Portland NORML News - Sunday, February 15, 1998
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Drug Problem's No Secret (Letter To Editor Of 'Bulletin' In Bend, Oregon,
Responds To Its Article About Poly-Drug Abuser,
Asking, 'What's The Point?')

Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 20:02:42 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar (peace@mind.net)
Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: Drug Problems No Secret
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Curt Wagoner (cwagoner@bendnet.com)
Pubdate: Sunday, 15 Feb 1998
Source: The Bulletin
Page: F-2
Author: Gerald Sutliff, Emeryville, Calif.
Contact: bulletin@bendbulletin.com
Mail: My Nickel's Worth, 1526 NW Hill St., Bend, OR 97739
Website: (http://www.bendbulletin.com)

DRUG PROBLEMS NO SECRET

I read in the Bulletin's recent series on youth drug use of Lequita Twete's
difficulties in surviving her drug addictions and wondered what is the
point? Perhaps you intended it as a warning to parents. We parents were, or
should have been, aware that there would be many hazards "out there" when
we had our children.

The headline "Drugs not a problem? Think again" suggests that there are
some who believe otherwise. Such believers will be hard to find. Perhaps it
is intended to be a warning against reforming or liberalizing our
prohibitionist drug laws. That's pointless too, because, as the article
makes clear, drug law reform cannot make "Illegal" drugs anymore available.

Drug abuse is a problem that is made worse by prohibitionist drug laws. If
experience is our guide we must predict that Ms. Twete will fall off the
wagon again. Should that happen, she will not be helped by being sent to
prison, where daily life is a dreary, unrelenting challenge and drugs are
plentiful.

Finally, she did not do a "Clinton" when she first tried marijuana. She
tried it, she liked the experience and/or the people associated with it.
She kept looking for better, stronger drugs that would give her respite
from whatever devils were pursuing her. Many people use drugs, both legal
and illegal, every day without becoming abusers.

Good luck and my best wishes to Ms. Tewte.
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DARE Fails Test (Letter To Editor Of Bend, Oregon, 'Bulletin,' Says
Last Sunday's Fear Fest About Illegal Drug Use By Teens
Just Shows DARE Has Been Ineffective)
Link to earlier stories
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:39:08 -0800 To: mapnews@mapinc.org From: Olafur Brentmar Subject: MN: US OR: PUB LTE: DARE Fails Test Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Curt Wagoner Pubdate: Sunday, 15 Feb 1998 Source: The Bulletin Page: F-2 Author: Curt Wagoner Contact: bulletin@bendbulletin.com Mail: My Nickel''s Worth, 1526 NW Hill St., Bend, OR 97739 Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com DARE FAILS TEST I would sincerely like to thank Jeff Nielson and Greg Bolt for their enlightening articles in last Sunday's edition concerning teen drug use here in Central Oregon. They showed us unequivocally what failures prohibition and the war on drugs truly are. It also showed us what a failure the expensive and unsuccessful DARE program has been considering most of the kids in Central Oregon have participated in these classes. Can you spell a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y ? The DARE program needs to be scrapped for the piece of garbage that it is and the sooner the better.
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Pot, Trust, Truth In Legal Tangle ('The Herald' In Everett, Washington,
Says Local Defense Lawyers Are Crying Foul Over Government's Use
Of Attorney Mark Mestel's Own Private Investigator As Confidential Informant
Implicating Him In Cannabis Cultivation Ring)
Link to follow-up
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 14:04:34 -0800 To: mapnews@mapinc.org From: Olafur Brentmar Subject: MN: Pot, Trust, Truth In Legal Tangle Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: John Smith Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb. 1998 Source: The Herald, Everett, WA, USA Contact: letters@heraldnet.com WebPage: http://www.heraldnet.com Section: B, Page 1 Author: Scott North and Jim Haley, Herald Writers Note: You can contact Scott North by phone at 425-339-3431 or by e-mail at north@heraldnet.com. Jim Haley can be reached at 425-339-3447 or at haley@heraldnet.com . POT, TRUST, TRUTH IN LEGAL TANGLE Mark Mestel is one of the best defense attorneys in Washington, a veteran of more than 400 jury trials, from multimillion dollar lawsuits to death penalty cases. The compact and muscular Everett lawyer also is an expert in wing chun kung fu, a Chinese martial art known for rapid-fire hand strikes. It's no wonder, then, that in the courtroom, Mestel has a reputation for pulling no punches. Police and prosecutors in Snohomish County learned long ago to regard him with wary respect: Make an error in a criminal investigation, Mestel will exploit the lapse. Lose focus on the witness stand, he'll hand you your head. For most of this decade, Mestel's sidekick has been Dale Fairbanks, a former Sultan police officer turned private investigator. A large man with a warm smile, Fairbanks has an uncanny ability to get witnesses to relax, to talk, to maybe say more than they intended. The skill has led to the identification of murderers and the exoneration of innocent people. The working relationship between Mestel and Fairbanks was so close that, up until a few months ago, the detective-for-hire had an office in the basement of the lawyer's Moose Tower building in Everett. But no more. Their futures and reputations are now snagged in a messy legal tangle resulting from the dismantling of a large marijuana-growing ring that operated in Stanwood and Eastern Washington, starting in 1994. At issue is the credibility of both men and the legality of the federal government's decision to use Fairbanks as a secret informant in the drug case. Mestel had served as an attorney for at least three of the nine defendants charged with conspiring to grow marijuana and to hide drug money in business investments. Area defense attorneys are crying foul over the government's tactics, protesting that Fairbanks' involvement may have breached the confidentiality guaranteed between attorneys and their clients. Prosecutors and police, meanwhile, contend the case is about dope, pure and simple, and argue in court papers that this is a situation where criminals abused their relationship with a respected lawyer to "obstruct justice and perpetrate a fraud on the court and the government." A pivotal hearing to determine whether evidence gathered in the case can be used at trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. In 1996, Mestel made a bid to become a state Supreme Court justice. Although he finished third in the statewide election, the attorney drew 127,000 votes and was ranked "exceptionally well qualified" by a majority of Puget Sound lawyers. One of Mestel's campaign billboards stood along I-90 in Eastern Washington, on the property of Greg Haynes, a Warden man now charged in the pot-growing conspiracy. Mestel's relationship to Haynes is now central to the case. Fairbanks has testified in federal court, under oath, that Haynes sent Mestel marijuana, and that the attorney allegedly filed documents misleading judges about who might be involved in the drug conspiracy. Court papers show Haynes, Mestel and Fairbanks met each other in 1994, after Haynes retained Mestel to help him respond to allegations that he had sexually assaulted a north Snohomish County woman. No charges were filed. Later that year, a fire in a barn in Stanwood led authorities to one of the hidden pot farms federal prosecutors allege was run by Haynes. Vehicles found at the scene of the fire connected the blaze to the Eastern Washington defendants. Mestel and Fairbanks worked to keep the Stanwood property from being seized and sold by the government under laws designed to strip drug traffickers of their assets. That civil case concluded in 1995, court records show. Fairbanks became a government informant in January 1996 court records show, after the ring allegedly resumed its activities, setting up shop in an underground pot-growing operation buried beneath an alfalfa field at Warden, a windswept hamlet near Moses Lake. The private investigator's integrity has been the focus of a blistering attack by Haynes' current attorney, Allen Ressler, who wants a federal judge to throw out the case against his client. In court papers, he alleged that Fairbanks began sharing secrets about the pot ring with police as early as 1995. The private investigator was promised $150,000 by the government for his work, and detectives "heartily exploited" that relationship, he alleged. "The government's systematic invasion of the attorney client relationship merits dismissal of the indictment," Ressler wrote. In an interview, Fairbanks denied the reward money was a factor in his decision to work as an informant, and maintained that federal agents offered him compensation well after the case began. The reward is not contingent on whether anyone is convicted, he said. Mestel also has publicly weighed in against Fairbanks. At a federal court hearing in August, Fairbanks testified he delivered marijuana from the Warden farm to Mestel at Haynes' request. The investigator also alleged Mestel took legal steps to hide Haynes' involvement in the earlier Stanwood pot-growing operation. Mestel flatly denies the allegations. "He testified that he brought me pounds of marijuana, and it's simply not true," Mestel said. "I have no comment other than the allegations against me aren't true." "Don't you think with my reputation (as a drug-case defense lawyer) that, if they had information I was given marijuana, they'd be down in 10 minutes with a search warrant?'' he added. Mestel, at his own expense, took and passed a lie-detector test in September, denying he received drugs from Haynes, court records show. Early this month, Fairbanks, at his own expense, took a lie-detector test regarding his testimony about Mestel. He, too, passed, according to documents that he showed The Herald but as yet are not part of the court record. In response to the dueling polygraph results, Mestel pointed to transcripts of an October hearing in U.S. District Court, where a judge questioned Fairbanks' credibility after defense attorneys highlighted inconsistencies in the investigator's grand jury testimony. After years of working with defense attorneys, Fairbanks said he's not surprised to find himself under attack. "If you can't try the case on the merits of the case, you try the witnesses," he said. "That's what is happening here." Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Whalley declined comment on whether federal investigators are looking into Fairbanks' allegations about Mestel. He did note that all but Haynes and one other person charged in the federal drug conspiracy have pleaded guilty and are now awaiting sentencing. One of the defendants who has pleaded guilty is former Mestel client Todd Hollibaugh. Hollibaugh is prepared to testify that he and others in the drug ring conspired to dupe Mestel into supplying the court with documents that hid Haynes' alleged involvement in the Stanwood marijuana farm, according to court papers. Further, Mestel's polygraph results show he had no knowledge that ring members resumed growing marijuana underground after the fire, Whalley said. The attorney-client relationship cannot protect fraud, nor can it protect activity the lawyer knows nothing about, the prosecutor said. Fairbanks' involvement in the pot case surfaced in July, shortly after dozens of federal, state and local law officers unearthed the Warden pot farm and found several hundred plants. Federal prosecutors are involved in the case not only because of the amount of marijuana seized, but also because the defendants allegedly engaged in a large-scale money laundering conspiracy. The case has become a rallying point for the state's criminal defense lawyers. The government's use of a defense lawyer's investigator as a paid informant undermines the presumption of confidentiality that is key to the attorney-client relationship, said Mark Muenster of Vancouver, president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Defense lawyers have summoned volunteers to consult with Mestel clients who want an independent evaluation of their cases to determine whether Fairbanks' past involvement gives them grounds for legal action today. "Picture yourself in place of one of Mark Mestel's clients," Muenster said. "You wouldn't have confidence if the government used the same investigator as your lawyer, unbeknownst to your lawyer." The ability of attorneys and clients to freely share information without fear of prying eyes is a cornerstone of the legal system, said Muenster, whose brother, John Muenster, is Mestel's former law partner. "No lawyer can represent clients if he has conflicts of interest," Muenster said. The same is true of the lawyer's employees, including the investigator. "He can't have two masters. He can only have one." For his part, Fairbanks insisted he kept a clear line between work he did on Mestel's cases and work he did on the drug investigation. "I have 27 file boxes for cases that I've worked on since 1989 or 1990," Fairbanks said in an interview. "Each contains many files. I would challenge anybody to find one case -- one -- in which I provided information to any law enforcement agency that was contrary to our client's interests." Fairbanks also said he never was a direct employee of Mestel, and frequently found himself working both sides of a case, at different times. One client, the Snohomish County PUD, has employed Fairbanks for years to help investigate power thefts, the majority of which turn out to involve indoor pot farms. Fairbanks said he has helped law officers prepare search warrants leading to arrests and charges for several people who later became Mestel clients. Fairbanks said he decided to talk with drug detectives about Haynes during the summer of 1995, after the man allegedly became friends with Mestel and then tried to recruit Fairbanks as a security adviser for his pot-growing enterprise. Fairbanks alleged that the final straw came when Haynes put marijuana in his car for Mestel. Whalley said he specifically instructed the investigator in writing that the government was not looking for a snoop inside a lawyer's office. "I instructed him that I do not want to know about Mestel's clients, or any client, except a client who is involved with you in an ongoing crime. Period. I wrote it down and gave it to him to read," Whalley said. The federal prosecutor also said Fairbanks made the legally correct call in notifying authorities about the Warden drug operation. When somebody is approached and asked to engage in criminal conduct, "he has three choices," Whalley said. "He can say, 'No,' and just break it off completely. He can say, 'Yes,' and not tell anybody and become a co-conspirator. Or he can tell the police." Shortly before the case went public, Fairbanks went into the pawnshop business and put aside private investigations for the time being. Fairbanks said he bears Mestel no ill will and regrets the legal fallout. "We both will probably take a lot of personal loss over this, whatever that may be -- business, friendships, acquaintances," he said. At the same time, he's not apologetic for assisting police. "A good friend of mine told me 'You are either part of the problem or part of the solution,' " Fairbanks said.
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Sonny Bono Was Not Drug Free After All (List Subscriber Recounts
And Speculates About Seattle 'Post-Intelligencer' Item Saying
Late GOP Senator From California Had Valium And 'Another Sedative'
In His System)

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 23:37:07 -0800 (PST)
From: bc616@scn.org (Darral Good)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Sonny Bono was not DRUG FREE after all.
Reply-To: bc616@scn.org
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

On page A-3 of the Friday P-I [Seattle Post-Intelligencer] there was this
little bit of news that the Republican congress probably does not want to be
mention on talk radio (oops TOO LATE - I already have)

The Republican congressman Sonny Bono's toxicology results were released
by the Nevada cops on Thursday. The tiny article
(sorry I didn't bring it with me tonight) started out saying that he was
not on drugs or alcohol (but alcohol is a drug).

Then it went on to mention that trace amounts of Valium and another
sedative WERE FOUND (Drug free MY ASS)
It had some words from the California (he died in Nevada)
poison control center spokesperson that the tiny amount probably played
no part in the congressman running into a tree.

I probably agree with that. I think it was KARMA for his Republican
agenda of welfare reform and salvage logging.

BUT what really burns me up about this whole thing is how come it takes
SO LONG for a congressman's drug test to come up positive compared to say,
an Olympic snowboarder? And I know that Valium goes out of the body
pretty quick. that means he could have been on it at the time of death.

And IF he had a prescription (you can bet I'm going to try and find out)
HOW COME they did not mention that to the press RIGHT AWAY?
And if he was on Valium and "another unknown sedative" why did they need
any tests to find out? Couldn't they have asked his DOCTOR?
Or did the good Republican get his medicine from an alternative source?
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QuickTrading Company Site Update (Fred Quick Of QuickTrading Book Company,
A Top Seller Of Cannabis-Related Titles, Offers Ecstacy For Half-Price Over Web -
$10 Book Debunks Myths About Rave Drug, Both MDMA And Herbal Form)

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 23:21:02 -0700
To: update@quicktrading.com
From: update@quicktrading.com (Fred Quick)
Subject: QTC Site Update

At Long Last Quick is Back With:
* A Brand New Look
* Bud, Plant, and Garden of the Month
* All New Ask Ed Online
* High-Tech Hydro Tips

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COMING SOON:

ED ASKS BACK. Ed challenges you to a monthly competition available only
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We apologize for the delay in remodeling our web site. We've been hard at
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Please continue to submit your questions to Ask Ed Online. A free grow book
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***

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Will Fear Again Rule The Neighborhood? ('Los Angeles Times' Examines Infusion
Of Resources Beginning Four Years Ago By City Of Los Angeles
In Unprecedented Effort To Salvage Alvarado Corridor, A Once Fashionable
Neighborhood West Of Downtown That Had Degenerated Into West Coast's Largest,
Most Violent Market For Illegal Drugs)

Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 14:55:08 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Will Fear Again Rule the Neighborhood?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Bartman 
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com
Pubdate: 15 Feb 1998
Author: Dan Weikel, Times Staff Writer

SPECIAL REPORT * Despite reassurances by the LAPD, which is changing or
ending two programs credited with helping slash crime and make streets
safer in what is still the West Coast's worst open drug market, residents
wonder. . .

WILL FEAR AGAIN RULE THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

Four years ago, the city of Los Angeles undertook an unprecedented effort
to salvage the Alvarado corridor, a once fashionable neighborhood west of
downtown that degenerated over the years into the West Coast's largest,
most violent market for illegal drugs.

The Los Angeles Police Department pumped about 120 additional officers into
the area, turning it into a laboratory for a law enforcement strategy that
melded traditional police task forces with community-based programs formed
to address the "quality of life" block by block.

At the same time, other city departments, which for years had ignored pleas
by police and neighborhood activists, finally began to grapple with the
widespread urban decay that had contributed to the area's high crime
rate--cutting, for example, the time it took to get streets repaired,
buildings inspected and trees trimmed.

Today, arrest records and experts' assessments indicate that the Alvarado
corridor is still the West Coast's largest drug bazaar, but it isn't what
it used to be: the illicit equivalent of a pharmaceutical outlet mall.
Reports of violent crime have declined in each of the last four years. The
number of homicides has plummeted from 149 in 1992 to 52 in 1997 in the
LAPD's Rampart Division, which polices the corridor. Crimes of many sorts
have fallen even more dramatically within the two-square-mile corridor.

But whether the city can extend the substantial gains of the last four
years is uncertain. As part of his drive to reorganize the Police
Department and hold his commanders more accountable, Chief Bernard C. Parks
is altering or dismantling two of the most popular and successful programs
that have helped reverse the tide in the corridor.

His approach includes moving the officers in charge of community-based
policing back into patrol cars--a citywide policy--and terminating the
nearly 2-year-old Narcotics Enforcement Team, which put 10 to 12 extra
patrol officers per shift on the streets of the Alvarado corridor. The team
was disbanded this weekend.

Despite assurances from Parks that police service will improve in the long
run, some local activists and Neighborhood Watch leaders who have
spearheaded anti-crime efforts are not so sure.

"Anyone can see that these programs have worked," said Bertha Wooldridge,
president of Westlake Protectors, one of the largest Neighborhood Watch
groups in the corridor. "Police visibility will be gone, and drugs might
get to be as blatant as they were before. We cannot let our guard down."

The corridor lies within two of the city's poorest and most neglected
neighborhoods--Pico-Union and Westlake. It is bordered by 3rd Street on the
north, Pico Boulevard on the south, Union Avenue on the east and Hoover
Street to the west. Alvarado Street divides the area. In the middle is
venerable MacArthur Park.

When the drug market peaked in the early 1990s, more people were murdered,
robbed and assaulted in and around the corridor than in any other part of
Los Angeles.

Drug dealers, many of them gang members, openly worked the major streets
and intersections, where they hailed passing motorists, including Mayor
Richard Riordan during an official tour with the neighborhood's councilman,
Mike Hernandez.

Customers poured in from everywhere back then, and their BMWs, Chevrolets
and Toyotas blocked traffic as they queued up to buy. Shantytowns of
homeless addicts sprang up overnight. Law enforcement was so overwhelmed
that frustrated citizens tried in vain to disrupt the market themselves
with baseball bats, bullhorns and spotlights.

"It was as if the world had gone mad," said Sgt. Brian P. Gilman, who was
assigned to the corridor in the early 1990s. "I remember all the people who
milled around MacArthur Park at night looking for crack. Through the smoke
and haze of the bonfires, they looked like something out of Dante's
'Inferno' or 'Night of the Living Dead.' "

Police sweeps of that park--once home to more than 1,000 addicts, drug
dealers and transients--provided only temporary relief, because arrested
traffickers were soon replaced by a new crop of dealers. Worse, the
crackdowns spread drug dealing into the surrounding neighborhoods.

After a slow start, things began to change in Rampart, the busiest of the
LAPD's 18 divisions. The frequent turnover of station commanders was
halted. Audits indicated that the station was 50 sworn officers short of
its full complement of 300, a situation that was corrected. Eventually,
that staffing was increased to 400, not counting the Narcotics Enforcement
Team members, who were on loan to Rampart from the other 17 divisions.

In September 1995, the LAPD launched a series of drug and anti-gang task
forces in the corridor that lasted until July 1996. About 700 people were
arrested. Reported robberies dropped 31%, burglaries declined 28%, assaults
dropped 9% and car thefts were reduced 17%.

The downward trend has continued to this day, helped along by a 1997 court
injunction restricting the activities of 18th Street, the largest gang in
Southern California.

"Four years ago, we committed ourselves to cleaning up the area," said
Capt. Nick Salicos, Rampart's commander for 4 1/2 years. "It has been very
difficult. Personnel is limited. We've robbed Peter to pay Paul. Now people
are telling me it is better than 10 years ago."

Part of that improvement can be attributed to community-based policing as
practiced by the department's senior lead officers and the Narcotics
Enforcement Team, which maintained an intense and visible police presence
in the corridor.

Until now, the department's 182 senior lead officers have been responsible
for making community-based policing work on the street. Instead of making
arrests and solving specific cases, their main assignment has been to
eliminate the conditions that contribute to crime.

Senior lead officers acted as liaisons between the public and the
department. In the Alvarado corridor they tackled such problems as a
robbery-plagued bus stop and public nuisances, like abandoned buildings
that were havens for drug users and the homeless.

Senior Lead Officer Teresa M. Velez helped revitalize the intersection of
7th Street and Burlington Avenue, which had been overrun by transients and
drug dealers.

Two blocks away, she coordinated the efforts of at least eight city and
state agencies to raze Hope House, an abandoned halfway house on South
Bonnie Brae Street that had become home to 200 transients and drug addicts.
The city is trying to establish Hope and Peace Park at the site.

The Police Department is in the process of returning Velez and the other
senior lead officers to patrol. Parks wants their old duties to be shared
by all patrol officers and their sergeants in an attempt to infuse the
whole department with the community-based policing philosophy.

The chief says he hopes to avoid the lack of support for community-based
policing and internal resentment that can result from a "split force,"
which assigns some officers to community-based duties while the vast
majority of their colleagues perform traditional roles.

"Senior lead officers should not be the only ones who do community-based
policing," Parks said. "We need to spread it through the department to be
more effective. Specialized officers or units are not always the answer."

Critics question whether patrol officers and sergeants will have time to
perform their new duties in addition to making arrests, maintaining order
and solving individual crimes. Some fear that the police will become less
accessible under the new policy.

"I have mixed feelings about the changes," said Tom Coyle, an executive of
the Los Angeles County Medical Assn. and former chairman of Westlake
Neighborhood Watch. "If community-based policing is still given a priority
and the sergeants and officers attend meetings with the public, then I
think the plan can work."

But Coyle said he doubts that officers will have time for community-based
policing when they are swamped by an inordinate number of crime reports and
calls for service in a division whose crime rate is still high.

"It looks like they are taking away the catalysts that have helped make the
gains possible," Coyle said. "It used to take six or seven hours to get a
patrol car to respond to a burglary. There are so many radio calls in
Rampart Division, officers will have little time to do anything else."

In response to such concerns, Parks said sergeants will have more clout in
getting city departments to respond because of their higher rank. The
public can still bring concerns to station commanders or to a senior lead
officer under the reorganization plan, he added.

"We are going to slowly walk the public through these changes, so that no
one is left behind," the chief said.

While the department remakes the duties of the senior lead officer, it has
done away with the Narcotics Enforcement Team, which some supporters called
a model of community-based policing. The experimental program was designed
to help push drug dealing off the street by creating an obvious police
presence.

The team, which took the field in April 1996, was made up of 22 officers
supervised by three narcotics detectives. The team patrolled a shifting
square-mile area of the corridor.

The job was mostly nuts and bolts police work, two shifts per day, five
days a week. Team members gathered intelligence for narcotics
investigators, broke up drug deals, monitored gang members and checked out
suspicious circumstances. Their patrol cars were like plow horses, going up
and down the blocks.

"You're not going to make the 'French Connection'-type of bust in this
unit," said Det. Rick De Martino, head of the operation, before it ended.
"When we are on the street, people aren't afraid to get out of their homes.
They are able to get their laundry and shopping done without dope dealers
and gangbangers bothering them."

Since the team appeared on the corridor's streets, reports show, serious
crimes--especially robberies and assaults--have dropped 8 to 10 percentage
points more than in the rest of the Rampart Division. In 1996 alone,
Rampart reported a 27.6% decline in reports of eight serious crimes, from
murder to burglary. In the areas patrolled by the Narcotics Enforcement
Team, the drop was 34.5%.

But as he prepares to hold his field commanders more accountable, Parks, as
a matter of fairness, wants all officers on loan to other divisions
throughout the department returned to their original assignments.

"People think [the Narcotics Enforcement Team is] a good concept, but it
took resources away from other divisions that need resources," the chief
said. "We need to let the bureaus decide how to use their resources before
we ask them to give up their resources."

Parks said that if the Central Bureau, which oversees the Rampart Division,
wants to, it can come up with mini-teams to replace the Narcotics
Enforcement Team in the Alvarado corridor. He noted that the bureau has
1,800 officers.

"Central Bureau does not want the problem to return, and it will work to
keep the problem down," Parks said. "The chief of the bureau says he has
the resources to deal with the situation."

In addition, the number of sworn officers in Rampart will remain at the
expanded 400.

But community activists, some veteran narcotics officers and Councilman
Hernandez, who represents the Pico-Union and Westlake areas, contend that
the narcotics team was one of the major reasons drug-related crime dropped
in the corridor. They did not want it to go, considering that the corridor
has the worst drug problem in the city.

"We've managed to get the lid back on the boiling pot," said former
Westlake Neighborhood Watch chief Coyle. "The number of hands is now
slipping off the pot. It's getting harder and harder to keep the lid on."

Hernandez, who has worked to bring more city services, commercial
development and police officers to his district, said he would try to have
the Narcotics Enforcement Team reinstated. "It's effective, and the need
exists," he said. "You solve problems by dealing with them until they are
solved."

Narcotics agents say drug trafficking still pervades the corridor, and
could mushroom on the streets again if law enforcement is reduced. Felony
drug arrests in the Rampart Division have actually been climbing, from
3,393 in 1992 to 3,785 in 1996, some of the highest figures in the
department.

In many parts of the corridor all it takes is a nod or a hand sign to the
right person and a dealer will emerge from around a corner or the alcove of
a business. Buyers still cruise certain blocks in their cars, flashing $20
bills to get the attention of dealers.

"It's better than it used to be, but it's still horrible out there," said
Det. George Lusby, who heads an undercover narcotics unit in Rampart.
"There certainly is the potential for the reemergence of open dealing on
the street."

Another veteran narcotics officer, who requested anonymity, was more blunt.
"We've been lucky to have [the team] for two years. Without it, the
corridor could revert to the way it was. I give it a month."

A few weeks ago, during a meeting at Esperanza Elementary School in the
heart of the corridor, the commander of the Rampart Division tried to
dispel some of these worries in front of 25 concerned citizens and
Neighborhood Watch leaders. Parks' proposals would not cripple
crime-fighting capabilities, Capt. Salicos said, because other units would
assume some of the Narcotics Enforcement Team's responsibilities.

"We've had a phenomenal drop in crime for four years," Salicos told the
group. "Things are going well right now. It's premature to start gnashing
your teeth. Don't start writing letters to the chief. You will lose
credibility."

But John Mills, who has headed the Los Angeles chapter of More Advocates
for Safe Housing for 10 years, still vividly recalls the days when stray
bullets from drive-by shootings penetrated the walls of his 10th-floor
apartment on Union Avenue. Once, he was almost hit.

"I just don't know," he said after the meeting. "In this game, in this
town, police visibility means a lot. I wish they would leave things as they
are."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Predatory Billboards Encourage Addictions (Dick Gregory
In 'San Francisco Examiner' Applauds Removal Of Billboards
By What He Says Are Predominantly African American And Latino Communities
Where Tobacco, Alcohol Industries Use Them To 'Push Their Drugs')

Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 22:57:48 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: OPED: Predatory Billboards Encourage Addictions
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Frank S. World" 
Source: San Francisco Examiner
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998
Author: Dick Gregory

PREDATORY BILLBOARDS ENCOURAGE ADDICTION

WE ARE TAKING them down. In the foreseeable future, alcohol and tobacco
billboards will be just a bad memory, a sad reminder of the alcohol and
tobacco industries' predatory marketing practices.

When I say "we," I mean the predominantly African American and Latino
communities where the tobacco and alcohol industries use billboards to push
their drugs.

The industries would not dare install in suburban areas the ads with which
they paper the inner cities, because they know it would not be tolerated.
The underlying racist assumption that this is somehow all right is an
insult to the integrity of our communities and the fabric of our nation.

The ads tell a cruel lie. They tout alcohol and tobacco as sources of
happiness, good sex, success and power.

Their imagery includes scantily clad women, musicians, tigers and other
fierce creatures, genial frogs and penguins.

Yet the truth is that alcohol and tobacco cause untold suffering, death and
despair, particularly among our young people, and rob our communities of
their strength and vitality,

We cannot turn off billboards, cannot turn the page. They tower over our
homes, playgrounds, schools and businesses. They blight our neighborhoods.

One study in a Latino community found that children had to pass by as many
as 60 alcohol advertisements on their way to school every day. What kind of
message is this to our young people, who already face such formidable
barriers as they come of age: racism, sexism, economic oppression,
violence, poor schools and job shortages?

According to the alcohol and tobacco industries, the best promise we can
offer them is the temporary quick fix of addictive drugs.

The big alcohol and tobacco companies use their tremendous political and
economic muscle to convince politicians to leave their marketing practices
alone. When that doesn't work, they hire teams of attorneys to find every
potential loophole in the law.

Perhaps most brazen is their claim of First Amendment protection. When it
comes to billboards, the courts have soundly rejected the industries'
arguments.

The news that cities across the country are taking action is indeed
heartening. First Baltimore, then Chicago, started the ball rolling. San
Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland, Los Angeles and New York, to name just a
few, are not far behind.

We should celebrate the grass-roots leaders who have worked with such
determination and energy to reclaim inner-city horizons. Clearly, the fight
is not over. There are more legal loopholes, lawsuits and back-room deals
to contend with.

When we the people come together, our power is awesome. In our
confrontation with the alcohol and tobacco industries, they represent
darkness and we represent the light.

To know how much power we have over darkness, go into a dark room and turn
the light on. Darkness vanishes. Darkness never wins over the light.

Dick Gregory, Massachusetts-based social justice activist and comedian,
wrote this commentary for the Marin Institute for Prevention of Alcohol and
Other Drug Problems.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Straight Edge, Bent View - Suburban Gangs Says No To Drugs, Smoking, Sex
But Yes To Violence ('Houston Chronicle' Says 'Straight Edger' Teen Gangs
In Salt Lake City, Utah, Eschew Mormon Vices, Travel In Packs'
From 'One Bloody Melee To Another')

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:33:20 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Straight Edge, Bent View -- Suburban Gangs
Says No To Drugs, Smoking, Sex But Yes To Violence
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com)
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998
Author: Louis Sahagun

STRAIGHT EDGE, BENT VIEW

Suburban gang says no to drugs, smoking, sex but yes to violence

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two years ago, Clinton Colby Ellerman announced a shift
that made his parents sigh with relief: He'd sworn off alcohol, drugs,
smoking -- even sex -- and taken up the cause of animal rights.

Never mind that he'd also had crossed M-16 assault rifles tattooed on the
back of his head and was inspired by the deafening and aggressive anthems
of a hard-core punk movement calling itself "Straight Edge."

"At first, my mom and dad thought it was good thing," recalled Ellerman,
21, during an interview at the Salt Lake Metro Jail. "It would have been a
good thing if the violence had been taken out of it."

A month ago, a state court judge ordered Ellerman to spend two years in
jail for his role in a July 1996 raid on a local mink farm. His 19-year-old
brother, Joshua, also a Straight Edger, is facing federal charges carrying
a minimum 30-year prison sentence in connection with the March 1997 bombing
of a fur breeders cooperative.

What's Straight Edge? That's what everyone in Utah wants to know as federal
agents and state and local police chase its local followers from one fur
farm raid, arson or bloody melee to another.

Gradually, the story of a vicious offshoot of a national subculture is
emerging here. Straight Edge -- whose followers favor shaved heads, combat
fatigues, Doc Martens and pierced and tattooed flesh -- began in New York
in the mid-1980s as a quiet rebellion against apathy and addiction.

The movement still exists, with factions acting mostly as peaceful "moral
watchdogs" wherever there is punk rock. Lately, however, Straight Edge
groups from Southern California to New York have been trying to disavow
their Utah brethren.

In Utah, no sooner had police detectives noticed the Straight Edgers in the
early 1990s than they began receiving reports of bombings and arson attacks
that targeted animal-product stores -- including leather furriers and
fast-food stands -- and assaults and stabbings at punk-rock concerts. Ever
since, Straight Edgers have been destroying notions about the causes of
gang violence in a state where growing up these days can be a pretty safe
and comfortable affair.

These are mostly young, middle-class, Anglo vegetarians who communicate
through their own Web sites and view themselves as courageous sober
soldiers in a dangerously corrupt and polluted society. And they enforce
their mantra -- True 'Til Death -- with brass knuckles, baseball bats,
knives, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs.

According to Utah law enforcement authorities, the number of these
"suburban terrorists" has jumped from a few dozen to more than 1,000 in
five years -- and shows every sign of growing further. At least 40 cases of
arson, vandalism and serious assault -- including the torching of a Salt
Lake City McDonald's -- have been traced to Straight Edgers.

The fact that several high schools have become gathering places for Utah's
Straight Edge scene has prompted officials to ban students from scrawling
phrases such as "Drug Free" and "Stay Sober" on their backpacks.

Salt Lake City psychologist and gang expert Terie Weiderhold is trying to
make sense of what she has dubbed "Utah's home-grown, upper-class gang."

"Perhaps our Straight Edgers are different because in the Mormon culture,
kids are told from Day 1, 'Don't do drugs, alcohol, tobacco or premarital
sex,' " she said. "What is not emphasized, however, is, 'Don't fight.'

"Of course, that's not to say that Mormons are violent," she added. "But
since they don't participate in things that other gangs are involved in,
our Straight Edgers may be finding an escape from boredom and a source of
identification in violence."

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Perry, who is in charge of security
at Kearns High School, a few miles southwest of Salt Lake City, would not
argue with that.

At Kearns, five Straight Edgers recently "put the boots to another student
who needed stitches to put his face back together," he said.

"It's the darnedest thing I've ever seen," Perry said. "We only have about
100 Edgers out of a total student body of 2,100 students. But they're
predatory, travel in packs and go out of their way to fight.

"Their weapon of choice is pepper Mace, which they spray at each other for
laughs," Perry said. "Now they're immune to the stuff, which makes it hard
on us when there's a gang fight. I've hosed them down with Mace and they
just kept on fighting."

Conflicts between Straight Edgers and outsiders have become almost routine
at schools, shopping malls and punk-rock hangouts throughout the 100-mile
Wasatch Front.

With a dozen Straight Edgers in jail or facing serious criminal charges,
and dozens more under law enforcement surveillance, even die-hard Salt Lake
City animal-rights activists are severing ties with the group they once
depended on for recruits.

"Generally, Straight Edge has been a boost for the animal-rights movement;
they've added fresh blood," said J.P. Goodwin, spokesman for the
Dallas-based Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade. "In other cities, they've
helped organize activities. But they're nothing like the weird scene in
Salt Lake City."
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Gingrich Blasts Clinton's Anti-Drug Plan As A 'Timetable For Defeat'
('Los Angeles Times' Account Of Dueling Radio Broadcasts Saturday
Quotes Clinton Saying Drug Use Down By Half Since 1979
And Gingrich Saying It's Up Among Teens By 70 Percent Since 1992)

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 19:29:19 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Gingrich Blasts Clinton's Anti-Drug Plan As A 'Timetable For Defeat'
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart (ArtSmart@neosoft.com)
Source: Los Angeles Times
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998

GINGRICH BLASTS CLINTON'S ANTI-DRUG PLAN AS A 'TIMETABLE FOR DEFEAT'

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton's plan for cutting illicit drug use in half
over the next decade was attacked harshly Saturday by House Speaker Newt
Gingrich, R-Ga., who ridiculed the proposal as "a hodgepodge of half-steps
and half-truths."

Calling Clinton's anti-drug strategy a "timetable for defeat," Gingrich
pledged that the Republican-dominated Congress would propose more sweeping
legislation to shrink drug use.

Gingrich delivered the GOP response to Clinton's weekly radio address,
which focused on the administration's anti-narcotics plan.

In Clinton's speech, he called upon parents to join the government in
ridding the United States of the scourge of drug use.

Clinton said his new 10-year plan to cut illegal drug use by 50 percent is
based on the "very encouraging news in recent months that more and more of
our young people are saying no to drugs" and that latest overall the number of
Americans who use drugs has fallen by one-half since 1979.

The recent White House report -- written by Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey,
coordinator of drug-control strategy -- said that in 1996, 13 million
people in the United States were drug users, down from a peak of 25 million
in 1979.

In contrast to Clinton's assertion that progress had been made in the fight
against drugs, Gingrich said the battle is "going downhill."

Gingrich focused on a reversal in trends that began earlier this decade for
teen-age drug use: After years of decline, the usage rate among teenagers
surged.

The increase in "drug use among teens has skyrocketed an unthinkable 70
percent" since 1992, Gingrich said, and he said "a resounding silence from
the White House on drugs" bears part of the blame.

Administration officials have acknowledged concern about teen-age drug use,
but they were encouraged by a recent study showing that drug use among
younger teen-agers appears to be leveling off.

Declaring that Clinton's plan will be "dead on arrival in this Congress,"
Gingrich pledged to seek passage of "the largest, most dynamic, most
comprehensive anti-drug strategy ever designed."

Gingrich provided no details or funding estimates, only the general
outlines of his approach.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Chill Out Dude, You're A Hero (Columnist Rick Gibbons In 'Ottawa Sun' Says,
'The Point Is That Somehow Rebagliati Accomplished Something Far Beyond
Capturing An Olympic Gold Medal - Somehow, He Also Turned Entire Country
On Its Head, Triggering Renewed Debate On Issue Of Legalizing Marijuana -
The Nightly News Tells Us Drug Industry In Canada Is Largely Organized
And Controlled By Criminal Bike Gangs And Colombian Drug Kingpins,
But Make A Good-Looking Boy Next Door The Poster Child
For Illegal Marijuana Use And Public Opinion Shifts Rather Dramatically')

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Chill out dude, you're a hero
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 11:53:18 -0800
Source: Ottawa Sun
Contact: editor@sunpub.com
Pubdate: February 15, 1998
Author: Rick Gibbons

Chill out dude, you're a hero

Leave it to the indefatigable Don Cherry to cut through this week's
frenzied debate over the plight of Canada's newest Olympian.

By my reckoning Cherry arrived in Japan Friday in the nick of time to save
his employer, the CBC, from going completely over the cliff in its coverage
of Ross Rebagliati, the Olympic snowboard gold medalist from B.C. who was
briefly stripped of his medal after failing a drug test that discovered
traces of marijuana.

Now, there's no doubt the two-day drama was the biggest Canadian angle of
an otherwise disappointing Games so far and, as host broadcaster, the CBC
was going wall-to-wall in its coverage.

But anyone who witnessed CBC host Brian Williams' fawning interview with
Rebagliati in the aftermath of the brouhaha would think the kid had just
won the Nobel peace prize and not just finished a seven-hour interrogation
with Japanese police on a suspicion he'd been cutting the grass a little
too close to the Olympic snowboard hill.

Breathlessly, Williams begged Rebagliati to recount every step in the
drama while constantly reminding him that an entire country was behind him.

Enter Don Cherry.

"I feel sorry for the kid and I'm glad he got (the gold medal) back and
everything," Cherry mused in his debut Coach's Corner segment between
periods of Canada's first hockey game. "But I've been watching this here
and you guys have been treating him like a hero."

Bravo, Don Cherry.

You summed up the feelings of millions of bewildered Canadian parents who
both cheered and lamented the message being transmitted to their sons and
daughters in the wake of the sensational scandal. At the very least,
Cherry's words were a welcome splash of cold water into the face of a story
that had grown out of all proportion.

In fact, at the rate things were going, I'd half expected that Rebagliati
would be asked to carry Canada's flag in the closing ceremonies by the time
the CBC had completed the job of elevating the kid from self-confessed pot
smoking snowboarder to full sainthood. (Hey, it may happen yet.)

But, admittedly, the CBC was not alone in this. No less than the Prime
Minister of Canada called Rebagliati to express the entire country's
admiration for having survived the trauma of being caught with traces of an
illegal substance in his urine. Surely, a visit to 24 Sussex is next.

Maybe things would have been different had Rebagliati been caught with
marijuana in his suitcase rather than in his bladder, but I'm not so sure
anymore.

The point is that somehow Rebagliati accomplished something far beyond
capturing an Olympic Gold medal, in itself an amazing feat. Somehow, he
also turned the entire country on its head, triggering a renewed debate on
the issue of legalizing marijuana.

Only days ago it would have seemed ludicrous to believe that the prime
minister, solicitor general, leader of the official opposition and just
about anyone else near a microphone would suddenly be rooting for a young
man who'd just professed to a worldwide audience that he'd committed an act
that's still considered illegal on this side of the ocean. This by someone
we'd never heard of a scant few days ago.

I suspect part of the explanation for this remarkable response is found in
the demeanor of the man at the centre of the firestorm. Ross Rebagliati is
a smooth, articulate, good looking young man with a good head on his
shoulders and a mop of blonde curly hair to top it off. It isn't exactly
the typical face that we're accustomed to linking to the drug trade in
Canada, is it.

The nightly news can tell us the drug industry in Canada is largely
organized and controlled by criminal bike gangs and Colombian drug kingpins.

But make a good-looking boy next store the poster child for illegal
marijuana use and public opinion shifts rather dramatically.

There are now renewed calls for a review of Canada's outdated drug laws,
at least as they apply to marijuana use. And given the craziness of the
past few days, don't rule out that changes will result.

Little wonder Rebagliati's pot-smoking buddies in Whistler, B.C. are
planning a big welcoming home party. As for getting an invitation, just
watch for the first puff of smoke.

Rick can be e-mailed at rgibbons@sunpub.com. Letters to the editor should
be sent to editor@sunpub.com.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

When The Smoke Clears . . . (Staff Editorial In 'Ottawa Citizen'
Says Ross Rebagliati Affair Demonstrates Most Of Canadian Public
No Longer Accepts Myth That Marijuana Is A Serious Danger
That Warrants Criminalization - If Parliamentarians Still Take Seriously
Their Responsibility To Reflect Public Will In A Considered Way,
Sweet Smell Of Frank Debate Will Soon Waft Through House Of Commons)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 01:09:15 -0800
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay 
Subject: EDITORIAL: When the smoke clears...
Cc: editor@mapinc.org
SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen
DATE: February 15, 1998
CONTACT: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
WEBSITE: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/

EDITORIAL: When the smoke clears...

0ver the last year, we tried very hard. So did The Economist and Alberta
Report. Financier George Soros has spent $15 million trying. Nobel
Prize-winner Milton Friedman, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz,
and commentator William F. Buckley have all tried. In fact, just about
every policy analyst in the field has tried. Despite all this, the
political powers-that-be refused even to discuss legalizing marijuana.

And then a little bit of dope was found in Ross Rebagliati's pee. Suddenly,
bright television lights shone down on stammering MPs, and many Canadians
who may never have thought about the issue are asking, so why is it
illegal? The snowboarder from Whistler may have inadvertently done what all
the incontrovertible evidence and the best efforts of many could not: The
political powers may finally be forced to answer for marijuana
criminalization.

An honest debate is far from certain, however. With the honourable
exception of Alexa McDonough - who favours decriminalization - party
leaders would sooner scrap their pensions than give a straight answer about
legalization.

But they may not be able to keep ducking the weed. The reaction of the
Canadian public to the Rebagliati scandal confirms what has become
increasingly clear: Most of the public no longer accepts the myth that
marijuana is a serious danger that warrants criminalization.

If parliamentarians still take seriously their responsibility to reflect
the public will in a considered way, the sweet smell of frank debate will
soon waft through the House of Commons.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Cannabis Campaign - Let Cool Heads Decide (Britain's 'Independent On Sunday'
Continues Its Weekly Push For Reform Of Marijuana Laws With Staff Editorial
About House Of Lords' Decision To Hold Inquiry
On Both Medical And Nonmedical Uses Of Cannabis)

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 12:13:57 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: UK: Cannabis Campaign Editorial: Let Cool Heads Decide
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998
Source: Independent on Sunday
Contact: Email: cannabis@independent.co.uk
Mail: Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square,
Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England
Editors note: The IoS Cannabis Campaign has web pages at
http://www.independent.co.uk/sindypot/index.htm

LET COOL HEADS DECIDE

THE Independent on Sunday cannabis campaign won a major victory last week
with the announcement that, for the first time, the use of the drug for
medicinal as well as recreational purposes is to be the subject of a
high-level parliamentary investigation.

Our campaign to decriminalise cannabis use in Britain has prompted a
vigorous national debate. The Government has remained aloof. Now it will be
forced to confront the facts, which are to be compiled and assessed by a
sub-group of the influential House of Lords Science and Technology Select
Committee.

"The decision to inquire into the scientific case for and against
continuing to prohibit the medicinal and recreational uses of cannabis was
taken because of the high level of interest in the subject in both houses
and in light of the recent British Medical Association report," said a
House of Lords spokesman.

Last November, the BMA rigorously examined all the scientific evidence
supporting the use of cannabis to treat a growing list of ailments and
concluded that, contrary to the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, it does have
therapeutic properties.

The Lords sub-committee charged with investigating the wider use of
cannabis is to be chaired by Lord Perry of Walton, a doctor, pharmacologist
and former vice-chancellor of the Open University. He said: "The Select
Committee chose the brief and have given me the job. We intend to begin
hearing evidence next month." It is planned that the sub-committee hearings
will begin at Easter and the full report will be ready in the autumn.

Lord Perry said: "When the report is compiled there will be a debate in the
House of Lords and our findings will be made public. After the debate, the
findings will be put to the Government and they will have to respond. A
parliamentary inquiry has considerable powers."

Among those assisting the inquiry are Lord Porter of Luddenham, who won a
Nobel Prize for chemistry, and Professor Heather Ashton, emeritus professor
of clinical psychopharmacology at the University of Newcastle and author of
the BMA study of the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

She said: "I believe that any investigation by Parliament will help raise
the level of understanding among policymakers. In my experience it takes at
least 20 years to get just one piece of information over to MPs.

"Personally, I have reservations about the use of cannabis in treating
long-term illness and there are obvious problems to resolve concerning the
use of the drug with the mentally ill and other vulnerable groups. I hope
the Lords will also consider the psychological aspects and the specific
question of increased tolerance among regular users. On the recreational
side I have worries concerning traffic accidents and the effects on pilots."

Greg Poulter of the drugs charity Release believes the inquiry is a
significant step. "I am delighted that their Lordships have had the courage
to grasp the nettle of investigating the recreational aspects of cannabis
as well as the medical. It will be hard for the Government to ignore this
committee's findings and it may put an end to their head-in-the-sand
attitude."

Important questions for their Lordships to consider are:

1) Is cannabis addictive?

Some scientists believe that long-term use leads to heavy dependency;
others say this is rare and is not "true" addiction.

2) How quickly does the psychoactive (mind-altering) effect wear off?

This aspect is vitally important as the Government intends to introduce
roadside cannabis testing. The tests are so sensitive that they can detect
tiny quantities of the drug up to a month after it was smoked or ingested.
But scientific tests have shown that, within a few hours, cannabis in brain
cells falls below the concentration required for detectable psychoactivity.

3) Does it affect fertility?

Many who argue against decriminalisation say that cannabis use leads to
diminished sperm-count in men and suppresses a hormone that women need to
conceive. Most scientific studies have failed to find any evidence of this.
In studies that have shown an impact, it is modest, temporary and of no
apparent consequence for reproduction. Some tests on animals dosed with
sustained and extremely high levels of THC, the psychoactive component of
cannabis, have shown impaired fertility.

4) Does cannabis harm the brain?

Opponents of cannabis use the claim that it destroys brain cells. Their
evidence is based on an early, controversial, study of brain damage to
rhesus monkeys which had been exposed to six months of high-concentration
cannabis smoke. Recent, more carefully conducted research found no evidence
of brain abnormalities in monkeys exposed to the equivalent of four to five
cannabis joints daily for a year.

5) Can it cause mental illness?

Many who work in mental health and welfare fear that cannabis is
responsible for psychosis, especially among young people. But no convincing
scientific evidence has been produced to show that even long-term use
causes psychological damage.

6) Are cannabis smokers more likely to get lung cancer?

Some scientists argue that burning cannabis contains agents that can cause
cancers of the mouth, neck and lung.

7) Does cannabis damage memory and the ability to learn?

It is accepted that cannabis users' short-term memory is affected. No
evidence has yet been found that even long-term use permanently impairs
memory or other cognitive functions.

8) Does cannabis use lead to hard drug abuse?

Statistical evidence does not support this. The majority of cannabis users
never use another illegal drug.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Hidden Agenda To IRA Hits On Drug Dealers (England's 'Sunday Times' Says
Irish Republican Army Boasts Of Killing 'Enemies Of Nationalist Community'
And Cast Themselves As Guardians Against Drug Barons, But Direct Action
Against Drugs, Cover Group For IRA, Only Eliminates IRA's Competition
In Drugs Trafficking Used To Fund Irish Civil War)
Link to earlier story
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 13:51:06 -0800 To: mapnews@mapinc.org From: Olafur Brentmar (peace@mind.net) Subject: MN: Ireland: Hidden Agenda To IRA Hits On Drug Dealers Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Zosimos (mjc1947@cyberclub.iol.ie) Pubdate: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 Source: Sunday Times (UK) Contact: editor@sunday-times.co.uk HIDDEN AGENDA TO IRA HITS ON DRUG DEALERS A BOY aged 16 became the latest victim of drugs in Northern Ireland last week. He collapsed and died, with his distraught girlfriend at his side, after taking ecstasy which he may have mixed with other substances. The parents of the schoolboy, from Larne in Co Antrim, have told police they want no publicity because they wish to grieve in private and also to avoid having the son they loved branded a drug user. While the scale of the drugs problem in the province is growing significantly, the teenager is one of a very few to have died from an overdose. Most deaths involving drugs are of dealers shot by the IRA. Brendan "Bap" Campbell was the ninth person to be killed by Direct Action Against Drugs (DAAD), a cover name used by the IRA, when he was shot outside a Belfast restaurant last week. DAAD emerged in April 1995, during the first IRA ceasefire, but the terrorists had murdered dealers before then. In October 1992, the IRA shot dead Samuel Ward and wounded eight others in a purge against the Irish Peoples' Liberation Organisation (IPLO), which it claimed was heavily involved in pushing drugs. The IPLO was disbanded under threat of further attacks. In April 1994, IRA members tortured and then shot Francis Rice from the republican Markets area of Belfast, accusing him of being a drug dealer. Dozens of others have been ordered to leave their homes, or shot in "punishment" attacks. Republicans openly justify such killings of "enemies of the nationalist community" and cast themselves as guardians against drug barons. The murders are tolerated by sections of the nationalist community, who revile drug dealers more than terrorists. Few tears were shed for Campbell, 30, who drove a flashy sports car and enjoyed a lifestyle far beyond the means of the people who bought his drugs. Yet Campbell was murdered not because he sold drugs, but because he refused to play by the IRA's rules. Unlike other dealers, he refused to give terrorists a percentage of his takings in return for their permission to operate. There is evidence that DAAD is being used not to eliminate the sale of drugs, but to enable the IRA to control the lucrative trade. Police and dealers say the IRA controls the distribution of drugs to criminals on both sides of the border. Narcotics are smuggled into Ireland through Dublin and Cork and distributed after prices and quantities are agreed at meetings in hotels in Dundalk and Drogheda. The IRA does not handle the drugs, but oversees the operation and takes a percentage from each deal. In return, it sanctions the dealers' activities and moves against their opponents. Campbell openly defied the IRA. He shot an IRA gunman who tried to kill him in 1995 and was one of two men who launched a grenade attack on Sinn Fein's headquarters in Andersonstown in November last year. Last month the IRA took its revenge by shooting him twice in the chest as he sat drinking in a Belfast bar. He survived because he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Shortly afterwards, Campbell and an associate travelled to London and met gangsters. They discussed setting up a supply route for consignments of ecstasy, cannabis and other drugs into Northern Ireland. They wanted to establish a freelance operation and made it clear that the IRA would not receive any of the profits. Associates believe Campbell's killers were told about his movements by another dealer who was given a stark choice: accept the IRA's terms and turn in Campbell, or be killed himself. They point to recent drugs seizures in west Belfast as clear evidence that the IRA is now an important player in the drugs scene: on Wednesday, two days after Campbell was killed, ecstasy tablets with a street value of 67,000 were found in the Ballymurphy area, an IRA stronghold. One former close associate of Campbell's said: "He was not killed because the IRA is opposed to drugs, but because he wouldn't play the game by their rules. "People have got to realise that the IRA is up to its neck in drugs. Nobody would even think of selling drugs in west Belfast unless it gave the okay. The IRA could wipe out the drugs scene in nationalist areas in a very short time, but it doesn't want to. It only wants to wipe out the opposition." -------------------------------------------------------------------

[End]

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