Portland NORML News - Friday, February 27 1998

Phone Poll Results - Should State Courts Shut Down Medical Pot Clubs?
(Unscientific 'Orange County Register' Poll Finds 64 Percent Opposes
Shutting Down California Medical Cannabis Dispensaries)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 18:03:51 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Phone Poll Results: Should State Courts Shut Down Medical Pot Clubs?
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998

YESTERDAY'S QUESTION: Should state courts shut down medical pot clubs?

677 Responses



Lungren Claims Ruling Closes San Francisco Pot Club
('San Francisco Chronicle' Notes Dennis Peron Of The San
Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Co-Op And His Lawyer Disagree,
Citing Yesterday's Ruling By Superior Court Judge David Garcia,
Which They Say Will Allow Co-Op To Remain Open)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 18:06:36 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Lungren Claims Ruling Closes S.F. Pot Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Harriet Chiang, Chronicle Legal Affairs Writer


State Attorney General Dan Lungren declared yesterday that the San
Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Co-op is out of business following a San
Francisco judge's ruling that prevents the marijuana outlet from
distributing its goods.

But club founder Dennis Peron insisted that yesterday's ruling by Superior
Court Judge David Garcia allowed the club to stay open.

"The club can go on," Peron said.

The confusion came a day after the California Supreme Court announced that
it would stay out of the politically charged controversy over the legality
of cannabis clubs. On Wednesday, the high court left intact a December
state Court of Appeals decision that cannabis clubs cannot sell pot because
they do not qualify as primary caregivers.

Following the Supreme Court's action, Garcia issued his order prohibiting
the San Francisco pot emporium from ``selling, furnishing, storing,
administering or giving away marijuana.''

Lungren said Garcia's decision reinforces the earlier appeals court ruling
preventing cannabis clubs from peddling marijuana under Proposition 215,
the voter-approved measure that allows marijuana to be provided for
medicinal use.

Lungren said the law allowed only a doctor, a friend, loved one or other
primary caregiver to provide marijuana to patients.

But Peron noted that the judge specifically allowed Peron to distribute
marijuana if he is a "bona fide primary caregiver" as required by state

Peron said his club qualifies as primary caregiver for the sick and dying
who enter his establishment because it provides continued care. He also
maintained that the outlet stopped selling the medical weed when it
reopened in January and has merely received reimbursement for providing
marijuana, as allowed by law.

After the high court action, Matt Ross, a spokesman for the attorney
general, said Lungren's office planned to leave it up to local prosecutors
and sheriffs to decide what actions they should take with regard to pot

"We told them that they should take what action they deem appropriate,"
Ross said.

But Ross said there was no doubt as to the fate of the San Francisco club,
which is the largest in the nation, with 9,000 members. "It closes the
club," Ross said.

Peron and his attorney hotly disputed that interpretation, virtually
ensuring that the two sides are in for more battles in court.

"This (Garcia's) decision does not say that clubs are illegal, period,"
said Peron's attorney, J. David Nick. "It says you must have a consistent
relationship and an individual relationship with the patient."

Decision Barring Pot Club Stands ('Orange County Register' Version)

Subj: US CA: Decision Barring Pot Club Stands
From: John W.Black
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 00:30:31 -0800
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Thu, 26 Feb 1998
Author: Bob Egelko-The Associated Press Register staff writer Stuart
Pfiefer contributed to this report.


State Supreme Court refuses the case.Authorities are expected to move to
close all of them.

San Francisco - The state Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for
possible closure of all medical marijuana clubs in California, leaving
intact a lower-court ruling that a 1996 voter initiative does not allow the
clubs to sell the drug.

The court unanimously denied review of an appellate decision, issued last
December, that said Proposition 215 did not allow anyone to sell marijuana
and did not allow a commercial enterprise to furnish marijuana as a
"primary caregiver."

The appellate ruling is now binding on trial courts statewide.

Dennis Peron, author of Prop. 215 and founder of the San Francisco
enterprise now called the Cannabis Cultivators Club, insisted Wednesday
that the club is no longer selling marijuana but is merely being reimbursed
for cultivation costs and that it is in compliance with the ruling.

But if courts disagree and order a shutdown, "we're going to stay here
until the tanks come," he said.

The state's lawyer in the case said he will ask today that a San Francisco
judge order Peron's club closed, and he expects the closure of all such
operations in California as a result of the ruling.

"Voters did not intend to allow commercial enterprises to sell narcotics,
like Mr. Peron's doing," said John Gordnier, a senior assistant attorney

Federal prosecutors also have asked a federal judge to shut down Peron's
club and five others, saying they are violating federal law against the
possession and sale of marijuana, regardless of Prop. 215.

Two members of the Orange County Cannabis Co-Op are awaiting trial on
charges of selling marijuana. Marvin Chavez, the cannabis club's director,
and volunteer David Herrick contend that they merely gave marijuana to
patients who made voluntary "donations."

The court's ruling came as no surprise to Orange County Deputy District
Attorney Car Armbrust, who is prosecuting the two men.

"It was pretty open and shut: (The clubs) were selling marijuana and
they're not allowed to do that," Armbrust said. "That's bad news for Marvin
Chavez and also for Mr. Herrick."

Jon Alexander, Chavez's attorney, said the court decision is irrelevant.

"That doesn't affect his case whatsoever," Alexander said. "None of the
people who received marijuana from Marvin Chavez were at any time expected
to pay. There was no sale."

Prop. 215, passed in November 1996, allows possession and cultivation of
marijuana upon a doctor's recommendation to ease the pain and nausea of
AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other conditions.

Peron's club, then called the Cannabis Buyers' Club, had been raided three
months earlier by Attorney General Dan Lungren's agents, who said marijuana
was being sold to people without doctors' prescriptions. They got a judge
to shut it down, but it was reopened in January 1997 by Superior Court
Judge David Garcia, who said Prop. 215 allowed a nonprofit organization to
sell marijuana to patients who had named the club as their "primary

But the 1st District Court of Appeal overruled Garcia last December and
said state law prohibits anyone, including a nonprofit organization, from
selling marijuana or possessing it for sale.

"The intent of the initiative was to allow persons to cultivate and possess
a sufficient amount of marijuana for their own approved medical purposes,
and to allow 'primary caregivers' the same authority to act on behalf of
those patients too ill or bedridden to do so," said the opinion by
Presiding Justice J. Clinton Peterson.

He said the only way a patient can obtain marijuana legally is to grow it
or obtain it from a primary caregiver who has grown it.

A primary caregiver - defined by the initiative as an individual,
designated by the patient, "who has consistently assumed responsibility
for the housing, health, or safety of that person" cannot be a commercial
enterprise like the Cannabis Buyers' Club, Peterson said.

The vote was 3-0 to reinstate the closure order. But one appellate justice,
J. Anthony Kline, said the ruling was written too broadly and might make it
impossible for many seriously ill patients to obtain marijuana.

Peron said Wednesday the club had changed its operations because of a
statement in Peterson's ruling that a caregiver, while barred from selling
marijuana, could be reimbursed for the cost of cultivation.

"We're being reimbursed for the marijuana we cultivate legally as
caregivers for these people who have letter from their doctors," he said.

"It may be against the law to sell marijuana but it's morally wrong to let
someone die, and we are saving lives her," Peron said.

Gordnier, the state's lawyer, said the club is ineligible to be a primary
caregiver and therefore cannot operate legally under the court's ruling.

San Francisco Marijuana Club Ordered Closed ('Reuters' Notes
San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia On Thursday Reinstated
Preliminary Injunction Enjoining San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club
From 'Furnishing, Storing, Administering Or Giving Away' Marijuana,
Except In Situations Where It Acts As Primary Caregivers To Patients)

Subj: US CA: Wire: San Francisco Marijuana Club Ordered Closed
From: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 07:38:46 -0500
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Source: Reuters
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Editors note: Please, if anyone finds ANY articles, editorials, published
LTEs, etc. on this unfolding story, send us a copy at editor@mapinc.org


SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco's medical marijuana club was ordered to
close Thursday, a day after the California Supreme Court declined to review
an appellate court decision that ruled the club was illegal.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia reinstated a preliminary
injunction ordering the San Francisco Cannabis Cultivators Club, used by
many sufferers of AIDS and other serious diseases as a source for the drug,
to shut down.

The order said the club's operators were enjoined from ''furnishing,
storing, administering or giving away'' marijuana, except in situations
where they acted as primary caregivers to patients.

Garcia's order came a day after the California Supreme Court let stand a
December appellate court decision that said California's Proposition 215
permitting the use of medical marijuana did not legalize groups like the
Cannabis Cultivators Club.

Dennis Peron, the founder of the San Francisco club and one of the main
forces behind Proposition 215, said the ruling would have little effect on
his group because he and his colleagues were primary caregivers.

``We are a bunch of primary caregivers and it's going to be very tough for
them to prove otherwise,'' Peron said. ``We don't see this order affecting
us very much, except as semantic psycho-babble.''

But a spokesman for California Attorney General Dan Lungren, who has
declared war on the clubs and has vowed to see them shut down, said the
order directly pertained to the San Francisco club and its approximately
8,000 patrons.

``(Peron) is claiming he's a primary caregiver to 8,000 people? It seems
pretty hard for one person to check on 8,000 people,'' said Lungren
spokesman Matt Ross. ``We stand by the court's ruling.''

Proposition 215, which California voters passed in November 1996, allowed
patients and their primary caregivers to possess and cultivate marijuana
for their personal medical use under the advice of a doctor.

An appellate court said, however, that marijuana clubs did not qualify as
primary caregivers and that their existence set the precedent for
widespread distribution of marijuana in places ranging from discotheques to

The Cannabis Cultivators Club, which was previously known as the San
Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club, was the target of an injunction issued by
San Francisco Superior Court in November 1996, before the state law passed.

In early 1997, the court modified its ruling to allow the club to operate,
prompting the appeal from Lungren. The state supreme court's decision
Wednesday appeared to be the final word on the matter.

Pot Club Plans To Do Business As Usual - Loosely Worded Injunction
Open To Interpretation ('San Francisco Examiner' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 15:24:28 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Pot Club Plans To Do Business as Usual
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (jwjohnson@netmagic.net)
Source: San Fransisco Examiner (CA)
Contact: letters@examiner.com
Website: http://www.examiner.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Ray Delgado of the Examiner Staff


Loosely worded injunction open to interpretation

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction
against the Cannabis Cultivator's Club but the future of the pot
cooperative remains hazy due to different interpretations of the ruling.

The injunction issued Thursday afternoon by Judge David Garcia said club
founder Dennis Peron and co-defendant Beth Moore were prohibited from
selling or giving away marijuana at the club's offices. But the order
allows them to provide marijuana "without receiving anything in return" to
persons with whom they had a relationship as a bona fide primary caregiver.

Peron's attorney, J. David Nick, said the order would have no impact on the
cannabis club because Peron considers himself the primary caregiver for the
club's 8,000 customers.

"He is their primary caregiver," Nick said. "He has that consistent
relationship that the law requires and he can receive compensation for that

The loosely worded injunction came on the heels of a state Supreme Court
decision Wednesday upholding an appellate court ruling that prohibits a
commercial outfit from furnishing marijuana as a "primary caregiver" or
selling it.

Judge Garcia scheduled a motion on a permanent injunction against the club
for April 3.

Proposition 215, passed by voters in 1996, allows patients or their primary
caregivers to possess or cultivate marijuana for medicinal use by the
patient upon a doctor's

Attorney General Dan Lungren said the injunction should effectively close
the club because it could not be considered a primary caregiver based on
the appellate court decision issued in December.

"My office has argued all along that Proposition 215 allows for only three
things: a doctor to recommend marijuana, a patient to use marijuana with a
doctor's recommendation, and a primary caregiver - a friend, a loved one, a
neighbor, a nurse who consistently checks on the patient's needs - to
provide marijuana should the patient be unable to provide for himself or
herself," Lungren said in a statement.

But Peron insisted that the club was operating within the confines of the
law as determined by the appellate court and he vowed to keep its doors
open as he believes he is entitled to by Prop. 215. Peron said he would not
be surprised if Lungren raids the club but warned there would be
considerable resistance if he does.

"They've cried wolf so many times, I don't know," Peron said. "If they come
in, we're going to do what we always do: defend democracy and defend Prop.

District Attorney Terrance Hallinan said he had not yet seen the injunction
but he resisted the notion of prosecuting Peron or club members if they
remain in business.

"As long as they operate by the Health Department protocols, we consider
them within the definition of Proposition 215."

Lungren said the appellate court decision applies to all cannabis clubs
throughout the state and that district attorneys in those jurisdictions
were reminded of the court's ruling.

But Oakland Cannabis Club Executive Director Jeff Jones said his club and
others around the state felt that the ruling applied only to Peron's club
and not their own.

"Lungren is kind of getting ahead of himself on this one," Jones said. "He
might use this (decision) as a stepping stone to raid the smaller
facilities like us. If he does, we're here and have been here for a year."

Judge's Ruling Targets San Francisco Marijuana Club ('Sacramento Bee'

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 12:52:56 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Judge's Ruling Targets S.F. Marijuana Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Joel W. Johnson (jwjohnson@netmagic.net)
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Contact: opinion@sacbee.com
Website: http://www.sacbee.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: John Lyons, Bee Correspondent


Founder ordered to stop providing pot

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Superior Court judge Thursday reinstated an injunction
against the Cannabis Cultivators Club that orders the medical marijuana
outlet's founder, Dennis Peron, to get out of the business of selling pot.

Superior Court Judge David Garcia commanded Peron to stop "furnishing,
storing, administering or giving away marijuana at (the club) or any other
location," under the injunction, which was sought by Attorney General Dan

The injunction follows a State Supreme Court decision Wednesday that let
stand a ruling that the club is not a "caregiver" under Proposition 215,
the 1996 law that lets seriously ill people and their caregivers possess

Peron, who co-authored Proposition 215, raised the possibility of civil
disobedience if the state moves to halt his operation.

"If Dan Lungren wants to come and bring in the tanks. . . be my guest," he
said. "Let him carry us out; we've got quite a few wheelchairs up here
that'll make it tough."

J. David Nick, the club's lawyer, said the club is not affected by the
injunction because it is in compliance with the law. It no longer "sells"
marijuana to its members, he said, but is "reimbursed" for cultivation

Attorney general's office spokesman Matt Ross said he expected the club to
comply with the order today. He would not speculate on what action the
state will take if club members refuse to shut down their operation,
saying, "Let's wait and see."

The injunction specifically targets the San Francisco club, and a hearing
on a permanent injunction is set for April. But state officials contend
that all of the state's 20 or so clubs are operating illegally.

Under the injunction, the club would no longer be able to distribute
marijuana as a "caregiver." Club members could conceivably continue to
congregate there to smoke their own marijuana.

The cannabis club's cash bar bustled Thursday, with club members standing
four deep to purchase marijuana that ranged from $30 low-grade Mexican
grass to $60 premium "California green."

Some worried that the club might soon be shut down. "I'll have to get in
line early tomorrow, because we might get raided," said club member Vanessa

"If they shut this down, we will be back on the street looking for our
medicine," said Steven Scott, 25, who moved to San Francisco from Chico
because of the club. "You can't get marijuana legally in Chico."

Others lounging at the club watching a movie on a large-screen television
did not seem fazed.

Proposition 215 passed in November 1996 with about 56 percent of the vote.
Proponents argued that the drug helps the seriously ill by improving their
appetite and alleviating the nausea associated with chemotherapy.

The attorney general's office raided Peron's club about three months before
Proposition 215 passed, and then got an injunction to close it. But Judge
Garcia ordered the club reopened on the grounds that it served as a
"caregiver" under the new law. The 1st District Court of Appeal overturned
Garcia's ruling, and the State Supreme Court backed the appellate court
this week.

San Francisco Judge Orders Co-Op To Stop Selling Pot ('Los Angeles Times'
Version Says California Attorney General Dan Lungren Has Already Contacted
San Francisco Sheriff's Department In A Quest For Someone Who Will Use Force
To Shut Down Dennis Peron's San Francisco Cannabis Cultivator's Co-Op,
Forcing Thousands Of AIDS Patients And Others With Life-Threatening Illnesses
To Buy Their Medicine On Street Or Go Without)

Subj: US CA: San Fransisco Judge Orders Co-Op to Stop Selling Pot
From: Jim Rosenfield
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:53:00 -0800
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: February 27, 1998
Author: Maria L. La Ganga, Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writers


Attorney general says medical marijuana club should be shut down. Founder
vows to keep operating.

SAN FRANCISCO--A Superior Court judge late Thursday ordered the Cannabis
Cultivator's Co-op to stop selling, storing or giving away medical
marijuana, but the defiant founder of the organization said he intends to
stay in business.

The brief decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia set
up another showdown between Dennis Peron, the club's founder, and state
Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren. The two men are both Republican candidates for
governor and die-hard opponents on the issue of medical marijuana.

Lungren's office said the decision means that the club should be shut down
immediately and that the San Francisco Sheriff's Department has been
contacted to carry out that action.

"A preliminary injunction was issued," said Matt Ross, a spokesman for
Lungren. "It calls for the club's closure. It's effective today." But a
spokeswoman for Sheriff Michael Hennessy said the department has received
no notification or order. As of Thursday evening, the co-op was still in
operation. In fact, law enforcement officials and political leaders have
long supported Peron's club and are not expected to move against it.

"We're all together on wanting to make this thing [medical marijuana] work
in San Francisco," said Dist. Atty. Terence Hallinan. "Eighty percent of
the people here voted for it. . . . I've gone in and checked [the co-op]
out. I'm satisfied with the way they're operating. . . . I'm not doing
anything. This is a civil dispute between Lungren and Peron. I'll let them
work it out."

Garcia's decision comes one day after the state Supreme Court cleared the
way for state officials to close down medical marijuana clubs. On
Wednesday, the high court decided not to review a lower court ruling
declaring that Proposition 215 provided no protection for the clubs. The
proposition, written by Peron and passed in 1996, only protected a person's
right to use marijuana to ease the pain and nausea of such ailments as
cancer, AIDS and glaucoma, according to the December lower court ruling.
But it did not provide any right to sell the drug. Peron, however, insists
that he is not selling marijuana and that he is operating legally under
the guidelines set by that December appeals court decision.

"When the Dec. 12 decision came down, we changed our MO to go according to
that decision," Peron said. "We stopped selling marijuana. The court said
it was illegal. But they said we could be reimbursed for the cannabis that
we cultivate as bona fide caregivers for our patients." J. David Nick,
Peron's attorney, said: "There is nothing in Garcia's order to say that
the doors of 1444 Market St. are to be closed and the sheriff shall carry
this order out."

He added that although the order does restrict the manner in which Peron
may distribute marijuana, it continues to allow him "to provide those
individuals who have a health need for marijuana to continue to receive
that service from him." That is not how Lungren sees it.

"My office has argued all along that Proposition 215 allows for only three
things: a doctor to recommend marijuana, a patient to use marijuana with a
doctor's recommendation, and a primary caregiver--a friend, a loved one, a
neighbor, a nurse who consistently checks on the patient's needs--to
provide marijuana should the patient be unable to provide for himself or
herself," Lungren said in a statement.

Nick said that he will return to court Monday to ask for clarification of
Garcia's order. If the sheriff's office makes no move to shut down the
club, Ross said, the attorney general's office "will handle it." However,
he refused to elaborate on what action Lungren would take or when he would
take it.

Peron has been in and out of the courts for more than a year fighting for
his medical marijuana operation, which serves 9,000 patients.

If Lungren sends officers to shut him down, he says, "I'm gonna take a page
out of the civil rights era. I'm gonna go perfectly limp. Let them carry
me away. They'll take our medicine, break down our doors. When they leave,
we'll put back the doors and redecorate."

Pot Club Ordered Out Of Business ('San Jose Mercury News' Version)

Subj: US CA: Pot Club Ordered Out of Business
From: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:43:59 -0800
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: John Lyons Scripps-McClatchy Western Service


Injunction follows Supreme Court ruling against S.F. operation

SAN FRANCISCO -- A judge on Thursday reinstated an injunction against the
Cannabis Cultivators Club that orders the medical marijuana outlet's
founder to get out of the business of selling pot.

Superior Court Judge David Garcia commanded Dennis Peron to stop
``furnishing, storing, administering or giving away marijuana at (the club)
or any other location,'' under the injunction sought by state Attorney
General Dan Lungren.

The injunction follows a state Supreme Court decision Wednesday that let
stand a ruling that the club is not a ``caregiver'' under Proposition 215,
the 1996 law co-authored by Peron that lets seriously ill people and their
caregivers possess marijuana.

``If Dan Lungren wants to come and bring in the tanks . . . be my guest,''
Peron said. ``Let him carry us out, we've got quite a few wheelchairs up
here that'll make it tough.''

J. David Nick, the club's lawyer, said the club will not be affected by the
injunction because it is in compliance with the law. It no longer ``sells''
marijuana, he said, but is ``reimbursed'' for cultivation costs.

Attorney General's Office spokesman Matt Ross said he expected the club to
comply with the order today. He would not say what action the state will
take if club members refuse to shut their operation.

The injunction specifically targets the San Francisco club, and a hearing
on a permanent injunction is set for April. But state officials contend
that all of the state's 20 or so clubs are operating illegally.

Under the injunction, the club would no longer be able to distribute
marijuana as a ``caregiver.'' Club members could conceivably continue to
congregate there to smoke their own marijuana.

Proposition 215 passed in November 1996.

The Attorney General's Office raided Peron's club about three months before
Proposition 215 passed, and then got an injunction to close it. But Judge
Garcia ordered the club reopened because it served as a ``caregiver'' under
the new law.

The 1st District Court of Appeal overturned Garcia's ruling, and the state
Supreme Court backed the appellate court this week.

State Gets Injunction Against Cannabis Club ('Orange County Register' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:33:37 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: State Gets Injunction Against Cannabis Club
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


A day after a ruling against medical-marijuana clubs took effect statewide,
a judge Thursday granted a state request for an injunction against San
Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators Club. The club said its operations would
be unaffected.

"We are abiding by the law," said J. David Nick, lawyer for Dennis Peron,
founder of the club and author of Proposition 215, the medical-marijuana
initiative approved by voters in November 1996. Nick said the club's
continued distribution of marijuana to patients complied with a state
appeals court ruling and Thursday's injunction.

Attorney General Dan Lungren disagreed and said the injunction requires the
club to close its doors.

Doctors' Orders On Medical Pot (Staff Editorial In 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Says That, Although California Supreme Court's Decision To Uphold Closure
Of Dennis Peron's Medical Marijuana Dispensary Is 'Positive Development,'
It Narrows Most Patients' Options To An Untenable Degree,
But Let Them Eat Cake Until Legislature Takes Care Of Problem)

Subj: EDITORIAL: SF Chronicle
From: "Tom O'Connell" 
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 09:16:03 -0800 (PST)
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
PubDate: February 27, 1998
EDITORIAL -- Doctors' Orders on Medical Pot


THE STATE Supreme Court has effectively taken the loosely run
marijuana ``clubs'' out of the business of distributing medical

This is a positive development. The intent of Californians who
voted for Proposition 215 was clear and simple: To give doctors
the ability to prescribe marijuana to ease the pain and nausea of
AIDS, cancer, glaucoma or other conditions. It was not -- as some
of these clubs seem to think -- to blow a huge loophole in
marijuana laws.

The notion that San Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators Club is a
``primary caregiver'' of health treatment is just absurd -- as the
courts have sensibly concluded.

To be sure, the court rulings have narrowed most patients' options
to an untenable degree. Basically, the only clearly legal way for
a patients to obtain medical marijuana would be to grow it
themselves or for their caregivers to grow it.

Thus, the next move should be made by the Legislature, which can
establish clear guidelines to control the distribution of medical
marijuana. If marijuana is to be treated as a serious medicinal
option -- as it should be -- it should be prescribed and handled
with a discernment that is notably lacking at many of the clubs.

California To Shut Cannabis Clubs (How Britain's 'Independent' Sees It)

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 15:42:29 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US CA: (as reported in the UK) California To Shut Cannabis
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Tim Cornwell in Los Angeles
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk


CALIFORNIA'S simmering marijuana wars moved closer to an open showdown
yesterday, with the prospect of a court-ordered shutdown of the state's
marijuana clubs.

The California Attorney General, armed with a sympathetic court ruling, was
to seek an injunction to close up to 20 clubs, his spokesman said.

The clubs, which claim only to dispense marijuana to the sick, sprang up
across the state after California voters legalised the personal medical use
of marijuana. But they have been the prime target for government officials
determined to nip the legalisation of marijuana in the bud.

Dennis Peron, operator of the Cannabis Cultivators Club in San Francisco,
which is said to sell as much as 50lb of marijuana a week to 8,000 clients
from a city centre office building, promised to defy any court order.

"We're going to stay here until the tanks come," he said.

Mr Peron's club is the most visible operation, where pot is freely sold in
what critics say is a party atmosphere thick with marijuana smoke. The club
was raided and shut down once under orders from Attorney General Dan
Lundgren, a conservative Republican now in the thick of his campaign for
the California governorship.

In November 1996, a solid majority of California voters passed Proposition
215, allowing seriously ill people or their "primary care-giver" to grow
and use marijuana on a doctor's recommendation.

Activists in six other states and Washington DC are pushing to put similar
bills on the ballot this year, but President Clinton's administration has
led efforts to contain the fall-out and prevent medical marijuana use
becoming a national phenomenon.

In a hearing next month, US prosecutors will separately seek injunctions to
close at least six clubs. The clubs claim that they serve as the "primary
care-giver" under Proposition 215, giving them the right to supply and sell
marijuana. But the California Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed that
argument after a series of appeals.

"The courts have essentially said that cannabis clubs are not allowed,"
said a spokesman for Mr Lundgren.

It remains to be seen how rapidly his office will move against the clubs,
but there was little doubt that Mr Peron's operation is the first on the
list of closures.

Mr Peron, a larger-than-life California personality, and a gay Vietnam
veteran who co-authored Proposition 215, insists all marijuana is "medical".

His inflammatory statements have not endeared him to clubs in other cities,
where patients are more carefully screened and which operate quietly,
sometimes with the co-operation of local police.

Eight Prison Guards At Corcoran Indicted ('San Francisco Chronicle'
Says California Authorities Tried To Block Investigation
That Led To Federal Civil Rights Charges Being Filed Against Guards
At Corcoran State Prison Who Staged 'Blood Sport' Fights Among Inmates,
Leading To Shooting Death Of One Convict)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:59:19 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: 8 Prison Guards at Corcoran Indicted
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Robert B. Gunnison, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau


Civil rights charges in slaying of inmate

Eight guards at Corcoran State Prison were indicted yesterday on federal
civil rights charges that they staged ``blood sport'' fights among inmates
in which one convict was shot to death by a guard.

The FBI said more indictments were possible, and openly criticized state
authorities for hampering the probe of violence at the prison deep in the
San Joaquin Valley.

``Despite intentional efforts on the part of correctional and other
officials to stymie, delay and obstruct our inquiry, we will continue until
all culpable parties are brought to justice,'' said James Maddock, special
agent in charge of the Sacramento office.

The indictments come more than a year after The Chronicle reported that
high-ranking state prison officials attempted to block the FBI inquiry into
the abuses -- at the same time that corrections director James Gomez was
citing the violence to support requests for billions of dollars in new
prisons. Gomez resigned two months after The Chronicle report.

With chilling precision, the nine-count indictment describes how guards
entertained themselves by allegedly manipulating racial and gang rivalries
to incite fisticuffs in an exercise yard.

``It's going to be duck hunting season,'' one guard said to another as
inmate Preston Tate and another black inmate walked into the yard about
8:45 a.m. on April 2, 1994, the indictment said.

A few minutes later they were battling with two members of a rival gang
known as ``Southern Mexicans,'' but four guards did nothing to stop them,
the indictment said.

Guard Christopher Bethea then allegedly fired two shots, one from a rifle
that shot wooden blocks, the second from a 9mm rifle. The second shot
struck Tate in the head and killed him. Tate was the sixth of seven inmates
shot to death by guards under similar circumstances at the prison since it
opened in 1988.

The four guards then ``prepared false reports containing statements they
knew to be false and misleading to cover up the fact that these defendants
. . . knew the fight would occur and intentionally failed to keep these
inmates free from physical violence,'' the indictment said.

``The law gave these individuals the power to protect, but they used it to
torment,'' said U.S. Attorney Paul Seave. ``These defendants used their
authority to sponsor blood sport. In the process, they violated the civil
rights of individuals and abused their power and public trust.''

A Department of Corrections investigation of the shooting found no
wrongdoing, but a civil suit was filed by Tate's family. A former Corcoran
guard, Richard Caruso, helped keep the issue alive.

At one point in the investigation, Caruso was pursued by Department of
Corrections investigators who tried to keep him from giving prison records
to federal agents in Fresno.

Indicted yesterday were Timothy Dickerson, 38, of Visalia; Michael Gipson,
43, of Caruthers; Truman Jennings, 37, of Visalia; Raul Tavarez, 38, of
Tipton; Jerry Arvizu, 30, of Hanford; Douglas Martin, 54, of Corcoran; John
Vaughn, 42, of Hanford; and Bethea, 33, of Clovis. They were expected to
surrender to authorities in coming days.

All were charged with conspiracy against civil rights and deprivation of
civil rights under color of law, and aiding and abetting. Tavarez was also
charged with lying to a grand jury.

Conspiracy carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, as does each
count of deprivation of civil rights. If death results, however, a life
term is the maximum.

The Department of Corrections said two of the guards have retired; the
remainder have been placed on administrative leave with pay.

One was a lieutenant, two were sergeants, and the remainder were officers.

Critical of the indictments was the California Correctional Peace Officers
Association, the politically powerful union that represents guards.

``CCPOA is shocked by the actions of the United States attorney,'' said
Lance Corcoran, vice president of the union. ``These officers were
following policy and doing their jobs, whether we agree with that policy is
really immaterial.''

That policy, known as the integrated yard policy, requires that gang and
racial rivals use the exercise yard at the same time.

Tipton Kindel, spokesman for the Department of Corrections, said his agency
cooperated fully with the federal investigation.

``We gave them not only the conclusions of the investigators, but also all
of the notes, all of the tape recordings of the interviews,'' Kindel said.
``Anything that the department could possibly do to cooperate with the FBI
and the U.S. Department of Justice has been done.''

He also produced a letter from the FBI asking the department to stay out of
the Tate investigation because it was being handled by the federal

In November 1996, Attorney General Dan Lungren's office opened a criminal
investigation of violence at Corcoran, but Lungren said he did not look
into issues already being probed by other agencies.

Last August, Lungren declared there would be no criminal prosecutions.

``After a thorough review that included interviewing more than 100 inmates
and correctional officers, the state Department of Justice has concluded
its investigation and determined that no criminal charges can be sustained
based on obtainable evidence,'' his office said at the time.

Drugs Worth $245,500 Seized At Checkpoint ('Orange County Register'
Notes US Border Patrol Busts Of A 1981 BMW And 1980 Datsun
With Cannabis, Methamphetamine)

Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 00:29:34 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CA: Drugs Worth $245,500 Seized At Checkpoint
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk:John W.Black
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Source:Orange County Register
Section:news,page 6


U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two drug smugglers within an hour and
seized about $245.500 worth of drugs, officials said Thursday.

Agents at the San Clemente Border Patrol checkpoint inspected a 1981 BMW on
Wednesday night and noticed that the spare tire and the floorboard appeared
to have been modified.

A drug-sniffing dog led agents to 32 packages of marijuana in the spare
tire and a hidden floor compartment. Officials said the haul of marijuana
weighed about 99 pounds and was valued at $80,000.

Less than an hour later, agents became suspicious of a 1980 Datsun and
directed the driver into a secondary inspection lane. A dog again alerted
agents, this time to a false compartment in the glove box. The compartment
contained about seven pounds of methamphetamine valued at $165,500.

Cops Seize 11 Pounds Of Heroin ('San Jose Mercury News' Claims 19-Year-Old
San Jose Man Gave Permission For Search After An Alleged Traffic Violation)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:39:50 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Cops Seize 11 Pounds of Heroin
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


A San Jose man was arrested Thursday after officers found more than 11
pounds of heroin, worth an estimated $2 million on the street, hidden in
his car, Monterey County authorities said.

The discovery was made after Alejandro Torres Lara, 19, was stopped by the
California Highway Patrol at Airport Boulevard and Highway 101 in Salinas
for an alleged traffic violation. Lara gave officers permission to search
his car, and packages were found hidden in the driver's door, authorities

Later, members of a Monterey County drug task force were summoned and
reported finding more drugs in another door.

Lara was booked into a jail on suspicion of possession of drugs, possession
of drugs for sale and transportation of heroin.

Crime, Punishment And Treatment (Op-Ed In 'San Mateo County Times'
By Joseph A. Califano, President Of National Center On Addiction
And Substance Abuse At Columbia University In New York City,
Former Secretary Of Health, Education And Welfare From 1977 To 1979,
Says All Those People In Jails And Prisons Belong There, Now We Want You
To Pay For 'Drug Treatment' For Them, Too - Savings Estimated Using
Assumptions That Should Have Made Drug War Productive Long Ago)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:51:12 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: OPED Califano: Crime, Punishment and Treatment
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Mateo County Times (CA)
Contact: feedback@smctimes.com
Website: http://www.smctimes.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998



IT'S time to open - in the nation's prisons - a second front in the war on
crime. For two decades we have been filling prisons with drug and alcohol
abusers and addicts and, without treatment or training, returning them to
society to resume the criminal activity spawned by their substance abuse.

This is public policy crafted in the theater of the absurd.

Individuals who commit serious offenses such as drug dealing and violent
and property crimes belong in prison. But it is just as much in the
interest of public safety to rehabilitate those who can be redeemed as it
is to keep incorrigibles locked up.

More than 1.7 million people are behind bars in America: 1.6 million in
state prisons and local jails, 100,000 in federal prisons. Eighty
percent-1.4 million inmates-either violated drug or alcohol laws, were high
at the time of their offense, stole property to buy drugs, have histories
of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, or share some mix of these
characteristics. Among these 1.4 million inmates are the parents of 2.4
million children.

Two hundred thousand of these prisoners dealt drugs but don't use them. The
remaining 1.2 million are drug and alcohol abusers and addicts. Some would
have committed their crimes regardless of their substance abuse. But
hundreds of thousands are individuals whose core problem is the abuse and
addiction that prompted their criminal activity. They would be law-abiding,
taxpaying citizens and responsible parents if they lived sober lives.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
estimates that for an additional $6,500 a year, an inmate could be given
intensive treatment, education and job training. Upon release, each one who
worked at the average wage of a high school graduate for a year would
provide a return on investment of $68,800 in reduced criminal activity,
savings on the costs of arrest, prosecution, incarceration and health care,
and benefit to the economy. If all 1.2 million inmates with drug and
alcohol problems got such treatment and training (cost: $7.8 billion) and
only 10 percent became sober, working citizens (benefits $8.256 billion),
the investment would pay for itself within a year of work.

The potential crime reduction is also big league. Expert estimates of
crimes committed by the average drug addict range from 89 to 191 a year. At
the conservative end, successfully treating and training just 10,000 drug
addicts would eliminate 1 million crimes a year.

After three years studying the relationship between prison inmates and
substance abuse, l am convinced that the present system of prison and
punishment only is insane public policy. Despite tougher sentencing laws,
on average inmates are released in 18 months to four years. Even those
convicted of such violent crimes as aggravated assault and robbery get out
in three to four years.

Releasing drug and alcohol addicts and abusers without treatment or
training is tantamount to visiting criminals on society. Releasing drug
addicts is a government price support program for the illegal drug market.

Temporarily housing such prisoners without treating and training them is a
profligate use of public funds and the greatest missed opportunity to cut
crime further.

One of every 144 Americans is behind bars, one of every 60 men, one of
every 14 black men. If we don't deal with alcohol and drug abuse and revamp
our system of crime and punishment, one of every 20 Americans born in 1997
will spend some time in jail, including one of every 11 men and one of
every four black men.e The first step toward sensible criminal justice
policy is to face reality.

Prisons are wall to wall with drug and alcohol addicts and abusers.

Appropriate substance abuse treatment has a higher success rate than many
long-shot cancer therapies.

The common denominator among inmates is not race: it's drug and alcohol
abuse. Though blacks are disproportionately represented in prison,
essentially the same proportion (61 percent to 65 percent) of black, white
and Hispanic inmates are regular drug users. Alcohol is more tightly linked
with violent crime than crack cocaine: In state prisons, 21 percent of
violent criminals were high on alcohol alone at the time of their offenses:
only 3 percent were high on crack or cocaine alone.

ACH year the government builds more prisons and hires more prison guards.

In effect, governors, presidents and legislators keep saying, "If all the
king's horses and all the king's men can't put Humpty Dumpty back together
again, then give us more horses and give us more men."

We need a revolution in the way we think about prisons, crime and
punishment in America. Our political leaders should put some common sense
behind their tough talk by opening a second front in the war on crime with
a heavy investment in treatment and training for the drug and alcohol
abusers they have crammed into our prisons. If they do, the nation's
streets will be safer, and the cost of law enforcement will be lower.

Joseph A. Califano is president of the National Center on Addiction and
Substance Abuse at Columbia University. He was secretary of health,
education and welfare from 1977 to1979

The Wrong Message - Kids Encouraged To Use Alcohol, Drugs (Staff Editorial
In 'San Diego Union Tribune' Comments On The 1997 San Diego Youth
Risk Behavior Survey, Which Says San Diego High School Students
Are Drinking More Alcohol And Smoking More Cigarettes And Marijuana,
And Asserts That When Californians Voted To Legalize Medical Marijuana
In 1996, It Was A Direct Message To Kids That Drugs Are OK)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:22:03 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: The Wrong Message -
Kids Encouraged To Use Alcohol, Drugs
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: nora 
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


Who's to blame that San Diego high school students are drinking more
alcohol and smoking more cigarettes and marijuana? We all are.

Consider the mixed messages we send to impressionable teens:

We tell them drinking is bad for them, then we bombard them with
commercials and advertisements geared toward kids that say beer is cool or

We tell them smoking cigarettes is bad, but then they see Joe Camel and the
Marlboro Man at every turn.

We tell them drugs are bad, then legalize marijuana, supposedly for
medicinal purposes.

The 1997 San Diego Youth Risk Behavior survey found that the number of kids
who say they've tried alcohol, and the number who engage in heavy drinking,
continues to rise. Cigarette smoking is also up. Nearly one in four kids
say they smoke, while more than one in four binge drink, which means
consuming five or more drinks in one sitting. That's very dangerous
behavior for a kid.

We shouldn't be surprised, though. Every time a kid turns on the TV, he
sees a beer commercial. Usually, they're commercials of young people acting
cool. Or worse -- the Budweiser frogs and lizards. There's no question
those commercials are attractive to kids. While many people rail against
tobacco's use of images like Joe Camel to attract kids, the beer industry
does something very similar with the Budweiser frogs. And it's just as

What's more, the alcohol industry produces products directly targeted at
young people. "Alcopops," sweet malted beverages that are nothing more than
alcohol-fortified lemonade and ginger ale, have become the fastest growing
new alcohol product of all time. And that's because of the youth market.

Hypocrisy on drugs is just as bad. When Californians voted to legalize
medicinal marijuana in 1996, it was a direct message to kids that drugs are

The youth risk study showed that nearly half of all high school kids in San
Diego have smoked marijuana and that about one in four has used it in the
last month. Sixteen percent have used harder drugs. Those figures are
steady increases over recent years.

That's no surprise in a state where up until this week, dope dealers were
selling their product retail through marijuana-buyer clubs. The state
Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that Proposition 215 did not
allow anyone to sell marijuana in a commercial enterprise. But until that
court decision, marijuana clubs were selling pot to anybody for any
supposed ailment.

Kids are adept at seeing through hypocrisy. They never buy the adage: Do as
I say, not as I do. They look around and see a thousand messages screaming
at them from television, billboards, magazines and newspapers that tobacco,
alcohol and drugs are OK. And they act accordingly.

Jail, Attorney Say Dons Wasn't Suicidal ('The Oregonian' Tries To Quash
Public Suspicions About Death Of Man In Jail Medical Room Who Had Killed
One Portland Police Officer, Wounded Two Other Members
Of Marijuana Task Force During Warrantless Break-In Of His Home
Based On Testimony They Smelled Cannabis Being Burned In Fireplace
In An Attempt To Destroy Evidence - Paper Still Won't Say
Whether Burned Cannabis Was Found In Fireplace Or Whether Police Lied,
Making Dons Innocent And Leaving Task Force Members Vulnerable
To Hundreds Of Lawsuits, Appeals Of Convictions
Based On Same Cops' Testimony,
Especially About Smelling Pot Burning Or Growing)

The Oregonian
February 27, 1998

Jail, attorney say Dons wasn't suicidal

A sheriff's spokesman says the office made extra
efforts to treat the inmate accused of killing a
police officer

By David R. Anderson
of The Oregonian staff

Steven Douglas Dons talked about the subject of
suicide but never indicated he was contemplating
killing himself, a Multnomah County sheriff's
spokesman said Thursday.

The man accused of killing a police officer and
who killed himself Wednesday in his jail medical
room was like many inmates, said sheriff's Lt.
Brian Martinek. Dons used talk of suicide as a
way to toy with jail staff.

"He talked about it like 90 percent of the people
who come here," Martinek said. "He was playing
with that fact."

Dons would tell the staff that he could commit
suicide if he wanted.

"The next minute he would say something like,
`But I'm not going to do that because I'm not
going to give you guys the satisfaction,'" Martinek

That is not enough to place an inmate on suicide
watch, he said.

The sheriff's office explained Dons' comments
because of confusion about whether he was
suicidal and questions about whether jail staff
should have done more to prevent his death.

But the jail made extreme efforts to treat Dons,
Martinek said. For example, the jail
special-ordered an electrical adjustable hospital
bed. The staff had the side railings modified and
did not put the T-bar over the bed until he was

"That doesn't indicate to me that this facility
wasn't going the extra mile for this person,"
Martinek said.

Dons' attorney, Andrew Bates, said Dons did not
seem suicidal. On Wednesday, Bates said he had
information about treatment that Dons received
that might have a bearing on his death.

But the sheriff's office had not heard from Bates
on Thursday.

"He should have given that to us yesterday
morning," Martinek said.

Bates, who called for an independent investigation
of Dons' death, was unavailable for comment
Thursday. Dons' co-counsel, Gwenn Butkovsky,
said defense investigators were still compiling the

"We have concerns about the atmosphere in
terms of how people are treated and responded
to," she said.

Martinek said Dons was taking four types of
medication: an antibiotic for an infection related to
his catheter; a painkiller; a stool softener; and a
muscle relaxant because of his paralysis. He was
not taking medication for depression.

Officials will not release Dons' medical records
because state law requires the patient or the
executor of his estate to give permission, said
Kathy Page, director of the Corrections Health
Division of the Multnomah County Health

Page said she could not comment on Dons
because of an investigation by the East County
Major Crimes Team, but she said the jail has an
extensive screening and treatment program for
people with mental problems.

When prisoners are booked, the jail staff talks to
the arresting officer to help determine whether the
person has a physical or mental ailment, Page
said. During the booking process, each inmate is
interviewed by a nurse who asks at least 17
medical questions. They include whether the
person is on medication, is suicidal or has ever
attempted suicide.

Even after the inmate is booked, corrections
deputies and medical staff look for signs of
depression or suicidal tendencies.

"They will always act on the conservative side,"
Page said.

If an inmate is judged to be suicidal, he or she is
placed in a separation cell on the intake floor.
Because of the constant traffic of corrections
deputies, the inmates receive a lot of supervision,
Page said.

There are two types of suicide watch - constant
and every 10 minutes. Inmates on suicide watch
are restricted and not allowed items such as eating
utensils and normal bedding and clothing.

But inmates are allowed to stay on the booking
floor for only 72 hours. If they stay longer at the
jail, they might be placed in one of 10 mental
health cells or one of the 10 medical rooms, Page

Signature Count (Paul Loney, A Chief Petitioner
For The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, Says Initiative Campaign Has Gathered
19,447 Signatures So Far)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 10:00:56 -0800
To: octa99@crrh.org
From: blc@hevanet.com (Belmont Law Center)
Subject: Signature count

As of 26 February 1998, we have 19,447 signatures counted and stored.
Thanks and Praises. Please turn in the sheets that you have.

Paul L

Drug Truth (Letter To Editor Of 'Medford Mail Tribune' In Rural Oregon
Says Earlier Published Statements By Brady Webb, Jackson County
Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, Do Little To Promote Understanding
Of Drug Abuse When He Characterizes Cigarettes As A 'Gateway' Drug
To Other Drugs, Especially Marijuana)

Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 12:58:09 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US OR: LTE: Drug Truth
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Olafur Brentmar
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Source: Medford Mail Tribune (OR)
Contact: letters@mailtribune.com
Mail: PO Box 1108 Medford, OR 97501
Fax: 541 776-4376
Website: http://www.mailtribune.com/


Congratulations on the Jan. 13 article about youth smoking.

Prohibition has proven costly and ineffective. Education is a more
realistic approach. However, Brady Webb, Jackson County tobacco prevention
coordinator, does little to promote understanding of drug abuse when he
characterizes cigarettes as a "gateway" drug to other drugs, especially

The concept of "gateway drugs" has long been dismissed by credible
psychiatrists in favor of the study of compulsive and addictive behavior.
To say that tobacco is a "gateway" to marijuana is like saying drinking
alcohol is a gateway to soda-pop.

Actually, marijuana is the only one of these substances that is not physically
addictive. Alcohol and tobacco kill people directly and indirectly,
marijuana does not. Soda and other sugar-laced treats are the first
substance abuse problem. Children will steal it, stash it, cry for it and
then become aggressive and generally unsociable as blood sugar levels

Children learn that "drugs" are bad while they see teachers, doctors and
parents conspire to prescribe chemical dependency (Ritalin), usually
without prior consideration of likely emotional or dietary problems.

Please, Mr. Webb, don't let cultural prejudice destroy your credibility
with absurd comparisons between truly dangerous drugs like tobacco and
alcohol and the relatively benign ones like marijuana. Tell them it's
illegal, laws can be changed. Don't tell them lies that will fuel their
rebellious attitudes.

Honest and objective presentation will eventually be assimilated; hypocrisy
and misinformation will only serve to diminish your message.

William Richardson
Applegate, Oregon

Marijuana, Anti-Car-Tax Initiatives Filed ('Associated Press' Article
In 'Seattle Times' Says Dr. Rob Killian, Who Sponsored Last Year's Washington
State Drug Policy Reform Initiative That Was Rejected 3-2 By Voters,
Has Filed Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure With Secretary Of State's Office)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:49:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Ben 
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
cc: editor@mapinc.org
Subject: HT: ART: Marijuana, anti-car tax initiatives filed
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net
Title: Marijuana, anti-car tax initiatives filed
Source: Seattle Times
Contact: opinion@seattletimes.com
Website: http://www.seattletimes.com/
Author: The Associated Press
Pubdate: February 27, 1998
Will someone please post the text of this initiative?

Marijuana, anti-car tax initiatives filed

by The Associated Press

OLYMPIA - Armed with a simpler proposal, a Tacoma physician yesterday
opened a new campaign to legalize the medical use of marijuana.

Dr. Rob Killian, who sponsored last year's sweeping initiative that was
soundly rejected by voters, filed a slimmer version with the Secretary of
State's Office and said he learned his lesson.

"The public has told us that they support the right of suffering patients
to use medicinal marijuana, and that if presented with a simple,
straightforward initiative, they will vote for it," he said.

Killian's was one of two initiatives filed yesterday.

The other proposal, filed by two Seattle-area businessmen, would eliminate
the dreaded tax on automobile license tabs.

"The `No Car Tax' initiative will give working families more of their own
money to take care of their own needs," co-sponsor Tim Eyman said.

To date, 10 initiatives have been filed. Supporters must collect the
signatures of 179,248 voters by July 2 to earn spots on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Both Killian and Eyman have had some success in the initiative process.

Killian, who runs a health clinic in Tacoma and occasionally recommends
that his patients smoke pot to relieve their suffering, collected enough
signatures to place Initiative 685 on the fall ballot last year.

But state leaders, prosecutors and the Clinton administration rallied
against the proposal, which left open the possibility of legalizing other
drugs such as heroin and LSD and liberalized prison policies for drug

Killian's initiative, which won't be assigned a number for several weeks,
would protect from prosecution patients with terminal or debilitating
illnesses who grow and use marijuana with the consent of a physician. It
also would protect physicians who recommend the use of marijuana and
people who act as primary caregivers for patients.

Eyman's new endeavor is equally controversial. His new initiative would
cut the tax on cars, trucks and motorcycles in half next year and
eliminate it in 2000.

He characterized the $30 to $40 license-tab cut that lawmakers and the
governor have been considering as "chump change," saying the state is
enjoying the benefits of a booming economy and should return some of the
people's money.

The state collects $800 million a year from the motor-vehicle-excise tax.
The money is shared among law enforcement in cities and counties, the
state ferry system, transit agencies, public health departments and the
state's general fund.

Medical Marijuana Backers Try Again (Slightly Different Version
Of 'Associated Press' Article From 'The Herald' In Everett, Washington)

Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 00:29:34 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US WA: Medical Marijuana Backers Try Again
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Thu 27 Feb. 1998
Source: The Herald, Everett, WA, USA
Contact: letters@heraldnet.com
WebPage: http://www.heraldnet.com
Author: Scott North, Herald Writer
Note: Comments can be sent to newmedia@heraldnet.com.


New initiative campaign launched

By HUNTER T. GEORGE Associated Press

OLYMPIA -- Armed with a simpler proposal and financial backing from three
mega-rich businessmen, a Tacoma physician on Thursday opened a fresh
campaign to legalize the medical use of marijuana.

Dr. Rob Killian, who sponsored last year's sweeping initiative that was
soundly rejected by voters, filed a slimmer version with the secretary of
state's office and said he had learned his lesson.

"The public has told us that they support the right of suffering patients
to use medicinal marijuana, and that if presented with a simple,
straightforward initiative, they will vote for it," he said.

Killian's was one of two initiatives filed Thursday.

The other proposal, filed by two Seattle-area men, would eliminate the
dreaded tax on automobile license tabs.

"The 'No Car Tax' initiative will give working families more of their own
money to take care of their own needs," co-sponsor Tim Eyman said.

"Let's get rid of the car tax, the most hated tax in Washington state."

To date, 10 initiatives have been filed with the state. Supporters must
collect the signatures of 179,248 voters by July 2 to earn spots on the
Nov. 3 ballot.

Both Killian and Eyman have experienced success in the initiative process.

Killian, who runs a health clinic in Tacoma and occasionally recommends
that his patients smoke pot to relieve their suffering, collected enough
signatures to place Initiative 685 on the fall ballot last year.

But state leaders, prosecutors and the Clinton administration rallied
against the proposal, which left open the possibility of legalizing drugs
such as heroin and LSD and liberalized prison policies for drug possession.

His new proposal is modeled after Senate Bill 6271, sponsored by Sen.
Jeanne Kohl, D-Seattle. Legislative leaders declined to advance the bill,
saying the voters sent a strong message last year.

Killian's initiative, which won't be assigned a number for several weeks,
would protect from prosecution patients with terminal or debilitating
illnesses who grow and use marijuana with the consent of a physician. It
also would protect physicians who recommend the use of marijuana and people
who act as primary caregivers for patients.

JoAnna McKee, who runs the Green Cross Patient Co-op, an underground clinic
of sorts in Seattle that provides marijuana to the sick, filed a similar
initiative earlier this month, but Killian said the two have reconciled
their differences and agreed to run his proposal.

Killian said he expects more financial support from the three men who
financed last year's campaign: international financier George Soros of New
York, Arizona businessman John Sperling and Cleveland insurance executive
Peter Lewis.

Eyman, meanwhile, was part of the campaign last year that successfully
gathered enough signatures to force the Legislature to consider a proposal
to roll back affirmative action in Washington. Lawmakers are expected to
forward the question to the November ballot.

Eyman's new endeavor is equally controversial. His initiative would cut the
tax on cars, trucks and motorcycles in half next year and eliminate it in

He characterized as "chump change" the $30 to $40 license tab cut that
lawmakers and the governor have been considering. Eyman said the state is
enjoying the benefits of a booming economy and should return some of the
people's money.

The state collects $800 million a year from the motor vehicle excise tax.
The money is shared among law enforcement in cities and counties, the state
ferry system, transit agencies, public health departments and the state's
general fund.

Washington State Medical Use Of Marijuana Act (Final Text
Of Ballot Initiative Filed By Washington Citizens For Medical Rights)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 10:30:46 -0800 (PST)
From: Randy Chase 
To: Turmoil 
cc: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: Re: HT: mmj NOW event report
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

>How bout posting the text of this initiative so's we can read it.

Here you are compliments of Medical Marijuana NOW! PAC:

To all concerned parties and especially the thousands of loyal supporters:
this is an exact copy of the recently filed initiative. There are several
word changes from previous posting prior to actual filing in Olympia.

Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act


NEW SECTION: Sec. 1. Title.

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Washington State Medical
Use of Marijuana Act.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. Purpose and Intent.

The People of Washington State find that some patients with terminal or
debilitating illnesses, under their physician's care, as defined in this
act, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Some of the
illnesses for which marijuana appears to be beneficial include
chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients; AIDS wasting
syndrome; severe muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and
other spasticity disorders; epilepsy; acute or chronic glaucoma; and some
forms of intractable pain.

The People find that humanitarian compassion necessitates that the
decision to authorize marijuana for use by patients with terminal or
debilitating conditions, as defined under this act, is a personal,
individual decision, based upon their physician's professional medical
judgment and discretion.

Therefore, the people of the State of Washington intend that:

Qualifying patients with terminal or debilitating conditions, as defined
by this act, who, in the judgment of their physicians, would benefit from
the use of medical marijuana, shall not be found guilty of a crime under
state law for their possession and limited use of marijuana;

Persons who act as primary caregivers to such patients, as defined under
this act, shall also not be found guilty of a crime under state law for
assisting with the medical use of marijuana; and

Physicians also be excepted from liability and prosecution for the
authorization of marijuana use to qualifying patients for whom, in the
physician's professional judgment, medical marijuana may prove

NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. Non-Medical Purposes Prohibited
Nothing in this act shall be construed to supersede Washington State
law prohibiting the acquisition, possession, manufacture, sale, or use of
marijuana for non-medical purposes.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. Protecting physicians authorizing the use of medical

A physician licensed under chapter 18.71 RCW or chapter 18.57 RCW shall
be excepted from the state's criminal laws and shall not be penalized in
any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for:

1. Advising a qualifying patient about the risks and benefits of medical
use of marijuana or that the qualifying patient may benefit from the
medical use of marijuana where such use is within a professional standard
of care or in the individual physician's medical judgment; or

2. Providing a qualifying patient with valid documentation, based upon
the physician's assessment of the qualifying patient's medical history
and current medical condition, that the potential benefits of the medical
use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the
particular qualifying patient.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. Protecting qualifying patients and primary

1. If charged with a violation of state law relating to marijuana, any
qualifying patient who is engaged in the medical use of marijuana, or any
designated primary caregiver who assists a qualifying patient in the
medical use of marijuana, will be deemed to have established an
affirmative defense to such charges by proof of his or her compliance
with the requirements provided hereunder. Any person meeting the
requirements appropriate to his or her status under this act shall be
considered to have engaged in activities permitted by the act and shall
not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, for
such actions.

2. The qualifying patient, if eighteen years of age or older, shall:

(a) Meet all criteria for status as a qualifying patient, as that term
is defined in this act;

(b) Possess no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient's
personal, medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty day
supply; and

(c) Present his or her valid documentation to any law enforcement
official who questions the patient regarding his or her medical use of

3. The qualifying patient, if under eighteen years of age, shall comply
with the requirements of section 5(2) (a) and (c) of this act; provided,
however, that any possession under section 5(2)(b) of this act, as well
as any production, acquisition, and decision as to dosage and frequency
of use, shall be the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian of
the qualifying patient.

4. The designated primary caregiver shall:

(a) Meet all criteria for status as a primary caregiver to a qualifying
patient, as that term is defined in this act;

(b) Possess, in combination with and as an agent for the qualifying
patient, no more marijuana than is necessary for the patient's personal,
medical use, not exceeding the amount necessary for a sixty day supply;

(c) Present a copy of the qualifying patient's valid documentation
required by this act, as well as evidence of designation to act as
primary caregiver by the patient, to any law enforcement official
requesting such information;

(d) Be prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal,
medical use of the patient for whom the individual is acting as primary
caregiver; and

(e) Be the primary caregiver to only one patient at any one time.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. Definitions.

1. "Medical use of Marijuana" means the production, possession, or
administration of marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(q), for the
exclusive benefit of a qualifying patient in the treatment of his or her
terminal r debilitating condition.

2. "Primary caregiver" means a person who:

(a) is eighteen years of age or older;

(b) is responsible for the housing, health, or care of the patient; and

(c) has been designated in writing by a patient to perform the duties of
primary caregiver under this act.

3. "Qualifying Patient" means a person who:

(a) is a bona fide patient of a physician licensed under chapter 18.71
RCW or 18.57 RCW;

(b) has been diagnosed by that physician as having a terminal or
debilitating condition;

(c) is a resident of the State of Washington at the time of such

(d) has been advised by that physician about the risks and benefits of
the medical use of marijuana; and

(e) has been advised by that physician that they may benefit from the
medical use of marijuana.

4. "Terminal or Debilitating Medical Condition" means:

(a) cancer, human immune deficiency (HIV) disease, multiple sclerosis,
epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders; or

(b) intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this act to mean pain
unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications; or

(c) glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this
act to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard
treatments and medications; or

(d) any other medical condition duly approved by the Washington State
Medical Quality Assurance Board as directed in this act.

5. "Valid Documentation" means:

(a) A statement signed by a qualifying patient's physician, or a copy of
the qualifying patient's pertinent medical records, which states that, in
the physician's professional opinion, the potential benefits of the
medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for a
particular qualifying patient; and

(b) Proof of Identity such as a Washington State driver's license or
identity card, as defined in RCW 46.20.035.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. Additional protections.

1. The lawful possession or manufacture of medical marijuana as
authorized by this act shall not result in the forfeiture or seizure of
any property.

2. No person shall be prosecuted for constructive possession,
conspiracy, or any other criminal offense solely for being in the
presence or vicinity of medical marijuana or it's use as authorized by
this act.

3 The state shall not be held liable for any deleterious outcomes from
the medical use of marijuana by any qualifying patient.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. Restrictions, and Limitations Regarding the Medical
Use of Marijuana.

1. It shall be a misdemeanor to use or display medical marijuana in a
manner or place which is open to the view of the general public.

2. Nothing in this act shall require any health insurance provider to be
liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of marijuana.

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

4. Nothing in this act shall require any accommodation of any medical
use of marijuana in any place of employment, in any school bus or on any
school grounds, or in youth center.

5. It shall be a Class C felony to fraudulently produce any record
purporting to be, or tamper with the content of any record for the
purpose of having it accepted as, valid documentation under section

6. No person shall be entitled to claim the affirmative defense provided
in Section 5 for engaging in the medical use of marijuana in a way that
endangers the health or well-being of any person through the use of a
motorized vehicle on a street, road, or highway.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. Addition of Medical Conditions.

The Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Board, or other
appropriate agency as designated by the Governor, shall accept for
consideration petitions submitted by physicians or patients to add
terminal or debilitating conditions to those included in this act. In
considering such petitions, the Washington State Medical Quality
Assurance Board shall include public notice of, and an opportunity to
comment in a public hearing upon, such petitions. The Washington State
Medical Quality Assurance Board shall, after hearing, approve or deny
such petitions within one hundred eighty days of submission. The approval
or denial of such a petition shall be considered a final agency action,
subject to judicial review.

NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. Severability.

If any provision of this act or its application 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.

Footnotes and misc. information.

This initiative was filed in Washington State on February 26, l998. There
are three sponsors of the filing to show public unity and diverse
supporters. Sponsors include Karen Pehoushek who is a multiple sclerosis
patient and member of the Green Cross patient co-operative; Judith Seeley,
wife of the late Ralph Seeley; and Dr. Robert Killian, Tacoma physician
and a national activist in the fight for the medicalization of marijuana.

After 4 to 5 weeks of processing in the Secretary of State's office the
initiative will emerge with an official ballot title and summary and
permission to print and circulate. The printed petitions must conform to
exact format prescribed by statute..

Under Washington statute the drive for signatures will end on July 2nd
and on that date approximately l88,000 valid registered voter signatures
must be turned in to proceed to the November ballot. Because there are
always many duplicate signatures, non-registered signers, etc., all
petition drives. to the ballot must include a healthy cushion. Thus the
signature goal will be in the neighborhood of 240,000.

This posting and information furnished as a joint effort by Medical
Marijuana Now PAC and Washington Citizens for Medical Rights.

On to Victory in November, George Bakan.

Maine News - Secretary Of State Counting Mainers For Medical Rights'
Petitions (News Release From Dave Fratello Of Americans For Medical Rights
Says Signatures Portland Officials Sat On Will Be Counted, Medical Marijuana
Initiative Petition Could Officially Qualify For November 1998 Ballot
Within 30 Days)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 15:46:20 EST
Errors-To: manager@drcnet.org
Reply-To: 104730.1000@compuserve.com
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Dave Fratello (104730.1000@compuserve.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Maine NEWS - Sec. of State counting MMR pet'ns


AUGUSTA, MAINE, Friday Feb. 27 -- The legal battle in Maine is over, and
the petition by Mainers for Medical Rights (MMR) could officially qualify
for the November 1998 ballot within 30 days.

Today the Secretary of State declined to appeal a decision from earlier
this week by Judge David Alexander, in which the elections official was
ordered to count and verify the signatures submitted by MMR, despite the
fact that some were submitted to the state after the official February 2
deadline. A final total of 51,575 validated signatures were submitted, a
total of 444 over the required 51,131.

Signatures submitted to the state in Maine have already been validated by
individual cities and towns. Typically some signatures are still
invalidated at this stage, but only for one of three technical reasons: 1)
the town registrar who validated the signatures was not the proper,
registered official, 2) the circulator who handled a given petition was not
registered to vote in the town stated on the petition, or 3) the notary who
witnessed the petition with the circulator was not licensed or in good
standing as a notary. Mainers for Medical Rights are confident that
comparatively few signatures will be lost at this stage, because the
signature-gathering drive was carefully managed and quality-controlled.

The Secretary of State had indicated a desire to challenge Judge
Alexander's order, for fear that petition deadlines in Maine could be
viewed increasingly as flexible, and also to avoid a precedent that might,
in the future, lead towns to ignore deadlines they are ordered by law to
obey. The decision to move ahead with MMR's petition ended the confusion
surrounding the effort.

The controversy, and legal fight, began when MMR was unable to turn in
sufficient signatures to the state on Feb. 2, due only to the city of
Portland's failure to validate over 3,000 signatures turned in to the city
by the January 23 deadline. Instead, MMR turned in about 49,000 signatures
on Feb. 2 and sued both Portland and the Secretary of State. Portland was
ordered to validate the signatures in the town's possession, and the
Secretary of State was ordered to overlook the Feb. 2 deadline in order to
process petitions that were turned in on time by MMR.

The Portland law firm of Verrill & Dana handled the lawsuit for MMR, with
attorney Jamie Kilbreth heading up the effort.

Lawyer Rips Decision On Border Shooting ('Houston Chronicle'
Quotes Lawyer Representing Family Of West Texas Teen Goatherder Shot To Death
By Camouflaged Marines On Anti-Drug Patrol Saying US Justice Department
Civil Rights Investigation Was A Farce)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:49:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US TX: Lawyer Rips Decision on Border Shooting
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Thaddeus Herrick


Justice Dept. apparently won't probe teen death

EL PASO -- A lawyer representing the family of a West Texas youth shot to
death by Marines on an anti-drug patrol decried Thursday the Justice
Department's apparent decision not to pursue civil rights charges.

"If an ordinary citizen were to kill an endangered species, the government
would try to send him to prison," said Bill Weinacht, a Pecos lawyer
representing the family of Esequiel Hernandez.

"But when the government kills a good Mexican-American kid on the border,
they let everyone walk away scot-free."

Hernandez, 18, encountered a four-man Marine patrol in the border town of
Redford last May while herding his goats, inexplicably firing his vintage
.22-caliber rifle twice toward the soldiers.

His death sparked a debate over the role of the military on the border and
led to the Pentagon suspending foot patrols by armed soldiers.

Weinacht said the Justice Department has a conflict of interest in the case
because it oversees the Border Patrol, which supervised the Marines at the
time of the shooting. The lawyer said he believes the federal grand jury
looking into the matter was never asked to vote to indict, nor was the
Hernandez family called to testify, he said.

"How in America can a good boy be shot down a few hundred yards from his
house by Marines in full camouflage carrying M-16s?" Weinacht said.

The Justice Department decision is not yet official, though it has been
relayed through members of Congress. An announcement is expected any day.

A Presidio County grand jury in August decided not to bring charges against
Cpl. Clemente Banuelos, who fired the fatal shot, concluding that the
Marine was following orders.

Still pending are a civil claim brought by the Hernandez family and a
Marine investigation. In addition, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio,
chairman of the House Immigration subcommittee, has suggested that his
panel look into the matter in greater detail.

Testimony in the federal grand jury probe ended last month in Pecos. While
critics were skeptical that the investigation would lead to an indictment,
they were heartened that the prosecutor in the case was Barry Kowalski, who
won convictions against the Los Angeles Police Department in the Rodney
King beating case.

But Weinacht said that while Kowalski agreed with him that Hernandez was a
good person, the prosecutor had presided over a farce.

"The Attorney General (Janet Reno) made the decision not to pursue charges
against anyone in this case," he said.

Inquiry Into Goatherd's Slaying Ends ('Los Angeles Times' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:46:59 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Inquiry Into Goatherd's Slaying Ends
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: Friday, February 27, 1998


WASHINGTON--The Justice Department has closed its civil rights
investigation into the death of a Redford, Texas, teenager shot by a Marine
during a Southwest border drug patrol, a congressman said Thursday.

But Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Texas), who chairs the House immigration
subcommittee, said he will open an inquiry of his own into the May 1997
death of 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez Jr.

Hernandez's family is pursuing a civil claim against the government. Smith
said Justice Department officials told him earlier this week that they had
wrapped up their civil rights investigation against Marine Cpl. Clemente
Banuelos and would take no further action.

The decision came after a federal grand jury in Pecos investigating the
shooting concluded its work, issuing no indictments. Banuelos fired the
shot that killed Hernandez as the youth was tending to his herd of goats.

"The shooting death of Esequiel Hernandez remains troubling," said Smith,
who has questioned the Border Patrol's role.

A Justice spokeswoman declined to comment.

Banuelos' lawyer didn't return a call.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

Eight Marines Are Reportedly Cleared In Shooting Death
('San Diego Union Tribune' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:23:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: 8 Marines Are Reportedly Cleared in Shooting Death
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: nora 
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Lola Sherman, Staff Writer


A Texas congressman has said the Justice Department will not file criminal
civil rights charges against four Camp Pendleton Marines involved in the
slaying of a young goatherd nine months ago.

The shooting took place the evening of May 20 near Redford, Texas, the home
of the 18-year-old victim, Esequiel Hernandez Jr.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee,
issued a press release yesterday saying he learned just a few days ago that
a grand jury inquiry into a possible civil rights case concluded Jan. 8,
apparently with a recommendation not to prosecute.

Jerald Crow, an attorney for one of the Marines involved, said yesterday
that he had heard that Attorney General Janet Reno is to announce that
decision today.

Press officers at the Justice Department said yesterday that they could not
discuss Reno's intentions.

Smith said he has initiated his own inquiry but he gave no details.

"The shooting death of Esequiel Hernandez remains troubling," he said in
his news release. "The public has a right to know who is responsible for
this death. But no one is being held accountable."

"This is a death that did not have to happen," Smith said, "and raises
serious questions about training and supervision by the Border Patrol,"
which was directing the Marines.

In Texas, members of the Redford Citizens' Committee for Justice weren't
satisfied, either.

The Rev. Melvin La Follette, a retired Episcopal priest who heads the
organization, said the group is just waiting to see what the federal
government will do about the allegation of a civil rights violation before
filing a civil suit on behalf of the entire community of 100 residents.

La Follette faulted a state grand jury, comprised of several government
employees or spouses, that exonerated the Marines last summer.

"When the fox investigates the chicken coop, he's not going to find any
hens missing," La Follette said. "At least there are civil recourses and
whatever kind of political process."

La Follette said the townspeople blame the Border Patrol agents who gave
the command to fire on Hernandez more than the young Marines who, he said,
are trained to obey orders.

The Marines were helping with a Border Patrol campaign aimed at identifying
illegal immigrants and drugs crossing into Texas from Mexico.

Simon Garza, the Border Patrol's new chief patrol agent for the area that
includes Redford, said he has offered his condolences to the Hernandez
family and added, "My agenda is to assure that it does not happen again."

Garza, who was not in charge at the time of the shooting, said joint
operations involving the Marines and his agency are in abeyance but could
be reactivated.

"We do have a mission to accomplish, a dangerous mission," he said, noting
that in the past fiscal year 20 tons of marijuana and 10,000 pounds of
cocaine were intercepted in the area.

Bill Weinacht, attorney for the Hernandez family, said, "We have a claim
pending with the Justice Department that has not been denied at this time."

A Camp Pendleton spokesman, Lt. Philip Schrode, said base officials are
referring all calls about the case to Jack Zimmermann, the attorney for
Cpl. Clemente Banuelos, who fired the fatal shot.

Schrode would not say whether the four Marines are still at Camp Pendleton.

Zimmermann was not in his Houston office yesterday and could not be
contacted for comment, but attorneys for the other Marines said three of
them remain in the service.

Crow said his client, Lance Cpl. James Blood, has mustered out and now
lives in the Pacific Northwest. Blood said publicly during the state grand
jury hearings that Hernandez had fired twice at the Marines, camouflaged to
blend in with the local terrain, and was pointing the gun a third time,
right at him, when Banuelos shot the youth and saved Blood's life.

Hernandez, a third-generation resident of Redford, was tending to the
family's goats at the time. The family said the teen-ager always carried
his World War I-era .22-caliber rifle to protect the herd.

Both Crow and Michael Gross, attorney for one of the other Marines in the
contingent involved in the shooting, Cpl. Roy Torrez, said they had
received no official notice of any decision by the Justice Department, but
would welcome news that the Marines would not be prosecuted on civil rights

"Yes, I believe it's a second vindication," Crow said. "I personally would
consider it a great victory."

Gross agreed.

"The Marines were just doing what they had been told to do," he said.

The four private attorneys, all former Marines now living in Texas, were
hired by the government to represent the Marines.

Dan Hagood, who represented the fourth Marine, Lance Cpl. Robert Weiler
Jr., said he would not comment until he receives official notification of
the Justice Department ruling.

Drug Deaths ('Washington Post' Quoted By 'Toronto Star'
Saying 140,000 Americans Die Every Year From Side Effects
Of Prescription Drugs, 'Many Times The Estimated 10,000 Who Die
From Recreational Drugs Such As Cocaine And Heroin')
Link to similar quote
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 12:45:52 -0500 From: Carey Ker (carey.ker@utoronto.ca) Subject: Drug deaths To: mattalk@islandnet.com Priority: Normal Delivery-Receipt-To: Carey Ker Hi all, The Globe and Mail ran this little blurb in today's edition. Has anyone seen the source article originally published in The Washington Post? Thanks, Carey *** Drug deaths "Researchers calculate that about 140,000 [Americans] a year die from side effects of prescribed medication," says The Washington Post, "many times the estimated 10,000 who die from recreational drugs such as cocaine and heroin."

Increase In Prescription Drug Deaths Is Reported ('San Diego Union Tribune'
Account Of Research At University Of California At San Diego, To Be Published
Tomorrow In Britain's 'Lancet,' Is Based On Review Of Federal Database
Of Death Certificates Filed Between 1983 And 1993 In Every State -
Prescription Drug Errors Kill Thousands More Americans Every Year
Than They Did A Decade Ago, A Greater Rate Of Increase Than Any Other Cause
Of Death Except AIDS - Number Of Deaths Attributed To Medication Errors
Rose Twofold For Hospital Patients, But Eightfold For Outpatients)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:26:10 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Increase in Prescription Drug Deaths is Reported
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: nora 
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Cheryl Clark, Staff Writer


UCSD researchers tie results to managed care

Prescription drug errors kill thousands more Americans a year than they did
a decade ago, raising concerns that fast-growing managed care systems may
not be paying enough heed to how their patients respond to medication,
three UCSD researchers report.

"We need to ask whether changes in the way we deliver medical care may have
increased the risk of death" from prescription drug mistakes, said
sociologist David Phillips, lead author of a letter printed in tomorrow's
issue of the British medical journal The Lancet.

Phillips, psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld and graduate student Laura
Glynn, all of UCSD, drew their study from a federal database of death
certificates filed between 1983 and 1993 in every state.

They found that deaths attributed to medication errors -- mistakes in the
type of medication or the dosage level prescribed -- rose more than twofold
in that period, a greater rate of increase than any other cause of death
except AIDS.

What was surprising, however, was that the number of deaths attributed to
medication errors rose only twofold for hospital patients, but for
outpatients the increase was more than eightfold.

The rates of increase were much higher than the increases in prescription
drug sales or in the population of the United States in that period, they
said. The deaths occurred in all ages and races, although they found the
highest increases in black and white males.

Health officials in Sacramento were cautious, saying they doubted the
increases could be attributed to managed care's cost cutting.

Dr. David Werdegar, head of the statewide Office of Health Planning and
Development, which studies hospital costs and quality, wondered whether the
people who died were in any managed care system at all.

Perhaps, they weren't, "but would have gotten better follow-up care that
would have avoided that death if they had been. I have some skepticism,
particularly when they lay this at the feet of managed care," he said.

The authors said they pointed at managed care because patients in 1993 were
more likely to receive treatment in an outpatient setting, such as a
doctor's office or an emergency room, rather than in a hospital bed than
they were in 1983, a trend largely dictated by managed care's desire to cut
health costs.

In this 10-year period, they wrote, the number of outpatient visits
nationwide increased by 75 percent while the number of hospitalization days
fell by 21 percent, according to national hospital statistics.

"What we see is that an enormously increasing number of patients are being
put out earlier on their own to deal with the effects of potentially lethal
medications," said Christenfeld, one of the researchers. "What health
maintenance organizations are good at is saving money; what they're not
good at is having doctors spend a good amount of time with patients."

What's troubling is that a medication error is much more likely to go
unnoticed or uncorrected if the drug is administered in an outpatient
setting, they said.

The researchers emphasized that the death certificates did not specify who
caused the error -- the pharmacy, the prescribing physician, a nurse, the
patient's family or the patient.

But the researchers said they found one important clue that points a finger
to managed care rather than patient error. The largest increase in deaths
due to medication error involved anesthesia and narcotic painkillers.

"These are medicines that would not normally be taken by the patient
himself, but would more likely be administered by a physician or nurse in
an outpatient setting," such as an emergency room or doctor's office,
Phillips said. A decade ago, the patient would have been more likely to
receive those drugs as a hospital patient.

The researchers hypothesized that the increase in death may be due to
patients given prescriptions and then sent home, where they are the only
ones in control of their medication.

"It is thought to be increasingly difficult for physicians to maintain the
continuity and quality of their relationships with patients" today compared
with 1983, they wrote.

Other health officials were also skeptical of the study.

"Unless these researchers can demonstrate something about the managed care
system that is causing this, I don't think they have any grounds for
claiming this has something to do with managed care," said Maureen O'Haren,
executive vice president for the California Association for Health Plans,
which represents nearly all health maintenance organizations in the state.

Dr. Brian Blackbourne, medical examiner for San Diego County since 1990,
said he hadn't noticed any increase in death from medication errors and
also questioned the UCSD report.

Phillips acknowledged that the statistics could not tell whether the deaths
occurred in people who were enrolled in managed care plans.

"The nearest we can say is that this increase in deaths from medication
errors appears to be associated with a change in the way medical care is
delivered," he said. "And that may very well be associated to trends in
managed care."

The researchers said they plan more studies to focus on where these kinds
of errors occur. Phillips said they want to know which regions of the
country, what ages of patients and which illnesses and conditions are
likely to lead to these kinds of fatal mistakes.

Phillips emphasized that the initial findings "do not necessarily signal
that the health care system should immediately return to inpatient care.

Rather, it may be a signal that we should increase our careful monitoring
of medications for our patients."

He pointed to the eightfold increase in medication error deaths among
outpatients as the strongest finding.

"There's no chance of them happening by chance alone. This kind of an
increase is an enormous one."

Acne Drug Bolsters A Warning About Depression ('Washington Post'
News Service Item In 'International Herald Tribune'
Says US Food And Drug Administration And Hoffman LaRoche,
Manufacturer Of Accutane, Will Add A More Prominent Warning
After The Agency Received As Many As 20 Reports Of Depression
Linked To Its Use - No Word On Whether Victims Have Any Legal Recourse,
But 20 Percent Of Teens Experience At Least One Depressive Incident,
And Rate Is Higher Among Those With Severe Acne)

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 15:15:00 +0000
To: press@drugtext.nl, editor@mapinc.org
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: ART: Acne Drug Bolsters a Warning About Depression

International Herald Tribune Feb 27 1998
contact: iht@iht.com

Acne Drug Bolsters a Warning About Depression
By John Schwartz
Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON---The U..S. Food and Drug Administration and the drugmaker
HoffmanLaRoche Inc. have announced that the company is adding a more
prominent warning to users of the popular prescription acne drug Accutane
after the agency received as many as 20 reports of depression linked to
its use.

Jonathan Wilkin, director of the FDA's division for dermatologic and
dental drug products, said that the agency had found some evidence that the
drug may be causing depression and psychosis, although it could not
determine the rate of side effects among patients.

The drug; also known as isotretinoin, was approved by the FDA in 1982 for
the treatment of a particularly severe form of nodular acne that resists
other treatments and can result in scarnng.

"This is just the very worst kind of acne," said Kellie McLaughlin, a
spokesman for HoffmanLaRoche. ''The face that breaks your heart.''

The drug has been used by 8 million people worldwide in 80 countries. Ms.
McLaughlin said.

The company noted that teenagers are already at high risk to contract

About 20 percent of teenagers experience at least one depressive incident.
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And severe acne has also been associated with depression because of its
effect on appearance and possibly because the hormones associated with acne
can also contribute to the mental condition.

"We don't believe there's any causality, any cause and effect'' between
the drug and depression, Ms. McLaughlin said. Nevenheless the company
decided to warn physicians as a ''precautionary" measure. she said.

The FDA found as many as 20 cases in which patients who reported
depression became better after being taken off the drug and then felt worse
after taking it again.

That pattern is enough tor us to say there is an association,'' Mr. Wilkin

''Even without causality, even without a mechanism, we think it is prudent
to let physicians know about this.''

Further research should show whether the warning should eventually be
strengthened or dropped, he.said.

Mr. Wilkin said the drug was ''uniquely effective---there really isn 't
anything etse out there that can help this group'' of patients.

The possibility of depression from the drug has been recognized since soon
after it began to be. used, and the company has noted that risk along with
other possible side effects in materials provided with the medicine since
1986. But that warning was not particularly prominent.


The drugtext press list.
News on substance use related issues, drugs and drug policy

Drug Makers See A Risky New Role For Nicotine
('Wall Street Journal' Suggests That, 'With New Research Revealing
That Nicotine Is More Benign Than Previously Thought,'
Pharmaceutical Companies Are Weighing The Pitfalls - And Potential Profits -
Posed By The Possibility That Some Former Tobacco Smokers
May Want To Sustain Their Nicotine Habits For Years With Patches, Sprays)

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 15:19:13 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: WSJ: Drug Makers See A Risky New Role For Nicotine
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" (tjeffoc@sirius.com)
Source: Wall Street Journal
Author: Suein L. Hwang, Staff Reporter Of The Wall Street Journal
Contact: editors@interactive.wsj.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Page: B 1


Cigarette makers may be facing an unusual rival as long-term suppliers of
nicotine fixes: the pharmaceutical industry.

For the past 14 years, drug companies have sold nicotine patches and gums
with the single-minded goal of helping people quit smoking. Now the drug
makers are talking with federal regulators about promoting their nicotine
products to those among the nation's 50 million smokers who merely want
to cut down on cigarettes.

With new research revealing that nicotine is more benign than previously
thought, some executives envision sustaining cigarette addicts with
pharmaceutical nicotine for years, even decades.

"Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are cultural drugs, and I don't think we
can get rid of them," says Karl Fagerstrom, former director of scientific
information for Pharmacia & Uplohn Inc., which makes smoking-cessation
products, including Nicorette nicotine gum. "If it's the nicotine people
want, why not give it to them?"

In the past year, Pharmacia, Smith~ Kline Beecham PLC, which markets
Nicorette in the U.S., and others have quietly commissioned research to
explore the potential health benefits of simply cutting back on cigarettes
smoked, as opposed to quitting altogether.

Meanwhile, for people still struggling to quit, they also hope to persuade
the Food and Drug Administration to extend the recommended dosage period
for gums and patches to as much as six months from the current six to 12

According to people close to SmithKline, the company began talking to the
FDA about its new strategy in late 1996, and it has been exploring the
issue with division-level officials on a regular basis ever since.

The drug makers' new strategy has some obvious advantages. "There will be
less environmental smoke," says Neal Benowitz, a nicotine expert at the
University of California at San Francisco who was one of the scientific
editors of the landmark surgeon general's report of 1988 that concluded
that nicotine is addictive. "I'd much rather see people dependent on
nicotine than on tobacco," he adds.

But the approach also raises troubling ethical questions: Will smokers
merely cut down rather than quit? Will former smokers be lured back into
the habit? Should people be perpetually maintained with nicotine?

George Crane, a 77-year-old retired math researcher in Palo Alto, Calif.,
chomps on about a dozen pieces of Nicorette gum a day - and has chewed them
faithfully ever since he snuffed out his last cigarette six years ago. "I'm
going to be on nicotine all my life," Mr. Crane says. "I think we need to
take care of people who've become so addicted to nicotine that there's
nothing you can do but give them a maintenance drug."

It's certainly a sensitive topic for the drug makers. SmithKline, according
to scientists familiar with the company, is petrified that people will
accuse it of profiting from addiction, as they do the tobacco companies. "I
don't want people to misconstrue our intentions here." says George
Quesnelle, vice president of medical marketing and sales at SmithKline.

"We're not a cigarette company; we're a health-care company."

That may be, but drug makers also know there is much room for growth.

Over-the-counter smoking-cessation aids, which generated sales of about
$700 million last year, have barely been tapped by smokers, who spent $25
billion on cigarettes. According to a soon-to-be-published study
co-authored by John Pinney, a consultant for SmithKline, only an estimated
13% of all smokers try to quit using a nicotine patch or gum. Of those,
only 8% stay off cigarettes for at least a year.

The company that stands to gain the most is SmithKline, which dominates the
U.S. over-the-counter market with its Nicorette gum and NicoDerm CQ
patches. The company has already benefited from smokers who defy the
product label in search of a nicotine substitute. Last year, SmithKline
says, sales of its NicoDerm CQ patch and Nicorette gum swelled 30%, to $448
million, partly because more smokers were using the products to avoid
nicotine cravings in non-smoking places.

"To be crass about it, virtually every pharmaceutical company sees a
tremendous market here," says David Sachs, director of the Palo Alto Center
for Pulmonary Disease Prevention in California, which conducts clinical
studies on smoking-cessation products.

Just a few years ago, the mere suggestion that a drug company would
encourage people to use nicotine would have been treated as heresy. Most
experts believed the addictive substance was dangerous to the heart, and
news reports in 1992 announced an apparent link between smoking while using
the nicotine patch and heart attacks.

But new nicotine research has caused scientists to rethink their
objections. A major study by the National Institutes of Health, which
tracked smokers using nicotine gum between late 1986 and May 1994, found no
increase in heart problems. Another, conducted between November 1994 and
June 1995 and funded by Hoechst

Marion Roussel, found that those who smoked while using a patch were no
more likely to suffer ill effects than smokers who didn't wear a patch.

While some researchers still believe nicotine may not be good for the heart
most scientists now think the critical addictive agent in cigarettes is
relatively benign in low doses compared with cigarette tar, which has
dozens of carcinogens, or cancer-causing agents.

To distance themselves from cigarette makers, whose sales are perpetuated
by nicotine dependence, SmithKline's Mr. Quesnelle says drug companies must
remain committed to helping people overcome nicotine addiction. He says his
company is interested only in pursuing "exposure reduction" - that is,
selling aids to smokers who want to cut back in order to eventually quit.

"We're not in the business of saying 'use this for the rest of your life,'
" Mr. Quesnelle says. "It's too much like cigarettes."

SmithKline's biggest rival in the market, Glaxo Wellcome PLC, says it is
studying whether prolonged use of its smoking cessation drug, Zyban, will
keep ex-smokers from relapsing. Zyban, which was initially developed as an
antidepressant contains no nicotine but appears to alleviate
nicotine-withdrawal symptoms. After repackaging the drug for smokers last
year, Glaxo has been advertising it heavily. It has side effects, including
dry, mouth and insomnia; the company says they are mild and often subside
within a few weeks.

For weaning people from cigarettes, non-nicotine products like Zyban are
better than nicotine-based ones, contends J. Andrew Johnston, head of the
psychiatry clinical research group of Glaxo Wellcome. But, he adds, "I
would support long-term nicotine use through some administration other than

It's likely to be many months be fore the drug makers formally petition the
FDA to extend the approved period for nicotine alternatives. But last
summer the FDA signaled an interest in nicotine after natives. One
official, Curtis Wright, said a~ a meeting, "We can shift our attitude . .
to accept the reality that there are some patients that are going to need
prolonged treatment with nicotine-replacement therapy, and approach that
as something we can gather information about rather than try to prevent."

(Mr. Wright, formerly director of the FDA's division of anesthetic,
critical care and addiction drug products, left the agency last year.)

People close to the agency say it is having a tough time grappling with any
regulatory change on nicotine, worried about the consequences to millions
of people who are addicted to cigarettes. "The experts don't know all the
right questions to ask, and it's a painstakingly slow process," says a
person familiar with the agency's thinking. "But the agency can't afford to
make any mistakes."

Representatives of Philip Morris Cos. RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. and B.A.T
Industries PLC's Brown & Williamson tobacco unit declined to comment on
drug makers' plane.

Brown & Williamson once toyed with the idea of getting into the
nicotine-patch business itself. According to internal documents, in 1992
the company was concerned about the impact nicotine patches would have on
smoking. A couple of memos even suggested that the patches might simply be
regarded as "an alternative to smoking as a vehicle for delivering
nicotine." But a spokesman for Brown & Williamson maintains that the memos
discussing patches were anticipating how tobacco opponents, rather than the
company itself, would regard them.

As it moves forward, the FDA has reason to be cautious. In 1994, Kabi
Pharmacia Inc. sought approval for a nicotine nasal spray, which sends
nicotine to the brain more quickly than patches or gum. Though the vast
majority of smokers reported no problems, a handful grew so addicted to the
spray that they started to give themselves dozens of "hits" a day. One
woman insisted on using her spray even when she had nosebleeds; another
used hers after developing a nasal ulcer. Such incidents were very rare,
though, and the FDA ultimately approved the spray.

Certainly, the FDA's choices aren't easy. Scientists are convinced that
smoking fewer cigarettes is better than not cutting back, but not as
beneficial a quitting altogether. So if drug companies, manage to encourage
smokers only to cut back, will they indirectly discourage then from
quitting? "It's a difficult and painful question," says Dr. Wright, the
former FDA official.

Drug-Test Positives Rising As Labor Pool Tightens Up (Wide-Ranging
'San Jose Mercury News' Article Cites Anecdotal Evidence
That Supposed Decade-Long Decline In Positive Urine Tests
Is Reversing Itself - Three Possible Reasons Might Include
Unemployment Rate's 25-Year Low, New Products Available To Beat Drug Tests,
And A Resurgence In Popularity Of Marijuana - Which, By The Way,
Would Mean Government's National Household Survey On Drug Abuse Statistics
Are Grossly Underestimated, Which Should Raise Doubts About How Effective
Drug Testing Is Anyway)

Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 06:22:11 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US CA: Drug-Test Positives Rising As Labor Pool Tightens Up
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


Illegal drugs are a big problem for Garry M. Ritzky: too many of his job
applicants use them. Ritzky, risk and human resources director for Turner
Brothers Trucking Inc., a transportation and oil services company in
Oklahoma City, is having a hard time finding candidates who are clean of
cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

`We have an oil pipe operation that uses unskilled laborers, and we're
seeing more positive drug tests,'' he said. ``We had three last week.'' The
number of positive drug tests among applicants for low-skilled jobs at
Turner Brothers has doubled in the last year, Ritzky added.

Such evidence, while mostly anecdotal, runs counter to the decline in
positive tests most businesses have seen the last decade. Yet with the
unemployment rate at a 25-year low and the economy continuing to grow, more
human resource managers say they are starting to see a small but disturbing
increase in the number of job applicants who fail screening for drug and
alcohol abuse.

One reason for that increase, they say, is that as the supply of potential
employees continues to shrink, those with drug and alcohol problems
probably represent a larger portion of the labor pool.

Some also say a number of products now available to beat drug tests are
encouraging some job applicants to take chances. And marijuana, they say,
is again in vogue.

Passing Grades Rare

According to a study released late last year by the National Household
Survey on Drug Abuse, 16 percent of unemployed people used illicit drugs in

When the data was collected, unemployment was at 6.1 percent. Today, with
unemployment at 4.7 percent, qualified job seekers are harder to find.

``Employers are finding it harder to find people who are not using drugs,''
said James G. Lipari, public health adviser for the federal government's
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. ``Since there are more employers
using testing and other prevention means, there are more people who are
unemployed for that reason, which makes the pool of unemployed who are
using drugs great.''

But these apparent trends are not yet reflected in the data. When drug
testing first became widespread, in the late 1980s, about 18 percent of the
tests showed signs of drug use, according to SmithKline Beecham Clinical
Laboratories, one of the nation's largest drug-testing labs. That number,
which represents mostly screening of applicants and a small amount of tests
for workers already on the job, fell steadily, to 8.8 percent in 1991, and
then began to decline more slowly. In 1996, about 5.8 percent of the tests
showed signs of drugs.

``Over the past 10 years, we've seen a dramatic decrease in positive
tests,'' said Thomas Johnson, a spokesman for SmithKline Beecham. The lab
is expected to release the results for 1997 in the next few weeks. ``Early
indications are that they will continue to decline,'' Johnson said.

One drug that is coming back, however, is marijuana. Of the people who
failed the SmithKline drug test in 1996, almost 60 percent had traces of
marijuana in their urine. That is up from 52 percent from 1995.

Marijuana use was in the spotlight two weeks ago when Canadian snowboarder
Ross Rebagliati had his Olympic gold medal withdrawn after he failed a drug

Rebagliati said he had not smoked marijuana since April 1997 and that any
residue in his urine was from second-hand smoke With somewhat
less-than-clear Olympic rules on the penalty for marijuana use, he was
later allowed to keep the medal.

Accuracy Challenged

The accuracy of drug tests has been questioned by groups including the
Society for Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria, Va. It says
data provided by companies like SmithKline Beecham, while accurately
reflecting a downward rend, must be taken with a grain of salt. ``Some
people have since learned to beat the system,'' said Barry Lawrence, a
spokesman for the society.

Several companies advertise on the Internet, for example, selling products
to cover up traces of drugs in urine or hair. One company, Test Clean Drug
Testing Solutions in Oklahoma City, boasts that its product, Klear, which
can be bought for as little as $30, ``is the smallest, most potent,
undetectable urine purifier sold today.''

Johnson of SmithKline acknowledged, ``It's like a cat-and-mouse game.''

Catching On To Tricks

But, he said, laboratories are catching on and are starting to test for
those adulterants as well.

Most experts agree that drug testing has cut drug and alcohol abuse in the
workplace, but its greatest impact is on casual users.

``It eliminated use among individuals who could stop, who had more at stake
and didn't want to lose that,'' said Ellen Weber, director of national
policy for the Legal Action Center, a non-profit group based in New York
that is involved in drug, alcohol and HIV employment issues. ``Drug
testing, in my mind, was never an effective tool for people who are
dependent on drugs.''

Drop Reported In Prison Drug Use ('Standard-Times'
Notes Massachusetts Prison Officials Say 22,303 Prisoners Were Tested
In 1995, And 507 Tested Positive For Illicit Drugs,
Compared To 62,417 Inmates Tested In 1997, With 192 Testing Positive)

Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 06:22:11 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US MA: Drop Reported In Prison Drug Use
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Fri., 27 Feb. 1998
Source: The Standard-Times, Serving the South Coast of Massachusetts
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
WebPage: http://www.s-t.com
Note: Please mail any comments to Newsroom@S-T.com


Officials say testing, fear of punishment works

BOSTON -- Corrections officials say fear, not treatment, is the best way to
keep prisoners off drugs.

But advocates for prison inmates say drug users in the state's jails need
more treatment.

The state Department of Corrections announced this week that the number of
inmates using drugs has dropped sharply in the last three years.

"If you test them frequently enough, you will force them to break the
habit," Timothy App, assistant deputy commissioner for community
corrections, told a Boston newspaper.

Inmates in the two minimum-security programs at the Bristol County House of
Correction are tested for drug use at least once a week, jail spokesman
Bernard Sullivan told The Standard-Times.

"Between the pre-release, where inmates are being prepared to go out
into the community, and the drug rehab program at the David R. Nelson
Correctional Alcohol Center, for obvious reasons, those people are tested
regularly," Mr. Sullivan said.

In the general population at both Ash Street and Dartmouth facilities, drug
testing is random.

"Any suggestion or hint of a problem with an inmate, there is a test done,"
Mr. Sullivan said. "Our people know when someone is not acting normally."

Mr. Sullivan said one longtime jail employee said he had noticed a decrease
in drug-related incidents in the jail buildings, most likely a result of
more restricted access by inmates.

Officials give some credit to treatment programs for the decline in use,
but say prisoners stop mostly because they fear punishment if they test
positive for drugs. App said inmates are tested at random and when they are
suspected of using drugs.

Jill Brotman, executive director of the prisoner advocacy group
Massachusetts Prison Society, said the department spends too much on
testing and not enough on programs.

"Counseling, mental health and educational programs provide people with the
wherewithal to lead drug-free lives, not drug testing and punitive
policies," Brotman said.

Last year, urine tests given to 0.3 percent of prisoners were positive,
compared with 2.3 percent in 1995.

App said inmates with positive tests are dealt with on a case-by-case
basis. Punishment may be loss of library access, canteen use, visits or
being transferred to an area with higher security.

In extreme cases, prisoners may be referred for treatment and prosecution.

Officials said 22,303 prisoners were tested in 1995, and 507 showed drugs.
Last year, 62,417 inmates, close to three times as many, were tested, and
192, or 62 percent fewer than in 1995, showed drugs.

The number of inmates caught using drugs tends to drop as the number of
tests increase, say officials.

Attorney General Janet Reno called the Massachusetts policy exemplary, and
federal officials invited App to talk about the policies last fall to help
other states come up with their own.

App said corrections officials spent $150,000 on testing last year and
expect to spend $200,000 this year.

Anthony Carnevale, spokesman for the department, said it spends slightly
less than $3 million a year on drug treatment.

States are required to have prison drug policies that conform to federal
guidelines to remain eligible for federal money for capital improvements in

The Department of Correction got $8,693,941 in federal money last year and
a total of $9,942,394 since the grant program was implemented in 1996, said
Steven Amos, deputy director of the Justice Department's correction program

FBI To Pay Whistleblower ('Associated Press'
Notes Former FBI Crime Lab Worker Was Right About Flawed Scientific Work
And Inaccurate, Pro-Prosecution Testimony)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 00:50:19 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Phillizy 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: FBI To Pay Whistleblower


WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI agent whose complaints led to an overhaul of the
agency's crime lab has resigned in a $1.16 million settlement. Frederic
Whitehurst will receive annual amounts equal to the salary and pension he
would have earned had he kept working until normal FBI retirement at age 57.
He will become director of a project that will monitor the laboratory's
accreditation. An investigation of the lab found flawed scientific work and
inaccurate, pro-prosecution testimony in cases including the Oklahoma City and
World Trade Center bombings.

Reno Threatens Legal Battle To Ensure Electronic Surveillance
('Washington Post' Notes Extortion Threat Made Yesterday
To US Telecommunications Industry, Americans' Right To Privacy)

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 08:07:44 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US: WP: Reno Threatens Legal Battle to Ensure Electronic Surveillance
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin Zeese 
Source: Washington Post
Author: Roberto Suro, Washington Post Staff Writer
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


Attorney General Janet Reno yesterday threatened a legal battle with the
telecommunications industry to ensure that law enforcement can conduct
electronic surveillance in the digital age.

Reno said that after nearly three years of negotiations, the Justice
Department had reached an impasse with industry representatives over what
kinds of modifications to communications technology are necessary to ensure
wiretapping abilities and whether the government or industry would pay for

Unless the deadlock can be broken, Reno said, the department will ask the
Federal Communications Commission on March 13 to set new standards for all
telephone networks so that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies
have the wiretapping capabilities they feel are necessary for the successful
surveillance and prosecution of criminals.

"Unfortunately, if we are pressed to take this step, we will avail ourselves
of all lawful mechanisms available," said Reno in an unusually combative
statement during a hearing by a House Appropriations subcommittee.

Justice Department and industry officials said the matter could end up in
court if no negotiated agreement is possible.

Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), who chaired the hearing, encouraged Reno to
press the case with the FCC, telling her, "I'll buy your car fare down there
to file the papers."

Reno and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh have repeatedly argued that keeping up
with the rapid evolution of communications technology is one of the most
fundamental challenges facing law enforcement. Asked yesterday whether the
Justice Department would face limits on its ability on conduct electronic
surveillance unless industry made changes, Reno responded, "I think we're

While old-style copper wire telephone systems were simple to tap into, the
FBI and other agencies now find themselves contending with communications
systems that are increasingly digital and wireless.

Telephones can also be used to transmit everything from ordinary
conversations to text to pages.

In response to these developments, Congress enacted the Communications
Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and authorized the spending of
$500 million to help the communications industry replace or modify equipment
and software so that it would accommodate surveillance equipment.

Reno acknowledged yesterday that during the first two years of negotiations
little was accomplished and that positions hardened on both sides, with the
FBI partially to blame for taking an unnecessarily "rigid"

position with the industry. Freeh revamped the FBI's negotiating strategy
and put a new team in place last summer, and since then Reno said there had
been some progress. But she said that as of this week the talks had

The immediate conflict is over whether government or industry should pay for
modifications to existing equipment. But defining those modifications will
determine what capabilities for electronic surveillance law enforcement will
carry into the 21st century and those capabilities are increasingly the
focus of the debate.

While the 1994 law originally envisioned reimbursement for the upgrade of
equipment in place by Jan. 1, 1995, Reno said yesterday that industry
representatives wanted the reimbursement coverage to extend until October
1998. That would cover massive technological changes that have been put into
place since the law was enacted. Reno said that meeting this demand would
exceed the funding Congress authorized and that therefore an impasse had
been reached.

"I think it is a mistake to characterize this just as a money issue," said
Thomas E. Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry
Association, one of the industry groups that has been negotiating with the
Justice Department over the implementation of the 1994 law.

Wheeler said that the industry supported passage of the 1994 law but that
law enforcement pressed demands that go beyond what Congress authorized.
"The issue is also whether the FBI is using this situation to expand its
capacity and capabilities to conduct electronic surveillance,"

Wheeler said. That complaint has often been echoed by privacy and civil
liberties advocates as well.

In rejecting standards proposed by the industry for law enforcement access
to telecommunications, Wheeler said, the FBI last year added a list of
conditions that represented new surveillance capabilities and it was these
demands that had inflated the costs of the modifications.

"When you add ornaments to the Christmas tree, the costs go up," Wheeler

FBI and Justice Department officials said that nine specific conditions
remained in dispute and that they represent efforts only to maintain current

For example, if law enforcement officials are eavesdropping on one
individual who participates on a conference call with criminal accomplices,
they want the technological ability to continue listening to the call even
if the first person hangs up. That would be essential to knowing which
participants in the call were part of a conspiracy that was planned after
some parties had hung up.

"There are a lot of things that we can do in the old copper wire telephone
that are very difficult, if not impossible, in the new systems," said a
senior FBI agent. "It is happening to us every day."

White House Says Mexico 'Cooperating' In Drug Fight Despite DEA Report
('New York Times' Says Clinton Administration Announced Thursday That Mexico
Was 'Fully Cooperating' In Fight Against Drug Trafficking,
Despite Confidential DEA Assessment That Measures By Mexico
Have Not Produced 'Significant Results')

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 01:44:15 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: NYT: White House Says Mexico 'Cooperating' in Drug Fight
Despite D.E.A. Report
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Friday, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Tim Golden
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/


WASHINGTON -- Despite a confidential government assessment that recent
drug-enforcement measures by Mexico have not produced "significant
results," the White House announced Thursday that the Mexican government
was "fully cooperating" in the fight against drug trafficking.

While some senior administration officials lavishly praised Mexico's
record, the confidential assessment, by the Drug Enforcement
Administration, painted a much darker picture.

It played down the impact of a major effort to overhaul the Mexican federal
police, and emphasized that corrupt officials continued to insure the
impunity of the country's biggest drug traffickers.

"During the past year," the analysis reads, "the government of Mexico has
not accomplished its counternarcotics goals or succeeded in cooperation
with the United States government."

"The scope of Mexican drug trafficking has increased significantly, along
with the attendant violence," said the assessment, a copy of which was
obtained by The New York Times. "The level of drug corruption in Mexico
continues unabated."

Mexico had been expected to win the endorsement of the White House as part
of the annual evaluation of drug-control efforts abroad, which is known as
certification. But officials acknowledged that the announcement Thursday
followed two days of often-chaotic maneuvering, and that the blunt
criticism it immediately received from both parties in Congress suggested
that the administration might have underestimated the volatility of the

"We must make an honest assessment," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said
at a Senate subcommittee hearing Thursday. "And by no realistic standard
can Mexico be deemed to have cooperated fully, which is the standard of the

Feinstein and other legislators said they expected considerable debate over
the administration's endorsement of Mexico, which can be overturned by
Congress. But it was unclear whether the critics have as much support as
they did last year, when the White House narrowly prevailed.

In its review of drug-enforcement programs in 30 countries considered
important to the production or transportation of illegal drugs, the
administration denied certification to Afghanistan, Burma, Nigeria and
Iran. Under the law, the United States must now withhold part of any
foreign aid those countries may receive and vote against loans they seek
from development banks.

The administration also decertified four other nations -- Colombia,
Pakistan, Paraguay and Cambodia -- but waived the penalties in the interest
of national security. Most critics of the Mexico decision argued that it
should have been placed in that category.

The decision on Colombia in effect upgraded the country's status after it
had been penalized two years in a row, and it came barely two months after
the Colombian government swept aside American appeals and allowed the
passage of a new extradition treaty that will protect drug kingpins from
the threat of prosecution in the United States.

In announcing the decision, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright suggested
that Colombia's waiver did not reflect government efforts so much as
support for the police and efforts "to lay the groundwork for increased
future cooperation."

Albright's acting deputy for international narcotics issues, Randy Beers,
also argued that Colombia was at "a critical turning point" because of the
threats posed by increasingly aggressive leftist insurgents, still-powerful
drug traffickers and a major increase in the country's cultivation of coca,
the raw material for cocaine.

A report released Thursday by the General Accounting Office, the
investigative office of Congress, contended that Colombia's decertification
had hobbled the much-praised Colombian National Police by depriving the
force of needed materiel, like explosives and ammunition.

Beers, however, contradicted the thrust of the report, and said that since
being decertified without a national-interest waiver, Colombia had actually
received more and more aid from the United States each year.

Administration officials appeared to be far less comfortable with the
contradictory evidence of drug-enforcement progress in Mexico.

Concerned that dissonant voices might compete with the certification
announcement, the White House at one point tried to stop administration
officials from testifying on the subject at a Senate hearing scheduled for
Thursday. But while the White House drug-policy director, Gen. Barry
McCaffrey, bowed out of the hearing, Thomas Constantine, the head of the
the Drug Enforcement Administration, did not.

Worried about Constantine, who is widely viewed as the most outspoken
senior official on the issue, the White House then tried unsuccessfully to
get McCaffrey back on the schedule in order to "balance" the portrayal of
Mexico, an official said.

"These are not the actions of a government that feels confident," said the
chairman of the subcommittee, Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga. "They are
defensive actions."

McCaffrey has consistently taken the lead among administration officials in
praising the Mexican government publicly. Thursday, he called its
cooperation with the United States "absolutely superlative."

The State Department's explanation of the certification decision noted a
series of changes by and to Mexican law-enforcement institutions over the
last year: the creation of specialized police intelligence units; the
reconstitution of special task forces in which agents of the two countries
are to work together against traffickers along the border; an increase in
drug seizures, and some progress in efforts to insure the extradition from
Mexico of drug fugitives wanted in the United States.

But many law-enforcement officials said Mexico's history on such matters
demanded a greater skepticism. They noted that Mexico has recreated its
drug-enforcement agency three times since 1989, that no Mexican national
was in fact extradited to face drug charges in the United States, and that
the new units have made only modest progress.

The analysis by the Drug Enforcement Administration noted many of the
changes made. But it added bluntly that "none of these changes have
produced significant results."

"None have resulted in the arrest of the leadership or the dismantlement of
any of the well-known organized criminal groups operating out of Mexico,"
the analysis said. "Unfortunately, virtually every investigation DEA
conducts against major traffickers in Mexico uncovers significant
corruption of law-enforcement officials."

Clinton - Recertify Mexico ('Houston Chronicle' Version Quotes Bill Spencer,
Director At Washington Office On Latin America, Who Observes,
'Complex Nature Of US-Mexican Relations Makes It Nearly Impossible
For United States To Decertify Mexico, Regardless Of Policy's Impact
To Date')

Subj: US: Clinton: Recertify Mexico
From: Art Smart 
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:41:51 -0800
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Phillipe Shepnick


Drug-Fighting Efforts Win Albright's Praise

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton recommended Thursday that Mexico be
recertified for its drug-fighting efforts last year, but some of Mexico's
critics in Congress are taking a wait-and-see approach.

In announcing the administration's recommendations, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright praised Mexico's "strong cooperation"
with the United States to thwart drug trafficking and government corruption
in Mexico.

She also cited the binational drug strategy announced earlier this month
between the United States and its southern neighbor as a sign of increased
cooperation. The underlying theme of the plan is that both countries are
equally responsible for fighting drugs.

For the first time in two years, Colombia was included on the list of 22
countries to be certified, although its overall drug policy remains below
U.S. standards.

Albright commended the work of Colombian police, but the Colombian
government has not given "full political support," she said.

Colombia has failed to get full certification since President Ernesto
Samper was accused of taking campaign money from drug traffickers in 1994.

Congress created the certification process in 1986 to force the executive
branch to scrutinize countries where illegal drugs are produced. As a
result, the administration studies the drug- fighting efforts of dozens of
nations and grades them in an annual report.

The president then recommends one of three options: give full
certification, deny certification or grant a "vital national interests
certification." A decertified country only qualifies for humanitarian and
counter-narcotics aid from the United States. The United States also does
not support international loans for the offending country.

A country that receives "vital national interest certification"
is eligible for all financial assistance despite failing to meet all standards.

Congress has 30 days to respond.

Last year some members of Congress pushed to decertify Mexico after its
drug czar, Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was arrested for ties to drug

Each year the Mexican government attacks the certification process as an
affront to its sovereignty. To fight the drug war, Mexico says, the United
States must curb its appetite for drugs.

Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo even suggested last year that the United
States pay Mexico for the damage drug trafficking has done to the country.

Some policy experts also question the effectiveness of certification.

"The current certification process should be scrapped," said Bill Spencer,
a director at the Washington Office On Latin America.

"The complex nature of U.S.-Mexican relations make it nearly impossible for
the United States to decertify Mexico, regardless of the policy's impact to

The narcotics report graded 30 countries. Afghanistan, Burma, Iran and
Nigeria were recommended to be decertified. Cambodia, Pakistan and Paraguay
joined Colombia in receiving the "national interest waiver."

The report this year said the corrupting influence of the drug trade is
"significant enough to threaten Mexico's sovereignty and democratic
institutions," but it also noted some significant gains in drug seizures
last year.

Mexican police grabbed 50 percent more cocaine and 75 percent more opium in
the past year than in the previous year. However, heroin seizures dropped
by 68 percent and methamphetamines by 78 percent. Marijuana seizures
remained constant. Arrests dropped by 4 percent.

Most of the estimated $30 billion worth of cocaine consumed in the United
States comes through Mexico, along with Mexican methamphetamines and

Some of Mexico's strongest critics, such as Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.,
chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. John Mica,
R-Fla., staunchly oppose certification, as they have in the past.

Other members of Congress who wanted Mexico scratched from last year's list
are taking a more cautious approach. Republican Sen.

Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Rep. Bill Archer, R-Houston, said they want to
read the report first. Gramm first called to decertify Mexico last year but
eventually supported it. Archer voted to decertify Mexico.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said she supports certification and
Mexico's efforts to fight the drug trade.

Grim Trafficking Report Fails To `Decertify' Mexico ('New York Times' Version
Notes Clinton Administration Did Decertify Four Other Nations - Colombia,
Pakistan, Paraguay And Cambodia - But Waived Penalties In The Interest
Of National Security)

Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 06:22:11 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US: Grim Trafficking Report Fails To `Decertify' Mexico
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: New York Times (NY)
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


WASHINGTON -- The White House announced Thursday that Mexico was ``fully
cooperating'' in the fight against drug trafficking, brushing aside a
confidential law-enforcement analysis affirming that none of the recent
steps taken by the Mexican government ``have produced significant results.''

In its annual report card on countries where drugs are produced or are
transported to the United States, the Clinton administration also ruled
that Colombia was not cooperating fully. But Colombia was exempted from
punishment and was issued a waiver under the law.

While some senior administration officials lavishly praised Mexico's
record, the confidential assessment by the Drug Enforcement Administration
painted a darker picture. It downplayed the impact of a large effort to
overhaul the Mexican federal police, saying corrupt officials continue to
assure the impunity of Mexico's biggest drug traffickers.

``During the past year,'' the analysis reads, ``the government of Mexico
has not accomplished its counternarcotics goals or succeeded in cooperation
with the United States government.''

``The scope of Mexican drug trafficking has increased significantly, along
with the attendant violence, even against U.S. and Mexican law-enforcement
officials and sources of information,'' stated the report. ``The level of
drug corruption in Mexico continues unabated.''

Mexico had been expected to win the endorsement of the White House as part
of the annual evaluation of drug-control efforts abroad, known as

But officials acknowledged that the announcement Thursday followed two days
of often-chaotic political maneuvering, and that the blunt criticism it
immediately received from members of both parties in Congress suggested
that the Clinton administration may have underestimated the volatility of
the issue.

``We must make an honest assessment,'' Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, said
at a Senate subcommittee hearing Thursday. ``And by no realistic standard
can Mexico be deemed to have cooperated fully, which is the standard of the

Feinstein and other legislators said they expected considerable debate over
the administration's endorsement of Mexico, which can be overturned by the
Congress. It was unclear whether the critics had as much support as they
did last year, when the White House only narrowly prevailed.

In its review of drug-enforcement programs in 30 countries considered
important to the production or transportation of illegal drugs, the
administration this year denied certification to Afghanistan, Burma,
Nigeria and Iran. Under law, the United States must now withhold part of
any foreign aid those countries may receive and vote against loans they
might seek from international-development banks.

The administration also decertified four other nations -- Colombia,
Pakistan, Paraguay and Cambodia -- but waived the penalties, saying the
waivers were in the interest of national security.

Despite Objections, Clinton Administration Certifies Mexico
As Drug-Fighting Partner ('Washington Post' Version)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 20:54:59 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US: WP: Despite Objections, Clinton Administration Certifies
Mexico as Drug-Fighting Partner
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: Washington Post
Author: Douglas Farah, Washington Post Foreign Service
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


The Clinton administration decided yesterday to certify Mexico as a partner
in combating international drug trafficking, over the objections of the
Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement agencies that
argued that narcotics trafficking from Mexico is increasing and official
corruption remains rampant.

The decision came after a debate within the administration that peaked
yesterday when officials advocating certification succeeded in removing
strong criticism of Mexico from planned testimony before a Senate
subcommittee by Thomas A. Constantine, director of the DEA, who opposed
commending Mexico's anti-drug efforts.

Opponents of certification within the administration cited a secret law
enforcement intelligence memorandum on the situation in Mexico, prepared
last month and obtained by The Washington Post, that paints a relentlessly
pessimistic assessment of the country's counternarcotics effort and
dismisses many reported gains as superficial steps.

Last year, in the face of congressional outrage over the certification of
Mexico and serious efforts to overturn the measure, President Clinton
worked out a compromise whereby the administration would set specific goals
by which to judge Mexico's performance. However, critics of yesterday's
decision said, virtually none of those goals had been met.

The decision to certify Mexico brought bipartisan protests in Congress,
with those opposing the certification claiming the administration is
painting much too bright a picture of Mexico's anti-drug efforts. Because
about 60 percent of the cocaine on the streets of the United States passes
through Mexico, the country's cooperation is vital to any counterdrug effort.

At the same time the administration certified Mexico, it did not certify
Colombia, but decided to waive economic sanctions because of national
security interests. Colombia has been decertified the past two years
because U.S. officials believe President Ernesto Samper took $6.1 million
from the Cali cocaine cartel for his 1994 presidential campaign.

By March 1 every year the president must certify whether nations around the
world are cooperating in combating drug trafficking. The president can deny
certification to a country, triggering economic sanctions, or he can deny
certification but issue a national interest wavier, eliminating the sanctions.

This year, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said the United States
had certified 22 of 30 countries. Four countries -- Nigeria, Afghanistan,
Burma and Iran -- were denied certification. Colombia, Cambodia, Paraguay
and Pakistan were decertified but received national interest waviers.

According to knowledgeable sources, the sharpest confrontation over how to
deal with Mexico came yesterday morning in a heated telephone conversation
between Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House drug policy chief, and
Constantine prior to the testimony of the DEA director before the Western
Hemisphere subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

McCaffrey, who is a staunch supporter of increasing bilateral ties,
succeeded in having some of the harsher remarks toned down or deleted as
Constantine's testimony was reviewed by his office, according to the
sources. That led to what one source with direct knowledge of the events
called a "pretty heated discussion, with some shouting" between the two men.

In a telephone interview, McCaffrey acknowledged the conversation had taken
place and that there had been "more intense internal debate" over how to
handle Mexico this year than in the past. However, he said the conversation
was not "testy."

In announcing the decision to certify Mexico, Albright said it was due to
the "strong cooperation" in fighting drugs between the two nations.

Attorney General Janet Reno and McCaffrey echoed the sentiment, lauding
Mexico for enacting money-laundering legislation and creating new
investigative units to help root out official corruption.

The secret intelligence report states that "in the past year the government
of Mexico has not accomplished its counternarcotics goals or succeeded in
cooperation with the United States government." The document added that
there were concerns about the Mexican government's prospects for success in
fighting drug trafficking "due to endemic corruption, violence, and the
unabated growth of the drug trafficking syndicates in Mexico."

The report found that "the scope of Mexican drug trafficking has increased
significantly," while the Mexican government "has arrested and prosecuted
few individuals" despite the fact that the leaders of the main Mexican drug
trafficking organizations are fully identified.

Every major investigation in Mexico, the report said, "uncovers significant
corruption of law enforcement officials that continually frustrates our
effort in building cases on and apprehending the most significant drug
traffickers and is the primary reason there has been no meaningful progress
in drug law enforcement in Mexico."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) blasted the decision to certify Mexico,
saying that while Mexico had made "limited progress" in fighting drugs,
"there remain gaping holes in its counternarcotics efforts."

Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) also blasted the decision, calling it a "scam"
and saying there was "less cooperation" on judicial matters and law
enforcement than there was a year ago.

In Mexico, the foreign ministry rejected the entire concept of
certification as intrusive and hypocritical.

"The government of Mexico combats drug trafficking because it considers it
to be in its interest, and because of the danger that this phenomenon
represents to the safety and well-being of our country," the statement said.

(c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Mexican Soldiers Given US Army Training As Narcotics-Busters
('Washington Post' Article Syndicated In 'San Francisco Chronicle'
Says The US Army Began Providing Training To Mexican Soldiers
For The First Time 18 Months Ago, Creating An Elite Counter-Narcotics Unit
That US Officials Say Has Become The Leading Force In Mexico's Fight
Against International Drug Trafficking)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:15:33 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Mexican Soldiers Given U.S. Army Training as Narcotics-Busters
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Douglas Farah and Dana Priest Washington Post


Fort Bragg, N.C.

The U.S. Army is providing training to Mexican soldiers for the first time,
creating an elite counter-narcotics unit that U.S. officials say has become
the leading force in Mexico's fight against international drug trafficking.

The program, started 18 months ago, includes training 1,067 Mexican
officers a year at more than a dozen bases across the United States,
according to U.S. officials. In addition, the CIA is giving extensive
intelligence courses to a group of about 90 Mexican officers who will
become part of the new counter-drug force, according to military and law
enforcement agencies.

As a result of the programs, Mexicans make up the largest group of foreign
soldiers receiving U.S. military instruction. The growing ties between the
two militaries are a sign of how counter-drug efforts in the hemisphere
have replaced wars against leftist guerrillas as the common ground for
armed forces redefining their missions since the end of the Cold War.

U.S. and Mexican officials said they turned to the Mexican army because of
rampant corruption among Mexico's civilian law enforcement agencies.

Officials involved in the program acknowledge that to secure Mexican
participation they agreed to forgo formal U.S. monitoring of the
performance of groups that receive U.S. training. The Mexican military also
has a long history of corruption, much of it drug-related, and human rights

The programs reflect an upsurge in U.S. anti-drug aid to Mexico. from 10
million in 1995 to $78 million last year, according to the State
Department. About 60 percent of the cocaine on the streets of the United
States has been shipped through Mexico and across the 2,000 mile
Mexico-U.S. border, according to law enforcement officials.

Mexican Army Takes Lead

Mexican and U.S. officials say they envision the Mexican military taking
the lead in antinarcotics efforts only in the short run, until police and
civilian authorities have the means to confront powerful drug cartels. One
senior Defense Department official involved in the program said promoting
the Mexican military's involvement was necessary to avoid "the complete
criminalization of their state."

According to U.S. military officials, Mexican officers are being trained at
17 U.S. bases, in courses ranging from officer training at the U.S. Army
School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Gal, to helicopter instruction at
Fort Rucker, Ala., and intelligence at Bolling Air Force Base in
Washington, D.C.

The most specialized of the field training is provided at Fort Bragg by the
U.S. 7th Special Forces Group. A total of 252 Mexican army officers have
taken the 12-week course over the past 18 months. Another 156 officers are
scheduled to be trained this year. Their curriculum includes helicopter
assault tactics, explosives, rural and urban warfare, and intelligence

The graduates ate the backbone of a new elite Mexican unit, the Airmobile
Special Forces, known by its Spanish acronym GAFE.

Colonel Ed Phillips, commander of the 7th Special Forces Group, told
reporters that the training Is expressly counter-narcotics, because we are
not allowed to do" counter insurgency training. But other U.S. officials
acknowledge that the tactics taught are similar to counter insurgency
methods imparted in training of Latin American officers during the Cold

Rapid Reaction Groups

These elite troops return to Mexico to train rapid reaction groups there.

In the past year, according to a senior Pentagon official, the number of
100 man units in the Mexican Army has risen from 12 to 42.

In addition to the training of officers, the United states has provided the
Mexican military with 73 Huey UH-1H helicopters and four C-26 airplanes for
surveillance. Mexico also has purchased two U.S. Knox-class frigates,
according to the White House drug office.

The helicopters are part of a foreign assistance package that is subject to
stiff congressional scrutiny and can only be used for counter-drug
activities. However, the funds for training the special forces, $28 million
in 1997, are provided under a provision that gives the Defense Department
wide discretion in spending the money in support of counter-drug
activities, with no congressional oversight.

In 1996, with Mexican drug trafficking organizations growing in strength
and rivaling the traditional Colombian cartels for primacy in the U.S.
market, then secretary of Defense William Perry asked the Mexicans to allow
military training.

Examples abound of drug related corruption in the Mexican military. Last
year, Mexico's anti-drug czar, army General Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo, was
arrested and charged with protecting and aiding Amado Carrillo Fuentes, at
the time one of Mexico's most important drug traffickers. Last September
two U.S.-trained pilots who were part of an elite air interdiction force
were among 18 members of an anti-drug unit arrested for using a government
airplane to transport cocaine from the state of Chiapas to a private hangar
in Mexico City.

Speculation Intense About New Mexican Drug Lord ('New York Times'
Says Unnamed 'US Official' Claims Rafael Munoz Talavera Has Emerged
As Leader In Eight-Month Battle To Fill Alleged 'Leadership Vacuum'
Caused By Death Of Amado Carrillo Fuentes During Surgery)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 01:54:08 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Mexico: NYT: Speculation Intense About New Mexican Drug Lord
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Friday, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Sam Dillon
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/


MEXICO CITY -- Ever since authorities reported last year that Mexico's most
influential drug trafficker, Amado Carrillo Fuentes, had died during
surgery, American and Mexican anti-drug agencies have been monitoring the
underworld for signs of a successor.

On Thursday, a U.S. official said that one trafficker, Rafael Munoz
Talavera, a longtime smuggler with links in the same cartel, has emerged as
a leader in the eight-month battle to fill the leadership vacuum caused by
Carrillo's death.

"If anybody is going to take over, it's Rafael Munoz Talavera," the U.S.
official said. "He's a very capable trafficker and he's out there trying to
do alliances," the official said.

Officials from both countries say that nobody has yet accumulated the
wealth and influence enjoyed by Carrillo, a billionaire who not only
controlled the cartel based in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas,
but also acted as a senior broker, coordinating narcotics initiatives by
scores of independent traffickers in Mexico and Colombia.

But the U.S. official said that Munoz has gained an advantage over his
rivals. The official's statements marked the second time in two months that
Munoz has been publicly described as an emerging successor to Carrillo.

In December, after several Mexican newspapers cited U.S. and Mexican
officials to announce that he had taken over leadership of the Juarez
cartel, Munoz bought paid advertisements in Juarez newspapers to deny those
reports. He described himself in those advertisements as a "simple,
hard-working man."

U.S. and Mexican officials have also described other traffickers as
potential successors to Carrillo. They include Vicente Carrillo, who is
Carrillo's 35-year-old brother, and Juan Esparragoza Moreno, 49, another
top aide to Amado Carrillo.

But U.S. officials said in recent interviews that events have shown that
Vicente Carillo lacks leadership skills. On Thursday, the U.S. official
said that Esparragoza "has fallen off the radar screen."

"He's out there, trafficking in cocaine and methamphetamines," the official
said of Esparragoza. "But his move to become the head of the Juarez cartel
has fallen off the tracks."

The Arellano Felix family of Tijuana dominates drug activities in northwest
Mexico. But the U.S. official said that the Arellanos have been unable to
increase their influence because recent prosecution efforts have been
intense and "they're spending a lot of time just trying to avoid capture."

The official's statements go considerably further than comments made last
week by Mariano Herran Salvatti, Mexico's drug czar.

"No person has moved out front right now," Herran said. Several traffickers
have aspired to control the cartel, "but this has not happened," he said.

U.S. authorities in 1989 accused Munoz, who is about 46, of smuggling 21
tons of cocaine discovered that year in a Los Angeles warehouse, the
largest drug seizure ever. After he was arrested and tried in Mexico on
those charges, Munoz was acquitted and released from prison in 1996.

While Munoz was in jail, Carrillo not only took over the cartel but also
began coordinating the work of independent traffickers. "Munoz Talavera has
stepped in and filled this role," the U.S. official said.

Colombia Sees Victory In US Backing For Anti-Drug Effort ('New York Times'
Doesn't Specify Qualifications Behind Clinton Administration's
Conditional Certification Of Colombia As An Ally In War On Some Drugs,
But Notes It Coincides With Arrest Of Colombia's Fourth Comptroller-General
In A Row And Release Of GAO Report That Finds Decertification Has Hindered
Rather Than Helped Anti-Narcotics Efforts In Colombia
By Blocking Or Delaying Delivery Of Some Forms Of Aid,
Which Nevertheless Increased From $22 Million To About $100 Million
In Last Three Years)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 01:48:34 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Columbia: NYT: Colombia Sees Victory in U.S. Backing for
Anti-Drug Effort
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Friday, 27 Feb 1998
Author: Diana Jean Schemo
Source: New York Times
Contact: letters@nytimes.com
Website: http://www.nytimes.com/


BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombian officials on Thursday greeted Washington's
conditional certification of their efforts to combat the flow of drugs into
the United States as a victory for their beleaguered president, Ernesto

Samper, blamed by many Colombians who saw decertification over the last two
years as a personal rebuke to their president, used the waiver of drug
sanctions on national security grounds to vindicate his longstanding
criticism of the U.S. ratings, which are highly unpopular throughout Latin

As he did last year, Samper conducted a ceremony honoring the national
police, who are regularly held up for praise in Washington, as the backdrop
to his response to Washington's ratings. Those countries not certified can
lose U.S. foreign aid and support for development bank loans unless
President Clinton grants them a waiver.

In a speech whose refrain was "justice has been done," Samper said on
Thursday that Washington's decision recognized the efforts of all the
sectors of society -- the police, the military, Congress and himself.

"Justice is done to Colombians abroad who with dignity raise their
country's flag to seek its respect, and the respect of its president and
its democratic institutions," he said.

"Those who thought that what was at stake was the personal fate of the
president of the republic were wrong," he said. "What counts is Colombia
and its destiny as a sovereign and worthy nation."

His words were echoed at a news conference on Thursday by Colombia's
foreign minister, Maria Emma Mejia, a highly popular figure here.

Washington has publicly accused Samper of soliciting $6 million from drug
traffickers in 1994 to finance his election.

As if underscoring just how deeply drug money has compromised the
institutions Samper was praising, Colombia's fourth comptroller-general in
a row, David Turbay, was arrested on Thursday in connection with the
election-financing scandal. The United States has dismissed the Colombian
Congress' clearing of the president of the charges against him as lacking

The U.S. reversal also coincided with the release of a report by the
General Accounting Office that found decertification had hindered rather
than helped anti-narcotics efforts in Colombia by blocking or delaying the
delivery of some forms of aid. Nevertheless, American anti-narcotics aid to
Colombia overall has increased from $22 million to about $100 million in
the last three years.

Colombia Hails US Decision To Lift Sanctions ('Houston Chronicle' Version
Notes Colombia's Certification Falls Short Of Full-Fledged Stamp Of Approval,
But Waiver Based On National Security Concerns
Means There Will Be No Penalties)

Subj: Colombia Hails U.S. Decision To Lift Sanctions
From: Art Smart 
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:44:46 -0800
Newshawk: Art Smart 
Source: Houston Chronicle
Contact: viewpoints@chron.com
Website: http://www.chron.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Author: John Otis - free-lance writer based in Bogota.


BOGOTA, Colombia -- After blacklisting Colombia as an uncooperative partner
in the war on drugs for two straight years, the Clinton administration
switched tacks Thursday by waiving sanctions against the world's number-one
producer of cocaine.

The decision falls short of a full-fledged stamp of approval for Colombia's
anti-drug efforts in 1997. But it removes a stigma and a series of economic
sanctions in place since 1996, and is likely to lower tensions between the
two nations.

Colombian President Ernesto Samper called it a "just" decision that
rewarded a yearlong effort by police, legislators and justice ministry
officials to prosecute drug lords and to renew the country's image.

"We will not fail in this task," Samper vowed Thursday.

"It is a recognition of all that Colombia has done," added Foreign Minister
Maria Emma Mejia. "This country, more than any other, has battled (drug

In announcing the decision, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised
Colombia's police force for destroying more than 100,000 acres of coca
plants, 18,000 acres of heroin poppies and nearly 400 drug laboratories.
Forty-five police officers were killed in such operations.

Still, Washington remains extremely critical of Samper, who was elected in
1994 with the help of $6.1 million from the Cali cocaine cartel. His U.S.
visa was canceled two years ago, and U.S. officials insist his government
is deeply corrupt and beholden to drug traffickers.

As a result, Colombia remains one of eight nations that failed to receive
full "certification" this year in the U.S. government's annual assessment
of the drug war, which is required by Congress.

However, the national-security waiver means there will be no penalties and
it could lead to warmer relations. Colombia's first-round presidential vote
is May 31, and Washington is eager for a fresh start.

"Coming on the eve of that country's congressional and presidential
elections, the waiver decision is intended to lay the groundwork for
increased mutual cooperation," Albright said Thursday.

Such cooperation could also pave the way for a larger U.S. role in an
eventual peace process to end Colombia's 34-year-old civil war. Conditions
in the countryside are deteriorating as drug traffickers, guerrilla groups
and right-wing paramilitary groups vie for power.

"The United States has not wanted to apply severe sanctions because it
needs Colombia's cooperation," said Rodrigo Losada, a professor at
Javeriana University in Bogota.

Lifting sanctions means that Americans doing business in Colombia will once
again be eligible for loans from the Export-Import Bank and guarantees from
the Overseas Private Investment Corp. And the United States can vote in
favor of credits for Colombia from the World Bank and the Inter-American
Development Bank.

By letting Colombia off the hook this year, the United States may find
itself in a better position to promote a hemispheric approach to the drug
war during the Summit of the Americas in Chile in April.

For Samper, who leaves office in August, the decision was a kind of
going-away gift and could provide a boost to Horacio Serpa, the
front-runner in the presidential race and a close Samper ally.

"That would be glorious for Samper," Losada said. "It would be a very
satisfactory way for him to finish."

Samper - Colombia Earned Sanction Repeal From US ('Orange County Register'

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 13:35:32 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: Colombia Earned Sanction Repeal From U.S.
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John W.Black
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Contact: letters@link.freedom.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


President Ernesto Samper said a U.S. decision Thursday to withdraw
sanctions against Colombia was well-deserved recognition of the country's
drug-fighting efforts. But he said it was wrong to hold him responsible for
the sanctions being imposed in the first place.

Washington's decision to waive the 2-year-old sanctions was helped by the
impending departure of Samper, who has been tainted by a drug-corruption
scandal since his 1994 election.

"The decision adopted today does justice to the ... fight that we
Colombians have waged for some years against the international scourge" of
drug trafficking, Samper said.

Mexico reacted to the Clinton administration's decision to certify it as an
ally in the drug war by sharply criticizing the annual evaluation process
as unilateral and counterproductive.

The government said it would carry out a war on drugs regardless of U.S.

Citing Progress, US Ends Drug Sanctions On Bogota - Pakistan And Cambodia
Also Receive Waivers ('International Herald Tribune' Version)

Date: Mon, 02 Mar 1998 15:14:16 +0000
To: press@drugtext.nl, editor@mapinc.org
From: Peter Webster 
Subject: ART: Citing Progress, U.S. Ends Drug Sanctions on Bogota

International Herald Tribune Feb 27 1998
contact: iht@iht.com

CitingProgress, U.S. Ends Drug Sanctions on Bogota
Pakistan and Cambodia Also Receive Waivers

Compiled by Our Staff from Dispatches

WASHINGTON---Citing national security concerns and gains in Colombia's war
on drugs, the Clinton administration has decided to waive sanctions against
that country.

Although Colombia will remain in a special "decertified" category, the
waiver means that there will be fewer impediments to U.S. assistance to
Colombia's anti-drug efforts. Colombia also will be spared economic
penalties for the coming year.

Pakistan and Cambodia also received a sanctions waiver despite their poor
record, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced.

American officials described the agreement hours before the public release
of formal administration evaluations of the anti-narcotics performances of
30 foreign countries.

Most of the 30 were expected to be "certified" as fully cooperating with
U.S. anti-narcotics efforts. The officials, asking not to be identified,
said the administration had decided, as expected, to recertify Mexico,
ignoring the objections of many in Congress.

The administration is not certifying Colombia as fully cooperating because
of ficials believe that country's anti-narcotics effort suffers from
serious shortcomings, the officials said.

In Colombia, Foreign Minister Maria Emma MeFia called the conditional
certification a triumph "for this country, which has suffered greatly,
which has lost a lot of tives and for the president, of course, who has
helped us emerge from this predicament we've had for two years that did not
serve us well."

Colombia remains the world's leading producer and distributor of cocaine
and a major supplier of heroin and marijuana.

The officials said Colombia-would remain in the "decertified" category.
They added that the decision to waive the sanctions was based partly on the
emergence of the Colombian national police as an effective
counter-narcotics force.

For the last two years, Colombia has been ineligible for all U.S.
assistance except for humanitarian and counternarcotics aid. The
designation also required the United States to vote against Colombian loan
requests in international lending institutions.

Colombia's president, Ernesto Samper, is a major reason the Clinton
administration has been unable to give Colombia a clean bill of health. He
is seen in Washington as beholden to drug traffickers based on an alleged
$6 million contribution he received during the 1994 presidential campaign.

The U.S. decision to waive sanctions was made easier by the fact that Mr.
Samper's term in of fice ends in August. Presidential elections are set for

American officials said Colombia's eradication campaign had been
impressive, but they said increased plantings by traffickers had more than
compensated for the crops destroyed through spraying. They also describe as
a step forward the reinstatement of an extradition law by the Colombian
legislature in December.

Colombia had joined Afghanistan Burma, Nigeria and Iran on the list of
decertified countries ineligible for most U.S. assistance.

Other countries subject to the certification process were Aruba, the
Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia China, the Dominican Republic Ecuador,
Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Malaysia, Panama,
Paraguay, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela and Vietnarn.

Syria and Lebanon were decertified last year but are no longer considered
problem countries because of successful opium poppy eradication programs.

The certification process, first required by Congress in 1986, enrages
many countries, where it is seen as counterproductive. These nations say
the root cause of the drug problem is insatiable U.S. demand, not lax
enforcement by source countries.

But Clinton administration officials say the threat of public humiliation
the certification process entails has energized anti-narcotics activities
in a number of countries.

(AP, AFP, Reuters) -- 'Emerald King' Is Arrested

A millionaire entrepreneur known as the "Emerald King" was arrested late
Tuesday on a farm in a suburb of Bogota on charges of sponsoring and
financing right-wing paramilitary death squads, The Washington Post reported.

Prosecutors said Victor Manuel Carranza Nino, 56, had long been suspected
of complicity in a number of killings and of being involved in drug


The drugtext press list.
News on substance use related issues, drugs and drug policy

'New York Times' Starts Another Forum On Drugs (Media Awareness Project
Alerts Online Activists To Make Sure Reformers Win This Poll, Too)

Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 00:58:46 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, maptalk@mapinc.org
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: New York Times starts another Forum on Drugs

>From the Forum page at:

>Drug Policy
>Here we go again. Surprisingly, the last two forums devoted to this topic
>leaned heavily towards legalization. But this attitude isn't reflected in
>the media or in public policy. Washington is beating the drums to step up
>the war on drugs. Our boarders are militarized. Constitutional guarantees
>are eroding in favor of prosecutorial shortcuts. Violent crime, while
>decreasing in most large cities, is on the upswing in medium-sized cities
>as a result of warring drug gangs. Should we endeavor to imprison more of
>the population, or is there an alternative?
>In the past the forums have had a good following. You may have to register
>to access the forums (it has been a year since I participated in the first
>forum, so I do not remember).

If the URL does not work directly, try:


And find the appropriate forum.


Policy.com Forum On Drugs (Another Venue Where Online Reform Activists
Can Reason With Opponents)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 11:30:13 -0800
From: Tom Hawkins 
Organization: Hawkins OnLine, Internet Services and more...
To: Hemp Talk List 
Subject: HT: Policy.com forum on drugs
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

Hi All,


Check out the forum and let your opinions be heard.

Keep fighting peacefully,

Tom Hawkins
Grand Coulee


Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 20:33:19 -0500
To: mattalk@islandnet.com, maptalk@mapinc.org
From: Richard Lake (rlake@mapinc.org)
Subject: THIS WEEK IN POLICY.COM - America's Drug Policy -

These folks finally did a policy issue of interest. I have started a thread
in their discussion area if anyone wants to have some fun.... Richard


- America's Drug Policy -

Policy.com's "Issue of the Week" tackles America's drug-control
policy, focusing on the debate surrounding drug use and regulation,
and the effect of illegal drugs on today's youth and the incidence of
crime in the United States. In addition, this installment examines
the issues surrounding needle-exchange programs and the legalization
of marijuana for medicinal purposes. To learn more, visit
Policy.com's "Issue of the Week:"


Gingrich - Ban Drug-Using Athletes ('Los Angeles Times'
Notes Former Pot Smoker And Republican Speaker Of US House Of Representatives
Told News Conference Held By Family Research Council That All Sports Leagues
Should Suspend Athletes Who Test Positive For 'Drugs' And Ban Athletes
Who Don't Disclose Seller Of Drugs)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:55:24 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: jwjohnson@netmagic.net (Joel W. Johnson)
Subject: MN: US: Gingrich: Ban Drug-Using Athletes
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Contact: letters@latimes.com
Fax: 213-237-4712
Website: http://www.latimes.com/
Pubdate: February 27, 1998


WASHINGTON--All sports leagues and associations should give a one-year
suspension to any athlete testing positive for drugs and ban any athlete
who does not disclose the source of his drugs, House Speaker Newt Gingrich
is recommending.

"It seems to me you have to bear a certain responsibility as a star," the
Georgia Republican said at a news conference. He said he was asking for
players to turn in drug dealers because "we have to make life very
frightening for dealers." Gingrich said he would send the major sports
groups a draft of his idea and ask for their comments.

"I think anybody who has any type of knowledge of substance abuse realizes
that the treatment aspect is just as important" as punitive action, said
Stacy Robinson, director of player development for the National Football
League. Gingrich, he said, "should not forget that we are dealing with
human beings and are dealing with in essence a sickness."

Pat Courtney of Major League Baseball said it would be tough to impose
unilaterally the ideas proposed by Gingrich because anti-drug policy is
determined through collective bargaining with the players' association.

In baseball a player testing positive for drugs must receive treatment and
is disciplined for a second offense. In the NFL, a person caught taking
drugs must enter a rehabilitation program where he must undergo random
testing. On testing positive again he loses four weeks' pay, a second
offense is a four-week suspension and a third means banishment. National
Basketball Association spokesman Brian McIntyre said: "We thank the
speaker for his thoughts, but as it relates to the NBA we think that this
is an issue that is best addressed solely by the NBA and its players."

In the NBA, a player who comes forward voluntarily with a drug problem
receives treatment and is suspended with pay for the first offense. The
second time he is suspended without pay, and the third time he is made
ineligible. A guilty plea for heroin or cocaine is ground for expulsion.
Gingrich made his comments at a news conference held by the Family Research
Council, a conservative interest group.

Canadian Prime Minister In London Vows To 'Deal With The Cannabis Issue Now'
(Letter From Canadian Medical Marijuana Activist Lynn Harichy Says Chretien
Came Up To Her And Her Husband And Said To Her Directly, 'We Will,'
In Response To Her Protest Sign)
Link to earlier story
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod) To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com Subject: Got Desperate (fwd) Date: Sat, 28 Feb 1998 08:26:47 -0800 -- Forwarded message -- Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:36:10 -0800 (PST) From: lharichy@worlddrive.com Today I got desperate because of recent threats of jail if I provide marijuana to medical patients. If I open the club I will go to jail, they say. My fight is with the government and today, I had the honor of meeting the Prime Minister. He was in London today talking with a group of students at Saunder's Secondary school. I stood out side with all the RCMP and my husband waiting his arrival. As he came a small crowd gathered. (8 children, 6 adults, 4 teens, and 10 security men.) The Prime Minister came right over to me to read my sign "Don't make me a criminal! Deal with the cannabis issue Now!" He shook my husband Mike's hand and looks me in the eye and said "We will". I soon replied take control of this issue, educate and be honest with our children so they can make informed decisions. He didn't hear all that because he was rushing away. I didn't have too much time to prepare for this. I spelt cannabis wrong, and was confused when everyone was waiting inside for him and I was going to have an opportunity to maybe make him see I'm not harmful to society. I knew that this would probably be the only chance I will have to get him to listen to me. I was standing there being cautious of the young children standing close by yelling trying to get my message out. I felt alone but knew I wasn't. I was yelling for all medical users. If I go to jail, I will have to deal with that. Before I go though I am going to make this issue as big as I can. I am going to make sure that everyone has heard my story. Maybe jail will give me the time to write more! Lynn Harichy

No More Harassment (Letter To Editor Of 'Victoria Times Colonist'
In British Columbia Applauds Staff Editorial Opposing Attempts
By Victoria Police To Shut Down Sacred Herb Hemp Store)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 07:29:49 -0800 (PST)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: arandell@islandnet.com (Alan Randell)
Subject: PUB LTE: No more harassment
Newshawk: Alan Randell
Pubdate February 27, 1998
Victoria Times Colonist (B.C.)
Contact: timesc@interlink.bc.ca

No more harassment

Thanks for the editorial on the Victoria police's attempts
to shut down the Sacred Herb (Feb. 16).

Ian Hunter is one of the vast majority of pot smokers who
aren't social outcasts who end up dying in a gutter from a
heroin overdose. I hope Victoria city council doesn't
succumb to the police's tactics in order to appear to be on
high moral ground.

All over Canada, police are using the tactic of raiding a
business, waiting several months, and raiding the same
establishment again and again, as has happened with Marc
Emery's Hemp Nation. This is nothing short of legalized

These incidents tarnish the image of the police. With
pointless raids that seek to dissuade Ian Hunter and others
who believe in legalizing cannabis from pursuing their
democratic rights; with harassing of the local prostitutes;
the handling of crowds at the out-of-control party a few
months back; the protests at APEC; and the tactics used in
the sandcastle riots (e.g. pepper spray anyone in sight), I
have difficulty in respecting authority when it comes to
serious matters such as murders, drinking and driving, and
other incidents.

Despite some of the negative media coverage of issues such
as cannabis, there is a huge portion of the population that
has decided to look beyond the cloak of the long-running
"Reefer Madness" campaign and see the real facts for

Daniel Tourigny

Hemp To Become Legal Crop (According To 'Ottawa Citizen,'
Federal Health Minister Allan Rock Yesterday Told Annual Meeting
Of Canadian Federation Of Agriculture That, For First Time Since WWII,
Cultivation Of Industrial Hemp Will Be Legal Nationwide Early Next Month)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 21:09:09 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Canada: Hemp To Become Legal Crop
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
Contact: letters@thecitizen.southam.ca
Website: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/
Pubdate: Fri, 27 February 1998
Author: Dawn Walton, The Ottawa Citizen


'I'm not on marijuana -- I'm just excited,' MP says

Canadian farmers can plan to grow hemp this spring, thanks to a decision
that comes a year earlier than expected -- but, as some see it, 60 years

Federal Health Minister Allan Rock told the annual meeting of the Canadian
Federation of Agriculture that, for the first time since the Second World
War, cultivation of industrial hemp will be legal nationwide early next

"When I took office last June, I was told by Health Canada officials that
we could not possibly get regulations in place to permit hemp production
until the growing season of 1999," Mr. Rock said yesterday.

As the result of a North American anti-marijuana campaign, both hemp and
marijuana were outlawed in Canada in 1938. Both substances come from the
same cannabis plant, but they're different varieties; only marijuana
contains enough of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to
give users a "high."

According to the Health Canada regulations still to be formally approved by
Mr. Rock, industrial hemp must have less than 0.3 per cent THC, which means
smoking a field of the stuff would give the users more of a headache than a

"There will be minor adjustments (to the regulations) and those minor
adjustments will be reflected in the final regulations," said Derek Kent,
spokesman for the minister. "I can't comment on what those adjustments are
because it's not public yet, but those will become public, of course, when
they become law."

But assuming the licensing portion of the regulations doesn't change,
individuals who wish to grow hemp cannot have been found guilty of any drug
offence in the previous 10 years and must be at least 18. Farmers also will
not be allowed to grow less than four hectares of hemp.

Hemp crusaders are thrilled with the long-awaited public announcement that
would give the green light to growing hemp.

"I am delighted that the matter is going ahead," said Senator Lorna Milne,
the Liberal member who pushed the federal government to move more quickly
with the regulations.

"This is an opportunity for Canadian farmers, unmatched in this century. It
is also proof of the effectiveness and worth of the Senate of Canada."

The value of a Canadian hemp industry is difficult to quantify, but every
year the United States imports $100 million (U.S.) of the crop annually.
It's not legal to grow hemp in the U.S. but there also is pressure there
for legalization.

"There's been a lot of interest from Americans who right now are purchasing
their hemp products from abroad -- mostly China -- and they'd love to be
able to drive it down from Canada," said Ron Schnider, of West Hemp
Enterprises Inc., a Vancouver-based firm that is helping B.C. and Alberta
farmers get licences and obtain seeds.

Almost 100 interested growers have contacted West Hemp for advice in
anticipation of the regulations

In 1996, the federal government passed legislation that made the
cultivation and sale of hemp legal, but farmers had been waiting ever since
for the regulations that would actually allow them to grow the stuff.

Sally Rutherford, executive director of Canadian Federation of Agriculture,
which represents 200,000 farm families nationwide, has been asking for
legalization for the past few years.

"That provides another commodity that people can produce and there appears
to be a growing market for it. It is growable in lots of different areas.
For people looking for diversified crops to grow, it is good news."

In the 100-kilometre region around Grand Forks, B.C., interest in growing
the crop is strong. About 75 potential growers have expressed interest.
There has also been a flurry of interest in northern parts of the prairie
provinces because the crop can be turned around quickly in a very short
growing season.

In southwestern Ontario, where the first federal licence to grow hemp was
issued in 1994, farmers have been tapping into the potentially lucrative

Rose-Marie Ur, a Liberal MP from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex who has been among
those lobbying the Health Minister to move faster to legalize, said
yesterday's announcement marks a real opportunity for local farmers to be
ahead of their American counterparts.

"I'm not on marijuana," she beamed. "I'm just excited."

But even some of the biggest proponents of the alternative crop remain
critical of the proposed regulations.

"One of the problems was they were limiting growing to minimum of four
hectares, which eliminates a lot of small farmers," said Brian Taylor,
mayor of Grand Forks, B.C.

Mr. Taylor, an early advocate, planted hemp illegally three years ago in a
field to spell the word "hemp" and was charged with cultivation and
possession. The charges were stayed after he demonstrated it was hemp, not

Experts caution that growing hemp is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

"It will be used in rotation with other crops," Ms. Rutherford says.

"It's certainly no Cinderella crop. It's not going to make anybody a fortune."

Ms. Rutherford says. "It's not going to be used as a permanent crop. It is
just a really good rotation crop for people to use to provide some
diversified activity."

The 0.3 per cent level of THC permitted to be present in the hemp seeds is
also being criticized as being too rigid.

"I think it's actually the THC that protects it from pests, ironically
enough," Mr. Schnider said.

Hemp History:

Banned in Canada since 1938 because it is related to marijuana, it enjoyed
a brief resurgence when it was needed for the Second World War effort, but
the law was once again enforced in the late 1940s.

Political parties have avoided the issue of decriminalization. While the
Liberals promised decriminalization in their 1980 throne speech, they never
followed through.

In 1996, a multi-party Senate committee studied the issue but failed to
come up with a solution.

On June 20, 1996, the federal government passed a bill to make hemp exempt
from a list of cannabis products illegal in Canada.

In March 1998, Federal Health Minister Allan Rock is expected to formally
introduce regulations for the cultivation of hemp.

Remained legal in China, France, Spain and many former East Bloc countries.

Industrial uses of hemp: automotive parts; fibre for the pulp and paper
industry; building materials, textiles; soap; rope; cooking oils; food
additives; carpets; cosmetics; paint.

Canadian Farmers To Grow Hemp This Spring ('Toronto Star' Version)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 12:49:12 -0800
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay 
Subject: Applause for H E M P

(Forwarded from Doc Sumach)

Pour this upon the ears and eyes of the unbelievers...the impossible
in our spare time, on time, this time.....about time!


Feb. 27, 1998
Toronto Star
Newshawk Dr Sumach

OTTAWA- Canadian farmers can plan to grow hemp, the nonnarcotic form of
cannabis this spring for the first time in 60 years.

Health Minister Allan Rock announced a quicker-than-expected green
light for the crop yesterday (Feb 26) to applause from a meeting of the
Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, passed in 1996 permits farmers to
cultivate and sell hemp. But Rock said Health Canada officials told him
last summer there was no way regulations for hemp growing could be ready
until the 1999 season.

"We redoubled our efforts and as a result, I'm pleased to report that by
the beginning of next month the cultivation of industrial hemp will be
legal in Canada," he said.

Rock said his staff are working to ensure farmers will be able to get
licences in time to plant seeds this spring.

Hemp has been banned in Canada since 1938 because it's related to
marijuana and contains small quantities of the same psychoactive
ingredient, THC.

Industrial hemp must have less than 0.3% THC which means it has no
recreational value.

Hemp is already grown in many parts of Europe for its strong, high quality
fibre, which is in demand to make paper, clothing, building materials,
cosmetics and rope.

Seeds from the plant can be eaten by animals and people, and oil can be
extracted for cooking, medicine or food........

Farmers Can Grow Hemp (Toronto 'Globe And Mail' Version)

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 12:49:12 -0800
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay 
Subject: Applause for H E M P

Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Feb. 27, 1998
Newshawk Dr Sumach

Farmers can grow Hemp

OTTAWA- Canadian farmers can plan to grow hemp this spring for the first
time in 60 years. Health Minister Allan Rock announced aquicker-than-expected
green light for the crop yesterday at the annual meeting of the Canadian
Federation of Agriculture. Hemp has been banned in Canada since 1938
because it is related to marijuana and contains small quantities of the
same psychoactive ingredient.

Industrial Hemp must have less than 0.3% THC, which means it has no
recreational value.

Drug Bust Nets 24 ('Halifax Daily News' In Nova Scotia Says
Year-Long Undercover Investigation Led To Mass Roundup
Of Residents Of Digby Charged With Trafficking Various Substances)
Link to response
From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod) To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com Subject: Drug bust nets 24 Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 08:38:44 -0800 Source: Halifax Daily News Contact: letterstoeditor@hfxnews.southam.ca Friday, February 27, 1998 Drug bust nets 24 By SUSANNE HILLER -- The Daily News Investigators hope a series of busts yesterday put a dent in the drug trade in Digby and help clean up the area. RCMP arrested 24 people allegedly involved in the Digby drug trade during a series of surprise raids yesterday. Officials say drug use, especially in schools, is a serious problem. "We targeted toward drug suppliers. This drugs are filtering down and going directly to our children," Digby RCMP Staff Sgt. Wendall Ackerson said yesterday. "I think the raids will make a big difference." The wave of arrests came after a year-long undercover operation known as "Operation Herring Bone." Digby RCMP passed on information about the drug scene to the Yarmouth drug section, which spearheaded the investigation, with the assistance of the Digby detachment. A total of 23 adult males and one male young offender - all residents of Digby town and municipality - have been charged with 78 drug-related offences. The charges include trafficking in marijuana, hashish, PCP, psilocybin, LSD, cocaine and crack cocaine. Ackerson said the arrests do not constitute a drug ring, but said it is likely the suspects know each other because they are all from the same area. Two undercover police officers infiltrated the drug scene for more than a year, he said. They purchased amounts ranging from a gram to a kilogram of different drugs. "We had to wait for a year to get our goals," he said. "There had to be an element of surprise. It was a large operation." The drugs seized have a street value of $55,000, he said. Criminal charges include breach of probation, breach of recognizance, possession of stolen property and break and enter. At least five of the accused will be held until Monday for a show cause hearing.

Limited Legalisation Of Drugs Urged By Priest ('The Irish Independent'
Says Father Gerry Raftery Of The Franciscan Justice Office
Told The National Crime Forum Yesterday That Criminalisation Of Some Drugs
Had Only Driven The Problem Underground, Led To Dangerous Drug Use Practices
And Had A High Social Cost As Well)

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 15:50:16 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Limited Legalisation Of Drugs Urged By Priest
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Source: The Irish Independent
Contact: independent.letters@independent.ie


IT may be time to "think the unthinkable" and consider the
decriminalisation of drugs, a leading priest suggested yesterday.

Criminalisation drove the problem underground, led to dangerous drug use
practices and had a high social cost as well, said Father Gerry Raftery, of
the Franciscan Justice Office.

He is involved in a number of services for drug users, the homeless and
people with HIV and AIDS.

Estimates suggested that up to 60pc of crime in the capital was drugs
related and that there may be up to 10,000 heroin users in the greater
Dublin area, Fr Raftery told the National Crime Forum.

"If limited legalisation (heroin available on prescription) was considered
and if the drugs issue was redefined as a health issue rather than a
criminal matter a number of positive effects would ensue," he said.

Property crime linked to drug use would sharply decline, the number of
dealers would decrease, users would be able to stabilise their lifestyle
and would not need to seek new customers to feed their own habit, the
priest added.

He also claimed costly deaths from overdoses would decrease and there would
be fewer working class adolescents with a criminal record which limited job
and education opportunities.

Fr Raftery warned that the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1997
which enables local authorities and tenants groups to evict people who
engage in 'anti-social behaviour' could lead to a net increase in levels of
homelessness and crime.

But assistant city manager Philip McGuire said communities wanted Dublin
Corporation to have a "hands-on involvement" in dealing with drug abuse.

He said the corporation would continue to evict "chaotic, violent people
who cause vandalism and who have vested interests in wrecking an estate".

However, he stressed that the corporation had not evicted a "huge number of

Fergal Foley, of the Bar Council, said he had serious doubts about the
wisdom of the legalisation of drugs and asked Fr Raftery if he had further
information about its effects.

Fr Raftery said he had personally witnessed the stabilising effects of
methadone programmes for drug users but otherwise he was relying on
evidence from other European countries.

He stressed that his submission was designed to encourage debate on the

Opening the forum, Justice Minister John O'Donoghue said a Government white
paper on crime would determine criminal justice policy for the next couple
of decades.

He said the paper, which he intends to publish later in the year, would
look at offenders, potential offenders, victims, potential victims and
address factors contributing to crime.

He told the 35 members of the forum panel that he hoped their work would be
a milestone on the road towards an enhanced criminal justice policy.

"It will tackle crime from every perspective available to a democratic
society and I intend it to be successful and stand the test of time," said
Mr O'Donoghue.

"We can only succeed in the war against crime if all sections and groups in
society are united in a partnership approach towards fighting crime and its

The Swiss Heroin Trials - Testing Alternative Approaches
(Editorial In 'British Medical Journal' Says Swiss Results Show
'Prescribed Heroin Is Likely To Have A Limited Role' -
Swiss Maintained Good Drug Control, Good Order, Client Safety, Staff Morale,
No Evidence Of Increasing Tolerance, Death Rate 1 Percent Per Year,
Not A Single 'Overdose')

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 21:09:09 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UK: BMJ: Editorial: The Swiss Heroin Trials: Testing Alternative
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin Zeese 
Source: British Medical Journal [BMJ No 7132 Volume 316] (UK)
Contact: bmj@bmj.com
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998


Prescribed heroin is likely to have a limited role

Over half a million heroin misusers receive oral methadone maintenance
treatment world-wide (1) but the maintenance prescription of injectable
opioid drugs, like heroin, remains controversial.

In 1992 Switzerland began a large scale evaluation of heroin and other
injectable opiate prescribing that eventually involved 1,035 misusers.(2,3)
The results of the evaluation have recently been reported.(4) These show
that it was feasible to provide heroin by intravenous injection at a
clinic, up to three times a day, for seven days a week. This was done while
maintaining good drug control, good order, client safety, and staff morale.
Patients were stabilised on 500 to 600 mg heroin daily without evidence of
increasing tolerance. Retention in treatment was 89% at six months and 69%
at 18 months.(4)

The self reported use of non-prescribed heroin fell significantly, but
other drug use was minimally affected. The death rate was 1% per year, and
there were no deaths from overdose among participants while they were
receiving treatment. There were limited reports of problems in the local
neighbourhood, despite the high frequency of daily attendance. Heroin
diversion was not a major problem, although some trial participants were
expelled for attempting to remove heroin from the clinic or to smuggle
cocaine into the clinic.(4)

The Swiss trials have encouraged proposals for similar trials in other
countries, including Australia, (5) and, more recently, Denmark, Luxemburg,
and the Netherlands. Any country that contemplates a trial of heroin
prescription will need to address several problems that arose in the Swiss
trials. Firstly, the participants' preference for heroin over any
alternative opioid undermined the randomised controlled design that was
originally planned and resulted finally in a descriptive outcome study.
Secondly, in the Swiss trials heroin was prescribed as part of a
comprehensive social and psychological intervention. In the absence of any
comparison treatment it was impossible to disentangle the pharmacological
effects of heroin from the effects of providing treatment in well resourced
clinics with highly motivated staff. An assessment of this issue requires
an appropriate comparison treatment. Thirdly, the unique social and
political context of the Swiss trials makes it uncertain how to generalise
their findings to other countries. Switzerland is a wealthy society that
has a comprehensive healthcare system that includes a well developed drug
treatment system whose staff have substantial experience with opioid
substitution treatment. Even so, heroin prescription in Switzerland has
been an addition to existing treatment approaches: it has not replaced the
methadone maintenance still prescribed for 15,000 Swiss heroin misusers but
has been an expensive option for a minority of severely dependent misusers
who have not responded to existing treatments.

Given this limited role, the controversy surrounding heroin prescription in
Switzerland and elsewhere has been out of all proportion to its likely role
as a treatment option. A recent debate about heroin prescription in
Australia, for example, dominated public discussion of drug policy for
nearly a month before the government decided against proceeding with the
trial. The debate also had other untoward effects: supporters of the trial
argued that something radical was needed, thereby encouraging the view that
Australia was in the midst of a national heroin crisis. Their opponents
agreed but countered that this was evidence that the national policy of
harm minimisation, which sanctions methadone maintenance and needle and
syringe exchange, had failed.

These issues have not been resolved by the Swiss trial. There are clearly
still questions that remain unanswered. The most important is what is the
comparative usefulness and cost effectiveness of injectable heroin and oral
methadone maintenance? A convincing answer to this question would
substantially improve our understanding of the role of this controversial

Michael Farrell Senior lecturer National Addiction Centre, Institute of
Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

Wayne Hall Executive director National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre,
Sydney, Australia


1 Farrell M, Neeleman J, Gossop M, Griffiths P, Buning E, Finch E, et al.
The legislation, organisation and delivery of methadone in 12 EU member
states. Brussels: European Commission, 1996.

2 Rihs-Middel M. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health's research
strategy and the prescription of narcotics. In: Rihs-Middel M, ed. The
medical prescription of narcotics. Scientific foundations of practical
experiences. Berne: Hogrefe and Huber, 1994.

3 Uchlenhagen A, Dobler-Mikola A, Gutzwiller F. Medically controlled
prescription of narcotics: fundamentals, research plan, first experiences.
In: Rihs-Middel M, ed. The medical prescription of narcotics. Scientific
foundations of practical experiences. Berne: Hogrefe and Huber, 1994.

4 Uchlenhagen A, Gutzwiller F, Dobler-Mikola A, eds. Programme for a
medical prescription of narcotics: final report of the research
representatives. Summary of the synthesis report. Zurich: University of
Zurich, 1997.

5 Bammer G. The feasibility of the controlled supply of heroin to opiate

French Artists Challenge Judges Over Drugs Law (Britain's 'Independent'
Says More Than 100 French Artists And Intellectuals Have Signed A Petition
Admitting To Taking Soft Drugs - A Crime In France - And Offering Themselves
For Prosecution)

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 15:27:19 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: France: French Artists Challenge Judges Over Drugs Law
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 1998
Source: The Independent (UK)
Contact: letters@independent.co.uk
Mail: The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL, England


MORE than 100 French artists and intellectuals have signed a petition
admitting to taking soft drugs and offering themselves for prosecution,

The intention is partly to embarrass the government of Lionel Jospin, but
mostly to embarrass the judiciary, which has brought a number of legal
cases against high-profile campaigners for the legalisation of cannabis and
other drugs.

The signatories of the "petition of 111" include the 1960s Franco-German
political activist, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the film director Patrice Chereau,
the fashion designer and president of Paris Opera, Pierre Berge, and the
actress Marina Vlady. The petitioners state: "At one moment or other of my
life, I have consumed stupefying drugs. I know that in admitting publicly
that I am a drug user, I can be prosecuted. This is a risk I am ready to

The motive is to draw attention to the hypocrisies and inconsistencies of
government policy and the application of the French anti-drugs law. Public
admission to drugs-taking can be prosecuted in France as an incitement to
use by others.

The president of Act-Up, a group campaigning for the legalisation of soft
drugs, appeared in court this week for distributing a tract called "I like
ecstasy". A counter-culture newspaper, L'Elephant Rose was forced into
bankruptcy recently after being prosecuted under the same law. No action
was taken, however, against others like the pop singer Johnny Hallyday and
the Justice Minister Elisabeth Guignou, who have also spoken frankly about

Mr Jospin said he favoured the decriminalisation of cannabis during the
election campaign last May. His government has stepped back from that
position but measures are expected soon to allow experimental use of
cannabis in hospitals.

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 31 (News Summary For Activists,
From The Drug Reform Coordination Network - Original Articles Note
American Public Health Association Holds Congressional Briefing
On Syringe Exchange; And, Editorial By Adam J. Smith, 'Hollywood
And The Drug War')

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 17:02:40 EST
Originator: drc-natl@drcnet.org
Sender: drc-natl@drcnet.org
From: DRCNet (manager@drcnet.org)
To: Multiple recipients of list (drc-natl@drcnet.org)
Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #31


Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
Rapid Response Team


Please copy and distribute.


ISSUE #31 -- FEBRUARY 27, 1998

(To sign off this list, mailto:listproc@drcnet.org with the
line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or
mailto:drcnet@drcnet.org for assistance. To subscribe to
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STILL AVAILABLE: Copies of Marijuana Myths, Marijuana
Facts, free with donations of $30 or more to DRCNet! Sign-
on online at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html, or mail to
DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036.





AS MEDICINE (reprinted from the NORML Weekly News)

see this week's editorial)




9. EDITORIAL: Hollywood and the Drug War


-Adam J. Smith

On Tuesday, 2/24, the APHA held a very well-attended
briefing for congressional staffers on the topic of syringe
exchange. At a moment in history when the mere mention of
drugs or drug policy reform sends shivers through the very
halls of Congress, the prestige of the 125 year-old APHA was
an important factor in cutting through the politics of the
debate and drawing a crowd of over 100 staffers to the

Three speakers, Harry Simpson, Executive Director of the
Community Health Awareness Project in Detroit, Dr. Peter
Beilenson, Health Commissioner for the City of Baltimore,
and Dr. Don Des Jarlais, prominent AIDS researcher,
currently on staff at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New
York, made a compelling case in favor of syringe exchange
from the practical, political and public health
perspectives. Although all three speakers spoke of the
imperative, both medical and moral, for lifting the current
ban on the use of federal AIDS funding for these programs,
the event also provided a broad-based education on the issue
of harm reduction to staffers, who seemed eager both to
learn more about syringe exchange and to gather rhetorical
ammunition to take back to hesitant legislators.

Harry Simpson spoke first and told the standing room only
crowd of his 16 years as an injection drug user. Clean and
sober today and the Executive Director of a full-service
harm-reduction and public health center with an annual
budget of over $1 million, Simpson eloquently made the case
for helping, rather than discarding, our fellow citizens who
find themselves mired in addiction and abuse. "As a
recovering addict, when I first heard about syringe-
exchange, my initial reaction was, 'you gonna give these
folks free needles? That's the most ridiculous thing I've
ever heard.'" Simpson went on to say, however, that today,
as a practitioner of harm reduction and syringe exchange, he
believed that the service was not only an effective AIDS-
prevention strategy, but also provided a bridge for
substance abusers which led to healthier lives and quite
often to successful recovery.

Dr. Beilenson spoke of the experience of the city of
Baltimore, where AIDS is the #1 killer of persons 25-44
years-old. Baltimore, he said, had the largest city-run
syringe exchange/harm reduction program in the country, with
two mobile units, six separate sites and two pharmacies
where syringes could be exchanged. Dr. Beilenson emphasized
the superiority of exchanges, where dirty needles are taken
back off the street and properly disposed of, over simple
over-the-counter availability, which relied upon consumers
to dispose of the potentially hazardous waste themselves.

One staffer asked about reports that some sites around the
country had given syringes to people who had not brought
used syringes to exchange, to which Dr. Beilenson replied
that while an exchange is formally required, and that the
vast majority of clients did in fact come to the sites with
used syringes, if staff believed that a person asking for
syringes was, in fact, an IV drug user, it would not be in
anyone's interest to turn them away. In Baltimore, where
each syringe is computer coded, the city-run exchange gets
back over 90% of the syringes that it gives out. Dr.
Beilenson also noted that while the typical taxpayer cost
for a single indigent AIDS patient easily surpassed
$100,000, the cost of running Baltimore's entire exchange
program was just $300,000, making the program an enormous
cost-saving measure for the city.

Dr. Beilenson also listed for the staffers four things that
syringe exchange does NOT do: 1) increase the number of
dirty needles on the streets (Baltimore has seen a
decrease); 2) increase crime in their areas of operation
(here again Baltimore has seen a decrease); 3) increase the
use of drugs by clients (Baltimore's large-scale study found
a 22% overall reduction in use by clients); 4) condone
injection drug use, especially with regard to adolescents
(Baltimore's program, which serves over 7,000 clients and
which has exchanged 1.7 million syringes, has exactly two
clients under 18 years of age).

Dr. Don Des Jarlais spoke of the public health imperative
for implementing programs which have now been common-
practice for years in nearly every western society. He told
the gathered staffers that more than one half of all new
AIDS cases in the US came directly from infected needles,
and that overall, more than 70% of new cases were injection-
related. He said that IV drug users have multiple
incentives to use the programs where they are available, as
in addition to the health benefits, new needles worked and
felt better than old, dull needles. In fact, 70-90% of
users who had access to programs used them regularly. In
addition, he stressed, syringe exchange programs were the
single largest source of treatment referrals in areas in
which they operated.

In a nod to the partisan nature of the debate over the
programs in the US, Des Jarlais addded that in the late
1980's "that noted British liberal Margaret Thatcher
instituted nation-wide syringe exchange" as part of her
country's AIDS prevention strategy, and that in contrast to
the startling situation in the States, there is today in the
UK almost no correlation between IV drug use and the AIDS

Throughout the program, attendees could be seen nodding in
agreement and furiously taking notes. One staffer asked the
panel how to broach the subject with a legislator for whom
the moral imperative of helping drug addicted persons, or
even the public health benefits of the programs, fell on
deaf ears. Beilenson urged the staffer to argue dollars and
cents. He reiterated his earlier assertion that Baltimore's
$300,000 program was saving the city untold millions of
dollars in health care costs each year. A warm round of
applause closed the program, and a buzzing crowd of
congressional aides spilled out into the hall and back to

[AJS: Having witnessed this event with the knowledge that
the House Republican leadership is in the process of
crafting a comprehensive Drug War legislative package, one
could not escape the feeling that a fight over drug policy,
a real fight with real philosophical distinctions, is set to
emerge in the House and to be played out over the next 3-4
years. That fight will pit war vs. peace, marginalization
vs. integration, and punitive measures vs. public and
individual health imperatives. At stake will be nothing
less than the future direction of the democracy, and the
type and the character of the nation that we will hand to
our children in the new millennium.]



In the annual, controversial ritual in which the President,
with the consent of Congress, certifies those nations which
have been appropriately cooperative in the global Drug War,
Mexico has maintained its status as an ally, while Colombia,
which has been decertified for the past two years, will
remain off the list but will see US sanctions lifted.

None of this is final, of course, as Congress may well
attempt to overturn President Clinton's decisions, as they
attempted unsuccessfully to do last year with regard to
Mexico. The Associated Press (2/26) reports that there is
already a move on in Congress to decertify Mexico
legislatively. Nations which have been denied certification
face economic sanctions including an automatic "no" vote by
the U.S. on any loan requests to the World Bank.

That is exactly the position in which Colombia has found
itself over the past two years; the Clinton Administration
has cited its belief that President Ernesto Samper received
over $6 million in campaign contributions from drug
traffickers during his 1994 campaign. Clinton's
recommendation this year, that Colombia remain decertified
but have economic sanctions waived, apparently reflects the
belief of the administration that Colombia's police force
and new attorney general are relatively free of corruption
and are making a good-faith effort to combat the multi-
billion dollar trade. The AP notes that US officials
acknowledge the massive eradication efforts in Colombia but
also know that increased planting of coca has more than made
up the difference.

{DB: The one thing that neither the Administration nor
Congress wants to admit is that it doesn't make a difference
how hard a source country "fights" the drug trade -- demand
for drugs in the US and other countries assures that someone
will provide the supply. Study after study, many of them by
the government's own General Accounting Office, have found
that source country efforts have had negligible long-term
impact on the price and availability of drugs in the US.]



In an emotional and hotly contested 20-15 vote, Colorado's
senate approved SB-99, which would legalize syringe exchange
in the state. The measure goes next to the house. The city
of Denver would like to institute a needle exchange program,
while Boulder already has one in operation, albeit
illegally. Authorities in Boulder have thus far declined to
shut the program down in the belief that it is providing a
valuable service to the community.

Denver's Mayor Wellington Webb, a supporter of syringe
exchange, told the Denver Post, "I'm pleased that we're
halfway there, and I certainly want to congratulate those
legislators who were able to give another tool to be used in
the fight against the spread of AIDS.

But sources told The Week Online that Colorado State
Republican Chair Steve Curtis has issued an explicit threat
to any house member who votes in favor of the bill. Curtis
promised that any house Republican who strays from the party
line on this vote can be assured of facing party-financed
opposition in their next primary. Insiders say that Curtis'
threat may in fact work against his party, with the
potential existing for a backlash against such an overt act
of coercion. The bill is now in the 11-member Health,
Environment, Welfare and Institutions committee, where it is
thought that one or two swing votes are still needed to send
the bill to the floor.

Paul Simons, Executive Director of People Engaged in
Education and Reduction Strategies (PEERS), a proponent of
the bill, told The Week Online, "There is obviously a lot of
support within the city governments of both Denver and
Boulder for these programs. We're facing a situation here
where legislators from districts which are not facing these
types of problems are trying to hold syringe exchange
hostage, and are essentially condemning people to death, for
purely political reasons. It's vital that people of
Colorado contact their legislators and express their

ALERT: Colorado residents are STRONGLY URGED to contact
their state reps by phone THIS WEEK as the bill will be
acted upon quickly.

Some of the key legislators in this process include Kay
Alexander (58-R) 866-2955, Chuck Berry (21-R) 866-2346,
Jeanne Faatz (1-R) 866-2966, Dorothy Gotlieb (10-R) 866-
2910, William Kaufman (51-R) 866-2947, Martha Kreutz (37-R)
866-5510, Joyce Lawrence (45-R) 866-2922, Paul Schauer (39-
R) 866-2935, Bryan Sullivant (62-R) 866-2916, Bill Swenson
(12-R) 866-2920, Jack Taylor (56-R) 866-2949, and Tambor
Williams (50-R) 866-2929.

Please call one or more of the legislators on this list plus
your own; and whether or not you live in Colorado, please
get your friends and family in Colorado to call theirs. You
can contact PEERS at (303) 455-2472.

For more information about syringe exchange and injection-
related AIDS, go to DRCNet's Topics in Depth site at
http://www.drcnet.org/AIDS/, the North American Syringe
Exchange Network home page at http://www.nasen.org/, or
the Safe Works AIDS Project web site at



(Reprinted with permission of the NORML Foundation,

February 26, 1998, Washington, DC: A coalition of
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee
on Crime, approved a "sense of the House of Representatives"
resolution stating that "marijuana is a dangerous and
addictive drug and should not be legalized for medical
use." The resolution -- introduced by subcommittee chair
Bill McCollum (R-FL) -- won the approval of all seven
Republicans present, while being opposed by the two
Democrats at the mark-up, Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Ironically, the subcommittee's
action came just one day after the National Academy of
Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) held its third and
final symposium on the merits of marijuana therapy. The IOM
organized the conferences as part of a federally funded 18-
month review of the scientific evidence demonstrating
marijuana's therapeutic value.

Before passing the resolution, the Republicans rejected an
amendment offered by Rep. Conyers, ranking Democrat on the
House Judiciary Committee, stating that the "States have the
primary responsibility for protecting the health and safety
of their citizens, and the Federal Government should not
interfere with any state's policy (as expressed in a
legislative enactment or referendum) which authorizes
persons with AIDS or cancer to pursue, upon the
recommendation of a licensed physician, a course of
treatment for such illness that includes the use of

Republicans argued that any lifting of the legal ban
prohibiting marijuana, even for medical purposes, would send
mixed and potentially dangerous messages to the American
public about drug use. Conyers said that the federal
government has no right to interfere in the relationship
between a doctor and a patient.

"We are talking about patients with the most serious
illnesses a person can have -- people who may very well
die," Conyers said. "And for these patients, there is
substantial medical literature suggesting that marijuana can
reduce their suffering."

"The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee refuse to
recognize that this is a public health question, not part of
the war on drugs," said NORML Executive Director R. Keith
Stroup, Esq. "They are willing to ignore the science and
deny an effective medication to the sick and dying in order
to advance their political agenda. It is especially
disappointing that Chairman McCollum, who twice sponsored
legislation to permit the legal use of medical marijuana in
the 1980's, would lead this misguided effort."

The resolution now goes for consideration before the full
Judiciary Committee. A separate federal bill to allow for
the legal use and distribution of medical marijuana in
states that approve such efforts is pending in the
House Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health and
Environment. House Bill 1782 -- introduced by Rep. Barney
Frank (D-MA) -- currently has ten co-sponsors.

For more information or a copy of the February 23 House
Resolution, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul
Armentano of NORML @ (202) 483-5500. Information on
upcoming state medical marijuana initiatives and legislation
is also available upon request.



A Hollywood organization known as the Caucus of Producers,
Writers and Directors met with Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey
last week (2/18) and announced their intention to
incorporate more anti-drug themes into their work. Jerry
Isenberg, chair of the caucus, told the Los Angeles Times
that they would have to get creative becauses "simplistic
'drugs are bad' messages (are) old and ineffective." Asked
about the groups apparent adherence to the administration's
party line, Isenberg told the Times, "There is no party
line, everybody hates drugs."



- Lloyd Johnson for DRCNet

California State Sen. Richard Rainey (R-Walnut Creek) has
introduced SB 2113, which would severely limit the reach and
effectiveness of Prop 215. SB 2113 would make it illegal
for a doctor to recommend marijuana to any patient under 18,
limit the authority to California Licensed doctors only,
disallow hospice personnel, nurses or other medical
professionals from being designated as a patient's primary
caregiver, and limit the law's application to cancer, HIV,
glaucoma, and muscle spasms associated with a chronic
illness (excluding depression, nausea, anorexia, arthritis,
migraines and many other conditions for which relief has
long been noted).

The bill also deletes the provision encouraging state and
federal agencies to develop a means of distribution of the
medicine, makes Buyers Clubs illegal, requires the doctor to
administer a complete examination and written diagnosis
prior to any recommendation, requires a new examination and
written recommendation every six months, requires
recommending physicians to have an ongoing relationship with
a patient prior to recommendation, and would make an oral
recommendation illegal. The complete content of SB 2113 at

Even if passed by the legislature and signed by the
Governor, SB 2113 will still require approval by the voters
next November, as the California Constitution mandates that
any law passed by the people can only be amended by the

ALERT: California residents, now is the time to let your
State Reps know how you feel about SB 2113. If it gets on
the ballot, it will consume precious resources to defeat.


- Barrington Daltrey for DRCNet

The California Supreme Court dealt the medical marijuana
clubs a setback this week (2/25), letting stand a lower
court ruling prohibiting clubs from selling marijuana to
patients, despite the 1996 Proposition 215 voter initiative.
The appellants had argued that they qualified as "primary
caregivers" even though they might be commercial
enterprises. The appellate court's ruling held that
Proposition 215 did not allow anyone the right to sell
marijuana; nor did it allow commercial enterprises to act as
"primary caregivers."

The spokesman for Cannabis Cultivator's Club of San
Francisco, one of the appellants, is reported as having
stated that he believes the club is now in compliance with
the ruling, as it is not selling marijuana, but is only
receiving reimbursement for cultivation costs.

The state's attorney has indicated he will seek to shut down
CCC and various other clubs providing medical marijuana.
Federal prosecutors are also seeking an order closing
several clubs, based on federal law. Their action
is pending in federal court.



The US Justice Department has decided not to pursue civil
rights charges against Cpl. Clemente Banuelos, the marine
who shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, an 18 year-old Texas
resident, near the Texas-Mexico border. Hernandez was out
herding the family sheep when he was tracked and killed by a
camouflaged, four-marine patrol on the lookout for smugglers
and illegal aliens. Hernandez was carrying an old .22 rifle
that he used to scare off snakes and other predators. The
killing was the first of an American citizen by an active
duty soldier.


9. EDITORIAL: Hollywood and the Drug War

Last week, a group calling itself the Caucus of Producers,
Writers and Directors met with Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey and
promised to work more anti-drug themes into their
productions. "If anybody knows how to reach the adolescents
of America, it is the people in this room" McCaffrey told
the group. This is ironic, of course, because if there is
anybody who doesn't know how to reach the adolescents of
America, it is the people who are prosecuting the Drug War.

Over the past several years, the Hollywood community has
been high on the list of allies that the Clinton
administration has attempted to enlist in the War effort.
Propaganda works of course, and if the information presented
to kids through the entertainment industry is accurate (the
Madison Avenue-issued Partnership For Drug Free America ads
have been repeatedly attacked for employing more hyperbole
than honesty), then surely no one could quibble with trying
to warn kids about the dangers inherent in using drugs. But
with the industry itself rife with illegal drug use, the
apparent hypocrisy may well intrude on the effectiveness of
the message.

And that hypocrisy goes well beyond the "do what I say, not
what I do" variety. The General, while he talks a lot about
treatment and prevention, is the front man for a policy that
is directly responsible for making the US the world's #1 per
capita incarcerator, with one out of every 144 Americans
behind bars, and one in three young black males under
criminal justice 'supervision". And while it is well known
that drug use is common in the entertainment industry, trips
to expensive rehab programs are still the rule, with arrests
the notable exception. For unless a celebrity is caught
doing something incredibly stupid or outrageous (such as
smuggling drugs across a border, or being arrested for gross
public displays of delirium), state and federal law
enforcement agencies have shown little interest in
intervening. When was the last time you read about a big
Hollywood party being raided, resulting in arrests and asset

So the Hollywood community is safe to go about its business,
secure in the knowledge that the Drug War is a war against
others, and that their friends in and around "the business"
need only keep their use relatively private in order to
avoid the consequences that the General and his War have in
store for "regular people." One would imagine that few
members of the entertainment industry believe that any of
their drug-using colleagues would be better off doing a five
or ten year mandatory sentence for possession or conspiracy.
And of course, they would be right.

But while countless stars and starlets appear on the Oscars
telecast sporting ribbons for AIDS research, or against
cruelty to animals, or whatever undeniably worthy cause for
which they wish to speak out, on the issue of the drug war,
there is deafening silence -- even complicity. In the
absence of dissent, a Czar calls forth their talents and
their influence in service to a policy that is destroying
the lives and communities of "regular people" while failing
spectacularly to put a dent in either the availability or
the abuse of drugs.

Public service announcements and anti-drug messages in
entertainment are fine, but the fact is that an American
child has a better chance of growing up in a community torn
apart by the black market, or to lose a parent to the
criminal justice system, or even to end up being sucked into
the trade itself, than he or she has of ever becoming
addicted to drugs. And this is true even though the current
system virtually assures that kids have unfettered access to
even the most dangerous substances.

Pardon the cynicism inherent in this question, but is there
a quid pro quo here? Clearly, a few well-timed busts could
put a very large and very public hole in the Hollywood
community. The damages would extend far beyond the lives of
the celebrities involved, what with contracts and ongoing
projects and current work all dependent upon the viability
of the "stars". Is Hollywood's latest bow to America's
longest war some sort of insurance policy against such
ugliness? Even if only implicitly?

One can almost hear, of course, the worried voices of agents
and PR people warning the talent to stay far clear of this
third-rail. Even those who support reform know that the
majority of Americans is woefully misinformed about the
issue. But in this case the image-makers are behind the
curve. Europe is experiencing a virtual revolution of
thought on the issue of drugs and policy, as is Australia
and Canada. The Independent on Sunday, a British paper, is
in fact in the midst of a very well-publicized campaign to
legalize cannabis. They have garnered support from all
segments of society, including the very public backing of
Sir Paul McCartney. Of course, you won't read about the
debate raging in the UK in the US media.

Here at home, polls indicate that over 50% of Americans know
the Drug War has been a failure. That they often support
even tougher measures, flawed though that strategy is, only
underscores the fact that there are no other options being
discussed by those with serious media access. A couple of
Hollywood names could begin to remedy that in about a week.
The fact is that the cutting edge of opinion on the issue is
anti-war, which makes choosing propaganda over principle
akin to taking the lead in "Big-Budget Part IV" instead of
an artistically brilliant little piece, better for the soul
than the bank account. But artists, in the end, must
nourish their souls.

General McCaffrey is right about one thing--the power of
celebrity is indeed awesome. That is why it would take just
a few brave souls within the industry to stand up against
this insane War to give the movement an enormous shot in the
arm both in public awareness and in financial contributions
to the badly outspent reform organizations. The Drug
Warriors, McCaffrey included, like to answer questions about
the War by reiterating that, well, drug abuse is bad,
thereby implying that reformers think that drug abuse is
somehow OK. That is not the reformer's point, of course,
but the effect of such public implication is to chill the
willingness of the non-believers to speak out. Thus far,
the most notable recent example of bravery coming from
Hollywood has been that radical Woody Harrelson, talking
about industrial hemp. For a business that prides itself on
independent thinking and progressive (on both the left and
the right) politics, that is a pretty lame output.

If the professionals of the entertainment industry have not
been threatened into cooperating, and remain silent simply
for want of information, then it is certainly time for the
voices of reform to access the industry and to educate it.
But perhaps it is true. Perhaps the people of the
entertainment industry, living in glass houses, er,
mansions, are really afraid to throw stones lest the Feds
show up at their next party with glass-cutters and warrants.
If the entertainment industry has indeed been so cowed, it
is a shame. It is also an indication of the absolute
corruption of the war, both in its principles and in its

Nearly fifty years ago the same industry was intimidated
into silence during the red scare, and that silence
destroyed careers and nearly destroyed a nation. It was not
the industry's proudest moment. Today, only Hollywood knows
why Hollywood has agreed to play a supporting role in the
General's multi-billion dollar farce. But one thing is
certain. Those who appear in the Drug War credits will have
to live with that billing for the rest of their lives.
Especially if they took the part for all the wrong reasons.

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director












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