------------------------------------------------------------------- NORML Weekly News (Drug Testing Industry Running Scared Calls On Congress To Prohibit Legal Hemp Products; Local Pressure In Support Of California CBCs Mounts As Federal Hearing To Close Clubs Approaches; 'Journal Of The American Medical Association' Reports That Majority Of Americans Favor Legal Access To Medical Marijuana) From: NORMLFNDTN (NORMLFNDTN@aol.com) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:54:42 EST Subject: NORML WPR 3/19/98 (II) A NON-PROFIT LEGAL, RESEARCH, AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION THE NORML FOUNDATION 1001 CONNECTICUT AVENUE NW SUITE 710 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20036 T 202-483-8751 o F 202-483-0057 E-MAIL NORMLFNDTN@AOL.COM Internet http://www.norml.org . . . a weekly service for the media on news items related to marijuana prohibition. March 19, 1998 "Who's Afraid of Hemp?" Drug Testing Industry Running Scared Calls On Congress To Prohibit Legal Hemp ProductsMarch 19, 1998, Research Triangle Park, NC: A leading drug-testing industry trade journal is calling on Congress to amend federal law to prohibit the possession and sale of hemp products. The call to action, highlighted in the January 1998 edition of MRO Alert, is in response to mounting scientific evidence demonstrating that standard drug tests cannot distinguish whether an individual has smoked marijuana or consumed legal hemp products. "There is little question that the most pressing issue in drug testing today is the commercial distribution of hemp products, ... which when used or ingested result in forensically significant amounts of cannabinoids in urine, blood, saliva, and hair," Theodore Shults wrote in the January issue. "The adverse impact such products have on drug testing programs is profound. "... The solution is to draft acceptable federal legislative action that will amend the Federal Drug Control Act. Essentially, this would remove products that would cause a positive urinalysis from distribution and make their use 'illegal.'" Hemp health products, such as hemp seed oil, are sold commercially in health food stores across the nation. Presently, health professionals like Dr. Andrew Weil tout the nutritional benefits of hemp oil, noting that it is second only to soy in protein and contains the highest concentration of essential amino and fatty acids found in any food. The oil may be applied to foods just prior to consumption or ingested in capsule form. A series of studies conducted this past summer and reported in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology indicated that regular users of the oil may test positive for low levels of THC. Most recently, a jury in Delaware overturned a U.S. Air Force court martial after hearing evidence that hemp oil may test positive for marijuana on a urine test. Federal law exempts the importation and possession of hemp fiber, seeds, and products from the list of controlled substances. "To call on Congress to prohibit a legal, $25 million per year hemp industry because the consumption of some products may compromise current drug-testing technology is ludicrous," said Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation. "This is the equivalent of demanding Congress to ban poppy seeds because their ingestion may test positive for opiates." Shults admitted that persuading Congress to amend the federal marijuana law may be difficult because "these products that need to be controlled do not by themselves cause psychotropic effects." However, he warned if the government does not take action, then "It is only a matter of time before federal drug testing programs will be legally challenged on this constitutional issue." "The arrogance of the drug testing establishment to call on the federal government to prohibit a non-psychoactive, legal product rather than re-examine their own testing technology defies logical explanation," St. Pierre said. He noted that drug testing labs could avoid confusion between inhaled marijuana and commercial hemp simply by raising their calibration levels for THC metabolites. "This is nothing more than 'reefer madness' revisited," he said. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. For more information on hemp seed oil, please contact NORML board member Donald Wirtshafter of The Ohio Hempery @ (614) 662-4367. *** Local Pressure In Support Of California CBCs Mounts As Federal Hearing To Close Clubs Approaches March 19, 1998, San Francisco, CA: Local communities and politicians continue their support of state marijuana dispensaries as a showdown with federal officials seeking to close the clubs draws closer. "There is a mounting local rebellion against the federal government's lawsuit," said California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer. "California's medical marijuana clubs are an asset to the community. [They] provide medicine to the truly ill, divert traffic from street dealers, provide gainful employment and taxes, and keep marijuana out of the hands of children. That's better than our federal drug policy has done." On Wednesday, a coalition of California mayors demanded President Clinton block federal efforts to shut down the clubs. "At stake is the well being of 11,000 California residents," the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and West Hollywood said in a letter to Clinton. They also asked him to suspend enforcement of federal drug laws that threaten the existence of the state's 20+ marijuana dispensaries. "If the centers are shut down, many [seriously ill patients] will be compelled to search back alleys and street corners for their medicine," the mayors wrote. "This will not only endanger their lives, but place an unnecessary burden on our local police departments." The mayors further urged the federal government to let local authorities "formalize dispensary systems that live up to the spirit of the law, and most importantly, make marijuana available, safe and accessible to suffering patients." The mayors' plea comes just days before a scheduled hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to determine whether Justice Department officials can close six dispensaries for violating federal drug laws. In a separate effort against the federal suit, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland filed a "friend of the court" brief in support of the clubs. The amicus brief warns that if the federal suit is successful in closing down the state's leading CBCs, "What is now a reasonably well controlled, safe distribution system ... will instead devolve into a completely unregulated, public nuisance." "San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan's amicus brief -- now joined by the city of Oakland -- is yet further evidence that most Californians oppose federal efforts to obstruct the mandate of Proposition 215 by closing the medical marijuana clubs," Gieringer said. Earlier this week, Hallinan promised that patients in San Francisco will continue to get medical marijuana through some organized distribution system even if the federal judge rules against the clubs. Attorney General Dan Lungren responded that city officials would be subject to arrest and prosecution if they decide to distribute marijuana for medical purposes. For more information, please contact either Dale Gieringer of California NORML @ (415) 563-5858 or Tanya Kangas, Esq., Director of Litigation for The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751.
*** Journal of the American Medical Association Reports That Majority Of Americans Favor Legal Access To Medical Marijuana March 19, 1998, Chicago, IL: A study in the current issue of The Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) summarizing 47 national surveys over the past 20 years indicates that roughly 60 percent of those polled supported allowing physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. Not all the studies surveyed specifically examined respondents' views on medical marijuana. "The JAMA finding reinforces the results of nearly a dozen polls conducted after the passage of Prop. 215 in California indicating that a majority of Americans strongly favor allowing seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana," NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. said. For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751. A breakdown of medical marijuana opinion polls conducted between 1995 and 1997 appears on NORML's website at: www.norml.org. -END- MORE THAN 11 MILLION MARIJUANA ARRESTS SINCE 1965...ANOTHER EVERY 49 SECONDS!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Rally To Stop The Federal Veto Of Proposition 215 (Marijuana Policy Project Publicizes Public Demonstration Tuesday In San Francisco In Opposition To The Federal Lawsuit Against Six Northern California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 17:29:53 -0500 From: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP@MPP.ORG) Organization: Marijuana Policy Project Sender: email@example.com Subject: PLEASE ATTEND MEDICINAL MARIJUANA RALLY To: firstname.lastname@example.org RALLY TO STOP THE FEDERAL VETO OF PROPOSITION 215! ** Defend Safe Access to Medical Marijuana ** Tuesday, March 24 in San Francisco 11:00 a.m. March from Harvey Milk Memorial Rainbow Flag Pole (Castro and Market) to Federal Building 12:00 Noon Rally at Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate (at Polk) Background: In November 1996, Californians elected to give seriously ill patients the right to use marijuana as a medicine by approving Proposition 215. Now, the federal government is trying to take that right away. On March 24th, the U.S. District Court in San Francisco will hear a federal lawsuit (filed January 9) aimed at closing six medicinal marijuana cooperatives or "clubs" in San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Mendocino. While California patients are legally permitted to grow their own marijuana, most patients have had to rely on these cooperatives for their supply of marijuana. This lawsuit is just the latest step in the federal war on Proposition 215. The time has come for the federal government to declare a truce, halt its mindless war on California's patients and marijuana providers, and attend to building the safe and affordable distribution system called for in Proposition 215. For more information, contact Communication Works at email@example.com or 415-255-1946. *** HOW TO SUPPORT THE MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: To support the MPP's work and receive the quarterly "Marijuana Policy Report," please send $25.00 annual membership dues to: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) P.O. Box 77492 Capitol Hill Washington, D.C. 20013 http://www.mpp.org/membrshp.html 202-232-0442 FAX
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mayors Ask Clinton To Leave Pot Clubs Alone ('Associated Press' Article In 'San Jose Mercury News' Says The Mayors Of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and West Hollywood Have Asked The President To Call Off The Federal Lawsuit Against Six Northern California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:07:19 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Mayors Ask Clinton to Leave Pot Clubs Alone Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 MAYORS ASK CLINTON TO LEAVE POT CLUBS ALONE Six cities affected by U.S. order to close SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Four California mayors appealed to President Clinton on Wednesday to drop federal lawsuits against medical marijuana clubs operating within their cities. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, along with the mayors of Oakland, Santa Cruz and West Hollywood, said closing the facilities would hurt clients who suffer from AIDS, cancer and other diseases and who use marijuana from the clubs to ease their pain and nausea. ``If the centers are shut down, many of these individuals will be compelled to search back alleys and street corners for their medicine. This will not only endanger their lives, but place an unnecessary burden on our local police departments,'' the mayors wrote. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi filed civil suits against medical marijuana clubs in six cities. A hearing in San Francisco on those suits is scheduled for March 24. These federal suits target only the clubs -- two in San Francisco and one each in Oakland, southern Marin County, Santa Cruz and Ukiah -- and their operators, not individual patients. The Santa Clara County Medical Cannabis Center is not one of the clubs targeted by the lawsuit. Most of the medical marijuana facilities were started after the November 1996 passage of Proposition 215, which changed state law to allow patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, glaucoma or a variety of other illnesses to possess and grow marijuana for medical use, with a doctor's recommendation. But at least one facility, now called the Cannabis Cultivators Club, has operated for years in San Francisco with the tacit approval of local law enforcement. Its controversial founder, Dennis Peron, co-authored Proposition 215.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mayors Ask Clinton To Allow Pot Clubs To Stay Open (A Different 'Associated Press' Account In 'Orange County Register') Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 21:15:07 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Mayors Ask Clinton To Allow Pot Clubs To Stay Open Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Ron Harris-The Associated Press MAYORS ASK CLINTON TO ALLOW POT CLUBS TO STAY OPEN They argue that it will be safer if parents do not have to seek the drug on the street for medicinal use. San Francisco- Four California mayors say the streets will be safer if President Clinton drops a federal lawsuit to close clubs that dispense medical marijuana. Mayors of San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz and West Hollywood, in letters dated March 12 to March 17, said closing the clubs would hurt those suffering from AIDS and cancer who use the drug o ease their pain and nausea. "If the centers are shut down, many of these individuals will be compelled to search back alleys and street corners for their medicine," the mayors wrote in letters to the president. The mayors also asked the president to drop an injunction against the operation of the clubs and to "implement a moratorium on enforcement of federal drug laws that interfere with the daily operation of the dispensaries." The club operators say a voter-approved initiative allows their operations, but state courts have disagreed. A White House spokesman, after checking with the office of drug policy, said there is nothing planned on medical marijuana in California. Outside San Francisco's Cannabis Cultivators' Club, Joel Whalen smoked a joint while waiting for the club to open. He is HIV positive and supports the mayors' efforts. "With the mayors backing us, I think it's a lot better," said Whalen, who uses marijuana to boost his appetite. "I quit all intravenous drugs, and now that I've been smoking marijuana I feel healthier. I could actually run a whole block, and sleep at night and eat." "I was really, really sick. I lost my appetite. I lost my will to live. And a lot of people here have given me the will to live." A 27-year-old man, who identified himself only as Jaguar, said he was diagnosed with HIV when he was 15. He sat with dog, Bear, at the club's front door. Jaguar moved to San Francisco from Florida five years ago and has been homeless ever since. "Pot's like a major upper for me. It helps me eat. The more pot you smoke, the more openminded you get ... your mind is going, and it keeps you going." Kevin Zeese, president of Common Sense for Drug Policy, lauded the mayors' efforts and said closing the clubs would increase street crime. "I think the mayors realize that closing these clubs would force 10,000 people into criminality." Zeese said. "It would be chaotic." "If Washington is smart, they'll realize they're in a lose-lose situation. They can lose in the courts or lose in the streets." Whalen agreed the streets would be safer if the clubs remain open. "They're not out there looking, they're not out there sneaking, they're not out there doing (anything) illegal," Whalen said.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Four California Mayors Urge Clinton To Stop Lawsuits Against 'Cannabis Clubs' ('Washington Post' Version) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 08:11:26 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: US CA: WP: Four California Mayors Urge Clinton to Stop Lawsuits Against 'Cannabis Clubs' To: DrugSense News Service Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Frank S. World and Kendra E. Wright Source: Washington Post Author: William Claiborne Washington Post Staff Writer Contact: http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/edit/letters/letterform.htm Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 FOUR CALIFORNIA MAYORS URGE CLINTON TO STOP LAWSUITS AGAINST 'CANNABIS CLUBS' LOS ANGELES, March 18-The mayors of four California cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, appealed to President Clinton today to drop federal lawsuits aimed at closing "cannabis clubs" that opened after voters approved a 1996 ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana. San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. said he was "deeply troubled" by Justice Department lawsuits and asked Clinton to impose a moratorium on enforcement of federal drug laws that could interrupt the clubs' operations until federal and local officials meet to discuss an end to the impasse. Brown said 11,000 Californians in pain from AIDS, cancer and other illnesses depend on the two dozen marijuana dispensaries, most of them in the northern part of the state. If the patients are denied the drug, they will have to "search back alleys and street corners for their medicine," the mayor said. Joining Brown in sending similarly worded letters to Clinton were Oakland Mayor Elihu M. Harris, Santa Cruz Mayor Celia Scott and West Hollywood Mayor Steve Martin. Brown said he will "abide by the primacy of federal law," but in return he expects respect of local governments' experience and expertise in developing community-based solutions to public health problems. San Francisco's stridently liberal district attorney, Terence Hallinan, was less restrained. He said if the federal government closes marijuana clubs, city health workers may be called on to distribute the drug to patients. Hallinan contended that a vast majority of San Francisco residents and officials supports medical use of marijuana. If the clubs are closed, he said, "what is now a reasonably well-controlled, safe distribution system -- one that has been characterized by cooperation with city officials and one that is inspected by the Health Department -- will instead devolve into a completely unregulated, and unregulable, public nuisance." While stressing that the proposal to enlist city employees to distribute marijuana is now only a "hypothetical," Michael Katz, director of the San Francisco Health Department, said the city has an "absolute commitment" to distribute marijuana to those who need it. The federal lawsuits against six San Francisco Bay area cannabis clubs contend that the clubs violate federal laws against cultivating and distributing marijuana. The new state law allows a doctor to recommend marijuana to ill people and permits a patient to use it with a doctor's recommendation and a "primary care giver" to provide it if the patient is unable to obtain the drug. State Attorney General Dan Lungren contends -- with the backing of federal drug officials -- that the law still does not allow commercial enterprises like the cannabis clubs to distribute marijuana. Earlier this week, Lungren, who is a Republican candidate for governor, suggested he might prosecute city officials who dispense marijuana to patients. (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
------------------------------------------------------------------- Four Mayors Call On Clinton To Stop Pot Club Prosecutions ('San Francisco Chronicle' Version) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 21:12:41 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: 4 Mayors Call On Clinton to Stop Pot Club Prosecutions Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
= Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.sfgate.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Sabin Russell, Chronicle Staff Writer 4 MAYORS CALL ON CLINTON TO STOP POT CLUB PROSECUTIONS Tempering their remarks with an unusual declaration of fealty to federal authority, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and mayors from three other California cities have pleaded to President Clinton that he back off on his prosecution of medical marijuana clubs. ``We honor and will abide by the primacy of federal law,'' the mayors wrote in letters to the president yesterday. ``In return, we ask that the federal government respect local government's experience and expertise (in public health matters).'' Signed by Brown, Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, West Hollywood Mayor Steve Martin and Santa Cruz Mayor Celia Scott, the nearly identically worded letters warned that closure of the clubs could seriously affect their cities. The mayors said they were writing in defense of their citizens who have been smoking marijuana to combat the nausea of cancer chemotherapy drugs, the sight-destroying effects of glaucoma and the debilitating effects of AIDS. ``If the centers are shut down, many of these individuals will be compelled to search back alleys and street corners for their medicine. This will not only endanger their lives, but place an unnecessary burden on our local police departments,'' each of the four mayors wrote. The letter-writing campaign was orchestrated by the Medical Marijuana Caregivers Fund, an organization of pot clubs that are battling attempts by both the Clinton administration and California Attorney General Dan Lungren to close them down. Mayor Martin said he expects to visit San Francisco on Tuesday to join Brown for a rally and prayer meeting organized by the group. It will take place just before a hearing on federal charges against Northern California pot clubs. ``We're all in this together,'' he said. Martin's Los Angeles County municipality has a large gay population that, like San Francisco's, has been devastated by the AIDS epidemic. Patients contend that smoking marijuana stimulates the appetite and wards off the wasting syndrome that weakens people with AIDS. ``There are many of us for whom marijuana is a part of daily living,'' he said. The mayors and the pot club operators contend that it is not illegal to provide marijuana for medical purposes after California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 215 in November. But U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi filed suit against six clubs January 9, declaring that the sale of marijuana for any purpose but research was strictly against the law. The March 24 hearing will consider consolidated charges against four of the clubs that have remained open. Oakland Mayor Harris issued a statement in support of Proposition 215. ``Californians have spoken,'' he said. ``Our intention is to comply with the letter and the spirit of that initiative. We don't want to see medical marijuana run into the underground.'' Yamaguchi's San Francisco office deferred all comment on the matter to Washington, D.C., where the Justice Department has been calling the shots on the pot club prosecutions. The Justice Department did not return calls requesting comment. San Francisco Mayor Brown also did not comment directly, but issued a statement that ``the letter speaks for itself.'' Brown also called on the Justice Department to work with the Food and Drug Administration ``to designate marijuana as a drug for prescription purposes.'' Dennis Peron, founder of San Francisco's controversial Cannabis Cultivators Club, said yesterday that he was gratified by the mayors' letters. ``This means that the cities want to support this and defend democracy,'' he said. Peron also noted that it was not a particularly unusual stance for the mayors to take: Proposition 215 passed with more than 70 percent of the vote in all four localities. 1998 San Francisco Chronicle
------------------------------------------------------------------- SF To US - Back Off On Medical Marijuana Law ('Los Angeles Times' Tries To Make It Seem Like It's San Francisco Officials Violating The Law By Standing Up For Proposition 215 Rather Than The State And Federal Bureaucrats And Politicians Who Are Trying To Shut Down The City's Medical Cannabis Dispensaries) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 17:29:40 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: S.F. to U.S.: Back Off on Medical Marijuana Law Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield and James Hammett
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Maria L. La Ganga, Times Staff Writer S.F. TO U.S.: BACK OFF ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW Medication: Court fights are shaping up for city that revels in defiance. Some say it's flirting with anarchy. SAN FRANCISCO--Here in the self-proclaimed capitol of defiance, they are preparing to wage a war, a battle of conscience over medical marijuana to be fought on two distinct and separate fronts: the city versus the state of California, the city versus the federal government. Willie Brown joined forces Wednesday with several other California mayors, firing off a salvo of letters to Washington, asking the Clinton administration to stop persecuting medical marijuana clubs. Two days earlier, Dist. Atty. Terence Hallinan--the city's chief law enforcement officer--had promised that the city would distribute marijuana on its own and threatened that police officers would stop making marijuana arrests if the San Francisco clubs are closed. Citywide rallies are planned for Tuesday, when federal prosecutors take club operators to court here. Hallinan will appear at an early morning prayer-for-pot breakfast, while two county supervisors will address a noon demonstration. As the courts and the state grapple with interpreting Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes, this city is in lock-step in support for marijuana to relieve the suffering of patients with ailments such as AIDS, cancer and glaucoma. "We have people who are suffering for health reasons whose suffering is apparently alleviated by the use of marijuana," Hallinan said. "The city wants this. We have seen proof." Critics Fear Erosion of Norms This is not the first time that San Franciscans have ignored state and federal laws to tread what they felt was the moral high ground. But it is probably the city's most united front in the face of possible prosecution. >From the average voter to the office of the mayor, the message to state and federal law enforcement officials is loud and clear: Back off. But one person's fight for justice can be another's fomenting anarchy. Some historians and experts in the legal and drug policy fields look at the battle brewing here and worry about its implications. While Hallinan boasts of pride in "San Francisco having its own conscience," political historian Richard DeLeon voices "a sense of astonishment that little San Francisco is throwing its weight around and asserting its autonomy." "They're really pushing the envelope with this," said DeLeon, author of "Left Coast City." "There's a sense of erosion of the norms and responsibilities of national citizenship. Those are disintegrating. There could be a proliferation once again of each municipality going their own way, and that portends something pretty dangerous." Thumbing official noses at other people's policies is practically a sport in San Francisco. The last decade alone offers a wealth of examples. In 1992, then-Mayor Frank Jordan--formerly the chief of police and considered conservative in these parts--made good on a campaign promise to sign legislation endorsing needle exchange programs as a means to fight the spread of AIDS. Needle exchange efforts were illegal under state law at the time. But two years earlier the city's health commission had supported such programs, and city voters had approved Proposition O, which asked the Legislature to eliminate penalties for the use and distribution of hypodermic needles without prescriptions. Today, needle exchange is legal if a city or county is under a state of medical emergency, said Supervisor Tom Ammiano. "So we vote one in every two weeks. That allows for needle exchange." In 1989, the supervisors--whom Ammiano describes as "running the gamut from moderate to progressive"--voted to declare San Francisco an official "city of refuge" and barred police and city employees from cooperating with federal authorities in any potential deportation matters. Four years later the supervisors watered down the sanctuary law--but only a little and only when threatened with the loss of millions of dollars in state and federal funds. Today, Hallinan says, city employees can turn over only the names of convicted felons to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. And five years before state voters approved Proposition 215--which passed by a larger margin here than in any other county--San Franciscans adopted city Proposition P, which urged the legalization of hemp medication, including marijuana. It passed with 80% of the vote. DeLeon ranked the state's 58 counties on their level of political tolerance, using a variety of state propositions and weighing how the counties voted. The propositions included those concerning English-only legislation, the quarantine of AIDS patients and the fate of affirmative action. Although DeLeon's index shows that the Bay Area as a whole is more tolerant than the rest of the state, San Francisco is what is known in statistical parlance as an "outlier." "San Francisco is both a statistical outlier and a conceptual outlier," DeLeon said. "It stands out as way different from everyone else." Gavin Newsom is the county's newest supervisor--a fourth-generation San Franciscan and the only straight, white male on the board. Newsom is proud of his region's place on the cutting edge of public debate and describes the city's behavior this way: Sometimes, he said, "we need to preempt the government. You feel compelled to do that sometimes when the country does not represent your constituency." When it comes to making medical marijuana available at all costs, he said, "we need to do things that thumb our nose at the status quo. You're dealing with people's lives. . . . It's gutsy and bold and risky but that's what San Francisco is all about." Resisting Federal Laws Just wait a minute, responds an incredulous Mark A.R. Kleiman, UCLA professor and drug policy expert. For starters, he notes, there are far more important drugs than cannabis that are being withheld from American patients. If you want to pick a fight, why waste your time with this one? That said, Kleiman worries about the precedent that San Francisco is setting. After all, he says, "there's good reason to obey the Constitution when you can." "God knows what would happen if the city of San Francisco started having its health department pass out cannabis," Kleiman said. "The fact that those people are doing a city job is no defense against a felony charge." And just look at some of those in history who have taken it upon themselves to flout the nation's laws. Kleiman's favorite examples are the Nullification Crisis of 1828 and 1950s efforts to block school integration in the South. As the Civil War began to brew and Southern cotton barons ostensibly chafed under federal tariffs, John C. Calhoun came up with the Doctrine of Nullification, a concept that declared all states sovereign and therefore able to nullify any federal law that interfered with their interests. Not terribly long after, the South seceded from the Union. And then there was Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, who used his National Guard troops to block the mandated integration of Central High School in Little Rock. "Now here we have Terence Hallinan bravely arranging himself with Orval Faubus and John C. Calhoun," Kleiman said. "What kind of company is that?" San Franciscans would probably rather align themselves with the early 19th century judges who chose to ignore the fugitive slave law. That law required judges to turn in runaway slaves to their masters; many judges refused, joining forces with the abolitionist movement in breaking the back of slavery. But Franklin Zimring, a professor of law and the director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute at UC Berkeley, argues that "making this into either Orval Faubus at the courthouse door or Harriet Beecher Stowe is a little premature." At issue here is a complicated interplay of local, state and federal issues. On the one hand is federal law, which says that marijuana is illegal. Under the U.S. Constitution, federal law is supreme. However, the federal government has discretion about what laws it goes out of its way to enforce. "Just because marijuana is illegal, the federal government doesn't have to load all its guns," Zimring said. "If Willie Brown were making a legal argument, he'd be in deep water," Zimring said. "But he's not. He's doing what he does best--making a political claim. And the politics of this is very much in the free field." Which brings us to this week. On Wednesday, Brown joined the mayors of Oakland, Santa Cruz and West Hollywood in writing to President Clinton to ask that the administration drop its federal lawsuits against six California cannabis distributors and their 10 operators. "I am deeply troubled by the Department of Justice lawsuits aimed at shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries in our cities," Brown wrote. "The harmful impact the closure of these patient clubs would have on patient health and public safety cannot be overestimated." The mayors asked in the letters that Clinton "drop the lawsuit and work with state and local officials to find an amenable solution that will put patients first. In the interim, I ask that you implement a moratorium on enforcement of federal drug laws that interfere with the daily operation of the dispensaries." Brown has charged the local health department with overseeing the marijuana clubs in concert with the district attorney's office. And when Hallinan filed court documents Monday stating that the city would distribute marijuana to patients if the clubs are closed down, Brown supported Hallinan's position--although state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren threatened potential prosecution of city workers. While campaigning for governor in Sacramento, Lungren said: "All I know is that I took an oath to uphold the law . . . and I would hope San Francisco officials do the same. . . . I don't know how you can say . . . because I'm an elected official I don't have to do what everybody else does." But in his weekly news conference Tuesday, Brown said that Hallinan was "on the right track." In addition, he said, the health department is "ready to put the [distribution] operation together." One big question remains: Just how far will official and unofficial San Francisco go to protect the availability of medical marijuana? Hallinan's answer is the elliptical, "What we do we will do with the advice of the city attorney and in a way that we believe is legal." Ammiano is a little more forceful but no more revealing: "I think we'll go to the mat on this." Copyright Los Angeles Times
------------------------------------------------------------------- Update On Orange County Medical Marijuana Co-Op Case (Local Correspondent Notes Delay In Marvin Chavez Case)From: FilmMakerZ (FilmMakerZ@aol.com) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:09:51 EST To: email@example.com Subject: UPDATE ON OC MMJ COOP CASE Marvin Chavez was in court again today for the Orange County Cannabis Co-op case. The DA filed a motion for a continuance and the defense had no opposition, as one of Marvin's lawyers was in the hospital with strep throat. The next date is set for April 16th. Also, member of the Co-op with cancer who the DA was going to subpoena as a witness passed away two days ago. Who knows how many days the pressure of the trial took off his life. Mira
------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Corcoran'-Style Carnage Continues In California - FBI Probes Deaths At Two More State Prisons ('Los Angeles Times' Version In Bend, Oregon, 'Bulletin') Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 20:06:41 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: 'Corcoran'-Style Carnage Continues in California Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Nora Callahan
Source: Bulletin, The (OR) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.bendbulletin.com Pubdate: Thu 19 Mar 1998 Author: Mark Arax, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 'CORCORAN'-STYLE CARNAGE CONTINUES IN CALIFORNIA FBI Probes Deaths at 2 More State Prisons Inquiries: Slayings of inmates at Pelican Bay and in Susanville lead to investigations of guards. Corcoran officers plead not guilty in earlier case. FRESNO--As part of the federal government's growing scrutiny of California prisons, the FBI is launching civil rights investigations at the Pelican Bay and Susanville penitentiaries into the role guards may have played in the beatings and killings of inmates. FBI officials said the decision to investigate follows a number of recent assaults and deaths of inmates at the two maximum-security prisons in Northern California. At Pelican Bay, agents will try to determine if rival inmates attacked each other at the behest of prison staff, including at least one assault earlier this month that resulted in the stabbing death of an inmate, according to FBI officials. At the High Desert State Prison in Susanville, FBI agents have begun looking into the Feb. 4 death of inmate David Torres, who was gunned down by an officer during a prison yard fight. "We have opened a preliminary civil rights investigation into the shooting death of inmate Torres," said Jim Maddock, head of the FBI office in Sacramento. "As far as Pelican Bay is concerned, that is being handled by the FBI in San Francisco. At this point, I can't say anything more." An FBI spokesman in San Francisco declined to comment on the probe, but a U.S. Justice Department official in Washington confirmed that agents would be focusing on possible violations of Pelican Bay inmates' civil rights. The state Department of Corrections characterized the FBI probes as routine investigations prompted by complaints from family members of the deceased inmates. "Just like any law enforcement agency, the FBI is required to follow up and investigate any complaints," said Christine May, a department spokeswoman. "It does not appear to be an investigation into the Department of Corrections as a whole." May said her agency was not aware of an FBI inquiry involving Pelican Bay. She said the complaints arose out of the Torres killing at High Desert and the death of an unnamed inmate at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville. "Our understanding is that the FBI is looking at these two specific complaints. Like any other investigation, we will cooperate with them in any way they request." Until now, most of the federal government's attention has been focused on the troubled lockup at Corcoran in the San Joaquin Valley. On Wednesday, eight prison officers and supervisors pleaded not guilty to charges of setting up fights between rival inmates at Corcoran and then covering up the violence by falsifying incident reports. In one 1994 fight, prosecutors allege, some of the officers gathered in a control booth to watch for fun as one officer quipped, "It's going to be duck hunting season." The fight ended when an officer fired a rifle at one of the aggressors and killed 25-year-old inmate Preston Tate by mistake. In the federal court in Fresno, one lieutenant, two sergeants and five officers were each charged with four counts that include bodily injury of inmates, conspiracy to deprive inmates of their civil rights and depriving inmates of their civil rights under color of law. One officer also was charged with perjury. Six of the eight still work for the Corrections Department and have been placed on administrative leave with pay. All eight declined to comment after being released without having to post bail. "We all believe that they are innocent," said Fresno attorney Curtis Sisk, speaking on behalf of the eight lawyers representing the officers. "We're quite convinced of it at this point, and we see no reason to think otherwise." Sisk said defense attorneys were eagerly awaiting the federal government's "voluminous" documents as part of the discovery process. He said he doubted that the government could support the charges and predicted that it would "drag its feet" in producing the paperwork. But Assistant U.S. Atty. Carl Faller, who oversaw the four-year investigation into alleged civil rights abuses at Corcoran, said the government would comply with its legal responsibility. "We'll produce the information to the defense as required by law, and we remain confident in the ultimate success of the prosecution." Corcoran Inquiry Raised Questions In the past, prison watchdog groups say, federal agents have shied away from investigating allegations of inmate abuse by correctional officers. But federal authorities said the Corcoran investigation raised disturbing questions about the possible role of corrections officials and the prison guard union in covering up abuses. Last month, when announcing the Corcoran indictments, the FBI's Maddock denounced the "intentional efforts on the part of some correctional and other officials to stymie, delay and obstruct" the federal probe. State corrections officials and union representatives have denied impeding the Corcoran investigation or overlooking officer wrongdoing at the Pelican Bay and Susanville prisons. Over the past two years, eight inmates have been killed by other inmates inside Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit, where the prison's most serious offenders are locked up. At least six of the killings stem from an internal war within the Aryan Brotherhood gang, according to corrections officials. At the same time, officers at Pelican Bay have come under internal investigation for allegedly setting up inmate attacks on convicted child molesters. In January, one officer, 42-year-old Jose Garcia, was tried and convicted of conspiring to assault child molesters at Pelican Bay. Then, two weeks ago, an inmate who testified against Officer Garcia in his Del Norte County trial was stabbed to death by another inmate. William Stanton Boyd, 36, was slain on the general population yard at the North Coast prison. At least part of the FBI's interest in Pelican Bay concerns Boyd's death and whether it was in retaliation for testifying against Officer Garcia, according to two federal sources familiar with the case. Last week, a few days after Boyd's slaying, a sergeant and an officer at Pelican Bay were placed on administrative leave for unspecified reasons. The pair, according to their attorney, had been accused by prison authorities of helping Officer Garcia mastermind attacks on child molesters. San Francisco lawyer Bob Noel contended that the accusations were drummed up by a rival officer faction and said his clients were never charged. Noel, who also represented Officer Garcia, said there was no link between Boyd's testimony at Garcia's trial and his murder. "Yes, Boyd was called to testify by the prosecution against my client, Garcia, but his testimony ended up helping Garcia," he said. "Boyd denied beating up child molesters at the behest of Garcia and the others. Boyd turned out to be a good witness for Garcia." Noel said that if Boyd was killed on the orders of prison staff, it didn't involve Garcia or his other clients. At Susanville, FBI agents are trying to determine if the shooting death of Torres in the recreation yard was justified. According to corrections officials, the 29-year-old inmate from Orange County belonged to a Latino gang and was involved in a melee with eight fellow gang members against 10 rivals. Torres was kicking the head of an inmate, who was on the ground, when an officer fired the fatal shot, corrections officials say. 8 Guards Plead Not Guilty As the FBI probes at Susanville and Pelican Bay get underway, the investigation at Corcoran continues. On Wednesday, Corcoran Officers Timothy Dickerson, 38, Michael Gipson, 43, and Raul Tavarez, 38, and Sgt. Truman Jennings, 37, were charged with purposely releasing a black inmate into a recreation yard with two rival Latino inmates. The defendants allegedly goaded the Latino gang members by telling them that they should keep the fights "one on one." Lt. Douglas Martin, 54, Sgt. John Vaughn, 42, and Officers Christopher Bethea, 33, and Jerry Arvizu, 30, were charged with placing prisoner Tate and his cellmate into a yard with rival gang members. They did this although they were aware that a fight was likely to occur, prosecutors allege. In a videotape of the shooting captured by prison cameras, Tate and his cellmate are seen waiting for the charge of the two Latino gang members. The tape shows shots being fired by Officer Bethea and Tate being hit in the head by a bullet apparently intended for the aggressors. Jennings, Dickerson, Gipson and Tavarez face 10 years in prison and fines of $250,000 each if convicted of the civil rights violations. Martin, Vaughn, Bethea and Arvizu face life terms if convicted of civil rights violations and their roles in Tate's death. "The fact that the state of California is paying for the legal defense of these officers shows that they were acting within the scope of their authority," said Mike Jimenez, vice president of the state correctional peace officers association. "Apparently the feds haven't had much success with prosecuting criminals, so now they're starting to prosecute cops." LA Times staff writer Ronald J. Ostrow contributed to this report.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Medical Marijuana Wars (Staff Editorial In 'San Francisco Chronicle' Says 'The Humane Use Of Marijuana To Allay Pain Is The Goal Here' And Urges California Lawmakers To Unite Behind State Senator John Vasconcellos' Bill) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 21:18:06 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Wars Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sfgate.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 MEDICAL MARIJUANA WARS SAN FRANCISCO'S marijuana wars are heating up again, with a needless showdown in the making. Facing a legal onslaught by federal cannabis hunters, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and District Attorney Terence Hallinan are defending the local medical marijuana operation run by a private group. Brown wants it left alone to dispense marijuana to the sick and dying. Hallinan is even more defiant. If the Feds shut down the Cannabis Buyers' Club, then the city's public health department should set up shop in its place, he believes. This head-on collision should be avoided. Since passage of Proposition 215, which authorized selling marijuana as a pain killer to those in medical need, all sides have shouted out their interpretation. Pot advocates, especially in San Francisco, set up a loosely run dispensary that has taunted federal and state drug-hunters. But other programs have worked closely with law enforcement to set up more rigorous operations. A bill by Senator John Vasconcellos, D- San Jose, may offer a way out of this legal impasse. Convene a group representing all sides and work out hard-headed ground rules for cultivating and dispensing marijuana to those in need, his bill suggests. Prop. 215 danced around the problem area of how to grow pot by ignoring the subject, and it pinned the job of distributing the drug on vaguely-defined ``care givers.'' These are major gray areas that need better definition, and the Vasconcellos bill could produce a useful agreement. Meanwhile, four California mayors -- including Brown and Elihu Harris of Oakland, and the mayors of Santa Cruz and West Hollywood, have appealed to President Clinton to drop the federal lawsuits against the marijuana clubs. Brown told Clinton that patients who need medical marijuana should not be forced into ``back alleys and street corners.'' The humane use of marijuana to allay pain is the goal here, not more court fights. All of the parties involved in this issue need to look for a compromise that respects the clear will of the voters, which was to make marijuana available to those with a legitimate medical need for it. The solution should do no more and no less. 1998 San Francisco Chronicle
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lungren's Campaign (Letter To Editor Of 'Orange County Register' Notes California Gubernatorial Candidate Lungren Has Thwarted The Will Of 56 Percent Of Voters Who Supported Proposition 215) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 10:31:47 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Pub LTE: Lungren's Campaign Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 LUNGREN'S CAMPAIGN Instead of attempting to engage in some form of reasonable compromise or possibly use this opportunity to study the medical marijuana issue, the Attorney General's office joined forces with the feds to engage in a campaign of selective terrorism, frivolous prosecution and capricious civil litigation. If these actions are any indications of hidden agendas, what will Dan Lungren do if he is elected governor? A point that Lungren's office may have overlooked is that 56 percent of the voting population voted for the passage of Proposition 215. That is a rather large percentage to alienate by refusing to accept and work with the will of the people. It seems like business as usual. Lungren's office is powerless to do anything about real crime, so they decide to come down hard on the small stuff. (no name provided)
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cops Dare To Be Cool With Van ('San Jose Mercury News' Uncritically Suggests DARE Police In San Carlos, California, Reduce Kids' Drug Use With The Help Of A Flashy, Expensive Automobile) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 10:35:20 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Cops Dare To Be Cool With Van Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Heidi Van Zant - Mercury News Staff Writer COPS DARE TO BE COOL WITH VAN Wild decoration helps deliver anti-drug message to schools The sixth-graders listened politely and attentively to San Carlos police officer Bruce Potts' classroom lecture on the perils of using drugs. The Alpha Beacon Christian School students dutifully filled in their Drug Abuse Resistance Education workbooks and raised their hands when prompted to answer his questions. But as engaged as they were in their discussion about the importance of self-esteem, they really sprang to life when led outside to the parking lot. There, parked at the curb, was a black-and-white van painted in a wild and colorful swirl of flames and stripes. One of the few giveaways that this was an official police vehicle were the red-and-blue bar lights on the top and the city seal on the side. As the two dozen youngsters climbed across the seats, found the siren button and squealed with delight in their quest to fit all their squirming bodies into the minivan, Potts looked on with a satisfied grin. ``It's a publicity tool for the DARE program -- and it takes me out of the patrol car and projects a different image for me. Usually, people don't see us until they're in trouble,'' he said. The razzle-dazzle van -- bought and decorated with $30,000 in community contributions and donated materials -- is being displayed to 1,800 San Carlos public and private school students this semester. Used by Potts in his DARE presentations to junior-high-school-age students, and by other San Carlos Police Department officers for bicycle safety and Police Athletic League programs, the month-old van apparently is accomplishing its mission of breaking down barriers between police and kids, and helping make youth more receptive to the anti-drug message. ``I think police are nice,'' said Justin Schneider, 12, of San Mateo, as he wedged into the back seat of the van with his Alpha Beacon buddies. Police Cmdr. James Cost said he's seen scores of decorated police vehicles on his travels across the United States, ``and this is about as wild as I've seen.'' A number of departments have souped-up sports cars, vividly painted Camaros and eye-catching Trans Ams, but Cost said the San Carlos van is in a class of its own. The hood and sides are painted with gold, red and purple shooting flames, the front bumper has flashing lights, and long stripes dart along the sides. In one concession to decorum, the names of the city's schools are neatly printed in block letters on the tinted windows. ``It's to just the grab the kids -- to get their attention and break their stereotype of cops as stern and authoritarian,'' Cost said. The city's efforts to acquire the van began three years ago, with officer Rich Dickerson as a driving force behind the move. Off-duty officers sold hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks at city-sponsored functions, and the Patton family (which requested that no other information be released about them) made a sizable donation toward the $16,000 purchase of the 1997 Ford Aerostar van. Hayward Ford sold the vehicle at a discounted price, as well as making a $1,000 cash donation, police said. Mild to Wild Custom Paint of San Carlos contributed a graphics-and-paint scheme with an estimated value of $12,000, Dickerson said. Other businesses making donations included Avenue Auto Service, AJKL Inc. (Goodyear Tire Center), L'Mirage A Full Service Salon, Almega Collision Repair Center, The Preferred Image, Priority One and San Carlos Paints. Potts said driving the van around town certainly is unlike being in the standard-issue squad car. ``People wave or they laugh,'' he said. ``I'm afraid that one of these days I'm going to cause a traffic accident.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- FBI To Probe Role Of Prison Guards In Beatings And Killings Of Inmates ('San Jose Mercury News' Says The Federal Bureau Of Investigation Is Launching A Civil Rights Investigations At California's Pelican Bay And Susanville Penitentiaries To Probe The Role Of Prison Guards In The Beatings And Killings Of Inmates) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:07:36 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: FBI to Probe Role of Prison Guards in Beatings and Killings of Inmates Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 FBI TO PROBE ROLE OF PRISON GUARDS IN BEATINGS AND KILLINGS OF INMATES FRESNO -- As part of the federal government's growing scrutiny of California prisons, the FBI is launching civil rights investigations at the Pelican Bay and Susanville penitentiaries to probe the role of prison guards in the beatings and killings of inmates. FBI officials said the decision to investigate follows a number of recent assaults and deaths of inmates at the two maximum-security prisons in Northern California. Until now, most of the federal government's attention has been focused on the troubled lockup at Corcoran in the San Joaquin Valley. On Wednesday, eight prison officers and supervisors pleaded not guilty to charges of setting up fights between rival inmates at Corcoran and then covering up the violence by falsifying incident reports. In one 1994 fight, prosecutors allege, some of the officers gathered in a control booth to watch for fun as one officer quipped, ``It's going to be duck hunting season.'' The fight ended when an officer fired a carbine rifle at one of the aggressors and killed 25-year-old inmate Preston Tate by mistake. The new probe at Pelican Bay will try to determine if rival inmates attacked each other at the behest of prison staffers, including at least one assault this month that resulted in the stabbing death of an inmate, according to FBI officials. At the High Desert prison in Susanville, FBI agents have begun looking into the Feb. 4 death of inmate David Torres, who was gunned down by an officer during a prison yard fight. ``We have opened a preliminary civil rights investigation into the shooting death of inmate Torres,'' said Jim Maddock, head of the FBI office in Sacramento. ``As far as Pelican Bay is concerned, that is being handled by the FBI in San Francisco.'' An FBI spokesman in San Francisco declined to comment on the probe, but a U.S. Justice Department official in Washington said it would center on whether prisoners' civil rights were violated. The state Department of Corrections characterized the FBI probes as routine investigations prompted by complaints from family members of the deceased inmates.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Tribe Puts Hopes In Tobacco ('New York Times' Article In 'San Jose Mercury News' Notes The Omaha Indian Tribe In Nebraska Has Gone Into The Cigarette Manufacturing Business - It Will Soon Be Joined In The Same Business By The Confederate Tribes Of The Chehalis Reservation, Near Seattle) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 21:40:52 -0500 To: DrugSense News Service
From: Richard Lake Subject: MN: US NE: Tribe Puts Hopes In Tobacco Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Author: Pam Belluck, New York Times Contact: email@example.com Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 TRIBE PUTS HOPES IN TOBACCO Rejecting Health Worries, Nebraska Indians See Cigarettes As Their Path To Prosperity MACY, Neb. -- The thrumming green machines in the new factory here are the hope of the Omaha Indian tribe. Early sales are encouraging, and soon the tribe will be tripling production. ``Our dream,'' said Jerry Montour, the factory's consultant, ``is to have like 100 people working here at one time.'' And who would quarrel with that? As it turns out, many might. The Omaha tribe is manufacturing cigarettes. Even if the factory were not in a building that previously housed the tribe's health club and wellness center, the debut of the Omaha Nation Tobacco Co. might seem a little misguided. After all, big cigarette companies are under fierce fire from states and the federal government, with proposed legislation and lawsuit settlements designed to force them to restrict cigarette advertising, jack up prices and pay penalties to cover the costs of smoking-related afflictions like lung cancer and heart disease. Widespread use of tobacco And those afflictions hit Indians particularly hard. Cancer and heart-disease rates are rising faster among American Indians than the general population, smoking is much more common than in other groups and Indians start smoking at a younger age. Several tribes have even filed lawsuits in tribal courts against companies like Philip Morris, seeking direct compensation for illnesses related to tobacco, instead of relying on money that states expect to receive. The Omaha are thinking of filing such a suit as well, said the tribe's Washington lawyer, Robert Rosette. ``Smoking is much more severe on Indian reservations and has a much harsher impact,'' Rosette said. ``As a sovereign government, we have just as much right to recoup from the big tobacco companies.'' Still, Rosette argued, ``You can't mix that in with our manufacturing cigarettes, because we're a legal business.'' He added: ``We have a great product -- and we need avenues to get it out in the market.'' If the logic seems cloudy, it is largely a reflection of the circumstances many Indian tribes are grappling with these days. Facing high unemployment, poverty and dwindling federal grants, reservations, especially in remote areas, are struggling to create jobs. They have only a few economic advantages over non-Indian communities, including the right to operate casinos, and to be exempt from state taxes on gasoline and cigarettes sold on Indian land. First tribe with a cigarette firm The Omaha, whose reservation spills from northeastern Nebraska over the Missouri River into Iowa, is the first tribe to start a cigarette company. But it will soon be joined by another, the Confederate Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, near Seattle, which is investing enough to add two assembly lines to the one in the Omaha factory and is setting up a cigarette plant on its own reservation. Montour said another joint venture is being negotiated with an East Coast tribe. ``People aren't going to stop smoking,'' said Gary Lasley, Omaha tribal chairman, puffing on an Omaha Full-Flavor cigarette. ``They're addicted now. When you're out here in the middle of nowhere, what else are you going to do for jobs?'' Omaha leaders even traveled to Washington recently to testify before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, hoping to influence federal legislation to exempt tribal manufacturers from some penalties and proscriptions on big tobacco companies. They want out of advertising restrictions like a proposed ban on cartoon characters (Omaha cigarette packs feature an Indian's face) and absolution from payments for illnesses before Omaha's company existed. While these special pleadings are unlikely to be endorsed by the Indian Affairs Committee, it is likely to recommend that tribes be able to excuse themselves from price increases or marketing bans that state governments layer on top of whatever federal restrictions are approved. Historical use of tobacco That means tribal cigarettes could continue their edge not only on Indian land, but even off reservations in some states. To Indian leaders this is only fair, given tribes' historical and ceremonial use of tobacco. ``We understand there's a lot of negativity about the tobacco industry right now, but we're not the ones who misrepresented and did all the marketing to teenagers,'' Montour said. ``Native Americans have been involved in tobacco for hundreds of years. It's only when these new settlers came in that they were starting to do all this misrepresentation.'' Roped by fields yellow-gray with corn stubble on a recent winter day, the Omaha reservation is home to about 3,400 of the tribe's 6,000 members and has 60 percent unemployment, Lasley said. About a quarter of those on the reservation are on welfare or receive food stamps. Six years ago, the tribe opened Casino Omaha on its Iowa property, but attendance and profits have been gutted by competing riverboat casinos. Since September, when the tribe began selling its cigarettes, made from tobacco imported from North Carolina, results have been promising, tribal leaders say. So far, the factory has orders for half the 50,000 cartons it makes a month, mostly from 26 tribes around the country. Heart disease, cancer deaths Nationally, more than 36 percent of Indians smoke. But even though heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of Indian deaths, Omaha officials say these afflictions are not their first health priority. ``The life expectancy isn't high enough for there to be a lot of cancer,'' said Greg Phillips, the tribe's vice chairman, who said the average tribe member dies at 57. More obvious threats, he said, were alcoholism and diabetes. ``Are they going to object when we try to manufacture Twinkies?'' he said. Dr. Nathaniel Cobb, director of cancer prevention and control for the Indian Health Service, has heard this before. ``When someone dies of lung cancer, they're usually in their 60s or older and they usually die pretty quickly, and it's sad, but it's not devastating to the community, compared to alcoholism or suicide,'' Cobb said. ``There's a little disconnect there.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- False Marijuana Claims (Letter To Editor Of 'Daily Herald' In Illinois Cites Evidence Contradicting Newspaper's Junk Science) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 23:55:14 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Olafur Brentmar
Subject: MN: US IL: LTE: False Marijuana Claims Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: Steve Young Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Source: Daily Herald (IL) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Page: 16, sec. 1 FALSE MARIJUANA CLAIMS I am writing in response to the Feb. 15 article "Renewed tolerance of marijuana is taking hold." I am an honors student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I cannot believe your newspaper would print sensationalistic garbage like that. The article claims that a given side effect of pot smoking is a duller memory. This claim has no scientific backing. According to Microsoft's Encarta 97 encyclopedia, "Consistent evidence that marijuana induces or causes brain damage does not exist. Check your source. The New England Journal of Medicine, the Canadian Health Council, the Australian Health Commission, and countless government studies come to the same conciliation as I do. Marijuana poses far less health risk than alcohol or tobacco, two legal and highly addictive drugs. I have been using marijuana since I was 14, and I am now 19 and still using. In the past five years, I have achieved a "B" average for four semesters of high school and one in college. I also posted straight A's my entire junior year of high school. The Herald's false claims are more mind dulling than a plant that grows in al 50 of the United States. The editors should examine front page articles more closely if they don't want their paper to lose its highly regarded credibility. Matt Ingratta Chicago
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Summit - Time Is Right To Find Effective Solutions ('Dallas Morning News' Notes The National Alliance For Model State Drug Laws Is Meeting In Dallas, And Will Submit A Package Of Anti-Drug Laws And Policies For The Texas Legislature To Consider In 1999) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:07:45 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US TX: Drug Summit: Time is Right to Find Effective Solutions Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source: Dallas Morning News Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.dallasnews.com Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 DRUG SUMMIT Time is right to find effective solutions When officials of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws scheduled a summit in Texas last year, they didn't know how timely their meeting would be. The October Dallas gathering came in the midst of the tragic series of heroin-related deaths involving Plano-area young people. The Texas summit will convene here again today, just three days after the Plano Police Department started rounding up suspected drug dealers. The alliance will submit a package of anti-drug laws and policies for the Texas Legislature to consider in 1999. Some of the legislation will be designed to cut the profits for drug traffickers, strengthen neighborhoods' ability to fight back and provide more effective drug education in the schools. Also on the agenda will be the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Texas' drug problems, prevention of substance abuse in the workplace and more realistic ways to curb drug-related health costs in the state. The Alliance for Model State Drug Laws faces big challenges. But the nonprofit organization has gone about the business of seeking effective changes correctly. Hundreds of people around the state participated in drafting the legislation last year. The summit is sponsored by Attorney General Dan Morales' office and the Greater Dallas Crime Commission, one of the state's more effective anti-crime lobbying groups. Texas already has taken some steps to control the flow of illicit narcotics through the state. Drug traffickers now can face stiffer penalties if they are repeat offenders. A zero tolerance policy toward drug use by young people should have a positive effect. But at least a dozen heroin overdose deaths in the Plano area in less than two years should telegraph the Legislature that the battle is far from over. That's why the Texas summit on model drug laws this week deserves everyone's attention.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Treat Drug Addicts - It's Good Advice But We Ignore It (Staff Editorial In 'San Jose Mercury News' Says That, As A Nation, We Have Ignored The Advice Of Physicians To Give Drug Addicts Treatment Rather Than Jail, And Consequently We're Paying The Price For It) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:06:55 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Editorial: Treat Drug Addicts -- It's Good Advice But We Ignore It Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Marcus-Mermelstein Family
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.sjmercury.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 TREAT DRUG ADDICTS -- IT'S GOOD ADVICE BUT WE IGNORE IT DON'T smoke cigarettes. Get plenty of exercise. Eat fruits and vegetables. For years, doctors have been dispensing this sort of common-sense advice. Millions of Americans have routinely ignored it, and many have paid the price. Here's another piece of good advice from some of our country's most respected physicians: Instead of just locking up drug addicts who commit crimes, give them substance-abuse treatment. It's a cost-effective way of reducing crime and fighting drug use. As a nation we have chosen to ignore this advice, and we're paying the price. This week in Washington, a panel of prominent doctors and health officials from the Clinton, Bush and Reagan administrations released several studies on the value of drug treatment. The results: Jailing addicts is a tremendous waste of money. It costs $25,900 to keep an addict in prison for a year, but it costs between $1,800 and $6,800 to send the addict to treatment. One study found that drug treatment can cut crime committed by addicts by 80 percent. Another study found that criminal activity among addicts dropped by two-thirds when they got treatment. Still others have shown that treatment helps reduce transmission of HIV, keeps pregnant women from having drug-addicted babies and reduces homelessness. This isn't exactly groundbreaking research. Back in 1994, the RAND Corporation estimated that treating all the addicts in the United States would cost $21 billion but would save more than $150 billion. Still, most Americans think the best way to deal with drug offenders is to lock 'em up. A study published in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association found that 84 percent of people surveyed think tougher sentences are the best way to fight drugs. Treatment is way down the list, after drug education, increased police presence and mandatory drug testing. Unfortunately, government policy continues to reflect this misguided thinking. Only 20 percent of the federal drug-control budget is spent on treatment programs. While we keep building more and more prisons, only 15 percent of addicts who need help can get it. Such a policy is a disaster for both crime fighting and public health. It's time to dramatically shift our drug-control priorities. Doctor's orders.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Dodging Lawyers 'Bullets' In The Schools (Letter To Editor Of 'Orange County Register' Suggests That Zero Tolerance School Policies Are Instituted So Administrators Won't Have To Think - They Are Afraid To Make Decisions About Degrees Of Culpability For Fear Of Prompting Lawsuits) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:06:34 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US CA: Dodging Lawyers 'Bullets' in The Schools Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Steve Smith-Mr. Smith,who lives with his wife and two daughters in Costa Mesa,is the author of "If You Can't Make Time,Don't Make Kids." DODGING LAWYERS 'BULLETS' IN THE SCHOOLS The Issue: Zero-tolerance policies in schools may indicate school board officials are afraid to make decisions about degrees of culpability for fear of prompting lawsuits. The Newport-Mesa school district expects to run about $5 million in the red this year unless money can be found to make up the deficit. In spite of the shortfall, the board trustees have recently voted to explore a program of equipping all of their school buses with computers designed to identify and track children as they go to and from school. The computer solution came after some kids on buses were determined to be unruly, and, in an effort to keep them in line, they want to issue kids plastic identification cards with magnetic stripes which would be swiped in a machine as they boarded their bus. If I were not awake to read about it, I would not have believed this if it were told to me by Walter Cronkite. Picking on Newport-Mesa is easy for me because my wife and I have two kids in the district and we try to keep track of the comings and goings, but they're also an easy target because some of the decisions are just plain folly. This isn't necessarily about the Newport-Mesa school board, it's about local bureaucracies that are out of control and so scared of their own shadows that it has affected their ability to make rational decisions. Consider the fact that only one of the Newport-Mesa board members, Wendy Leece, voted against the computer idea. This, apparently, was a no-brainer for this school aboard. The Newport-Mesa board members obviously didn't care about the money. What they did care about, and what they may never admit to, is that they are afraid of lawyers. That's right - the fear of lawsuits may be driving the decision-making at this and other levels of local bureaucracies. The "zero-tolerance" policy in place in our district is a case in point. A zero-tolerance policy forces the school district to transfer and, in some cases, expel a student who is caught carrying or using weapons or drugs on a school campus. Thus, the plastic butter knife used to cut a bagel and carried in the student's backpack becomes the same as a loaded gun; the aspiring brought on campus by a female high school senior experiencing a particular problem morphs into heroin. No quarter is given. The zero-tolerance policy for kids is safe harbor for school board members. With this policy, they no longer have to think. Cases do not have to be judged on their individual merits, they are simply rubber-stamped for the convenience of the board and to decrease the likelihood of a lawsuit. If everyone is treated the same way, the thinking goes, how can we be sued for a discrimination decision? Therein lies the problem. These board members, as were the ones in your district, were elected because we thought they would be good leaders. Among other qualities, a good leader is supposed to make the tough decisions and suffer the consequences. Adopting a rule which only clears your desk of some paperwork is not leading, it's laziness. And, in the meantime, it is the kids who will suffer from this suffocating decision. Consider then the case of Ryan Huntsman. Ryan was stopped by the Newport Beach Police Department after the radio in his car was so loud it was said to have been heard in Fullerton. The police found suspected "trace amounts" of marijuana in his car, according to the Register news report, but he was not cited for it. He was cited instead for "noise pollution," and his police report, which mentioned the possible trace amounts of marijuana, was forwarded to school officials, who applied zero-tolerance rules against him. That led to his suspension from Corona del Mar High School. He is back at school while his case is being appealed. The "What, me worry?" attitude of the school board came back to haunt it. Had they not been constrained by the one-size-fits-all zero-tolerance policy, they would not have spent one minute debating this case before moving on to other matters, such as how to spend money they don't have for computer tracking devices they don't need. The computers operate the same way. In an effort to homogenize and de-individualize the bus-riding students, the board believes it has found a way to absolve itself of any responsible decision-making and head off the lawyers and hostile parents who would otherwise consider a lawsuit. "Extenuating circumstances" is a phrase you will not hear in this school district. Neither is "degree of crime," which applies in all criminal cases before our courts. So if your kid acts up on a school bus there is no degree of violation. Shooting a spit wad may be the same as punching someone in the face. Well, I've got news for the school board - the only way you'll get kids to sit quietly on buses is to outfit them with straight jackets and give them 10 mg of Valium prior to departure. Kids goofed around when I rode the bus 30-something years ago and they'll goof around 50 years from now when buses are flying home on rockets. The best solution to all of these problems is also the cheapest. Unfortunately, only Mrs. Leece has had the giblets (with apologies to Dr. Laura) to say that parents ought to be responsible for teaching their kids proper public behavior. That is truly where the responsibility lies. The last thing we need is a bureaucracy "helping" parents by absolving them of their responsibility to monitor their kids.
------------------------------------------------------------------- US Said To Be Harming Drug Fight In Mexico ('Los Angeles Times' Says A General Accounting Office Investigator Told A Joint House-Senate Hearing Wednesday That Mexico Was Accomplishing Little In The War On Drugs And That The Pentagon Had Hindered The Effort By Supplying Mexico With Useless Ships And Helicopters) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 19:06:44 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: U.S. Said to be Harming Drug Fight in Mexico Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Jim Rosenfield Source(1): Los Angeles Times (CA) Contact: email@example.com Fax: 213-237-4712 Website: http://www.latimes.com/ TITLE (1): U.S. SAID TO BE HARMING DRUG FIGHT IN MEXICO Newshawk: firstname.lastname@example.org Source(2): Austin American-Statesman Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.Austin360.com/ TITLE (2): MEXICO, PENTAGON SCOLDED IN DRUG WAR Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Stanley Meisler, L.A. Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON -- A U.S. government investigator Wednesday chastised Mexico for accomplishing little in the war on drugs and lashed out at the Pentagon for hindering that effort by supplying Mexico with ships and helicopters that either do not work or have proved ineffective. The comments by Benjamin Nelson of the General Accounting Office at a joint House-Senate hearing came as Congress prepared to debate as early as next week a move to overturn President Clinton's recent certification of Mexico as a cooperative partner in the fight against narcotics. Nelson's testimony is likely to bolster critics of the certification decision. His disclosures on faulty military equipment being sent to Mexico clearly angered several lawmakers. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a leader of the effort to overturn Mexico's certification, said she intends to investigate the equipment issue further. Relating what sounded like a comedy of errors, Nelson testified that the Pentagon sold two frigates to Mexico for $7 million. When they arrived last year, Nelson said, they were found to be unsafe and inoperable. The U.S. Navy estimated that it would take the Mexican navy two years and $400,000 to repair the ships. Even though the U.S. Navy knew of the condition of the frigates, Nelson said, the Department of Defense began a $1.3 million program to train 110 Mexican sailors to use the ships. That training ends this month; the sailors are destined for other assignments while they wait for the frigates to become seaworthy. Nelson - director of international relations and trade issues for the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress - testified that Pentagon officials told him they approved the training because they were not informed by the U.S. Navy that the ships would not be operational.'' The GAO official also had sharp criticism of 73 UH-1H helicopters the Defense Department sent to Mexico in 1996 and 1997 as part of a $76 million military assistance program to improve the Mexican army's counternarcotics efforts. Nelson said the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City informed him that the helicopters were incapable of carrying out their main task: swooping down on opium poppy fields and destroying them. The helicopters are of little use in altitudes higher than 5,000 feet, he said, and most poppy fields are cultivated on land higher than that. The helicopters have proved to be of limited value in ferrying soldiers at lower altitudes because of delays in the delivery of spare parts and other logistical problems, he added. Nelson also testified that the Pentagon supplied four C-26 aircraft to Mexico for surveillance of drug cultivation and trafficking but neglected to equip the planes with all the instruments needed to perform those tasks. To equip each plane will cost the Mexican military at least $3 million. Gerri Taylor, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said defense officials would not comment on Nelson's remarks until they review his report. In assessing Mexico's record in stemming narcotics trafficking, Nelson noted that the country has passed laws that could lead to extradition of drug criminals and made reforms that could root out corruption in its judiciary and police systems. But, he said, while Mexico's actions represent positive steps, it is too early to determine their impact, and challenges to their full implementation remain. No Mexico national has actually been surrendered to the United States on drug charges, new laws are not fully implemented and building competent judicial and law enforcement institutions continues to be a major challenge.'' He added: No country poses a more immediate narcotics threat to the United States than Mexico.'' Clinton's certification of Mexico will stand unless Congress overturns it before the end of this month. By law, the president must decide every year whether other nations are cooperating with drug -fighting efforts. Those not certified face the loss of U.S. aid. The anti-certification resolution Feinstein is pushing, however, would exempt Mexico from punishment. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Pete Domenici, R-N.M., are sponsoring a compromise bill that would give qualified certification'' to countries that cooperate with the United States but fail to make sufficient progress in stopping drug production or trafficking.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico's Efforts In Drug War Criticized ('Orange County Register' Says A New Report By Benjamin Nelson Of The US General Accounting Office Concludes Corruption Is Rampant And Little Has Been Done To Stem The Flow Of Illegal Drugs To The United States) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 10:37:34 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Mexico's Efforts in Drug War Criticized Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: John W.Black Source: Orange County Register (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.ocregister.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Mark Helm-Herst Newspapers MEXICO'S EFFORTS IN DRUG WAR CRITICIZED GAO says corruption is rampant and little has been done to stem the flow to the United States. Washington - In a report on Mexico's war on drugs, a federal investigator said Wednesday that country has done little in the past two years to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. "No country poses a more immediate threat to the United States than Mexico," Benjamin Nelson of the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, told a joint House-Senate hearing on U.S.-Mexico drug cooperation. He outlined a GAO report that said drug-related corruption of Mexican officials remains "pervasive and entrenched within the criminal justice system." Nelson, director of international relations and trade issues for the GAO,said U.S. law enforcement agents operating in Mexico have told him they trust only one judge in the entire country to keep wiretapping orders secret. While praising Mexico for passing legislation last year to combat drug traffickers, Nelson said the "new laws are not fully implemented, and building competent judicial and law enforcement institutions continues to be a major problem." He also said Mexico has failed to fully cooperate with the United States on extradition. Although the United States and Mexico have had a mutual extradition treaty since 1980, no Mexican has ever been turned in to the U.S. government on drug charges. Nelson also criticized the Pentagon, which has provided Mexico with $76 million in drug-fighting equipment, for sending planes and helicopters that are ineffective. The report said the Mexican military has used the equipment to fight drugs but that "inadequate planning and coordination within the Department of Defense" has limited the hardware's effectiveness. Nelson said some helicopters sit idle because the U.S. military has failed to provide Mexico with spare parts and that two Navy ships have never been used because they were not properly outfitted when they were delivered. Four C-26 spy planes cannot carry out their missions without $3 million in modifications on each plane, he said. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Mexico's anti-narcotics effort has gaping holes and that President Clinton's decision on Feb. 26 to certify Mexico as a fully cooperating partner in the war on drugs was a mistake. Feinstein, who introduced a Senate resolution to decertify Mexico, pointed to reports that Mexico is the primary transit country for cocaine entering the United States from South America. "Ignoring the failures of Mexico's anti-drug effort will not make them go away," she said. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said anti-drug efforts with Mexico "have been a failure in every respect." He added: "We've been having these same hearings every year, and it's not getting better. It's getting worse. And it's going to get worse next year." An effort to decertify Mexico was defeated last year. Instead, Congress passed a watered-down resolution that voiced displeasure with Mexico's anti-drug efforts. In addition, the Senate required Clinton to report later on whether Mexico had made significant progress in its fight against, drug traffickers. Last fall, he assured Congress that it had.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Mexico, Pentagon Criticized In Report ('San Francisco Examiner' Version) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 21:23:10 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Mexico, Pentagon Criticized in Report Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: "Frank S. World"
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA) Contact: email@example.com Website: http://www.examiner.com/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Mark Helm Examiner Washington Bureau MEXICO, PENTAGON CRITICIZED IN REPORT WASHINGTON -- Only a week before the Senate is expected to vote on Sen. Dianne Feinstein's resolution to decertify Mexico as a partner in the war on drugs, the General Accounting Office released a scathing report attacking Mexico and the Pentagon for doing little to stem the flow of illegal narcotics. "No country poses a more immediate narcotics threat to the United States than Mexico," Benjamin Nelson of the GAO told Wednesday's joint House-Senate hearing on U.S.-Mexico drug cooperation. The GAO is the investigative arm of Congress. Nelson outlined a GAO report that said drug-related corruption of Mexican officials remains "pervasive and entrenched within the criminal justice system." Nelson said U.S. law enforcement agents operating in Mexico have told him they trust only one judge in the entire country to keep wiretapping orders secret. While praising Mexico for passing legislation last year to combat drug traffickers, Nelson said the "new laws are not fully implemented, and building competent judicial and law enforcement institutions continues to be a major problem." He also said Mexico has failed to fully cooperate with the United States on extradition. Although the United States and Mexico have had a mutual extradition treaty since 1980, no Mexican national has ever been turned in to the U.S. government on drug charges, he added. Nelson also criticized the Pentagon, which has provided Mexico with $76 million in drug-fighting equipment, for sending planes and helicopters that are ineffective. The report said the Mexican military has used the equipment to fight drugs but that "inadequate planning and coordination within the Department of Defense" has limited the hardware's effectiveness. Nelson said some helicopters sit idle because the U.S. military has failed to provide Mexico with spare parts and that two Navy ships have never been used because they were not properly outfitted when they were delivered. The helicopters are of little use above 5,000 feet, where most opium poppy is cultivated, and four C-26 spy planes cannot carry out their missions without $3 million in modifications on each plane, he said. "You'd think we'd at least provide equipment which is fully operational," said Feinstein, D-Calif. "I'm surprised, disappointed and somewhat shocked that the Defense Department didn't take this a little more seriously." Nelson also said the agencies overseeing the anti-drug efforts -- the White House drug office, the State Department and the Pentagon -- need to work together better: "In some cases there isn't the appropriate amount of coordination." The White House in late February decided to certify Mexico for another year for cooperating in fighting drugs. The administration cited Mexican efforts to combat corruption and arrest drug dealers, new legal procedures to stop trafficking and money laundering and a bilateral extradition agreement. Feinstein, who has introduced a Senate resolution to decertify Mexico, pointed to reports that Mexico is the primary transit country for cocaine entering the United States from South America, as well as a major source for heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines. "Ignoring the failures of Mexico's anti-drug effort will not make them go away," she said. Feinstein said the Senate would vote as early as next week to overturn Mexico's certification. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said anti-drug efforts with Mexico "have been a failure in every respect." He added, "We've been having these same hearings every year, and it's not getting better. It's getting worse. And it's going to get worse next year." Efforts last year to decertify Mexico failed. Instead, Congress passed a watered-down resolution that voiced displeasure with Mexico's anti-drug efforts. In addition, the Senate required Clinton to report later on whether Mexico had made significant progress in its fight against drug traffickers. Last fall he assured Congress that it had. This year the Senate also will consider a bill by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Pete Domenici, R-N.M., to give only "qualified certification" to countries that cooperate with the United States but fail to make sufficient progress in stopping drug production or trafficking. Under the legislation, a country receiving a qualified certification would have a year to meet anti-drug goals set by top law enforcement officials from the United States and that country. Each year, under U.S. law, the president is required to assess by March 1 whether countries that produce or traffic in illicit drugs are cooperating with the United States or taking "adequate" steps on their own to combat narcotics. Countries that are not certified as partners in the drug war can lose U.S. aid. But the president can waive penalties, as he did this year with Colombia. Since the annual certification began in 1986, Mexico has always been deemed a cooperating partner. Thirty countries were assessed this year. Four were decertified but given so-called "national-interest" waivers to avoid economic penalties. Besides Colombia, they were Cambodia, Pakistan and Paraguay. Four other nations -- Afghanistan, Burma, Iran and Nigeria -- did not receive either certification or a waiver. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 1998 San Francisco Examiner
------------------------------------------------------------------- Newly Available GAO Reports And Testimonies (US General Accounting Office Gives URLs For New Report, 'Drug Control - Status Of US International Counternarcotics Activities') Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 10:06:02 EST Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Sender: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Newly Available GAO Reports and Testimonies, March 19, 1998 -- Begin Included Message -- Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 08:24:50 -0500 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Newly Available GAO Reports and Testimonies, March 19, 1998 Sender: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 1998 The following items were added to GAO's World Wide Web site in Portable Document (PDF) format. - Drug Control: Status of U.S. International Counternarcotics Activities. T-NSIAD-98-116. 18 pp. March 12, 1998. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/ns98116t.pdf These reports and testimonies will also be added to our WAIS database in ASCII and PDF formats within the next 24 hours. This database can be searched from the World Wide Web from the search page at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces160.shtml If you are using speech synthesizer equipment or lack World Wide Web access you may search this database with GPO's public swais client by telnetting to: swais.access.gpo.gov Any individual report may be retrieved directly from that archive in text and PDF formats with the following URL: http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?RPTNO replacing RPTNO with the report number (e.g., GAO/OCG-98-1). To UNSUBSCRIBE from the GAO Daybook mailing list, send an e-mail message to: email@example.com with: unsubscribe daybook (your_email_address) in the message body. Please do not reply to this message to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Thank you.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Hemp Supporters Look North ('Associated Press' Interviews North Dakota Advocates Of Industrial Hemp Who Hope Its Legalization And Success In Canada Will Spur Its Reintroduction In The United States) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 17:11:04 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: US ND: Wire: Hemp Supporters Look North To: DrugSense News Service Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Joe Hickey and GDaurer Pubdate: March 19, 1998 Source: Associated Press Author: JOHN MacDONALD HEMP SUPPORTERS LOOK NORTH FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Canada's decision to let farmers grow industrial hemp after a 60-year ban could provide just the political pressure needed to persuade American regulators to lift their ban as well, hemp advocates say. A North Dakota lawmaker who wrote legislation to study hemp's potential as a cash crop says he doesn't expect the federal government to change its mind overnight. ``But I think if it turns out that hemp is a viable crop that our farmers could make some money with, certainly there would be a big push down here to be allowed to grow it as well,'' added state Rep. Dave Monson of Osnabrock. Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock said last week that farmers in that country will be allowed to grow industrial hemp commercially in 1998. Production will be highly regulated and permits will be required. Industrial hemp fiber is used to make everything from paper, rope and clothing to plastics and medicine. Several states are considering allowing farmers to grow the crop. In making the announcement, Rock said hemp farming has ``tremendous potential'' for creating new jobs and boosting the agriculture economy of the country. Supporters of legalized hemp farming say there is a $30- million-a- year market for hemp products in North America. It is that potential that hemp advocates fear U.S. farmers will miss out on if regulators here don't revoke the growing ban. Canada and the United States banned hemp farming in the late 1930s because of its close association with marijuana. Hemp is a member of the cannabis family that includes marijuana. While the plants appear similar, hemp contains only minute traces of the substance in marijuana that gives smokers their high. Still, law enforcement agencies oppose legalizing hemp production because of the difficulty in telling the two plants apart. Hemp advocate Floyd Boutrous of Bismarck, whose sons operate a hemp clothing maker in San Francisco, said U.S. laws prohibiting hemp are archaic. His sons, for instance, must import pre-made fabric from other countries where hemp production is legal. North Dakota State University researcher David Kraenzel said there is no shame letting Canada enter the hemp market first. ``There's advantages and disadvantages to being first,'' said Kraenzel, who is leading the North Dakota State University hemp study provided by Monson's bill. ``There's nothing wrong with being what I call the lead producer, but there's nothing wrong with being the lead follower, either. Let those who can afford to make mistakes lead the way,'' added Kraenzel, associate director of the university's Institute of Natural Resources and Economic Development. Kraenzel's study is an attempt to determine whether hemp would be a viable alternative crop in North Dakota, should the federal government ever make it legal. The probe will include an analysis of possible markets and the availability of production and processing facilities. A final report is due by August. Monson said he is eager to see the report and plans to watch what happens in Canada very closely. ``Whatever Canada can do with it, we can, too,'' he said. ``If they can find a way to make it work economically, there's nothing to say that we can't do the same.''
------------------------------------------------------------------- Lynn's Witness List (Update On Lynn Harichy's Constitutional Challenge To Medical Marijuana Prohibition In Canada Notes Her Witnesses Will Include Doctors Morgan, Petro And Mechoulam) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 11:10:55 -0800 To: email@example.com From: Chris Clay
Subject: Lynn's witness list The following experts have agreed to help with Lynn Harichy's medical marijuana constitutional challenge. For background on Lynn's case, please see: http://www.hempnation.com/focus/focus-0111.html 1) Dr. John Morgan (CUNY) 2) Dr. Paul Consroe (University of Arizona)(has done all the major literature reviews and a few informal surveys among MS patients) 3) Dr. Michael Walker (Brown University) - (has done studies on cannabis for pain relief) 4) Dr. Petro (currently working for Cynosure Inc) (did all the early studies on MS and pot in the 1970's) 5) Dr. Roger Pertwee (University of Aberdeen) (helped author British Medical Association report and head of a UK reserach group looking into med mj) 6) Dr. Mechoulam (Hebrew University - Israel) - discovered THC and he has done recent studies on pot and neurological disorders Prof. Young will get affidavits from these witnesses, but hopes to bring at least most of them to testify in person. It all depends on funds... Donations, large & small, should me made payable to "Alan Young" and sent to: Lynn Harichy c/o The Organic Traveller 101-343 Richmond St. London, ON N6A 3C2 Thanks for your support!
------------------------------------------------------------------- Holy Smoke! A Church? ('Nelson Daily News' In British Columbia Says The Holy Smoke Hemp Store Has Become The Holy Smoke Mission Of God, A Branch Of The Church Of The Universe, Established In 1969, Known For Its Marijuana-Smoking Devotees) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 20:22:25 -0800 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: Canada: Holy Smoke! A Church? Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Newshawk: Herb Source: Nelson Daily News-page 3 ( British Columbia, Canada) Contact: email@example.com Pubdate:Thu, 19 Mar 1998 Author: Lara Schroeder - Nelson Daily News Staff HOLY SMOKE! A CHURCH? Religious angle at culture shop baffles city officials The Holy Smoke Culture Shop is now the Holy Smoke Mission of God, and no one seems sure what that means. Store owners Dustin Cantwell, Paul DeFelice and Alan Middlemiss have been made missionaries of the Church of the Universe based in Ontario, which has also declared the shop a church. "It just means that Holy Smoke is a sacred space and that we're fighting for spiritual freedom. That's what all churches aretrying to overcome evil," said Cantwell. The Nelson hemp products store has been the focus of media attention since the three owners were arrested for marijuana trafficking and the city jacked up its business licence fee to $1,000. The owners and city officials aren't sure what becoming a branch of the Church of the Universe would mean for the shop, which was notified of its new status a few days ago. The Church of the Universe, established in 1969, is known for its marijuana-smoking devotees. "Basically, they consider the Sacrament to be the Tree of Life, which is cannabis," Cantwell explained. "It's comparable to (Christians) drinking wine or the Druids drinking mead. Each church has a sacrament." Cantwell doesn't think the church was founded to fight for the legalization of marijuana, but because it was part of their worship it became an issue, he stated. "It became political, since that's what their sacrament was," he said. The three Holy Smoke owners, who were already members of the church, were made missionaries because they're spreading the word and fighting for what they believe in, according to Cantwell. "You become a missionary when you stand up for what you believe in," he stated. Cantwell isn't sure what kind of recognition the church has received from governments and doesn't know what becoming a church will mean to Holy Smoke. "We're not sure what it entails as an organization, what we're entitled to," he said. "If you're a church, there may be a way to bypass having (business) licences." If the new religious establishment has services they will likely be in an outdoor environment, according to Cantwell. "Holy Smoke looking at rezoning - hoping to open up new church," he suggested as a newspaper headline. If they seriously want to be recognized as a church, they will have to rezone, according to city administrator Victor Kumar. "If they're a church they're in the wrong zone," Kumar said. "A church is not allowed in a C-1 zoning." Churches are allowed in R-1 through R-6 areas," Kumar stated. Kumar isn't sure what it would mean if the shop decided to declare itself a church and would have to know what they want from the city before he'd be able to comment, he stated. It does make the situation a bit more complicated, he said, because any time religion comes up so does the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There is no defiition of a church in the Municipal Act or in city bylaws, as far as Kumar knows. "I don't think you can really define what a church is in a bylaw. You'll soon be hauled before the courts for a Charter of Rights violation," he explained. "I'm not quite sure what the ramifications are," Kumar eventually stated with a laugh as he admitted it's not a situation he's ever had to deal with before. Mayor Gary Exner also doesn't know what the change could mean. "If they're a church or a temple, I don't know of any churches that pay a business licence," he said. "I don't really want to comment on it, because I haven't seen anything." Smoking marijuana is against the law and breaking the law doesn't seem to be a very Christian thing to do, Exner stated. The church's literature quotes from the Christian Bible. "I'm not sure where they're coming from, if they're legitimate," Exner said. "I guess every religion to their own, or every church to their own."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Methadone Program - Baby Molly's Family Favors Controls On Addicts' Fertility ('Victoria Times Colonist' In British Columbia Says The Family Of The Baby Born Dependent On Methadone Was Denied Custody In Favor Of A Foster Mother Ignorant Of Her Needs Who Shook The Infant So Hard She Was Left Blind And Severely Brain Damaged) Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 21:07:50 -0800 (PST) To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com (Alan Randell) Subject: Family favors controls on addicts' fertility Newshawk: Alan Randell Pubdate: March 19, 1998 Source: Victoria Times Colonist (B.C.) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Methadone Program Baby Molly's family favors controls on addicts' fertility By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist Staff (BOX) Molly's story Molly Delaronde was in hospital for the first two months of her life while she withdrew from methadone. Provincial government social workers then placed the baby with foster mother Kim Kierkegaard, even though family members wanted to take her and her aunt had custody of Molly's older sister. Four days later Kierkegaard, not trained to deal with the needs of a baby withdrawing from methadone, shook the infant. If Molly had not had surgery that night, she would have died. Earlier this month, Kierkegaard, who pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm, was given a conditional sentence of two years less a day, to be served in the community. (END OF BOX) A government that gives women drugs also should have the power to insist she use birth control, say family members of Molly Delaronde. The spiral of horrors that resulted in Molly being left blind and severely brain damaged could have been avoided if someone had insisted mother Jackie Delaronde not become pregnant again while on methadone, say her sisters. However, spokesmen for the government-funded methadone program say insisting clients use contraceptives would trample on their constitutional rights. The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed that the rights of the mother take precedence over the rights of her unborn children. "Birth control doesn't have anything to do with the methadone program. The patients have a heroin addiction and are placed on methadone for treatment of that disease," said Peter Hickey, executive director of the College of Physicians and Surgeons which administers the methadone program. Moll, now 13 months old, was born addicted because her mother has been on the methadone program for about seven years. After being withdrawn from the drug in hospital, Molly could have lived a normal life if she had not been assaulted by her foster mother. "Molly and hundreds of other babies can be born addicted and have to go through the withdrawal that their parents are too selfish to go through," said Cindy Engbrecht, Molly's aunt, who now has custody of the baby. "We have to stop this happening to children. Molly should not suffer for the sins of he parents." But Brian Oswald, administrator of the Victoria methadone program, said a woman having a methadone-addicted baby is infinitely preferable to having a baby born to a mother addicted to street drugs or alcohol where there is a likelihood of the baby having lifelong problems. The methadone program is a harm-reduction program and, if someone was denied methadone because of pregnancy, they would probably use heroin instead, he said. During the past five years, there have been only about three births among the 400 patients in Victoria, Oswald said. Provincewide figures are not available. Engbrecht said changes are needed. "They have shot now that's good for three months. A woman should be told she has to have the shot or she won't get her free drugs," she said. Molly was 40-year-old Jackie Delaronde's fifth child, but some were born before her addictions surfaced and all are in the care of family members and doing well, Engbrecht said. "We're very proud of them all. The family has done everything possible to try to break Jackie of her addictions, but nothing has worked, said her sister, Lisa Stolth. Shortly after Molly's birth, Jackie Delaronde consented to sterilization and was in hospital, prepped and awaiting the operation. However, the surgery was delayed, apparently because staff had not known she was on methadone, and Delaronde did not return as requested, Stolth said. "When you're dealing with someone like that, you don't say come back tomorrow."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Penguin Puts Dealers On Ice In $82Gs Drug Bust ('Ottawa Sun' Notes A 12-Month Undercover Investigation Dubbed 'Project Penguin' In The Suburban Ottawa Community Of Carleton Place Has Resulted In 25 Arrests, A Small Amount Of Cash, Plus Cannabis And Cocaine Allegedly Worth $82,500 - Newspaper Omits Cost Of Investigation Or Prosecutions) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 09:17:53 -0800 (PST) From: email@example.com (Matt Elrod) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: PENGUIN PUTS DEALERS ON ICE IN $82GS DRUG BUST Lines: 37 Source: Ottawa Sun Contact: email@example.com March 19, 1998 PENGUIN PUTS DEALERS ON ICE IN $82GS DRUG BUST CREDIT: By MARIA McCLINTOCK -- Ottawa Sun A 12-month undercover drug probe ended in a pre-dawn raid yesterday as regional narcotics officers and the SWAT team swooped down on five Carleton Place addresses, arresting over a dozen people. The main targets of Project Penguin were street-level dealers peddling a variety of drugs in the small town located west of Ottawa. Twenty-five local residents have been charged with 65 possession and trafficking-related offences. Earlier in the week, several people were arrested in connection with the case. Despite the lengthy investigation, police only seized a small amount of cash and $82,500 in hash, marijuana and cocaine. "It's hard to go in cold and make buys off the street," said OPP Staff Sgt. Rick Burgess, who oversees the Ottawa-Carleton drug unit. "The officers did a good job." He added doing undercover work in a small community is difficult because everyone knows one another. "I'm not saying the arrests complete all the drug transactions in Carleton Place, but they certainly put a dent in street-level drug dealing," said the town's Police Chief Earl Johns, who contacted the drug unit a year ago. "I believe this had a high impact because some of the players were key dealers."'
------------------------------------------------------------------- Feeding Habit Nets Prison Term ('London Free Press' Says A Judge Sentenced A 32-Year-Old London, Ontario, Cocaine Addict To Two And A Half Years In Prison, Alleging Crack Is 'The Most Addictive And Dangerous Drug In Our Community') From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Elrod) To: email@example.com Subject: FEEDING HABIT NETS PRISON TERM Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 09:11:27 -0800 Source: London Free Press Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org March 19, 1998 FEEDING HABIT NETS PRISON TERM CRACK ADDICT SENTENCED CREDIT: By Don Murray -- Free Press Court Reporter A hunger for crack cocaine has put Beverly Sheldon Sullivan behind bars again. The 32-year-old London man with a long record and a harsh addiction was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in penitentiary Wednesday by Judge Deborah Livingstone after he pleaded guilty to break, enter and theft and a second charge of stealing an 11-year-old girl's Adidas jacket. Crack is "the most addictive and dangerous drug in our community," assistant Crown attorney Brian Farmer told Livingstone. Sullivan's offences are exactly the kind committed by crack addicts seeking money to feed their habit, Farmer said in his argument for a penitentiary sentence. Sullivan's record includes break-ins, thefts, frauds, possession of stolen credit cards and possession of stolen property. Among his sentences are terms of two and three years. Livingstone was told that about 12:30 p.m. on March 6, a London woman went upstairs in her Queens Avenue residence and noticed her jewelry box was on the floor of her room. Then she saw a man on her bed. She ran downstairs, phoned police and went outside to wait. Student aided police Sullivan fled when police arrived and was arrested after a short chase in which police were aided by Catholic Central high school student Adrian Zylawy. The student grabbed Sullivan at Dundas and Waterloo streets and wrestled with him until police arrived. Sullivan had about $175 in stolen property on him. He was also wearing a $100 jacket stolen earlier from a coat room in the Knights of Columbus Hall on Colborne Street. Copyright (c) 1998 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Alligators Snapped Up By Drug Dealers (Britain's 'Telegraph' Says The Supposed New Trend Among American Drug Sellers Was 'Accentuated' When Don Johnson Kept Elvis The Alligator As A Companion On His Boat In The Television Crime Series, 'Miami Vice') Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 17:16:03 -0800 To: email@example.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joel W. Johnson) Subject: MN: US: Alligators Snapped Up by Drug Dealers Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke"
Source: Telegraph, The (UK) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 ALLIGATORS SNAPPED UP BY DRUG DEALERS INSTEAD of pitbulls, alligators are becoming the new "guard dogs" of choice for an increasing number of Americans, particularly members of drug gangs anxious to protect their cash and narcotics. In recent months, police in Massachusetts, where keeping large reptiles has been illegal for more than 20 years, have encountered four alligators and caymans used to protect property. The most recent incident involved an alligator guarding drugs kept at the home of a dealer in New Bedford. "It's the new status thing," said Victor Mendes, a drug squad detective. "They've graduated from pitbulls to alligators. They use the things to intimidate." Caymans, in fact, are more useful for their bark than their bite: vets say that, although the ferocious-looking members of the crocodile family can reach up to six feet, they normally would not attack anyone unless starving. There is a big demand for the animals; one renowned for its "ferocious leaping attacks" was stolen recently from a San Francisco zoo. In Lakewood, Colorado, officers had to wrestle with a four-foot specimen while they were evicting a tenant and, in Connecticut, a temporary animal shelter had to be established to house seized reptiles. For years, Americans have bought reptiles as pets, a trend accentuated when Don Johnson kept Elvis the alligator as a companion on his boat in the television crime series Miami Vice. Rumours abound of owners getting tired of them when they grow too large and flushing them down the lavatory, sparking wholly unsubstantiated stories in New York of monster alligators residing in the sewers. However, the trend to use exotic animals for protection is something new: police in New York recently found a 12-ft snake in a cupboard guarding a drug dealers' cocaine supply. Sgt Robert Mercon, of Massachusetts environmental police department, said there are obvious drawbacks to owning alligators and caymans. He said: "They grow too quickly, they get too big and they get too vicious. And they have very sharp teeth." The only upside, he reckons, is that "you don't have to take them for walks and they don't get fleas."
------------------------------------------------------------------- Drug Offenders To Be Dealt With At Special Court (Britain's 'Independent' Notes That Apparently, Britain's Ruling Class Likes The Way The War On Some Drug Users Is Playing Out In Florida, Since They Are Establishing 'Drug Courts' Imported From There) Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 17:58:49 -0500 From: "R. Lake"
Subject: MN: UK: Drug Offenders To Be Dealt With At Special Court To: DrugSense News Service Organization: The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense Sender: email@example.com Newshawk: "(Zosimos) Martin Cooke" Source: Independent, The (UK) Aitjpr: Esther Leach Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pubdate: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 DRUG OFFENDERS TO BE DEALT WITH AT SPECIAL COURT Magistrates are soon to begin training for an experimental court dedicated to dealing with drug offenders. They will spend two days looking in depth and discussing with experts the impact of hard drugs on society and the lives of people who take them and deal in them. The JPs, all very experienced, will sit at Wakefield and Pontefract magistrates' courts in West Yorkshire, where they will decide if offenders go on rehabilitation programmes or are sentenced in another way. Constance Gilbey, 68, chair-woman of Wakefield magistrates, who is one of a pool of 24 volunteer JPs, said the court should not be seen as an easy option for offenders. "Those who go on the treatment programme will follow a very strict regime which will restrict their freedom," said Miss Gilbey. "The idea is to help offenders to break the drugs habit and give them new lives ... what's useful to the offender will be useful to society." Miss Gilbey, a JP for 38 years, said magistrates will have to be convinced that the offenders who come to their court are committed to the treatment programme before they are allowed on to it. The court, which begins work in June, is part of "Step" - substance misuse and enforcement programme - initiated by Wakefield Health Authority, drugs agencies in the area and the UK anti-drugs co-ordinator, Keith Hellawell, when he was chief constable of West Yorkshire, after they saw a similar scheme operating in Miami. Police will refer offenders arrested for drug-related crimes to a Step worker who will assess them in the cells before they are bailed or remanded to the next available drugs court, which will be held weekly in Wakefield and eventually Pontefract. Their treatment taken while on probation will involve detoxification, using drug substitutes, and therapy to change attitudes and behaviour. Regular urine tests will be made to check that no drugs are being taken. An offender will go back to court regularly so magistrates can monitor their progress. If they do well they will graduate and the probation order terminated or left to expire.
------------------------------------------------------------------- Cannabis As Medicine (Dr. Roger Pertwee, President Of The International Cannabinoid Research Society, Informs Readers Of 'The Scotsman' Why Marijuana Is Medicine) From: email@example.com Date: Tue, 24 Mar 98 00:20:25 EST To: #TLC__CANNABIS_at_osifirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: UK: Cannabis as Medicine (Roger Pertwee) Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org SOURCE: The Scotsman (UK) DATE: February 19, 1998 WEBSITE: http://www.scotsman.com/ AUTHOR: Dr. Roger Pertwee, President of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. CANNABIS AS MEDICINE The plant Cannabis sativa is the unique source of a set of more than sixty related chemicals called cannabinoids. Among these is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to which most of the known pharmacological properties of cannabis can be attributed. For many years the mode of action of THC remained a mystery. However, all this changed recently with the discovery first, that our bodies contain specialized sites (cannabinoid receptors) that mediate many of the effects of THC and second, that our tissues can produce their own cannabinoids that interact with these receptors to control the release of chemical messengers in various parts of the body including the brain. These important scientific advances have been paralleled by a growing realization that cannabis probably has important medicinal properties. Indeed, two cannabinoids, THC (dronabinol) and nabilone are already used clinically in this country and elsewhere to suppress nausea and vomiting provoked by cancer chemotherapy. THC can also be prescribed in the USA to boost the appetite of AIDS patients and so reduce loss of body weight. Although they are not licensed for any other clinical purposes, it is likely that cannabis and individual cannabinoids would also be effective in relieving the muscle spasms, pain and bladder dysfunction of multiple sclerosis and spinal injury, in managing other types of pain and in treating glaucoma and bronchial asthma. A few British doctors currently prescribe nabilone for multiple sclerosis or chronic pain. However, most are not prepared to do this as the drug is not licensed for these purposes. The evidence supporting the use of cannabinoids for multiple sclerosis or spinal injury is particularly promising. It is based on anecdotal, pharmacological and clinical data. The clinical evidence comes from seven trials, albeit with rather small numbers of patients. These showed that cannabis, THC or nabilone can reduce the intensity of at least some signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis or spinal injury, particularly spasticity, pain and nocturia. THC has also been shown to be effective in an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Results from other trials as well as from animal studies lend further support to the claim that THC relieves pain. As to the anecdotal data, these are to be found in numerous newspaper reports and also in the responses to a survey that we conducted recently. The survey targeted multiple sclerosis patients who self-medicate with cannabis and there were 112 replies. Among the claimed benefits of cannabis were improvements in spasticity at sleep onset (96.5%), pain in muscles (95.1%), spasticity when waking at night (93.2%), pain in the legs at night (92.3%), tremor of arms/head (90.7%) and depression (90.6%). Whilst many find the existing data convincing, others remain skeptical and would like to see larger, more extensive clinical trials that will test the efficacy of cannabis or individual cannabinoids against signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis and spinal injury more conclusively. This view is supported by the British Medical Association which recommended in its recently published report on "Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis", that "The Clinical Cannabinoid Group, interested patient groups, pharmaceutical companies and the Department of Health should work together to encourage properly conducted clinical trials to evaluate the further potential therapeutic uses of cannabinoids, alone or in combination , and/or in combination with other drugs". We at Aberdeen intend to carry out such a trial - if we can obtain the necessary funding. Some of the effects of cannabis and THC are potentially hazardous. For example, cannabinoids can increase heart rate and alter hormone release. There is also evidence that cannabis can induce psychoses in individuals predisposed to schizophrenia. Because of the tars produced during the combustion process, cannabis is carcinogenic when smoked. However cannabis and cannabinoids are also active by other routes. The available data suggest that cannabis is not strongly "addictive". Nor is there any pharmacological evidence that cannabis use leads on to the taking of other illegal drugs. The evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids can produce adverse effects should not rule out their use as medicines as these effects are no worse than those of some prescribed drugs. Even though cannabis may produce unwanted effects in some people, it can now be prescribed in Italy as well as in Arizona and California (according to State Laws). It could also be prescribed in this country until 1971. Indeed in 1968, a government advisory committee concluded in its report to the Home Office (the "Wootton Report") that "Preparations of cannabis and its derivatives should continue to be available on prescription for purposes of medical treatment and research". Further research into the medicinal properties of cannabis and cannabinoids is needed. We also need to develop better drug formulations and to optimize the mode of cannabinoid administration. As all this will take considerable time, a strong case can be made on the grounds of common sense and compassion for allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis, nabilone or dronabinol now for disorders such as multiple sclerosis and spinal injury. This would seem preferable to the present state of affairs where many patients who in all other ways appear to be law-abiding citizens feel so strongly that they should self-medicate with cannabis that they are prepared to take the concomitant risks: the chance of discovery and punishment, the total lack of medical supervision of the cannabis consumption and the use of cannabis of unknown potency and pedigree that may contain pathogenic organisms or microbial toxins or have been be adulterated with other drugs or pesticides. As yet dronabinol and nabilone are not licensed in Britain for the treatment of anything other than chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Hence patients wishing to be treated with cannabis-related compounds for other disorders usually have no option but to seek out cannabis as this is the only such drug that is available to them. Dr Roger Pertwee, Reader in Biomedical Sciences Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK Tel: 01224-273040 (within UK) or int code + 44-1224-273040 (direct line) FAX: 01224-273019 (within UK) or int code + 44-1224-273019 Ext: 3040 email: email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------------
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