------------------------------------------------------------------- Knock And Talk (Staff Editorial In 'The Oregonian' Says Death Of Portland Marijuana Task Force Office After Warrantless Break-In 'Ought To Cause A Thorough Rethinking Of The Warrantless-Search Policy') From: "sburbank" (email@example.com) To: "Phil Smith" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: 'knock and talk" Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 07:33:12 -0800 Some of you may have heard last week about the Portland police officer, a woman, who was shot and killed as she worked for the Marijuana Task Force on a "knock and talk". This is a tactic that has been used to get in houses when there is not enough evidence to get a search warrant. Two other police officers were shot as well, as they tried to break into the house when the occupant wouldn't answer the door and they said they smelled marijuana burning. They found a grow operation of 51 plants and an small arsenal of shotguns, rifles and handguns. The house also contained a grenade launcher and at least five grenades. It is certainly causing people to question the tactic. Following is an editorial that was printed on Monday. *** The Oregonian Portland, OR Monday, 2-2-98 page E-6 Editorial "Knock and talk" Warrantless-search tactic effective but risky -police don't know a lot about what they're getting into Portland police will review their performance, as they should, in the "knock and talk" search last week where Policewoman Colleen Waibel was killed and two other officers were wounded. The tragedy also ought to cause a thorough rethinking of the warrantless-search policy itself. Foremost, is it worth the risk to police officers? Police, responding to suspicions of illegal drug activity -- more often than not, marijuana growing -- walk up to a door, knock, talk and ask for entry. The alternative is to spend time and money getting warrants. "Knock and talk" is quicker and cheaper. It doesn't involve the district attorney and courts, as getting warrants does. Most of the time, the occupants let the police come in and look around. Much of the time, police find no signs of criminal activity. That wasn't the case last Tuesday in Southeast Portland. Gunfire greeted Officer Waibel and the two officers with her. It was the first fatality of "knock and talk" since police implemented it here a few years back. But the death certainly raises questions about it. Defense lawyers raise questions in virtually every trial about intrusion, intimidation and coercion. They question officer testimony about smelling or seeing drug activity. And they suggest the police activity is driven more by the potential for forfeiture revenue than probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. The tactic is constitutionally sound, however. And usually safe. It's founded on reasonable suspicion though, unlike warrants are based on probable cause. Police usually have a better idea about what they're getting into when they knock on a door with warrant in hand than with "knock and talk." Last year, Portland police made more than 400 such visits, about half of them leading to arrests. We're talking business here, not personal use. As often as not, 30 to 50 plants, not one or two. In the aftermath of last week's tragedy, police surely will review "knock and talk" training. Last week's shooting suggests greater caution is necessary, particularly where neighbors report the presence of weapons.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Stop The Violence, End Prohibition, Again! (A Second Statement From Floyd Ferris Landrath Of American Anti-Prohibitionist League Regarding Shooting Death Of Portland Marijuana Task Force Officer During Warrantless Break-In) Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 03:54:21 EST Reply-To: email@example.com Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Anti-Prohibition Lg
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Stop the violence, end Prohibition, AGAIN! The AMERICAN ANTIPROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca "Drug War or Drug Peace?" 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 503-235-4524 fax:503-234-1330 Email:AAL@InetArena.com FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, Feb. 2, 1998 Portland, Oregon -- Imagine you're an alien just landed on our beautiful little blue/green sphere and come to find the country side crawling with armed goons searching for people who grow a particular plant. A plant that is, for no good reason, out of favor with the powers that be. Imagine how crazy that space critter would think we are when it found out we actually put people in prison for growing that forbidden fruit and even sometimes engage in fatal combat over it. Of course aliens are much smarter and thus having observed our folly, would no doubt hasten a departure. Last Tuesday's tragic death of Portland Police Officer Colleen Waibel was 100 percent preventable. Waibel died defending a prohibition agenda. Was it her agenda also? We do not know, nor do we care. She was doing her duty following orders from her grossly incompetent superiors like Mayor and Police Commissioner Vera Katz and her next in command Police Chief Charles Moose. Both egged on by Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk. If these and other political leaders do not quickly reconsider our drug laws Waibel will not be the last brave police officer to die, for no good reason. The prohibitionists can lie and exaggerate the dangers of marijuana all they want, but even if one drag on a joint caused instant addiction and a life of depravity, which of course it does not, no amount of pot is worth a life, anyone's life. Period. As long as marijuana is prohibited from adults there will be un- regulated (sometimes crazy) growers and dealers to provide it. Massive profit drives the entire illegal drug market. A market controlled by thugs, guns and violence. Yes of course we are all sad Waibel is dead, but we are not surprised. As many of you know we have been denouncing the Marijuana Task Force for years, particularly for their inappropriate use of the now infamous "knock and talk." To us and many others, including Portland NORML, OCTA, Copwatch, etc., it was never a question of if, it was when. Now that we are here, sans any intergalactic means of escape, where do we go next? There are alternatives to current drug laws, aka prohibition. Alternatives that might work better and actually reduce the level of drug abuse and violence in our society. Alternatives that would make everyone a little safer, especially the police who fight and die defending what's clearly a failed POLITICAL agenda. If Officer Waibel's death means anything to you, Mayor Katz, Chief Moose, DA Schrunk, Gov. Kitzhaber, etc., then the time to act is now. Immediately dismantle the Marijuana Task Force and join us in our struggle for "Drug Peace!" Floyd Ferris Landrath - Director
------------------------------------------------------------------- A Heartfelt Thanks ('The Oregonian' Conveys Gratitude To Community Of Families Of Officers Shot During Portland Marijuana Task Force Warrantless Break-In) The Oregonian oregonlive.com February 2, 1998 firstname.lastname@example.org A heartfelt thanks In the aftermath of the shooting death of Portland Police Officer Colleen Waibel, her family and that of her husband, police Sgt. Mark Fortner, offer this thanks: "The Fortner and Waibel families wish to express our profound gratitude to all the people of Portland and beyond who have given such an outpouring of support, love and remembrance for Colleen Waibel. "To see you all from the bridges and overpasses, and lining the streets along the way of the cortege in the bitter cold and wind, meant so much to our families; it showed how much you cared, your own participation in our shared grief, and a promise to heal the divisions and violence in our city. From a tragedy such as this, our only hope is to honor her memory by striving to be better people, and to actively build a better city and world where the things Colleen valued most can flourish. "Our families wish to thank Chief Charles Moose and the men and women of the entire Portland Police Bureau for being so conscientious in helping our families during this most trying time; being always so professional in protecting Colleen in her line of duty and retrieving her as soon as possible from the scene. Special thanks needs to be extended to the men and women who make up East Precinct for the overwhelming attention given our families, spending time with us and bringing food and flowers of remembrance. The honor guard, who watched over Colleen's body from the time she died until she was laid to rest, was truly a moving tribute received by Colleen and her families which we will never forget. "Legacy Emanuel Hospital, especially the trauma team there, did so much to help Colleen and her husband and families. So much kindness and sensitivity were extended, and the assistance in avoiding intrusions into one of the saddest times our families have ever experienced helped us all feel safe even as we grieved. "We wish to thank Archbishop John Vlazny, the Archdiocese of Portland, Father Joseph Jacobberger, and all the staff and parishoners at St. Mary's Cathedral for opening their doors in our need to make the liturgical celebration, with music provided by Oregon Catholic Press, and the Cathedral choir under the direction of Angela-Westhoff Johnson, so beautiful and prayerful. Priests of the archdiocese, priests and monks of Mount Angel Abbey, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, and many friends and relatives made the suffering bearable these past days. "The men and women of the Portland Fire Bureau, with fire boats spouting, with ladders raised with flags, and offering every medical assistance at the time of the tragedy and right up to the end, was so beautiful and unexpected and appreciated. "To the pastors and staff of New Hope Community Church in Clackamas, we owe another debt of gratitude for opening your hearts and doors to make possible a further service for the community at large. To be able to come together - literally thousands and more - and make our prayers and tributes, was a civic and ecumenical act that will not be forgotten. The presence of Mayor Vera Katz at Emanuel Hospital, and later both she and Gov. John Kitzhaber at the memorial, showed us, Colleen's family, that this tragedy went beyond a small portion of the city; it affected all of Portland, all of the state of Oregon, and all who care and work for a better world. "At this time it is hard to remember each and every person by name who gave their time and talents to honor Colleen. If we have failed to mention you by name or group, please let us know so we can do so properly. And while there are omissions, no doubt, our appreciation goes out to you in the name of Colleen. "One of Portland's finest has been taken from us. May we remember all that Colleen did and lived and died for. Please pray for us during this time of grieving. "Thank you so much for everything, "The Fortner and Waibel families."
------------------------------------------------------------------- PGE Pinpoints Power Thieves - Police And Power Company Sometimes Work Together (Newscast By KOIN, Portland's CBS Affiliate, In Wake Of Fatal Shooting Of Marijuana Task Force Cop, Notes The Electric Company Has Voluntarily Enlisted In The War On Some Drug Users) KOIN Channel 6 Portland, Oregon http://www.koin.com/ letters to editor: email@example.com PGE Pinpoints Power Thieves Police and Power Company Sometimes Work Together PORTLAND, Posted 8:11 p.m. February 02, 1998 -- Could the power company be checking up on you? The answer might be yes, in some cases. Police "knock and talk" investigations often follow reports from the power company. KOIN-TV reports Portland General Electric may just be protecting their own interests. "Yes there are times police come to us and there are times when they have subpoenaed PGE for information also," PGE spokesperson Vickie Rocker told KOIN. She says the company doesn't release information about you to just anyone. "We cooperate with the police department when they ask for information. You know there is certain information that we do share with them, and it's on a case-by-case basis," said Rocker. Portland police spokesman Cliff Madison told KOIN when investigators suspect someone's using lights to grow marijuana in the basement, they sometimes subpoena PGE for records that might show usage of the kind of power it takes to run the grow-lights. He said the biggest issue for the power company is stolen electricity. PGE often initiates contacts with police because a customer has altered the meter to conceal the amount of electricity actually used. KOIN learned from PGE it doesn't have time to check everyone's power bill for illegal activity. When the meter-reader suspects that someone is stealing power, they investigate. Often the stolen power is being used for marijuana grow operations. Compiled by Channel 6000 Staff
------------------------------------------------------------------- Bookseller Sentenced For Marijuana ('The Oregonian' Says Hungarian Refugee From Communism Living In Odell, Oregon, Gets 21 Months In Sate Prison For 'Supplying' Pot To Teens Who Left Him In Pool Of Blood For It - Plus 20 Days For Contempt Of Contemptible Court) Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 04:02:29 -0800 From: Paul Freedom
Organization: Oregon State Patriots To: Cannabis Patriots , "firstname.lastname@example.org" Subject: CanPat> BOOKSELLER SENTENCED FOR MARIJUANA Sender: email@example.com THIS IS TERRIBLE - FREE EVAHN PAETEUR! A TRUE IMMIGRANT PATRIOT! A SELF-MADE LIBERTARIAN WHO FLED COMMUNISM! I RESPECT A MAN WHO REFUSES TO PEE IN A BOTTLE AND ATTEND FORCED POT TREATMENT! ----transcribed by Paul Freedom------ The Oregonian 2-2-98 by Jeanie Senior Oregonian corespondent A JUDGE REVOKES THE ODELL MAN'S PROBATION AND ORDERS 21 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR SUPPLYING THE DRUG TO MINORS HOOD RIVER,OREGON-- A Hood River County bookstore owner who was brutally beaten in July 1996 by two teen-agers attempting to steal marijuana from him has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. Evan Paeteur had been on probation after a conviction for growing marijuana, but Circuit Judge Donald Hull revoked that probation and sentenced Paeteur to an additional 20 more days for contempt of court. Timothy McAlexander and Karl Gutzler, both 17, were sentenced in July to six years in prison for the brutal beating. Paeteur spent more than a month in the hospital after friends found him lying in a pool of blood in his bookstore. Paeteur was convicted last week of the delivery charge. Hood River District Attorney John Sewell said evidence for the charge was uncovered during the investigation of the beating. A subsequent search uncovered Paeteur's growing operation. Paeteur, 56, who came to the United States after the Hungarian Revolution, is something of a personality in the Hood River Valley. He frequently has voiced his personal beliefs in letters to the editor in the Hood River News, Including his view that marijuana should be legalized. He owns the Old Trunk bookstore near the central Hood River Valley community of Odell. Paeteur's probation was revoked because he had failed to undergo drug and alcohol evaluation as Hull ordered, did not submit to random searches and urinalysis, and associated with people under 18. Sewell said Paeteur , while in the Hood River County Jail, had contacted at least one girl by calling her collect; he also wrote letters and attempted to have them smuggled out. During a recent visit to Paeteur's residence, according to Sewell, Paeteur's probation officer found a 17 year old girl who had spent the night there. The district attorney said Paeteur will get credit for an estimated three months served in the county jail. After his prison term is completed he will serve three years of post-prison supervision. At this week's sentencing, as at one a couple month's ago, Paeteur's supporters argued that he should not be sent to prison.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Police Strip-Search Teen Girls At Oregon Middle School (Article About Lack Of Rights In McMinnville, Oregon, From The March 'American Family Association Journal' Reprinted From The 'Daily Journal' In Tupelo, Mississippi) Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 14:20:58 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: Rick Adams
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: News article Here's an article pointing out the violation of rights our youths are subjected to that could be VERY easily linked to the expansion of searches by police resulting from the war on drugs. And it comes from a *very* unlikely ally--the American Family Association! *** Police strip-search teen girls at Oregon middle school Daily Journal Tupelo, MS February 2, 1998 Reprinted in the AFA Journal, March 1998. When some items were reported missing from a locker room at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville, Oregon, teachers called police. But the real crime took place after the girls in the gym class were assembled. Several students had complained that they were missing some jewelry, makeup, CDs and about $30 in cash. After the gym teacher failed to discover who had committed the theft, the police were summoned. As many as 30 teenaged girls were brought into the locker room in pairs and told to strip to enable police to search for missing items. According to Associated Press, girls were told to remove their clothing and even drop their panties to their ankles. When 13-year-old Kayla Plumeau asked to call home first, her request was refused. "I was told if I didn't take [my clothes] off, they would do a full body search, " she said. "If I didn't pull them off, they said they'd do it for me." The Police Chief has already personally delivered letters of apology to the parents of the teens, admitting that the tactics were "rash" and "inappropriate." At least one parent was said to be considering legal action against the gym teacher, school principal, school district and the police department.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabinoid Investigations Entering The Mainstream (Article In 'The Scientist' Recounts Research Developments In 1980s-1990s That Revealed New Promise Of Cannabis As Medicine, Particularly Progress Arising From Discovery Of Cannabinoid Receptor Sites In Brain) Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 12:20:19 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Carl E. Olsen"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: News: Cannabinoid Investigations Entering The Mainstream http://www.the-scientist.library.upenn.edu/yr1998/feb/finn_p1_980202.html Cannabinoid Investigations Entering The Mainstream Author: Robert Finn Date: February 2, 1998 With the passage last year of Proposition 215 in California and similar measures in Arizona and other states, voters have indicated their belief that marijuana should be made available for medicinal purposes. In response, the Office of National Drug Control Policy requested that the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences undertake an 18-month study to assess the science base, the therapeutic use, and the economics of medical marijuana. The study will not be completed until the end of this year, but it is certain to highlight the extent to which research on medical marijuana has entered the mainstream of science. But it's not just the impetus of political events that is [Image] driving the renewed interest in studying marijuana and its NEW TOOLS: active compounds, the cannabinoids. Interest in cannabinoid Wake research started to snowball after some key discoveries in Forest's the mid-1980s. As Steven R. Childers, a professor of Steven physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University School Childers of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., puts it, "During the notes that late '70s and early '80s, when there was a tremendous researchers explosion of information from other areas of drug abuse-like only opiate receptors and enkephalins and endorphins, and the recently concept that cocaine acts on dopamine transporters-the became able cannabinoid field was strangely silent." to study the interaction "Before 1990 we really didn't have much of an understanding of of how cannabinoids worked," agrees Norbert E. Kaminski, an cannabinoid associate professor of pharmacology, toxicology, and compounds pathology at Michigan State University. "Many, if not most, with their people in this area of research thought the compounds worked receptors. nonspecifically by perturbing cell membranes, because ------------- they're very lipophilic compounds." Because of this lipophilicity, delta9-tetra-hydrocannabinol (THC)-the main active ingredient in marijuana-and its derivatives are poorly soluble in water, which makes them difficult to study. According to Childers, it wasn't until the mid-1980s that researchers developed the tools that allow them to study cannabinoid pharmacology-the interaction of the compounds with their specific, membrane-bound receptors-in detail. With the development of these tools came increased funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which funds the bulk of basic cannabinoid research. "Until we had the proper pharmacological tools to examine the system from the basic science point of view, it was really very difficult to propose projects," notes Childers, who has been reviewing grants for NIDA for about a dozen years. "There's no question that cannabinoid research funding has increased." Receptor Pharmacology With the discovery and cloning of two key cannabinoid receptors, the receptor story has become fairly clear and straightforward, and the field has blossomed. The CB1 receptor, which is found mainly in the brain, was discovered in 1988 (W.A. Devane et al., Molecular Pharmacology, 34:605-13, 1988) and cloned in 1990 (L.A. Matsuda et al., Nature, 346:561-4, 1990). The CB2 receptor, which is found mainly outside the brain, was discovered and cloned in 1993 (S. Munro et al., Nature, 365:61-5, 1993). Both receptors belong to the G-protein-coupled family of receptors. "That very basic finding catapulted this field into the mainstream of neuroscience," notes Childers. When either cannabinoid receptor is activated, there's an intracellular decrease in cyclic AMP production, a decrease in calcium-channel conductance, and an increase in potassium-channel conductance. These actions indicate that cannabinoids have an inhibitory effect on neurotransmission. "CB1 and CB2 are highly homologous to one another, which is very typical for members within the same family of receptors, but there are a number of important differences," Childers points out. "The homologies within CB1 and CB2 are not nearly as great as the homologies within other types of receptor families [the opioid receptors, for example]. The implication [is] that it's quite likely that pharmacological agents can be produced which are highly selective and distinguish between the receptor types." "One of the nice things about these receptors is that they've stimulated chemists around the world to synthesize new and exciting derivatives," observes Childers. Among the plethora of new compounds that interact with cannabinoid receptors, three in particular have emerged as standard research tools. Researchers are using compounds called WIN 55,212-2 and CP 55,940 as standard agonists, and one called SR141716A as the standard receptor antagonist. All three have a higher affinity for cannabinoid receptors than delta9-THC, which turns out to be a weak partial agonist. The field was further energized with the 1992 discovery by a team led by Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University in Jerusalem of the first cannabinoid neurotransmitter that is "endogenous"-normally present in the brain (W.A. Devane et al., Science, 258:1946-9, 1992). It's an arachidonic acid derivative, called anandamide. Recently Danieli Piomelli of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego discovered another endogenous cannabinoid called sn-2 arachidonylglycerol (2-AG). Interestingly, "the endogenous compounds are not particularly potent," Childers points out. "They have about the same affinity for the CB1 receptor as delta9-THC. And they're extremely unstable." Cannabinoid Neuroanatomy The CB1 receptor is exceedingly abundant in the brain. According to Childers, it's by far the brain's most common G-protein-coupled receptor, and it even approaches some of the receptors for excitatory amino acid transmitters, such as glutamate, in quantity. "Certainly no one would ever have predicted that a receptor for marijuana would exist in such high quantities in brain," Childers contends. "We believe there are significant functional consequences to the large amount of receptors that are there." For example, he explains, "if it weren't for the fact that there are so many of these receptors in brain, it's probably likely that cannabis itself would not be an effective drug," since D9-THC is such a weak partial agonist. In terms of the distribution of CB1 receptors, "when you look at an autoradiogram, the thing that really jumps out at you are motor systems," Childers observes. "Motor systems throughout the brain are activated by the agonist." This may provide a partial explanation for the reported ability of marijuana to ease muscle spasticity in disorders like multiple sclerosis. Additionally, he notes, "We know by a variety of animal tests that cannabinoids produce significant effects on short-term memory tasks, and that really makes sense from the very, very high distribution of cannabinoid receptors in the hippocampus," an integral part of the memory system. Researchers are as interested in the areas where cannabinoid receptors cannot be found as in the areas where they exist in high concentration. In contrast to the opioids, for example, there are few cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem nuclei that mediate respiratory depression. Since respiratory depression is one of the main toxic effects of opioid overdose, this suggests that cannabinoids are relatively safe. [Image] Glaucoma PROBING THE POSSIBILITIES: It's not easy, however, to move from cannabinoid receptor Wisconsin's pharmacology to the medical usage of marijuana. Some of Paul Kaufman marijuana's clearest potential medical effects are seen hopes to study in glaucoma, a condition in which elevated intraocular cannabinoids to pressure (IOP) is associated with damage to the optic learn about the nerve and progressive loss of vision. Although smoked hydrodynamic marijuana reduces IOP to the same degree as approved mechanisms of medications, the enthusiasm for using marijuana as a the eye front-line treatment has waned since the 1970s, explains ---------------- Paul L. Kaufman, director of glaucoma services at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. The main stumbling block is duration of action. Marijuana reduces IOP for only three or four hours, requiring frequent dosing, while some of the newer medications need to be taken only once or twice a day. Another problem, notes Kaufman, is that marijuana's mechanism of action in reducing IOP remains unknown. "People say, 'Let's just legalize marijuana, and it will be the cure for glaucoma.' Well, that's not the way to develop a drug. The way you develop a drug is to understand the mechanism-which we don't for the cannabinoids-and then to take the good points about that mechanism, change the molecule around to give you more of what you want, less of what you don't want, put it through basic studies, put it through clinical trials, and hopefully if you're lucky you wind up with a therapeutically useful compound. And that's the way this should be handled." Nevertheless, Kaufman remains tantalized by the promise of FOR MORE INFORMATION the cannabinoids. "With the new compounds and the new International Cannabinoid Research knowledge of cannabinoid Society (ICRS) receptor pharmacology, maybe 98 Brookes Ave. we can use [these agents] as Burlington, Vt. 05401 probes to learn something Phone and Fax: (802) 865-0970 about the hydrodynamic ICRS@together.net mechanisms of the eye. Whether http://22.214.171.124/ICRS/ICRS_main.html that would lead to * Roger Pertwee, President cannabinoids as drugs, or * Diane Mahadeen, Director whether that would give us * 190 members some insight into what other types of noncannabinoid The Institute of Medicine is conducting compounds that we might an 18-month study to assess the develop to attack those same therapeutic potential of marijuana and mechanisms, I think that's its components. For more information, exciting." contact: Janet E. Joy, Study Director But at least one glaucoma Institute of Medicine patient, interviewed on 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. condition of anonymity, Washington, D.C. 20418 believes that there's no (202) 334-1805 reason to wait for new Fax: (202) 334-1317 compounds, clinical trials, or firstname.lastname@example.org a refined understanding of http://www2.nas.edu/medical-mj/ marijuana's mechanism of action. He had tried five or Review articles are available on six of the standard several aspects of cannabinoid medications-and experienced research. For an article on cannabinoid unpleasant side effects with receptor pharmacology, see R.G. each-before trying marijuana. Pertwee, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, "The marijuana gives me 74(2):129-80, 1997. For an article on absolutely no side effects," the cannabinoids in immune function see he maintains. Without N.E. Kaminski, Journal of marijuana, "the pressure Neuroimmunology, 1998 (in press). builds up in my eye to such a point that . . . it feels like someone has their finger back behind my eye. Marijuana relieves this within seconds." Kaufman acknowledges that marijuana might be useful for people who cannot get relief from the standard medications. Pain And Immunology Another area of great clinical interest is the cannabinoids' reported ability to alleviate pain. According to Howard L. Fields, a professor of neurology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, "I think the recent explosion of knowledge about cannabinoids, in particular the cloning of the receptors and the development of antagonists, is going to allow us to determine a new mechanism for analgesia." Fields's studies have zeroed in on a brainstem nucleus called the rostroventral medulla (RVM). "It's the part of the brainstem that directly controls the pain transmission system at the level of the spinal cord," Fields explains. "And it's a major site of action of endogenous opioids and morphine." In a series of animal experiments Fields injects combinations of cannabinoid and opioid agonists and antagonists into the RVM while simultaneously recording the physiological responses of RVM neurons and monitoring the animal's pain responses. (These experiments have not yet been published, except in abstract form: I. Meng et al., Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting Abstracts, 1997.) Opioid agonists produce analgesia, and this response is blocked by the opioid antagonist naloxone. Likewise, WIN 55,212-2 produces analgesia that is blocked by SR141716A. But naloxone doesn't block cannabinoid analgesia, and SR141716A doesn't block opioid analgesia. The cellular neurophysiology mirrors the behavioral responses. "In every way, from an electrical standpoint, cannabinoids and opioids are the same," explains Fields. "However, they're acting at different molecular sites, and they're acting on the cell by different mechanisms." Moreover Fields can prove that the RVM is essential for cannabinoid analgesia even when the compounds are administered systemically. Inactivating the RVM with the local anesthetic lidocaine blocks the cannabinoids' analgesic effects. "We clearly have a new bullet for treating pain," Fields [Image] rhapsodizes. But how will this weapon be used? Sandra P. WINNING Welch, an associate professor of pharmacology and COMBINATION? toxicology at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Sandra Welch thinks that cannabinoids might be used in combination with of the opioids. Medical College of "Our goal is to determine whether one can lower the dose of Virginia cannabinoids down to such a low level that you would not hopes to use see any other side effects," she elaborates, "nor would you cannabinoids get tolerance to that cannabinoid, and combine it with an and opioid opioid at very, very low therapeutic levels where you would for analgesia not get tolerance to the opioid. By the combination of without these two [perhaps the researchers would] get an enhanced development effect such that you'd see an analgesic effect for the two of tolerance. in combination and not see tolerance development." -------------- Cannabinoids clearly affect tissues outside the brain as well. In the immune system, for example, cannabinoids-at much higher doses than recreational marijuana users normally experience-inhibit many different immune functions, including lymphokine production by T cells and nitric oxide production by macrophages. But paradoxically, notes Kaminski, "there is some evidence that at lower doses these cannabinoids can enhance immune responses." "The problem in trying to correlate that to people actually smoking marijuana is that there are over 60 cannabinoid compounds in the smoked material," Kaminski points out. "We really don't know what concentration of cannabinoids these people are getting." Kaminski thinks cannabinoid effects on the immune system may well turn out to be of more than academic interest. "I think there's some indication that these might be useful as relatively weak immune modulators, perhaps to be used as anti-inflammatory agents or even maybe for asthma," which is thought to be an autoimmune disease. In addition to its effects on glaucoma, pain, motor systems, and the immune system, researchers are examining marijuana's potential as an antinausea drug for use with chemotherapy and as an appetite stimulant, for use in AIDS wasting and other such conditions. Childers summarizes cannabinoid research by saying, "I think that what we've seen here is a dramatic transformation of this field. Twenty years ago cannabinoid research was dealing with a fairly innocuous drug of abuse, looking into . . . how it produces its psychological effects. We now see the research in this area has been transformed into mainstream neuroscience, where now we're not just looking at a drug of abuse but we're looking at a major neurotransmitter system in the brain." Robert Finn, a freelance science writer based in Long Beach, Calif., can be reached online at email@example.com. *** (The Scientist, Vol:12, #3, p. 1,8, February 2, 1998) (Copyright (c) The Scientist, Inc.) WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Therapeutic Cannabis Initiative Proposed For Colorado Ballot (Colorado Citizens For Compassionate Cannabis File Ballot Initiative - Text Online - Not Associated With Americans For Medical Rights) Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 11:07:25 -0700 (MST) From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (email@example.com) X-Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" (email@example.com) Subject: Therapeutic Cannabis Initiative Proposed for Colorado Ballot For immediate release: February 2, 1998 Contact: Joseph Vigorito (303) 258-3990 firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Kriho (303) 784-5632 email@example.com Therapeutic Cannabis Initiative Proposed for Colorado Ballot Text of the initiative: http://www.levellers.org/ctca.htm or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a text version (long) Information on other campaigns to allow therapeutic cannabis use: http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html [Denver] -- On Friday, January 30, Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis filed a ballot initiative, the Compassionate Therapeutic Cannabis Act, that would allow the therapeutic use of cannabis by medical patients under the advice of their physicians. CCCC is a group of Colorado patients and family members, medical professionals, caregivers, and others who support the compassionate use of cannabis in the treatment of symptoms of a variety of illnesses. The Compassionate Therapeutic Cannabis Act (CTCA) would allow patients, under the care of a physician, to obtain and cultivate cannabis for the purpose of alleviating the symptoms of adverse medical conditions or of the side-effects caused by other treatments. Cannabis is beneficial in the treatment of symptoms caused by many illnesses, including cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, wasting syndrome, and nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The initiative also allows patients to appoint primary caregivers to help them obtain their medicine. In order to clarify the intent of the amendment, the CTCA eliminates the term "marihuana" from all Colorado statutes and mandates the use of accurate terminology based on the historic uses and varieties of Cannabis sativa. The initiative redefines marihuana in three distinct classes: cannabis (formerly marihuana), cannabis concentrate (formerly marihuana concentrate), and hemp (non-psychoactive industrial hemp.) The clarification of the former definition of marihuana necessitates the treatment of industrial hemp as an agricultural product. "The time for redefinition of cannabis, to include two of the most historically significant uses, is upon us," says Joeseph Vigorito, co-author of the amendment. "In the face of overwhelming evidence to this effect, our federal government is intransigent. The people, in the states, must now take this lead." The CTCA creates the Therapeutic Cannabis Commission, composed of seven members appointed by the Governor, to aid in the implementation of the article. The Commission will enact licensing requirements for therapeutic cannabis dispensaries to ensure a safe supply of medicine to patients who cannot cultivate their own. The Commission will also enact requirements for therapeutic cannabis use by minor patients under 18 years of age, including provisions for adequate parental control and notification of therapeutic cannabis use. The initiative does not provide for the recreational or personal use of cannabis nor does it allow the use of cannabis by minor patients unless they meet the requirements to be set forth by the Therapeutic Cannabis Commission. "Our initiative is about compassion. There are thousands of people in Colorado that would benefit from cannabis as medicine if they were allowed to use it," says Kathleen Chippi, CCCC spokesperson. The CTCA has been proposed in opposition to a medical marijuana initiative sponsored by California-based Americans for Medical Rights. CCCC believes the AMR initiative would endanger patients and encourage a black market in cannabis. The AMR initiative sets limits on cultivation and possession that would prohibit a patient from maintaining an adequate supply of medicine. In addition, the AMR initiative fails to set up a legitimate distribution system. This will put seriously-ill patients into danger by forcing them into the black market frequently to re-supply their medicine. The AMR initiative would also allow children under the age of 18 to use marijuana as medicine. "We didn't feel comfortable with a group from California deciding how to best regulate the use of cannabis as medicine by sick children. These decisions should be made by the Colorado parents and physicians, not by Californians," says Laura Kriho, co-author of the CTCA. AMR has stated that their initiative was written to appease the concerns of the law enforcement community. The AMR initiative has therefore received the label "the law enforcement model of medicine." "The CTCA is based on the therapeutic model of medicine. We value the needs of the patient foremost and trust licensed physicians to determine the medical needs of their patients. To address the concerns of law enforcement, the CTCA allows law enforcement to participate in the Therapeutic Cannabis Commission. But we feel it is best to leave medical decisions to physicians, not police," says Kriho. The authors of the CTCA hope it will be used as the therapeutic model for cannabis reform in the country. But they will fight a tough battle with AMR's law enforcement model. AMR is funded primarily by billionaire George Soros, and thus AMR is confident that they can buy election wins in Colorado, Washington, D.C., Maine, Alaska, Washington state, Oregon, and Nevada. As in Colorado, many of the local patients and advocates question AMR's motives. "The American people are strongly in favor of therapeutic cannabis. But if AMR's model is allowed to succeed, patients may actually be put in further danger. We proposed the CTCA to help prevent AMR's model from becoming constitutional law in Colorado and to help patients and advocates in other states see that there is an alternative to the law enforcement approach," Kriho says. "The American people are ready for some honesty and compassion in their laws." *** CTCA Signature Deadline: August 3, 1998 Needed: 55,000 valid signatures *** Donations are essential: Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis P.O. Box 729 Nederland, CO 80466 Phone: (303) 784-5632 Email: email@example.com Web: http://www.levellers.org/cannabis.html Re-distributed as a public service by the: Colorado Hemp Initiative Project P.O. Box 729, Nederland, CO 80466 Hotline: (303) 784-5632 Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org) Web: http://www.welcomehome.org/cohip.html "Fighting over 60 years of lies and dis-information with 10,000 years of history and fact." ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE??? To be added to or removed from our mailing list, send email with the word SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE in the title.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Smoke Screen - Decriminalizing Marijuana Makes Sense (University Of Washington 'Daily' Editorial Says It's Not A Hoax After All - 'High Times' Really Has Co-Sponsored Petition DEA Used To Order Re-Evaluation Of Marijuana's Legal Status) Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 12:01:11 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: US WA: Editorial: Decriminalizing Marijuana Makes Sense To: news Reply-to: email@example.com Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Ben Source: The Daily (University of Washington) Author: The Daily Editorial Board Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.thedaily.washington.edu Pubdate: February 2, 1998 SMOKE SCREEN Decriminalizing Marijuana Makes Sense We heard this great hoax over Internet e-mail last week: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), intrigued by a petition co-sponsored by the pro-drug magazine High Times, had suddenly ordered that legal status of marijuana be re-evaluated. Uh-huh. Right. Wacky cyber-geeks! The message was forwarded to the Daily Editor, who promptly deleted it after laughing at what seemed a well-written prank. What fool would believe this crock? Believe it. On Dec. 19, the DEA formally requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conduct a legally binding "scientific and medical evaluation of the available data" to determine whether marijuana should continue to be classified as a so-called "Schedule I" drug. According to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical usage. The Drug Enforcement Agency requested the HHS review of marijuana after evaluating a petition co-authored by High Times and Jon Gettimen, former president of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). The DEA concluded that sufficient grounds exist to remove marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, and quietly requested that HHS examine the issue. If marijuana is removed from Schedule I status, the federal government will be legally required to take a regulatory, rather than a prohibitory position on the drug. This is an astonishing reversal of long-standing DEA policy. Until now, the DEA has stigmatized marijuana at every opportunity, equating it with other Schedule I drugs like PCP and heroin since the "War on Drugs" began in the early '80s. The legal status of marijuana is being reconsidered in statehouses around the nation, including Washington state. California and Arizona have passed initiatives decriminalizing pot in cases of medical need. The DEA's decision is the latest indication that sane heads are finally taking charge of the war on drugs. It's about time. The "war on drugs" has made mess of our courts, our prisons and our laws. More than half of the federal prison space is populated by non-violent "drug offenders" serving congressionally dictated "mandatory minimum" sentences for possession. Hundreds of billions have been spent by the DEA on extravagant interdiction efforts. The leafy weed hasn't stopped sprouting. Let it grow. The drug war won't be won through intimidation or force. Society weans itself from vice when they collectively figure out it isn't in their best interest--when they make a rational choice. Let's hope the DEA can do the same.
------------------------------------------------------------------- The Ralph Seeley Memorial Site (Washington State Hemp.Net Web Site Announces Cyber Shrine For Late Tacoma Lawyer, Medical Marijuana Activist) Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 16:33:13 -0800 (PST) From: Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: email@example.com Subject: HT: The Ralph Seeley Memorial Site Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org We are currently in the process of collecting information for The Ralph Seeley Memorial Site, currently residing at www.hemp.net/seeley/memorial.html. If you have any information, articles, email, pictures, videos, etc. please let us know. It is possible that this project ill turn into something bigger than just a web page, so we want to gather every bit of data we can and make sure we credit everybody who should be credited. You can fill out the web form if you have anything to contribute, just mark the boxes telling us what it is. You can also use the form to send us a letter with your Ralph memories so we can put them up for others to read and enjoy. If you would rather send email or your browser doesn't support forms, please send mail to email@example.com with your memories or information on what you have to contribute to this effort. Please include all of your contact information (name, title/affiliations, address, phone, email), again, so we can make sure we give credit where due. None of the information you give us will be given out to third parties. Thank you so much for taking the time to help get this project going. If you would like to be more heavily involved in this, email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm sure this will become much larger.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Citizen Lobby Day On Wednesday, 4 February 1998 (Hempsters And Activists Can Lobby At Event In Olympia, Washington, Sponsored By People For Puget Sound) From: MJDOCDLE@aol.com Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 13:52:39 -0500 (EST) To: email@example.com Subject: HT: Lobby Day - Wed. 4 Feb 98 - Olympia Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org To Hempsters/Hemp Activists: a gentle reminder that there will be a Citizen Lobby Day on Wed. 4 Feb 98 starting at 9 AM at the United Church of Olympia, 110 E. 11th Street, Olympia. It is put on free of charge (but they do accept donations if available) by the People For Puget Sound, an environmentally oriented group, which naturally will be pushing that kind of agenda. I feel that we have a place at the table in that industrial hemp has many environmental benefits. Perhaps we should focus on that aspect in any actual lobbying activities we do as a part of this exercise. We certainly can, and should, use this opportunity to gain and perfect lobbying skills for use in pursuing our other agendas, and for learning how to set up our own lobby day function at a later date. In order to get the most out of it we should play by their rules in the matter of conforming as much as possible in manner & appearance to the image that works in getting good results out of contacts with legislators.
------------------------------------------------------------------- San Jose Pot Center Avoids Shutdown (Student Paper At San Jose State University Notes Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center Wasn't Among Those Targeted By Federal Lawsuits Filed January 9 Against Northern California Cannabis Clubs, But Ax May Fall Soon) Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 19:36:04 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: San Jose Pot Center Avoids Shutdown Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: Spartan Daily (Student paper for San Jose State University) Contact: SDAILY@jmc.sjsu.edu Fax: 408-924-3237 Pubdate: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 Author: Lois Jenkins, Opinion Editor SAN JOSE POT CENTER AVOIDS SHUTDOWN Proposition 215 no longer a safe haven The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center avoided the boot in the six federal lawsuits filed against Northern California cannabis clubs on Jan. 9, but it may not be long before the shoe drops. "They bypassed us this time, but it doesn't mean we can't get shut down," said Peter Baez, the center's executive director and co-founder. Despite the fact that California voters approved Proposition 215, the initiative that allows the possession and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor's recommendation, the U.S. Justice Department appears determined to shut down the clubs that now exist. San Jose City Attorney Joan Gallo said she's not really sure why the center on Meridian Avenue, which opened on April, 1997 and serves nearly 250 members, was not included in the lawsuits. "Our approach in San Jose is not a club (atmosphere), and that may or may not be the reason they weren't included in the federal lawsuit," Gallo said, referring to Baez and Jesse Garcia, who is the center's director and secretary. Baez said the center dispenses marijuana, but does not allow consumption of the drug on the premises, unlike many other clubs such as the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club and the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative. "We don't allow smoking on the premises, including the parking lot," Baez said. "If someone is caught doing that, we void their membership." It's quite all right for the members of the San Francisco club to light up, according to Lynne Barnes, a nurse volunteer who has worked there for three years. "People can come here and smoke and socialize, as opposed to the pharmacy like atmosphere of other clubs," Barnes said. "Some people think this is a negative thing, but we see it as very positive." Barnes said people who come to the club can buy their marijuana and meet others who suffer from the same illness. She said socializing helps them get through some of the bad times. "Some clubs try to distance themselves from Dennis Peron and his co-op idea, thinking it will keep them safe from the lawsuits," Barnes said. Peron is the founder of San Francisco's club and the author of Proposition 215. "If the case makes it to the Supreme Court," Barnes said, "we think it will be a 10th Amendment defense. States rights should be reserved for the states, not the feds." Baez said that the agreement between the center and the city of San Jose is in violation of federal laws regarding the possession and transportation of controlled substances. "The city's actually telling us to break federal law by saying that we must grow our own," Baez said. "Right now it's just a nod and a blink and keep your nose clean." Director Garcia said the center's present location precludes growing marijuana on the property because there is no arable land, so they are negotiating that part of the agreement with the city. "We're in the process of working on a cultivation agreement with the Santa Cruz center to grow it for us in Santa Cruz County," Garcia said. "We're working with them and the Santa Cruz P.D. and our P.D." In the meantime, the center buys its marijuana from several unnamed sources in the Bay Area, and, so far, there have been no complaints about its operation. James Cook, a member who has AIDS and has been buying his marijuana there since the center opened, is glad he doesn't have to buy it off the streets any more. "I was having to go to Oakland to buy it because I couldn't get it locally very easily," Cook said. "The center being there eliminates a lot of unnecessary effort and crime that people have to go through to get what they need." Wendee West, from the operations department at the Better Business Bureau of Santa Clara County, said the bureau had no file on the center. "That means either it's too new to have established a performance record or no complaints have been brought to our attention," West said. The center's next door neighbors don't seem to have serious complaints, either. Paul Liccardo, owner of Option Realty, said he's never met the people at the center and doesn't have a strong opinion about it except for the general principle of the thing. "I think it's ridiculous that they don't dispense (marijuana) in pharmacies like they should," Liccardo said. Corey Ebadat, one of the owners of E.G.S. Insurance, said the employees of the center were nice people, but it's a little disconcerting for his clients in business suits. "We're willing to risk doing this because we think it's right," Baez said. Baez said the federal government's position on the issue is hypocritical at best. "For the last 22 years the federal government has been running a program called Uncle Sam's Pot Farm," Baez said, referring to an experimental program for people with various illnesses such as AIDS and glaucoma in which patients were given marijuana free of charge in an effort to study the benefits of the drug. "As soon as the AIDS epidemic hit, they shut the program down, except for a few remaining patients who still get their marijuana shipped to them," Baez said. "I think once a lot of the old, white, Bible-thumping guys in the Senate die off, things will change for the better."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Where Have The Criminals Gone? ('San Francisco Chronicle' Looks At Declining Rate Of Violent Crime Across United States And Ponders Possible Causes) Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 14:40:37 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Where Have the Criminals Gone? Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "Frank S. World" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Source: San Francisco Chronicle Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/ Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 Author: Bill Wallace, Chronicle Staff Writer WHERE HAVE THE CRIMINALS GONE? No single explanation stands out for drop in crime rates It is a mystery that police, prosecutors and criminologists can't seem to solve: Why have crime rates been going down? The recent improvement in the economy, shifts in population, more aggressive law enforcement strategies and tougher sentencing laws -- all have been advanced as reasons for the decline, but none seems to completely explain the downward trend. ``Each of the explanations that pundits and social scientists put forth these days are partially on point, but nobody can definitively argue for one over the other,'' said Gregg Barak, chairman of the critical criminology division of the American Society of Criminology and a professor at the University of Michigan. Jeremy Travers, the director of the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, echoed Barak's assessment. ``There is a tendency for a lot of people to claim credit for this,'' he said, ``and there is a need on the part of the public to find a simple, single answer for what has been happening. But that's a tendency that has to be resisted.'' The one thing that is certain is that the types of traditional crimes reflected by statistical data have been declining since 1993. Violent crime nationwide declined by 5 percent during the first six months of 1997, according to FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics, and property crimes declined by 4 percent. Victimization surveys by the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics show violent crime down nationwide by 10 percent and property crime down by 8 percent. In releasing last year's annual victimization survey in November, Jan M.Chaiken, the director of the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, noted that some types of criminal activity had dropped by as much as 44 percent in the past four years. ``The victimization rates in 1996 are the lowest recorded by the National Crime Victimization Survey since its inception in 1973,'' Chaiken said. EXPLANATIONS ELUSIVE Yet explanations of why crime seems to be on the wane depend on who is doing the explaining. Many academics and law enforcement sources point to recent growth in the U.S. economy as a factor, noting that crime always seems to drop when employment rates are high. A study of declining homicide rates in seven U.S. cities over the past decade released in November by the National Institute of Justice seems to support this argument. The report noted that certain increases in unemployment in New Orleans, Richmond, Va., Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Tampa, Fla., were accompanied by rising homicide rates in those cities, indicating a potential connection. However, there are also weaknesses in the improving economy hypothesis for falling crime rates: Although national unemployment figures have been falling since 1992, some categories of crime actually increased temporarily since then -- and crime has climbed steeply in some cities where economic conditions have improved. For example, the national murder and assault rates both went up between 1992 and 1993, even though unemployment dropped nearly a whole percentage point during the same period. One Justice Department source noted that the U.S. employment rate fluctuated drastically during the 1970s, while violent crime rates remained relatively stable. ``I'm not so sure you can draw a relationship between the two,'' he said. AGING POPULATION FACTOR Another common explanation for falling crime rates is the country's aging population. The vast majority of all criminal suspects arrested in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 40. According to the aging population hypothesis, the number of people in this age category has declined by more than 7 percent since 1990, and the drop in crime has been a result of this demographic change. Again, some evidence seems to support the argument. Since 1970, the median age of the U.S. population has climbed from 28 years to 34.6 years, while crime has tapered off. But the surprisingly high decreases in crime in recent years seem out of proportion to the relatively modest decrease in the size of the age group in which most potential offenders are to be found. Another possible cause for the falling crime rate is the decline in the nation's crack cocaine problem, which is associated with large increases in violent crime among young people in the 1980s. Noting that homicide rates for most other segments of the population remained fairly stable during that decade, Travers said murders involving young people doubled over a seven-year period, and much of the increase appears to have been associated with the crack epidemic. He said that crack use has declined and the market for the drug has stabilized, with established older dealers controlling the market. ``The introduction of crack into our large cities brought with it an increase in violence among kids, and sucked guns into the hands of young people, who then used them in connection with non-crack-related activities,'' he said. As police shifted enforcement strategies to crack-dealing hot spots where many of these crimes were occurring, the rates fell off, he said, noting that the upsurge of crack trafficking was an anomaly that appears to have been directly related to historically high crime rates in metropolitan areas. ``We're really just starting to offset the increases that occurred in the 1980s,'' he said. ``We have not suddenly become a much safer society. We have just gone through a very traumatic decade.'' GET-TOUGH APPROACH Similar to the crack epidemic hypothesis is the theory that crime has fallen because of a nationwide get-tough approach to law and order: more aggressive policing strategies by law enforcement agencies coupled with tough new sentencing laws such as California's ``three strikes.'' Law enforcement advocates tend to credit the recent apparent decline in crime to these tougher police and prosecution policies. In reporting a continuing drop in California crime rates for the first six months of 1997, state Attorney General Dan Lungren pointed to community policing and tougher sentences as the primary factors. ``I have heard naysayers state that crime is only dropping because of demographics,'' Lungren said. ``When are these so-called experts on crime going to admit that what we have done in California is dramatically driving down crime?'' U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno struck a similar tone last fall on the third anniversary of the signing of the federal Crime Act, noting that crime had decreased steadily since 1994, and the federal statute, with its provisions for tougher sentences and hiring more local police officers, ``is one of the most important reasons.'' Similar arguments have been offered by a host of analysts on the political right. In a report for the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis earlier this fall, Morgan O. Reynolds, a law professor from Texas A&M University, wrote that crime rates rose between 1950 and 1980 as the amount of jail time served for criminal convictions declined. ``Between 1980 and 1995, expected punishment for serious crimes increased from 9.7 to 22.1 prison days, a 128 percent increase, and serious crime declined,'' Reynolds wrote. Like the other explanations for decreasing rates of crime, the get-tough argument appears to be partially supported by fact. But even law enforcement-oriented sources like the National Institute of Justice note that increases in police staffing levels and hard-line enforcement and prosecution policies fail to totally account for falling crime rates. ``However, in most of the cities, all these programs were started too recently to judge their impact on homicide trends during the 10- year period that ended in 1994,'' analysts from the institute said. `THREE STRIKES' EFFECT UNCLEAR And a study of the national ``three strikes'' movement released by the institute in September says that it is still too early to tell whether California's tougher sentencing law is having any substantial impact on crime rates -- although it is already clear that it has had a major effect on the state's prison capacity and criminal court caseloads. In fact, some analysts note that a number of states -- including California -- began increasing sentences for convicted offenders through the imposition of determinate sentences and tougher penalties for certain categories of crime in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Despite the longer sentences that resulted, there was no substantial decrease in crime rates until 1993. Critics of the get-tough approach have argued that innovations such as determinate sentences and ``three strikes'' have had a minimal impact on crime rates, but have tied up public resources on prison expansion and construction that could have been used on other governmental programs. ``The tripling in the number of violent offenders in prison during the 1980s resulted in only an estimated additional 9 percent decrease in violent crimes above the decrease that would have occurred had imprisonment not grown,'' William J. Sabol and James P. Lynch wrote in an August 1997 review of the get-tough strategy for the Urban Institute, a liberal Washington, D.C., think tank. Many experts on crime believe some of the explanations offered for declining crime rates may be partially correct, but that none completely explain the phenomenon or help predict what directions the trend may go in the future. ``Each situation (in which a crime occurs) is different,'' said one Justice Department official. ``There are so many elements involved that you can't simply ascribe weights to them. It's scientifically impossible. ``Every year we get reports of 35 million crimes. There are different reasons for 35 million of them. . . . You can't just point to one thing and say, `This is what is causing this.' There is no way to accurately measure it.'' CHART 1: CALIFORNIA VIOLENT CRIME Total violent crime statistics and percent change from 1992 to 1996 -- Adult arrests Offense 1992 1996 % change Murder 2,724 2,090 -23.3% Forcible rape 3,389 2,630 -22.4% Robbery 22,284 16,671 -25.2% Source: FBI Chronicle Graphic CHART 2: VIOLENT CRIME 1993 1994 1995 Murder 24,530 23,330 21,600 Forcible rape 106,010 102,220 97,460 Robbery (a) 659,870 618,950 580,550 (a) - Robbery total consists of: Street/highway, gas or service station, convenience store, residence, bank, other businesses and miscellaneous Source: FBI Chronicle Graphic
------------------------------------------------------------------- Night Cabbie (Third Item In Taxi Driver's Regular Column For 'San Francisco Examiner' Mentions Picking Up CBS Reporter, Who Admits War On Drugs Is Failing) Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 14:51:53 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Night Cabbie Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World" (email@example.com) Source: San Francisco Examiner Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.examiner.com Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 Editor Note: "Night Cabbie" is sort of a gossip column. There is one customer who mentions the War on Drugs. Other than that, there isn't much here other than interesting reading. NIGHT CABBIE ELLIS AND TAYLOR. I've just dropped an old woman off and a young man comes running up the street toward me. Where to? I ask when he gets in. "I don't know, my car's been towed." I tell him he better have lots of cash because Golden Gate Tow's moved to Bayshore. It'll cost him $150 including cab fare. We get on the freeway and he starts talking. "I'm from San Jose," he says. "I came to San Francisco for a good massage." Then he smiles. "In San Jose, it's against the law to be touched, so they put a towel over you." I ask what kind of massage he's talking about. "Well, I was getting the full treatment when they towed my car." He mentions the name of the massage. It's supposed to be pretty good. On the Bayshore exit he tells me, "I don't have a girlfriend right now, so I come here once or twice a month to get the full boat. Nothing wrong with that, right?" I tell him no, that's what they're there for. But next time, pick a better spot to park. POWELL AND BROADWAY. It's 2 a.m. and raining. All the bars are closing and I'm roaring through the tunnel. Suddenly I see two or three couples frantically waving for a cab. I pull up and signal to one couple to get in. Three guys run up and cut in front of them. One of them says, with an accent, "I know how America works. I'll give you $30 to take us to Maxwell's hotel." I do a quick compute. It's a $4 fare. I tell the couple, sorry, I'm taken. They start to call me names while the three men get in. We're off and one of them says to me, "Your country's symbol is the dollar bill. Didn't they know that?" I tell him they probably did, but they didn't realize they were at an auction. SFO. When nothing is happening in The City, the airport is a good place to read a newspaper. I do it at least once a week. I drive out without a passenger and sit. Tonight, after hanging in the holding lot for 40 minutes, I head for the United terminal. A man in a dark suit with two small bags gets in, going to the Park Hyatt. I ask if he's here on business. "I'm in town to do an interview," he says. For? "I work for CBS. We're doing a story on the war on drugs, which is failing." I ask about Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No' campaign. "That never worked," he says. I ask who he's going to interview. "Just a few people under your mayor," he says. So I tell him if he needs a good story on drugs and city officials, I have one for him. I give him a phone number. He thanks me and gets out at the hotel. POWELL. I'm humming up from the wharf and a woman with brown hair and tight black pants flags me. She looks like she works out. "Larkin and O'Farrell please," she whispers as she gets in. I ask if she's going to work. "Yes, and it should be a good night, too." I wait a few minutes, then ask her: Are you one of the stars, or do you work with them? She says, "Suzy Suzuki is the star tonight, and we work around her." I tell her I should come see the show some night. She looks at me and doesn't say a word. We pull up to the New Century Theatre and, sure enough, the big sign says, "Starring Tonight, Wet and Wild Suzy Suzuki!" She pays me and gets out. I drive away quickly, before I get distracted. GOLD AND MONTGOMERY. This is a part of town that used to be reserved for women of the evening. That was in 1849. Tonight I get flagged by a man, about 60 in a suit and overcoat, a block from the old Belli building. He's going to Third and Folsom. That's a great complex, I tell him. A close friend lives there and I always drop her at the back door. He says he wants the front door. No problem, I tell him. By the way, I ask him. Did you live there when the big murder took place? "What murder?" he wants to know. It was in the papers, I say, and it was pretty gruesome. "They didn't tell me about any murder when I moved in," he says. "What happened?" I tell him I don't know if I should say, being as how he lives there and all that. "I really want to know." We're already there, and as he pays me I tell him: When they opened the place a few years ago, they found some guy chopped up and stuffed in trash bags all over the complex. He doesn't say anything else, just looks at me, then walks up the steps and into the building. FAIRMONT HOTEL. A young woman, about 30, taps on my window. Her hair's in a bun and she has blue jeans on. She wants to go to Washington, between Spruce and Maple. I look at her in the rearview and ask if she works in advertising and marketing. "No," she says, "I'm a writer." I ask her name. "Lisa Flood," she says. I ask if she's the great-granddaughter of James Flood. "He was my great-great-great-grandfather," she says. I tell her I know all about him and the Comstock Silver Lode and the history of James Flood and his partners. The Bill Gates of 1900, I say. I ask what she's written. "Cowboy High Style," she says. "And another book called "Rocky Mountain Home.' " So, you're a real cowgirl, I say. "I like it out on the range in the mountains," she tells me. I ask what she knows about all those secret tunnels between James Flood's mansions in Pacific Heights. "There's never been a full explanation for them," she says. I ask about his illegitimate daughter, and she tells me the woman was paid and no one knows what happened after that. I tell her I'm going to buy some of her books, get an autograph and give one to my youngest daughter. She also spends time with horses and prefers them to people. After I drop her off, I go get a burger on Lombard. I didn't tell her that two of my daughters went to school in one of the Flood mansions. Maybe next time. The Night Cabbie appears every other Monday in The Examiner. You can leave him a message at (415) 777-8738; write him c/o The Examiner, P.O. Box 7260, San Francisco, CA 94120; or e-mail him at email@example.com.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Wilson Signals Support For Smokers' Bar `Sanctuaries' ('Sacramento Bee' Says Cigar-Smoking California Governor May - Or May Not - Support Repeal Of New Ban On Tobacco Use In Bars) Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 12:19:11 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Wilson Signals Support For Smokers' Bar `Sanctuaries' Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Source: Sacramento Bee Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 WILSON SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR SMOKERS' BAR 'SANCTUARIES' SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Smokers and bar owners eager to overturn a new state ban on smoking in bars and gambling halls may get support from Gov. Pete Wilson. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee on Friday, Wilson said smokers should have ``some sort of sanctuary'' for puffing away, and that bar owners ought to have the option to allow smoking. The governor made no firm commitment to sign a bill repealing the law. He hasn't taken a formal position on a bill by Assemblyman Edward Vincent,D-Inglewood, that would repeal the ban for at least two years starting next January. But he told the newspaper that bars should be considered differently than restaurants and ``almost any other public facility,'' which he said should remain smoke-free. ``It seems to me that if you have a cigar bar or a smokers' bar, people ought to have the option of choosing,'' Wilson said. ``I think that smokers ought to have some sort of a sanctuary.'' Vincent's measure cleared the Assembly this week but likely faces a more hostile reception in the Senate. The upper house killed a similar measure last year after the Assembly had passed it. Senate leaders have said Vincent's measure will be considered in the coming months, but expressed doubts about its chances. Wilson, who smokes cigars, said smoking and nonsmoking bars -- or even designated smoking sections within bars -- would give both smokers and nonsmokers options. ``If they don't want (a bar that allows smoking), then I think they can stay away and find a no-smoking bar,'' he said. ``If you had that kind of situation, I'm sure market forces would provide the solution.'' Bar employees -- whom the smoking ban was written to protect -- would have to put up with smoke under such a ``smoking optional'' plan, just as they did before the ban went into effect Jan. 1. ``If you're going to have a smokers-only bar, you're going to have to deal with (employees),'' Wilson acknowledged, ``and I'm not sure how you do that.'' Anti-smoking advocates said they were disappointed by Wilson's remarks, but not convinced they signal the ban will be lifted. ``I'd like to see him (Wilson) unequivocal,'' said Paul Knepprath, a lobbyist for the American Lung Association of California. But he added, ``I don't see this as any definite sign that he will sign a bill and repeal the law.'' Wilson signed the labor-backed law that banned smoking in most indoor workplaces in 1994. At that time, bars and the bar areas of restaurants were given a two-year reprieve to allow the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration time to develop ventilation standards that bars could use to clear the air of tobacco smoke. When the standards still had not been adopted by 1996, Wilson signed a bill to extend the bar exemption until Jan. 1 of this year. With ventilation standards still undeveloped and the Senate unwilling to approve another extension, the ban kicked in on Jan. 1. Health advocates say the standards probably never will be finished.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Protesters Assail Rising Use Of Police Cameras ('New York Times' Says More Than 200 New York City Residents Rallied In Washington Square Park Sunday Against Giuliani Administration's Increasing Use Of Surveillance Cameras To Fight Crime) US NY: Protesters Assail Rising Use of Police Cameras Newshawk: Richard Lake Source: New York Times Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Author: David M. Halbfinger Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 PROTESTERS ASSAIL RISING USE OF POLICE CAMERAS With dozens of uniformed police officers looking on -- not to mention those who might have been watching on a video monitor in a precinct house -- more than 200 New York City residents rallied in Washington Square Park yesterday against the Giuliani administration's increasing use of surveillance cameras to fight crime. The hourlong protest came a month after the police installed two cameras on light poles along the southern edge of the park to discourage the small-scale drug dealing that had become as common there as dog-walking and hand-holding. Under a plan announced a year ago by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir, surveillance cameras have already been installed in some housing projects, and the Mayor and the Commissioner, reporting sharp drops in crime as a result, have pledged that more cameras are coming soon to other public spaces. "We're at a point where we now have many more requests for cameras than we have cameras, or than we're ready yet to do, because we want to make sure we're doing this in a careful way," the Mayor said yesterday. The protesters argued that surveillance cameras in public places smacked of a police state. They said the cameras would destroy the kind of privacy in public places that New Yorkers have come to expect, eroding the quality of life for law-abiding city residents far more than they would help catch and prosecute criminals. Several speakers warned that the cameras in Washington Square Park had already set a dangerous precedent. "Once you give them the O.K. to do this, they will take it and run with it," warned Tonya D. McClary, director of research at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. "We've pretty much allowed them a green light to put these cameras in parks, in public schools, in the subway system and in city buses. Soon, none of us will have a place where we can sit back and be ourselves." In the last month, several speakers said, the neighborhood drug peddlers have simply moved out of range of the cameras, to West Third Street. Safir, contemplating that kind of shift, promised last month that the police would "be there when the traffickers go to adjacent areas." To some, that heightened concerns about the limits of the new policy. "Are we going to put surveillance cameras on every pole in this city?" asked Michael Rosano of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. "Remove the cameras. We live in a democracy. We do not live under Giuliani's police state." Rosano worried aloud that the police might next decide to install cameras along the Greenwich Village piers, long a cruising area for gay men. But he said that even in Washington Square, the cameras could inhibit many closeted homosexuals from expressing themselves freely, even by merely holding hands, for fear "that the tapes would get into the wrong hands." Norman Siegel, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which organized the rally, said that left unchecked, a citywide network of police cameras raised the specter of government's "creating a video database of the free movement of lawful New Yorkers." He said that at a minimum, the city should require that videotapes made with the surveillance cameras be destroyed after 72 hours if they do not reveal criminal activity. Deputy Inspector Michael Collins, a police spokesman, said the videotapes from Washington Square Park are held for seven days before being erased, because crimes are often reported a few days after they occur. He said the police had already used the cameras in the park successfully at least twice - -- once "live," when an officer watching the monitor saw a crime occurring and radioed the police to make an arrest, and once on tape, as evidence against a suspect already under arrest. At the rally's end, a few Greenwich Village residents showed up to support the surveillance cameras. Among them was Diane Whelton, who said she and members of several neighborhood groups had been pleading for the cameras for years. The Rev. Peter Laarman, senior minister of Judson Memorial Church, on Washington Square South, told her that he had been asked to allow a camera to be installed on the church's spire, overlooking the park. But he told Mrs. Whelton, "We didn't want to be a party to that level of ---- " "Of the safety of people on the street," she said, interrupting him, "who might not know that there's somebody coming up behind them?"
------------------------------------------------------------------- Satchmo! (List Subscriber Offers Cannabis Quotes From Biography Of Louis Armstrong, America's 'Ambassador Of Good Will') Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 17:50:19 -0800 (PST) From: email@example.com (Darral Good) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: SATCHMO! Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org they can't say SATCHMO had "amotivational syndrome" It's not only JAMES BROWN, the hardest working man in showbiz who admits smoking the herb it's the man who was our nation's "Ambassador of Good Will" READ THIS BOOK: "Louis Armstrong - An Extravagant Life" by Laurence Bergreen Here are my favorite quotes of the great LOUIS ARMSTRONG found in this excellent book: "it's a thousand times better than whiskey. It's an assistant, a friend, a nice cheap drunk, if you want to call it that, very good for asthma, relaxes your nerves" "the first time I smoked marijuana or 'GAGE' as they beautifully call it sometimes, was a couple of years after I left Fletcher Henderson's orchestra," "I was actually in Chicago when I picked up my first stick of GAGE and I'm telling you I had myself a ball. That's why it really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics, dope and all that kind of crap." This is an example of LOUIS ARMSTRONG's outlook on life, I wish it was we could all fell this way. For if we did it would be a much better world. "My whole life has been happiness. Through all my misfortunes, I did not plan anything. Life was there for me, and I accepted it. And Life, whatever came out, has been beautiful to me, and I love everybody" This book is fantastic. I have a new hero. I'm checking out all the tapes at the library I can find of this wonderful American angel and going to smoke tuff in his honor! P.S. there are some great excerpts in thsi book from MEZZ MEZZROW's autobiography "REALLY THE BLUES" which is as LOUIS once said "DA SHIZZIT!"
------------------------------------------------------------------- '90s Moonshiners Add Drugs And Guns To Recipe ('New York Times' Says Making Illicit Whiskey Still Endures In Much Of South - Markets Established As Far North As New York - One Agent Estimates 500,000 Gallons Distilled In Virginia, Much Of It In Franklin County, Widely Considered Moonshine Capital Of The South - Street Value $25 Or More A Gallon) Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 16:06:26 -0500 From: "R. Lake" (email@example.com) Subject: MN: US VA: NYT: 90s Moonshiners Add Drugs and Guns to Recipe To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-to: email@example.com Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Richard Lake Source: New York Times Author: Tom Verde Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.nytimes.com/ Pubdate: Monday, 2 Feb 1998 '90s MOONSHINERS ADD DRUGS AND GUNS TO RECIPE ROCKY MOUNT, Va. -- At the first sound of baying watchdogs, Jay Calhoun, a special agent of the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Commission Liquor Task Force, crouched in a thicket of mountain laurel and waited. In camouflage, Calhoun and two other agents remained motionless, their eyes focused on a corrugated-steel building less than 50 yards away through the trees, where they believed moonshine was being manufactured. As soon as the dogs lost interest, Calhoun said, "Let's go, the gig's up." The agents were on their feet, moving toward the building, a still house, as it is called. They arrived just in time to capture one suspect who was trying to escape through the woods and another who was trying to flee in a pickup. With their hands in their pockets, the suspects watched as the agents used axes to break up the stills, four 800-gallon fermenting tanks, or black pots, that resemble home heating-oil tanks. Moonshining, which endures in numerous Southern rural towns, is not as widespread as it was during Prohibition. But law-enforcement officials say the illegal manufacture and sale of whisky remains a multimillion-dollar business, with ties to gun trafficking and drugs and established markets as far north as New York. "I would say that 60 percent of the moonshine being produced here is headed for Philadelphia, D.C. and other cities up north," said Jimmy Beheler, assistant special agent in charge of the state's five-member liquor task force, the lone squad in the country dedicated solely to combating moonshiners. Beheler estimated that each year 500,000 gallons of moonshine are distilled in Virginia, much of it here in Franklin County, widely considered the moonshine capital of the South, about an hour south of Roanoke, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a street value of $25 or more a gallon, the moonshine industry in Virginia is a $12.5 million enterprise. "There's still a big demand out there for it, or else moonshiners wouldn't be making hundreds of gallons a week," said Randy Knight, deputy director for operations at the Alcohol Law Enforcement division of the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. Last year, North Carolina officials seized almost 7,000 gallons of moonshine and destroyed almost 60,000 gallons of mash, a syrupy fermented concoction of sugar or corn, water, yeast and grain that moonshiners distill into whisky. Some modern moonshiners have built air-conditioned stills outfitted with electric pumps and other gadgets. But the process is not so different from the distilling that Scotch-Irish immigrants introduced to this region in the early 1700s. Steam from a near-boiling vat of mash is drawn off and condensed into a liquid through a coil of 3-inch copper tubing called a worm or sometimes through an old car radiator submerged in cold water. An 800-gallon tank of mash produces around 100 gallons of moonshine. The harsh 80- to 90-proof clear liquor, also called white lightning, is similar in flavor to low-grade tequila. Because moonshining is unregulated, rust from radiators or lead from soldered pipes can contaminate the liquor. Stills are usually run by hired help called still hands, who are paid $100 a run, or batch, which takes six to eight hours to produce. "For a lot of these people, this is all they've ever done," said Chet Bryant, director of the Alcohol and Tobacco Division of Georgia. "It's a way of life and a way of making money." Agents in Georgia said they seize about 15 stills a year. The stills are often owned by investors who cover the costs of the operation, which including ingredients and distilling, run about $1,200 a pot. The pots are typically sheet metal wrapped around a wood frame. Added to those expenses are transportation costs. According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, moonshine makes its way to metropolitan markets in Southern and Northern cities hidden in trucks or campers. Bootleggers pay moonshiners $35 to $100 for a 6-gallon case. The bootleggers, in turn, sell the whisky to the operators of "shot houses," unlicensed after-hours bars where customers can also buy drugs and firearms, law officials say. "As far as we've determined, these kinds of establishments are probably the main consumer of illicit alcohol," said Charles Thomson, special agent in charge of the Washington Field Division of the ATF. The possession of illegal spirits is a misdemeanor here, and possession of or operating a still is a felony. The crime of moonshining is basically one of tax evasion, and moonshiners and government agents have been at odds since the days of Washington and Jefferson, both of whom owned stills. To help pay Revolutionary War debts, the new federal government imposed the first tax on whisky in March 1791, leading to the Whisky Rebellion. In 1862, the government established the Office of Internal Revenue to collect taxes on spirits and empowered agents, known to moonshiners as revenuers, to arrest those who tried to evade the 20-cent-a-gallon tax. Today the federal tax is about $20, and state taxes are usually less than $5. "It can all add up to a fairly large tax loss," said David Wilson, chief of enforcement in the Mississippi Division of Alcohol Beverage Control. Wilson calculated that the federal and Mississippi governments had lost almost $1 billion in revenue over 30 years just from illegal operations in Mississippi. Today's operators are a far cry from the old-time moonshiner who kept a 20-gallon copper still behind the henhouse and a jug on the shelf. "The majority of the moonshiners we deal with today are felons who've been convicted of everything from drug selling to murder and manslaughter," Beheler said. Yet, in other ways, moonshiners, who still hide in remote mountain hollows, are every bit as crafty as they were during the days of Prohibition. "They know all the tricks," said Bev Whitmer, an alcohol agent here who is a former police officer, "such as doubling back or having other cars as lookouts. In terms of surveillance, they're definitely more skilled at eluding capture than any drug dealers I ever dealt with."
------------------------------------------------------------------- NIDA Boss Touts Addiction Studies ('The Scientist' Interviews Alan Leshner, Director Of US National Institute On Drug Abuse, Who Insists Marijuana Is Addictive 'Because It Causes Compulsive Use') Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 12:22:29 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: "Carl E. Olsen"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: NIDA Boss Touts Addiction Studies http://www.the-scientist.library.upenn.edu/yr1998/feb/leshner_p1_980202.html NIDA Boss Touts Addiction Studies Date: February 2, 1998 Editor's Note: Scientists looking for a crash course in effective communication of their research findings should catch Alan Leshner in action. During recent months, the personable director of the Rockville, Md.-based National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been moderating a series of "Town Meetings" in such metropolises as Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta. In the keynote talk he gives on the myths and realities of drug abuse and addiction, he juxtaposes graphs and cartoons with anecdotes, jokes, and research findings (NIDA funds more than 85 percent of the world's research on health aspects of drug abuse and addiction), keeping large audiences rapt. Leshner supports his central message-that drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease-with such ear-catching sound bites as, "We know more about drugs in the brain that we know about anything else in the brain." Listeners tend to nod in agreement when he declares, "Drugs hijack the brain." He explains many research projects that have helped to establish structural and functional differences between drug-addicted and normal brains at the molecular and cellular levels. He advocates a "whole-person treatment," encompassing biology, behavior, and social context, an approach he says recognizes addiction as a bio-behavioral disorder. And he lambastes what he calls "The Great Disconnect" between ideology and science that he believes is impeding the formulation of more effective national policies in prevention and treatment of drug abuse and addiction. In the following edited transcript of an interview with Senior Editor Steve Bunk, Leshner elaborates on some of these points. *** [Image] Q Which group has been the hardest for you to convince DRUGS AND that addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease-the DISORDER: general public, the medical science community, or Addiction is a politicians? bio-behavioral disorder, A I would say each of them carry very different baggage. declares NIDA's Politicians seem to be among the easiest. The general Alan Leshner. public carries strong beliefs. The medical profession ---------------- seems to be tied to their ideologies about the efficacy of treatment. They think treatment is not quite possible, and therefore it's not real. But, of course, treatment is possible and it is real. The easiest group to impact are criminal justice people. They get it immediately. They deal with addicts in nontherapeutic situations, and they know there's something wrong with them. *** Q How much progress has been made in understanding the intracellular processes after an addicting drug binds to receptors? A A lot. I just saw the other day we spend about $45 million a year on molecular and cellular neurobiology. We know what's happening in the biochemical cascade after the receptor is activated, in excruciating detail, for heroin, cocaine, alcohol, less for marijuana, less for nicotine. And we know, in a good amount of detail, the difference between the addictive brain and the nonaddictive brain at the cellular level. We've made a lot of progress. That's where some of the targets are coming for medication development. Some are gross, at the level of a receptor-you know, pick the receptor, activate it or deactivate it. But we also are now seeing some of the changes in transcription factors, and maybe we should be intervening there. *** Q Does NIDA have drugs in the pipeline that will have chemical activities similar to some of these addictive drugs but will exert therapeutic effects? A I'm trying to avoid substitute medication. I think the ideology around substitute medications is so bad that no one will ever accept them. And so, I keep saying we're not going to develop any substitute medications. We are looking at molecules that are similar in some ways to, say, cocaine, but I don't acknowledge that they're substitutes. I call them analogs. *** Q You recently announced that NIDA would fund a study on medicinal use of marijuana [no such study had been funded for 10 years, until a team led by professor of medicine Donald I. Abrams at the University of California, San Francisco, was awarded a grant in October]. Tell us about the new project. A It's a study of smoked marijuana vs. Marinol [a tablet containing marijuana's active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol] and the variety of metabolic factors in HIV-infected patients taking indinavir [a protease inhibitor]. It's an inpatient study with controlled dosing, beautifully designed to answer the questions. They're going to give people three joints a day, one before each meal. It's over two years. I love this study, because it shows that you can do research on difficult topics, and I think it also says that by sticking to our scientific standard, we get better science. There was a lot of pressure to either do or not do earlier iterations. I think what the data show is that you can design a good study and [the National Institutes of Health] will deliver. It's about $900,000 total cost, provided by four [NIH] institutes. *** Q In 1995, you said your goal was for science to replace ideology as the foundation of the nation's anti-drug abuse strategies by the year 2000 (K.Y. Kreeger, The Scientist, Aug. 21, 1995, page 12). Is that still the goal? A That's still the goal. And I think we're making what I would call very good progress. There has been a lot more coverage in the last couple of years, more and more, as there are people feeding back to me things about drug abuse and addiction, and I think the climate is changing itself. *** Q If science ultimately is to underpin policy-setting for drug abuse prevention and treatment, does it follow that science should underpin all social policy? A Sure. But policy has two pieces to it. There's a fact part of policy, and that should always be based on science, and then there's a value part of policy, and that's separate. So when people ask me what my view is on this or that policy, I only have a view on the fact end of it. I don't really think it's my place to have an opinion about the value part. *** Q But how can you expect science to replace ideology, when ideology is based on values that sometimes run contrary to perceived facts? A I want science to be the foundation for the decisions, but it's not reasonable to expect it will be the only factor. *** [Image] Q Would you agree that religion is the primary 'THE GREAT underpinning of Western society's concepts of justice DISCONNECT':NIDA's and values, which have to do with sin and Alan Leshner retribution? decries the gap between ideology A Sure, that's the foundation of how we do it now. and science in It's not working. formulating --------------------------- addiction treatment policies. Q What I'm suggesting is, it's such a sea change for -------------------- people to think differently. You're not worried about that? I am worried about it, but it does not stop me from [keeping] my conviction that it is this disconnection between the moral view and a pragmatic view that's giving us all the trouble. So, my job is to generate the knowledge, and then make sure it gets to the right people, and then pray like hell that they use it. A What do you say to people who suggest that there's a difference between addiction and other sorts of brain disorders, like Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia, because the latter conditions don't arise from a voluntary act of will? But lung cancer does occur from a voluntary act of will, and we still pay to treat people for it. The question is whether you want to fix it or not. Whether you think the person is evil and you hate them is not relevant. It's only relevant whether you want them to not do it anymore, and stop robbing your mother [for drug money]. And if you want them to not rob your mother, you need to treat them. You need to deal with it as a health issue, even if you hate them while you're doing it. *** Q If addicts are told that relapse is a statistical norm of their disease, does this create a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for them to relapse? A Yes and no. But we don't lie to people in health settings, or we won't be effective. And even if relapse is the norm, that doesn't mean we like it when it happens, and it doesn't mean we don't have to do something about it. We're not saying that controlled use is okay, which I object to, by the way. And we're not saying that a relapse is okay. Just like it's not okay to have a diabetic coma. All we're saying is a relapse is going to happen. When it happens, we need to do an intervention. *** Q You mentioned that you're against controlled use of drugs. How do you define drugs in that context? For example, would they include sugar or caffeine? A It depends on how bad they are for you and how bad they are for me if you use them. I have a very pragmatic view of it. I don't want people using marijuana and driving. If they want to smoke it in their bedroom, that's foolish, but I certainly don't want them smoking marijuana and driving the car, flying an airplane, or in any of a number of settings where it could endanger other people. *** Q You reported during the town meeting that there now is some evidence of withdrawal symptoms from marijuana. But earlier, you said that whether or not an illicit drug causes physical withdrawal is irrelevant to its dangerousness. A There's an interesting paradox in our business. People seem to think that the only drugs that are dangerous are drugs that cause physical withdrawal, because they don't know about cocaine and amphetamines not causing it. And everybody thinks cocaine and amphetamines are dangerous. My predecessors and people in the health community have been saying for years that marijuana is bad for you, marijuana is addicting. People kept saying, no it isn't, because it doesn't cause great physical withdrawal symptoms. Well, we now have rat studies that show that if you precipitate withdrawal with an antagonist, you do get physical withdrawal symptoms, and everybody's all excited. To me, it doesn't matter. I thought it was addicting before and I think it's addicting now. It's just that other people now agree it's addicting, because it causes this physical withdrawal. But the truth is, it's addicting because it causes compulsive use. The thing that matters and causes problems in families, society, for individuals, for anybody, is the fact that compulsive use means that you do terrible things to get the drug. *** Q Your message seems a simple one, although obviously the research behind it is complex. A My message is, "Add the health perspective." It's not, "Substitute a health perspective." I believe drugs should be illegal, and I believe that we should seize them at the border. But I also believe we need to treat drug abuse or addiction as a health issue, as well. And the problem is, we've missed that part in most of our strategies. Now we have to increase its role. *** The Scientist, Vol:12, #3, p. 1,7, February 2, 1998 WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Just Say 'Research' - Antidrug Program Stresses Science ('The Scientist' Looks At 'Mind Over Matter,' A New Program From US National Institute On Drug Abuse Purporting To Use Neuroscience Research Results To Teach, Rather Than Preach To, Students About Dangers Of Addictive Drugs) Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 12:22:38 EST Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: "Carl E. Olsen"
To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: News: Just Say 'Research': Antidrug Program Stresses Science http://www.the-scientist.library.upenn.edu/yr1998/feb/lewis_p1_980202.html Just Say 'Research': Antidrug Program Stresses Science Author: Ricki Lewis Date: February 2, 1998 A new program from the National Institute on Drug Abuse [brochures] (NIDA), "Mind Over Matter," is using neuroscience research SPREADING THE results to teach, rather than preach to, students about the WORD: dangers of addictive drugs. "People have historically seen Materials drug abuse as purely a social problem that results from developed by voluntary behavior and remains voluntary. But science has NIDA use a taught us that addiction is expressed in a behavioral way neuroscience [and] comes about from the result that drugs have on the approach to brain," says NIDA director Alan Leshner. The program will teach help fulfill the December 1997 recommendation of the students Institute of Medicine's Committee to Identify Strategies to about the Raise the Profile of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism dangers of Research that the science of addiction be more prominent in drug abuse. curricula, from elementary school to medical school. -------------- Neuroscience-based teaching about drug addiction uses imaging technologies such as positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show what happens when addictive drugs flood the brain. The approach can work, according to Cathrine Sasek, science education coordinator at NIDA, the project officer who developed the program. She frequently talks to middle- and high-school classes. "If you even so much as hint at giving an antidrug talk, you lose them," she reports. "You can, however, talk about the brain-they pay attention to the neurobiology of drug abuse." The program's developers also hope it may spark interest in science. "Young people are intrigued by their bodies, particularly at the middle-school level. We know that science is interesting to them, and it is a vehicle to teach about science and drugs," says Leshner. But there's no guarantee that Mind Over Matter will either prevent drug abuse or propel students onto a science career track. "Showing pictures of a brain on drugs will interest those kids already interested in science, but for the others, it won't mean much," predicts Godfrey Pearlson, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. He uses PET scans to study cocaine-induced binding of dopamine to receptors on brain neurons (see accompanying story). Still, he adds, the approach is worth a try. Funding for Mind Over Matter came from NIDA, with about $50,000 used The Neuroanatomy of Addiction to develop the written materials. These include six glossy magazines A good program to combat drug that open out into posters and a addiction begins with a definition. long booklet for teachers on "The "Addiction is not withdrawal, it is Biological Effects of Drugs" that drug craving and seeking behavior is packed with facts and figures. in the face of knowing the negative Ten NIDA staffers with scientific consequences of such actions," says expertise provided the information Alan Leshner, director of the and reviewed the content of the National Institute on Drug Abuse program, and several outside (NIDA). He hypothesizes a artists and writers contributed. "metaphorical switch" as the start Feedback for the program, which of addiction. "Drugs produce was field-tested in classrooms, long-lasting effects and dramatic has been overwhelmingly positive, changes in the brain, as if a according to Sasek. "We have taken switch goes on that changes the materials to several teachers' voluntary drug use to meetings [National Association of uncontrollable, compulsive Biology Teachers and National behavior." Probably biochemical, Science Teachers Association], and the switch clicks at different the teachers have loved the levels of usage for different materials," she says. "In individuals, he adds. addition, the prevention community is also very enthusiastic about The seat of addiction is a the materials." Materials are free pea-sized cluster of brain neurons at these conferences or available called the nucleus accumbens (NA). from the National Clearinghouse Neurons from a nearby region for Alcohol and Drug Information. synapse with those of the NA, triggering release of the Many drug-education efforts differ neurotransmitter dopamine and markedly from the science-based branching to the frontal cerebral approach. A fried egg sizzles on a cortex, disturbing thought television screen, with the processes. The entire neural message "this is your brain on network is called the mesolimbic drugs." Celebrities and reward system. law-enforcement officers tell classes that drugs kill, while Positron emission tomography (PET) teachers and parents urge students scanning can highlight any part of to "just say no." But statistics the addiction process, including indicate that these efforts are the drug, the neurotransmitter it not effective in reaching many affects, the molecule that young people. transports the neurotransmitter, or the cell surface receptor that Statistics On Teen Drug Use binds it. For example, Godfrey Pearlson, a professor of psychiatry Facts and figures on drug use are at Johns Hopkins Medical abundant. The National Institutions, and his colleagues Longitudinal Study on Adolescent recently reported evidence that Health, sponsored by the brains of long-time cocaine users Department of Education's Safe and "burn out" compared to the brains Drug-Free Schools Program, queried of people just starting to use the 12,118 seventh- to 12th-graders in drug (T.E. Schlaepfer et al., 1997. The study found that 25.7 American Journal of Psychiatry, percent of respondents smoked 154:9, September 1997). They gave cigarettes, 17.9 percent drank 11 volunteers a chemical that binds alcohol, and 25.2 percent smoked weakly to dopamine receptors, which marijuana. These figures, however, are labeled. When the participants varied considerably among school were given cocaine, the resulting districts. rush of dopamine literally knocked off the weak chemical from the Data on trends, while useful, receptors. "In the younger people sometimes send mixed messages. For who have used cocaine for a shorter example, a survey by Atlanta-based time, we saw a marked increase in Parents Resource Institute for the amount of available dopamine. Drug Education (PRIDE) conducted But the individuals who are older in 1996 and 1997 of 141,077 junior and have used cocaine longer show and senior high schoolers found a an apparent decrease in available statistically significant increase dopamine and an attenuated response in monthly drug use among sixth- to cocaine. This correlation to eighth-graders but unchanged suggests that chronic cocaine use monthly use among high-school can decrease the number of dopamine students. And a United States receptors," Pearlson says. Department of Education survey of 10,000 fifth- and sixth-graders as But drug addiction is more than a they progressed in school from dopamine rush in the mesolimbic 1991 to 1995 found a similar reward system, some researchers increase in drug use by eighth say. Effects on other brain regions grade. Yet the 23rd annual produce the complex behaviors that Monitoring the Future Survey, go with the condition or help to released Dec. 20, 1997, by the trigger it. "Addiction and dopamine Department of Health and Human binding are two different levels of Services (HHS), showed increased analysis. Downstream changes in drug use among 10th- and neuronal systems mediate the 12th-graders, but a leveling off development and persistence of among eighth-graders. Leshner and addiction," explains Martin F. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala Sarter, a professor of psychology interpret the findings to reflect and psychiatry at Ohio State a glimmer of success in drug abuse University. Sarter suggests that education programs, but all the science-based drug addiction studies conclude that the absolute education programs also teach kids numbers on drug use remain to recognize the feelings and alarming. behaviors that lead to use of addictive drugs. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, based at -R.L. Columbia University, found that from 1995 to 1996, the proportion FOR MORE INFORMATION of teens who said that they would never try illegal drugs fell from American Council for Drug Education 86 percent to 51 percent. Several http://www.ACDE.org of the center's studies identified school as the most common place to College on Problems of Drug procure drugs-suggesting that this Dependence might also be the best place to http://views.vcu.edu/cpdd introduce drug abuse education programs such as Mind Over Matter. National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information Enter NIDA http://www.health.org Mind Over Matter targets grades National Center on Addiction and five to nine, which includes Substance Abuse at Columbia youngsters typically not yet University tempted to try drugs as well as http://www.casacolumbia.org those in the highest-risk age group. Program materials include National Institute on Drug Abuse six oversized brochures in which a http://www.nida.nih.gov cartoon character, Sara Bellum, takes students on a guided tour of U.S. Department of Education's Safe the brain on drugs. (The original and Drug-Free Schools Program name, Nerve Anna, was rejected http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS because students would associate her with Kurt Cobain, guitarist and singer of the band Nirvana who had a well-known drug abuse problem and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1994.) The idea is that packaging science information attractively will hold students' attention. The Mind Over Matter magazines discuss marijuana, inhalants, opiates, hallucinogens, steroids, and stimulants. A seventh magazine on nicotine will be available soon. Each magazine opens into a poster that is a real image of a neuron. The writing is vibrant. The narrative on opiates, for example, describes the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy succumbing to the effect of poppies in The Wizard of Oz. The neurobiology is presented in easy-to-understand language, such as: "These cells grow so used to having the opiate around that they actually need it to work normally." A cartoon story introduces neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters, and receptors, and a teacher's guide provides background. Success will be determined by how quickly the initial 2,000-copy print run is depleted and from teacher feedback. [Image] Scientific Approach Not New JUST THE FACTS: Using science to teach about drug abuse is not a new idea. The Martha American Council for Drug Education, based in New York City, Gagné of has used information on the nervous system in its publications the since its inception in 1977, says director Martha Gagné. Plus, American the council's Web site features exercises to demonstrate the Council effects of particular drugs on the brain and other organs. for Drug "The Web site offers scientifically accurate data on Education substances and their abuse to counteract the often-misleading says material that now clogs up traffic on the information children highway," she adds. The site has been active since June 1997. respond According to Gagné, several hundred teachers access it better to monthly, mostly to retrieve lesson plans and curriculum tips. science than to The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) is a scare Philadelphia-based professional organization of about 400 tactics. scientists who research drug abuse and addiction. According to ----------- the group's mission statement, CPDD "serves as an interface among academic, governmental, and corporate communities, interacting with regulatory and research agencies as well as with educational, treatment, and prevention facilities in the drug abuse field." The organization has a journal and an annual meeting; its members provide consulting services and expert witness testimony and sponsor programs to attract young investigators to drug abuse research, says president Linda Dykstra, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology and Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Television also is embracing a scientific approach to drug [Image] abuse education. On March 29, PBS stations will present the ON THE TUBE: first installment of "Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home," Penn's Anna a five-part documentary exploring social, political, and Rose scientific aspects of drug addiction. The second part, "The Childress Hijacked Brain," will feature the work of Anna Rose will be Childress, a clinical associate professor in the department featured on a of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of PBS Medicine and a clinical psychologist with the drug documentary, dependence treatment unit of the Philadelphia Department of reporting her Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In their research, she and findings on her coworkers show participants videos of cocaine-related signals scenes while their brains are being PET scanned. "We have triggering confirmed that limbic structures indeed activate in cocaine response to signals which trigger cocaine craving in craving. humans; this does not happen in response to viewing nature -------------- videos or in control subjects who have no cocaine history," Childress says. Such signals include people, locations, objects, sounds, sights, and smells that are associated with the drug, she adds. The Neuroscience Approach Some drug-education programs may backfire because inquisitive students do not believe the information given. Threats that marijuana use inexorably leads to heroin use do not ring true to students who know this is not always the case. "We learned in the '70s and '80s that hyperbole and exaggeration do not work," says Leshner. Lynn E. Zimmer, a professor of sociology at Queens College in New York and coauthor with John Morgan of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence (New York, The Lindesmith Center, 1997), agrees with Leshner. "It is hard to scare kids away from anything. I am concerned that massive exposure to antidrug messages is counterproductive. How could they possibly believe all the bad things about drugs?" she asks. Zimmer does not believe that any current drug education programs work. The Partnership for a Drug Free America, she maintains, overloads kids from preschool age with antidrug messages. The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, in which police officers teach fifth- and sixth-graders drug-resistance skills, has also had mixed results. "Kids exposed to the program have a stronger antidrug attitude during that time, when they are not really thinking about drugs, and you can get them to respond. But there is no benefit once kids pass that age," Zimmer says. The Mind Over Matter approach may penetrate typical adolescent arrogance because it is not judgmental. But some researchers think this might not be enough to overcome human nature. "We have known for years that cigarettes are bad, and that has had no effect," Pearlson points out. The best way to cut drug use among youth, suggest Zimmer and Pearlson, is to take a variety of approaches. But the key to any program, Zimmer maintains, is to provide information, not a guilt trip or fear. "Many places in Europe have a more harm-reduction form of drug education. Young people are given more information about how at one point, drugs go from potentially dangerous to quite risky. This is not done in the U.S.," she contends. If a student in the U.S. asks a teacher what a dangerous dose of a particular drug is, Zimmer says, the teacher must refer the student to a drug counselor. A science-based view of drug abuse education is most effective, according to Gagné, when it follows other programs that begin in preschool. "The best approach to preventing drug use is to start as early as possible and instill life skills in children that allow them to accept drug prevention education as they get older," she says. Children need to learn ways to build self-esteem, coping strategies, and decision-making abilities. "Then, if scientific facts are presented-unlike media dramatization and scare tactics-children and youths get a sense of truthfulness and reality, and they are more likely to believe what they hear," she concludes. Ricki Lewis, a freelance science writer based in Scotia, N.Y., is the author of several biology textbooks. She can be reached online at email@example.com. *** The Scientist, Vol:12, #3, p. 1,6, February 2, 1998 *** WE WELCOME YOUR OPINION. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THIS STORY, PLEASE WRITE TO US AT EITHER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDRESSES: firstname.lastname@example.org or The Scientist, 3600 Market Street, Suite 450, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Ming The Merciless Will Keep Going ('Irish Times' Feature About Luke Flanagan, Marathon Runner And Galway Campaigner For Cannabis-Law Reform) Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 09:59:41 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: Ireland: Ming the Merciless will keep going To: news Reply-to: email@example.com Organization: http://www.mapinc.org Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Zosimos Source: Irish Times Author: Ciaran Tierney Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 Contact: Mail: Letters to Editor, The Irish Times, 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407 MING THE MERCILESS WILL KEEP GOING Is cannabis a "gateway" to harder drugs - as both the Garda Siochana and RTE stated this weekend when commenting on the latest haul of the drug? No, says Luke Flanagan, the Galway campaigner for legalisation of the substance. There is no evidence of an automatic link, he says, as he pledges to continue his work. Flanagan, a.k.a. Ming the Merciless, missed an opportunity to go to jail for the cause when his father paid the fine imposed on him for possession last year. It is not often that a person turns up voluntarily at a Garda station in the hope that he will be arrested and sent to prison. But such was the case at Mill Street in Galway last Friday morning, when the fourmonth deadline for fine payment expired, and Ming chose to serve the 15 days in prison as a matter of principle. The campaigner has become a hugely vocal advocate for the legalisation of cannabis since polling 548 votes in Galway West in the general election last June. Proof that he practised what he preached was provided in August, when members of the Garda Drugs Unit in Galway caught him in possession of small quantities of the drug. He began a publicity blitz of the city over a month ago, informing the public of his intention to go to jail rather than pay the fine. He denied that he was polluting the environment by pasting up hundreds of pro-cannabis posters. "I am environmentally friendly, I take the posters down myself every 10 days or so and I don't drive a car." Ming claims that there is not enough room in Irish prisons for the thousands of people who continue to use cannabis on a regular basis. A native of Castlerea, Co Roscommon, he claims to have been given special treatment by gardai because of his outspoken views. In one instance, he says he was stripsearched after smoking herbal cigarettes in a pub in his home town. Surprised and disappointed at last week's events, he aims to continue to educate the people of Galway, and says it will not stop him from smoking cannabis. "I am continuing to urge a change in the law," he says. Ming's Choice Party also campaigns on other issues, such as persecution by private landlords and victimisation of those who are on Social Welfare. He has taken a year off college and he intends to run in several marathons, and in the European and local elections next year. The prospect of taking on Dana in Connacht/Ulster really appeals to him. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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