DRUG WAR FOREVER? The drug
war at 25: looking back, looking ahead.

Inaugural forum of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers,
moderated by New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis.
Opening remarks written for the occasion by former US
Attorney General Elliot Richardson, a board member of the
VCL, will be read. Panelists will include John G.S. Flym,
Northeastern University Law School, David Lewis, M.D.,
Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies and Physician
Leadership on National Drug Policy, and the Hon. Nancy
Gertner, U.S. District Court of Massachusetts. From 6:00-
8:00pm, C. Walsh Theatre, Suffolk University, Temple Street
(behind the State House). For more information, call
Richard M. Evans at (413) 586-1348 or Michael Cutler at
(617) 739-9093.

Minneapolis, Thursday, 2/5: MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES: ARE
THEY WORTH THE COST? Featuring Jonathan Caulkins, Ph.D.,
lead author of last year's RAND Corporation study on the
cost-effectiveness of mandatory minimum sentences, and Julie
Stewart, President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Sponsored by the Open Debate Project, a joint project of the
Minnesota Drug Policy Council and the Minnesota Consortium
for Addiction Studies. Reception 6:00-7:00pm, forum 7:00-
9:00pm, U of M Law School, Auditorium, Room #25, 229 19th
Avenue South. For further information, call Scott Warnick
at (612) 292-9815 or Mark Willenbring at (612) 839-4482, or
e-mail warn0121@tc.umn.edu or wille001@tc.umn.edu.

San Francisco, Thursday 2/5: HEPATITIS C: THE NEW EPIDEMIC,
sponsored by The Lindemith Center-San Francisco. With
Joanne Imperial, MD, Stanford University, Joey Tranchina,
Director of Harm Reduction Projects for HCV Global
Foundation and Executive Director of the AIDS Prevention
Action Network, Reda Sobky, MD, Medical Director of HAART,
Fort Help and Castro Valley Methadone Clinics, and John
Irwin, Ph.D., patient. At the San Francisco Medical
Society, 1409 Sutter St., RSVP at (415) 921-4987.



Bill Yates is a 38 year-old inmate at the New Hampshire
State Prison. He is a former heroin addict who will be
eligible for early release in October. That release is
unlikely to be granted, however, because Yates refuses to
participate in the prison's only substance abuse recovery
program. The program, called Summit House, is one of many
12-step programs modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, and is
based in large part on admitting powerlessness over an
abused substance and turning oneself over to the power of
God. Bill Yates objects.

Yates is an advocate for Rational Recovery, a non-religious
program for abusers which emphasizes people taking control
of their lives, rather than relinquishing control to a
higher religious force. Rather than the 12-step "one day at
a time" philosophy which binds participants to a lifelong
recovery process, Rational Recovery emphasizes a "big plan"
for total, final recovery. Yates claims to have quit using
heroin, a life-change which he sees as permanent, without
12-step. He refuses, therefore, to be forced into a
religious program, against his beliefs, as a condition of
gaining his freedom. This time, it is the New Hampshire
Department of Corrections which objects.

Steve Kennet, director of substance abuse programs for the
New Hampshire Department of Corrections, told the Concord
Monitor, "The people who created Rational Recovery, as far
as I can see, have problems with God. They can't separate
out God from spirituality. They don't like the idea of
being powerless. If you're an alcoholic, the fact remains,
you are powerless." Yates' application for sentence
reduction was recently rejected by warden Michael
Cunningham, who wrote in his decision, "I believe a sentence
modification should not be granted until he completes the
Summit House program." Mr. Yates is currently filing a
federal lawsuit on his own behalf.

Jack Trimpy is the founder of Rational Recovery. He spoke
with The Week Online. "First of all, we reject the notion
that everyone with a substance abuse problem needs to remain
an addict for the rest of their lives, surrounding
themselves with other such self-defined people, and
continuing to profess their powerlessness over their own
lives. Alcoholics Anonymous has spawned an entire twelve-
step industry, and in cases like Mr. Yates' it is working
hand in hand with the state. People are classified
according to a presumed genetic defect, their future
behavior is predicted, and they are monitored and tracked by
these programs for the benefit of the referring court. This
collaboration, using the medical model of the powerless
individual, has turned these programs into a fellowship of

"In addition, there is no question that the programs are
religious based." (The twelve-step pledge includes the
following statements: We admitted that we are powerless
over {alcohol/drugs} and that our lives had become
unmanageable; We made a decision to turn our will and our
lives over to the care of God as we understood him; We were
entirely ready to have God remove all these defects from our
character.) "Under the U.S. Constitution, the government
has no business forcing, or even referring people into such
programs," says Trimpy, "and certainly, the act of keeping
someone imprisoned on the basis of their unwillingness to
accept and participate in the tenets of these programs is an
affront to the principle of religious freedom."

DRCNet Executive Director David Borden comments, "AA and
other 12-step programs have been a terrific help for a large
number of people. The Dept. of Corrections' mistake,
besides the religious and constitutional issues, is thinking
it's the only acceptable mode of recovery or that it will
work for everyone."

To find out more about Rational Recovery, including how to
subscribe to the Journal of Rational Recovery, check out
their web site at http://www.rational.org/recovery. An
online directory of recovery programs, including 12-step
programs like AA, as well as secular programs like RR, can
be found at http://www.netwizards.net/recovery/.



Julian Heicklen, a 65 year-old chemistry professor at
Pennsylvania State University, staged a one-man "smoke-in"
last Thursday, right in front of the university gates. The
professor, reclining in a lounge chair and surrounded by
approximately 50 students and supporters, lit a joint for
the first time in his life. "I'm not doing this for the
marijuana," he told the Centre Daily Times (PA), "I'm doing
this because we have a right to make free choices."

Heicklen, a member of his local Libertarian Party, said that
he was carrying $1,500 on him in case of arrest. Police,
who were present during the protest, declined to arrest him,
however, claiming that they didn't believe that the
substance he was smoking was in fact marijuana. Heicklen
promised to repeat the act next week.



The Miami-Dade County School Board's plan to randomly drug
test all students in grades 9-12 has been altered in the
face of a legal challenge by the Florida chapter of the
ACLU. As originally intended, students would have had to
have parental consent to be subject to the tests, and
positive results would have gone back to those parents.
Schools would only receive cumulative results, without

Some critics argued that since there was no money available
to provide treatment or special programs for teens who
tested positive, the plan would be ineffective. Other
critics, like the ACLU, argued that randomly testing
students without probable cause to believe that they had
done anything wrong violated constitutionally protected
rights. The new plan would allow students to refuse to be



This past Monday, the nation celebrated the birthday of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King's legacy of non-violence
and equality still resonates in a country which has come a
long way, but which still has a long way to go, in
confronting and overcoming prejudice and discrimination on
the basis of skin color. For many, Dr. King's birthday is a
day of pride and of hope. But for those who are advocating
and carrying out America's drug war, it ought to be a day of
great shame.

African Americans comprise approximately 12% of the
population of the US, and account for about 13% of drug
users. Despite this fact, African Americans make up more
than 50% of all new prisoners in the US, the highest
percentage in the nation's history. It is no secret that
the bulk of those entering the system are jailed on drug

There are several reasons why the war on drugs
disproportionately impacts African Americans. First, it
must be remembered that the laws against many currently
illegal substances were written specifically to impact
racial minorities. During congressional testimony at the
time, it was claimed that both marijuana and cocaine caused
Black men to rape white women. Opium was originally
outlawed because it was said that Chinese immigrants, high
on opium, could work interminable hours, thus giving them an
unnatural advantage over white workers.

In the years between the implementation of anti-drug laws in
the early part of the century, and today, those laws,
written with the full intention of "controlling" feared
minorities, have been used toward precisely those ends.

Another reason for the current disparity in the drug war's
impact is that it is far easier to enforce drug laws in poor
neighborhoods. The dearth of legitimate economic
opportunities tends to bring the drug trade front and center
in the local economy. Policing in these communities is
often far more aggressive than in whiter, wealthier areas.
It is common, for example, for "drug sweeps" to be
instituted in which virtually everyone on a block is made to
lay on the street while searches and questioning are
conducted. Tactics such as this would cause considerable
outrage, and no small legal backlash, if conducted in more
opulent, if no less drug infested locales, such as Wall

There are other harms perpetrated on African American
communities in the name of the War on Drugs. One of the
most destructive and pernicious is the widespread use of
informants. "Whatever little you gain by this practice"
argues Jerome Miller, a long-time corrections administrator
and author of the book Search and Destroy: African Americans
and the Criminal Justice System, "you lose a great deal more
in terms of social cohesion. You create a Stasi-like system
where no one can be trusted." Miller says that with long
mandatory minimum sentences in place for prosecutors to hang
over the heads of minor players, there is incentive for
young, frightened arrestees to exaggerate and make things up
in order to get themselves off the hook.

"Aside from the psychological damage that this does to a
community, it has the additional effect of creating random
violence. If the word gets out on the street that someone
is a snitch, their lives aren't worth all that much. And it
doesn't even have to be the truth. Also, often you'll see
people committing horrendous acts just to prove that they're
not working with the police. Several years ago in
Washington DC, for instance, a young man walked into a
police station with a gun, opened fire, killed a number of
officers, and then shot himself. The story behind that
incident, which went nearly unmentioned in the press, was
that the police had put the word out on him in an effort to
pressure him into cooperating with them. He did it to prove
that he wasn't a rat."

Perhaps the most ironic and troubling aspect of the war's
effects on African American communities is that there is
still very little protest against Prohibition coming from
this most victimized segment of the population. The
government has done a good job of selling the idea that it
is drugs themselves, rather than economic factors and
Prohibition, which is causing crime and violence. This
absence of critical analysis of the larger issue of
Prohibition is by no means confined to African American
communities. In fact, the majority of Americans have bought
the prohibitionist rhetoric, but it is in the black
community where the War is being carried out in earnest.

Cheryl Epps is a former Assistant District Attorney. She
prosecuted narcotics cases in Manhattan. She is also an
African American. "There is an enormous amount of
destruction being done by substance abuse in poor
communities" she says. "A lot of that stems from economic
hopelessness, and some is the result of a lack of available
resources to deal with mental health issues. So when Black
folks look around their neighborhoods, it's quite natural
for them to point to the drugs and say 'whatever you have to
do, get rid of this.'"

"In addition, the Drug War model is the only alternative
that has been presented, the only strategy anyone has seen.
The people who are profiting from the mass incarceration,
and the politicians that they pay to put in office, have led
America to believe that as bad as things are now, any change
in the status quo would lead inevitably to anarchy. It's
therefore very difficult, politically, for the leaders of
these communities to start talking about 'we need to
legalize drugs.' This is true all over America, of course,
but the problem is magnified in communities of color. The
fact is, though, that with one out of three young African
American males already caught up in the criminal justice
system, the drugs are still there, and they're not going
away. How many more young Black lives is the country
willing to sacrifice?"

And there are still more problems. The drug war, and the
covert nature of the drug trade under Prohibition, has
succeeded in casting large segments of the poor population,
most notably the young, as suspects in the eyes of the
police. A young black male runs the risk -- in fact the
near-certainty -- of being accosted by the police simply for
being young and black. The overwhelming majority will be
arrested or detained at least once before the age of thirty,
regardless of how law abiding they might be. All of these
factors, of course, have bred disrespect for the law and for
those who are paid to enforce it, and have created the
cultural view of the police as an invading army. This view
inevitably reveals itself in the popular culture. These
cultural media, whether songs, movies or videos, are in turn
blamed by opportunistic politicians for being a causal,
rather than symptomatic aspect of urban problems.

Dr. King's dream, that one day the color of a man's skin
would be of no more importance than the color of his eyes,
that a man would be judged solely on the content of his
character, is certainly closer to reality in America today
than it was on the day he lost his life. But in the context
of America's domestic war, a war being carried out with a
vengeance against African Americans, it is quite clear that
the color of a man's skin means everything.

So the next time you hear a politician talking about
"getting tougher" in the "War on Drugs," remember that it is
really a war on people of color. And when they talk about
the war "protecting our children," remember that it is
harmful to our children, but it is most definitely
protecting the profits of the enormous and growing prison-
industrial complex. And then, take a moment to remember Dr.
King. And ask yourself whether it is time to put his dream
into practice.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director


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