Portland NORML News - Friday, March 6, 1998

The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Needs You! (Update From Paul Stanford,
An OCTA Chief Petitioner, On State Initiative Ballot Measure
That Would Regulate And Tax Cannabis For Medical, Nonmedical
And Industrial Uses)

From: "D. Paul Stanford" (stanford@crrh.org)
Reply-To: "stanford@crrh.org" (stanford@crrh.org)
To: "'Restore Hemp!'" 
Subject: The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act needs you!
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:45:42 -0800
Organization: CRRH
Sender: owner-hemp@efn.org

We are circulating a petition to regulate the sale of marijuana to adults
and medical cannabis patients, and to allow industrial hemp production. The
name of our petition is the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA,) and it is
circulated by our political committee, Campaign for the Restoration and
Regulation of Hemp (CRRH.) We need $25,000 to pay petitioners to put OCTA
on the ballot. Please donate via mail to the address below, or using your
credit card to a secure encrypted link from
http://www.crrh.org/credit_cards.html .

OCTA has been carefully designed by dozens of people to win at the polls
and to be upheld in the inevitable court challenge it will face after
passage. OCTA's departure from federal law is based upon several
well-established and considered constitutional law issues.

We can win this November with a comprehensive revision of
cannabis policy here in Oregon. Our conviction is based upon asking people
in the street to sign and support cannabis policy reform for 15 years, and
noting their changing attitudes toward marijuana prohibition. OCTA has
been through the rigorous process of circulation, where we gathered 57,000+
signatures from across the state in our first unsuccessful campaign (ending
July 1996,) then we revised OCTA to eliminate the points where we lost
potential "swing" voter's signatures and support.

Here is the ballot title, question and summary of OCTA:

Ballot Title: Permits Sale of Marijuana to Adults Through State Liquor

Results Of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote permits state-licensed cultivation, sale
of marijuana for medical purposes and to adults.

Results Of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains present prohibition on cultivation
and sale of marijuana.

Summary: Replaces state, local laws on marijuana except DUII laws. Directs
OLCC to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase
entire crop. Commission sells marijuana at cost to pharmacies and medical
research facilities for medical purposes and to qualified adults for profit
through state liquor stores. Ninety percent of net proceeds go to state
general fund; smaller percentages for drug abuse education, treatment,
promotion of certain hemp products. Bans sales to, possession by minors.
Bans public consumption except where signs permit and minors barred.
Provides penalties.

We planned, then worked long and hard to ensure that we obtained the best
ballot title, question and summary that we could. The one we have now is
near ideal. We can win.

We want to give our electorate the ballot title, question and summary of
OCTA, as drafted by the Oregon Attorney General's office and certified by
the Oregon Supreme Court, then these reasons to support OCTA and these
benefits that all Oregon citizens will enjoy if OCTA were enacted:

*Increased state revenue (maybe 15 or more percent of state revenue,) less
other taxes, more money in Oregonian's pockets.

*Well paying jobs for thousands, economic expansion, booming tourism,
farmers prosper.

*Medical access for patients to cannabis under the standard existing
medicinal prescription distribution systems.

*Industrial hemp development and its economic and environmental benefits.

*More police resources for violent criminals and thieves, fostering more
respect for law enforcement.

*Less drug use and abuse by minors (as data like the lead editorial in the
12/23/95 British Medical Journal documents.)

*Largest agricultural crop, perhaps largest industry in the state, is
brought into the mainstream and taxed like the rest.

*Government control vs. street gang control.

*Reversal of the buildup of prisons & police power, fewer prisons.

*OCTA's tax on the sale of cannabis in state-contracted package stores will
raise money targeted for dramatically increasing funding for drug treatment
programs for substance abusers, drug education for children, and research
into the effects of cannabis by academic and medical institutions and

We think it is important to note that OCTA is staffed entirely by
volunteers. Our video productions (we have produced more than 40 cable
access TV shows regarding OCTA, with another every week,) lawyer's time,
printing, operations, everything at this point is volunteered and financed
by small donations. (We did pay a few petitioners a few hundred dollars
last summer.) We have a full printing operation with three printing presses
and a fully equipped, modern office with copier, fax and video conferencing
capability. OCTA has over 20,000 signatures as of early January, according
to our attorney and treasurer, Paul Loney. We are not paid to do this, we
pay to do it, just like every one of our current activists. Ours is truly a
"grass roots" campaign.

OCTA will take the marijuana market out of the hands of the children and
substance abusers who control it today, and put it stores where the age
limit of 21 or older will be strictly enforced. Marijuana isn't a gateway
drug, it is the gateway to the black-market. When cannabis is regulated,
the use of other illegal drugs will decline dramatically, as demonstrated
and documented in the Netherlands (British Medical Journal;12/23/95.) OCTA
will allow medical patients to access marijuana at cost from pharmacists
with a doctor's prescription. OCTA will allow Oregon's farmers to produce
industrial hemp, the plant that produces more fiber, protein and oil than
any other plant on our planet. This will create thousands of jobs alone.

We believe that the future of freedom in America hinges upon the War on
Drugs. If we don't stop this civil war, then we believe it will engulf our
most precious heritage, our civil liberties. We can see that this is already
occurring quite clearly today. The War on Drugs is only very rarely about
drugs and is almost always about the continued centralization of economic
and political control.

Please donate to help the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act make the ballot and win
this election. Contact us at

P.O. Box 86741
Portland, OR 97286

Phone: 503-235-4606
Fax: 503-235-0120
Web Pages: http://www.crrh.org
Video archive: http://www.crrh.org/video.html
Credit Card web donation site: http://www.crrh.org/credit_cards.html

Injured Officer Counts Blessings - Kim Keist, Shot Twice During A January Drug
Investigation, Concentrates On Recovery ('The Oregonian' Interviews
Portland Cop Wounded Not During An 'Investigation,' But After Breaking Down
A Door Without A Warrant With Others On Marijuana Task Force
Who Swore Suspect Was Burning Cannabis In His Fireplace In An Attempt
To Destroy Evidence - Paper Still Refuses To Say If Burned Cannabis Was Found
In Fireplace Or Not)

The Oregonian
letters to editor:

March 6, 1998

Injured officer counts blessings

Kim Keist, shot twice during a January drug
investigation, concentrates on recovery

By David Anderson
of The Oregonian staff

First thing first for Kim Keist.

She must get through the physical pain. Her body
has grown stronger since she was shot 37 days
ago, but even sitting up is still difficult.

Then she will deal with the emotions. And she
will deal with whether to go back to work.

"So far, I think I've been in more pain, and things
are more focused on healing than the incident,"
she said at a Thursday news conference.

"It's just a blessing I'm here."

For the Portland police officer who nearly died
after being hit twice in a shootout at a marijuana
grow operation Jan. 27, the hard work will
continue. She still has a bullet in her hip. She lost
a kidney. Her intestines are damaged.

"I still have a couple more surgeries to go and a
lot more healing," she said.

Keist went back to Legacy Emanuel Hospital on
Thursday for a checkup, five days after going
home. Her 9-year-old son, Kenneth, rode her
wheelchair up and down the hallway while his
mother saw the doctor. When she came out,
Keist walked about 100 yards to a conference
room, hand in hand with her son.

"I'm feeling a lot stronger," she said.

While her physical recovery continues, she can't
help remembering the shooting.

But she would not answer questions about the
incident or policies of the Police Bureau's
Marijuana Task Force, which was investigating a
suspected marijuana grow operation at the house
of Steven Douglas Dons. Detectives have not
formally interviewed her about the shooting.

Police say Dons killed Officer Colleen Waibel and
wounded Keist and Sgt. Jim Hudson during the
raid. Dons was found dead in his jail cell Feb. 25,
the victim of suicide.

When she inevitably thinks of the shooting,
though, she's not angry that it happened to her.

"I'm angry at the fact that Steven Dons went to
such a degree to protect a couple marijuana
plants, because he wanted to kill a police officer,"
she said. "That's where the anger comes from."

Keist said she didn't consider it unusual that
Dons, a man who would shoot it out with police,
would be suicidal.

For Keist, the most difficult time emotionally will
come if she returns to her job.

"It becomes more of a struggle when you're back
to work for the first few days," she said.

Her doctor said she should be able to physically
return to police work, but whether she wants to is
up in the air. Keist also has not talked to Waibel's
husband, Portland police Sgt. Mark Fortner.

The shooting has not radically changed her
outlook on life.

"Certainly my first and foremost priority is my
family, but it always has been," she said.

Keist's mood lightened when she said the best
thing about being home in La Center, Wash., is
that "it increased my appetite the minute I walked
in. I'm now able to eat, and I'm only throwing up
just once a day."

Keist thanked the community for the prayers and
hundreds of cards.

"They have supported me beyond anything I
could possibly dream," she said. "It's just been
really ... it touches my heart and helps me get
well at this time of need."

Federal Judge Denies Cancer Patient Prescription Medication Marinol
(Bulletin From Medical Marijuana Activist Todd McCormick Of Bel Air, California,
Charged With Cultivating Marijuana Despite Proposition 215, Conveys Verdict
Tuesday On His Pretrial Motion - Things Are Worse Than Ever, Judge Won't Even
Let Him Use Legal Marinol, Nor Consume Legal Hempseed Oil)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 20:23:45 EST
Originator: drctalk@drcnet.org
Sender: drctalk@drcnet.org
From: Todd McCormick (todd@a-vision.com)
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Federal Judge Denies Prescription Medication
Link to earlier story
Side note from Todd: If anyone has ever heard of a situation like this in federal court please let me know. I know of no case that a judge had prohibited a medical patient access to prescribed medication. How cruel can the federal gov. really get? Please re-post anywhere this message may not have reached. Thank You FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Federal Judge Denies Cancer Patient Prescription Medication Marinol (r) Los Angeles, March 4, 1998. In a precedent-setting ruling, a federal judge denied cancer patient Todd McCormick access to "any form of marijuana," including the prescription medication Marinol (r), "marijuana derivatives," and even "hemp seed oil." McCormick, who had cancer nine times before he was ten, was arrested on July 29, 1997, at the fabled "Marijuana Mansion" for medical marijuana cultivation. His bail was set at $500,000, posted by actor Woody Harrelson. On Tuesday, however, federal Magistrate Judge James McMahon added to McCormick's Terms of Bail Release the instruction "not use any form of marijuana, including any synthetic marijuana, any products that contain marijuana derivatives including but not limited to hemp seed oil, marinol [sic], or any other product containing cannabinoid derivatives, either with or without prescription." McCormick recently obtained a prescription for Marinol (r) from his California physician. McCormick reported this to his federal Pre-Trial Services officer and to the technician performing McCormick's twice-weekly urine tests. As expected, McCormick tested positive to THC. The words "prescription, Marinol" were added to all lab reports. McCormick's attorney, David Michael, discussed the situation with McCormick's Pre-Trail Services officer. Nevertheless, McCormick was called before federal Magistrate Judge James McMahon on Tuesday where the ruling was made. The ruling greatly concerned McCormick's attorney, David Michael. "This is an inappropriate interference with the right of a physician to prescribe and the right of a patient to be treated," Michael said. "To deny Mr. McCormick Marinol (r), an FDA- and DEA-approved Schedule II prescription medication, or any other prescription medication, is a dangerous precedent. The judiciary is ill equipped to take the place of a physician in deciding what medication a patient needs." After more than six months of chronic cancer-induced pain and reduced appetite because he could not use medical marijuana, McCormick was recently finding some relief in Marinol (r), a synthetic form of THC, one of marijuana's active ingredients. "This ruling means I go back to pain, sleepless nights, no appetite, depression," McCormick said, noticeably shaken by the ruling. "The government won't let me use a legal prescription drug to ease my suffering. One side of the federal government, the DEA and the FDA, say Marinol (r) is okay, a medicine. Another side, this court, says I can't use it. I don't understand." The inconsistency continues in the "Medical Instructions" given McCormick, a set of 35 federal rules for urine testing, one of which reads: "28. Nothing in the above instructions is meant to interfere with legitimate medical treatment. Appropriate medical treatment is encouraged." Just last week the California Supreme Court decided to let stand a lower court decision to narrowly restrict medical marijuana access under Proposition 215, now the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The ruling dictates that cultivation is the only way in which California medical patients can legally obtain medical marijuana-no buying; no transporting over public roads. McCormick is charged by the federal government only with marijuana cultivation-not selling, not even intent to sell. To contact Todd McCormick: 213-650-4906 (home number) To contact David Michael, McCormick's attorney: 415-986-5591

Ninety-Eight Percent Of California Judges Are Former Prosecutors
(Steve Kubby, Libertarian Candidate For Governor Of California,
Expresses Support For Todd McCormick, Says Judge James McMahon
Is Torturing The Cancer Patient And Is 'Bigoted And Corrupt'
And Says, 'I Blame Judges For This Miserable, Phony War')

Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 22:31:35 -0700 (MST)
From: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
To: "Colo. Hemp Init. Project" 
Subject: 98% of CA judges are former prosecutors

From: Steve Kubby (kubby@alpworld.com)
Libertarian Candidate for California Governor

March 9, 1998

Dear Friends,

My heart is heavy for Todd and what he must now endure.

I just came from a trial where I served as an expert witness for the
defense. The judge was just as bigoted and corrupt as the federal judge
who is torturing Todd.

I blame judges for this miserable, phony war. It is judges who put people
away for decades, even when they know it is unjust. It is judges who allow
no knock searches and tainted evidence. And, it is judges who have created
the unspoken 'Drug War Exception to the Constitution.'

Here in California, 98% of judges come from the prosecutor's office and
only 2% come from the public defender's office. We have 16 years of
Republican Governors appointing goons as judges.

Only a Governor can replace corrupt judges with judges who will uphold and
defend the Constitution.

That's why I'm running--that's why we intend to win.

Let freedom ring,



1998 CALIFORNIA 2002


"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely
in the determination of each citizen to defend it.
Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to
do his share in this defense are constitutional
rights secure."

--Albert Einstein


For more information about the case of Todd McCormick, see:
The Medical Marijuana Magazine

Pothole Awaits Attorney General In Drive For Governor ('Washington Post'
Update On California Gubernatorial Race Suggests Candidate Dan Lungren,
The Republican Attorney General And Anti-Medical Marijuana Zealot,
Will Have A Hard Time Winning A State Where Voters Have Already Endorsed
Medical Marijuana)

Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 18:36:45 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US CA: Pothole Awaits Attorney General in Drive for Governor
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Source: The Washington Post
Author: William Claiborne, Washington Post Staff Writer
Pubdate: Friday, 6 Mar 1998
Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm
Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/


California's Lungren Can Legally Close Political Foe's Campaign
Office-Marijuana Club

LOS ANGELES-State Attorney General Dan Lungren, the front-running Republican
candidate for California governor, has a marijuana problem. Actually, two
marijuana problems.

Backed by a new court ruling barring sale of medicinal marijuana -- even
though California voters approved its use by the ill in a 1996 referendum --
Lungren has vowed to shut down nearly two dozen "cannabis clubs" still
providing patients with the pain-easing drug.

But in some liberal Northern California counties, including San Francisco,
Santa Cruz and Mendocino, local police and prosecutors are all for the
cannabis clubs, and they have shown little enthusiasm for helping Lungren
close them. In Mendocino County, local officials even debated whether to use
a vacant lot next to a police station to grow marijuana for distribution to
sick people. And in San Francisco, a lawyer in the City Attorney's Office
sued the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent it from
punishing physicians who recommend marijuana for medical use.

On top of that, the founder of San Francisco's thriving Cannabis
Cultivators' Club, Dennis Peron, is Lungren's opponent in the Republican
primary election in June. He takes glee in pointing out that if the attorney
general jails him for disobeying the court order, people might think there
was a political motive lurking somewhere. Since Peron's campaign
headquarters and his psychedelically decorated, marijuana smoke-filled
emporium are one and the same, Lungren could find himself in the position of
having shut down his opponent's campaign office.

"I feel sorry for him. He just doesn't want to accept feedback from the
people. He just wants to close my campaign headquarters like some South
American dictator," said Peron, who says that for years he has been the
marijuana supplier of choice for many San Francisco homosexuals seeking
relief from the symptoms of AIDS.

Lungren shut down Peron's club for five months in 1996, before the state
referendum allowed it to reopen. He has frequently said he thinks Peron must
have been smoking too much of his own product when he entered the Republican
primary in the first place. But the attorney general, through a spokesman,
declined to comment directly on Peron's allegation about closing his
campaign office.

"He won't touch that one," said Rob Stutzman, Lungren's press secretary.

But Stutzman said: "The attorney general has a court order to enforce the
law, and Mr. Peron is breaking the law by distributing marijuana from that
address. If his campaign headquarters is there, he'd probably be well
advised to relocate his political operation."

On Feb. 25, the state Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that,
despite the 1996 ballot initiative, cannabis clubs cannot sell or give away
marijuana to ill people because the clubs are not "primary caregivers" as
defined in the new law. The next day, a San Francisco Superior Court judge
issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Peron from selling or giving
away marijuana, after which Lungren said he would enforce the injunction.

In deft semantic footwork, Peron immediately announced he is no longer
selling marijuana, but seeking "remuneration" for fertilizer, labor costs
and fluorescent lighting that go into producing marijuana in the basement of
his five-story cannabis club a few blocks from San Francisco City Hall. A
new sign went over the club's marijuana bar proclaiming it a "Remuneration

"We don't sell marijuana. We accept reimbursement for cultivating it, as the
law says we can do," Peron said, referring to a state Court of Appeals
ruling that a bona fide caregiver may seek reimbursement for expenses in
providing marijuana to a patient.

While no accurate statistics on medical marijuana use are available, backers
of the ballot initiative estimate that about 10,000 patients, with diseases
ranging from AIDS and cancer to glaucoma and arthritis, buy the drug to
reduce pain and control nausea.

Lungren argues that the ballot initiative, which was drafted by Peron,
allows for only three things: a doctor to recommend marijuana, a patient to
use it with a doctor's recommendation, and a primary caregiver to provide it
if the patient is unable to obtain it. The voters did not intend, and the
law still does not allow, commercial enterprises to distribute marijuana,
even in return for remuneration of costs, Lungren insists.

Matt Ross, another Lungren spokesmen, said the Feb. 25 court ruling applies
not only to Peron's club but to other clubs as well. "We will advise
district attorneys and law enforcement officials of each county of that,"
Ross said. When asked what the attorney general will do if local authorities
balk at closing the clubs, he said, "I can't get into that. But I can tell
you that we will ensure that the [court] order is enforced."

In politically conservative areas of Southern California, like Orange and
Ventura counties, local authorities wasted little time, in spite of the
ballot initiative, in shutting down cannabis clubs and even jailing their
employees. But some areas of Northern California are a different matter.

"We're all together on wanting to make [medical marijuana] work in San
Francisco. Eighty percent of the people voted for it," said District
Attorney Terence Hallinan, a self-described "Old Prog" who long has
advocated decriminalizing marijuana.

The Oakland and Santa Cruz city councils unanimously passed resolutions
defending local cannabis clubs. The resolutions condemned a lawsuit brought
last month by the U.S. Justice Department and the DEA against six San
Francisco Bay area clubs seeking to close them for violating federal laws
against cultivating, possessing and distributing marijuana. A hearing on the
case was set for March 24.

What disturbs some cannabis club operators is that Peron appears to have
backed Lungren into a corner and forced him to try to shut down clubs that
operate more discreetly than the flamboyant San Francisco Cannabis
Cultivators' Club and with the tacit approval of the local authorities.

"These clubs don't claim they are protected legally," said David Fratello,
spokesman for Americans for Medical Rights, sponsor of the 1996 ballot
initiative. "They have sought to negotiate nonenforcement arrangements with
their local law enforcement agencies because they think it's worthwhile for
them to be above ground."

Fratello said Peron's situation is different because the 1996 state
narcotics raid closed his club and he needed to reopen, even if it meant
going head-to-head with the attorney general. But he said the federal civil
lawsuit brought by the U.S. attorney for Northern California, Michael
Yamaguchi, on behalf of the DEA and Attorney General Janet Reno is more
threatening because it could lead to an end to above-ground distribution
even in local jurisdictions where the authorities resist Lungren's attempts
to close the clubs.

(c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Prison System Out Of Control (Op-Ed In 'San Diego Union Tribune'
By Dan Walters Of 'The Sacramento Bee' Says The Indictment
Of Eight Corcoran State Prison Guards Suggests The California Penal System
Appears To Be Out Of Control, And The Semi-Official Line
From The State Department Of Corrections And The Governor's Office,
That If There Was Wrongdoing, It Was Solely The Misdeeds Of Rogue Guards,
Is Not Acceptable)

Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 07:03:50 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US CA: Prison System Out Of Control
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Tom Murlowski 
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Author: Dan Walters, The Sacramento Bee
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998
Contact: letters@uniontrib.com
Mail: Letters Editor, San Diego Union-Tribune, P O Box 191 San Diego, CA
Fax: (619) 293-1440
Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/


The eight Corcoran State Prison guards indicted on federal cruelty charges
must, of course, be held personally responsible for their own actions,
whatever they were. Such accountability is, after all, the philosophical
core of the penal system itself.

But the semi-official line from the state Department of Corrections and the
Governor's Office -- that if there was wrongdoing, it was solely the
misdeeds of rogue guards -- is not acceptable. There's something more
fundamentally amiss with the department.

As any business executive knows, one of the most perilous circumstances is
unbridled, unmanaged growth, and the Department of Corrections has been, by
a wide margin, the state government's fastest-growing segment. It has added
dozens of new facilities, hired some 35,000 new employees, expanded its
spending 10-fold and absorbed more than 130,000 new inmates since 1980.

Californians and their political representatives demanded that expansion,
decreeing that those who commit felonies would be treated more harshly than
in the past. The state's crime rates have fallen since the prison-expansion
program began and its advocates and defenders credit it with that drop.
Whether that credit is warranted, or not, it's clear that the rapid
expansion of California's penal system has had several interlocking effects
on the system itself, to wit:

As tens of thousands of young men were sucked into the inmate population by
tougher new laws and harsher judicial and parole policies, many brought
with them gang-centered, violence-prone codes of conduct;

Despite construction of new prisons, the system was packed well beyond its
designed capacity, becoming a human warehousing network rather than a
correctional program;

Drug treatment, basic education, job counseling and other programs that
might have reduced recidivism were reduced to near-nothing by a lack of
money, a lack of space and a lack of political will;

Tens of thousands of new guards were hired, shoved into the cellblocks and
guard towers with minimal training and acculturation but imbued with
god-like powers over inmates;

Expansion and retirements meant rapid promotion into management of people
who were only scantily prepared, thus creating what one former Corrections
official calls "a loss of institutional leadership;"

The prisons themselves tended to operate as independent units, rather than
components of a centralized department accountable through politicians to
the public, with wardens viewing themselves as captains of warships on the
high seas;

An unholy political alliance developed between those who were supposed to
be managing Corrections, including the governor, and the California
Correctional Peace Officers Association, which became the state's single
most powerful labor union and lubricated its political relationships with
tons of campaign money;

Prison officials have restricted the ability of the media and legislators
to find out hat's been happening behind prison walls. Wilson and the
department also have resisted proposals to establish an independent
watchdog such as an inspector general - even though the governor says he
wants such an independent inspector for public schools.

Given all of those conditions, it's a minor miracle that California's
prison system hasn't experienced more misconduct and mismanagement. But the
conditions that bred what happened in Corcoran remain unaddressed. Indeed,
the indicted guards contend that they were only following departmental
orders when they put rival gang members together.

We -- taxpayers and voters -- should insist that those we elect get control
of an institution that appears to be out of control.

Copyright 1998 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

Drunk On Power (Staff Editorial In 'San Jose Mercury News'
Notes US Senate On Wednesday Voted To Tie Federal Highway Funding
To States' Tightening Drunken-Driving Standard, Violating States' Rights)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 12:17:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US Editorial: Drunk On Power
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998
Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com


THE U.S. Senate's vote to crack down on drunken driving shows once again
that most politicians can resist anything except temptation.

The Senate on Wednesday couldn't resist expanding its power and jumping on
a bandwagon. The objection that there was no particular reason for the
Senate to get involved in this issue was swept aside. Maybe the House of
Representatives will be more disciplined.

In the Senate, 36 Democrats and 26 Republicans decided that they knew
better than 35 state legislatures how much alcohol drivers should be
allowed to have in their blood. Fifteen states, including California, set
the level at 0.08 percent. They're right, said the Senate.

Thirty-five states permit up to 0.10 percent. If they don't adopt 0.08,
said the Senate, they should forfeit first 5 percent, then 10 percent of
their federal highway funds.

One of the sponsoring senators, Ohio Republican Mike DeWine, argued that it
is senseless for a driver to be considered legally drunk in one state but
not in another.

Why exactly is that senseless? Many regulations vary slightly from state to

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration,
dropping the limit from 0.10 to 0.08 reduces from five to four the number
of beers a 170-pound man could drink in an hour and be within the limit.

(For the record, the beverage industry says the limit will be reached on a
couple of drinks; and this editorial page is certainly not recommending a
four-beers-for-the-road policy.)

If the NHTSA is right, this is a debate about whether four beers or five
after work is the appropriate limit. There's nothing wrong with that
debate. There's nothing wrong with answering ``four'' as California did.
And there's nothing that requires one answer nationwide.

In many instances, the federal government ought to supersede the states.
States' rights earned a bad name in the 1950s and '60s when they were
invoked in the service of prohibiting blacks from voting. When it comes to
fundamental American rights, the states shouldn't get to be laboratories of

In other instances, national standards are necessary because state
standards would be insufficient. Clean air standards are federal because
pollution from Ohio River Valley power plants dirties the air in New

But Washington is continually tempted to set standards for which national
uniformity is not necessary or even desirable.

Washington wants to tell schools what their suspension and expulsion
policies on drugs and weapons should be, as if schools were indifferent to
this problem and as if the policy ought to be the same in San Jose and Salt
Lake City.

Washington wants to tell states how strict to be on juvenile crime, as if
states otherwise would ignore delinquents.

The charitable explanation is that when a politician believes in a policy,
and has the power to impose it, it's tough to pass up the opportunity. The
uncharitable explanation is power grabbing and posturing.

Technically, the Senate is respecting states' rights. It can't mandate that
they change their law. Instead it's blackmailing them into doing it. The
highway funding system leaves states dependent on federal dollars.

The proposed one-drink reduction was greeted with much jubilation by the
prevailing senators. ``Happy hour for drunk drivers is over,'' said Sen.
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. Actually this was happy hour in the Senate, in
which senators got a free feel-good vote on the house.

Many Who Had Transfusions May Be Infected ('Associated Press'
Item In 'Seattle Times' Says Hundreds Of Thousands Of Americans
Who Had Blood Transfusions Years Ago Will Receive Letters
Warning They May Have Been Infected With Hepatitis C, A Serious Liver Disease
That Often Shows No Symptoms For Years - List Subscriber With The Virus
Notes Efficacy Of Cannabis In Ameliorating Its Symptoms)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 11:44:06 -0800 (PST)
From: bc616@scn.org (Darral Good)
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Seattle Times Hep-C info unfairly stigmatizes a disease.
Reply-To: bc616@scn.org
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net

[Sender notes:]

Hey folks don't worry Hep-C cannot be contacted through e-mail
or even through casual contact. It is a blood borne disease.
the best treatment known so far for it is to keep a positive attitude and
laugh a lot. One of my doctors says "foul mood = foul liver"

I need to write a letter to the editor on this one because there are a
few things mentioned in the article that unfairly stereotype hep-C sufferers.
I am going to tie in the medical marijuana TRUTH as well. I must do this.
I hope others will join me in attacking the stigma of having an ailment!


Posted at 05:49 a.m. PST; Friday, March 6, 1998

Many who had transfusions may be infected

by Laura Meckler
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had blood
transfusions years ago will receive letters warning they may have been
infected with hepatitis C, a serious liver infection that often shows
no symptoms for years.

"We know that many Americans infected with hepatitis C are unaware
they have the disease," Surgeon General David Satcher told a House
subcommittee yesterday.

The Department of Health and Human Services is preparing a campaign to
encourage people to get tested for the virus, which was not identified
until 1988. It can take 20 years for symptoms to surface.

There is no cure, but various treatments are available. About 1
million of an estimated 4 million infected Americans don't realize
they have the sometimes fatal virus.

"These people need to be told. They need to be tested. Many will need
treatment, and many will need to learn how to prevent further spread
of the disease," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of the
House Government and Oversight's human-resources subcommittee.

He compared the government's inertia on hepatitis C to its early
reaction to AIDS. "Federal public-health agencies have often pondered,
but never implemented, a comprehensive response to this insidious
infectious agent," he said.

New research suggests hepatitis C patients are particularly vulnerable
to liver failure, and the virus is the leading reason for liver
transplants in the United States.

Intravenous drug users make up the vast majority of hepatitis C
victims, but about 300,000 people may have contracted it from a blood
transfusion before the first screening tests were created in 1990. It
wasn't until mid-1992 that highly reliable tests were found.

The risk of infection through a blood transfusion today is very small
because of improved screenings.

Satcher said the department plans to write to people who received
blood before 1992 from donors who later tested positive for the virus.
These blood recipients have a 40 percent to 70 percent chance of
having the virus.

It may be several months before the letters are sent, though. HHS
agencies must still recommend details to Secretary Donna Shalala, who
will then issue a regulation guiding the program.

Blood banks nationwide then must identify potential victims. They will
have to check their records for any donor who tested positive for
hepatitis C since 1992, then check if he or she donated blood before.
If so, they will have to trace the earlier donation to the recipient.

But this will not find those who received tainted blood from a donor
who never donated again. And it will not reveal those infected by
dirty needles or sexual contact.

To reach them, Satcher said, the government plans an educational
campaign for health-care providers and the public, an effort first
recommended last summer by a Public Health Service committee.

Although the number of new infections has dropped dramatically over
the past several years, 30,000 new cases appear each year, and about
10,000 people die annually.

Copyright (c) 1998 The Seattle Times Company

Government To Warn Hepatitis C Victims
(Version In Southern Massachusetts' 'Standard-Times')

Date: Sun, 8 Mar 1998 04:16:57 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US: Government To Warn Hepatitis C Victims
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Fri. 6 Mar. 1998
Source: The Standard-Times, Serving the South Coast of Massachusetts
Author: Laura Meckler, Associated Press writer
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
WebPage: http://www.s-t.com
Note: Please mail any comments to Newsroom@S-T.com


WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had blood transfusions
years ago will receive letters warning they may have been infected with
hepatitis C, a serious liver infection that often shows no symptoms for

"We know that many Americans infected with hepatitis C are unaware they
have the disease," newly installed Surgeon General David Satcher told a
House subcommittee yesterday.

The Department of Health and Human Services is preparing a campaign to
encourage people to get tested for the virus, which was not identified
until 1988. It can take 20 years for symptoms to surface.

There is no cure, but various treatments are in use and doctors are
searching for improved therapies. About 1 million of an estimated 4 million
infected Americans don't realize they have the sometimes fatal virus.

"These people need to be told. They need to be tested. Many will need
treatment, and many will need to learn how to prevent further spread of the
disease," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of the House
Government and Oversight's human resources subcommittee.

He compared the government's inertia on hepatitis C to its early reaction
to AIDS. "Federal public health agencies have often pondered, but never
implemented, a comprehensive response to this insidious infectious agent,"
he said.

New research suggests hepatitis C patients are particularly vulnerable to
liver failure, and the virus is the leading reason for liver transplants in
the United States.

Intravenous drug users make up the vast majority of hepatitis C victims,
but about 300,000 people may have contracted it from a blood transfusion
before the first screening tests were created in 1990. It wasn't until
mid-1992 that highly reliable tests were found.

The risk of infection through a blood transfusion today is very small
thanks to improved screenings.

Satcher said the department plans to write to people who received blood
before 1992 from donors who later tested positive for the virus. These
blood recipients have a 40 percent to 70 percent chance of having the virus.

But this will not find those who received tainted blood from a donor who
never donated again. And it will not reveal those infected by dirty needles
or sexual contact.

To reach them, Satcher said, the government plans an educational campaign
for health care providers and the general public, an effort first
recommended last summer by a Public Health Service blood advisory
committee. Details will be announced in about a month, Satcher said.

Snowboarders Released From Jail ('Associated Press'
Update On Two International Snowboarders Arrested For Two Grams Of Cannabis
And A Pipe In Nevada, Says A Conviction For The First-Time Drug Felony
Mandates Probation, But Could Effectively Kill Their Snowboarding Careers)

Date: Sun, 08 Mar 1998 20:44:17 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US NV: Wire: Snowboarders Released From Jail
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Chris Clay - http://www.hempnation.com/
Source: Associated Press
Pubdate: 6 Mar 1998


MINDEN, NEV. - Two international snowboarders arrested on marijuana
charges were released from jail on Wednesday, and were told to return next
month to face charges.

- Michael Kildevaeld, 31, and Frederic Brett Tippie, 29, dressed in red
jail clothing and wearing leg and wrist shackles, were accompanied by their
lawyers in a brief appearance before Justice of the Peace James EnEarl.

- Tippie's lawyer, John Routsis, and Kildevaeld's lawyer, Scott Freeman,
requested a continuance of Wednesday's scheduled proceeding because they
had not had time to read the arrest files.

- EnEarl rescheduled the hearing for April 8 and granted a defense motion
to release the pair on their own recognizance. In return, Kildevaeld and
Tippie signed a waiver agreeing not to fight extradition to Nevada if they
fail to appear in court on that date and an arrest warrant is issued.

- ``I'll be back,'' Tippie told the judge.

- The district attorney's office did not oppose their release or the

- Kildevaeld, a member of Denmark's Olympic snowboarding team, and Tippie,
of Canada, were arrested on drug charges Saturday after a sheriff's deputy
stopped their car for traveling 83 mph in a 55 mph zone south of here.

- Another passenger, American snowboarder Anton Pogue of Hood River, Ore.,
was asleep and was not arrested.

- A drug-sniffing dog found about two grams of suspected marijuana and a
pipe inside the vehicle.

- Each was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and
misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

- Tippie also was charged with being under the influence of a controlled
substance, a felony. Kildevaeld, who holds Danish citizenship but listed
his address as Centerville, Mass., had additional misdemeanor charges of
driving under the influence and speeding, according to court documents.

- Outside the courtroom, their lawyers said while the first-time drug
offense carries mandatory probation, a conviction could effectively kill
their snowboarding careers.

- ``If he has a drug conviction, he becomes undesirable and would not be
allowed back into the United States,'' Routsis said of his client.

- ``The stakes are very high for two grams of marijuana,'' Freeman said.
``They're very much worried about their careers being destroyed. If they're
convicted of a felony, they become felons and their careers are over.''

- Kildevaeld and Tippe were within two miles of the California state line
when they were arrested. Had they been stopped there, the marijuana
possession charges would have been misdemeanors, the lawyers said.

- ``Marijuana is no joke in Nevada, that's for sure,'' Freeman said.

- The arrests mark the second marijuana-related controversy in the sport of

- Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati was temporarily stripped of his
Olympic goal medal last month when a drug test revealed traces of marijuana
in his system. An appeals panel reinstated the medal and Rebagliati said
traces of the drug in his test came from inhaling secondhand smoke at a party.

- Kildevaeld finished 15th in the men's giant slalom at Nagano.

- Tippie, who didn't compete in the Olympics, was 31st in the snowboarding
world championships in Italy a year ago.

Bill Would Beef Up Drug-Testing Laws ('Des Moines Register' Gives Details
On Iowa Urine Testing Legislation Awaiting Governor's Expected Signature -
Rehab For Those Testing Positive For Alcohol,
Pink Slips For Other Substances)

Date: Mon, 09 Mar 1998 14:55:08 -0500
From: "R. Lake" 
Subject: MN: US IA: Bill would Beef Up Drug-Testing Laws
To: DrugSense News Service 
Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Carl E. Olsen http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/
Source: The Des Moines Register
Author: Lynn Hicks
Pubdate: Friday, March 6, 1998
Contact: letters@news.dmreg.com
Webform: http://www.dmregister.com/letter.html
Website: http://www.dmregister.com/


Workers groups say it gives employers too much power, but advocates say it's
long overdue.

Highlights of Drug-Testing Bill


Bill allows testing of urine or another sample from the human body except
blood - revealing the presence of alcohol and other drugs.

Employers may conduct:

Unannounced testing of...

ALL employees at a particular site.

EMPLOYEES in safety-sensitive jobs.

They may also test...

DURING and after completion of substance abuse rehabilitiation.

WHEN there's reasonable suspicion of substance abuse.

PROSPECTIVE employees.

AFTER certain types of accidents.


The bill provides rehabilitation only if:

THE employee tests positive for alcohol, and the concentration is between
.04 and .10;

EMPLOYER has more than 50 employees;

EMPLOYEE has worked for employer for 12 of the last 18 months; COSTS are
paid by a benefit plan or employee's insurance. If there is none, the costs
will be split equally, except the employer shall pay no more than $2,000.

Disciplinary actions

If an employee fails a test (and the positive test is confirmed), or if an
employee refuses to take a test, an employer may:

REQUIRE the employee to enroll in an employer-provided or approved
rehabilitation program.

SUSPEND employee, with or without pay.

TERMINATE employment.

AFTER A test for alcohol or other drugs, an employer may suspend an employee
pending the outcome of the test. If the test is not confirmed positive, the
employer shall reinstate the employee with back pay and 18 percent interest.

False positives

The employer is protected from liability unless the employer knew or clearly
should have known a false positive test result was in error and ignored the
correct test result.

SOURCE: House Resolution 299

A new drug-testing bill approved Wednesday night by the Iowa Legislature
would give Iowa employers a new tool chest of choices.

They could randomly test their workers for drugs and alcohol, forcing
employees to provide a sample every day if employers wanted. They could
test if they have a reasonable suspicion that a worker is under the
influence. They could require workers to get treatment after a confirmed
positive drug test, or they could fire them.

Supporters say workers have options, too: They can choose to get off and
stay off drugs and help create a safer, more productive workplace.

"I hope this bill will encourage people to step forward and ask their
employers, 'Would you help me with my problem?,'" said James Aipperspach,
president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. Most employers
won't just throw away valuable workers, especially with low unemployment, he

Employer's Weapon?

Critics worry that employers will wield their new tools as weapons.
Businesses would have more power than the police, opponents complain, and
could use their new powers to harass shop-floor activists and other
perceived troublemakers.

"It's an absolute attack on worker privacy," said Mark L. Smith, president
of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

Businesses must make decisions if Gov. Terry Branstad signs the bill into
law, as he is expected to do. The bill won final legislative approval
Wednesday night when the House of Representatives passed it on a 53-46
vote. The law would go into effect 30 days after signing.

The bill doesn't force employers to do testing. And it only applies to
private-sector workers; governmental bodies cannot randomly test their
workers unless there is an overriding safety factor.

Companies Waiting

Some of Iowa's largest employers - including Deere & Co. and Maytag Corp. -
support the changes but say they need to study the bill before deciding
whether they will begin random testing or make other changes in their

Sen. Steve King, R-Kiron, who managed the bill in debate, expects random
testing will be popular with small employers such as himself, the owner of a
construction company. The bill would free businesses with fewer than 50
employees from rehabilitating workers who test positive for drugs or

Where Laws Collide

The bill also would ease restrictions on pre-employment testing, another
popular issue with employers.

But King expects most employers to make only subtle changes in their
drug-testing policies. "Not very many businesses are licking their chops
and ready to jump into this," he said.

Doug Horstman, Maytag's vice president of governmental affairs, agreed. The
Newton appliance maker needs to take a careful look at the bill, he said,
but he doesn't expect the company to begin "a huge campaign of testing."

Maytag does some testing now, especially after accidents, Horstman said. He
said the company will continue to rehabilitate employees who test positive
for drug use, even though the new bill doesn't require it.

Like Maytag, most of the bill's backers say the current law jeopardizes the
safety of workers. The 11-year-old law generally limits testing to a few
specific instances in which workers are given advance notice. An employer
must have probable cause - basically, observing the worker take drugs or
alcohol - before ordering an unannounced test. One-time proof of drug use
might not result in firing, and the employer must pay the costs of
evaluation and treatment not covered by insurance.

A High Priority

Those restrictions have caused many employers to avoid testing at all.
Changing the law has been a high priority for the manufacturing and
construction industries and others whose employees work around heavy

Some largely white-collar employers, such as the Principal Financial Group,
also supported the bill. But Principal does not test workers and has no
plans to change its policy, said spokeswoman Sara Opie.

One employer who did not support the bill was Sen. Tom Flynn, D-Epworth, who
owns a concrete business in Dubuque and must randomly test his truck drivers
according to federal law. He supports much of the bill's provisions. And
allowing random testing and lowering the individual-testing standard to
reasonable suspicion would help create a safer workplace, he said.

Bill Goes Too Far

But Flynn says the bill goes too far in allowing unlimited testing. "This
provides a tool for the unscrupulous employer to be able to harass workers,"
he said.

King, who owns a construction company, said that if an employer tested all
workers every day, they would drive away their best workers. He said he has
promised to revisit the bill next year if reports of harassment arise.

He emphasized that the bill provides ample protections for employee rights.
Employers must have a written policy, cannot test blood and must meet other
requirements that are not in current law. "It's the most employee-friendly
bill in the country," he said.

Opponents envision nightmare scenarios. While the bill says employers must
collect samples "with regard for the privacy with the individual," it also
says that employers shall try to make sure that the sample isn't

That means supervisors must observe workers giving samples, critics say, and
nothing would prevent managers from observing workers of the opposite sex
urinate. Democrats brought up the case of a 15-year-old Des Moines girl who
had to give a urine sample as part of her probation. A male medical
technologist observed her giving a sample at the Polk County Health
Department last year, the teen complained. She later committed suicide; no
reason was disclosed.

In Wednesday night's House debate, Rep. Keith Weigel, D-New Hampton,
introduced an amendment that would have protected minors from being observed
by a member of the opposite sex. "It could be anyone's daughter or
granddaughter being watched," Weigel said. "It's just not right."

The amendment was rejected. If the bill becomes law, Democrats will try to
address that and other flaws" next year, Weigel said.

King called the complaint "absurd." Sexual harassment laws would prevent
such an event from happening, he said.

The bill also has many wondering about compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. For instance, if
substance abuse fits the definition of a serious health condition, could
employers fire a worker?

For all the questions it raises, the bill could also provide some answers.

Supporters and opponents disagree whether a drug problem exists in the
workplace. If it becomes law, the bill would require a laboratory doing
business for an employer to file an annual report to the state showing the
number of tests conducted, the number of positive and negative test results
and the types of drugs found.

With reports of methamphetamine invading Iowa, "this bill is coming at the
right time," Horstman said.

Wiretap Suit Against Police Settled ('Standard-Times'
Says City Of Fall River, Massachusetts, Settled Out Of Court This Week
A 1994 Lawsuit Brought By A Former Hospital Billing Clerk
Who Claimed She Lost Her Job As A Result Of An Illegal Police Wiretap
And False Allegations By Police)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 19:17:31 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US MA: Wiretap Suit Against Police Settled
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: John Smith
Pubdate: Fri. 6 Mar. 1998
Source: The Standard-Times, Serving the South Coast of Massachusetts
Contact: YourView@S-T.com
WebPage: http://www.s-t.com
Authors: Milt Gun, New England News Service and Carol Lee Costa-Crowell
Standard-Times staff writer
Note: Please mail any comments to Newsroom@S-T.com


BOSTON -- The City of Fall River settled out of court this week a 1994 suit
brought by a former Charlton Hospital billing clerk who claimed she lost
her job as a result of illegal police wiretaps and false allegations.

The original suit sought $200,000, but the amount of the settlement is unknown.

Donna Connolly, of 31 Moody St., Fall River, alleged in the suit that Fall
River Police Detective Robert Aguiar had obtained a copy of a secretly
tape-recorded conversation between her and her boyfriend, Robert Farias,
and played it for an unidentified security person at the hospital,
according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.

The conversation, which she claimed led to her dismissal, was recorded on a
telephone line in the booking room at police headquarters, according to the
suit. Mr. Farias was using that telephone line to call Ms. Connolly to
arrange for bail after he had been arrested by Det. Aguiar on several drug

According to court documents, Mr. Farias, asked Ms. Connolly to arrange
bail and to use her computer at work to obtain Det. Aguiar's address.

The lawsuit asserted that neither Ms. Connolly nor Mr. Farias were aware
the telephone line was tapped.

The security officer at the hospital later reported that Det. Aguiar
visited him at the hospital, played the recording and claimed that Ms.
Connolly had conspired with Mr. Farias to obtain the addresses of police
officers from billing records at the hospital, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleged that Chief of Police Francis McDonald was aware the
phone line in the station's booking room had been the subject of taping for
many years and was only discontinued after the lawsuit was filed.

Efforts to reach Ms. Connolly were unsuccessful

Deputy Police Chief Richard Thorpe said the out-of-court settlement didn't
necessarily mean the city admitted any wrongdoing.

"I don't believe anybody admitted to anything," the deputy chief said.
Police Chief Francis McDonald is on vacation.

"I can assure you there is nothing (tape) on that line now," Deputy Thorpe
said. "I'm not saying there was anything on at that time either."

He said he was unaware the court suit had been settled.

State Police - For 50 Years The Force Has Been With Us
('Lexington Herald-Leader' Notes That, Until 1948, Kentucky Survived
Without A State-Chartered Police Force, Which Now Handles
Many Major Criminal Cases Outside Urban Areas, Maintains Special Units
For Drug And Corruption Investigations, Runs The State's Crime Labs,
Eradicates Marijuana And Patrols Highways)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 19:17:31 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: US KY: State Police: For 50 Years The Force Has Been With Us
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Kevin and Melodi 
Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 1998
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Contact: hledit@lex.infi.net
Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/


FRANKFORT -- It's been 50 years for Kentucky's "Thin Gray Line."

Yesterday marked 50 years since the law creating the Kentucky State Police
was passed in the 1948 legislature, though it took effect July 1 of that
year. The state House and Senate each honored the KSP yesterday with
resolutions saluting the force.

"We go to bed at night knowing that they're out there, and we can sleep
better," said House Majority Leader Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.

KSP Commissioner Gary Rose accepted the commendations with other top
officials of the force, and the state police unveiled a 50th-anniversary

Among other things, the KSP handles many major criminal cases outside urban
areas, has special units on drug and corruption investigations, runs the
state's crime labs, eradicates marijuana and patrols highways statewide.

There are 890 sworn officers, with 73 more in training.

Officers Say Ruling Hurts Drug Efforts (Lengthy 'Dallas Morning News' Article
About Americans Who Travel To Mexico To Purchase Over-The-Counter Drugs
Available Only By Prescription, Or Not At All In United States,
Notes A Decision By The 4th Court Of Appeals In San Antonio
Has Affirmed Citizens' Right To Bring Such Drugs Back To United States
For Personal Use, Which Rather Ticks Off The Drug Warriors)

Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 07:24:03 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: US TX: Officers Say Ruling Hurts Drug Efforts
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Bartman 
Source: Dallas Morning News
Contact: letterstoeditor@dallasnews.com
Website: http://www.dallasnews.com
Pubdate: 06 Feb 98
Author: Scott Parks, Dallas Morning News


Law officers say a recent state appeals court decision is hurting their
efforts to curb the abuse of addictive prescription drugs flowing into
Texas from Mexico.

The decision by the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio overturned the 1996
conviction of Dianne B. Wright, a North Texas woman who got prescriptions
for tranquilizers and diet pills in Nuevo Laredo and brought the drugs into

Lynn Ellison, a district attorney in South Texas, said the appeals court
decision has provided legal cover to those who would buy drugs at Mexican
pharmacies and use them to get high or make money.

"It's set up a situation where these . . . [people] are going down there
and getting 100 to 300 pills and on their way back, they pull out a copy of
a news story about the 4th Court's opinion and shake it in the face of the
highway patrol," Mr. Ellison said.

Ms. Wright, a 45-year-old grandmother who lives in the Sherman-Denison
area, said she obtained her diet pills to lose weight and got the Valium to
combat anxiety about a new job in a new city.

"I thought I was following all the laws," she said. "I never knew I was
breaking any state law."

Ms. Wright said she and her son went across the border on Oct. 18, 1995, to
go shopping in Nuevo Laredo. She said she met with a Mexican doctor,
obtained her prescriptions and filled them at a Mexican pharmacy.

On her way back into Texas, Ms. Wright said she showed the written
prescriptions and the drugs to U.S. Customs officers at the international
bridge. She told them the drugs were for personal use. Customs officers
waved her into the United States, saying she met requirements of federal law.

But state troopers, local law officers and district attorneys in South
Texas were reading a state law that seemed to say something different.

Ms. Wright and her son were driving north on Interstate 35 when they were
stopped for speeding in Frio County, a rural area about 50 miles north of
Laredo. The Frio County Sheriff's Department found the pharmaceuticals and
charged her with felony drug possession punishable by up to 10 years in

The Texas Controlled Substances Act, law officers said, made Ms. Wright's
drugs illegal in Texas because they were not prescribed by a physician
licensed in the United States and authorized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration to dispense narcotics.

"You have no idea what this nightmare has been like," Ms. Wright said.
"I've spent more than $5,000 and made nine trips to Frio County in the last
two years."

Mr. Ellison, the Frio County district attorney, said abuse of
pharmaceutical drugs from Mexico has been a problem in South Texas for many
years, but he acknowledged that Ms. Wright did not fit the profile of
wayward young Americans who run across the border to obtain psychoactive
drugs to get high.

"The vast majority of them are young, not ill in any way, with enough
personal resources to see a doctor in the U.S.," he said. "They go into
Mexico and get the stuff for purposes of abuse."

Johnny Hatcher, a high-ranking drug enforcement officer in the Texas
Department of Public Safety, said his office has no statistics on how many
people get arrested under circumstances similar to those that landed Ms.
Wright in trouble.

But he said the appeals court decision in her case has taken away one tool
to fight drug abuse.

"It's a mistake to just say, 'Bring it on.' " he said.

Mr. Ellison's office prosecuted Ms. Wright under the Texas law. A jury
convicted her and handed down a two-year probationary sentence. She
appealed the conviction to the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio.

Associate Justice Catherine Stone, in overturning the conviction, said Frio
County law officers gave the state law an absurd interpretation that also
could be used against foreign tourists.

"Any foreign visitor to our state traveling with personal medication would
be subject to felony prosecution for illegal possession of controlled
substances," she wrote.

The justices said Ms. Wright possessed her drugs in accord with federal law
and that using a contrary state law to arrest people makes no sense.

"It is simply too far beyond reasoned analysis - much less a system of
justice - to attribute to the Texas Legislature the intent to criminalize
possession that is lawful under federal law," Justice Sarah B. Duncan wrote
in a concurring opinion.

In a second concurring opinion, Justice Tom Rickhoff said he hoped the
court's decision put an end to "this pernicious side skirmish in the war on

But the Wright case is not over.

Mr. Ellison has asked the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest
criminal appeals court in Texas, to review the 4th Court's decision, find
it in error and reinstate Ms. Wright's conviction.

The 4th Court erred when it ignored the state law's wording that requires
prescriptions to be dispensed by U.S.-licensed doctors, Mr. Ellison said.

"What they held is that prosecutors ought to have enough sense to realize
when the law ought to say something even though it doesn't really say it,"
he said. "The law says what it says."

Thomas F. Lee, the district attorney in Del Rio, another Texas border town,
said the appeals court decision in the Wright case has ended similar
prosecutions in his district.

"I know most of them are kids going across [the border] to get drugs and
get high," he said. "I guarantee you they get anything they want for $40.
The Legislature is going to have to do something about this practice."

Drug abuse experts throughout the Southwest say powerful stimulants and
narcotic depressants are too easily obtainable in Mexican border pharmacies
from Brownville, Texas, to San Diego, Calif.

The problem, they said, is clear: How do you prosecute drug offenders and
still protect legitimate medical patients?

Dr. Marv Shepherd, a pharmacy professor at the University of Texas, said he
once believed that the vast majority of Americans seeking prescription
drugs in Mexico were older people looking for cheap prices on medicines for
high blood pressure, ulcers, diabetes and other ailments.

A careful study revealed otherwise, he said.

Dr. Shepherd reviewed 5,624 customs declaration forms at the Laredo border
crossing between July 1994 and June 1995. Each form contained information
about drug products purchased by U.S. residents.

The study dealt only with prescription drugs, not substances such as
cocaine and marijuana.

Dr. Shepherd found that 14 of the top 15 prescription drugs brought into
the United States at Laredo during that one-year period were "controlled
substances" - opiate-based narcotics such as Neopercodan or stimulants such
as Ritalin.

Rohypnol, the so-called date rape drug, ranked high on the list. The
federal government has banned importation of Rohypnol since Dr. Shepherd's
1994-95 study.

The study showed that almost 70 percent of the people bringing prescription
drugs back into the United States had bought Valium, a popular tranquilizer
that many illegal drug abusers take to get high.

Dr. Shepherd estimated that 11,000 Valium tablets a day, or about 4 million
a year, came into the United States at the Laredo port of entry during the
12 months covered by the study.

The study did not involve any of the other 25 border-crossing points on the
Texas-Mexico border.

The median age of men filing the drug-related customs declarations was 24,
meaning half were younger and half were older. The median age for women was

"These findings do not support the assumption that the majority of people
who purchase pharmaceutical products in Mexico and declare the products at
the U.S. Customs port of entry are elderly," Dr. Shepherd reported.

"Young people are stretching these federal rules beyond belief," he said.
"There is no doubt in my mind."

Drug abuse experts say Dr. Shepherd's study provides a definitive look at
the Mexican prescription drug problem. Even so, they say it doesn't reveal
the true dimensions because it didn't deal with pharmaceuticals smuggled
across the border and never reported on customs declaration forms.

Mr. Hatcher, the state drug enforcement officer, said the federal Food and
Drug Administration's ban on importation of Rohypnol and most anabolic
steroids might point the way to one solution.

"I've always wondered why the FDA hasn't banned some of these other drugs
from coming in," he said.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals could reverse the 4th Court in the
Wright case. And the Legislature could amend state drug laws to give police
officers more tools to combat abuse of Mexican pharmaceuticals, Mr. Hatcher

"Peace officers are caught in the middle of this," he said. "Everybody from
every state in the union will be coming through Texas with these drugs. I
just don't think that is the intent of the federal government."

Ms. Wright said her arrest was a mistake that she is determined to correct
in court.

"I've still got a dark cloud hanging over my head," she said. "I preached
to my kids about the evils of drugs, and now I've become a convicted drug
person for no reason."

(c) 1998 The Dallas Morning News

Canadian Medical Marijuana Challenge Starts April 27 (Supporters
Seek Donations For Constitutional Challenge By Lynn Harichy,
Multiple Sclerosis Patient In London, Ontario)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 12:31:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Turmoil 
To: hemp-talk@hemp.net
Subject: HT: Canadian medical mj challenge begins soon! (fwd)
Sender: owner-hemp-talk@hemp.net


Donations Urgently Required for Expert Witnesses

LONDON, Ontario - Lynn Harichy, a 37-year old victim of
multiple sclerosis, begins her constitutional challenge to Canada's
marijuana laws in April. She is being represented by Toronto
law professor Alan Young, who will argue that the current laws
violate Harichy's rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and

A similar challenge by epileptic Terry Parker last fall brought a
historic court ruling; Judge Patrick Sheppard ruled that the law
is unconstitutional and Parker is now free to use marijuana
as a medicine. Since it was a lower court ruling it isn't binding
on other courts, but another similar decision would be a
significant victory and would place added pressure on Canada's
Parliament to act; indeed, the Ministers of Health and Justice
have recently called for a national debate on the issue.

Parker and Harichy's cases (and perhaps some others)
will move through the appeals process until one reaches the
Supreme Court of Canada, and the decision will be
binding on all courts in the country. It is important that such
cases receive public support, and that they are properly
funded. Unfortunately no new evidence can be admitted
during the appeals process; lawyers must rely on the facts
and testimony submitted during the original trial.

Although about $5000 has been donated to Harichy's case
so far, lawyer Alan Young estimates another $5000 is
required to do a proper job. Young is donating his time;
the money is being used to bring expert witnesses to
testify. It's important that the rest is raised very soon, since
the evidentiary record created during Harichy's trial will
become the foundation for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Please consider making a donation, no matter how small. Time
is running short, and this is an opportunity that must not be

For full details on Harichy's challenge and information on
how you can help, please see:


Caine Judgement Due March 6 (Expected Arrival Of Decision In Randy Caine's
Constitutional Challenge To Canadian Marijuana Laws Has Been Moved Up
From March 16)

From: "Randy Caine" 
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 00:02:37 -0800


Received word tonight from John Conroy that the date for the judgement on
our challenge to Canadian MJ laws has been moved from March 16/98 to March
6/98 (today). This will take place at 1:30 PM at the Vancouver Courthouse.
Will post the outcome as soon as I get back from court.

In Unity,
Randy Caine

Caine Trial Adjourned Again (Until April 15)

From: "Randy Caine" (vcaine@uniserve.com)
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 16:55:37 -0800

Hello again,

Much to my dismay the trial has been adjourned once again. We now will be
returning to court on April 15/98 at 9:30.
Sorry if this caused an inconvenience to anyone.

Four Years and Waiting,


City Adopts Substance Abuse Policy ('Vancouver Sun' Notes City Council
In Vancouver, British Columbia, Approved New 'Two Tier' Drug Testing Policy
For Workers In 'Safety Sensitive' Jobs - Council Members Can Still Have
Two-Martini Lunches)

From: creator@islandnet.com (Matt Elrod)
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
Subject: Canada: City adopts substance abuse policy
Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 09:01:36 -0800
Lines: 76
Newshawk: creator@mapinc.org
Source: Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Pubdate: Friday 6 March 1998
Author: Frances Bula Vancouver Sun


A new substance-abuse policy for civic employees that takes a hard
line on workers in "safety-sensitive" jobs was approved Thursday by
Vancouver city council -- despite criticism by outside workers.

In effect, the city approved a two-tiered approach to substance-abuse
control, because of court decisions which restrict employers' rights
to control their employees.

The policy means that an inside employee might get away with a couple
of martinis over lunch, but an outside worker in a "safety-sensitive"
job -- and subject to "zero tolerance" -- would be sent home for the
day for the same behaviour.

"We see this as a double standard," said Ken Davidson, president of
CUPE 1004, which represents the city's 2,000 outside workers, who do
such jobs as machine and road maintenance, construction, and sewer

"For one set of workers, you have zero tolerance, for the rest of
them, you say, 'Use your common sense.'"

Howard Normann, who heads the 80-member Vancouver Foremen's
Association, echoed that.

"We strongly support a substance abuse policy," said Normann, whose
association's members are primarily responsible for supervising the
outside workers. "But let's not create a two-tiered policy. If foremen
are expected to deliver this policy and to get the respect of the
workplace, there has to be one policy for all.

"Why not everybody? Do you want your clerk, who is punching out huge
numbers, not to have to abide by this?"

Human resources manager John Beckett said city staff wanted a single
policy, but were told by lawyers the courts generally don't allow
employers to impose zero-tolerance conditions for drugs and alcohol on
their staff unless they are performing "safety-sensitive" jobs.

"The simple answer would be to say no employee can report to work
under the influence, or drink on the job. But our lawyers have said
the employer only has so many rights and people's lunch hours are
their lunch hours."

The city's head of engineering, Dave Rudberg, said he thought the
union concerns would be somewhat alleviated once management spelled
out exactly which jobs are "safety-sensitive" and therefore subject to
zero tolerance.

But he emphasized the city needs the policy because there are problems

"There is some abuse out there right now and it's very difficult for
supervisors to say whether one beer is okay, or two or three.

"If somebody reports to work potentially under the influence, that's
more a judgment call, and it's still a grey area. But during the work
day, there will be a very clear line and that means no drinking at

Rudberg said the fine details of imposing penalties still have to be
worked out but it's clear that there will be automatic suspensions for
employees in safety-sensitive positions who report to work impaired by
drugs or alcohol or who abuse substances while at work.

However, he added, it is not yet clear what disciplinary action will
be enforced on people in other positions that are not

Courts Weeding Out Marijuana Offenders ('Toronto Sun'
Says Canadian Federal Justice Officials In Toronto Are Diverting People
Convicted Of Cannabis Possession To Community Service
Instead Of Hitting Them With Criminal Records)

Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 12:07:18 -0800
To: mattalk@listserv.islandnet.com
From: Chris Clay 
Subject: CANADA: Courts weeding out marijuana offenders
Cc: editor@mapinc.org
SOURCE: Toronto Sun
DATE: March 6, 1998
AUTHOR: Jeff Harder, Queen's Park Bureau
SECTION: Top Stories
CONTACT: editor@sunpub.com
WEBSITE: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/home.html


First-time marijuana offenders are being smoked out of the

Federal justice officials at Old City Hall are sending dope
smokers to do community work instead of hitting them with
criminal records. There are about 10 diversions a week in
Toronto, says Croft Michaelson, the justice department's senior
lawyer in Toronto.

"This way they can put something back into the community,"
Michaelson said yesterday. "The formal criminal process is an
expensive process. This allows us to focus our resources on
serious crime."

A typical first-time offender busted with small quantities of
hashish or marijuana will do 25 hours of community service under
the program, which started in October 1997.

Drug laws are a federal responsibility, but Ontario Attorney
General Charles Harnick is an advocate of diversion programs
for minor offences.

"Generally, we are supportive of community justice programs,"
Harnick aide Barry Wilson said.

Commissioner Jim Brown said drug smokers should be fined
instead of jailed. "I think it should be a $1,000 fine for the first
offence and $5,000 thereafter. If they can afford to buy the
weed, they can afford to pay the fine," said the MPP for
Scarboro West.

Risk Getting Arrested To Protest Laws That Restrict The Free Use Of Marijuana
(Letter To The Editor Of 'Calgary Sun' From 'A Poor, Unhealthy Man')

Date: Sat, 07 Mar 1998 10:42:23 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Canada: PUB LTE and the newspaper editor comments.
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Debbie Harper
Source: Calgary Sun
Pubdate: Friday, March 6, 1998
Contact: callet@sunpub.com
Website: http://www.canoe.ca/CalgarySun/
Editor's note: Our newshawk writes: 'This letter was in todayıs paper. The
comment in brackets (Drug laws arenıt oppressive.) is the editors.'

The reason for this letter is to ask people to risk getting arrested to
protest laws that restrict the free use of marijuana. There are many
reasons to do so, the most important being that using marijuana is not
wrong and the laws restricting its use are nothing more than an attempt to
control the governed. This is not a conflict created out of desire for
cheaper 'dope', but a rallying cry of a poor, unhealthy man who has
imagined a world with two possible futures; one where oppression is
accepted and one where it is not.

David Arthur Johnston

(Drug laws arenıt oppressive.)

Rebels Crush Colombian Troops In Jungle Ambush ('San Francisco Chronicle'
Says Government Suffered Its Worst Defeat In Three Decades, Losing 70
Of Its Best Troops From The Third Mobile Brigade In A Battle
With The Country's Largest Rebel Group,
The Revolutionary Armed Forces Of Colombia)

Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 21:20:52 -0500
To: DrugSense News Service 
From: Richard Lake 
Subject: MN: Colombia: Rebels Crush Colombian Troops In Jungle Ambush
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" 
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998
Newshawk: Frank S. World
Source: The San Francsisco Chronicle
Contact: chronletters@sfgate.com
Website: http://www.sfgate.com/


Worst Defeat In Three Decades

Bogota - Dozens of some of the government's best troops have been killed,
apparently in an ambush, in Colombia's southern jungles - the military's
worst defeat in more than 30 years of fighting leftist rebels.

The rebels said 70 soldiers were killed during the 24 hour battle Monday
and Tuesday in a remote jungle region that is a center of Colombia's
cocaine trade.

Eight soldiers were taken prisoner and three army helicopters were damaged,
the rebels said yesterday. There was no mention of rebel casualties.

The military command lost contact with its troops Monday and has no precise
casualty figures because reinforcements have not yet arrived at the scene.

Sporadic fighting and bad weather yesterday prevented Red Cross workers
from reaching the jungle region 260 miles south of Bogota to evacuate the
dead and at least 30 wounded troops. The chief Red Cross delegate, Pierre
Gassmann, said the rebels radioed him Wednesday to send in a team.

About 120 soldiers of the Third Mobile Brigade were fighting guerrillas of
the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, in the jungle near the Caguan River.

Military commanders refused to comment on the fighting, but General Jose
Sandoval, second-in-command of the air force, said more soldiers are being
airlifted into the region to back 1,000 reinforcements flown in Wednesday.

President Ernesto Samper's former national security adviser Alfredo Rangel,
called the defeat "without question, the military's worst catastrophe. This
cannot be considered bad luck.

"The fact that this battle was fought on equal conditions between elite
forces shows the increasing power of the rebels and the growing
vulnerability of the army."

He said the rebels again proved themselves to be a better, more disciplined
fighting force than the army. They "will now be more motivated to continue
dealing blows," he said.

A senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity said all
but 19,500 of Colombia's 120,000 soldiers are poorly trained young
conscripts, and morale is low.

Defense Minister Gilberto Echeverri denied rebel claims that military
aircraft killed three civilians in the area.

"It's pure jungle there, and there is no civilian population," Echeverri
told Caracol radio yesterday. "What there is, is all the coca in the world,
and those crops are protected by the guerrillas."

Taxes on coca, the raw material for making cocaine, are the main source of
rebel revenue in the region.

In addition to nearly daily attacks on police and army posts, the
guerrillas have handed the armed forces a string of recent defeats.

Samper has made peace overtures, but the rebels have refused to negotiate
with him.

The guerrillas pose no serious threat to Colombia's major cities, but they
are widely considered to be a growing threat to Colombian democracy. The
latest attack comes right before Sunday's congressional elections.

In June, Samper demilitarized a large swath of southern Colombia, including
the area of this week's combat, in order to facilitate the release of 70
soldiers taken prisoner by the rebel group. The rebels took 18 more
soldiers captive December 21 when they seized a remote communications post
in southwestern mountains.

Before this week's ambush, the military's most serious defeat occurred on
Aug. 31, 1996, when a rebel column overran a base near the Ecuador border
in Las Delicias, killing 27 soldiers.

Colombia Troops Seek Massacre Site ('San Jose Mercury News' Version)

Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 12:17:44 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombia Troops Seek Massacre Site
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family 
Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA)
Contact: letters@sjmercury.com
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998


Dozens Killed In Military's Worst Defeat In 30 Years

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Six hundred soldiers slogged through a thick
southern jungle Thursday trying to reach the site where dozens of elite
government soldiers were killed this week in an apparent surprise attack,
the military's worst defeat in more than 30 years of fighting leftist

The rebels said 70 soldiers were killed and 30 wounded during the 24-hour
battle Monday and Tuesday in a jungle region that is a center of Colombia's
cocaine trade.

Eight soldiers were taken prisoner and three army helicopters were damaged,
the rebels said Thursday. There was no mention of rebel casualties.

The military command lost contact with its troops Monday, and had no
precise casualty figures because reinforcements had not yet arrived at the

It was the worst in a string of military debacles that began in 1996 and
have plagued President Ernesto Samper. His peace overtures have been
shunned by the guerrillas, who allege drug corruption in the government
while at the same time enriching themselves through ``taxes'' on the drug

The latest setback brought stinging new criticism of Colombia's military
leadership, widely criticized as inept, and accused by foreign governments
and international human rights groups of collaborating with paramilitary
death squads that have killed hundreds of alleged guerrilla sympathizers
during Samper's tenure.

Sporadic fighting and bad weather prevented International Red Cross
workers, radioed by rebels Wednesday and asked to retrieve the dead and
wounded, from even attempting to reach the jungle region 260 miles south of

The commander of the armed forces, Gen. Manuel Bonett, said 600 soldiers
were making their way Thursday toward the battle site through thick jungle,
where trails are scarce and waterways the main avenues.

About 120 soldiers of the 3rd Mobile Brigade were fighting guerrillas of
the country's largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia, in the jungle near the Caguan River.

So far, the only confirmed military death was a soldier shot through the
lung Tuesday in a helicopter flying over the area, officials said.

Military commanders refused to comment on the fighting.

Lords To Study Cannabis Risks (Britain's 'Independent'
Notes Formal Announcement Of House Of Lords' February Decision To Hold
Scientific Inquiry Into Medical, Nonmedical Risks)
Link to earlier story
Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 19:06:45 EST Originator: medmj@drcnet.org Sender: medmj@drcnet.org From: Zosimos To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: ART: Lords to study cannabis risks Subj: Lords to study cannabis risks Date: Friday, 6 March 1998 Source: The Independent (UK) Contact: 1. letters@independent.co.uk 2. The Independent 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL England The Independent (UK) Friday, 6 March 1998 Lords to study cannabis risks By Anthony Bevins, Political Editor THE scientific risks of taking cannabis for medical and recreational purposes are to be examined by a Lords investigation, it was announced yesterday. Lord Perry of Walton, who said the committee of peers had agreed not to discuss whether any of them had taken the drug, told a press conference the investigation was not expected to result in a call for legalisation. But it would offer an informed scientific assessment of the balance of risks relating to the drug. The inquiry by the Lords Committee on Science and Technology, half of whose members are medically qualified, will be advised by Leslie Iverson, visiting Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University, who specialises in the effects of drugs on the brain. The two key questions to be addressed are: "How strong is the scientific evidence in favour of permitting medical use?" and "How strong is the scientific evidence in favour of maintaining prohibition of recreational use?" Lord Perry, a Liberal Democrat peer who is a former Professor of Pharmacology and founding vice-chancellor of the Open University, said: "The recreational use of alcohol and tobacco are attached by risks. There is no ban on either at the moment. "The question then arises, at what level of risk should people be allowed to make their own judgment about whether they're prepared to take that risk? It's a question of whether the risks that are obtained in evidence are regarded as sufficient to warrant a government ban, or whether they are risks that individuals might be expected to take for themselves - like tobacco, like alcohol, like any of the things, like coffee, like tea. They're all drugs that have risks." Asked what drugs he took himself, Lord Perry said: "We did discuss this in committee and decided that what we took was private." When pressed, he said he did drink coffee and tea, and occasionally drank alcohol, but did not smoke tobacco. The committee had discussed cannabis and members' personal use of it. "We decided not to make public ... that that was not a matter we were going to make public." The committee, which will take written submissions as well as evidence in public sessions, starts its hearings with the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs on April, with evidence later in April to be taken from the British Medical Association and the authors of its report on therapeutic use of cannabis; the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics; and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Evidence is to be sought on a number of questions, including: "What are the physiological effects (immediate, long-term and cumulative) of taking cannabis, in its various forms? What are the psychological effects? How do these effects vary with particular methods of preparation and administration? To what extent is cannabis addictive? To what extent do users develop tolerance to cannabis?

Therapeutic Use Of Cannabis (Letter To Editor Of Britain's 'Lancet'
Says Argument For Synthesized Cannabinoids Versus Natural Cannabis
Is Based On A Wish To Restrict Those Who Want Cannabis Use To Be Legalised,
Not On Any Medical Evidence - Maybe It Is Based On Fear
Of Not Being Taken Seriously By The Scientific Community,
But In Fact This Fear May Undermine Credibility Of Scientific Argument)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 00:29:33 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: UK: LTE: Therapeutic Use Of Cannabis
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn)
Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998
Source: Lancet, The (UK)
Volume: 351, Number 9104
Contact: lancet.editorial@elsevier.co.uk


Sir--I disagree with Kelly Morris' (Dec 20/27, p 1828)1 assumption that
"for groups genuinely interested in therapeutic uses, the position is
clear. They are advocating proper trials of individual cannabinoids for
specific disorders". Why not include natural cannabis? This statement
probably would have sounded different if the discussion about therapeutic
potential was not so unfortunately connected to the debate about
legalisation of cannabis and if the pharmaceutical industry were able to
earn as much money from the natural product as from single cannabinoids.

Single cannabinoids are expensive medicaments and are seldom used. Although
we might ignore it as scientists, as physicians we should realise that the
use of illegal natural cannabis products of uncertain quality will continue
as long as there is no easy legal access to cheap medical cannabis
preparations. There have to be strong scientific arguments against the
medical use of the whole plant to justify this unsatisfactory situation.

Talking about "individual cannabinoids for specific disorders" suggests a
selective effect. But neither 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Dronabinol) nor
Nabilone act more selectively than a standardised extract of the cannabis
plant. I do not have the impression that the variability of the components
of cannabis, with the exception of THC and cannabidiol, play a major part
in the reproducibility of effects in comparison with other indices. Many
patients with various illnesses profit therapeutically on a daily basis by
reproducing the known medicinal effects of cannabis with illegal
preparations of different origin; this could be carried out more safely
with standardised, carefully produced preparations.

We often forget that cannabis has been an accepted medicament of western
medicine, and that it was available in many countries until some decades
ago. There is still much to learn about cannabis, but that is also true for
single cannabinoids, especially for new synthetic cannabinoid analogues.
Leaving aside the route of administration and the hazards (eg,
contamination) caused by its legal status, I cannot see that the plant as a
whole would cause any more health risks than THC alone would do.

The argument for cannabinoids, versus cannabis, is based on the wish to
restrict those who want cannabis use to be legalised. Maybe it is based on
fear of not being taken seriously by the scientific community, but in fact
this fear may undermine the credibility of the scientific argument.

Franjo Grotenhermen

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin, Maybachstraße 14, D-50670
Kĝln, Germany

1 Morris K. The cannabis remedy--wonder worker or evil weed. Lancet
1997; 350: 1828.

Special Drug Units Demanded ('Irish Times' Says,
According To An Irish Psychiatric Nurses' Union Representative,
'Addicts,' Some As Young As 16, Are Supplying Cannabis To Patients
In Acute Psychiatric Units In Cork, Kerry, Limerick And Tipperary,
And He Wants 'Drug Addicts' To Be Treated In Specialist Units
And Not In Psychiatric Hospitals)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 19:17:31 -0800
To: mapnews@mapinc.org
From: Olafur Brentmar 
Subject: MN: Ireland: Special Drug Units Demanded
Sender: owner-mapnews@mapinc.org
Newshawk: Zosimos 
Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 1998
Source: Irish Times (Ireland)
Contact: lettersed@irish-times.ie
Mail: 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407


Drug addicts should be treated in specialist units and not in psychiatric
hospitals where some of them are supplying fellow patients with drugs,
including cannabis, a psychiatric nurses' union representative warned

According to Mr Ben Weathers of SIPTU psychiatric nurses' branch, addicts -
some as young as 16 - are supplying cannabis to patients in acute
psychiatric units in Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

There was an urgent need for specialist units with trained staff to deal
with drug addicts. Psychiatric nurses were trained to deal with psychiatric
patients but not to rehabilitate drug addicts, he pointed out.

According to the Southern Health Board, which has responsibility for acute
psychiatric units in Cork and Kerry, patients are closely monitored while
being treated as in-patients. Patients are advised that they cannot bring
in any medications other than legally prescribed ones. "The board takes
appropriate action if a person breaches this condition," said the board in
a statement.

The Week Online With DRCNet, Issue Number 32 (News Summary For Activists,
From The Drug Reform Coordination Network - Original Articles Include -
Violent Week In Giuliani's New York Drug War; Federal Agent Cleared In Shooting
Of Candy Bar-Holding Teen - Plus - An Interview With Robert Godosky,
The Teen's Attorney; Professor's Penn State Pot Protest Continues;
California Inmates Get Ruling, But No Justice, In Sexual Assault Case;
French Artists, Intellectuals Sign Petition Challenging Drug Laws;
Irish Priest Urges Legalization; Quote Of The Week -
Who's The Most 'Silly Son-Of-A-Bitch' In Colorado Politics?
And Editorial, A Real Live Shooting War In America, By Adam J. Smith)

Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 15:18:51 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 #32



(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
this list, visit http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html.)

DRCNet's free online subscriber list has soared over the
4,500 mark, but we still need 100 new paying members by
March 31 to reach our goal -- as well as continued support
from our current members. Please sign up today! Copies of
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with donations of $30 or more to DRCNet! Sign-on online at
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NOTE: State alerts for Virginia, Colorado and California
were distributed on 2/26 and 3/4. If you are from one of
these states but didn't receive the alert, please write us
at drcnet@drcnet.org with your request to be added to the
state distribution. The Colorado and California alerts are
still active, so please visit
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-4-1.html (Colorado) or
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-4-2.html (California).

Our 2/26 Virginia alert can be viewed at
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/2-26.html, but the bill
with which we were most concerned, Seeds and Stems, seems to
be defeated for this year. Congratulations to Lennice
Werth, Roy Scherer, Michael Crawitz and all other Virginia
activists for their terrific work year after year! And many
thanks to those of you on this list who helped out.



MARIJUANA (from NORML Weekly News)










12. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Who's the most "silly son-of-a-
bitch" in Colorado politics?

13. EDITORIAL: A real live shooting war in America.



In what is shaping up as a replay of a battle fought one
year ago, legislators in both the House and the Senate have
introduced resolutions aimed at overturning the Clinton
administration's certification of Mexico as a cooperative
partner in the Drug War. Last year's attempt to overturn
certification in the House swept through committee with a
vote of 27-5, and was stopped only after the President
secured new promises of Mexican cooperation. The Washington
Post reports that administration officials view the prospect
of a reversal this year as "extremely unlikely" as they are
confident that there are insufficient votes in the Senate to
overturn a presidential veto, if it comes to that.

But that hasn't stopped legislators from both sides of the
aisle from trying. On Tuesday (3/3), Senators Paul
Coverdell (R-GA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced that
body's resolution. Coverdell explained his opposition by
stating that "by almost any objective standard, Mexico has
clearly failed to satisfy the legal criteria required for
certification." Feinstein cited "gaping holes" in Mexico's
Drug War efforts, including "endemic corruption."

All of this complicates matters for President Clinton, who
is scheduled to attend a Western Hemispheric Summit next
month. On the agenda will be increasing levels of
hemispheric cooperation in the prosecution of the drug war.
Many Latin American leaders have complained in recent years
about the certification process, pointing out that there is
much hypocrisy inherent in the largest drug consumer in the
world passing unilateral judgment on countries who are
bearing much of the brunt of America's drug war.



(Reprinted with permission of the NORML Foundation,

March 5, 1998, Washington, DC: A coalition of Republicans
on the House Judiciary Committee approved a "sense of the
House of Representatives" resolution on Wednesday stating
that "marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug and should
not be legalized for medical use." House Resolution 372 --
introduced by Crime Subcommittee chair Bill McCollum (R-
Fla.) -- was approved by a voice vote despite efforts by
several Democrats to kill or amend the measure.

"Medical marijuana is a public health issue," said Rep.
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who vigorously argued against the
bill. "[It] is not part of the 'War on Drugs.'" Also
speaking in opposition to the measure were Rep. John Conyers
(D-MI), ranking Democrat on the committee, and Reps. William
Delahunt (D-MA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA),
Martin Meehan (D-MA), and Melvin Watt (D-NC).

Before passing the resolution, Republicans rejected an
amendment offered by Rep. Conyers that stated "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 also rejected an amendment proposed by Rep.
Martin Meehan (D-MA) calling on the House of Representatives
to "consider this issue... deserving of further study."
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. Rep. McCollum -- who sponsored
legislation to permit the legal use of medical marijuana in
1981 and 1983 -- further charged that it would be
"counterproductive" for Congress to encourage medical
marijuana research or request the Food and Drug
Administration to review the drug's prohibitive status.

"[I] do not want to go on record supporting another study
[on medical marijuana,]" McCollum said. "[Congress] must
send a clear message [that] ... marijuana is a highly
addictive Schedule I drug ... with no likelihood of FDA
approval." Rep. McCollum also said that he no longer
supports the stance he took in the 1980s when he urged the
federal government to make marijuana legal as a medicine.

"The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are willing to
ignore the science and deny an effective medication to
seriously ill patients in order to advance their political
agenda," charged NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup,
Esq. For example, Stroup noted that Rep. James Rogan (R-
Calif.) voted for the resolution despite declaring that he
observed a seriously ill family member successfully use
marijuana as a medicine. Two Democrats who opposed the
resolution also gave personal testimonials of a friend or
family member's battle with terminal illness. One
representative also admitted that her friend found
therapeutic relief from marijuana.

"Republicans apparently are not willing to let scientific
evidence, compassion, or common sense get in the way of
arresting and jailing marijuana smokers -- even those who
are seriously or terminally ill," Stroup said.

The resolution now goes for consideration before the full
House. For more information or a copy of House Res. 372,
please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of
NORML at (202) 483-5500.



Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 26, House
Speaker Newt Gingrich called upon all sports leagues and
associations to ban for one year any athlete who tests
positive for drugs, with the added proviso that they be
forced to reveal where they got the drugs, or be banned for
life. Brian McIntyre, spokesman for the National Basketball
Association, told the L.A. Times, "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." The various professional sports leagues,
of course, negotiate their drug policies within the
framework of collective bargaining agreements between the
leagues and the players unions.



In New York City, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's new "zero-
tolerance" Drug War claimed the life of one suspect and
nearly claimed the life of a cop in a "buy and bust"
operation in Brooklyn. Also, police acting on an anonymous
tip kicked in the door of the wrong apartment in the Bronx
and fired over 30 shots. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Police taking part in a "buy and bust" operation, which
netted a single $20 vial of crack-cocaine, walked into a
narrow hallway where one suspect was confronted. In the
ensuing struggle, apparently over the officer's gun, the
suspect was killed, and the officer, 13 year-veteran Sgt.
Dexter Brown, was shot in the lower back by a bullet from
the gun of a backup officer. Brown's life was saved by his
bulletproof vest. He was hospitalized but is expected to
recover fully. Mayor Giuliani told the Daily News that it
was an "'excellent job' by officers exposed to 'tremendous

In the Bronx, 44 year-old Ellis Elliot was asleep in his
bedroom at 8:15 Friday morning (2/27), when he heard his
door being kicked in. Assuming that he was being robbed,
Elliot grabbed his (unlicensed) gun and fired once in the
direction of his bedroom door. That shot was answered by a
barrage, possibly as many as 30 shots from the police.
After the barrage, Elliot told The New York Post, the police
finally identified themselves, at which time Elliot came out
with his hands up. At that point, he was cuffed and, still
naked, dragged from his apartment through the new hole in
his front door and into the street. Elliot told the Post
that while he was being cuffed and dragged from his home,
police cursed at him, called him "nigger", and refused to
let him put on clothes. When police finally went back into
the house to retrieve clothes for Mr. Elliot, officers
brought out pants and a blouse belonging to Elliot's
girlfriend. Elliot was forced to wear the woman's clothing
to jail.

Elliot, who has no criminal record, is being charged with
possession of his unlicensed firearm. The New York City
Police Department has indicated that it will reimburse the
building's owner for the damage to the apartment.

The Week Online called the New York City Police and spoke to
a representative in their press office. That office
indicated that the police, out of the Bronx Narcotics Unit,
were executing a search warrant at the time of their entry,
but could not confirm what exactly was being searched for.
We then asked whether it was standard procedure to execute
warrants at an hour (8:15 am) when it was likely that any
children in a given home would be awake and preparing for
school, the press rep responded, "er, no. I mean, you
execute it when you think... when you do. I mean, did this
guy have kids?" (Editor -- He might just as easily have had
kids, since they broke down the door of the wrong



Add Washington to the list of states trying to pass a
medicinal marijuana initiative in 1998. Dr. Rob Killian of
Tacoma, who led the fight for a failed drug policy reform
initiative (I-685) in 1997 is also spearheading this
campaign. The 1997 initiative, however, was quite broad,
modeled after Arizona's successful Prop. 200. This time,
the language is straight medical marijuana, protecting
medical users, as well as recommending physicians from
prosecution, and its supporters have no doubt that it will
get on the ballot, and pass.

Tim Killian of Washington Citizens for Medical Rights told
The Week Online, "A lot of people, especially those outside
of the state, view the defeat of 685 as a setback. On the
contrary, that campaign, for an initiative which went well
beyond marijuana, gave us an opportunity to raise the level
of discussion about drug policy issues in general around the
state. A lot of people who opposed 685 were, for the first
time, able to discuss and to learn about the issue of
medical marijuana in a rational and intelligent forum. Many
legislators and even a lot of editorial boards around the
state went on record saying that they could support a
narrowly drawn medical marijuana initiative, but opposed the
more broadly written text of 685. Well, this time we have
narrowed the focus of our efforts to encompass only medical
marijuana, and the legal protection of doctors and patients,
and we're expecting the support of a lot of people who
probably wouldn't have been on our side had it not been for
the 685 experience."

NOTE: Washington Citizens for Medical Rights is looking for
volunteers, as well as contributions. If you are
interested, and would like to help, you can contact them at
(206) 781-7716, or e-mail to cdpr@eventure.com, or send
checks (made payable to Washington Citizens for Medical
Rights) to P.O. Box 2346, Seattle, WA 98111.



U.S. Deputy Marshall William Cannon was cleared by a Queens,
NY grand jury this week (3/4) in the shooting of 17 year-old
high school student Andre Burgess. Burgess, captain of the
soccer team at Hillcrest High School, was walking through
his own neighborhood on 138th street in Laurelton, Queens
(an officially determined "high-intensity drug trafficking
area") on November 6 of last year, when an unmarked car
carrying four federal agents rolled through. Cannon, who
reportedly mistook a silver-wrappered Three Musketeers candy
bar for a gun, jumped from the car and shot the teen once in
the back of the leg.

According to Burgess, Cannon did not identify himself and
gave the teen no time to react. "I turned to see what was
up," Burgess told the New York Daily News at the time, "and
boom, I'm hit, and I fell to the ground." Burgess was then
handcuffed while lying on the ground, bleeding, until an
ambulance arrived. Internal investigations by the U.S.
Marshals Service and Dept. of Justice are still ongoing.


WOL: Andre Burgess is a 17 year-old African American kid
living in a black neighborhood. What is your take on the
significance of that fact in light of what happened?

RG: Well, what I'd like to think, and perhaps it's na‹ve,
but what I'd like to believe is that Agent Cannon simply had
a quick trigger. My gut tells me, however, that with
officers working in poor, predominantly minority
neighborhoods, where they're pressing down on drug
trafficking, there's an underlying reaction that the people
there are all suspect.

Also, you need to ask yourself whether this type of behavior
by law enforcement is acceptable in those areas, where it
clearly wouldn't be in an area like Wall Street, although
there are certainly a lot of drugs there as well. We're not
running street sweeps on Wall Street. But a black kid in
Laurelton, Queens, in his own neighborhood, is holding a
candy bar, and he gets shot by an officer of the law. But
if our investigation does reveal that there was a racial
bias in this particular case, by this particular officer,
I've told Andre that we'll pursue that.

WOL: Is it safe to assume that you're disappointed in the
Grand Jury for failing to indict?

RG: What we're really disappointed in is Richard Brown's
(Queens D.A.) inability to get an indictment. It's easy for
the D.A. to lay the blame on the grand jury, but the D.A.
has a lot of control over what goes on in that process.
They couldn't even get a reckless endangerment charge?
C'mon. They simply didn't want an indictment... they didn't
even try. And now we're sitting here listening to the D.A.
talk about how this was an "unfortunate occurrence"? Every
shooting is an unfortunate occurrence. Was there any
reasonable justification for Agent Cannon's actions? No.
The guidelines that he used in deciding to fire his weapon
were not objectively reasonable by the standards of any law
enforcement agent anywhere.

Andre was unarmed, shot in the back of the leg. He was
doing nothing wrong. And Agent Cannon didn't even identify
himself. That is certainly both unwarranted and
unreasonable. The failure to indict here sends a message to
any law enforcement agent working in Queens, perhaps
especially in poor, minority neighborhoods in Queens, that
it is okay to shoot first and ask questions later.

WOL: What were the Federal Marshals doing in the area in
the first place?

RG: Well, according to the Marshals' office, they were
looking for a suspect on a warrant from 1982. Andre was two
years old in 1982, so they certainly couldn't have mistaken
him for the guy they were after.

WOL: The Justice Department is still investigating the
case. Being that it is a federal investigation of a federal
officer, are you concerned that the outcome could be the
same as the local investigation?

RG: Well, of course you have something of an inherent
conflict, with the Justice Department charged with upholding
the civil rights of citizens, and, in this case, a federal
officer being investigated. Zachary Carter is the U.S.
Attorney for the Eastern District, and it's his role to
proceed zealously in this matter. If necessary, we could
ask for a special prosecutor, but I doubt that enough of a
conflict would be found here to justify such an appointment.

If justice isn't done on the criminal side, we'll be left to
seek compensation in a civil case. People complain all the
time about the civil process, but often it turns out to be
the only avenue for an individual to get some measure of

WOL: And how is Andre, both physically and emotionally?

RG: Well, physically, he's recovering. He's still
undergoing physical therapy, but he's determined to try to
resume his soccer career next year at the college level.
Andre was extraordinarily lucky. The bullet entered the
back of his thigh and exited the front, all without hitting
either the bone or the artery.

Emotionally, this has been horrifying for him. That
neighborhood is his home. With everything that he might
already have to worry about there, is it right that he
should now be afraid that he'll be shot at by an officer of
the law? This is a good kid. Captain of his soccer team,
headed for college. His mom's an extremely hard-working
woman. Andre's only crime is that he lived in the wrong
neighborhood. In our societal quest to crack down on these
communities, are citizens now less entitled to the service
and protection of the police based on where they live?


- Alex Morgan for DRCNet

(NOTE: Coverage of this story on 2/20 was also courtesy of
Alex Morgan. The editors regret the omission of that

Penn State Professor Emeritus Julian Heicklen resumed his
campaign of civil disobedience Thursday (3/5) by smoking
marijuana with several supporters at the university's Main
Gate. Heicklen and four other protesters have been charged
with various drug offenses stemming from the Feb. 12
"Smokeout." Heicklen had refrained from smoking during the
past two Thursday protests, but resumed yesterday to protest
the slow pace that the cases are moving through the Centre
County Judicial system. "I'm already being denied a fair,
impartial and speedy trial, and I haven't even gotten into
court yet," he told a crowd of about a hundred supporters.

This was the seventh consecutive protest held at noon on
Thursday. However, unlike previous protests, neither the
Penn State nor State College Police were present when the
joints were being smoked.

The crowd cheered and applauded when Heicklen lit the joint
and passed it to Diane Fornbacher, a local writer and
marijuana activist. They were joined by Alan Gordon, a Penn
State alumni who has publicly planted marijuana seeds and
turned himself in for marijuana offenses numerous times in
Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia. Gordon was cited
with Heicklen on Feb. 12 and plans to use a medicinal
marijuana defense, while the Professor plans to persuade a
jury to nullify the marijuana laws as an unreasonable
intrusion of government power into the lives of responsible

Co-defendants Ken Keltner and Jennifer Corbett were
introduced to the crowd but declined to smoke, citing advice
of their lawyer in a civil suit Keltner has filed against
the State College Area School District for suspending him as
a result of his arrest at the Feb 12. protest.

While smoking the joint, Heicklen talked about personal
freedom and civil rights and contrasted the harm supposedly
done by marijuana with the violence and disorder associated
with College Football, an economic boon and cultural icon
for this Big Ten College community.

"Football's primary purpose is to glorify violence... it's a
highly criminogenic activity leading to student riots,
public drunkenness, gambling and ticket scalping... football
has corrupted this community."

Heicklen said that while he has nothing personally against
football, it is hypocritical for the community to
"...glorify football as a religion" while condemning
marijuana as a dangerous drug.

He said that two-thirds of those going to prison are
sentenced for non-violent crimes, while half are for non-
violent drug offenses. "...I'm ashamed of it and I mean to
change it."

Penn State student and Libertarian Charles Miller said that
while the number of drug felons has increased so has the
number of unsolved car thefts and burglaries, "...not only
are they putting the wrong people in jail, they're leaving
the wrong people on the street."

At 12:50 PM the Penn State Police finally showed up but no
one was smoking. When asked by The Week Online why they
weren't present at the start of the protest, an officer
replied that they weren't aware of it until someone called

Heicklen was quoted Wednesday in the Daily Collegian as
saying that he would be smoking a joint at the Thursday
rally to protest the corruption of the court system. Given
that Heicklen had to cross the street into the town of State
College on Feb. 12 in order to be arrested, it would seem
that the University is reluctant to confront the issues
being raised by the Professor.

In response to questions about his future plans, Heicklen
said, "I'll keep smoking... I'm moving this thing out of the
courts and into the streets."

There won't be a rally next week due to Spring Break but the
protests will resume on March 19.

This past week Heicklen was the focus of major stories by
the local CBS affiliate WJAC of Johnstown/Altoona and the
Centre Daily Times of State College, and his actions were
applauded by the Board of Editorial Opinion of the Daily
Collegian, an independent publication of the students
of Penn State University.

As of right now the Preliminary Hearing schedule for the
five protesters arrested for assorted drug charges at the
Feb. 12 protest is as follows:

* March 11- Alan Gordon
* March 18- Professor Julian Heicklen
* March 25- Jennifer Corbett, Ken Keltner and Andrew Burke.

All dates are subject to change.


- Barrington Daltrey for DRCNet

The war on drugs continues to exact its toll on the humanity
of our system of justice, the civil rights of individuals,
and on taxpayers' pocketbooks. On March 3, 1998, Judge
Thelton E. Henderson of the United States District Court in
San Francisco was presented a settlement of a civil rights
suit against the United States Bureau of Prisons brought by
three women prisoners, two of whom are in federal prison on
drug charges.

According to their lawyers, Michael Bien and Geri Lynn
Green, the three were victims of sexual assault and rape
while housed in the J-2 Segregated Housing Unit of the
otherwise all male Federal Detention Center in Dublin,
California. The attacks occurred in the fall of 1995.

"We are incarcerating people at alarming rates," said Green,
"The prison systems are not set up to handle the huge
increases. Even in women's prisons, men staff the units.
They read the prisoner's mail and listen to all phone calls.
There exists no safe and secure method of reporting abuse,
meanwhile there has been a steady erosion of prisoners'
access to the courts, legal representation, and the press.
These attacks and the resulting retaliation occurred because
we have a prison system that is accountable to no one. The
prison system thrives on cover-ups and retaliation, breeding
malfeasance and misfeasance by prison personnel without

The settlement requires changes in operating procedures at
federal prisons throughout the country, and the women will
share in $500,000 in damages to be paid by the federal

The attacks reportedly occurred repeatedly late at night,
when a correctional officer would open the women's cell
doors, giving access to male inmates. When two of the women
got word out to the regional director requesting help, they
received no assistance. Instead, word of one victim's under
oath identification of the correctional officer and an
attacker was leaked to the male inmates, and subsequently
her door was again opened. Three men entered, handcuffing
her, brutally beating her and sexually assaulting her. The
attackers made clear this attack was retribution for her
reports to authorities.

Despite polygraph tests validating the victims' statements,
the U.S. Attorney's Office sat on the case for two years and
refused to bring it before a grand jury. Ultimately the
case was closed without action being brought against the
correctional officer or anyone else for the violent crimes,
the cover-ups, the acts of retaliation or the obstruction of

Enforcement of even the civil settlement will be difficult.
"In 1996, a new federal law was passed which greatly
restricts the power of the federal courts to protect
prisoners from serious violations of their Constitutional
rights, such as the rape and sexual assault of my clients,"
said Bien. "Because of this law, plaintiffs will not be
able to enforce the settlement of this case by seeking
relief from Judge Henderson. There is no reason that the
operation of the federal prison system should be beyond the
scrutiny of the federal courts. The law is bad policy and
is unconstitutional."



Beginning this spring, for the first time since World War
II, the cultivation of industrial hemp will be legal in
Canada. Health Canada will regulate the crop, with a limit
of 0.3 per cent THC in seed samples, and a minimum of four
hectares. The decision follows several years of debate over
the issue during which pressure on the government mounted in
the form of farmers who were eager for a new crop.

Senator Laura Milne, a Liberal member who had pushed for an
end to the prohibition, told the Ottawa Citizen, "I am
delighted that the matter is going ahead. This is an
opportunity for Canadian farmers, unmatched in this
century." While precious little hemp has been grown in
Canada in recent years, there is expected to be a ready
market. The U.S. currently imports about $100 million worth
of the crop from countries, such as China, where cultivation
is legal. The news will be particularly welcome up north,
where the promise of a crop with a short growing season and
a quick turnaround is important.

Some, however, were still unsatisfied with the ruling,
claiming that the proposed regulations are too restrictive.
Ron Schnider, of West Hemp Enterprises Inc., called the 0.3%
THC limit too low. "I think it's actually the THC that
protects it from pests, ironically enough" he told the
Citizen. Brian Taylor, Mayor of Grand Forks, B.C., told The
Citizen that one problem was that "limiting growing to a
minimum of four hectares... eliminates a lot of small



Last Thursday, Feb. 26, a group of over 100 French artists
and intellectuals presented a petition declaring that "At
one moment or other in 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
take." In France, the very act of admitting the use of
drugs is prosecutable as an incitement to others.

According to the Independent on Sunday, the signatories hope
to draw attention to the "hypocrisies and inconsistencies of
government policy and the application of the French anti-
drugs law." France's new Socialist government is already
beginning the process of public debate in an effort to raise
awareness among the population of the need to reform
France's historically harsh drug laws.



The Irish Independent (2/27) reported that Father Gerry
Raftery of the Franciscan Justice Office told the Irish
National Crime Forum that "if limited legalization (heroin
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." Father Raftery
told the Forum that up to 60% of property crime in Dublin
was drug-related and that there are as many as 10,000 IV
drug users in the Dublin area. The goal of the 35-member
Forum is to create a "white paper" which would then serve as
a model for criminal justice policy in Ireland for the next
several decades.



"Steve Curtis is a silly son-of-a-bitch... It's totally
stupid that he does this."

Colorado Republican State Senator and rancher Dave
Wattenberg, commenting on threats by the state Republican
Party Chairman, Steve Curtis, indicating that any Republican
voting in favor of a pending needle-exchange bill would face
party-financed opposition in their next primary.

(You heard it here first! DRCNet reported on Curtis' threat
last week, before the major media picked it up.
(http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/2-27.html#colorado) Also
please read our urgent Colorado action alert at
http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-4-1.html if you haven't



Last Week, a federal grand jury elected not to indict Marine
Cpl. Clemente Banuelos in the 5/20/97 shooting death of 18
year-old high school student Esequiel Hernandez near
Redford, Texas along the Mexican Border. This week, a
Queens, NY grand jury elected not to indict U.S. Marshal
William Cannon in the non-fatal shooting of 17 year-old high
school student Andre Burgess in Laurelton, Queens. On
Friday (2/27) on Sheridan Avenue in The Bronx, New York,
police kicked in the door of the wrong apartment at 8:15 am,
eliciting a single gunshot from the frightened resident.
That shot was immediately answered by up to 30 rounds of
fire by the officers. And in Brooklyn last week, a cop was
shot in the lower back by another officer during a struggle
with a suspect after a buy and bust operation -- which
netted a single $20 bag of cocaine -- went bad.

In case you hadn't noticed -- and if you are white and
middle class perhaps you haven't -- the Drug War is an
actual, honest-to-God shooting war, being prosecuted by all
levels of the government against the people of the United
States. This is a war on poor folks, on black folks, on
Latino folks, and on kids. This is a war which has turned
the U.S. into the world's pre-eminent incarcerator, claimed
thousands of innocent lives, turned law enforcement agencies
into occupying armies, and opened up domestic fronts for our
military forces, all while failing spectacularly to reduce
the availability of drugs, any drugs, on our streets, any
streets, from coast to coast, or anywhere in-between.

The act of war, the actual prosecution of a real live war,
which is what's happening in poor communities across this
country, alters the mindset of those whose job it once was
to serve and protect. A door, the wrong door, is kicked in
at 8:15 am by a trained narcotics squad. No thought is
given to the fact that in apartments all over the country,
at 8:15 in the morning, school-aged children are up and
about, at kitchen tables and in hallways, in bathrooms and
bedrooms. Did it occur to anyone that kicking in a door at
8:15 am might pose an unnecessary risk to innocent children
in the apartment? In the apartment next door? Or directly
upstairs or below? Of course not. This is war. And these
communities are war zones. And the people who live in them
are all suspect. Just like in Vietnam. Just ask any cop
assigned to a "high intensity drug trafficking area".

The folly or believing that we will somehow create a drug-
free society if we just arrest enough people, if we just
arrest the right people, leads to the shooting of an officer
in Brooklyn for a $20 crack bust. Is it the cop's fault
that he has been deemed fodder in the war? Obviously not.
But although a mayor will show up at the hospital, the cop
is fodder, and nothing more. And for what? With cocaine
and heroin at all-time high purity levels and all-time low
prices, it is certainly not for "drug control". The only
gain shown for all of the cops shot is political. Because
even arresting the dealer who sold that cop $20 worth of
blow, and even arresting his dealer, and his dealer's
dealer, and the guy who brings the stuff into the country,
and the guy who sells it to him, isn't going to reduce the
availability of drugs on our streets. Never has. Never

One might take issue with the decisions of two separate
grand juries in refusing to indict either Cpl. Banuelos or
Agent Cannon. Perhaps one or both of these individuals are
blameworthy. Or perhaps not. And one might question the
training or the tactics of the narcotics squad that kicked
in the wrong door, or the squad that got themselves into a
struggle with a suspect in a narrow stairwell. But in each
case, one would be missing the larger, and far more
important question. That is: 'When?' When, after how many
shootings, after how many busts gone bad, after how many
wrong apartments, after how many dead cops, after how many
shot kids, after how many prison cells, after how many
communities destroyed, after how many years? When will we
seek a truce? Quiet the rhetoric? Calm the hysteria?
When will we end the madness that is a war, a real live
shooting war, on our own citizens? In looking over the
landscape and the carnage of this ruinous battlefield that
was once our great nation, one has to ask: When will we ever

Adam J. Smith
Associate Director




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