Portland NORML News - Friday, February 20, 1998

Legal Marijuana Use Aim Of Local Petition ('Island News' In Key West
Says A Dozen Florida Medical Marijuana Groups
Will Try To Place A Statewide Referendum On November's Ballot)

News Hawk: Hans Ashbaucher
Source: Island News (Key West)
Author: Eric Larsen-Staff Writer
Date:Feb.20-26 1998
Email: valsilisha@aol.com
Mailing Address: 1315 Whitehead St.
P.O. Box 470
Key West, Florida 33041


If Key Westerns Joe Hart and Hans Ashbaucher have their way, Florida will
join California and Arizona as states with legal medical marijuana.

Hart and Ashbaucher, both HIV-positive, smoke marijuana to combat nausea -
a side effect from the AIDS drugs they must take to stay alive.

The two have collected almost 1,000 petitions in the Lower Keys.

They are combining efforts with a dozen Florida medical-marijuana groups to place
a referendum on November's ballot. This was the same approach used by California
and Arizona.

"This is an unofficial guesstimate," Hart said, "but we have about
12,000 names right now."

Hart said the various groups need 45,000 names.

The ballot states that patients have the right to obtain and use
marijuana for medical purposes when a licensed physician has certified it,
that doctors cannot be prosecuted for prescribing it, and people cannot be
prosecuted for selling it to patients.

Several Florida groups are supporting and working on the petition
drive, including : The American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against
Mandatory Minimum, the Florida Governor's Red Ribbon Panel on AIDS , the
Florida Medical Association, and the Dade County Medical Association.

"This ballot simply places medical decision making where it belongs,"
said Andy Cayton of the ACLU. "In the hands of physicians and their
patients. This initiative will politely dictate that the generals and
sheriff step outside the physicians' examining room and leave doctors and
patients alone."

Hart and Ashbaucher said pressure from the government has already

"Dan Lungren is blocking the petition drive," Ashbaucher said.
"He's the one that fought California's prop- 215 . He said 215 is causing a
rise in marijuana use. It isn't."

The Florida legislature doesn't want to see a " Florida- 215"
either. They recently condemned the petition, and voted to do everything
possible to stop the initiative.

"They're worried Florida will vote for it," Ashbaucher said. ''In
the latest USA Today poll, 80 percent said they were in favor of medical

I was spending $360 a month on Marinol, and it didn't work ," he
said "I kept throwing the pills up."

Like many HIV patients, Hart and Ashbaucher are in a catch-22
situation. The protease inhibitors they take to keep their immune systems
working cause massive nausea , which untreated, can lead to death by starvation.

Hart was arrested last year when he received almost four pounds of
marijuana from Switzerland. The marijuana came from the Swiss Hemp Trading
Company. Hart said he met the owners of Swihtco at a medical marijuana
convention in Philadelphia. He said he had no idea they were going to send
him anything. Because of the amount and method of delivery, Hart faces two
felony counts and several misdemeanors.

Hart goes to court April 6. He said several marijuana experts will
testify at his trial, including a woman who is one of eight people legally
allowed pot by the federal government.

"I wouldn't take their plea bargain," Hart said. "We're not hiding
anymore. We are not criminals, but we have to live a criminal way of life to

DC-Based Drug Reform Groups Set Up Support Fund (Press Release From NORML
In Washington, DC, Says Drug Policy Foundation, NORML Foundation,
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation And Drug Reform Coordination Network
Have Joined Forces To Establish Medical Marijuana Support Fund
To Provide Technical And Monetary Assistance To Eligible State Organizations
Sponsoring Medical Use Projects)

From: NORMLFNDTN@aol.com
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 20:03:48 EST
Subject: Announcement: DC-Based Drug Reform Groups Set Up Support Fund

For Immediate Release				

February 20, 1998


Washington, DC based Drug Reform Groups Collaborate on Medical Marijuana
Support Fund

The Drug Policy Foundation, The NORML Foundation, The Criminal Justice
Policy Foundation and the Drug Reform Coordination Network have joined
forces to establish the Medical Marijuana Support Fund (MMSF). The fund
is designed to provide technical and monetary assistance to eligible
state organizations sponsoring medical use projects.

Ms. Sher Horosko, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Foundation, said,
"State and local groups may need help in one of two ways: either in
changing current laws banning medical marijuana, or in implementing a
newly passed medical marijuana law. This Fund can provide modest
assistance in both cases. As the Fund grows with donations from the
public, we hope that it will help turn separate state and local reform
efforts into a clear message to change the federal law."

Resources will be provided to:

	- send doctors, patients and other experts to states where they are
needed to speak at public forums or testify at legislative hearings;

	- develop, produce and distribute educational materials in support of
the legal use of medical marijuana;

	- assist organizations with logistical or legal matters, and with
program design in states where medical initiatives or legislation have
passed and new projects are needed to implement the medical use law;

	- provide expert witnesses in appropriate criminal cases in which the
defendant has raised the legal defense of medical necessity

Allen F. St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation, said
this latest collaboration between various reform organizations marks a
positive development in the marijuana law reform movement. "By joining
forces and pooling some resources, we can avoid duplication of efforts
and better meet the needs of state level reform projects and

Those who wish to apply for funding under this project should contact Ms.
Whitney Taylor at the Drug Policy Foundation, 4455 Connecticut Avenue,
NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008 2328, (202) 537-5005, mmsf@dpf.org,
to request a copy of the MMSF application guidelines.

Lungren Lies (Letter To Editor Of 'Santa Rosa Democrat'
Explains Evidence Contradicting California Attorney General's Assertion
That Proposition 215 Has Resulted In Higher Marijuana Use By Teens)
Link to earlier story
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod) To: mapnews@mapinc.org Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 22:37:08 -0800 Subject: MN: US CA: PUB LTE: Lungren Lies Lines: 31 Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Gary Weston Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat (CA) Contact: pdletters@aol.com Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 Dan Lungren was reported to have said recently that medical marijuana use in California, as a result of Prop 215, has spurred an increase in pot use by teens. This irresponsible, and unsupportable statement is a wonderful example of why so many people in general, and teens in particular, mistrust any statement made by public officials dealing with drugs and drug use. He based his claim on the latest National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) which dates from 1986, before Prop 215 was in effect. Lungren also claimed that California and Arizona, the two states to have passed medical marijuana initiatives, are the only two states to have shown increased drug use. Although California showed a statistically insignificant increase in 1996, the study did not record breakdowns of data for other states, so, at best, his claim was speculative, and, at worst, it was a deliberate deception. According to SAMHSA researchers, there is no evidence whatsoever for his claims relating to teen drug use. When are people like Lungren going to learn that lying about drugs is ultimately a losing proposition? Or have those in authority grown so accustomed to using hyperbole and deception to fight the war on drugs that they are no longer interested in what is true and what is not? Gary Weston 905 Aspen Way Petaluma, CA 94954 763-2785

New Bill Asks State To Rethink Proposition 215 ('Contra Costa Times' Account
Of Legislative Bill Introduced By Republican California State Senator
Richard Rainey Of Walnut Creek Fails To Note California Compassionate Use Act
Already Limits Medical Marijuana To 'Seriously Ill Californians' -
Rainey's Bill, Which Would Have To Be Endorsed By Voters
As Well As Legislature And Governor, Would Put Medical Cannabis Patients
In Jail Even Against Their Doctors' Wishes, Unless They Suffer From HIV,
Cancer, Glaucoma Or 'Muscle Spasms Associated With A Chronic
Debilitating Condition')

Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 20:00:19 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: New Bill Asks State To Rethink Prop. 215
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Alice O'Leary
Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)
Contact: cctletrs@netcom.com
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998
Author: Ethan Rarick, Times Capital Bureau


Rainey would limit medical marijuana

SACRAMENTO -- California voters would be asked to sharply restrict the use
of medical marijuana under a measure to be introduced in the state
Legislature today.

If approved by lawmakers and the voters, the new bill would restrict
medicinal pot to people suffering from HIV, cancer, glaucoma and "muscle
spasms associated with a chronic debilitating condition."

Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure approved by voters legalizing
medical marijuana, allows use of the drug for any condition "for which
marijuana provides relief," so long as a doctor recommends the drug.

Medical marijuana advocates have differed widely on the interpretation of
the current law, with some saying that pot could be used for almost
anything, and others saying it is limited only to extremely ill patients.

Sen. Richard Rainey, R-Walnut Creek, said he is introducing his bill in
order to "put some restrictions" on how medical marijuana is used.

"I think what we're doing is asking the voters to clarify what they wanted
to do," said Rainey, who opposed Prop. 215. "The voters were sympathetic to
people who needed to use marijuana for medical purposes. I don't think they
realized how wide open that initiative was."

Rainey's measure would also limit the use of medical marijuana to people
over 18 and would require a written, rather than an oral, recommendation by
a doctor.

Furthermore, only doctors licensed in California would be allowed to
recommend marijuana, and the definition of a "primary caregiver" would be
tightened. Under Prop. 215, caregivers are allowed to possess the drug.

Because the voters approved Prop. 215, they must also approve any changes.
If Rainey's measure were to clear the Legislature, it would then go to the
ballot, perhaps as early as November.

Officials at Americans for Medical Rights, the group that sponsored Prop.
215, could not be reached for comment.

An aide to Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-San Jose, long an advocate of
legalizing medical marijuana, said he had not yet seen the details of
Rainey's bill and could not comment.

In 1995, Vasconcellos pushed through the Legislature a bill containing some
of the same provisions as the Rainey measure, only to have it vetoed by
Gov. Pete Wilson.

Aides to Wilson said the governor has not seen Rainey's bill and does not
yet have a position on it.

Vasconcellos has a bill pending in the Legislature that would create a
Marijuana Research Center run by the University of California to study the
medical effectiveness of the drug.

A New Attack On Drugs - Certification Doesn't Work; Proposed Treaty Might
(Staff Editorial In 'Los Angeles Times' That Will Prompt A Response
From US Drug Czar McCaffrey)
Link to response
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 18:55:29 -0800 To: mapnews@mapinc.org From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: A New Attack On Drugs - Certification Doesn't Work; Proposed Treaty Might Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: letters@latimes.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: February 20, 1998 A NEW ATTACK ON DRUGS 'Certification' doesn't work; proposed treaty might The Clinton administration proposes to end the divisive practice of labeling its hemispheric neighbors as cooperative or obstructive in combating drug traffic and replace it with a treaty to raise a mutual effort against the menace. In more than a decade on the books, Washington's so-called certification process has done little but create unnecessary discord among countries fighting the same adversary. The proposed treaty would create an alliance to suppress the production and transportation of drugs and establish an independent body to ensure that member nations comply with the program. This is a productive approach, a united effort instead of a report card issued each year by Washington. The aim is to present the proposal in April when President Clinton meets with Latin American leaders in Santiago, Chile. Under the current system, every year since 1986 the State Department has been required to certify to Congress whether Latin American countries where drugs are produced or transported are cooperating with the United States to halt the trade. And ever since that date, the process has only served to sour hemispheric relations. Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, has described the process as "nuts," and he's right. Clinton's proposal calls for drug prevention, education and treatment of drug consumers. This is a battle that will have to be fought in the homes, schools, churches, workplaces and hospitals of the Americas. It will demand cooperation from U.S. agencies in the line of fire against narcotics traffickers: the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs Service, Coast Guard and Border Patrol. Abroad, the Latin American effort would focus on the points of origin. It would also emphasize participation in multilateral campaigns. Some critics of the White House plan call it naively ambitious. Others ask how the treaty nations would find the funds for such an undertaking. The White House will have to deal with these issues and sell its ideas to a divided Congress. Prospects for this year are nil, as the State Department is required to present its certification documents March 1. But proponents should maintain the pressure and do the groundwork. Certification is broke and needs fixing. Copyright Los Angeles Times

San Francisco Decorators Convicted ('Associated Press' Says Couple Arrested
At San Francisco Home On New York Warrant Will Appeal Federal Conviction
For Laundering Millions Of Dollars For Colombian Drug Lord By Buying Art,
Furnishings For His Homes)

Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 09:35:16 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US CA: San Francsico Decorators Convicted
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin Zeese 
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998


NEW YORK (AP) -- Two interior decorators were convicted of laundering
millions of dollars for a Colombian drug lord by buying art and furnishings
for his homes, which included an $18 million replica of the White House.

The defendants, Alexander Blarek and Frank V. Pellecchia, were found guilty
Thursday of money laundering, racketeering conspiracy and transporting drug
proceeds across state lines. They were acquitted of racketeering.

Prosecutors said $30 million in drug money went through the hands of the
two men while they worked for Jose Santacruz Londono, a kingpin of the Cali
cocaine cartel, from 1978 until his death in 1996 in a gunfight with the
Colombian army.

They obtained art, antiques, furniture and appliances for Santacruz's
offices and the homes he shared with his wife and two mistresses. One of
the homes was the Casa Blanca, a replica of the White House that Santacruz
built in Colombia.

Among the purchases was $300,000 worth of tiles for the mansion's swimming
pool, $5,000 for gilded doorknobs, a $100,000 dining room table, a $250,000
entertainment system and $400,000 worth of table settings.

Blarek, 56, and Pellecchia, 49, were arrested in June at their fashionable
San Francisco home on a New York warrant alleging that they picked up cash
from Santacruz employees in New York.

Blarek said he had considered quitting, but Santacruz wouldn't hear of it.
``There's just no way to quit with him. He terminates people, they don't
terminate him,'' Blarek testified during the three-week trial.

But an accountant testified that he wrote checks to the defendants in
exchange for cash.

He and Pellecchia face 11 years in prison each under federal sentencing
guidelines. The government also seeks to seize their $3 million home in San
Francisco and nearly $3 million more in other assets.

Defense lawyer Jason L. Solotaroff said they would appeal. They remained
free on bail but Judge Jack B. Weinstein ordered that they wear electronic

An Act Relating To Medical Marijuana (Draft Of Washington State
Ballot Initiative From Medical Marijuana Now PAC - A Work In Progress)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 18:51:28 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Randy Chase 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Draft Initiative Washington State

Cut and Paste Drafting Committee of Medical Marijuana NOW PAC

George Bakan, Chairperson
mmj NOW! PAC

(voice) 206-323-1229
(Voice) 206-322-2333
(fax) 206-860-8279
e-mail via (hemparmy@speakeasy.org)

Medical Marijuana Initiative
2.20.98 Draft - Committee
(A work-in-progress, very close to a unified filing, we hope)

AN ACT Relating to medical marijuana; adding a new section to chapter
69.50 RCW.


NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. SHORT TITLE. This act may be known and
cited as the Washington State Medical Marijuana Act.

Washington state find that some patients with serious or terminal medical
conditions benefit from the use of marijuana to relieve symptoms and
suffering. Conditions for which marijuana may be beneficial include
chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting as in cancer patients, AIDS
wasting syndrome and other illnesses associated with HIV disease,
glaucoma, muscle spasms as in epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and some
forms of intractable pain.

The People find that humanitarian compassion necessitates that the
decision to authorize marijuana use by seriously ill patients is a
personal, individual decision, based upon the physician's professional
medical judgment and discretion, and founded in the privileged
physician-patient relationship. The advice given by a physician to his or
her patients is constitutionally protected free speech, and as such is
entitled to the protection of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights,
and the Constitution of the state of Washington.

Therefore, the People of Washington state intend that:

Physicians be immune from civil, criminal, or administrative
liability and prosecution for providing written documentation on the use
of medical marijuana to patients for whom, in the physician's
professionaljudgment, medical marijuana may prove beneficial; and

Patients with serious medical conditions, who, in the judgment of
their physicians would benefit from the use of medical marijuana, be
exempt from civil, criminal, or administrative liability and prosecution
for limited personal possession and use of medical marijuana.


Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede Washington state law
prohibiting the possession, manufacture, sale, or use of marijuana for
nonmedical purposes, nor to condone the diversion of marijuana for
nonmedical purposes.

OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA. A physician licensed under chapter 18.71 or 18.57
RCW shall not be subject to civil, criminal, or administrative liability
and prosecution for:

	(1) Advising a patient about the risks and benefits of
the use of medical marijuana or that he or she might benefit from the use
of medical marijuana where such use is within a standard of care or in the
individual physician's best medical judgment; or

(2) Providing a patient with written documentation that the use
of medical marijuana may prove beneficial, based upon the physician's
assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition
made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

(3) Nothing in this act shall require any physician to document
the use of medical marijuana for a patient.

documentation by a physician for the use of medical marijuana by a patient
may be in any form that includes:

(1) Physician's name, address, phone number, license number,
signature; and

(2) Patient's name, address, phone number; and

CAREGIVERS. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a patient or a
patient's primary caregiver who possesses medical marijuana for limited
use by a patient under this act shall be considered lawfully engaged and
shall not be subject to arrest or prosecution, provided;
valid documentation bearing a date less than twelve months old or an
authentic copy of such documentation; and

(2) Patient or patient's primary caregiver presents proof of
identity such as a Washington state driver's license or identicard, as
defined in RCW 46.20.035; and

(3) Primary caregiver provides no marijuana to anyone who is not
in possession of valid documentation.

(4) Patient or patient's primary caregiver possesses no more than
a 60-day supply of medical marijuana based on the range of patient usage
contained in the physician's written documentation.

(5) Primary caregiver possesses no more than a 60 day supply of
medical marijuana for each patient for whom he or she is a designated

purposes of this section, "primary caregiver" means an adult, 18 years of
age or older, who has been designated by a patient under this act or who
has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or care
of medications for that patient. An individual may be the primary
caregiver for more than one patient.


(1) The lawful possession or manufacture of medical marijuana by
a patient or a patient's primary caregiver under this act shall not result
in the forfeiture or seizure of any property.

(2) No person shall be prosecuted for constructive possession or
any other criminal offense solely for being in the presence or vicinity of
the medical use of marijuana under this act.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. SEVERABILITY. If any provision of this
act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held
invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to
other persons or circumstances is not affected.

0.08 Drunk Limit May Be In Trouble ('Seattle Times' Says Attempt
By Washington Legislature To Lower Legal Threshold From 0.10
May Face Opposition Due To Effectiveness, Cost - Story Notes In 1996,
Drunken Drivers Were Involved In More Than 12,000 Collisions In Washington
That Killed 331 People And Seriously Injured 1,333)

From: "W.H.E.N." 
To: "Hemp Talk" 
Subject: HT: WA 0.08 drunk limit may be in trouble
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 18:30:46 -0800
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net
Copyright (c) 1998 The Seattle Times Company
Posted at 02:23 a.m. PST; Friday, February 20, 1998
0.08 drunk limit may be in trouble
by Michael Ko
Seattle Times Olympia bureau

It is the major nonpartisan crusade of this legislative session.

The Republican-controlled Senate and House and Democratic Gov. Gary Locke
have all come out in support of increased penalties for drunken drivers.
There are proposals - soon likely to become law - that would allow for
on-the-spot seizures of vehicles and driver's licenses, mandate
alcohol-ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders, and increase fines
and jail time.

However, questions are surfacing about the centerpiece of the
drunken-driving legislation: a bill that would lower the legal blood
alcohol limit from 0.10 percent to 0.08 percent. Discussions have centered
on the effectiveness of lowering the limit and finding enough money to
enforce the tougher law.

In 1996, drunken drivers were involved in more than 12,000 collisions in
Washington that killed 331 people and seriously injured 1,333. The highly
publicized case of Susan West, who had a blood alcohol level of 0.34 and
had been arrested four times for driving under the influence before she ran
over and killed Mary Johnsen of Issaquah, brought the issue of
drunken-driving enforcement even more into the public eye.

Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, chairwoman of the Senate Law and Justice
Committee, said that 0.08 is symbolic of the Legislature's desire to
eliminate drunken driving.

"By the end of this session, penalties for drunk driving will be more
severe, more expensive and farther reaching than at any time in our
history," she said. "We must be uncompromising with these criminals."

But while the legislation has broad, bipartisan support, not everyone is

The Washington Restaurant Association has taken the lead against the
legislation to lower the legal blood alcohol level.

"The statistics show that the mayhem is being caused by repeat offenders
and those with extremely high blood alcohol content," said Kit Hawkins,
restaurant association lobbyist. "We support any legislation that would get
drunk drivers off the road, but we believe that 0.08 is not part of that
solution. The 0.08 limit would penalize the responsible drinker."

Hawkins cited a U.S. Department of Transportation report that estimates
nearly two-thirds of all alcohol-related fatalities involve blood alcohol
levels of 0.14 or more.

Bill Hanson, president of the Washington State Troopers Association, said
his experience reflects that statistic and that he often sees the same
people over and over again.

However, Hanson said lowering the legal blood alcohol level would be
effective because it would increase the number of drinking drivers that
could be prosecuted.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported that 12 percent of all
alcohol-involved crash deaths in 1996 involved drivers with blood alcohol
levels under the current limit of 0.10.

"You have to look at who's opposing this," Hanson said. "The only reason
they are opposing this is that they think they're going to lose money. They
do not care one iota about people's lives."

Hawkins denied that restaurants were opposing this out of concern for
business. "We do have a concern about making criminals of our responsible
customers," he said.

Statistics from California and Virginia, two states that in recent years
have lowered their legal limit to 0.08, tell different tales.

In 1990, the last year California had a legal level of 0.10, the California
Highway Patrol reported 158,490 DUI arrests. After passing the 0.08
legislation that same year, the number of DUI arrests dropped to 121,848 in
1992. By 1994, the number was 97,626 and in 1996 it was 91,988.

During that period, the number of alcohol-related fatalities dipped from
2,126 in 1990 to 1,113 in 1996.

"Definitely, there are a lot of other factors involved, but the 0.08 limit
was a major tool that we used to lower those numbers," said Sgt. Jose
Vasquez of the California Highway Patrol, who said the change had made
people extremely aware of driving while intoxicated.

The numbers in Virginia tell a somewhat different story. Virginia State
Police arrest about 30,000 people each year for drunken driving. Lt. Col.
W.G. Massengill, director of field operations, said that number hasn't
changed with the 0.08 limit, which has been in place for nearly four years.

Massengill said the blood alcohol concentration of all those arrested for
drunken driving has not changed, either. He said the average has been 0.14
every year since the law was changed.

In addition, the percentage of automobile fatalities related to alcohol has
remained the same, around 40 percent, Massengill said. Last year, it was
38.9 percent.

"The 0.08 limit is an important part of the total program and it provides
law enforcement with a tool that's needed to get the drinking driver off
the road," Massengill said. "But as to whether or not it actually lowers
drunk driving, it's hard to tell and even more difficult to measure."

Massengill said the biggest reduction in drunken driving occurred in 1990,
when the state sponsored what he called an "extraordinary awareness program
that hit the televisions, the schools, everywhere."

Washington state's legislation, if passed, would require additional money
to pay for the expected increase in prosecutions and prison sentences, and
for the county prosecutors who would be trying those cases.

Some worry, however, that there might not be enough money to enforce the
new law.

Approximately 2,000 people with blood alcohol levels of 0.08 and 0.09 are
pulled over every year in Washington, said Russell Hauge, Kitsap County
prosecuting attorney. These cases, which fall below the current legal limit
and might be dismissed now, would have to be tried under the new
legislation. Hauge also said that as drunken drivers repeat, more people
will receive longer sentences and on-the-edge 0.10 to 0.11 cases will
become more solid.

Hauge predicted it would cost the state "a significant amount" to try the
additional cases.

Michael Shaw, lobbyist for the Washington State Association of Counties,
said funding must be given to counties for additional jail space. He cited
three counties - Yakima, Pierce and Walla Walla - that already lack the
money to expand or even fully operate their overcrowded jail facilities.

"We want to get (drunken drivers) off the roads, but we have a lot of
people in our jails already taking up the beds," Shaw said. "Unless the
resources are there, these (bills) will not get much done. They will be
empty promises."

Michael Ko's phone message number is 360-943-9882. His e-mail address is:

Marijuana Charge Dismissed Against Packers' Jervey ('Associated Press'
Says Police In Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Dropped Marijuana Possession
Charge Against Green Bay Packers Running Back Travis Jervey
After Tests Showed Cannabis Was Not Among Evidence Seized From His Car)

Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 10:55:27 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US SC: Wire: Marijuana Charge Dismissed Against Packers' Jervey
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Chris Clay 
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998
Source: Associated Press


MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (AP) -- Police dropped a marijuana possession charge
against Green Bay Packers running back Travis Jervey after tests showed the
drug was not among evidence seized from his car.

Lab results showed the active ingredient in marijuana was not present among
burnt ashes and pieces of rolling paper taken from an ashtray, police Chief
Roddy Perry said Friday.

"In the absence of laboratory evidence, we will not be moving forward," he

Jervey, 25, was arrested Tuesday night after a routine traffic stop. The
Isle of Palms native was pulled for driving 46 mph in a 35-mph zone, a
police report said.

An officer noticed a strong odor he suspected was marijuana coming from the
car. Jervey twice denied having drugs, though a search turned up the ashes
and rolling papers. He was released on bond.

A March 10 court date was set on the speeding charge. Jervey, a fifth-round
draft choice out of The Citadel in 1995, was a Pro Bowl selection this year
as a special-teams player.

A Painful Lesson On Peril Of Drugs ('Des Moines Register'
Says 57-Year-Old Mother Of Ron Corbett, Speaker Of Iowa House
Of Representatives, Has Been Treated For Addiction To Crack Cocaine,
Has Recovered And Is Back At Work - What Has Corbett Learned?
'Most Of All, We Need To Punish Those That Prey On People
And Entice Them Into Using Drugs' - Good Thing For His Career
She Didn't Take Up Legal Alcohol Or Tobacco)

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 23:05:26 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US IA: A Painful Lesson on Peril of Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Carl E. Olsen 
Source: Des Moines Register
Contact: letters@news.dmreg.com
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998
Author: Jonathan Roos, Register Staff Writer

"The allure of drugs is very tempting and anybody can fall, even someone
that's older, supposedly educated, professional."
-- Rep. Ron Corbett


Crack cocaine can overpower anyone. Even a middle-age nurse. Even a
grandmother. Even the mother of one of Iowa's top legislative leaders.

Just ask Ron Corbett, speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.

"The allure of drugs is very tempting and anybody can fall, even someone
that's older, supposedly educated, professional," Corbett said Thursday.

"It just isn't a problem that faces the inner city."

Corbett's mother, Mary, a hospital nurse, fell hard for the highly
addictive drug.

"After several months of heavy using, going to crack cocaine parties and
running out of money, she finally hit rock bottom," Corbett, a Cedar Rapids
Republican said in an interview Thursday.

"Her boyfriend found her in a bathroom, lying on the floor and aspirin all
over the place. I don't think she was trying to commit suicide. I think
she was trying to relieve some of the pain that she was having."

But this story, which Corbett shared this week with reporters, lawmakers
and others, has a happy ending.

His mother, now 57, was treated for her addiction and has recovered.

She is again working as a nurse in the Washington, D.C., area.

"She's back to her old self and the mother I've always known her to be, but
there was that time that she wasn't. Drugs changed her," he said.

Mary Corbett could not be reached for comment.

Ron Corbett's House colleagues said it just goes to show that members of
the Legislature are no different from the people they represent; they come
face to face with the same family crises.

"Everybody has problems, and that's reflected in this place," said Rep.

Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City. "I think people's hearts go out to Ron
and are supportive of him."

Rep. Teresa Garman, R-Ames, said: "I know this can happen in any family.

.. Ron has a great deal of strength."

Corbett already had plenty on his mind five years ago as the new chairman
of the House Appropriations Committee. He was trying to get a grip on the
state budget when his mother started calling him at the Statehouse, asking
for money to buy food.

"I had numerous phone calls from her begging me for money, and I gave into
her once. When I refused to give into her (again), the phone calls turned
vicious ... like, 'Why aren't you helping your mother out? I've helped you
out all your life. Why don't you help me out in my time of need?'"

Corbett, who learned his mother used the money to buy drugs, conferred with
family members. "We felt the only way to help her was by not helping her,
that she's got to get to the point that she's going to decide she's going
to fight this addiction and seek help," said Corbett, who has two sisters.

"We talked all the time: 'What can we do? What can we do?' We looked
into ways to get her committed. All we could do was hope and pray that,
she would eventually seek treatment before she completely destroyed her
life and died from it."

Mary Corbett was divorced from Ron Corbett's father nearly two decades ago.
Ron Corbett, who has four children, said his mother had met a hospital
patient, with a history of drug abuse and he later became her boyfriend.

"She started using crack cocaine on the weekends, and then it turned to
every evening, and then it turned into all the time," Corbett said.

Mary Corbett finally got treatment and started back on the road to
recovery. But, her son said, "it's not an easy journey for anyone. She
was facing a lot of difficulty. She had to go through bankruptcy, she had
maxed out her credit cards and put everything she had in hock.

"She made it. She's one of the few that have been able to kick the habit,
and she's back working as a nurse and she's got her life back in order."

His mother's ordeal has taught Corbett as much about drug abuse as all the
debates he's heard about the problem in six House terms.

"We need to do everything we can to educate not just young people but all
of our citizens. We need to help those that are addicted to seek
treatment," he said. "But most of all, we need to punish those that prey
on people and entice them into using drugs."

Jonathan Roos can be reached at roosj@news.dmreg.com or (515) 284-8443.

Drug-Free Myth (Staff Editorial In 'Austin American-Statesman'
Notes A 1996 Survey By The Texas Alcohol And Drug Abuse Commission
And Texas A&M University Suggested Statewide, About 7 Percent
Of Survey Participants Said They Had Tried Crack Or Cocaine,
And That Drug Use In Rural Areas Is Comparable To That In Cities)

Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 22:53:48 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US TX: Editorial: Drug-Free Myth
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: ifcb456@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu
Source: Austin American-Statesman
Pubdate: Friday, February 20, 1998
Contact: letters@statesman.com
Website: http://www.Austin360.com/

Editorial - DRUG-FREE MYTH

>From Taylor to Kilgore, small towns are experiencing drug problems that
once were considered big-city concerns.

The stabbing death of Donald L. Weast is a grisly reminder that crack,
heroin and other drugs are wreaking havoc in rural as well as urban areas.
A Fredericksburg woman's long battle with drug dependency apparently led
her to kill the San Marcos man this week, according to police. Alexis Erin
Eager is accused of stabbing Weast more than 40 times before she fled in
his car to Austin where she was arrested. She sold Weast's car for three
rocks of cocaine, police said.

Taylor residents frequently march on drug houses and have forced Williamson
County prosecutors to invoke public nuisance laws to vacate the houses.
Chanting "up with hope, down with dope," members of Turn Around Elgin urged
the Texas National Guard to bulldoze vacant houses that had become crack
dens. There are similar stories of small-town crusades against drug
trafficking throughout the state.

A 1996 survey by the Texas Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission and Texas A&M
University destroys the myth of a drug-free countryside. The survey of
public school students from 7th to 12th grade shows that substance use
among adolescents in small school districts was similar to that in urban
school districts. Statewide, about 7 percent of survey participants said
they had tried crack or cocaine. It was about 8 percent among Austin
participants compared to 6.4 percent in Fredericksburg. The slight response
difference, less than 2 percent, indicates that drug use in rural areas is
comparable to that in cities.

Grass-roots efforts alone cannot curtail the spread of drugs, but residents
must be willing to do more than teach children to say "no" to drugs.
Marching on drug sites, while dangerous, brings unwanted attention to
illegal activity and has spurred law enforcement officials to do a better
job of protecting communities from drugs.

While elected officials should use public nuisance laws to slow drug sales,
they also should increase drug prevention services. Enforcement without
prevention allows a vicious cycle of drug abuse to continue.

Communities can't expect to stop drug use or sales. As long as there are
those who will buy them, they'll be available. But communities can prevent
drugs from taking over neighborhoods and limit the number of its victims --
whether they are users like Eager or victims like Weast.

In Today's News - After Tobacco, Is Alcohol Next? (Recap Of February 12
'Investor's Business Daily' Article About Success Of Lawsuits
Against Tobacco Companies Based On Medicaid Reimbursements Spurring Attempts
To Use Same Legal Tactics Against Manufacturers Of Alcohol, Guns,
Pharmaceutical Drugs)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 17:40:56 -0800 (PST)
From: bc616@scn.org (Darral Good)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: After Tobacco is alcohol next?
Reply-To: bc616@scn.org
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net



Some lawyers and lawmakers are reportedly eyeing the alcoholic
beverage industry, as well as firearms manufacturers and drug makers,
as targets of suits to obtain reimbursement for Medicaid expenses
attributed to the ill effects of using their products. Some analysts
are warning that business in general should be concerned about what's
happening to the law.

Industries with high revenues and profits are particularly tempting
targets, they report.

* As of 1995, annual sales of alcoholic beverages amounted to $102.3
billion -- well above the $45 billion in retail expenditures for
cigarettes in 1996.

* In 1992, weapons makers shipped $7 billion worth of firearms and

A 1994 Florida law allowed that state to sue an industry as a class,
relying solely on statistical evidence to determine the probability of
a product causing an illness -- and collect damages from each company
based on its market share. The state doesn't have to identify any
particular Medicaid patient or the specific damage a particular
product caused. Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles (D) signed an order the
following year prohibiting state agencies from using the statute
against any defendants except tobacco companies and illegal-drug
dealers. But his general counsel says the order would not prevent the
state's attorney general from bringing suit against another industry.
Nor does it ban the legislature from directing him to do so.

* The attorneys general of Missouri, Iowa and Vermont have suggested
bills similar to the Florida law.

* Philadelphia's mayor has proposed a lawsuit against gun makers for
crime-related costs -- such as washing blood off the street.

* A legislator in Alabama has proposed an assessment of $2 billion
on the makers of fen-phen diet drugs.

But an organization of conservative state legislators, the American
Legislative Exchange Council, is warning members to look critically at
legislation modeled on the Florida law.

Source: John Berlau, "Will Other Vices Be Targeted?" Investor's
Business Daily, February 12, 1998.

For more on Legal Issues: http://www.ncpa.org/pd/law/law.html

Official Accuses Rebagliati Of Lying About Pot Habit ('Ottawa Citizen'
Quotes Olympic Official Prince Alexandre de Merode
Saying He Has 'Confidential' Test Reports Indicating Snowboarding
Gold Medal Winner Had High Levels Of Marijuana In Urine Samples
Taken In December - Eight Months After Rabagliati Said He Stopped Smoking)

Resent-Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 08:42:18 -0800 (PST)
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Official accuses Rebagliati of lying about pot habit
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 08:36:01 -0800
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Pubdate: Fri 20 Feb 1998
Section: News A1 / Front
Author: Mike Shahin


The smoke has thickened in the marijuana mystery surrounding
snowboarder Ross Rebagliati after the head of the medical panel of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) accused the gold medalist of
lying about when he smoked his last joint.

Prince Alexandre de Merode claimed yesterday in Nagano that Mr.
Rebagliati had had ``unusually high'' levels of marijuana in his urine
in December tests.

``I've concluded he (Mr. Rebagliati) didn't stop smoking (marijuana),
like he has said, in April 1997,'' Mr. de Merode stated.

He said the IOC medical commission received a confidential report from
an IOC-accredited laboratory in Montreal, showing 90 to 120 nanograms
of marijuana metabolites per millilitre in his urine.

Mr. Rebagliati responded to the accusation in a press release issued
last night: ``I stand by my earlier statement that I have not smoked
marijuana since April of 1997 and was subjected to second-hand smoke
at a party in January. I feel that the matter was handled properly by
the authorities the first time around and I'm in total agreement with
the International Olympic Committee that this is a closed case.''

Mr. de Merode's remarks -- essentially calling Mr. Rebagliati a liar
-- set Olympic critics abuzz over what they describe as the cesspool
of politics in sport's highest governing body. And questions are being
raised about exactly how Mr. de Merode got his hands on what he says
is proof that Mr. Rebagliati smoked cannabis more recently than he

``They (IOC officials) have egg on their face,'' Mark Rebagliati,
Ross's father, said in an interview with the Citizen yesterday from
Whistler, B.C. ``I find it quite incredible that, I guess in his (Mr.
de Merode's) desperate attempt to salvage credibility that he has
lost, he is now trying to discredit Ross -- or shall I say further
discredit him.''

He criticized Mr. de Merode for making a confidential report public,
and wondered how it came into his possession in the first place.

``Ask him where his ethics are.''

The IOC briefly stripped Mr. Rebagliati of his gold medal after he was
found to have 17.8 nanograms per millilitre on race day, only slightly
more than the 15-nanogram limit allowed by his sport's governing body.
At that time, he said he hadn't smoked marijuana since April, and that
the traces in his urine came from a going-away party in Whistler just
before the Olympics.

Mr. de Merode had said the Rebagliati case was closed. But his
announcement again pried open the lid on the issue.

``There is no making sense of what's being said in Nagano,'' said
Victor Lachance, chief executive of the Ottawa-based Canadian Centre
for Ethics in Sports.

The IOC's handling of the entire case has been rife with
misinformation, and some IOC officials voted when they were in
conflict of interest, Mr. Lachance said.

``If ever there was proof of the need for completely independent
doping systems at the Olympics, this is it. There is no

It is possible, Mr. Lachance speculated, that Mr. de Merode is also
attempting to do some damage control in Japan, which is strongly
against drug use.

The IOC ``has left the host country in a difficult situation'' by not
punishing marijuana use among athletes, he said.

So how did Mr. de Merode, who is crusading to ban marijuana from the
Olympics, apparently obtain a ``confidential report'' on Mr.
Rebagliati? It's a question the IOC official, from Belgium, has yet to

The report was produced by a Montreal drug-testing laboratory called
l'Institut Nationale de Recherche Scientifique -- Sante (INRS). The
independent Centre for Ethics in Sports asked INRS to test Canadian
athletes, including Mr. Rebagliati, in November and December as part
of routine drug checks, Mr. Lachance said.

Soon after, the IOC asked labs around the world to screen their
samples for marijuana use over the past few years. No one outside the
IOC was told about this ``screening program,'' Mr. Lachance said. The
Centre for Ethics only found out about it after the medal had been
taken away.

But the tests were scientifically ``blind,'' Mr. Lachance said,
meaning the IOC should still not have known who tested positive and at
what quantities. The screening only tested for a positive or negative
presence of cannabis, and samples were only identified by numbers, he

Once Mr. Rebagliati's medal was revoked, the Centre for Ethics asked
INRS to look at the snowboarder's specific results from the screening.
The lab confirmed that he did test for the ``presence'' of marijuana
in November and December. But lab technicians couldn't say whether it
was proof of actual use or of second-hand exposure because they had no
specific quantities to look at, Mr. Lachance said.

It is possible that a scientist looking at the screen results could
have ``extrapolated'' to determine whether the test was over or under
accepted limits of marijuana levels, Mr. Lachance said. If that was
done, it would be unethical, he said, adding that extrapolating even
further in order to get actual quantities would then weaken scientific

Rabagliati Denies He Lied ('Vancouver Sun' Says Rebagliati Stands
By Initial Denial)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: Rabagliati denies he lied
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 08:37:43 -0800
Lines: 127
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: Fri 20 Feb 1998
Section: A1 / Front
Author: Dianne Rinehart


Snowboarder is shocked by an Olympic official's claim that the gold medal
winner smoked marijuana later than admitted.

When he walked in to meet his new Toronto-based agent Thursday
morning, Ross Rebagliati thought his Olympic nightmares were behind

That's when he learned a top International Olympic Committee official
was accusing him of lying about his marijuana consumption.

``It was like a kick to the stomach,'' Rebagliati, said in an
interview with The Vancouver Sun the morning after Prince Alexandre de
Merode said he had ``confidential'' test reports that indicated
Rebagliati had high levels of marijuana in urine samples taken in
December -- eight months after he said he stopped smoking.

``I've concluded he didn't stop smoking like he has said, in April
1997,'' de Merode told a press conference.

Rebagliati said he is shocked that de Merode is raising the issue,
after a court of arbitration ruled marijuana is not a banned substance
under Olympic regulations and the IOC had no right to test for it.

``It's a shock to me he's saying that now. He was behind me 100 per
cent of the way (in the court).''

For the record, Rebagliati said he stands by his initial statement --
that he stopped smoking marijuana last April and any positive tests
for marijuana since then are the result of second hand smoke.

But the allegations by de Merode, the chairman of the International
Olympic Committee medical commission, raise many questions.

Among them: Did Rebagliati lie? Does it matter, since marijuana is not
a banned substance and the IOC should never have been testing for it?
Why did de Merode raise the issue after the court ruling and why did
he release supposedly confidential test results? How did the IOC
obtain those results, which de Merode said came from a Montreal
laboratory? Does the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports, which is
responsible for drug-testing in Canada, have its act together? Is
Canada being targeted by IOC officials with a political agenda?

Rebagliati couldn't explain the discrepancy between his statement and
de Merode's. He blamed it on politics. ``I'm not a politician, I'm an

Nor is he thinking of legal action, despite the possibility he stands
to lose contracts for endorsements because the allegations question
his credibility.

``I don't feel I need to clear my name,'' he said. ``There's more to
life than making money. I had a good life before, I will continue to
have a good life.''

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which is responsible for drug
testing of athletes in Canada, refused to comment Thursday on whether
the Prince's information was correct -- though it is aware of the
December results.

The centre said it is ``inappropriate for the IOC to be commenting on
any findings from the Nagano tests, or any other source of information
concerning the presence or absence of marijuana in Mr. Rebagliati's
samples, past or present.''

Once the court ruled marijuana was not a banned substance and the IOC
had no power to strip Rebagliati of his medal, the issue becomes one
of a ``breach of privacy and could constitute an unethical use of both
the IOC screening program or any information obtained from that
program,'' the centre said.

The director of the Canadian lab that conducts dope tests for the
centre also refused to comment on the allegations, citing privacy

And Christiane Ayotte of INRS Sante insisted Thursday the lab did not
release any information regarding marijuana testing at any time to the

The communications assistant for Sheila Copps, the federal minister
for sports, said he had not been able to reach her in Japan to discuss
the case.

But Jacques Lefebvre questioned whether the ``confidential report''
that de Merode referred to actually existed.

``Apparently no one's seen it. Before people jump to conclusions, he
should show that report.''

Ross Rebagliati's dad, Mark, refused to comment on the allegation,
except to say he believes the attack on his son was personally

``I think the IOC has egg on their face and they're just trying to
shift it. Where are his ethics if he is releasing the alleged results
from a confidential report to the public?''

Rebagliati, who has dropped about nine kilograms since his Feb. 8 win,
said it's of no interest to him whether the IOC ``is with me or
against me.'' What is important is the continuing support of family,
friends and Canadians, which he believes he still has, he said.

But he indicated the controversy is affecting his chances of entering,
never mind winning, the next three World Cup races in Europe, due to
begin Feb. 26.

``I haven't ridden since the race, I haven't trained . . . I need food
and sleep,'' he said. ``At this point in time I'm tired and I'm having
a hard time thinking straight.''

But he insisted: ``I'll be back strong next year.''

He's not so convinced about the next Olympics.

``The spirit that I've grown up to know and wanted to be a part of,
it's not there anymore. . . . This is not what the Olympics is about.
It's about fair competition . . . I'm going to have to think about

Pro-Pot Activist Sees Golden Opportunity ('Canadian Press' Notes Chris Clay
Of Hemp Nation, Who Lost A Constitutional Challenge
To Canada's Prohibitory Laws Against Cannabis Last Year,
Announced Friday He Will Use The Support That Swept Across Nation
For Olympic Gold Medallist Ross Rebagliati To Launch A Cross-Country Petition
To Push For Decriminalization Of Marijuana)

Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 12:04:53 -0800
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay (chris.clay@hempnation.com)
Subject: WIRE: Pro-pot activist sees golden opportunity
Cc: editor@mapinc.org

SOURCE: Canadian Press
DATE: February 20, 19980

Pro-pot activist sees golden opportunity

VANCOUVER (CP) Marijuana activists want to use the support that
swept across Canada for Olympic gold medallist Ross Rebagliati to push
them up onto their own pot podium.

Chris Clay said Rebagliati's losing then regaining his gold medal in Nagano
after he tested positive for marijuana has created a golden window of
opportunity for his movement.

So he launched a cross-country petition Friday to push for decriminalization
of the drug.

"It's the kind of opportunity we've been waiting for," said Clay, head of
Hemp Nation.

More than 200 petitions have been sent out to hemp retail stores across the
country. Clay is also logging support from Hemp Nation's web site.

He hopes to have at least 100,000 signatures to send to Ottawa by the end
of the year. But he admits that even if he gets that many signatures, "it's a
political hot potato" and Parliament likely won't respond.

That's why the outpouring of support for Rebagliati from politicians was a
bit surprising, Clay said.

Prime Minister Jean Chretien called Rebagliati in Nagano to congratulate
the Whistler, B.C., snowboarder after his gold medal was reinstated.

This isn't Clay's first effort to decriminalize pot.

Clay, 27, has launched a constitutional challenge to Canada's marijuana
laws. An Ontario court rejected his argument that drug laws violate Charter
rights last August.

An appeal of the case will go ahead this summer and Clay said he will take
the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Cannabis 'Obvious' Threat To Health, Agency Says ('Reuters' Article
In 'Toronto Star' Says World Health Organization Claims It Didn't Suppress
Report On Cannabis That Was Leaked To 'New Scientist,'
It 'Dropped The Analysis' Because It 'Contained Contradictions'
And Its 'Conclusions Were Not Scientifically Sound' - Marijuana Causes
'Mind-Altering Activities In Users' And 'Changes Your Judgement
And Thinking')

Date: 	Fri, 20 Feb 1998 12:15:28 -0500
From: Carey Ker 
Subject: Canada: Cannabis 'obvious' threat to health, agency says
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
Priority: Normal
Delivery-Receipt-To: Carey Ker 
Newshawk: carey.ker@utoronto.ca
Source: Toronto Star, Page A18
Contact: LetterToEd@thestar.com
Website: http://www.thestar.com/
Pubdate: Febrary 20, 1998
Link to suppressed WHO report
Cannabis 'obvious' threat to health, agency says GENEVA (Reuters) -- The World Health Organization insisted yesterday that cannabis is a public health threat. "It is obvious that the use of cannabis causes a number of health problems and that an increase in its use would make the situation worse," a WHO statement said. It was defending itself against accusations that it suppressed a report that found cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco. Britain's New Scientist magazine said Wednesday that WHO officials in Geneva suppressed a comparison study of cannabis and legal substances because they feared it would give ammunition to the "legalize marijuana" campaign. Instead, WHO said it dropped the analysis because it contained contradictions and "conclusions were not scientifically sound." Tokuo Yoshida, in charge of narcotic drugs at the WHO, said cannabis is dangerous because it causes mind-altering activities in users. "Cannabis is milder than LSD, of course," he said. "But it must not be used because it changes your judgement and thinking." According to New Scientist, which published a special report on marijuana Wednesday, a leaked document about the analysis concluded that the drug posed less of a public health threat than alcohol or cigarettes, even if people consumed it on the same scale. The magazine said researchers had found marijuana smoke did not lead to blocked airways or emphysema or impact on lung function and it was less addictive than alcohol or cigarettes.

Re - Cannabis 'Obvious' Threat To Health (Letter Sent To Editor
Of 'Toronto Star' Lampoons Logic Of World Health Organization)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 10:33:40 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com
From: Dave Haans (haans@chass.utoronto.ca)
Subject: SENT: Re: Cannabis 'obvious' threat to health, agency says

To the Editor:

Re: Cannabis 'obvious' threat to health, agency says (February 20, 1998)

Tokuo Yoshida of the World Health Organization states that the 'threat'
from cannabis is obvious, and later states that it "must not be used
because it changes your judgement and thinking."

Well, stop the presses! Using this logic, we should expect the World
Health Organization to declare moderate drinking, many over-the-counter and
prescription medications ("do not operate heavy machinery while taking this
medication"), television, political debates and even sleep as dangerous
activities, because they can also affect judgement and thinking!

Perhaps the WHO should just come out and state the obvious -- the
scientific literature on cannabis simply does not offer support for the
prohibition of cannabis, and so again we are left with being fed
half-truths, misrepresentations, and doom-and-gloom forecasts that have no
basis in reality. One wonders what force of nature or politics is clouding
the WHO's own thinking and judgement.

Dave Haans
Toronto, Ont.


Dave Haans
Graduate Student, University of Toronto
WWW: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca:8080/~haans/

Contact Information - World Health Organization (List Subscriber Posts URL,
E-Mail Address So You Can Tell 'Em What You Think Yourself)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 09:49:41 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: GDaurer@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Contact info World Health Org.

Want to let the WHO know how you feel? Email below.

web site:




Drug Deaths Spark Cheap Heroin Fears ('The Scotsman' Quotes David Macauley,
Director Of Scotland Against Drugs, Saying Streets Are Being Flooded
With Cheap Heroin, While Cannabis Is Being Withdrawn, Leading To
Greater Number Of People Injecting Drugs - Another Observer Says,
'A Lot Of Kids I Know Are Using Drugs Instead Of Alcohol
Because It's Cheaper - They Can Buy A Wrap Of Heroin For Less Than 5' -
But Detective Superintendent Barry Dougall Of Strathclyde Police
Says 'Street Prices Have Remained Stable And We Are Continuing To Increase
Our Seizures')

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 15:32:03 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UK: Drug Deaths Spark Cheap Heroin Fears
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: shug 
Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 1998
Author: Karen McVeigh
Source: The Scotsman
Website: http://www.scotsman.com
Contact: Letters_ts@scotsman.com


Exclusive: Police admit seizures are doing little to stem the flow of imports

Five people have died of drug overdoses in a single week in the west of
Scotland as a flood of cheap heroin pours into the country.

The death toll brings the number of heroin-related deaths since the
beginning of this year to 16 and signals a rise in danger for drug users.

The figures forecast that by the end of 1998 more than 120 deaths will
occur in and around the Glasgow area, reversing the three-year trend that
has seen drug fatalities fall from an all-time high of 105 in 1995.

Last night, Detective Superintendent Barry Dougall, co-ordinator of
Strathclyde Police, said more drugs may be coming into the west of
Scotland and admitted that police seizures were having little impact.

The director of Scotland Against Drugs, David Macauley, said the deaths
were a simple indication that more drugs were available. Scotland was being
flooded with heroin, while cannabis was being withdrawn.

The latest drug victims, Andrew McAuley, 24, of High St, Glasgow, and Brian
McEwan, 35, whose body was found in Robertson House hostel in Broad Street,
died from suspected heroin overdoses on Wednesday morning.

While their ages were typical of most overdose victims, who also tend to
be poly drug users,

The death of Allan Harper, 13, on the 3 January caused a backlash against
drug dealers in the local community. He was much younger than most heroin
users, but, as exclusively revealed by The Scotsman, he was not the only
youngster to have abused hard drugs. Almost 30 underage heroin users have
been treated by a local drugs agency in Greater Easterhouse in the last 18
months, a figure that is believed by campaigners to be the tip of the

Strathclyde Police, who are investigating the 16 deaths and attempting to
trace the source of the heroin, have said there is nothing to suggest they
are related to impurities in the heroin or the strength of the supply.

Last year, 50 people died of drug overdoses, while in 1996, there were 84

Mr Dougall said they were awaiting toxicology tests on some of this year's
deaths, but they mainly involved heroin.

He said: "We thought that in the past few years we were seeing a trend of
fewer deaths, which perhaps were due to users accessing the services.
We're very concerned that so many have died and we have carried out
extensive inquiries as to the supply, as well as speaking to drug

So far, police have no clues as to why so many young people have died.
However, Mr Dougall said that there may be more drugs coming in. He said:
"There is nothing to suggest that there is a bad batch of heroin or that
there is an increase in purity. We have certainly seized more and had an
increase in drug-related arrests reported to the fiscal, which may be an
indication of drugs coming into the area."

He admitted that the police were having little impact on the availability
of drugs, saying: "Street prices are a good indication of availability. If
street prices go up, you're either buying it from the wrong person or we
are making an impact. Street prices have remained stable and we are
continuing to increase our seizures."

Mr Macauley said that the streets of Scotland were being flooded with cheap
heroin, while cannabis was being withdrawn, leading to an increased market
and a greater number of people injecting drugs.

"Heroin is being pushed very heavily throughout Scotland, there's no doubt
about that. A lot of kids I know are using drugs instead of alcohol
because it's cheaper. They can buy a wrap of heroin for less than 5," he

Since Allan's death, police activity in Greater Easterhouse has been high,
with more than 80 drug related arrests and almost 750,000 worth of drugs

Hugh Michael Cavanagh, 24, of Glenboig, Airdrie; Hugh McMullen, 34, and
Jackie Sinclair, 28, both of Kingsway Court, Scotstoun, and Stephen
Rodger, 28, of Tresta Road, Maryhill, have died since 10 February, when The
Scotsman first reported an increase in deaths from overdoses this year.

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 30 (News Summary For Activists,
From The Drug Reform Coordination Network - Original Articles Include -
Needle Exchange Volunteer Arrested In New Jersey -
Protesting Penn State Professor, Four Others To Be Charged, Also,
18-Year-Old High School Student Suspended For Three Days Without Hearing
For Being Arrested With Heicklen -
Interview With Canadian Medical Marijuana Activist Peter Young -
Job Opportunity For Master's-Level Public Policy Director -
And Editorial, 'Bill, Newt, And The Coming Battle Over The War,'
By Adam J. Smith)

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 18:14:34 EST
Originator: drc-natl@drcnet.org
Sender: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet Link to NORML press release
We here at DRCNet are pleased to announce the establishment
of the Medical Marijuana Support Fund (MMSF). The MMSF is a
collaborative project of the Drug Policy Foundation,
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,
Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and Drug Reform
Coordination Network. The fund has been established to
offer patients, activists and organizations both financial
and technical assistance in the following areas:

* Assistance in developing and drafting legislative

* Technical assistance in program design for projects
implemented after medical marijuana initiatives/
legislation have been passed.

* Experts to testify at public health hearings or forums.

* Experts to testify at trial in relation to medical
necessity defense.

* Printing of promotional and educational materials directly
related to a specific policy goal.


If you or your organization is interested in applying for
one or more of the above-mentioned types of assistance,
contact Whitney Taylor at the Drug Policy Foundation at
(202) 537-5005 to request an official application.

If you are interested in making a donation to the Medical
Marijuana Support Fund, Whitney can help you with that as
well. (Be sure to mention you heard about it from DRCNet!)


Link to earlier story
Last Saturday (2/14) at noon, President Clinton used his weekly radio address to outline this year's "Drug Strategy." The strategy called for a 6.8% increase in federal spending on the Drug War, and called for greater accountability among the federal agencies charged with carrying out various aspects of the War. The plan also listed as its goal a 50% reduction in both the use and the supply of drugs in America over a period of ten years. Within the hour, however, Newt Gingrich, who delivered the GOP response to the plan, was calling for the plan's withdrawal and announcing his plans to introduce a "tougher" and more comprehensive GOP legislative initiative on the Drug War. "Once America got involved, it took our country just four years to win the Second World War -- the greatest military effort the world has ever seen. In the Civil War, it took just four years to save the Union and abolish slavery" Gingrich said in his address. "But this President would have us believe that with all the resources, ingenuity, dedication, and passion of the American people, we can't even get halfway to victory in the War on Drugs until the year 2007 - nine full years from now. That is not a success. That is the definition of failure." Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey called Gingrich's remarks 'irresponsible'. "I'm sympathetic to partisan wrangling and know that Newt Gingrich is looking for issues for the midterm election, but that's not what I signed up to do", McCaffrey told the Associated Press. "I'm afraid he's doing a disservice to a comprehensive plan." Gingrich went on to vow that he would sponsor a resolution to put the House on record as demanding that the administration withdraw its plan. He said that Republicans around the country (he specifically cited New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani) had "laid the groundwork to launch a World War II -- style victory campaign against illegal drugs." He added that "we in congress will pass legislation to implement the largest, most dynamic, most comprehensive anti-drug strategy ever designed." Arnold Trebach, the recently retired President of the Drug Policy Foundation, spoke with The Week Online regarding Gingrich's statements. "Speaker Gingrich's proposed massive new War on Drugs runs counter to the principles of his party and the best traditions of the nation. The Republican party, if it stands for anything, values enormous restraint of governmental power in the name of individual liberties and capitalist enterprise." Trebach continued, "The War on Drugs as presently constitutes has already destroyed many aspects of personal freedom and individual initiative that Americans formerly enjoyed. If anything characterizes the broad spectrum of human experience in America, it is that Americans support programs which work, and oppose those that don't. The War on Drugs doesn't work and never will. Given the current proposal's departure from Republican principles, other leaders of the GOP should take Speaker Gingrich out to the ideological woodshed and administer some sharp blows to appropriate part of his anatomy." *** 3. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SUPPRESSES REPORT FINDING MARIJUANA SAFER THAN ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO
Link to earlier story
The February 18 edition of Britain's NEW SCIENTIST Magazine reports that the Geneva-based World Health organization (WHO) suppressed, under political pressure, a report which confirmed that marijuana is safer than either alcohol or tobacco. The report, which was to be a part of the WHO's summary report on Cannabis (released in December), was reportedly axed under pressure from the US National Institute on Drug Abuse and the UN International Drugs Control Program, who told the WHO that inclusion of the section would "play into the hands of groups campaigning to legalize marijuana." According to New Scientist (to which a copy of the suppressed report was leaked) the official explanation of the exclusion of the report was that "the reliability and public health significance of such comparisons are doubtful." But New Scientist also reports that insiders informed them that the report was scientifically sound. Kevin Zeese, President of Common Sense for Drug Policy Foundation, told The Week Online, "Just business as usual for the drug war establishment. Once again they have shown themselves to be afraid of the truth, to the point of suppressing it. The suppression of information as a method of sustaining a policy which cannot stand up to the truth is a tactic of totalitarian, non-democratic regimes. For the citizens of the free nations of the world, even for those who have never given a thought to the rationale behind the Drug War, this kind of tactic should serve as a warning that something is terribly wrong." (We are attempting to obtain a copy of the report, for posting on the web. If you have one, please send a copy to us at 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036.) You can find the New Science article on the WHO report, which is part of a large special section on marijuana (2/21 edition) at http://marijuana.newscientist.com. *** 4. NEEDLE EXCHANGE VOLUNTEER ARRESTED IN NEW JERSEY Johanna Malaret, a volunteer for the CHAI Project, a needle exchange program in New Brunswick, NJ, was arrested this Wednesday (2/18) in Perth Amboy for possession and possession with intent to distribute syringes. Perth Amboy police stopped Malaret on Hall Street during a regularly- scheduled walking route. They confiscated 63 syringes. This is the second time in the past 22 months that a representative of the Chai Project has been arrested. Last April, project director Diana McCague was arrested in New Brunswick for possession and convicted. Her appeal is still pending. The Centers for Disease Control estimated last year that over 13,000 New Jersey residents either have injection-related AIDS or have died from it. New Jersey, where Governor Christine Whitman has steadfastly declined to change the law outlawing syringe exchange despite its endorsement by such groups as the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, and the advice of her own AIDS Council, ranks third in the nation in the incidence of injection-related infection. Chai Project Director Diana McCague told The Week Online, "The arrest is an outrage. It leaves people in Perth Amboy with no choice but to re-use and share syringes. Why is it that the police and the government of this state feel that the best way to help addicted citizens is to sentence them to death? Dead addicts don't recover, and the law does not justify base immorality. What about the partners and children of New Jersey's injection drug users? It is under the current laws that tens of thousands of New Jersey residents have become injection drug users, and we slavishly enforce these same laws to keep good people from trying to limit the damage. They call this 'drug control'. Well, we are certainly not controlling drugs, but we are systematically destroying the lives of enormous numbers of our most vulnerable citizens, which leaves one to wonder exactly what this system is really set up to do." YOU CAN HELP! DRCNet asks that concerned readers send letters to the editors of the following papers (contact info provided) expressing your disapproval of both the arrest and the anti-syringe exchange laws of New Jersey. *** Please don't forget to include your name, address and phone number with your letter. Also, don't forget to sign the letter you are submitting. Address all mailed letters to: Letter to the Editor, followed by the address, to ensure it is received quickly. The Star-Ledger 1 Star-Ledger Plaza Newark, NJ 07102-1200 eletters@starledger.com (973) 877-4040 (fax) (Submit to "Speaking Up", 500 words or less) The Courier-News P.O. Box 6600 Bridgewater, NJ 08807 letters@c-n.com (908) 707-3128 (phone) (908) 707-3252 (fax) (Don't exceed 250 words) The Trenton Times 500 Perry St. P.O. Box 847 Trenton, NJ 08605 letters@NJTimes.com (609) 989-5500 (phone) (609) 394-2819 (fax) (Don't exceed 300 words) Asbury Park Press Your Views 3601 Highway 66 P.O. Box 1550 Neptune, NJ 07754-1551 yourviews@app.com (732) 922-6000 (phone) (732) 922-4818 (fax) (No word limit) City News P.O. Box 1774 Plainfield, NJ 07060 citynews97@aol.com (908) 754-3400 (phone) (908) 753-1036 (No word limit) The New York Times 229 West 43rd St. New York, NY 10036-3959 letters@nytimes.com (212) 556-1234 ext. 1873 (phone) (212) 556-3622 (fax) (No word limit) Jersey Journal Attn: Bob Larkins 30 Journal Square Jersey City, NJ 07306 (201) 653-1000 (phone) (201) 653-1414 (fax) (No word limit) *** 5. PROTESTING PENN STATE PROFESSOR, FOUR OTHERS TO BE CHARGED
Link to earlier story
Professor Emeritus Julian Heicklen and about 100 supporters gathered at the main entrance of Penn State University at High Noon Thursday for their fifth consecutive weekly protest against Marijuana Prohibition. According to the State College Police, Heicklen and four others will be charged with possession for smoking at last week's rally. They will be notified by mail of the exact charges and the date of their hearing. Consequently Heicklen refrained from smoking at this weeks' protest and he asked his supporters to follow his example. Heicklen read from a prepared statement, "I will not be smoking today and I request that none of you do so. Our goal is to get into the courts and we have met that goal. Five of us will soon receive notices of arrest. Our aim is not to break the marijuana laws but to nullify them. ..If we receive fair, impartial, and speedy trials by a jury of our peers, we shall proceed by that route. If not we will consider other alternatives." Heicklen's weekly protests have attracted national media coverage as well as the support of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said, "I think its a very courageous act he's doing and it's in the best traditions of the Civil Rights Movement in this country. Civil disobedience has always played an important role in shaping public policy...until more people like the good professor are willing to stand up and say the truth, and take the heat we may never get rid of these laws." Stroup said that if the case goes to court, NORML's Legal Committee will likely file an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief in support of Heicklen. Stroup also said that NORML will be able to assist Heicklen in research, filing briefs and bringing expert witnesses to testify at trial. Heicklen said he will continue the Thursday, High Noon protests and he urged the crowd to continue attending, "Your presence is necessary. It demonstrates support for the arrestees and acts as protection for them." ALSO: 18 YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR 3 DAYS WITHOUT HEARING FOR BEING ARRESTED WITH HEICKLEN (The following is an excerpt from the public statement of professor Julian Heicklen.) "There was one unfortunate occurrence as a result of last week's events. Ken Keltner, one of the arrestees, is a student in the State College Area High School. He is in the Delta Program, which has an open lunch hour. Students are permitted to leave the school property during their lunch hour, which is what Ken did to participate in the Smoke Out." "Kathleen Kelly, Director of the Delta Program, approached Ken at about 11:30 on Friday, February 13, 1998, and showed him a newspaper clipping that reported his arrest. She said that Ken was in violation of the school drug and alcohol policy, which forbids drug or alcohol use by students during school hours. She suspended him for 3 days on the spot without a hearing. She accompanied him to his locker. He got his books and went home. He was told not to return to school until Wednesday, February 18, 1998. Ken called the school at 1:00 PM on Friday, February 13, 1998, to ask for an appeal. Ms. Kelly denied him an appeal." "On Wednesday, February 18, 1998, after the suspension period was over, Ken received a letter in the mail notifying him of the suspension. In order to remain in the program, Ken was informed that within 10 days he must have an assessment by a licensed drug and alcohol facility and that he must comply with the recommendations of that facility." "The public schools have a right to make and enforce regulations on school property. They have an obligation to protect minors that are under their care. However, they do not have the right to regulate the behavior of adults that are not on school property. Ken Keltner is 18 years old and is an adult. He was not on school property and violated no school regulation by being off the school property during his lunch hour. He was suspended without a hearing based on a newspaper report. He was denied the right of appeal." "The public schools are not law enforcement agencies, nor are they instruments of social policy. Their job is education. What they did in this case was to deny Mr. Keltner three days of education, which it is their obligation to provide, so that they could act as a law enforcement agency, which is not their function. This is a classic example of a police state in operation. Not only is it oppressive, but it loses sight of the interests of those it was meant to serve." "This is the tyranny that our movement is trying to end. On Sunday, February 15, 1998, I made separate telephone calls to Connie Martin, Chair of the State College Area School District, and two other School Board members, Sue Werner and Donna Queeney. I discussed this matter with them and advised them that if they would rescind the suspension, I would let the matter die quietly. All three of them informed me that the School Board did not have the authority to rescind an administrative decision. Imagine that!" "Then I called School Superintendent Bill Opdenhoff and repeated my comments. He said that he would look into the matter. However the suspension was not rescinded." "We are in the midst of a national nightmare. The struggle to recover our moral compass will be long and difficult. With your help and support, we will succeed." *** 6. EX-MICHIGAN GOV: DRUG-LIFER LAW "INHUMANE"
Link to earlier story
When he was the governor of Michigan, William Milliken signed that state's "drug-lifer law" which mandated life without parole for anyone caught in possession of over 650 grams of heroin or cocaine. Now, Milliken says that he made a mistake, and that the law, criticized for catching more low-level couriers than actual kingpins, "wastes precious public dollars to lock people up for life, people who pose no threat to society." There are currently two separate bills in the Michigan legislature which would reform the law, and both Milliken and the current governor support reform. According to the Grand rapids press, however, Sen. Van Regenmorter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that neither bill is likely to pass in this, an election year, as legislators are worried about being labeled "soft on drugs." *** 7. MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVISTS TO OPEN MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES ACROSS EASTERN CANADA
Link to earlier stories
(Reprinted from the NORML Weekly News, a publication of the NORML Foundation, http://www.norml.org) February 19, 1998, Toronto, Ontario: As part of an ongoing campaign to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in Canada, activists in Ontario announced the launch of at least eight medical marijuana dispensaries in the region. Proponents announced that the clubs -- commonly known as Cannabis Buyers' Clubs (CBCs) -- will be "wheelchair accessible," and in "commercial areas, not private residences." Medical marijuana distributed at the clubs will be sold at cost. "We're not going to be hiding," Peter Young -- one of the organizers for the clubs -- told the Ottawa Citizen. He added that any police officer posing as a patient could "easily" track down a sales venue, but said that "if they're going to bust us, fine. But the next day we'll be open again." Presently, buyers' clubs exist in Toronto and Vancouver, the Toronto Star reported. Additional clubs are expected to open shortly in Toronto, London, Peterborough, Kitchener, and Guelph. Club organizers in Mississauga, Oakville, and Etobicoke are currently accepting applications, the paper said. Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Canada have increased in recent months. On February 5, a 53 year old Toronto AIDS patient filed a civil suit against the Canadian government asking the court to find an exemption for the medical use of marijuana. The federal challenge came two months after a Canadian trial court judge ruled that bona fide medical marijuana users are exempt from criminal marijuana possession penalties. In addition, recent statements from a spokesman at the Canadian Department of Health indicate that the agency may begin approving use of the drug in "emergency" situations. Buyers' clubs -- though illegal under U.S. federal law -- first began to appear in California in the early 1990s. Medical marijuana advocates estimate that 40 such clubs presently operate in the United States. For further information, contact Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. *** 8. INTERVIEW WITH CANADIAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACTIVIST PETER YOUNG - Marc Brandl for DRCNet On February 19, ten Canadian activists held a press conference announcing their plans to open Cannabis Buyers' Clubs (CBC's) across Canada, to dispense medicinal marijuana to patients in need. In an effort to openly challenge Canada's prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana, the activists made a very public showing of explaining why the CBC's needed to be opened, where they were going to be opened, and how they will operate. Longtime Canadian marijuana activist Chris Clay http://www.hempnation.com told The Week Online, "A nation- wide survey recently found 83% of Canadians support medical marijuana, and politicians are suddenly jumping on the bandwagon. Any police intervention would make for a tremendous amount of bad press, and the clubs would continue to operate anyway." The Week Online interviewed one of the Ontario activists, Pete Young, of the Organic Traveler hemp store in London, Ontario, on his thoughts on medical marijuana and becoming an activist. WOL: How did you get involved in all this? How did you first become active? Pete Young: I was a cultivator/breeder in the states for a few years before I came to London for school (photography with a major in digital imaging). While I was there, I hooked up with Chris Clay, who was the proprietor of Great Canadian Hemporium/Hemp Nation, the first cannabis shop in Canada. WOL: What first sparked your interest in this area? Pete Young: I had a friend who was run over by a car when he was a teenager (crushed pelvis and lower spin damage). He was using Marijuana to help control the massive pain. He was eventually busted for growing 4-6 plants in his closet. At the time, he was a legal morphine junky for 8 to 11 years, and was using marijuana to wean off of narcotics. He got a doctor's note to show to the judge, but the charges were only reduced, NOT dropped, and he was put back on morphine. Last year he finally became immune to the morphine, and his doctor was forced to place him on LEGAL HEROIN. After I saw what the legal drugs were doing to him and he realized what he was turning into, he decided to leave town and move to place where he could grow his own medicine. Now this guy had to leave his family (mother, sisters and brothers) behind just so he could lead a respectable life and not have to look at a junky facing death every morning when he looked in the mirror. This pissed me off. And I decided to get into the fight. WOL: The group of ten of you are all pretty young. What makes a young individual decide to open up a single-medicine apothecary for sick people? Pete Young: As far as focusing on one medicine, it carries so many helpful, healing properties we need go no further. As far as being to young, you are never too young to care. You don't have to start up a Buyer's Club yourself, but you can help an existing one or help in other ways. For instance, Lynn Harichy, a medical marijuana patient who will be going to court in April to challenge medical marijuana prohibition on Constitutional grounds, needs to raise $5,000 Canadian dollars to fly in expert witnesses for her case. Obviously not everyone can become activists to the level that some of us have, but just about everyone can send a few dollars every now and then to help the fights that are already going on. See how easy it is? [To make a donation to Lynn Harichy's legal fight for medical marijuana, see details at end of article.) WOL: Has your age been an obstacle at all, what are the advantages? Do you think there are a lot more young people out there that are becoming active like you? Pete Young: There are advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are I can relate to a wide spectrum of people of different ages. The disadvantage is not so much my age, though the older generation still sees anyone who believes in marijuana and is under 50 a drug smokin' hippy, but more my looks. Longer hair, tye-dyed shirt, facial hair. I'm seen as just another pot-head. WOL: How many clubs are being started by your group? Pete Young: For now 3-4 and within the next 2-3 months another 4-5. WOL: One of the toughest problems facing CBC's is the supply problem. How are you dealing with this? Pete Young: I will be hitting up all the local growers to donate or give discount medical prices. For this they will receive a receipt in case they get busted -- this should help them in court. Plus if they are growing solely for the clubs we will help with legal fees through a legal defense fund we will be putting together. WOL: How linked are the new CBC's going to be? Are you going to share resources, money, information etc.? Pete Young: Only information, all of the clubs will be privately owned, patients will be transferred so they will not have to travel with an illegal substance. WOL: When will medical marijuana become available legally in Canada, some say that these actions will bring about change very soon. What is your prediction? Pete Young: I'm hopeful that legal changes will come within the year. WOL: Will CBC's be kept in existence after medical marijuana is made legally available, or are they a temporary stopgap? Pete Young: I couldn't answer that one, I guess it will be up to the Government. If they are going to put it into the hospitals and pharmacies, where it belongs, then we may not be needed. But until then we'll be here. To make donations to Lynn Harichy's defense fund contact: Prof. Alan Young, York University, Osgoode Hall Law, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, CANADA, (416) 736-5595. *** 9. CLASSMATES OF UK HOME SECRETARY STRAW'S SON HAND HIM PETITION FOR LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS
Link to earlier story
Jack Straw, the British Home Secretary whose son was caught selling 10 pounds (sterling) worth of cannabis in a pub at a time when Straw was publicly and vociferously defending cannabis Prohibition, addressed his son's class at Pimlico School last week. While he might have expected his appearance to generate intense interest among the student body, he probably did not expect to be handed a petition, signed by nearly all of his son's classmates, urging the legalization of the substance. The petition, titled "Stop turning young people into criminals" was signed by over 100 students. Notably absent was the signature of Straw's son, William. Classmates had not asked him to sign it, according to the Independent on Sunday newspaper, figuring that he had been through enough on the issue already. The petition stated: "We believe that medical evidence suggests cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, which are legally available. Yet thousands of young people every year are turned into criminals by the pointless and unworkable ban on cannabis. Without in any way encouraging the use of cannabis, or indeed any drug, we call on the Home Secretary and the Government to bring the law into line with reality and legalize cannabis without delay." The students were members of the sixth form, which means they are approximately seventeen years-old. *** 10. JOB OPPORTUNITY Leading drug policy reform organization seeks highly skilled master's-level public policy director. Must understand major reform issues: medical marijuana, pain control, asset forfeiture, mandatory minimums. Will build coalitions, develop action strategies and coordinate advocacy efforts with new allies to advance shared agenda. Will prepare testimony and policy papers. Exceptional communication skills, familiarity with public health and criminal justice issues essential. Send resume and salary requirements to: Public Policy Search, Drug Policy Foundation, 4455 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite B-500, Washington, DC 20008- 2328. *** 11. EDITORIAL: Bill, Newt, and the coming battle over the war.
Link to earlier story
In dueling radio addresses this week, President Clinton outlined, and Newt Gingrich trashed, the administration's 1998 National Drug Strategy report. While bickering around the edges of the nation's plans for the prosecution of the Drug War has become a common occurrence, Gingrich's demand that the Strategy by withdrawn, and his promise of a legislative package constituting "the largest, most dynamic, most comprehensive anti-drug strategy ever designed," has taken the battle over the war to a new level. With mid-term elections coming, and the economy strong, the GOP is desperate to find wedge issues. Clinton's record on drugs, from "I didn't inhale" to a reported 70% increase in teen drug use on his administration's watch, make this a perceived Democratic weakness. Also, with popular Republican mayors around the country (Gingrich mentioned New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani in his address) talking and acting the part of near-obsessive drug warriors, there is evidence that the GOP feels that the issue is ripe for exploitation. The problem for the Democrats is, of course, that in a perverse way, Gingrich is right. The current carnage which has made the US the world's leading incarcerator, which has resulted in one out of three young African American men caught up in the criminal justice system, which has led to massive corruption, ineffective drug education and rising numbers of young drug users, has been a colossal failure. It will be difficult, if not impossible to argue in favor of more of the same, which is exactly what the administration is proposing. The fact that escalation is not the answer is nearly irrelevant, as voters, still largely uninformed as to the real nature of the problem, will be presented with an "alternative" to the failed status quo. The Democrats' other option would be radical indeed. That would be to argue reason and truth. Prohibition cannot work, its very premise is fatally flawed, and we need to reassess our entire thinking about what constitutes "drug control," which we have quite obviously failed to achieve under a state of war. But desperate though they may be, few Democrats will be so bold as to level with the American people in the face of the cumulative effects of the propaganda campaign which has been successfully waged on this issue over the past 25 years. No, the Democrats will be stuck with two choices. The first is to abandon the administration and jump on the escalation bandwagon. The second is to rely on calls for treatment in prisons and a host of other "half-measures," as Gingrich calls them. The fact that these half-measures constitute a position halfway toward a police state makes little difference. The GOP is apparently ready to open the throttle, full speed ahead, and bet that the American public is ready and willing to ignore the advice of Thomas Jefferson in trading freedom for security, illusory as that promised security may be. But despite the seemingly depressing prospect of a public debate between those lobbying for more prisons and less freedom and those lobbying for even more prisons and even less freedom, there is reason for optimism. Today, across the globe, from Europe to Australia and even in Canada, a backlash has arisen against American-style war as an antidote to substance abuse. The European Parliament recently delayed a vote, expected to be closely contested, over a report recommending that all EU members adopt harm- reduction strategies, including the decriminalization of cannabis and other "soft" drugs. England has been awash in debate over cannabis policy for months now, and the din has only intensified. Heroin maintenance trials are being discussed and even implemented across the continent, and Australia was days away from starting its own when it bowed to back-channel US pressure. Canada is also becoming a hot-spot of debate over drug policy, and let us not forget that we share a virtually indefensible border with our neighbor to the north. Interestingly, one of the strongest and most resonant arguments being made by international reformers is the excess of punitive control and government power that the war has brought to America. As the numbers of reformers across Europe and other nations come tantalizingly close to parity with those advocating war, what would be better illustrative of the philosophical endpoint of prohibition than American politicians calling in the media for even more massive incarceration and more executions (generally abhorred by other western democracies) in "the land of the free"? A campaign, legislative and electoral, featuring such wanton bloodlust in the name of "morality" could very well seal the fate of Prohibitionists around the world. A victorious Republican campaign, resulting in such an expansion of the punitive state, almost certainly would. Here at home, some of the media has begun to report approvingly of both harm reduction and the voices of reform. Discussion of alternatives is no longer taboo in polite company. The challenge for reformers, then, is to thrust ourselves into the coming debate, offering rational alternatives to both the failures of the current system and the murderous excesses of the extremist dissenters. We must edge our way onto the stage, in any way possible, and at every opportunity, with a clear and honest message which takes into account the very real fears to which escalation is designed to appeal. "Prohibition is not drug control, it is the abandonment of control." Further, we must build up our numbers by reaching out to those who understand, and educating those who do not. We must marshal our forces and grow our organizations. We must speak out, and we must demand that others stand up and be counted. We must make the warriors defend their chosen course. On Saturday, February 14, 1998, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced his intention to lead a full scale offensive in the longest-running war of the twentieth century. It is vital that we as reformers not waste our limited resources in trying to fight the Republicans around the edges of their plan. Let them go wild. Let them be extreme. It can only help our cause both here and abroad. Instead, let us stake out our ground in opposition to both "sides". Let us step into the fray with our message intact. The unreasonableness of our adversaries is our greatest advantage. We must use the spotlight which they themselves have asked for to illuminate our cause. They have called forth the battle. But in so doing, they have given us the war. Our time is upon us. Adam J. Smith Associate Director *** DRCNet *** JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org STOP THE DRUG WAR SITE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org -------------------------------------------------------------------


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