------------------------------------------------------------------- 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" (firstname.lastname@example.org) Reply-To: "email@example.com" (firstname.lastname@example.org) To: "'Restore Hemp!'"
Subject: The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act needs you! Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 14:45:42 -0800 Organization: CRRH Sender: email@example.com 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 Stores 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 professionals. 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 CRRH 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 oregonlive.com letters to editor: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Todd McCormick (email@example.com) To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Federal Judge Denies Prescription MedicationSide 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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, Steve *** K U B B Y F O R G O V E R N O R 1998 CALIFORNIA 2002 http://www.alpworld.com/kubby98 *** "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 http://www.marijuanamagazine.com
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: email@example.com 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/ POTHOLE AWAITS ATTORNEY GENERAL IN DRIVE FOR GOVERNOR 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 Station." "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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Tom Murlowski Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Author: Dan Walters, The Sacramento Bee Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 Contact: email@example.com Mail: Letters Editor, San Diego Union-Tribune, P O Box 191 San Diego, CA 92112-4106 Fax: (619) 293-1440 Website: http://www.uniontrib.com/ PRISON SYSTEM OUT OF CONTROL 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US Editorial: Drunk On Power Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org DRUNK ON POWER 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 state. 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 experimentation. 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 England. 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: email@example.com (Darral Good) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: HT: Seattle Times Hep-C info unfairly stigmatizes a disease. Reply-To: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org [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: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US: Government To Warn Hepatitis C Victims Sender: firstname.lastname@example.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 GOVERNMENT TO WARN HEPATITIS C VICTIMS 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," 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Chris Clay - http://www.hempnation.com/ Source: Associated Press Pubdate: 6 Mar 1998 SNOWBOARDERS RELEASED FROM JAIL 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 postponement. - 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 snowboarding. - 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Carl E. Olsen http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/ Source: The Des Moines Register Author: Lynn Hicks Pubdate: Friday, March 6, 1998 Contact: email@example.com Webform: http://www.dmregister.com/letter.html Website: http://www.dmregister.com/ BILL WOULD BEEF UP DRUG-TESTING LAWS Workers groups say it gives employers too much power, but advocates say it's long overdue. Highlights of Drug-Testing Bill Testing 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. Treatment 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 said. 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 policies. 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 alcohol. 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 machinery. 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 contaminated. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US MA: Wiretap Suit Against Police Settled Sender: email@example.com 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 WIRETAP SUIT AGAINST POLICE SETTLED 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 charges. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US KY: State Police: For 50 Years The Force Has Been With Us Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Kevin and Melodi Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.kentuckyconnect.com/heraldleader/ STATE POLICE: FOR 50 YEARS THE FORCE HAS BEEN WITH US 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 logo. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Bartman Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: 06 Feb 98 Author: Scott Parks, Dallas Morning News OFFICERS SAY RULING HURTS DRUG EFFORTS 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 Texas. 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 prison. 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 drugs." 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 34. "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 said. "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: email@example.com Subject: HT: Canadian medical mj challenge begins soon! (fwd) Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org CANADIAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA CHALLENGE STARTS APRIL 27 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 Freedoms. 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 wasted. For full details on Harichy's challenge and information on how you can help, please see: http://www.hempnation.com/focus/focus-0111.html
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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"
To: Subject: CAINE JUDGEMENT DUE MARCH 6 Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 00:02:37 -0800 Hi, 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" (email@example.com) To:
Subject: CAINE TRIAL ADJOURNED AGAIN 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, Randy
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: Canada: City adopts substance abuse policy Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 09:01:36 -0800 Lines: 76 Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Vancouver Sun Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Friday 6 March 1998 Section: TOP STORIES Author: Frances Bula Vancouver Sun CITY ADOPTS SUBSTANCE ABUSE POLICY 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 work. "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 now. "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 lunch." 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 safety-sensitive.
------------------------------------------------------------------- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Chris Clay
Subject: CANADA: Courts weeding out marijuana offenders Cc: email@example.com SOURCE: Toronto Sun DATE: March 6, 1998 AUTHOR: Jeff Harder, Queen's Park Bureau SECTION: Top Stories CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoSun/home.html COURTS WEEDING OUT MARIJUANA OFFENDERS First-time marijuana offenders are being smoked out of the courts. 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: email@example.com Newshawk: Debbie Harper Source: Calgary Sun Pubdate: Friday, March 6, 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com Newshawk: "Tom O'Connell" Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 Newshawk: Frank S. World Source: The San Francsisco Chronicle Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/ REBELS CRUSH COLOMBIAN TROOPS IN JUNGLE AMBUSH 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: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Colombia: Colombia Troops Seek Massacre Site Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: San Jose Mercury New (CA) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 COLOMBIA TROOPS SEEK MASSACRE SITE 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 rebels. 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 scene. 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 trade. 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 Bogota. 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)Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 19:06:45 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com 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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: UK: LTE: Therapeutic Use Of Cannabis Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: David.Hadorn@vuw.ac.nz (David Hadorn) Pubdate: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 Source: Lancet, The (UK) Volume: 351, Number 9104 Contact: email@example.com THERAPEUTIC USE OF CANNABIS 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: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: Ireland: Special Drug Units Demanded Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Zosimos Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 Source: Irish Times (Ireland) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: 11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland Fax: ++ 353 1 671 9407 SPECIAL DRUG UNITS DEMANDED 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 yesterday. 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: email@example.com Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org From: DRCNet email@example.com To: Multiple recipients of list firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The Week Online with DRCNet, Issue #32 THE WEEK ONLINE WITH DRCNet, ISSUE #32-- MARCH 6, 1998 -- PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE -- (To sign off this list, mailto:email@example.com with the line "signoff drc-natl" in the body of the message, or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.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 Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts are still available, free with donations of $30 or more to DRCNet! Sign-on online at http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html, or mail to DRCNet, 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036. 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 email@example.com 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. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. LEGISLATORS BLAST MEXICO CERTIFICATION -- RESOLUTIONS TO OVERTURN INTRODUCED IN BOTH HOUSES http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#certification 2. U.S. HOUSE PANEL APPROVES RESOLUTION AGAINST MEDICAL MARIJUANA (from NORML Weekly News) http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#ushouse 3. NEWT GINGRICH CALLS FOR LIFETIME BAN OF DRUG-USING ATHLETES WHO REFUSE TO SNITCH http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#gingrichagain 4. VIOLENT WEEK IN GIULIANI'S NEW YORK DRUG WAR http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#giuliani 5. MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE FILED IN WASHINGTON STATE http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#washington 6. FEDERAL AGENT CLEARED IN SHOOTING OF CANDY BAR-HOLDING TEEN: PLUS -- AN INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT GODOSKY, THE TEEN'S ATTORNEY http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#candybar 7. PROFESSOR'S PENN STATE POT PROTEST CONTINUES http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#heicklen 8. CALIFORNIA INMATES GET RULING -- BUT NO JUSTICE -- IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#prisonrape 9. INDUSTRIAL HEMP LEGALIZED IN CANADA! http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#hempcanada 10. FRENCH ARTISTS, INTELLECTUALS SIGN PETITION CHALLENGING DRUG LAWS http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#france 11. IRISH PRIEST URGES LEGALIZATION http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#ireland 12. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Who's the most "silly son-of-a- bitch" in Colorado politics? http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#quote 13. EDITORIAL: A real live shooting war in America. http://www.drcnet.org/rapid/1998/3-6.html#editorial *** 1. LEGISLATORS BLAST MEXICO CERTIFICATION -- RESOLUTIONS TO OVERTURN INTRODUCED IN BOTH HOUSES 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. *** 2. U.S. HOUSE PANEL APPROVES RESOLUTION AGAINST MEDICAL MARIJUANA (Reprinted with permission of the NORML Foundation, http://www.norml.org/) 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 marijuana." 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. *** 3. NEWT GINGRICH CALLS FOR LIFETIME BAN OF DRUG-USING ATHLETES WHO REFUSE TO SNITCH 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. *** 4. VIOLENT WEEK IN GIULIANI'S DRUG WAR 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 danger'". 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 apartment.) *** 5. MEDICAL MARIJUANA INITIATIVE FILED IN WASHINGTON STATE 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or send checks (made payable to Washington Citizens for Medical Rights) to P.O. Box 2346, Seattle, WA 98111. *** 6. FEDERAL AGENT CLEARED IN SHOOTING OF CANDY BAR-HOLDING TEEN 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. IN REPORTING ON THE BURGESS CASE, THE WEEK ONLINE SPOKE WITH ANDRE BURGESS' ATTORNEY, ROBERT GODOSKY. 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 nave, 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 justice. 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? *** 7. PROFESSOR'S PENN STATE POT PROTEST CONTINUES - 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 byline.) 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 adults. 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 911. 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. *** 8. CALIFORNIA INMATES GET RULING -- BUT NO JUSTICE -- IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE - 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 redress." 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 government. 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 justice. 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." *** 9. INDUSTRIAL HEMP LEGALIZED IN CANADA! 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 farmers." *** 10. FRENCH ARTISTS, INTELLECTUALS SIGN PETITION CHALLENGING DRUG LAWS 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. *** 11. IRISH PRIEST URGES LEGALIZATION 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. *** 12. QUOTE OF THE WEEK "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 already.) *** 13. EDITORIAL 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 will. 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 learn? Adam J. Smith Associate Director *** DRCNet *** JOIN/MAKE A DONATION http://www.drcnet.org/drcreg.html DRUG POLICY LIBRARY http://www.druglibrary.org/ REFORMER'S CALENDAR http://www.drcnet.org/calendar.html SUBSCRIBE TO THIS LIST http://www.drcnet.org/signup.html DRCNet HOME PAGE http://www.drcnet.org/ STOP THE DRUG WAR SITE http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/ -------------------------------------------------------------------
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