Portland NORML News - Saturday, January 24, 1998

DEA Policy On Suicide Law In Doubt ('The Oregonian' Quotes Senator Ron Wyden
Saying US Department Of Justice Has Concluded Federal Law
Does Not Prohibit Doctors From Writing Prescriptions
Under Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law - But Clinton Administration
Hasn't Made Final Decision)

The Oregonian, January 24, 1998

A preliminary review by the Justice Department
would clear doctors to participate

By Jim Barnett, Dave Hogan, and Ashbel S. Green of The
Oregonian staff

An internal review team from the U.S.
Department of Justice has concluded that federal
law does not prohibit doctors from carrying out
Oregon's assisted suicide law, Sen. Ron Wyden,
D-Ore., said Friday.

The Oregon law has been under a legal cloud
since November, when U.S. Attorney General
Janet Reno called for the review. Reno has not
made a final decision, but Wyden said he's
hopeful she will accept the team's conclusion.

"I think the key thing is that the attorney general
told me personally this call was going to be based
on legal grounds," Wyden said. "The reason this
development is important is that it goes right to
the heart of how she said the decision was going
to be made."

Dispute about the intent and reach of federal law
was sparked by Thomas A. Constantine, head of
the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Constantine thinks the Controlled Substances Act
prohibits doctors from writing lethal prescriptions.

In a Nov. 5 letter to Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill.,
chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,
Constantine outlined his interpretation that
doctors who assist the suicide of a terminally ill
patient should lose their prescribing privileges -- a
threat that would render the Oregon law useless.

But Constantine sent the letter without telling
Reno. Embarrassed, Reno referred the issue to an
internal review team to determine whether
Constantine's interpretation of the Controlled
Substances Act was accurate.

The Justice Department confirmed this week that
a preliminary decision had been made by the
internal team, headed by Jonathan D. Schwartz,
counsel to Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder
Jr. A spokesman declined to say what the
decision was.

A final decision will not be made until other
members of the Justice Department -- including
the Civil Division, the Solicitor General's office
and the DEA -- are given a chance to comment.

"Some components (of the Justice Department)
have provided their comments, but other
components have not had an opportunity to
provide their views," spokesman Gregory King
said. "All I can say is, the review has not been
completed, and it's premature to speculate on
what the results will be."

However, state officials, including Gov. John
Kitzhaber, are proceeding under the assumption
that Oregon's assisted suicide law will go forward.

Neither the attorney general's office, which is
responsible for defending the law, nor the
governor has been contacted officially about any
decision on doctor-assisted suicide, said Kristen
Grainger, a spokeswoman for Attorney General
Hardy Myers.

But "if that's the finding," Grainger said, "then
that's great. It means the arguments of the state

Kitzhaber called the preliminary conclusion "a
victory for the 60 percent of Oregonians who
wanted this law."

"It's what we were hoping to hear, that Oregon
would be able to go ahead and implement its own
laws," Kitzhaber said Friday before touring a
Eugene agency serving homeless youth.

The preliminary decision will be a relief to doctors
wishing to take part, he said. The conclusion, if
confirmed by Reno, will allow Oregon to proceed
with handling the complexities of
physician-assisted suicide, including working
through a dispute between the Oregon Medical
Association and the state Board of Pharmacy, he

The president of the Oregon Medical Association,
whose members are divided about the issue of
assisted suicide, echoed that sentiment.

Although applauding the Justice Department's
initial conclusion as a victory for Oregon doctors,
Dr. Charles E. Hofmann, a Baker City internist,
said it would not have an immediate effect on
physicians' behavior. First, the panel's findings are
not final. Second, physicians are grappling with
many more issues than the DEA. "It's one step
down a long road," Hofmann said.

The big issue for the medical association, at
present, is whether physicians would have to
comply with a state Board of Pharmacy
emergency rule that requires doctors to divulge
when they have written a prescription under the
Death With Dignity Act. Arguing that the rule
violates patient confidentiality, the medical
association has appealed the pharmacy board's
action to the Oregon Court of Appeals. The court
action is pending.

Dr. Patrick M. Dunn, chairman of the Task Force
to Improve Care of the Terminally Ill and a
HealthFirst Medical Group internist, called the
Justice Department review team's conclusion "an
important piece of the puzzle."

"It will free at least one of the barriers hanging
over the law," he said.

Barbara Coombs Lee, co-author of the assisted
suicide law and head of the Compassion in Dying
Federation, concurred.

"It's not the DEA's business to steamroll ... the
people of Oregon and replace the voters'
judgment with their own," she said.

She called the review team's conclusion "the last
in a long line of victories for the Oregon people
and the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. ... Every
dying Oregonian and every doctor who treats
dying Oregonians should know that the (act) is a
reality. It is an option to be counted among all the
others at the end of life."

But Dr. William M. Petty, vice president of
Physicians for Compassionate Care, which
opposes the act, said, "Allowing it is not ethical
and never will be." Petty said his organization
plans to be more active in advocating that patients
get good end-of-life care, palliative care and
second opinions that emphasize alternatives to
assisted suicide.

In Washington, opponents of assisted suicide,
including President Clinton and leading
congressional Republicans, said little about what
strategy they would pursue if Reno agrees with
the review team.

"I cannot speculate on what we may do in the
event of a hypothetical situation," said Jon
Murchinson, a White House spokesman.

Likewise, assisted suicide opponents on Capitol
Hill refused to say whether they would try to pass
new legislation to thwart the Oregon law -- an
arduous and potentially perilous task.

"We will wait until the administration's formal
position is announced before commenting," said
Jeanne Lopatto, an aide to Sen. Orrin Hatch,
R-Utah, Senate Judiciary chairman.

Wyden, however, said he would not be surprised
if legislation is proposed. Earlier this month, he
noted, a bipartisan group of eight senators sent a
letter to Reno urging her to accept Constantine's
interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act.

Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman for the U.S.
Catholic Conference, said Friday that if the DEA
does not have the authority to discipline doctors,
then Congress should give it that authorization.

Proposing a new law could carry political risk,
Wyden said. Some of the loudest opponents of
assisted suicide also are outspoken proponents of
states' rights. "It'll be an interesting philosophical
challenge for them."

Wyden personally opposes Oregon's assisted
suicide law but has emerged as its chief defender
against federal intervention. Sen. Gordon Smith,
R-Ore., who also opposes the Oregon law,
backed Constantine's interpretation.

It's unclear when Reno will render a final
decision, said Josh Kardon, Wyden's chief of
staff. He expects Reno to wait for comments
from the White House, which has been distracted
by preparations for the president's State of the
Union speech on Tuesday and charges of sexual

Although Kardon said he did not have a draft of
the Justice Department review team's findings, he
said he had been told by administration sources
that such a document had been circulated within
the department.

The review team's opinion may reflect the
position taken by the Oregon attorney general. On
Nov. 20, David Schuman, Oregon deputy
attorney general, met with Justice Department
officials to argue that Congress intended the
Controlled Substances Act to deal with the abuse
and trafficking of controlled substances, not with
medical practices deemed legal under state law.

The Death With Dignity Act still faces a court
challenge. A federal judge in Eugene will hear
arguments Feb. 18 about whether he should
reinstate a lawsuit challenging the act's

U.S. District Judge Michael R. Hogan in 1995
ruled that the act violated the U.S. Constitution's
equal protection clause, but the U.S. 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals last year reversed Hogan, saying
the chronically ill plaintiff did not have standing to
sue. The U.S. Supreme Court last fall refused to
consider the case.

Steve Woodward and Gail Kinsey Hill of The
Oregonian staff and correspondent Janet Filips
contributed to this report.

Pot Club Wins Reprieve As Judge Hints At Delay ('Associated Press' Item
In 'San Jose Mercury News' Says California Attorney General Lungren's Attempt
To Shut Dennis Peron's Cannabis Cultivators' Club In San Francisco
Has Been Blocked Temporarily By Superior Court Judge David Garcia,
Who Also Let The Club Reopen After Lungren Shut It Down Last Time,
Saying It Was A 'Primary Caregiver' For Thousands Of Patients)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 17:22:23 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Club Wins Reprieve as Judge Hints At Delay
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Attorney General Dan Lungren's attempt to shut down a
medicinal marijuana club hit a snag Friday when a judge suggested he would
delay action while the state Supreme Court considers the issue.

Lungren sought to halt operations of the Cannabis Cultivators Club, based
on a state appeals court ruling last month that said the club could not
legally sell marijuana to patients under Proposition 215, the 1996
medicinal marijuana initiative.

That ruling, which said Superior Court Judge David Garcia should order the
club closed, technically became final last week. But Garcia asked the
state's lawyer at a hearing Friday why he shouldn't wait until after the
state Supreme Court decides whether to hear the club's appeal, filed

The court has 60 days to decide whether to take the case and can extend
that another 30 days. If it grants review, a ruling could take a year or

If review is denied, the appellate ruling will become binding on trial
courts statewide and could be used to close all medicinal marijuana clubs.

The San Francisco club, formerly known as the Cannabis Buyers Club, sold
marijuana illegally to cancer and AIDS patients and others for years
without interference from local police. Lungren's office raided it in the
summer of 1996, got a shutdown order and also obtained a criminal
indictment against club founder Dennis Peron and others.

After Proposition 215 passed in November 1996, Garcia let the club reopen,
saying it was a ``primary caregiver'' for thousands of patients who were
allowed to use marijuana at their doctors' recommendation. But the 1st
District Court of Appeal ruled Dec. 12 that the club, as a commercial
enterprise open to the public, could not be a primary caregiver, and that
Proposition 215 did not legalize marijuana sales.

Two weeks ago, federal prosecutors filed separate lawsuits to shut down the
club and five others in California, noting that marijuana remains illegal
under federal law. No action has been taken on those suits.

At Friday's hearing, Senior Assistant Attorney General John Gordnier argued
that Garcia was bound by last month's appellate ruling and should order the
club closed immediately. The club's lawyer, J. David Nick, contended the
ruling has no binding effect while it is being appealed to the Supreme
Court. Garcia deferred a decision.

After the hearing, Nick told reporters the club ``will continue to operate
until the Supreme Court says otherwise.''

Even if the appellate ruling is upheld, Nick said, the case will eventually
go to trial, and ``we would ask any jury to nullify any laws that would
prohibit this type of activity, which is providing medicine to people who
are ill.''

Effort To Shut Marijuana Club Runs Into Snag ('Orange County Register'
Version Of 'Associated Press' Article)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 13:04:29 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Effort To Shut Marijuana Club Runs Into Snag
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Section: News, page 4
Author: Bob Egelko-The Associated Press
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


A San Francisco judge indicates that he'll wait for the state Supreme Court
to review the matter.

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Dan Lungren's attempt to shut down a
medical-marijuana club hit a snag Friday when a judge suggested he would
delay action while the state Supreme Court considers the issue.

Lungren sought to halt operations of the Cannabis Cultivators Club, based
on a state appeals court ruling last month that said the club could not
legally sell marijuana to patients under Proposition 215, the 1996
medical-marijuana initiative.

That ruling, which said Superior Court Judge David Garcia should order the
club closed, technically became final last week. But Garcia took no action
at a hearing Friday and asked the state's lawyer why he shouldn't wait
until after the state Supreme Court decides whether to hear the club's
appeal, filed Wednesday.

That is standard practice among California judges, said San Francisco
attorney Paul Fogel, an appellate specialist not involved in the case.
Because the state Supreme Court can nullify an appellate ruling by granting
review, he said, judges seldom rely on those rulings until after the high
court denies review.

The court has 60 days to decide whether to take the case and can extend
that period by another 30 days. If it grants review, a ruling could take a
year or more.

If review is denied, the appellate ruling will become binding on trial
courts statewide and could be used to close all medical marijuana clubs.

The San Francisco club, formerly known as the Cannabis Buyers Club, sold
marijuana illegally to cancer and AIDS patients and others for years
without interference from local police. Lungren's office raided it in the
summer of 1996, got a shut-down order and also obtained a criminal
indictment against club founder Dennis Peron and others.

After Prop.215 passed in November 1996, Garcia let the club reopen, saying
it was a "primary caregiver" for thousands of patients who were allowed to
use marijuana at their doctors' recommendation. But the 1st District Court
of Appeal ruled Dec. 12 that the club, as a commercial enterprise open to
the public, could not be a primary care-giver, and that Prop.215 did not
legalize marijuana sales.

Two weeks ago, federal prosecutors filed separate lawsuits to shut down the
club and five others in California, noting that marijuana remains illegal
under federal law. No action has been taken on those suits.

At Friday's hearing, Senior Assistant Attorney General John Gordnier argued
that Garcia was bound by last month's appellate ruling and should order the
club closed immediately. The club's lawyer, J. David Nick, contended the
ruling has no binding effect while it is being appealed to the Supreme
Court. Garcia deferred a decision.

After the hearing, Nick told reporters the club "will continue to operate
until the Supreme Court says otherwise." If a shutdown is ordered, Peron
said earlier this month, "we are going to go perfectly limp and be carried
away" rather than cooperate.

Even if the appellate ruling is upheld, Nick said, the case will eventually
go to trial, and "we would ask any jury to nullify any laws that would
prohibit this type of activity, which is providing medicine to people who
are ill."

Marijuana The Medicine (Letter To Editor Of 'San Jose Mercury News'
Backhandedly Urges Government To Quit Blocking
Proposition 215's Implementation)

Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 01:20:09 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Marijuana the Medicine
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 98


Proposition 215's recent passage may have positive consequences for San
Francisco's AIDS community

This marijuana plant, normally abused as an illegal narcotic, is now
harvested to relieve the symptoms of AIDS and it medications, eliminating
nausea and appetite loss.

In deep dark laboratories mystic scientists puzzle over Buckeyball and
enzymatic activation substrates, but wait. There's a more simple solution
lying around home: marijuana, the ethereal drug that supposedly makes you
fly and relieves the stresses of AIDS with one stone. When other AIDS
combatants such as AZT trigger dreadful intonations, why can't we turn to an
illegal drug to save AIDS patients? It's that one word the government is
having trouble with, illegal.

The public wants it; the patients want it; the patients' lawyers really want
it, but the governor will preside. Isn't it high time Pete didn't pick up his
pen to veto another issue? Of course the governor cannot negate a ratified
initiative, the next step that San Francisco patrons took with Proposition
215. I firmly believe that if the drug is only distributed to
doctor-approved AIDS patients and is only used in proportion to the amount
needed to smooth the virus, there is no harm done by saying yes to the AIDS
initiative. No doubt.

The initiative insists that the California laws against the growing and
intake of marijuana shall not pertain to patients. The initiative states,
"When the marijuana is for the personal medical use of a patient under a
physician's recommendation, the traditional anti-drug laws shall not
apply." It gives the American people a chance to buttress an initiative
that will benefit those patients who need help, nothing more. It's not as
if we're legalizing drugs nationwide; instead we're offering a remedy to an
impending dilemma.

Myriad doctors advocate the medical access to marijuana for soothing AIDS,
cancer, and even glaucoma. AZT, the existing, uncomfortable prescription
for AIDS, instigates numbness, diarrhea, nausea, and appetite loss.
Marijuana, on the other hand, depletes the nausea, the appetite loss, the
restroom tie-ups. These people are on the verge of death; there is no
legitimate excuse for the retention of a drug that could alleviate their

What lives here is a terrible sorrow that weeping cannot symbolize. Since
when has the man who carried a gun for public defense been forced to give
it up because of what others might do with it? If marijuana is carefully
confined, no one else can fiddle with it.

Laura Kriho's Medical Marijuana Web Page (Paul Wolf Of The Initiative 59
Campaign In Washington, DC, Promotes New Site Focusing On Schism Developing
Between Voter Initiative Campaigns Sponsored By AMR And Others)

Subj: Laura Kriho's medical marijuana webpage
From: Paul Wolf 
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 10:24:31 -0500


This is the place to read the emerging story of the medical marijuana
revolution, which is happening all across the country.

Local activists in half a dozen states are struggling against Americans
for Medical Rights, a California PR firm hired by billionaire philan-
thropist George Soros, and others, to mount a national campaign to
legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

The AMR bills are not popular with local activists, who disagree with
provisions like names reporting, the three plant / 1 oz limit, drug
free school zones, civil asset forfeiture, and other drug war references
unrelated to the compassionate treatment of the sick and dying. These
things appear to have been included to appease any would-be opponents of
their bills, such as law enforcement agencies.

As spokesperson for the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project, Laura was the
first one to question the language in AMR's bills. In the past, AMR had
been able to steamroll activists in Washington State, Oregon, and in
California. But now, people in Colorado, Washington DC, Maine and Alaska
are using the internet to organize a united front against AMR.

This is going to hit the media soon ... please help us advertise this
webpage to whatever contacts you have.

- - Paul Wolf

Lungren Hit For Speech At Men-Only Club (California Attorney General
Bidding For GOP Gubernatorial Nomination Says Crime Talk At All-Male
San Marino City Club 'Not A Campaign Event')

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:53:43 -0800
Subject: MN: US CA: Lungren Hit For Speech At Men-Only Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998
Section: news, page 4


An appearance by gubernatorial candidate is more than he bargained for.

SAN MARINO-State Attorney General Dan Lungren, appearing to make a speech
about crime, instead found himself confronting questions about clubs that
deny entry to women.

The state's top law enforcement official has no immediate plans to speak
before any other meetings organized by exclusively male organizations,
spokesman Rob Stutzman said Friday.

Stutzman added that Thursday's speech was before a "mixed audience of
civic-minded people" who turned out to hear a speech about California

"It was not a campaign event," he said in a telephone interview from

Lungren, considered the Republican front-runner for governor, spoke at
the gathering sponsored by the San Marino City Club. He was confronted by a
female vice president of a financial firm who asked Lungren if he was aware
of allegations the group discriminates against women.

June Cowgill was admitted to the speech at San Marino High School because
women are allowed at public events sponsored by the private San Marino City

"I was informed there is a comparable women's club in this community,"
Lungren said at the Thursday event. "I don't think I belong to any group
that is all male - right now."

City Club members include business leaders and attorneys, among others.
Lungren replied he understood the club allows women at certain meetings.
City Manager Deborah Bell cannot join, although her male predecessor was a

Members said bylaws prohibit women from joining, and they maintain the
73-year-old club is legal. Membership is open to all men who live within
the San Marino Unified School District who are sponsored by a current

"Women can come to the events, but they can't be members," President
William P. Barry said. "I haven't seen any men trying to get into the
Women's Club or the Junior League."

FIJA - A Different California Initiative (Voters In November 1998
May Get Chance To Restore Nullification Option To Juries)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 01:19:54 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Bob Ramsey 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: FIJA - A Different California Initiative
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "ERIC E. SKIDMORE" (104413.3573@compuserve.com)
To: Ed Saukkooja , FIJA ,
Fred James , "Karpinski, Len" ,
Steve Kubby 
Subject: FIJA Initiative?
))) Wow. Is this really going to happen?
(California Ballot '98)**
Can you veto bad laws?

Yes, if you've been informed. In the state of California, U.S.A., there is
a new ballot initiative to make it a law that a jury must be informed by a
judge in every trial of its inherent right to judge the law as well as the
facts of the case before them. Justice depends on informed, educated
juries, hence the Jury Education Initiative (JEI).



Board of Directors: Pastor Wiley Drake, Hon. George Hansen, Larry
Dodge, Ph.D., Peymon Mottahedeh.


The Jury Education Committee is a political action committee whose
mission is to enact policies and laws which bring added justice to our
judicial system through educated and informed jurors. The Committee
plans to promote laws which:

1. Inform trial jurors of their inherent right and power as trial
jurors to veto unjust laws or unjustly applied laws and thereby stop
imprisonment of the innocent;

2. Educate the grand jurors of their important duty in maintaining
public trust in the integrity and uprightness of our public servants by
presenting or indicting corrupt or criminal public servants;

3. Provide for adequate compensation of jurors to ensure all
citizens a meaningful opportunity to become involved in their own
governance as jurors.


The Committee is currently sponsoring a statewide California initiative
called the Jury Education Initiative. This initiative assures that all
trial jurors will be informed by the trial judge that they may vote to
acquit or find the defendant not guilty, if the law is unjust or its
application would produce an unjust verdict.

In addition, this initiative guarantees that all parties in a trial will
have the opportunity to present arguments to the jury which may pertain to
issues of law and justice, including:

a) The merit, intent, constitutionality or applicability of the
law to the defendant's case;

b) The motive, moral perspective or circumstances of the

c) The degree and direction of guilt or actual harm done;

d) The sanctions which may be applied to the losing party.

This initiative will significantly reduce the number of innocent people who
are imprisoned in California due to unjust laws or unjust
application of laws.


For more information you can contact the Jury Education Committee
(sponsor of the JEI) at:

13211 Myford Road #332,
Tustin, CA 92782---
or call 714-838-2896/voice or fax: 714-838-2849
website: www.jurypower.org

Marinovich Jailed On Marijuana Conviction ('Orange County Register' Says
Former Los Angeles Raiders Quarterback Begins Six-Month Sentence Friday
In Orange County Jail For Cultivating One Marijuana Plant)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 12:56:09 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Marinovich Jailed on Marijuana Conviction
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Section: metro, page 1
Author: Stuart Pfiefer - The Orange County Register
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


No more delays-the ex-raiders quarterback begins his six month sentence.

Former Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich will have a
different view of Sunday's Super Bowl than his onetime counterparts Brett
Favre and John Elway.

He'll be inside Orange County Jail, serving a sentence for felony marijuana

South Orange County Municipal Court Judge Ronald P. Kreber ordered
marshal's deputies to lead Marinovich away Friday to begin a six-month

Marinovich, 28, had postponed his sentencing several times since his
September conviction, asking for time to find a private jail near his new
home in Sonoma County in which to do his time.

On Friday, Marinovich said he had not found a private jail or drug program.
So Kreber ordered him taken into custody.

As for the Super Bowl?

"I think he'll be watching it from the tank or the day room," Deputy
District Attorney Lori Silverman said after the hearing in Laguna Niguel.
"I don't think he's going to have beer and chips, though."

The former University of Southern California and Capistrano Valley High
School star was arrested March 24 after deputies found a marijuana plant at
his Dana Point home.

It was only the latest legal trouble for Marinovich, a once-promising
quarterback who was released by the Raiders in 1993.

In 1991, while at USC, Marinovich was arrested in Newport Beach for cocaine
possession. The next year, he was cited by Manhattan Beach police for
disturbing the peace.

DARE's Straight Talk Can Be Effective (Op-Ed In 'Orange County Register'
By Garden Grove Police Officer And DARE Instructor In Deep Denial
Uses Rhetoric Instead Of Evidence To Maintain Program Is Effective)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 13:07:27 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA; Editorial: Dare's 'Straight Talk' Can Be Effective
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Section: Commentary, page 3
Author: Frank Caruso- A police officer and member of the Garden Grove
police department's DARE unit.
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


For the past year, I have read countless articles on the ineffectiveness of
the DARE program. It appears that some of our nation's educators, school
district administrators and law enforcement officials feel that our top
juvenile anti-drug program, DARE, is not bringing in numbers to justify
their budget expenditures or to satisfy their local government bean

For the last two years, I have been teaching the DARE program to
sixth-grade students in Garden Grove and have taught over 3,500 students. I
know I am making a difference in their lives because I am building bonds
that will last a lifetime. In the 17-week curriculum I do not teach kids to
say "no." I teach them why and how to say "no" and the consequences of
their choices to use or not use drugs. My students also learn about
self-esteem, stress, violence and other issues that can interfere with
their ability to make good decisions. My "straight talk" about drugs and
gangs is open, honest, informative and fun. I can see my students
comprehending the importance of strong values and good decision-making

DARE was never designed to be a "cure all" for society's juvenile problems.
DARE is about prevention, not about taking responsibility away from parents
and the community. DARE also understands the importance of continued
education and therefore offers a follow-up curriculum for middle and high
school students, which includes a program for parents.

The overall effectiveness of DARE depends greatly on the support of the
community, the DARE officer's ability to teach and most importantly the
reinforcement by parents. It has been my experience that the parents are
not holding up their end of the deal. It is not unique for me to know
children whose parents or close relatives are addicted to drugs, in street
gangs or in prison. It is not easy for me to tell these kids that they
cannot afford to follow in their parents' footsteps. They must make better
choices that their parents because their futures depend on it. In some
instances, I am the only positive adult male role model in their lives.

What makes DARE effective is the fact that it is taught by a person who has
experienced first hand (not just read in a book) the devastating effects of
drugs and gangs on the human spirit. DARE's worth simply cannot be
evaluated based solely on written statistical documentation. Rather, it
must be viewed as an additional layer of psychological protection for our

My students will remember DARE for the rest of their lives. The value of
the bond between the officer and the child is not something that can be
measured by traditional surveys or statistics. We can either pay now for
our children's education or pay later when we have to institutionalize
them. Believe me, it is far more inexpensive (and rewarding, I might add)
to educate them now.

Liberty School Instructor Faces Marijuana Charges (Salem, Oregon,
Elementary Teacher Popped On Marijuana Cultivation Charges)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 01:40:01 -0800
From: Paul Freedom 
Organization: Oregon State Patriots
To: Cannabis Common Law ,


by Alma D. Velazquez
Statesman Journal
Salem, Oregon

A Liberty Elementary School teacher was suspended
from work Friday, the morning after Salem police officers
arrested her on drug charges.

Ginger Lee McKenzie, 46, of Salem was charged with
distribution and manufacture of marijuana after Salem police
officers found marijuana growing at her home.

Also arrested was Terry Hillman Williams, 40, of Salem,
who lives in the same residence.

Police confiscated 73 rooted marijuana plants, $900
in cash, a .357-caliber Magnum handgun, grow lights and
miscellaneous growing equipment.

The harvested marijuana was found in a mobile home
at 4676 32nd Ave. SE, which was the main living quarters
for McKenzie and Williams. The growing area was in a
separate mobile home, 4666 32nd Ave. SE on the same

Both were booked into Marion County jail late
Thursday and released soon after on their own recognizance.

Liberty School Principle Marilyn Campbell issued a letter
to the parents of McKenzie's fourth-grade students Friday
notifying them of the arrest and saying the incident had nothing
to do with McKenzie's employment at the school.

" The charges are not related to her teaching, and there
and there is no allegation that Liberty School is involved,"
the statement read.

School officials said they had arranged for a substitute
teacher and would provide students and parents with additional
support to help them deal with concerns.

Susan Gourley, the district's personnel director, said the
school will decide on her future employment once police complete
their investigation.

" We will rely on them to do their work and then we figure out
what we need to do, " she said.

McKenzie, a teacher with the district since 1979, was suspended
with pay.

Police said they served McKenzie and Williams with a search
warrant after receiving a tip that marijuana was being grown at the
residence. The Salem Area Interagency Narcotics Team conducted
the investigation that resulted in the arrests.

DEA Impounds Car, Destroys Credit Of AIDS-Cancer Patient Peter McWilliams -
Without Bringing Charges ('Marijuananews.com' With More On DEA Harassment
Of The Best-Selling Author Whose Computer With His Latest Book -
About Cannabis - They Seized In December, An Act Already Denounced
By Free-Speech And Free-Press Advocates From The ACLU To William Buckley)

Date: 	Sun, 25 Jan 1998 16:01:12 -0400 (AST)
Sender: Chris Donald 
From: Chris Donald 
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com, drctalk@chebucto.ns.ca
Subject: Narc war on activists: McWilliams: dea destroys credit
marijuananews.com - A Personal Newsletter on the Cannabis Controversies
Date: 01/24/98
[1] Richard Cowan, Editor and Publisher

DEA Impounds Car Destroys Credit Of Aids-Cancer Patient Peter
McWilliams --Without Bringing Charges

January 22, 1998

In an apparently orchestrated effort to suppress medical marijuana
advocate and vocal DEA critic Peter McWilliams, the DEA momentarily
impounded his car. This triggered a clause in the lease agreement
stating that if a car is impounded by law enforcement, the lease is
cancelled. The leasing company demanded full payment of the lease
amount—almost $50,000—that McWilliams did not have. Unpaid,
this is reported as a lease default, effectively destroying
McWilliams' credit.

"I leased the car—which is really a small truck—to transport
me to and from medical treatments should my condition worsen," said
McWilliams, who was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer in March 1996. He
uses medical marijuana to control nausea, a side effect of his medical
treatment. "Now I don't have the car, and no credit to get another."
McWilliams worries his credit card will be canceled, and perhaps even
the mortgage on his home.

The DEA impounded the car, which was on loan to a friend, on December
14, 1997, just three days before nine DEA agents searched McWilliams'
home and publishing company, seizing the computer containing
McWilliams' soon-to-be-published book, A Question of Compassion: And
AIDS-Cancer Patient Explores Medical Marijuana. The book contains
passages critical of the DEA. No drugs were found in the car.

The DEA is apparently investigating McWilliams for cultivating medical
marijuana, or "conspiring" to cultivate marijuana, both of which are
specifically permitted medical marijuana patients under California's
Proposition 215, now The Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

The DEA never informed McWilliams of the impounding. The DEA released
the car to the leaseholder, Lexus Financial Services, which would not
return the car to McWilliams unless he paid $47,802.25. Further, if
the amount were not paid immediately, the car would be auctioned and
reported to credit bureaus as McWilliams breaking the lease. "I still
wanted the car. I was still prepared to pay for it," said McWilliams.
Now, because of the DEA, Lexus takes it back and is telling creditors
that I broke the lease."

Disbelieving this Kafakaesque turn of events, McWilliams wrote a
letter to the president of Lexus America, James Press, explaining the
situation. Nancy Tippett, Customer Service Manager of Lexus Financial
Services, responded for Mr. Press:

Lexus Financial Services has had an opportunity to carefully review
your concerns regarding the seizure of you vehicle by the Drug
Enforcement Administration. While LFS empathizes with your situation,
LFS cannot agree to reinstate your lease account. Pursuant to
paragraph 20 of your lease, subjecting the vehicle to seizure or
impound for any reason is a default under your contract.

On further investigation, McWilliams discovered that this is a routine
harassment technique of the DEA. "Although few consumers know it,
almost every car or truck lease has a clause saying that if the DEA
impounds your car for any reason, even for an hour, the lease is
canceled, and it all goes on your credit report." said McWilliams.
"This can begin a domino effect in people's lives—loss of
transportation, loss of credit, loss of housing—that leaves some
people destitute. All this without a search warrant, without a charge,
without even an explanation. It's frightening the power the DEA has to
be judge, jury, and executioner of anyone it finds inconvenient."

McWilliams has been "inconvenient" to the DEA since the 1993
publication of his Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of
Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country
(www.mcwilliams.com/books/aint/toc.htm), a book sharply critical of
the War on Drugs and praised by Milton Freidman, Hugh Downs,
Archbishop Tutu, and Sting. McWilliams founded the Medical Marijuana
Magazine Online (www.marijuanamagazine.com) in March 1997.

McWilliams also recently learned the DEA has called in an IRS Special
Agent to investigate McWilliams and his publishing company, Prelude
Press, Inc. "First the DEA, then the IRS, now LEXUS," said McWilliams.
"What's next?"

The DEA December 1997 seizure of the computer containing McWilliams'
latest book has been widely denounced by freedom-of-speech and
freedom-of-the-press advocates, from the ACLU to William F. Buckley,
Jr. Mr. Buckley, who remarked the seizure was "the equivalent of
entering the New York Times and walking away with the printing
machinery, " wrote in his January 6, 1998, syndicated column:

[T]here is the federal war on drugs, with General Barry McCaffrey up
there like George S. Patton defying all obstacles to pressing his war.
The difference is that Patton succeeded and McCaffrey is not
succeeding and never will. Anthony Lewis of the New York Times reminds
us that in 1980 the Feds spent $4 billion on the drug war, now $32
billion and the number of people in jail on drug charges went up by
the same multiple of eight: from 50,000 to 400,000. How to proceed?

Not, one hopes, with more dawn break-ins and removal of computers.
Peter McWilliams reports an ironic turn. For his illness he smokes
every day. But after you do that for a few weeks you cease to get a
high. Marijuana becomes just something that stops nausea, eases pain,
reduces intraocular pressure, relaxes muscles, and takes the "bottom"
out of a depression. So where do we go from here? To jail?


To interview Peter McWilliams, please contact Ed Hashia, 213-650-9571

Lexus Financial Services, Nancy Tippett, 1-310-787-1310

More on this story online: [17] www.marijuanamagazine.com

(Ed. Note: I was the founding editor of that site. The opening
graphics created by Peter and his new "webmistress" is spectacular.)

Watts Confirms Call From Fleeing Sister (US Representative JC Watts,
Republican From Oklahoma, Confirms He Received Call From Sister
Fleeing Meth Charges - 'Tulsa World' Says He 'May Not Have
Contacted Authorities' Afterwards, A Legal Violation)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 20:45:26 -0500 Subject: MN: US OK: Watts Confirms Call From Fleeing Sister Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 Source: Tulsa World (OK) Author: Jim Myers, World Washington Bureau Contact: tulsaworld@mail.webtek.com WATTS CONFIRMS CALL FROM FLEEING SISTER WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., confirmed through an aide that he received a call from his sister while she was fleeing drug charges in Oklahoma County. ``He advises that she was in Maryland,'' Watts' Chief of Staff Michael Hunter said Friday. ``There was discussion of her problem, and his recommendation to her was to get with the authorities and get the problem worked out.'' Watts also may not have contacted authorities after receiving the call from his sister, it was learned. She had skipped bail by failing to appear for a Nov. 10 hearing in Oklahoma City. State law makes it is illegal for Oklahomans to give any kind of assistance to a fugitive. It also prohibits them from concealing a fugitive's location. The head of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association said that under the ``letter of the law,'' Watts may have been obligated to inform authorities about the contact with his sister. ``She was a fugitive,'' association President Dudley Goolsby said. But Goolsby said that may be a ``gray area'' of the law and conceded that it would have been difficult for Watts to do that to his sister. ``Put yourself in his shoes,'' he said. Along with several others, Darlene Watts of Oklahoma City was charged with possession of methamphetamines and with trafficking in the drug. A bail bondsman said his firm searched for her ``all over the country'' and eventually apprehended her in Oklahoma City. She was returned to jail in Oklahoma County on New Year's Eve. After she resolves the problems with the drug charges, officials said, she will be held over to face municipal charges on public indecency. Those 1996 charges stem from her performance at an Oklahoma City club where she was a dancer. Watts has declined to be interviewed about the legal situation involving his 34-year-old sister. He earlier had told an aide that he had not seen his sister in a year. Hunter said the congressman was in Norman when he received the call, the exact date of which Watts could not recall. ``I don't have any indication from him regarding that, either way,'' Hunter said when asked whether Watts then contacted authorities about the call from his sister. He went on to say that Watts had only a ``sketchy understanding'' of his sister's situation, and they had not seen each other for more than a year. Hunter said the congressman also said his sister did not tell him exactly where she was in Maryland. Their contact apparently was limited to the one phone call, Hunter said. ``If he didn't know where she was, it would be kind of hard for him to tell somebody where she was,'' Goolsby said. Although he has declined to speak about his sister's situation, Watts has expressed concern for her through Hunter. ``The congressman is . . . trying to balance his responsibilities as a public official to comment on this situation with his responsibility to his family,'' Hunter said. ``His view is that this is an appropriate balancing of those interests.'' Only in his second term in Congress, Watts is a star on the Republican speaking circuit.

Man Pleads Guilty Of Possessing Cigarettes ('St. Louis Post Dispatch'
Indicates Iowa Man Who Showed Up For 45-Day Probation Violation
At Nodaway County Jail In Maryville, Missouri, Didn't Know About
Its No-Smoking Policy)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 15:56:50 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US MO: Man Pleads Guilty Of Possessing Cigarettes
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: derek rea 
Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch
Pubdate: 24 Jan 1998
Page: 8 - AP wire
Contact: letters@pd.stlnet.com
Website: http://www.stlnet.com/


Maryville, Mo. - Donald Heming didn't want to risk a long prison term, so
he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge: possession of cigarettes.

When Heming, of Hamburg Iowa, surrendered at the Nodaway County Jail in
Maryville, he admitted having cigarettes - an alkaloid substance described
under Missouri laws.

The episode began when Heming reported to served a 45 day sentence for
violation of probation in Aug. 1996.

That fall, he was charged with possession of an alkaloid (cigarettes) and
possession of a weapon (matches), both felonies, after jailers removed them
from his personal effects.

The Noaway County Jail has a no-smoking policy.

A defining term in the law, "alkaloid", means an organic substance found in
narcotics, but it's also present in caffeine and nicotine.

The Missouri Court of Appeals and Supreme Court declined to stop
prosecution. Heming's trial was to have begun this week.

Conviction as a persistent offender would have meant five to 40 years in

There will be no incarceration with his negotiated plea, which admits guilt
only to possession of an alkaloid.

Taking First Steps Of Freedom As An Inflexible Law Is Overruled
('New York Times' Reports On A Mother Reuniting With The 8-Year-Old Son
She Bore In Prison Serving 15-Year Term, One Of 11 Nonviolent Drug Offenders
Sentenced Under The Rockefeller Laws' Mandatory Minimums Granted Clemency
By New York Governor George Pataki)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 08:48:50 -0500
Subject: MN: US NY: NYT: Taking First Steps of Freedom as an Inflexible Law
Is Overruled
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org
Source: New York Times
Author: By Jane Gross
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Pubdate: Saturday, 24 Jan 1998
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/


BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. -- Angela Thompson's son, Shamel, was born nearly eight
years ago in a prison nursery here, behind the cinder block walls and razor
wire fences of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, and raised by his

Friday, Ms. Thompson practically skipped out the gates of the maximum
security prison, celebrating her freedom by smothering the boy with kisses
and promising him an expedition to Toys "R" Us and Chuck E. Cheese.

A month ago, Gov. George Pataki commuted Ms. Thompson's sentence of 15
years to life for selling drugs, one of 11 clemencies he has granted to
nonviolent drug offenders sentenced under the 1973 Rockefeller laws. And
now, after more than eight years, prison was behind her, the rest of her
life ahead.

"Thank the Lord I am free," Ms. Thompson said, as two sisters and a cousin
snapped pictures and their children, eight in all, scampered underfoot.

It was a bleak day to re-enter the world, with sleet lashing the northern
suburbs and the sky low and gray. But Ms. Thompson was bareheaded and
gloveless when she left the prison shortly after 9 Friday morning.

She was escorted by Sister Elaine Roulet, director of the nursery and
children's center where Ms. Thompson, now 26, had worked as an inmate
supervisor. Later she said she would have run out the door had the nun not
held her arm.

Ms. Thompson carried a small suitcase and a bouquet of alstroemeria, a gift
from a volunteer at the children's center, where imprisoned mothers have
regular visits with their sons and daughters. She wore a new, sleek black
pants suit. Her hair was freshly primped, by inmate beauticians. Her son
nuzzled at her side.

The reunion of mother and son, so long in coming and so hard won, was the
result of a determined effort by a retired State Supreme Court justice,
Jerome W. Marks. Marks had read a law journal's account of the sentence
handed the teen-ager, who had no previous record when she was arrested for
selling 2 ounces of cocaine to an undercover officer. Ms. Thompson, 17 at
the time, was taking orders from her uncle and legal guardian, a repeat
felon and drug dealer.

Marks, who prepared the clemency petition and greeted her as she walked out
of the prison Friday, had the support of the trial judge, Juanita Bing
Newton. Justice Newton had sentenced the pregnant teen-ager to eight years
to life, but that sentence was overturned on appeal because of the
mandatory minimums specified under the Rockefeller drug laws. Ms. Thompson
was one of three first-time, nonviolent drug offenders granted clemency on
Christmas Eve. Her uncle, who was sentenced to 15 years to life for drug
dealing, remains imprisoned.

On Thursday, her final night in prison, Ms. Thompson and four friends ate
dinner together, beef and rice cooked on a hot plate. There was a cake,
with vanilla icing and coconut flakes, "baked" in a tin can atop the coils.
The women talked of old times, wept and prayed until lockdown at 10:30 p.m.
Ms. Thompson was awake before dawn, packing and pacing.

Her relatives, in a motel in nearby Mount Kisco, were too excited for much
sleep, as well. The children, ranging in age from 4 to 10, were crammed
into two rooms. Way past normal bedtime, they were jumping on the beds and
playing Nintendo. Even Justice Marks, 82, and his wife, also spending the
night at the Holiday Inn, tossed and turned in anticipation.

Marks, who has been harping for years about the injustice of Ms. Thompson's
sentence, called Friday "the best day I've ever had as a judge." He added
that sentencing defendants was always difficult; helping one gain her
freedom was another story. "There's nothing quite like seeing a new life
for somebody, especially somebody who suffered as she did," he said.

Morning broke stormy, but the little girls wore black velvet party dresses,
the boys freshly pressed flannel shirts. Together with Ms. Thompson they
ate a celebratory breakfast at the Crabtree Kittle House, an 18th century
inn and restaurant in Chappaqua. Then Ms. Thompson paid her first visit to
her parole officer in Manhattan and went to Brooklyn, where she will live
for six months at a halfway house run by Sister Elaine's order, the Sisters
of Saint Joseph.

Her family lives in Camden, N.J., but Ms. Thompson chose Providence House
so she would be closer to her parole officer and to job counseling. Her
goal is to work with girls like she once was, who are liable to get
pregnant or involved with drugs. She has some experience as a result of the
many innovative programs at Bedford Hills for inmates' children, including
one for teens who attend monthly rap sessions at the prison.

Ms. Thompson said she plans to complete college. She was six credits short
of an associate degree in psychology and sociology when the prison lost
funding for higher education programs a few years back. But first on her
agenda are thank you letters to Pataki and a visit to Justice Newton's

She has poise and job skills learned in the prison's children's center,
where she was permitted to live with and care for her son for the first
year of his life and where she later worked. She also has the support of a
large family that includes her sisters Sophia Thompson, a 28-year-old
nurse's aide, 29-year-old Sharon Pryce, soon to have another child, and a
cousin, Andrea Barnett, 27, also a nurse's aide, who was here Friday, too,
with her children.

All the youngsters took turns joining Shamel for visits at the correctional
facility -- periodic weekends when model prisoners can stay with family
members in trailers on the grounds. The boy, a second-grader, was here for
such a visit on Christmas Eve, along with his Aunt Sophia and her two boys,
8-year-old Dimitri and 7-year-old Renice.

That is the day when governors traditionally announce clemency decisions.
Ms. Thompson, in the visitors' room with her family, could hardly bear the
suspense. She rested her head in her older sister's lap and Sophia stroked
her hair. At just that moment, the superintendent came into the large hall,
ringed with vending machines and noisy with children.

"Angela, you got it," she said.

Until that happy day, Ms. Thompson's sisters would fend off the children's
questions about when she was coming home. "Soon," they would say. "When is
soon?" the dogged youngsters would counter.

"You know kids -- all the why questions," Sophia Thompson said as Angela
kneeled on the restaurant floor, all eight children climbing on her as if
she were a jungle gym. "Well, now we know the answer."

Tip Leads To Four Men, 376 Pounds Of Pot (Local News From 'Chicago Tribune' -
Another Informant, Another Bust, Another Day In The War On Drugs)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:47:18 -0500
Subject: MN: US IL: Tip Leads To 4 Men, 376 Pounds Of Pot
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Chris Clay http://www.hempnation.com/
Source: Chicago Tribune
Contact: tribletter@aol.com
Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/
Pubdate: January 24, 1998


CARPENTERSVILLE -- A tip to the North Central Narcotics Task Force has
resulted in the arrests of four men in Carpentersville with more than 300
pounds of marijuana.

Jose Perez Guzman, 24, of Chicago, and Podilla Reyes, 32, of 7004 N.
Paulina St., Chicago, each were charged with unlawful possession of
cannabis and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, said
Master Sgt. Michael Callahan.

Two other men also were arrested at a residence at 1423 Kings Road Circle,
Carpentersville, when the marijuana was delivered, but their names were
being withheld pending the arrest of a fifth man, believed to be the leader
of the drug ring, Callahan said.

The unnamed men were charged with unlawful possession of cannabis with
intent to deliver.

The task force was tipped off on Tuesday by the Nebraska State Police and
the Drug Enforcement Administration that the marijuana was being taken to
Carpentersvile, Callahan said.

The 376 pounds of marijuana was in 67 blocks kept in luggage and duffel
bags in the vehicle and has a street value of about $225,000, Callahan said.

Agents Seize $86,000 From Woman ('Associated Press' Doesn't Say Why
US Customs Searched The Passenger At La Guardia Airport In New York)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 00:27:17 -0800
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Agents Seize $86,000 From Woman
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. Customs agents said they seized $86,000 in suspected
drug money from a woman they arrested at La Guardia Airport who said she
swallowed thousands more in cash.

Liliana Giraldo was headed to Miami with a connecting flight to Colombia on
Thursday when a Customs inspector examined her luggage, authorities said

The luggage was full of cash stuffed into battery-sized capsules, Customs
spokeswoman Janet Rapaport said. The capsules, each containing about six
$100 bills, were glued to the insides of a toy cash register, a
remote-controlled toy car and other items.

Giraldo admitted having swallowed 37 capsules containing $22,000, Rapaport
said. Authorities were trying to determine if she had indeed swallowed the

Her boyfriend, Santiago Rueda, was arrested later, and another stash of
$55,000 was found at a relative's home in Flushing, Rapaport said.

Rapaport said she did not know the exact charges against either suspect.

Spare Us Your Battle Plan (Fairfax County, Virginia Mother Naive About
'Washington Post' Bias On Drug News Writes Letter To Editor Expressing Dismay
Her Cooperation With Paper Resulted In A Story Endorsing Drug-War Tactics
And Priorities Rather Than Drug Treatment And Need For More Funding)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 09:13:19 -0500
Subject: MN: US VA; WP LTE: Spare Us Your 'Battle Plan'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org - temporary only, I hope.
Source: Washington Post
Section: Letters to the Editor
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Saturday, 24 Jan 1998


Last month, The Post did a two-part investigative report on juvenile drug
and alcohol use in Fairfax County [news story, Dec. 14, front page, Dec.
15]. A profile of my family, and our arduous but ultimately successful
attempt to get effective treatment and recovery for our son was included in
the first part of the series.

The reason we agreed to be interviewed for the article, despite the stigma
we knew such publicity would bring, was that we wanted people to understand
that addiction is terrible but that with effective treatment people get
better, families are restored, communities are spared many ills and
taxpayers save money. We thought that this was a message that parents and
policy-makers alike needed to hear.

Imagine our disappointment to learn that the first response of the Fairfax
County Board of Supervisors to the Post articles was to gear up for a "new
battle plan" that would station police officers in middle schools and
create a new detective squad specializing in arresting juvenile drug
dealers and users [Metro, Jan. 13]. We did not read one word about getting
treatment to the children targeted by this dragnet.

As an intervention tool, juvenile detention is terrific. You can ask my
son. But juvenile detention did not bring him recovery or put his life back
on track or restore sanity to our family -- treatment did.

Parents alone cannot fix a kid with a serious drug problem. My husband and
I know because we tried very hard. Jails can't do it either -- corrections
officials don't even claim that they can. It takes treatment, tailored to
the degree of the adolescent's addiction and delivered by competent
professionals, supported by families and backed where needed by the
coercive power of the juvenile justice system.

If Fairfax County -- and our state legislature and our Congress and our
health insurance plans -- cannot put new dollars on the table for
effective, accessible and accountable addiction treatment, then all we are
talking about here is a knee-jerk political reaction to the embarrassment
of The Post's articles. Parents who are where my husband and I were three
years ago will be left to swing in the breeze, and taxpayers will be left
to pick up the tab.


Reno Orders Inspector General To Withhold Report On CIA-Crack Probe
('Washington Post' Says US Attorney General Is Quashing The 400-Page Report,
Ready A Month Ago, Due To Unspecified 'Law Enforcement Concerns' -
CIA Version, Held Up In December By Justice Department, Now Expected
To Be Made Public Next Week)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 09:06:22 -0500 Subject: MN: US: WP: Reno Orders IG to Withhold Report on CIA-Crack Probe Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Please - we need a WP newshawk - rlake@mapinc.org Source: Washington Post Author: Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Saturday, 24 Jan 1998 RENO ORDERS IG TO WITHHOLD REPORT ON CIA-CRACK PROBE Attorney General Janet Reno yesterday ordered the Justice Department inspector general to continue to withhold his 400-page report on the CIA-crack cocaine controversy. The report had been set for release more than a month ago. Citing "law enforcement concerns" that are not related to the report's conclusions, Reno said the report should continue to be withheld until those concerns have ended. Under the law cited by Reno, among the information the attorney general can order withheld includes undercover operations and the identity of confidential sources such as protected witnesses. Sources within the law enforcement community said last month that the concern was for ongoing drug enforcement operations and witnesses who some officials believed could be jeopardized by information in the report. Inspector General Michael Bromwich said yesterday he disagreed with Reno's decision but that he would abide by it. "I hope that we will be able to release the report in its entirety in the not-too-distant future," he said. Bromwich also said the CIA played no role in the delay and that nothing in the report is classified. The report is the outgrowth of a year-long investigation by Bromwich's staff into articles published in August 1996 by the San Jose Mercury News that alleged that the CIA helped introduce crack cocaine into South Central Los Angeles through Nicaraguan drug dealers who sent their profits to help finance contra rebels seeking to overthrow the Sandinista government in that country. The series of articles created a major uproar within the Los Angeles community, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus demanded they be investigated by the government. A subsequent inquiry by other newspapers, including The Washington Post, raised questions about some of the basic charges carried in the articles. Last month, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a summary of his findings from his inquiry, which concluded there was no evidence to support the allegation of CIA involvement in the California crack cocaine trade. Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury News investigated its own report after then-CIA Director John M. Deutch questioned its conclusions, and Jerry Ceppos, executive editor, said last May the series "oversimplified" a supposed link between the CIA and cocaine trafficking and omitted important facts that contradicted that conclusion. The complete CIA inspector general report, whose release was delayed in December by the Justice Department, is now expected to be made public late next week, according to sources. Although Reno did not say yesterday when the law enforcement concerns she mentioned would be abated, other sources indicated the report would be released this year.

Reno Orders Delay In Release Of CIA Cocaine Report ('Reuters' Version)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 23:53:15 -0800
Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Reno Orders Delay In Release Of CIA Cocaine Report
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: GDaurer 
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Attorney General Janet Reno on Friday
ordered the Justice Department's inspector general to delay the release of
a report into allegations involving the CIA, crack cocaine and a Nicaraguan
rebel group.

Inspector General Michael Bromwich immediately issued a statement
disagreeing with Reno's decision, but saying that under the law he had no
choice but to go along with it.

``I hope that we will be able to release the report in its entirety in the
not-too-distant future,'' he said. ``At that time, I look forward to a full
and open discussion of the findings contained in our report.''

The report stemmed from reports in 1996 by the San Jose Mercury News that
the CIA helped introduce crack cocaine into California in an effort to
funnel drug profits to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s.

A report by the CIA inspector general found no support for the allegations,
but its release also has been delayed by the Justice Department.

U.S. officials have said Bromwich uncovered no evidence that the CIA or any
other U.S. intelligence agency had sought to interfere with a specific
investigation or drug-case prosecution.

Reno in a letter to Bromwich cited ``unspecified law enforcement concerns''
unrelated to his ultimate conclusions as the reason for delaying the
release of the report, which was completed a month ago.

``This prohibition on public disclosure of your report shall remain in
effect until I determine that the law enforcement concerns that have caused
me to make this decision no longer warrant deferral of its public
release,'' she said.

Until its public release, the report will not be changed, Reno said.

Bromwich said he had been working with Justice Department officials over
the past month ``to resolve the issues that have blocked public release of
the report,'' and he expressed regret the effort had yet to be successful.

``Although I disagree with her decision, it is her decision to make under
the law. I respect that decision and must abide by it,'' he said of Reno's

CIA-Crack Study Is Blocked By Reno ('San Jose Mercury News' Version,
With Links To The Paper's Web Site Offering More Details)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 00:24:33 -0800
Subject: MN: SJMercury: CIA-Crack Study Is Blocked By Reno
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998

NOTE: This is from the San Jose Mercury News, the paper that broke the original
story on Reno's decision to delay the CIA-crack study. In the
article they have provided many links to into the background of the story.
The links that were provided within the text of the story have remained in
place [within brackets].

On May 11, 1997, the Mercury News published a column that is important to
an understanding of this document or story located at:

Other links:

The following article is posted at:

Continued coverage:

(closed on June 11, 1997)



Mercury News Staff Writer

Using a provision of law that had never been invoked, Attorney General
Janet Reno has blocked the release of a report on the actions of the
Department of Justice in an alleged CIA-Contra-crack cocaine conspiracy.

The report will not be made public until unspecified ''law enforcement
concerns'' are resolved, Reno's order says. The attorney general said the
report will eventually be released unchanged.

Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich,
[http://spyglass1.sjmercury.com/drugs/library/51.htm] who directed the
investigation, said he disagrees with and regrets the decision but will
abide by it and has no complaints about the way it was made.

Both the inspector general and the Justice Department said the CIA was not
involved in the decision. The law enforcement concerns are ''unrelated to
the ultimate conclusions'' reached in the report, Reno said in ordering
Bromwich to delay its release.

The 400-page Department of Justice report, the product of a 15-month
investigation by 13 people, including five lawyers, examines actions of the
Department of Justice concerning two Nicaraguan cocaine dealers who were
supporters of the anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan guerrilla force called the
Contras. It also explores ''some additional related matters,'' according to

In a series published in the Mercury News in August 1996, the two
Nicaraguans -- Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero and Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes
-- were alleged to have financed the Contras with millions of dollars in
cocaine profits from drug deals in South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s.
The series strongly suggested CIA knowledge of the operation and also
suggested the two men were protected from prosecution by unnamed government

Then-CIA director John Deutch denied the allegations but ordered an
investigation by his agency's inspector general.

A second investigation of Justice Department actions concerning the alleged
operation was opened by the department's Inspector General Bromwich,
leading to the report that Reno blocked Friday.

The investigation presumably looked at interference with the prosecution of
the two Nicaraguans and with their relationships with the Drug Enforcement
Administration. Both men eventually became informants for the DEA, which is
under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department.

Bromwich stressed that his investigation was ''wholly separate'' from the CIA's.

Reno's order marks the first time a section of the Inspector General Act of
1978 [http://www.doc.gov/oig/info/igact78.htm] has been used to block an
inspector general's report. The section allows the attorney general to
intervene if a report would affect ongoing civil or criminal investigations
or proceedings; disclose undercover operations; reveal the identity of
confidential sources and protected witnesses; expose intelligence or
counter-intelligence operations; or pose a serious threat to national

Neither Bromwich nor the attorney general would discuss which law
enforcement ''concerns'' are involved.

But since the report has been declassified by the CIA and Department of
Justice agencies involved, it appears unlikely that national security,
intelligence, undercover operations or source information is involved. That
leaves ongoing civil or criminal proceedings as the most likely factor.

''It's not that the report was invalid, or will have to be changed, or will
never see the light of day,'' said justice department spokesman Bert
Brandenburg. ''It's simply a decision to delay it until the law enforcement
concerns abate.''

He said the decision ''is not made lightly and comes from an attorney
general who has a very strong record of openness.''

The order puts in writing a last-minute decision by the attorney general's
office that blocked the report's release in December. That decision caused
the CIA to delay the release of its own inspector general's report on the

Although the CIA report has not been released, its conclusion --that there
was no merit to the allegations -- was leaked to the news media by sources
familiar with the investigation. The Department of Justice report has
remained a mystery.

Bromwich said he is confident the report will be released.

''It will be released eventually, certainly,'' he said. ''I hope and
believe it will be released this year.''

Members of Congress who have been following the issue closely were
unavailable for comment on the order to withhold the report.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said it would have no comment
before Congress reconvenes Monday.

The Mercury News series and its suggestion that the CIA could have helped
cause the nation's crack epidemic drew widespread public reaction. Some
news organizations attacked the series as unsubstantiated, while some
legislators and citizen groups demanded a thorough investigation of the

In a May 11 column examining the series, Mercury News Executive Editor
Jerry Ceppos aknowledged shortcomings in the articles after an extensive
internal re-examination.

''There is evidence to support the specific assertions and conclusions of
our series -- as well as conflicting evidence on many points,'' he wrote.
He concluded that the series did not sufficiently include that conflicting
evidence and did not meet the newspaper's standards.

Reno Seals Report on CIA-Crack Claims ('Associated Press' Version
In 'Los Angeles Times' Adds 'It Was Learned Officials Feared Release
Might Compromise Undercover Operation Expected To Last Extended Period')

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 17:29:14 -0800
Subject: MN: US: Reno Seals Report on CIA-Crack Claims
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Pubdate: January 24, 1998


WASHINGTON (AP)--Over the Justice Department inspector general's objections,
Atty. Gen. Janet Reno ordered him Friday to keep secret a report on how the
department dealt with people and allegations described in a newspaper
series on the CIA, Nicaraguan rebels and crack cocaine dealers.

It was the first time an attorney general had ever invoked provisions of
the Inspector General Act that allow a report to be withheld from the
public if its release would reveal sensitive information.

The 400-page report is the product of a 15-month investigation triggered by
August 1996 articles in the San Jose Mercury News, Inspector General
Michael R. Bromwich said.

In a letter to Bromwich, Reno said her decision was prompted by "law
enforcement concerns unrelated to the ultimate conclusions reached in your

She did not elaborate, but it was learned that department officials feared
release might compromise an undercover operation that is expected to last
an extended period.

Reno Makes Official Withhold Report On The CIA And Drugs ('Associated Press'
Version In 'Orange County Register' Notes 400-Page Report That Took 15 Months
To Investigate Is Titled, 'A CIA-Contra Crack Cocaine Controversy - A Review
Of The Justice Department's Investigations And Prosecutions')

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 13:01:23 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Reno Makes Official Withhold Report On The CIA and Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Section: News, page 10
Author: Michael J.Sniffen-The Associated Press
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998


Inspector General Michael Bromwich objects to order for secrecy from the
attorney general.

WASHINGTON - Over the Justice Department inspector general's
objection, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered him Friday to keep secret
indefinitely a report on how the department dealt with people and
allegations described in a newspaper series on the CIA, Nicaraguan rebels
and crack cocaine dealers.

It was the first time an attorney general had ever invoked provisions of an
act dealing with inspectors general that allow a report to be withheld from
the public if its release would reveal sensitive information.

The 400-page report, "A CIA-Contra Crack Cocaine Controversy: A Review of
the Justice Department's Investigations and Prosecutions," is the product
of a 15-month investigation triggered by August 1996 articles in the San
Jose Mercury News, Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich said in a

In a letter to Bromwich, Reno said her decision was prompted by "law
enforcement concerns unrelated to the ultimate conclusions reached in your
report." She did not elaborate on the reasons, but it was learned that
department officials feared release might compromise an undercover
operation that is expected to last an extended period.

"I disagree with her decision," Bromwich said in a statement. But he added,
"It is her decision to make under the law. I ... must abide by it."

The law allows her to restrict any inspector-general activity involving
sensitive information about civil or criminal investigations, undercover
operations, the identity of confidential sources or protected witnesses,
intelligence matters, or data damaging to national security.

Reno said the report will remain secret "until I determine that the law
enforcement concerns ... no longer warrant deferral of its public release."
She did not estimate when that would be.

Both Reno and Bromwich said the report would not be altered.

Bromwich evaluated the potential risk of damage from public release of his
document as less harmful than Reno believed and objected because the
open-ended secrecy "could last many months," said one Justice official, who
requested anonymity.

The Mercury News series concluded that a San Francisco Bay area drug ring
sold cocaine in south-central Los Angeles and funneled profits to the
Nicaraguan contra rebels for the better part of a decade. It traced the
drugs to dealers who were also leaders of a CIA-run guerrilla army in
Nicaragua during the 1980s.

Several newspapers disputed the Mercury News report. In an open letter to
readers in May, the Mercury News" executive editor, Jerry Ceppos, said the
series had shortcomings.

The series prompted a separate investigation by the CIA inspector general.
Although the CIA inspector general report also is still secret, a senior
official said last month that it found no evidence CIA employees or agents
colluded with allies of the Nicaraguan Contra rebels involved in crack
cocaine sales in the United States.

A senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the
CIA inspector general report found no link between the CIA and two
Nicaraguan cocaine dealers, Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses. The
newspaper series had said the two were civilian leaders of an
anti-communist commando group formed and run by the CIA during the 1980s.

The newspaper articles traced the origin of the crack cocaine explosion in
the United States to a crack dealer named Ricky Donnell Ross, saying he got
his supply through Blandon and Meneses.

The CIA inspector general found "nothing to indicate that CIA people or
people working for the CIA or on CIA's behalf had any dealings directly or
indirectly with those people, Ross, Blandon or Meneses," the senior
official said.

The newspaper series generated anger in the black community toward the CIA,
as well as federal investigations into whether the CIA took part in or
countenanced the selling of crack to raise money for the contras.

Biotech Firm Grew High-Nicotine Tobacco ('Associated Press'
Says DNA Plant Technology Of Oakland, California, Pleaded Guilty
To One Misdemeanor Count Of Conspiracy, Giving The US Justice Department
Its First Conviction In Its Investigation Of The Tobacco Industry)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 00:30:31 -0800 Subject: MN: US: WIRE: Biotech Firm Grew High-Nicotine Tobacco Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: Associated Press Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 BIOTECH FIRM GREW HIGH-NICOTINE TOBACCO WASHINGTON (AP) -- A California biotechnology company pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to growing high-nicotine tobacco secretly in foreign countries for a U.S. tobacco company. DNA Plant Technology Corp. of Oakland pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy, giving the Justice Department its first conviction in its investigation of the tobacco industry. No sentencing date was set. Arthur Finnel, the company's vice president and chief executive officer, and his lawyers declined to comment further after Friday's court hearing, saying the government had asked them to remain silent while the investigation continues. ``Under the terms of the plea agreement between DNA Plant Technology and the government, DNA Plant Technology Corp. has agreed to cooperate with the government in its ongoing investigation of the tobacco industry,'' said a written statement released by defense attorney Raymond C. Marshall. In court papers filed Jan. 7, federal prosecutors cited the unnamed tobacco company as an unindicted co-conspirator and refused to name it. But individuals familiar with the investigation said it was Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., the third-largest U.S. cigarette company and manufacturer of the Kool, Viceroy and Raleigh brands. The biotechnology firm, also known as DNAP, agreed to plead guilty after negotiations with prosecutors, who have recommended that U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson impose a $100,000 fine as punishment. Johnson, however, still is free to impose the maximum penalty of either $200,000 or twice the amount of money DNAP gained while under contract for the tobacco company. Late last year, 18 Brazilian farmers openly acknowledged to The Associated Press that they are growing high-nicotine leaf by the ton, and many said they have been growing it for more than five years. The AP reported that the high-nicotine tobacco -- called crazy tobacco or fumo louco by the growers -- was the offspring of a genetically altered plant created in U.S. laboratories for Brown & Williamson. DNAP was accused of violating a federal law that banned the export of tobacco seeds without a permit. That law was repealed in 1991. From 1983 to 1994, the tobacco company and DNAP operated a scheme to secretly have said. Commercial growing of such tobacco is banned in this country by federal regulations. DNAP smuggled shipments of seeds to farms in foreign countries -- including Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Argentina and Canada -- to find the best place to grow the tobacco, Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Eliason said. The tobacco company's goal was to develop a reliable source of high-nicotine tobacco that it could use to control and manipulate the nicotine levels of its cigarettes, the government said. Higher levels of nicotine are thought to help hook smokers on cigarettes.

Illusions Of A War Against Cocaine ('New York Times' Editorial
On Multinational Counternarcotics Center In Panama Allowing US Military
To Stay After 1999 Says The Proposal Returns To 'A Strategy That Has Failed
And Could Harm Latin Democracies')
Link to earlier story
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 08:27:05 -0500 Subject: MN: US: NYT Editorial: Illusions of a War Against Cocaine Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: rlake@mapinc.org Source: New York Times Section: Editorial Contact: letters@nytimes.com Pubdate: Saturday, 24 Jan 1998 Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ ILLUSIONS OF A WAR AGAINST COCAINE Panama is debating whether to let Washington keep American soldiers there to combat drug trafficking after the 1999 pullout date set by the canal treaties. The proposal, called the Multinational Counternarcotics Center, is one of several efforts to broaden the role of Latin American militaries in fighting drugs. It is dismaying to see Congress and the Clinton Administration return to a strategy that has failed and could harm Latin democracies. Washington is seeking to keep more than 2,000 soldiers in Panama for 12 years to continue coordinating radar searches for suspicious aircraft, a job that could be done from American soil. The troops would also train Latin American military and police forces in drug-fighting. The project needs the approval of Panama's Congress and its voters in a referendum. Some American officials say the proposal is a way for Washington to maintain ties and coordination with Latin militaries now that cold-war rationales have evaporated. Military aid and sales to Colombia have also been resumed, and this year Congress approved a five-year project costing up to $100 million to train and equip Colombian and Peruvian militaries to interdict drugs transported by river. Washington has periodically pushed the Mexican military to take on an anti-drug role, and since 1996 has provided training, intelligence and equipment. Some cooperation with Latin American law enforcement is useful. Crop substitution programs, which give coca-growing peasants economic incentives to switch crops, deserve expansion. But no one should put too much store in efforts to stop the production of cocaine in Latin America. Past efforts have not reduced the flow of drugs to the United States. A Rand Corporation study showed that source-country control was by far the least cost-effective way of reducing cocaine use. Treatment for addicts, it found, could have the same impact at a 20th of the price. Even effective military operations show this strategy's limits. The Peruvian Air Force has stopped many planes carrying coca paste to Colombia for processing. But that success, along with a fungus that has attacked Peru's coca plants, has simply pushed coca-growing into Colombia. Military strategies are not only ineffective, they can be harmful. The virus of corruption contaminates everyone who comes near the drug war, as the wave of recent arrests of Mexican officers shows. There is evidence from several countries that militaries have used their American equipment and training to fight guerrillas or to abuse human rights. The counternarcotics relationship has also led some Clinton Administration officials to praise officers and strengthen militaries that threaten civilian rule. These are echoes of cold-war abuses that the Administration should heed.

Two CNN Shows Sunday - McCaffrey & 'Canada Cannabis' (Program Your VCR)

From:	Richard Lake [SMTP:rlake@mapinc.org]
Sent:	Saturday, January 24, 1998 6:38 AM
Subject:	MAP: Two CNN Shows Sunday - McCaffrey & Canada Cannabis

As they say, 'Check your local listings....'

From the Washington Post:

Both Sides With Jesse Jackson. With Gen. Barry McCaffrey, director of the
Office of Drug Control Policy, on new strategies for fighting illegal drugs
(CNN, 5:30 p.m. Eastern).

Coming Sunday, January 25 on Impact:

Canada Cannabis Correspondent: Larry LaMotte/ CNN

Two months after our segment originally aired the high profile pot-smoking
entrepreneur Marc Emery was raided for a second time. IMPACT updates you on
North America's new and unlikely source for high-potency marijuana:
Vancouver, Canada, where indoor pot production is a spectacular growth

Pro-Pot Folks Find Splendour In Grass (Rambling Essay By Carey Ker
In 'Toronto Star' Mentions Support Of 83 Percent Of Canadians
For Medical Marijuana, DEA's Referral To HHS Of Jon Gettman's Petition,
Background On 'High Times' - With An Endorsement
Of Cannabis Decriminalization)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Pro-pot folks find splendour in grass
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 14:12:31 -0800
Lines: 99
Newshawk: Carey Ker 
Source: Toronto Star
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com
Section: Page M6
Author: Antonia Zerbisias
Pubdate: January 24, 1998


Better living through chemistry, redux.

Last week, we talked anti-depressants. This week, we turn to another
mind-altering matter - marijuana - and the recent debate about its

Of course, for some there is no debate.

A recent spate of letters to The Star was overwhelmingly pro-pot, with
writers fuming about how booze and cigarettes are legal, while grass, which
helps AIDS and chemotherapy patients fight nausea and other ills, remains

According to a recent poll, 83 per cent of Canadians believe that
marijuana should be legal when used for ``health purposes'' - although, I
suppose, ``health purposes'' can mean anything.

And just a couple of months ago, Murphy Brown viewers watched staid old
Jim Dial score - ``I've even got cash,'' he confided to the dealer - to
help his stricken pal battle her breast cancer.

Even the February Shape magazine is onside, with writer Sharon Cohen
detailing how THC, marijuana's primary active ingredient, works for those
suffering from glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord

Only a token amount of ink is devoted to the downside of dope, the usual
stuff about how smoking causes lung damage.

But, for the straight dope on dope, there's no better source than High
Times, which, for 24 years, has been fighting the U.S. feds and, along with
sister publication Hemp Times, lobbying hard for the legalization of the
wonder weed.

Now, according to news on its Web site, http://www.hightimes.com/ it looks
like its efforts are not going up in smoke.

What's happened is that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminstration (DEA) has
``quietly affirmed that, based on evidence that has been published in High
Times magazine, sufficient grounds exist to investigate whether marijuana
should be made available for medicinal use.''

Well, praise the Lord and pass the . . . oh, never mind.

You have to hand it to a bunch of folks who, since 1974, have risked the
slammer for their single-mindedness.

And make no mistake: High Times takes chances, starting with its
centrefold, always a photo of a lasciviously lush green field or a hugely
hunky chunk of hash.

Where do the pictures come from? Who takes them? Don't the narcs want to

There's also ``Trans-High Market Quotes,'' which, in recent years, has
become a hotline readers call to learn if they're paying too much cash for
their stash. In fact, this nod to modern technology is just about the only
change High Times has made since its early days. Seemingly stuck in a time
warp, the monthly celebrates '60s stoner culture as if the coked-up '80s
and the cracked '90s never happened.

From pot profiles to parties to politics, High Times offers hints for home
growers, tips for tourists and advice on beating drug tests - advice that
operators of heavy machinery and 747 pilots better not be taking. (If
you're already flying, that's high enough.)

Mind you, High Times is not the greatest read on the stands. Its
single-mindedness is tiresome, its design boring and its writing not very

That said, there's clearly a mighty market for the long-lived High Times
(circulation: 300,000), which, like Hemp Times (circulation: 60,000), is
tightly packed with ads for hempwear and pot paraphernalia.

What you won't find within, however, is a single trendy ad for vodka,
which, although legal, probably has harmed more people, families and
communities than any amount of grass.

But still, according to High Times, U.S. pot busts climbed to more than
600,000 in 1996, the third successive record high. In Canada, police made
29,562 arrests for marijuana offences in the same year.

Not only is this an expensive way to tie up the justice machinery - aren't
there more heinous crimes being committed? - it's also indicative of, for
better or worse, marijuana's growing availability.

Millions of people think governments should wake up and smell the winds of

Maybe we should roll with the High Times, as it were.

Colombians Choking On Contraband - Drug Traffickers' Money Laundering
Ruins Businesses ('San Francisco Chronicle' Report Suggests
US Interdiction Programs Aren't Quite Effective Yet - Colombia's
$3 Billion Contraband Trade Makes Up One Third Of Imports, But Destabilizes
Some Parts Of Its Economy)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 13:45:17 EST
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: SF Chronicle, 1/24

Over the past 2 years that I have been following "drug news," John Otis of
the SF Chronicle has sent a number of perceptive articles from Mexico and
Colombia describing how the drug war impacts society in those countries.
Unfortunately, those stories are seldom picked up by other American
newspapers and thus remain under reported. This is a typical example. The
Chronicle doesn't even carry them in their online edition, so they have to
be scanned and OCR'd. It's a pity, because they are unique, well written,
and deserve a wider audience.

Tom O'Connell

Colombians Choking on Contraband
Drug traffickers' money laundering ruins businesses

Bg John Otis
San Francisco Chronicle
January 24, p. A10
Chronicle Foreign Service

BOGOTA - From the outside, the building looked like a Coca-Cola warehouse, but it
wasn't the real thing.

When customs agents cut the padlocks and burst through the doors, they
found French champagne stacked to the rafters. They discovered TVs, cameras
and stereos, plus 82,000 bottles of whiskey and cognac. All told, they
filled seven trucks with nearly $1 million in contraband.

Although the recent midnight raid in Bogota's warehouse district made the
local newspapers, it barely made a dent in Colombia's $3 billion-a-year
contraband trade.

Economists estimate that contraband goods-which retail for less because
smugglers evade import tariffs-account for one third of the nation's
imports and have driven hundreds of legitimate merchants out of business.

"These (smugglers) should be shot.... They make my life so miserable," said
a Colombian woman who imports Italian wines. "If contraband didn't exist, I
would probably double or triple my sales."

Even more alarming is that the contraband business has become the preferred
way for Colombian drug lords to launder billions of dollars in illicit

"In the last few years, (contraband) has become a very important tool for
the drug traffickers," said Gustavo Cote, who heads Colombia's Tax and
Customs Directorate.

Colombia has always been something of a smuggler's den because of high
import duties, corrupt and understaffed government enforcement agencies and
a lawless atmosphere in the countryside.

In 1962, "gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson hitched a ride on a
riverboat full of contraband whiskey in the northern state of La Guajira.

"There is no law in Guajira," he wrote. "No customs, no immigration, no
white men, no nothing but Indians and whiskey."

All Kinds of Shoppers

Consumed by a 33 year-old civil war, drug trafficking and political
scandals, the government has long tolerated smugglers. It even allowed the
construction of sprawling contraband shopping malls known as "San
Andresitos," after Colombia's free port island of San Andres in the

The discounts are substantial. A bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label whiskey
costs $15 in Colombian supermarkets compared to $9 at the San Andresitos,
which attract buyers ranging from working class families to diplomats.

"It is socially acceptable. People go to the San Andresitos for the prices.
They don't think they are doing anything bad," said Guillermo Leon Gomez, a
state tax official in Bogota.

Like most Latin American nations, Colombia opened its economy to free trade
in the early 1990s and slashed import tariffs from an average of 40 percent
to 10 percent. Officials predicted that the reforms would lower retail
prices and reduce smuggling, but instead the flow of contraband increased.

The reason: money laundering.

As banks impose tighter restrictions on cash deposits, drug lords have
switched to business schemes to launder their profits. They often spend
their dollars on computers, textiles, clothes and liquor in the United
States or duty-free ports like the Colon Free Zone in Panama, then smuggle
the goods into Colombia.

Roberto Steiner, an economist at Fedesarollo, a private think tank in
Bogota, estimates that $2.5 billion in drug money enters the Colombian
economy annually and that two-thirds arrives in the form of contraband.

Fueling Businesses.

Because traffickers are more interested in obtaining untraceable Colombian
pesos than in making profits on the contraband, they often sell their wares
to middlemen at below-cost prices. That has devasted legitimate Colombian

Textile makers, for example, have lost 25 percent of the national market to
contraband, said Ivan Amaya, president of the Colombian Association of
Textile Producers. About half of the cigarettes sold in Colombia are
smuggled, and as a result, the Coltobaco cigarette firm has closed four of
its five plants.

"It is raising hell with the economy down there," said an officer who
investigates money launder ing for the Financial Crimes Enforcement
Network, a branch a the U.S. Treasury Department. "We have got to take a
hard look a the contraband market."

The government, meanwhile loses about $1 billion annually in unpaid customs
duties and taxes.

Prodded by the U.S. govern meet, Colombia finally took action in July by
passing a law that makes selling more than $170,000 in contraband a
criminal offense. Customs agents have set up highway roadblocks to catch
smugglers an' are conducting lightning raids on warehouses.

"How many of you have taker away job opportunities from fellow countrymen
by purchasing i; legal goods, only to save two or three thousand pesos (a
few do lars)?" President Ernesto Samper said in a speech announcing the new

Some analysts say the demand for contraband goods will dwindle with the
recent opening of a number of Wal-Mart type warehouse stores that offer
credit and price that are only slightly higher than at the San Andresitos.

But for now, the Samper ad ministration is reluctant to close down the
contraband malls because they employ about 20,000 people and are a
political force in their own right.

During a recent raid on a San Andresitos outlet, custom agents were met
by sniper fire and had to call in a police SWAT team

"They were surrounded by merchants and could do absolutely nothing," Gomez

Legalisation - The Answer For Lost War On Drugs (Op-Ed In 'Canberra Times'
By Its Police Reporter Details Conclusions Of Just-Released
Australian Illicit Drug Report - After Decades Of Pursuing Drug Criminals
And Packing Them Into Jails, Things Are Worse Instead Of Better -
Time For New Approach - Legalise)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 16:08:53 -0500
Subject: MN: Australia: OPED: Legalisation The Answer For Lost War On Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: petrew@pcug.org.au (Peter Watney)
Source: Canberra Times
Author: Peter Clack. Peter Clack is the 'Police Reporter' of the Canberra
Contact: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Jan 98


AFTER decades of pursuing drug criminals and packing them into the jails,
things are worse instead of better.

There is more of everything - more heroin, more cocaine, more cannabis,
more amphetamines and more prescribed drugs. It is all cheaper than it used
to be. Heroin is purer, thus more perilous, for unsuspecting users.

These messages are contained in what many see as the most comprehensive
study of illicit drugs, the Australian Illicit Drug Report 1996-97,
produced by the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence.

Its underlying theme is chilling - the war against drugs cannot be won.

It is clearly time for a new approach. That, in my opinion, is to legalise
the arsenal of illicit drugs before the situation gets worse.

It would enable governments to control the use and distribution of these
substances instead of drug lords. It might save our children.

Police and politicians have consistently taken the "hard line" against
drugs, yet this continued approach is not the solution in the light of this

The drugs report says the number of dependent heroin users in 1995 ranged
from 36,000 to 150,000.

There were 778 deaths attributable to illicit drugs in 1995, 3642 from
alcohol-related causes and a massive 18,124 from the effects of tobacco.

Deaths from illicit drugs are minimal compared with alcohol, yet we do not
dare try prohibition after the experience in the United States, where it
was taken over by the Mafia. That is roughly what has happened with the
illicit drugs phenomenon.

The report shows that police everywhere put more users before the courts
than suppliers, so the wrong people are going to jail. The cost of law
enforcement is enormous, at $450 million a year for illicit drugs alone.

The economic cost of drug abuse to the community is $18 billion, but
illicit drugs just $1.6 billion.

World-wide production of opium is increasing. Seizures have risen over five
years and it is readily available. Sydney is the biggest disembarkation
place in the country, unfortunately it is just three hours drive away. The
report says "law enforcement efforts are having only a limited effect".
Dealers can always match demand.

Massive police operations aimed at detecting drugs and catching traffickers
and distributors are costly too, absorbing millions of dollars each year, a
crippling burden for all communities and governments.

The strength of police forces has ballooned in response to the drugs- crime
phenomenon, as drugs of all types dominate headlines and police operations.

A ratio of eight in 10 inmates is rotting in jail for drug-related crime.
Property crime has become a vast enterprise, touch almost every household.

Mortality and morbidity associated with illicit drugs involve three
factors: the administering method (such as dirty needles), overdoses and
the lifestyle element, including the criminal activities, low living
standards, prostitution, and poor health.

The report shows cannabis to be Australia's most popular illicit drug.
One-third of the population has used it, as have 140 million users world-wide.

It is a large-scale domestic industry in Australia. Growers use the latest
hydroponic techniques, which the report says has increased in the past decade.

Narcotics and cannabis are the lucrative mediums of exchange for the
generals of the underworld. Cannabis is also a widely used social drug.

Amphetamines, or speed, the party drug, are a revenue raiser for illegal
bikie gangs, who manufacture in back-street chemical labs, mixing dangerous
chemicals without any medical controls.

The drug lords are getting richer and fatter.

Reports of deaths from drug overdoses now appear to outnumber road deaths.
Ambulance paramedics go out to more overdoses than they can count.

When patients are given a dose of the life-saving Narcan, which reverses in
moments the effects of heroin, some wake up and shake their heads. They ask
why they were given the shot. "I was feeling great," one dazed drug user
said resentfully. "But you were dying," was the reply.

Justice Minister Amanda Vanstone gave her blessing this week to another
injection of money to take a hard line against drugs. It is a ritualised
response that has been tried for 40 years and it is not working.

THE ONLY retreat by police in the report is to concede that decriminalising
cannabis would free police resources allowing them to tackle hard drugs.

Hard drugs? Heroin is nowhere near as devastating to health as methadone,
the government-approved syrup which serves as a heroin substitute.

You can recognise a long-term methadone user by the holes in their teeth.
They are more highly addicted to methadone than to heroin.

One user told me, :It makes your bones rot."

Police in the United States prefer heroin to crack cocaine, which is the
drug of choice, because crack users go berserk. Heroin induces a milder

Synthetic drugs, or amphetamines, have 30 million users world-wide and it
is increasing too.

It is time to put a stop to the costly law-enforcement debacle. Governments
must decriminalise the whole stable of illicit drugs. They no longer have
the resources or the ability to stamp them out. The costly efforts may have
held the line to some degree, but that is all. The report clearly shows this.

Controlled production means fewer impurities. It means safer amounts. It
puts a stop to the dreaded slavery of methadone. License and legalise them
and use the taxes to promote education and safe use.

Palace Guard Jailed Over Drug Death (Britain's 'Independent' Says The Friend
Of A Buckingham Palace Guardsman Has Been Jailed For Two Years For Giving
His Friend Drugs - Guardsman Mixed Ecstasy With Unspecified Amount
Of Amphetamines, Killing Himself - Another Man Gets Longer Term)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 18:55:24 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: Palace Guard Jailed Over Drug Death
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Saturday, 24 January 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk


The friend of a Buckingham Palace guardsman was yesterday jailed for his
part in supplying drugs which killed him.

Gareth Holland, 20, collapsed and died last year within five hours of
taking ecstasy tablets at a nightclub while on weekend leave.

His colleague Matthew Diggle, 22, admitted his involvement in getting the

Cardiff Crown Court heard that Ptes Holland and Diggle travelled from their
homes in South Wales to enjoy a night out in Swansea. Pte Holland swallowed
two ecstasy pills and amphetamines at a club.

He was taken to the club's "chill out" room to recover after overheating
but later died before he reached hospital.

Earlier this week Diggle, of Rhymney, Mid Glamorgan, appeared with Russell
Thomas, 30, of Clos Llws Pen, Penpedairheol, Mid Glamorgan, who admitted
supplying drugs to both soldiers.

Yesterday, Diggle was jailed for two years. Thomas was sentenced for
three-and-a-half years.

The Home Counties Connection (Britain's 'Independent' Observes Violent
Prohibition-Related Murders - And Murderers - Are Migrating From
London To Its Suburbs)

Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 19:00:01 -0500
Subject: MN: UK: The Home Counties Connection
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Saturday, 24 January 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk


The Old Bailey trial this week of the men who murdered three drug dealers
in Essex gave a rare glimpse into a violent and vengeful underworld on the
edges of the capital - "The Home Counties connection". By Kim Sengupta

In the leafy commuter towns of Essex and Kent, men step out of the front
doors in the Acacia Avenues to go to work. But the briefcases they carry
can contain, instead of office papers and a packed lunch, a pistol and a
stash of cocaine.

The underworld is no longer confined to the urban squalor of the inner
cities. Successful gangsters have gentrified and become upwardly mobile,
leaving their council flats for the Home Counties, and their working-class
lifestyles for the trappings of success - des res, Rolls Royces and Range
Rovers, a boat in the local marina, ponies for the children.

The patterns of the migration have been to counties adjacent to various
parts of London: East End villains moved out to Essex, those south of the
river to Kent, the gangs around Islington to Herts and Bucks, and the ones
from Shepherd Bush and Kilburn to Middlesex. The sons of these villains
carry on the "family business".

South Londoner Kenny Noye, Brinks Mat money launderer and killer of a
policeman, lived in some splendour at his mansion in West Kingsdowne in
Kent until he disappeared following a fatal roadside stabbing; Roy Garner,
police supergrass from the Tottenham area ended up with luxury houses and
stud farms in Hertfordshire before being convicted of cocaine trafficking.
And Charlie Kray had long left behind Vallance Road in east London, where
he grew up with the twins Ronnie and Reggie, when he was arrested last year
for a 39m cocaine trafficking plot. Unusually for one of the East End
criminal aristocracy, he had moved to Sanderstead, Surrey, where he lived
with the daughter of a headmaster.

Criminologists maintain the arrival of such "quality villains" in the Home
Counties brought with it a culture of crime and corruption which embraced
local gangs. At the same time came the explosion in the importation of
drugs and the money that came with it. Essex and Kent, in particular,
became vitally important as routes for narcotics from the Continent to
London and other major cities.

The murder of the three men at Rettendon, in Essex was over drugs. The
victims, Pat Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe were dealers who supplied
drugs through nightclubs and pubs in Essex and east London. It is one of
their gang, it is believed, who supplied the ecstasy tablet which led to
the death of policeman's daughter Leah Betts.

The victims had been been in dispute with the men who killed them, Micky
Steele and Jack Whomes, over a cannabis shipment. The court, which passed
three life sentences on the men, with a recommended minimum of 15 years,
had heard that a consignment of cannabis which Steele had supplied to Tate
and his accomplices had been of poor qualtity and Steele agreed to take
back the cannabis and return a deposit of 70,000. The money was paid, but
Tate denied receiving it and failed to return one third of the drugs haul.

Tate, an extremely violent mainline drug user, had threatened to shoot
Steele after making him beg on his knees. His intended victim got to him
and his two companions first.

After the shooting Steele said "they won't fuck with us again". He added he
felt like "the angel of death". As Steele and fellow killer Whomes walked
off after the shooting to be picked up by an accomplice, Darren Nicholls,
they passed a sign saying: "The use of guns or any activity which disturbs
people or wildlife are not allowed on this land. Enjoy your visit".

The violence of the triple execution and its apparent professionalism
appeared shocking, especially in the context of the village setting. But
police say extreme violence had become endemic in parts of the county over
the years. Tucker and Rolfe were themselves suspected of a particularly
brutal murder. Kevin Whitaker, a 28-year-old drug courier died of an
apparent drugs overdose in November l994. But, Tate told his mother,
Whitaker had been murdered by Tucker and Rolfe. They had injected him in
the groin with a paralysing drug, often used on horses, known as Special K,
then, powerless but conscious and pleading for mercy, Whitaker was killed
with an injection of lignocaine.

The night before his death Tate himself had badly beaten up the manager of
a pizza shop over an imaginary slight. He had phoned the shop and demanded
a specially made pizza with four different toppings on each quarter. The
manager, 21-year-old Roger Ryall had said this was not possible. Within
minutes Tate had arrived at the shop, battered Ryall and then smashed his
head into a glass plate on the sink. Like others crossed by Tate and his
friends, Mr Ryall thought it would be wise not to press charges.

Drug dealer Reggie Nunn too has painful memories of the extreme violence of
the Essex underworld. His face was mutilated with a narrow-bladed fencing
sword, an epee, over another drugs dispute, the selling of a thousand tabs
of ecstasy. He owed 7,000 to trafficker Jason Lee Vella and had failed to
pay. Nunn managed to escape from Vella's flat during the attack by throwing
himself out of a window. Vella and his accomplices were convicted at their
trial, and in July l995 Vella was sentenced to 17 years in jail.

Vella, who bought ecstasy from Dutch dealers, was suspected of the torture
of other victims who had been too scared to make complaints. One man had
his head shaved, and the back of his arms burnt by a hot iron, another was
given a "Glasgow smile" on both sides of his face with a Stanley knife, and
another was anally raped with a broom handle. He was also suspected of
being behind the shooting of a man, who spent hours on a life-support
machine and refused to give any information to the police.

In Kent, bootlegging of alcohol and cigarettes has been added to drugs as a
source of underworld violence. In just one month, September last year,
Dover had four shootings, a series of acid and machete attacks, and dozens
of beatings. The reason behind this, say police and customs officials, is
quite simple, organised gangs are fighting for control of a trade which is
now estimated to be worth 1bn a year. Smaller gangs are having to pay
rents to bigger ones for the privilege of smuggling the contraband.

The gangs are not averse to taking on the authorities by force to protect
their merchandise. Towards the end of last year police and customs officers
raided a hotel and discovered 70,000 worth of alcohol and cigarettes. The
smugglers fled, only to come back with accomplices to try and storm the
building and seize back the haul. They were only beaten off when the police
themselves received reinforcement.

One CID officer said: "Crime in Dover and surrounding areas has gone up by
18 per cent, and even this is an underestimate as of course a lot of these
attacks are simply not reported to the police.

"There are also links with drugs, because the heavies muscling in on
bootlegging are also involved in drug trafficking. This is a problem which
is not going to go away, we are facing a situation which was unheard of in
Kent in the past".

His counterparts in Surrey would sympathise. A few years ago a pub
described as the "most dangerous in Britain" was not in Brixton or the
Glasgow Gorbals, but Carshalton. The St Helier Tavern had seen many fights
and a man was shot in the face with a sawn-off shotgun.

A better class of villain has taken up residence further out in expensive
areas like Weybridge where they rub shoulders in the golf club with actors
and stockbrokers. A detective said: "They may think [that] away from the
centre of London they would be away from prying eyes if the law, but we
make sure we keep a watch on them. They may feel they are blending in with
their neighbours, but we know who they are".

Criminologist Robert Emerson believes the expansion of crime into the Home
Counties cannot be reversed. He said: "Social and logistical factors are
such that this is bound to continue. However, it is unlikely the ordinary
Home Counties residents would be directly affected by violence. After all,
the criminals tend to only kill each other."



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