------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Grower Faces US Sentence - Her Medical-Use Claim May Win A Lighter Term (Outrageous Story In 'Sacramento Bee' Documents Selective Enforcement Of Federal Marijuana Laws In Attempt To Nullify California Compassionate Use Act - No Jury Has Yet Convicted A Medical Marijuana Patient, But Intimidated Defendant Copped To Plea Offered By Assistant US Attorney Nancy L. Simpson - 'Defendant Agrees To Make A Public Statement, Urging Others Not To Be Misled Into Believing That They May Grow Medicinal Marijuana Without Being In Violation Of Federal Law . . . If The Defendant's Public Statement . . . Receives Media Coverage, The Government Agrees To Move For A Reduced Sentence') Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 02:20:33 -0800 (PST) From: Randy Chase
To: email@example.com Subject: HT: mmj NOW ! News: Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (email@example.com) Source: Sacramento Bee Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sacbee.com/ Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 Author: John Lyons - Bee Correspondent POT GROWER FACES U.S. SENTENCES: HER MEDICAL-USE CLAIM MAY WIN A LIGHTER TERM The gulf dividing state and federal marijuana laws will take center stage today in the sentencing of the first pot grower prosecuted by the federal government despite her claims that California's medical-marijuana law made her operation legal. U.S. District Chief Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, who will hand down the sentence, has said that the rift between the state law and stricter federal drug statutes -- the latter make any marijuana possession illegal -- could be grounds for a more lenient sentence for the grower. The woman, Roni L. Aurelio, pleaded guilty in December. It was the first marijuana conviction won by the federal government against a California resident who claimed to be growing marijuana for medical use." The possibility that (Aurelio) relied on state law in determining the legality of her conduct" will be taken into account during sentencing, Karlton said in a Feb. 13 court order. Legal analysts said the fact the judge is considering the impact of the state statute could set a precedent for future federal cases where defendants claim to possess the plant for medical use. But even before Karlton's pre-sentencing statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office had struck an unusual plea bargain with Aurelio that seems to indicate prosecutors' recognition that unresolved differences between the state and federal laws have created confusion. Aurelio pleaded guilty in December to growing about 340 marijuana plants in a greenhouse attached to her home. Her boyfriend, Richard Maughs, and three others still face charges stemming from the discovery of more than 1,200 pot plants nearby. Aurelio claims in court documents and interviews not to know anything about her boyfriend's garden location. Arresting agents found posted signs at all the grow sites declaring that the marijuana was meant for medical use. Court documents show that the defendants freely showed the agents where the pot was being cultivated. "Can't we just grow marijuana for medicine?" one defendant asked, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration agent's affidavit. Two of the defendants have tried to have that statement suppressed in court. About 56 percent of California voters approved Proposition 215 in November 1996. It allows the cultivation and possession of marijuana by seriously ill people and their caregivers. Under federal law, however, all forms of marijuana possession remain a crime. In practice, the federal government only prosecutes cases where large numbers of plants are involved, so there have been relatively few federal cases since the medical-marijuana initiative passed. Aurelio's conviction is the first during that time. Scott L. Tedmon, the court-appointed attorney defending Aurelio, said his client was "extremely upset" after her indictment on federal charges because she believed that growing marijuana for medical use was legal. "I started getting angry phone calls from people wondering why Roni was still in jail," Tedmon said. "There seemed to be a lot of people out there confused by Proposition 215." That confusion appeared to have been tacitly acknowledged by the U.S. Attorney's Office when prosecutors struck their unusual plea bargain with Aurelio. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy L. Simpson, who is prosecuting Aurelio and the four other defendants, offered the woman a reduced sentence in December if she succeeded in spreading the word that marijuana possession violates federal law. The deal required Aurelio to attract media coverage to her story that she was misled by literature produced by marijuana advocates after the passage of Proposition 215, and that she was shocked by her federal indictment. One newspaper article was reportedly published Monday. "The defendant agrees to make a public statement, urging others not to be misled into believing that they may grow 'medicinal marijuana' without being in violation of federal law," the plea agreement states. "If the defendant's public statement . . . receives media coverage, the government agrees to move for a (reduced sentence)." Simpson said the deal came at the suggestion of defense attorneys and Aurelio, who claimed she was confused. "If there were people out there with similar beliefs, then I wanted to get the message out that growing marijuana is serious stuff and that it is still illegal," Simpson said. Under the plea bargain, Aurelio could get two to three months off her prison term, or be released to a halfway house sooner. However, federal judges are not bound by such deals. Ephraim Margolin, a professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt School of Law, called the deal "unusual" and said it could reflect prosecutors' uneasiness at bringing a case while pronounced differences in the law remain unresolved. "No one likes to prosecute a case where the majority of the community has said the activity in question should be legal," Margolin said. "But I like the notion that lawyers can find ways to increase their effect. If the public statement is the truth, then I think it serves the good purpose of the government." Law enforcement officials in Siskiyou County who investigated the case strongly criticized the plea bargain. They believe Aurelio and the other defendants were using Proposition 215 as a ploy to cover a large scale, black market marijuana growing operation. Detective John Glines, a member of the Siskiyou County marijuana enforcement team based in Yreka, cites the large number of plants the group is accused of growing, the premium price they allegedly charged and the previous criminal records of some of the group's members. According to court documents and interviews, Aurelio, her boyfriend and three others signed contracts to grow marijuana for David Navarro, a 24-year-old paraplegic who uses marijuana for medical reasons. In an interview in the Sacramento County jail, Aurelio blamed Navarro and other marijuana advocates for "tricking" her into believing pot cultivation was legal. "I know I was wrong; I'm guilty," Aurelio said. "Don't think you can grow pot, because the feds will come down on you hard." Law enforcement officials suggest, however, that the growers may have sought out Navarro as a means to cover their operation behind a "poster child" for the medical marijuana movement.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Pot Sentencing Shows Federal/State Differences ('Orange County Register' Version) Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 14:44:22 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Sentencing Shows Federal/State Differences Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk:John W.Black Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 Source:Orange County Register Section:news,page 4 Contact:(email@example.com) Author:John Lyons-Scripps-McClatchy Western Service POT SENTENCING SHOWS FEDERAL/STATE DIFFERENCES COURTS:A woman says California's medical-marijuana law made her pot-growing legal. SACRAMENTO-The gulf that divides state and federal marijuana laws will take center stage today in the sentencing of the first pot grower prosecuted by the federal government despite her assertions that California's medical-marijuana law made her operation legal. U.S. District Chief Judge Lawrence K. Karlton, who will hand down the sentence, has said that the rift between the state law and stricter federal drug statutes - the latter make any marijuana possession illegal - could be grounds for a more lenient sentence for the grower. The woman, Roni L. Aurelio, pleaded guilty in December, the first ever marijuana conviction won by the federal government against a California resident who said she was growing marijuana for medical use. "The possibility that (Aurelio) relied on state law in determining the legality of her conduct" will be taken into account during sentencing, Karlton said in a Feb. 13 order. Legal analysts said the fact the judge is considering the impact of the state statute could set a precedent for future federal cases in which defendants say they possess the plant for medical use. But even before Karlton's presentencing statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office had struck an unusual plea bargain with Aurelio that seems to indicate prosecutors' recognition that unresolved differences between the state and federal laws has created confusion. Aurelio pleaded guilty in December to growing about 340 marijuana plants in a greenhouse attached to her home. Her boyfriend, Richard Maughs, and three others still face charges stemming from the discovery of more than 1,200 pot plants nearby. Aurelio says in court documents and interviews that she did not know anything about her boyfriend's marijuana garden. Agents found posted signs at all the grow sites declaring that the marijuana was meant for medical use. Court documents show that the defendants freely showed the agents where the pot was being cultivated. About 56 percent of California voters approved Proposition 215 in November 1996. It allows the cultivation and possession of marijuana by seriously ill people and their caregivers. Under federal law, however, all forms of marijuana possession remain a crime. In practice, the federal government only prosecutes cases where large numbers of plants are involved. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy L. Simpson, who is prosecuting Aurelio and the four other defendants, offered the woman a reduced sentence in December if she succeeded in spreading the word that marijuana possession violates federal law. Law-enforcement officials in Siskiyou County who investigated the case, however, strongly criticized the plea bargain. They believe Aurelio and the other defendants were using Proposition 215 as a ploy to cover a large scale black-market marijuana growing operation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Garden Grove May Hold Off On Marijuana Clubs ('Los Angeles Times' Notes Officials In California City Are Expected To Approve Ban On Medical Dispensaries Despite California Compassionate Use Act) Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 11:53:05 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Garden Grove May Hold Off on Marijuana Clubs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Fax: 213-237-4712 Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 Author: Cathy Werblin GARDEN GROVE MAY HOLD OFF ON MARIJUANA CLUBS In response to an attempt by medicinal marijuana advocates to establish a distribution center in Garden Grove, city officials tonight are expected to approve a moratorium on so-called cannabis clubs. Council members will consider the temporary prohibition on organizations attempting to distribute marijuana under terms of Proposition 215. The move comes on the heels of a newly amended ordinance allowing the revocation of business licenses issued to organizations found to be illegal. "We want to put the clubs on hold until we figure out the real issues and how to make sure that land uses in the city are compatible," City Manager George Tindall said. Tindall said the moratorium will give the city time to research the issue. California voters in 1996 approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, but questions remain on the legality of distributing the drug. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Meeting Center, 11300 Stanford Ave.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Meeting Examines Medicinal Marijuana ('Reuters' Article About Two-Day Conference On Medical Marijuana Called By Institute Of Medicine In Washington, DC, Third And Final Meeting Scheduled As Part Of Drug Czar McCaffrey's $1 Million Commissioned Study, 'Medical Use Of Marijuana - Assessment Of The Science Base,' To Be Issued In December 1998) Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 16:04:00 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US: Wire: Meeting Examines Medicinal Marijuana Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: Reuters Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 MEETING EXAMINES MEDICINAL MARIJUANA WASHINGTON, DC -- A two-day conference to examine the potential medical uses of marijuana or its active components began here Tuesday. The meeting is sponsored by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a private, nonprofit group that provides health policy advice. "Any move to approve marijuana (for regulation) must be aided by good clinical studies," Dr. J. Richard Crout, former director of the Bureau of Drugs at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday at the Prospects for Cannabinoid Drug Development conference. This was the IOM's third and final meeting and was designed to help the Institute gather information for its study, Medical Use of Marijuana: Assessment of the Science Base, which will be issued in December 1998. Scientifically, it's difficult to conduct cannabis studies in humans, said Dr. Billy R. Martin of the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. "The effect of cannabis varies from person to person. This makes science difficult to create a neat (cannabis study) model such as the opioid pain model in humans," said Martin. "There are ways to legitimize street marijuana for medicinal use," Crout said. This would include removing marijuana from the controlled substance act, removing penalties for possession, and changing Drug Enforcement Agency policies. However, since marijuana is a controlled substance, some of the changes would require congressional action, Crout noted. "This would still not remove the drug's stigma, the physician's role remains unclear" with use of medicinal marijuana, and the product quality may be difficult to define, Crout added, Aside from political concerns, a key obstacle for pharmaceutical companies is the small market potential for medicinal marijuana, commented Dr. Robert E. Dudley of Unimed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Drug companies need to market to at least 100 million patients to make research and development costs feasible, he said. Marinol was approved by the FDA in 1985. Manufactured by Unimed, Marinol is the only synthetic delta 9-THC product marketed worldwide, Dudley said. It is used as an anti-emetic and appetite stimulant. The company petitioned the FDA in 1995 to change the drug's schedule status, thus increasing patient access to Marinol. The company expects to learn of the decision sometime this year, Dudley said. An IOM statement explains that while the meeting is being held to gather information, "...no conclusions are being drawn at this time."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Comments To NAS Committee On Medical Marijuana (Rick Doblin Of Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies Shares His Testimony At The IOM Conference) Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 14:53:18 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Arthur Livermore) Subject: Comments to NAS committee on medical marijuana --forwarded message-- On Monday, February 23, 1998, I (Rick Doblin) testified before a committee of the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences. The IOM committee is conducting a study of the scientific basis for claims about the medical utility of marijuana. The study is costing $1 million and is being paid for by Gen. Barry McCaffrey (drug czar), Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The IOM committee has been instructed to stay out of the policy arena and focus only on the science. Nevertheless, I thought it important to bring to the attention of the Committee the policy decisions that are limiting research that is needed to produce the required scientific data about the use of smoked marijuana in patient populations. My impression of the hearings are that the members of the IOM committee were genuinely sympathetic to the claims and struggles of the medical marijuana patients and advocates who testified. My guess is that the report will acknowledge that marijuana is indeed beneficial to some patients, will recommend that research be encouraged into the development of various synthetic cannabinoids and novel non-smoking delivery systems, and will also conclude that research with smoked marijuana should be permitted. We will know more in December, 1998, when the final peer-reviewed report is scheduled to be released. Here is the text of my testimony: My name is Rick Doblin. I am a Public Policy Ph.D. student at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. My dissertation is focused on the regulation of the medical use of Schedule 1 drugs. The Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of Addictive Diseases have all published articles that I co-authored with Prof. Mark Kleiman, now of the UCLA School of Public Policy, about the results of a survey we conducted measuring the attitudes and experiences of oncologists regarding the use of smoked marijuana and the oral THC capsule in the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. I'm submitting for your information an unpublished paper we sent for peer-review about six months ago to the Southern Medical Journal in which we respond to the latest critique of our survey by Drs. Schwartz and Voth. Of most relevance to my comments this afternoon is the fact that I founded and currently direct a non-profit research and educational organization that began almost six years ago to sponsor the efforts of Dr. Donald Abrams of UC San Francisco to design and obtain approval for a scientific protocol to study the use of smoked marijuana in the treatment of patients suffering from the frequently fatal AIDS wasting syndrome. After a protracted, contentious scientific and political struggle, Dr. Abrams was finally able to obtain all the necessary approvals and funding for his research and will soon begin the first study in fifteen years of the medical use of smoked marijuana in a patient population. Unfortunately, no researchers other than Dr. Abrams that I know of are even close to obtaining permission to study the use of smoked marijuana in any other patient population. I have four points to make today. 1) In order to determine the safest and most effective medicines for patients, it is still absolutely necessary to conduct research in patients with smoked marijuana. Studying only isolated cannabinoids is inadequate. Without studies using smoked marijuana, there is no way to determine whether the synergistic effects of the different cannabinoids in smoked marijuana are more effective in the treatment of some or all clinical indications than the isolated cannabinoids. 2) The current policies are intentionally and explicitly designed not to facilitate clinical research with smoked marijuana but to impede that research. Only with smoked marijuana, but not with THC, any other cannabinoid, LSD, MDMA, ibogaine, DMT, psilocybin, or any other Schedule 1 drug, must researchers obtain an NIH grant before being able to initiate FDA-approved research. 3) As a result of the extraordinary difficulties in obtaining permission to study the use of smoked marijuana in patient populations, a tragic and socially wasteful misdirection of scarce resources is taking place with millions of dollars going to medical marijuana initiative campaigns instead of to clinical research. For less money that will be spent on the initiative campaigns in 1998, it would have been possible to gather all the data the FDA needed to evaluate fully the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana not just for one clinical indication but for four or five different indications. 4) The primary barrier to clinical research with smoked marijuana is NIDA's monopoly on the supply of marijuana legal for use in FDA-approved research, and the refusal of NIDA to provide marijuana to FDA-approved projects unless such projects have also been federally funded after peer-review by the NIH. Both the NIH's own Expert Committee on the Medical Utility of Marijuana and the AMA's House of Delegates have recently recommended that NIDA provide marijuana to all FDA-approved projects regardless of whether or not the federal government funds the projects through the NIH. According to a February 18, 1998 letter from NIDA Director Dr. Alan Leshner, the NIH is "continuously reviewing" these recommendations. Translating from "bureaucrat-speak", this means that the status quo impeding research continues unchanged. As evidence that current policies impede research, I am submitting for your review a copy of a Clinical Plan for the study of the medical use of smoked marijuana that FDA officials and I worked together to develop, and that was finalized and filed with the FDA in March, 1994. This Clinical Plan was submitted to the FDA in conjunction with Dr. Abrams' initial FDA IND application that the non-profit organization that I direct was sponsoring and was willing to fund. The FDA approved Dr. Abrams' protocol but his research was blocked since he was unable to obtain any marijuana from NIDA for his study. I urge you to take particular note of the timetables listed in the Clinical Plan. By December, 1998, around the time when you issue your report, all the clinical research required by the FDA to evaluate fully the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana for a wide variety of patient groups could have been completed. All that would have been required for this Clinical Plan to have been implemented, with virtually no cost to the taxpayer, would have been the provision by NIDA of only a small fraction of the marijuana that it has already provided to the eight patients who have received marijuana from NIDA legally since the Clinical Plan was submitted to the FDA. I urge you to recommend that medical marijuana research be facilitated, that all FDA-approved protocols receive marijuana from NIDA, and that privately-funded non-profit or for-profit medical marijuana research organizations be permitted to establish their own marijuana production and research facilities.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dignity (Floyd Ferris Landrath Of American Antiprohibition League Gives An Update On Weekly Demonstrations In Support Of Portland Methadone Clinic Set Upon By Ignorant Neighbors) Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 03:03:56 -0800 (PST) From: Anti-Prohibition Lg
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: CanPat> Dignity Sender: email@example.com The AMERICAN ANTIPROHIBITION LEAGUE Sponsors of the OREGON DRUGS CONTROL AMENDMENT http://ns2.calyx.net/~odca Drug War or Drug Peace? 3125 SE BELMONT STREET PORTLAND OREGON 97214 503-235-4524 fax:503-234-1330 Email:AAL@InetArena.com Tuesday, Feb. 24, 1998 FIGHTING THE STIGMA, RECLAIMING DIGNITY Portland, Oregon -- For the last 3 weeks the Antiprohibition League has been conducting street-side demonstrations of support for methadone patients under attack by a small, but very angry group of local anti- drug zealots. Over the weeks we have witnessed several nasty encounters between clinic patients and these hardheaded antagonists. "We try hard to ignore the clinic protesters," League director Floyd Landrath recently told the Portland Harm Reduction Coalition, a group of public and private health and welfare organizations including the Harm Reduction Zone. "We want to focus positive energy towards the patients and clinic. We don't want to incite anyone or add to the already tense atmosphere the protesters create by crowding around the clinic entrance holding degrading signs like, 'No Methadone Juice Bar Here'. It's a bad situation," Landrath concluded. Patients often cover their faces as they scurry into the clinic for their life-saving medicine, methadone. But some don't, like Billy for example. "I'm 20 years sober and crime-free," Billy yells in my ear over the sound of several cars honking their horns in support. A thin, frail man in his late-fifties, Billy tells me about his days as a hell- raising outlaw, addicted to heroin and alcohol by the age of 15, after which he says he lost the next decade and an half of his life. Billy has survived to repay his debt to society (5 years in prison for armed robbery), AA helped him put away the bottle and methadone got him off street heroin. Billy now works full-time as a clerk in a local store. By outside appearances his is a modest life, but what you can't see is the heroic struggle it took to get here. There are many such stories at the methadone clinic. Billy claims he's alive today because of methadone and says he nearly died 6 times from heroin overdose during his junkie days. He gets very agitated at the clinic protesters, "It's a pride thing," he tells me. "I am somebody! I am a patient, I have a disease called addiction, but I am getting better," he emphatically adds. "I have regained my dignity now and I'm not going to let a bunch of narrow minded bigots take that away from me." For the next hour Billy held the "Honk for Methadone" sign. METHADONE PATIENT SUPPORT DEMONSTRATION EVERY SATURDAY MORNING AT 9 A.M. 2600 SE BELMONT STREET
------------------------------------------------------------------- Molokai Gov Candidate Will Halt Drug War ('Molokai Advertiser News' Notes Its Publisher, George Peabody Of Molokai, Has Announced He Is A Libertarian Party Contender To Be Hawaii's Next Governor) Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 04:30:59 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US HI: Molokai Gov Candidate Will Halt Drug War Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: John McClain Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 Source: Molokai Advertiser News MOLOKAI GOV CANDIDATE WILL HALT DRUG WAR Libertarian George Peabody of Molokai Says He Will Seek Votes for Top Office: Governor of Hawaii "Set My People Free," says candidate George Peabody, 1-808-558-8253 email to firstname.lastname@example.org Kaunakakai -- Island politics is about to be liberated and Taxpayers will be freed from monster government, that is if voters elect Libertarian George "Aloha" Peabody to the Office of Governor of Hawaii. He gives Voters a choice like no other being offered in this election: Freedom or continued Taxpayer-Slavery. "No other candidate for Governor wants to reduce government size and costs and restore freedom, liberty, and individual sovereignty to citizens of the State of Hawaii. If elected, I will dismiss all government institutions that do not serve the function that government was intended to do in a free society-protect the citizens' rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I will restore a constitutional republic to Hawaii, and I will resist any interference by the Federal government in the sovereign affairs of Hawaii.." The publisher of Molokai Advertiser News (aka The MA.N.), the longest lived weekly newspaper of Molokai says he is planning to seek the state's highest office. "A Libertarian Party of Hawaii candidate for the Office of Governor would present a very clear choice to voters: Freedom from Big Government vs Taxpayer-Slavery as Republi-Crats' Tax & Spend us all to socialism. Peabody says he is advocating ".....a 50% cut in size of government and taxes, with a corresponding increase in private sector jobs and new businesses created by the wealth Taxpayers will not have to pay to government. I promise to uphold the sovereignty of the State against federal interference by: halting the war on drugs in Hawaii and refusing federal funds for such purposes, and releasing all non-violent offenders from our jails in order to make room for real criminals; public education will be privatized so all students and teachers can attend a private school of their choice, and the political control over development of students will be eliminated thus giving new and reality-oriented education opportunities to all while saving Taxpayers $500,000,000 year." No doubt about: a Libertarian candidate for Office of Governor will give voters a clear choice.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Supreme Court Reviews Rockford Cocaine Case ('Chicago Tribune' Article About 'The Men Who Introduced Crack Cocaine To Rockford, Illinois,' Now Serving Mandatory Minimums Including Life Without Parole, Says The Issue Being Considered By The US Supreme Court Is Whether The Jury Rather Than The Judge Should Have Determined The Type And Amount Of Cocaine Attributable To Each Defendant) Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 03:20:43 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US: Supreme Court Reviews Rockford Cocaine Case Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 Source : Chicago Tribune Section: sec. 1, page 8 Author: Jan Crawford Greenburg, Washington Bureau Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.chicago.tribune.com/ SUPREME COURT REVIEWS ROCKFORD COCAINE CASE WASHINGTON - To prosecutors, the men who introduced crack cocaine to Rockford, Ill., were "modern-day gangster" who deserved every day of their harsh jail sentences. Two got life in prison without a chance of parole. Others got prison terms of 10 to 26 years, also without parole, from U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard, who said he was setting an example. The men maintained they were being punished too severely, and Monday they took those arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court. In an hourlong hearing, the justices considered whether the judge went overboard when he handed down the stiff sentences to members of "The Mob," a Rockford street gang hit hard in a major drug crackdown in 1993. Chicago lawyer Steven Shobat argued that the judge calculated the sentences incorrectly, after making decisions that should have been left up to the jury. The court's ruling could affect numerous other federal drug cases, but it likely would have the most dramatic impact on the two Rockford defendants facing life in prison. If the court accepts their argument, Karl Fort and Reynolds Wintersmith could be out in 30 years. The case touches on the controversial discrepancy between the punishment handed down for distributing powder cocaine and that for crack cocaine. Federal sentencing guidelines punish defendants much more severely for selling crack than for selling powder cocaine, and opponents have long argued the distinction is racist. At issue in the Rockford case is whether the judge can sentence the defendants for selling crack and powder cocaine if the jury, when finding them guilty, did not determine the type of drug involved or the amount. The judge determined the amounts of powder and crack cocaine attributable to each defendant. Shobat argued that because the jury verdict was ambiguous and did not specify whether the defendants were guilty of dealing powder or crack cocaine or both, the judge could not make those findings at sentencing. Instead, where there is no jury finding, the judge is required to sentence the men on the lesser offense, which in this case involved powder cocaine, Shobat said. The argument came on a day when the justices refused to get involved in several other high-profile cases, including one from New Jersey that asked justices to strike down a community-notification statute known as "Megan's Law." New Jersey enacted the law in 1995, after a twice-convicted sex offender raped and murdered 7-year-old Meagan Kanka, who lived near his home. It requires authorities to notify communities and, in some cases, individual residents when convicted sex offenders are living in their midst. Since then, 36 other states, including Illinois, have passed similar statutes. The Illinois law took affect in 1996 and makes available at local police stations the names and addresses of some 3,600 convicted child-sex offenders in the state. Schools and day-care centers receive the information quarterly. The court's decision not to review the New Jersey law does not necessarily mean other state laws will withstand Supreme Court review. Indeed, other challenges are expected but likely will be on different grounds. In the New Jersey case, a group of convicted sex offenders argued that the law placed them in double jeopardy, in violation of the 5th Amendment, because it punishes them more than once for the same crime. After serving their sentences, the men argued, they again were punished by the notification and the public's reaction. Challenges to other community-notification laws are expected to rest on other constitutional provisions, including the right to privacy.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug War A Matter Of Health (Letter To Editor Of 'The Oklahoman' By Mark D. Woodward, Public Information Officer For Oklahoma Bureau Of Narcotics And Dangerous Drugs Control, Says Laws Against Illegal Drugs Are Based On Public Health Concerns, A Demonstrably Untrue Assertion) Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 18:55:23 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US OK: LTE: Drug War A Matter Of Health Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Michael A. Clem, OK NORML Source: The Oklahoman Pubdate: 24 Feb 1998 Contact form: http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus FAX: 405.475.3988 Website: http://www.oklahoman.com/ DRUG WAR A MATTER OF HEALTH To The Editor: Michael A. Clem (''Your Views,'' Feb. 18) rants about the money he believes is being foolishly spent fighting drugs in this country. Mr. Clem, this is not a money issue. It is about health and safety and those whose lives are being torn apart because of drugs. At what point do we stop spending money because it's too expensive to protect children and adults? Clem suggests that the ''War on Drugs'' hasn't worked. He mentioned the 3.6 million chronic drug users in this country. That's less than 3 percent of the population. Thus, 97 percent of this country is staying clear of drugs. Furthermore, drug use in the United States dropped for 12 straight years (1980 to 1992) because of the policing, treatment and education strategies of the drug war. As for decriminalizing drug offenses, Clem should look at other countries that have tried this. Legalization has been a monumental failure; these countries are now strengthening their laws due to increased crime and record addiction rates. Don't be fooled into thinking that legalizing drugs will do anything but add fuel to the inferno. Look what happened when alcohol was legalized. Lifting the ban on prohibition did little to solve alcohol-related accidents, addiction rates and numerous other problems associated with what is currently the most abused drug in the U.S. Mark D. Woodward Public Information Officer Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics And Dangerous Drugs Control
------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Rules Signatures Should Count (Maine Public Radio Says Superior Court Justice Donald Alexander Has Ruled That Mainers For Medical Rights Should Be Allowed To Submit 2,500 Signatures To The Secretary Of State That The City Of Portland Failed To Process On Time - Getting On Ballot Still Unlikely) Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 02:31:02 EST Originator: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Dave Fratello <email@example.com> To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: MPR/Judge rules signatures should count Maine Public Radio "Maine Things Considered" February 24, 1998 5:40 PM Announcer: "A judge has ordered the state to accept petitions that would put the issue of medical use of marijuana to a vote even though the petitioners did not meet the deadline for submitting the signatures. Mainers for Medical Rights blamed the City of Portland for failing to certify the signatures within the ten days required by law. Portland's City Clerk said that the then-looming referendum on gay rights, and an ice storm, had created a backlog of paperwork. They completed the task last week, almost a month late. Today, Superior Court Justice Donald Alexander ruled that supporters of the medical use of marijuana should be allowed to submit those additional 2,500 signatures to the Secretary of State. That pleases the group's attorney, Jamie Kilbreth." Jamie Kilbreth:"I think the judge recognized that the petitioners had done everything they were supposed to do, and because of a combination of circumstances, were going to be deprived of an opportunity to be considered for the ballot, and thought that it was within the equitable powers of the court to fix that. So we're very pleased he made that decision." Announcer: "Kilbreth says that the ruling shouldn't necessarily trigger any changes in the timeframe allowed to verify signatures because Portland's clerks were working under unusually difficult conditions this year. The Attorney General's office had argued that lifting the deadline for the signatures would send a confusing message about restrictions under which all petitioners must operate. But in his decision, Justice Alexander writes, quote, 'There is serious question as to whether the deadlines in the Constitution are as absolute and are as to be mechanically applied as the State urges. There is no question that the petitioners had a right under the Constitution to have their timely presented signatures processed by the City of Portland by January 30th, 1998,' unquote. Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardner says the state has not yet decided whether to appeal the decision." Phyllis Gardner: "We have received Justice Alexander's decision today and we are in the process of reviewing it with the Secretary of State and considering the options." Announcer: "The Secretary of State's office would have to find at least 51,131 signatures valid in order to bring the question to a vote. The group has submitted only about 70 more signatures than they need, and it's not unusual for scores of signatures to be declared invalid. If the petitions make it over that hurdle, the bill legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes would come back before lawmakers, who are likely to send the question out to voters next November." *** NOTE: This story fails to address the additional 400 signatures submitted by Mainers for Medical Rights which were turned in to towns other than Portland before the statutory deadline, but also not processed in time. It is the view of proponents that these signatures will also be counted toward the final total.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Scare Tactics By Drug Companies ('Associated Press' Says US Food And Drug Administration Has Logged More Than 2,500 Reports Of Side Effects, 79 Deaths Associated With Herbal Dietary Supplements - American Association Of Poison Control Centers Is Beginning Study To Track Poisonings From Supplements, Something US Government Has Yet To Do With Most Pharmaceutical Drugs) Date: Tue, 24 Feb 1998 07:41:05 To: Mattalk@islandnet.com From: Kathy Galbraith (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Scare tactics by drug companies By LAURAN NEERGAARD WASHINGTON (AP) - Burkhard Bilger and his wife never had heard that the ancients used the herb pennyroyal to induce abortion. They just liked the tangy mint taste of pennyroyal tea - until she discovered she was two months pregnant, and her doctor asked her to avoid caffeine. Soon after, Jennifer Bilger had a miscarriage. When he learned the tea may have been to blame, ``I was horrified,'' said Bilger, a New York science editor who contends supplements don't come with proper warnings. ``There are a lot of very potent herbs out there. You go into a food co-op, and you don't know what you're getting.'' An Associated Press analysis of Food and Drug Administration records suggests Bilger's experience is not uncommon: The agency has logged more than 2,500 reports of side effects and 79 deaths associated with dietary supplements. About 900 of the illnesses and 44 deaths involved people taking herbal products that contain ephedrine-like stimulants. Other possible culprits range from ``diet teas'' to hormones like DHEA and even high-dose vitamins. Millions of Americans take dietary supplements, particularly the herbs that are the fastest-growing segment. They spent $3.2 billion last year. Supplements promise they'll slow aging, improve memory, clean kidneys, protect the heart, even prevent cancer. There is evidence that certain herbs, vitamins and minerals do help. Folic acid prevents birth defects. Calcium wards off osteoporosis. Many scientists agree that garlic may help lower cholesterol, ginger calms nausea, and valerian is a mild sleep aid. The National Institutes of Health is studying whether St. John's wort is an anti-depressant. But scores of other products have sparse, if any, data to support claims that even some in the industry call exaggerated. The pills, tonics and teas sell with little to guide consumers about what actually works or potential side effects. ``You almost have to be a detective,'' said Mary Ellen Camire, food sciences chief at the University of Maine, who studies natural remedies. Most such products do not raise safety concerns, said Elizabeth Yetley, FDA's chief of special nutritionals, but the agency has listed 16 supplements as risky. ``You're self-medicating,'' notes Mark Blumenthal of the nonprofit American Botanical Council. ``People should learn how to use these products properly.'' The boom in dietary supplements dates to 1994, when Congress shielded them from most government oversight. They sell without prior certification or purity inspections. The 1994 law prohibited supplements from advertising that they directly treat or prevent disease but allowed more vague claims of ``supporting bodily functions.'' The FDA is supposed to intercede only if it proves a supplement poses an unreasonable risk or is marketed as a drug. The result is a gray area where Vitamin A, for example, can advertise as ``essential for healthy vision'' but not to treat eye diseases. Willow bark contains the same chemical as aspirin but doesn't have to carry aspirin's warning: ``Do not give to children or teen-agers with flu or chickenpox because they could develop deadly Reye's syndrome.'' A presidential commission called last fall for changes to clear the confusion. It urged the FDA to review herbal supplements and let those that clearly work sell as over-the-counter drugs - clearly labeled with proved benefits and side effects. The panel also urged that industry provide studies backing a product's claims if consumers request proof, that the FDA act swiftly against risky supplements, and that makers adopt proper warnings. Some in industry already are acting. A new American Herbal Products Association handbook classifies the risks of 700 herbs with suggested warning labels for its 200 member companies. And the botanical council this spring will publish a long-awaited translation of Germany's ``Commission E'' safety and effectiveness evaluations of 300 herbal products, 200 of which were approved as drugs in that country. The document is considered the world's best guide. ``There is a sensitivity in the industry about all the concerns that exist and the need to provide as much information as possible,'' said Annette Dickinson of the Council for Responsible Nutrition. She said the FDA has not acted appropriately against exaggerated claims or, in the ephedra case, risky supplements. The FDA's first response to the presidential commission may come by Tuesday. Officials say they haven't decided whether some supplements can become nonprescription drugs as recommended. Instead, they first will better define just what claims supplements can make - that ``maintaining healthy cholesterol'' could be OK, while ``lowering blood pressure'' would not be. Regulations aside, experts warn that ``natural'' doesn't necessarily mean ``safe.'' Take ephedra. Chinese herbalists made teas from these plants to open clogged airways. But those teas contained just 1 percent ephedrine alkaloids, or stimulants, while modern supplements contain up to 9 percent, Camire said. Pushed as weight-loss or bodybuilding pills, they are taken today for far longer periods, and some are concentrated into herbal variations of the illegal drug speed. Faced with reports of 44 deaths - including heart attacks in healthy college students - the FDA proposed slashing ephedrine dosages in supplements and banning their sale for weight loss or bodybuilding. Yetley acknowledges the FDA lacks a good safety net to catch risks. Consumers and doctors can report suspected side effects, but the information is often too sketchy to pinpoint blame. To help, the American Association of Poison Control Centers is beginning a study to track supplement poisonings.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Five Hundred Treated After Used-Needle Jabs ('Vancouver Sun' Says About 500 British Columbian Public Health And Safety Workers Had To Be Placed On Anti-HIV/AIDS Drug Regimens Last Year As A Precaution After Being Jabbed By Used Needles - Alarming Rate Prompts Lower Mainland Hospitals To Try Out New Safety Syringe) Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 03:02:21 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Canada: 500 Treated After Used-Needle Jabs Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: email@example.com Pubdate: Tue 24 Feb 1998 A1 / Front Source: Vancouver Sun (Canada) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.vancouversun.com/ Author: Pamela Fayerman, Sun Health Issues Reporter 500 TREATED AFTER USED-NEEDLE JABS About 500 health and safety workers had to be placed on anti-HIV/AIDS drug regimens as a precaution last year after being jabbed by used needles. At St. Paul's Hospital alone, there were 80 needlestick injuries in 1997 among hospital employees, 25 of which involved patients who were HIV positive. There has been only one case in B.C. of a health-care worker contracting HIV from a patient through a needlestick injury, according to Dr. David Patrick, an associate director of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. The unidentified worker, who has not yet developed AIDS, was infected a few years ago at St. Paul's, he said. But the alarming rate at which health-care workers, police officers, firefighters, and ambulance attendants find themselves stuck by dirty needles has prompted some Lower Mainland hospitals to try out a new safety syringe. Nurses at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster got trained Monday in the use of the new syringes, which allow the user to sheath the needle as it is withdrawn from the patient. Needlestick injuries occur in a variety of ways -- housekeeping workers can get pricked after nurses fail to either cap conventional needles or nurses may forget to immediately dispose of used syringes in a ``sharps'' bucket. Police officers doing searches of suspects have also been pricked. Last year, the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS at St. Paul's Hospital distributed 500 antiretroviral drug cocktail regimens for community workers pricked by used needles. Occupational health and safety coordinator Nancy McMillan said hospital employees have been educated to seek help within two hours of getting poked. ``We treat everything as a high-risk incident, even though it raises the anxiety level,'' she said. Both patient and the susceptible health-care worker are tested for HIV and Hepatitis A, B and C status at the time of the incident. While waiting for the bloodwork to come back from the laboratory, health-care workers are put on HIV/AIDS drug cocktails. If the tests come back negative, the drug cocktails are abandoned after a few days. If they are positive, the workers remain on the treatment for a month, enduring the fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite that are common side effects. Followup testing continues periodically for a year on the affected workers. HIV/AIDS expert Dr. Martin Schechter said people who go on the newest antiretroviral drugs very quickly after exposure reduce their risk of acquiring HIV by up to 80 per cent. Maureen Carignan, equipment and supplies manager for the Simon Fraser Health Region, said while no one at Royal Columbian Hospital has contracted HIV from a patient there through needlestick injury, workers are justifiably concerned. At about $1 each, the new safety syringes are normally almost 10 times more expensive than conventional syringes, but the region was able to negotiate a lower price, Carignan said. Vancouver Hospital and St. Paul's will convert to the new syringes if the money can be found in their budgets for the next fiscal year. Carole Taylor, manager of employee health and safety at Vancouver Hospital, said there were 209 cases of needlestick injuries among workers last year and a study showed the new needle system would prevent 18 per cent of high-risk injuries. Education programs reminding workers about safe practices is considered an even greater hedge against injury. Judith McGuire, head of the needle exchange program on the Downtown Eastside, said the safety syringes are perfect for hospitals, but wouldn't hold much appeal for drug addicts. ``The theory of using a syringe once, then locking it so it can't be shared sounds great, but the reality with drug addicts is that they use their syringes three to four times before getting them exchanged with new ones. Since they are used only once, it would be virtually impossible to distribute enough,'' she said, referring to the fact that the needle exchange already distributes 2.5 million syringes each year. McGuire said two needle exchange workers got pricked by accident last year, but they went on the prophylactic drug treatment and neither has contracted HIV. Sandra Buckler, public relations manager for the Workers' Compensation Board, said an information booklet on how to prevent blood-borne diseases through needlestick injuries is being produced. -------------------------------------------------------------------
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